See Lions?

Today we went to Whipsnade Zoo which is always a great place to visit. Even better it’s just a 20 minute drive for us.

As usual all the lions were asleep, so we didn’t stay watching them for long.

I was going to post a photo or two of the baby elephants but I took so many photos that I haven’t edited them yet. Maybe later.

So, amongst the various animals we saw were the sea lions (these are on our shortlist of favourite animals), this produced an amusing tale. What happened was this: we arrived about 20 minutes before the sea lion display and the poolside area was packed to the gunwales with noisy children and their equally noisy parents. Well, we hadn’t come to see them so we bypassed the outdoor pool arena and headed inside the sea lion’s building, where the sea lions were amusing themselves in their indoor pool. As the time for the display approached, they became more excited, presumably at the prospect of getting to eat lots of fish, swimming, jumping and diving around the pool, they also kept jumping out of the water and going to wait by the door through which their keeper would emerge with her buckets of fish.

We found it amusing that we had the place almost to ourselves and we got to see the sea lions swimming playfully around in a more natural way than they would be in the subsequent staged display, meanwhile all the audience were sat outside staring at an empty pool for half an hour! :)

I took some video which I’ll hopefully post shortly, in the meantime here are a couple of photos.

ZSL_OCT_1 ZSL_OCT_2

Aren’t sea lions super?


So what do vacuums abhor?

We bought some of those vacuum storage bags you use to pack clothes in and then suck all the air out to save space. They worked really well.

Felt a bit disappointed when we ran out of stuff to vacuum pack.


Moar speed

I’ve been keeping an eye on my super new broadband speed since Virgin Media gave me a free speed bump.

Of course, the speed you get when you do a speed test doesn’t really mean much as there are many variables affecting the speed at which a website appears in your browser window (etc.), not to mention the impact of other devices on the same LAN sharing that bandwidth. Then there’s the time of day… I could go on but you get the idea.

Anyway, in case you’re interested, my speeds seem to average around 77 Mbps Down and 6 Mbps Up.


Moving Time Machine files – Deja Vu

Having got myself a new external hard drive I decided to move my MacBook Air’s Time Machine backup from the old disk (which was full) to the new one. It was at this point that I remembered that I’d done this before and, what’s more, I’d written a post about it. Anyway, that was over 18 months ago so I thought I’d try Apple’s official method again. Ha Ha. Last time Apple’s method didn’t work, maybe it’s been fixed…

Apple’s official method goes like this:

  1. In Disk Utility, partition your new HDD as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” with a GUID partition
  2. Open the File Info window and make sure that “Ignore ownership on this volume” at the bottom of the “Sharing & Permissions” section is not checked.
  3. Turn Time Machine off
  4. Using Finder, copy the file “Backups.backupdb” from the old disk volume to the new one.

So I did this and, after an hour or so of happy copying, it failed. More accurately, it failed on specific files which it claimed could not be copied. To be honest I wasn’t surprised, given previous experience, so this attempt was made more as an experiment than with any expectation that it would work. Thing is, why does Apple continue to push this method when it has a reputation for not working? (You can look at the Apple Discussion Forums)

Last time I copied my Time Machine files, I used Carbon Copy Cloner to do a block-by-block copy but this time, I thought, Apple’s Disk Utility could provide the solution.

First off, I used Disk Utility to perform a repair of the old backup disk, to ensure that any file corruptions or permission errors were resolved prior to copying, as this could have been a reason for the Apple method failing. I did a Partition-level repair then a File-level repair. Interestingly, neither of these found anything to repair which sort of squashed that little theory. Ah well, on to the important bit. After formatting the new volume as per Apple’s instruction (above) I was all set. Here’s the method:

  • In System Preferences, turn Time Machine off
  • Connect both the old and new HDDs
  • Open Disk Utility
  • Select the original backup disk from the list in the left column and click the “Restore” Tab.
  • Drag the original backup disk volume (i.e. the one to be copied) to the “Source” field.
  • Drag the new backup disk volume to the “Destination” field.

 

  • Click the “Restore” Button.
  • The copy will take some time to complete. Once it has finished, the name of the destination volume will have changed to be the same as that of the original. This could be a bit confusing so eject the original volume.
  • You could change the name of the new volume but there is a risk (call that bitter experience!) that Time Machine will see this as a different disk and instead of carrying on as before, start a fresh backup and discard the backup history you were trying to retain in the first place. My preference was to simply eject the original volume before resuming Time Machine. After all, if the copy has been successful, the old one will no longer be required and after a decent period of mourning (just to be on the safe side) the old disk can be repurposed.
  • Back in System Preferences, turn Time Machine on. Enter Time Machine and check that you can browse the backup history. Do a sample file restore to check everything is working as it should. If that checks out, let it perform a backup cycle, afterwards checking that the backup history can still be accessed and restored from.

And that’s it. I won’t pretend this is a quick procedure. For some people it won’t even be necessary. You’ll need to consider whether you really need to keep a long range of backups stretching back a year or more. You could always keep the original disk somewhere safe for a while and allow Time Machine to start afresh with the new disk.

Lastly, if you do try either of the above methods, you do so at your own risk. What worked for me might not work for someone else. Before you undertake any file management activities make sure you have a robust backup of any important data.


DR

I was thinking about upgrading the Macs to Yosemite and ended up reviewing my DR arrangements. Running out of space on a couple of the Time Machine disks so time to go shopping for a bigger HD. This will be followed by some file moving.

Kill me now.


Battery drain

Today my MacBook Air’s battery went from fully charged to 27% in a matter of a few hours, most of which was spent in sleep mode. Not good!

So I launched Activity Monitor and had a look at the Energy Impact readings. Wow! It reported Google Drive running at over 100. That was definitely not a good thing. So I closed the App down and re-launched it. This time Google Drive’s energy impact was at around 2.5. Much better!

I found that this issue has been reported in Mac discussion forums but not in any great numbers. So for now I’ll keep an eye on it, if the issue persists then I can always bin GD. Anyway, when Yosemite drops I will be able to try out the full iDrive experience. And if that’s as good as it’s cracked up to be, GD’s days will be numbered for me anyway.


I feel the need…

My ISP, Virgin Media, have just upgraded my internet line to “Up to” 100 Mbps.

Well downstream certainly seems quicker. I’ve done a few speed tests but as “any fule no” those results are no more than an indication of the speed achieved. I’ll live with it for a while & report back, dear reader.


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