On Saturday night I went to pick my daughter up after her works do.

I arrived at the hotel venue just before pumpkin time, parking discreetly slightly back from the reception entrance/exit where a few revellers were mincing about. Then, shortly after midnight, the noise from the disco ceased abruptly. Chucking out time! Small groups of partygoers started leaving and cabs started arriving.

So there I was, sitting there contentedly waiting for my daughter to appear, when a slightly inebreated chap, accompanied by his girlfriend tottering on very high heels, approached my vehicle. He tapped on the front passenger window. I thought, he’ll realise his error shortly, I’ll ignore him. ¬†He rapped on the window again so I gave him¬†what I call my¬†dismissive wave. By this time his girlfriend had made it to the rear door and they both started trying the door handles but were unable to open the doors¬†(my doors lock automatically when I drive off so they were still locked). They both seemed perplexed by this development and tried the doors again. They’d obviously not read the memo about not getting into unknown cars.¬†So I opened the passenger window an inch and engaged them in conversation.


This is a taxi

Me: “I’m not a cab.”

Bloke: “Uh?”

Me: “I’m not a cab. Or a taxi.”

Bloke: “You’re not a cab then?”

(Bear in mind he’s trying to get into a muddy Freelander)


This is not a taxi. You can see how they’d get confused.

Me: “No. I’m waiting for someone.”

Bloke: “Who you waiting for then?”

Me (still trying to be polite): “That’s none of your business.”

Bloke: “Uh, ok.”

Girl: “He not a cab then?”

Bloke: “No, he’s not a cab.”

After a minute or so of just standing there looking bemused,¬†they wandered off. Luckily, at that moment my daughter arrived so I unlocked the doors, she hopped in and I drove off before any more drunks tried to join us. You can’t make this stuff up!


Caching Etiquette

Whilst working my way round the Chiltern Hundreds I DNFd a few caches. I bookmarked those caches to a “DNF” list which has a watch on it. That way I can keep tabs on future visits, I get notified when (or if) subsequent cachers find them. There are a few which have lots of DNF logs on them so imagine my surprise when someone logged a “found”. In a couple of cases this cacher found the cache the same day I failed to find it.

Or did they?

When I looked at the logs I found that although they were marked as “Found”, the cacher had left notes on their logs such as¬†“No luck here”¬†and¬†“This one has gone“.

So, either

(a) they are inexperienced at logging DNFs, i.e. an honest mistake but¬†look,¬†it’s not really that difficult:

not difficult is it


(b) they are claiming the find anyway, perhaps reasoning that they looked hard enough in the correct place and they would have found it if it had been there.

Oh well, rant over. ūüėČ If they want to cheat they are, to coin a phrase, only cheating themselves.

Personally, I have always thought that the correct etiquette was “No signy, no findy”.

Microsoft Certification

I expect you’ve seen the news item about the five year old passing his Microsoft Certified Professional exam. Seems to me that’s similar to those “gifted” children who pass their A-Levels before they can walk.

Back in the day I worked in IT support and have been subjected to years of working with Microsoft products. I think this qualifies me to observe that:

  1. There is no substitute for experience
  2. I wouldn’t let anyone with only¬†a Microsoft qualification anywhere near my server room.





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.

Haters and stupid people

Plenty of words (and videos) have already been written about a certain new smartphone. It seems that some people have managed to bend theirs by sitting down for long periods with the smartphone in their trouser pockets. Others have found it necessary to forcibly bend the smartphone and video said activity.

Now, I am no expert on the human mind but it does appear that these people would have¬†to be extremely stupid to do either of the above. After all, nobody has yet managed to manufacture anything from “Indestructium”.

Suppose I deliberately drove my brand new Bentley* off a cliff. Shocked and surprised at the resultant damage, I could hardy complain to the Bentley Motor Company that their product had a design flaw.

Oh well, that’s quite enough wasted on that topic. Just needed to say something, that’s all. ūüôā

* For illustrative purposes only. I simply picked a prestigious vehicle at random, I don’t actually own a Bentley.

Minor works

We’ve acquired a piece of furniture from my Mother-in-law who is moving house shortly and has, consequently, ¬†a surplus of furniture.

Not my Mother in Law

It’s a nice storage unit which my wife decided would be good in our den. I use the term “den” in the loosest possible sense,¬†but I think it suffices as a short description of the room’s¬†various functions in our household.

Too much?

Anyway, the idea was that this “new” piece of furniture would replace a six-drawer storage unit which we have wanted to get rid of for some time. The swap was, on the face of it, a simple ¬Ĺ hour job. Except that we decided to move the desk to where the storage unit was and put the storage where the desk was. Which meant the power cables to the LAN hardware had to be relocated. Which meant getting the drill out to hang a power point on the wall. And vacuuming up the brick dust… <sigh>. At least moving the printer was a breeze – it has a wireless LAN connection.

After all that, it was time to sort through all the old stuff, deciding what I could chuck out. I dug out some of the old software CDs and binned them (I’ve kept a copy of XP for old times’ sake) but I have yet to tackle the dreaded cable drawer.


Think I’ll leave that ’till tomorrow.


There’s been a disturbance in the (Apple) force recently, due to Apple’s current Ad which seems to go against everything they’ve stood for in the past. Namely, giving owners “permission” to decorate their Apple products. For some, it seems a¬†sacrilege to adorn one’s¬†Mac with stickers, now here is Apple¬†acknowledging that people like to personalise their Macs.

I love my MacBook Air, it’s my favourite bit of Apple kit after my iPhone. I like its clean lines, the unadulterated curve of the aluminium and would never adorn it with a sticker or (worse) a neon wrap. Still, plenty of people do. It’s a free country.

I just wonder if Steve Jobs is turning in his grave.


Too many rules

Or rather, too many petty rules. I’m talking about F1.¬†Put all 4 wheels over the white line, qualifying lap disallowed. Do that in the race and get a drive through penalty. Overshoot your grid place but don’t gain a race advantage and get a 5 second stop/go . Defend your position more than once¬†– get reported to the Stewards. Touch wheels on a corner, is that a racing incident or do the Stewards need to investigate it? And so it goes. Whatever happened to RACING?

As you may discern from the above I am just a bit disenchanted with the current tame version of F1.

I’ve been following F1 for a long time. Long before the Union-Jack-T-shirt-wearing-Sun-readers started their Mansell fever. Graham Hill was driving for Gold Leaf Team Lotus. It was a long time ago. So, since then I’ve seen lots of¬†changes, some of them not for the better. Back then the old hands would bemoan the loss of real racing, now I find myself doing the same. Oh bugger.