Wired or Wireless Time Machine Backup to Hard Disk Connected to Another Mac on Your Local Network

Ever since I decided to start using Time Machine it has been bugging me that I could not figure out how to back up my my iMac to an attached FireWire HDD and my PowerBook to the the same HDD over the Network. Of course I could buy TimeCapsule, but I wanted to make it work with what I had. You can find tips to active an attached HDD on an Airport Extreme or other network location (e.g., here, or here), but I was not interested in that. Also, there are some solutions out there for using Leopard Server (e.g., here, )

The solution presented below requires just one one desktop Mac with an external HDD (I use firewire, but I would expect USB to work as well), one Mac laptop, and any local wireless network (I use my ATT U-verse modem/router). I learnt that I wanted to do is possible from this Macworld article, alas, it does not give detailed instructions. read on to find out how it works.

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Prevent Time Machine Backups of Podcasts

If you don’t want to fill-up your Time Machine backup with dayly or weekly news podcastsm they can easily be excluded.


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Prevent Time Machine Backups of iTunes Movie Rentals

Leopard’s Time Machine has an option to exclude certain folders from being backed-up. iTunes movie rentals which usually weigh in with greater than 1 GB are a prime example for what should not be backed-up. Unfortunately, movie rentals are stored in iTunes’ Movie folder–along with all your other movies that you may have purchased, or made yourself. So what to do?

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Setting up Octave and Gnuplot on OSX

Good instructions are here.

Uses for the USB port of Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express

This is something I always wondered about. This Apple Support article explains very detailedly what works and what doesn’t.

PDF OCR Batch-processing with ScanSnap

The ScanSnap S1500M (but also the S1500 as well as the earlier models S510 and S510M) comes with ABBYY FineReader for OCR support. This is great for creating searchable PDFs. Especially handy on a Mac with Spotlight. The problem is that in the default setup, each scan is OCRed right after the scan and depending on the age your machine (my G5 is getting a little long in the tooth) in can take quite a while. When you’re in the process of scanning many hundred’s of pages of paper documents, you don’t want to have to wait for the computer to do it’s OCR recognition, you’d rather feed it all the documents and let it do OCR while you’re doing something else. Continue reading

Replacing An Old Honeywell/Crane Mercury Thermostat

Mine has this model number T86A7X103BD2. This blog post, describes a similar model and the instructions worked for me. In my case, the cables were actually red and blue which made it easier to connect them.

Driving on the Autobahn

An excellent summary and explanation of driving rules and regulations on the German Autobahn (found here).

“The Sound Makes the Music”

Huh? This is an attempt to translate a German expression: “Der Ton macht die Musik”, meaning that it not only matters what you say, but how you say it. This NPR piece is just about that, namely, how language in Washington has changed recently to make uncomfortable topics sound more pleasing and less confrontational.

Optimal Human Group Size

I like to keep an eye on the Schneier on Security Blog. Usually there’s some interesting information. While the post I am commenting on here does not seem like a natural security topic — it rather seems the security aspect was forced on it — it is a very interesting post simply for its theory about optimal human group sizes for various scenarios and social situations. While I am certainly no expert on this, the numbers given sound very reasonable and correct based on personal experience. Continue reading