Time Capture

When I lost WiFi throughout the house the other day, I got right on the problem. Fortunately, I have a very expensive tool made by Fluke for diagnosing this sort of device. You just attach to the front of the router and after about ten minutes of automated analysis, it’ll tell you with greater than 90% accuracy whether or not the Time Capsule’s power light is lit.

I then moved on to Step Two. After licking the wall outlet and regaining consciousness, I had a definitive answer: the Time Capsule’s power supply was shot.

The good news: my Time Capsule’s serial number is in that group of Time Capsules with known power supply issues. I’ll take it to my local Apple Store; there’s a seriously nonzero chance that they’ll just swap me a new unit.

The bad news: it’s a backup device, for cripes’ sake. I can’t let someone take away a hard drive containing backups of both Lilith and my desktop.

The worst news: the only way to address that is to crack it open — step one is “heat up the rubber base to soften the adhesive, and then gently peel it away, being careful not to tear the rubber, to expose the screws” — extract the drive, and put it in a drive dock.

Done and done.

Then I got to the third time-sink: this Time Capsule has a couple of very old backups. It even has a complete backup of Lilith 8, from early 2008. I wasted a whole hour looking at old pictures. It was exactly like when it gets warm enough that you need to get your light jacket out of the basement closet, but before you can reach it, you come across a box of pictures from ten years ago that you’d completely forgotten about. The next thing you know, you’re getting a text message from someone whom you were supposed to meet for dinner about 45 minutes ago.

Which leaves me at the fourth time-sink: backing up the backups.

(I know.)

I’m pretty sure I already have backups of this data somewhere but I’m very sure that I have this 2 terabyte hard drive that’s sitting here completely empty. And how long would it take for me to hook it up and start the backup process?

No, seriously. I’ve no idea. The drive dock is FireWire 800 but the backup target is USB 2.

(Ihnatko gets up, walks back into office, checks the progress bar)

Okay, yeah: it ought to be all wrapped up by not much later than midnight.

Oh, well.

I shouldn’t be surprised. The whole point of a time capsule is that you fill it with stuff without any real expectation that you’ll still be alive when the contents see the light of day again.

8 thoughts on “Time Capture”

  1. Andy, just between you and me, tell me, was that whole story imagineered just to deliver that last punchline?

    Brilliant.

  2. It’s funny because it’s true. Once again you have touched on an example of my life being lived out through you.

  3. The best laughs come from real life! Thanks for the Friday afternoon laugh. I will never look at my Fluke the same way again. hehehe.

  4. I had this happen to me recently, and they did replace it without incident. However, I did not have the energy or ability to open it up and take my data off, and instead simply questioned them about how they would erase it. Apple promised that the first thing that happens is that it gets erased when it gets wherever they send it. It’s not a great answer (much better if they could just erase it in front of me), but I accepted it. I did, of course, lose the data on it, but all I really lost is the stuff I had deleted off my hard drive that it had saved. I had other backups of my current system.

    It did make me wonder if, convenient as this is, it wouldn’t be better to have a separate disk for my time machine backups, rather than the time capsule.

  5. After seeing reports of time capsule problems, I went with a airport extreme instead and attached a pn external hard drive to that via it’s USB port. That way I can swap out the hard drive and have two time capsule back ups. Crazy, I know. Still waiting for a cheaper cloud backup, like 500GB for $10 a year.

  6. This is why I returned my Time Capsule an hour after buying it, and got an Airport Extreme + USB drive(s) instead.

  7. Brilliant..! I don’t have that Fluke product, but I’ve got other bits of kit like it in my basement.
    And now I’ve checked and my Time Capsule and found it’s in that range, I know it’s only going to be a matter of time before I have the same experience. Time to find a big drive to back up the backup…

  8. Even before you got to time-sink #1, I was thinking, “well, this sounds like a day down the drain.” To quote Lisa Simpson, Time Capsule was never more than ‘meh…m-e-h…meh’ to me. I will try licking the wall outlet, though. Thanks for the suggestion; sounds like fun!

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