Posts Tagged ‘time machine’

State of the Mac early 2019

I landed in London sometime in January 2019, and made an appointment at the Regent Street Apple Store the same morning for that afternoon at 1pm. This is apparently a very rare thing, because Apple Store appointments are usually full up weeks in advance.

The reason was simple: my 2016 15” retina MacBook Pro was starting to wobble at the base and the battery indicator did say it was time for a service. This battery for what it is worth has only done under 200 cycles, so it did seem odd. The wobbling suggested that the battery possibly had expanded, and this was also affecting my use of of some keys — notably the left shift key, and on the right side the ? Key (it would many times skip giving me ? But instead give me /).

I arrived for my Apple Store appointment a little early and was told that I could only check in at 12:50pm. Fair enough, I would just wait it out at the store. The Genius Bar was packed full. I was finally told to take a seat upon checking in and a genius would be with me shortly.

I met a friendly genius, who told me that it is likely the battery expanded and they would have to change the whole top cover as this was all integrated, meaning I would also get a new keyboard. Then he said that I would need to typically leave it there for up to 7 days, but since I was travelling all around, they would try to do it within 24 hours. 

As luck would have it, they did not have the parts available in store, and then checked stock to see that Covent Garden had 2 units. Upon calling, they would take 2 weeks (yes, a whole 14 days) to fix it. This was unacceptable. The genius wrote up a report about how they were willing to do it at Regent Street and how this was odd that Covent Garden would not in a timely fashion; he also encouraged me to get this fixed ASAP as it was not a good idea to continue using said laptop. This is great news to hear when travelling, clearly.

So it is clear: Apple laptops are still not made for Enterprise use. Fast forward a couple of weeks later and I order a Mac Mini to my home in Malaysia. I figure it is a computer I have wanted to get for sometime and I would use a desktop for the one week or so that I would be in town.

I make a Time Machine backup of my MacBook Pro, and restore it to my 12” MacBook (2016) that I have not sold from a previous engagement. The restore takes many hours, and when it is finally done, the one thing that I consider quite important — Mail — is not fully migrated. All the local folders are not converting, and maybe this is a Mojave bug (I was coming from High Sierra). So I am thankful to start exporting Mail in the MBOX format. In addition, Chrome seemed to be missing all the plugins that I had installed, so this was further manual work.

This leads me to believe that when I do setup the Mac Mini and also when the MacBook Pro comes back from a service, I will set it up fresh (or hopefully, the MacBook Pro just needs an update, and the data remains intact; this is apparently true according to the genius — nowadays Apple does not even ask for your password any longer). After all, I do have iCloud sync turned on (so Keychain is synced), Dropbox seems to be doing more work than expected, and passwords are managed in 1Password. I’ll have to sync my Mail manually, which seems like some bandwidth will be used, but that seems fine. But maybe I won’t be needing all the applications that I have. And what about my home directory? (The Linux advantage is just moving your home directory; I am uncertain if this is true with macOS as I have always relied on Time Machine).

Today I visited the service centre. I’m told that it would be there possibly for the 7 day period, so I may be able to get it back next Saturday. If this were my only Mac, I would be out of commission for a whole work week. If I had purchased a Dell or a Lenovo, I would have all this fixed by the next business day. Alas, I am still “locked into” macOS.

Initial Mojave thoughts? Kind of silly that when I fire up Terminal I can’t even do a ls in ~/Library/Mail unless I give Terminal all disk access. What a mess, all this lockdown is, if you ask me. 

I’ll hope to have a positive update later this week. The Mac Mini I ordered only comes with 8GB of RAM, since the Apple uplift for 2 16GB sticks (32GB of RAM) would have added RM2,640. I asked the Apple Service Centre how much it would cost, and they too said about RM2,000 since they have to order it from Apple (at first they said it could not even be upgraded!). I’ll go the after-market route, where each stick is only RM490, so getting it all for RM980 seems like a better choice. I’m going to guess that the Mac Mini 2018 model isn’t selling all too well in Malaysia, judging by many saying they haven’t upgraded it yet…

Time Machine making mount_hfs & syslogd use CPU resources

Time Machine decided to misbehave. I’m still running OS X 10.7.5. 

mount_hfs & syslogd were consuming close to 100% CPU time (on this machine with 2 cores), so it was clearly grinding the system to a halt. I couldn’t kill the mount_hfs process (kill -9), but I could kill syslogd though it would repeatedly restart.

Problem was only solved via power cycling. There was advice from Macworld titled: One fix for a runaway syslogd process, but nothing from that was useful.

Root cause seems to be another external disk going wonky. Yes, I’ve seen 2 disks die being Time Machine backups in a span of what, 3.5 years? Worrying trend. 


root 30064 88.0 0.0 2434804 776 ?? R 10:40am 2:45.62 /sbin/mount_hfs -u 99 -g 99 -m 755 -o nodev -o noowners -o nosuid -o owners /dev/disk1s2 /Volumes/Expansion Drive

Incremental backup that uses MySQL

A while back, Ted Ts’o asked for a incremental backup solution that used a database. It reminded me of the talk at the 2009 MySQL Conference & Expo, titled Build your own MySQL time machine.

Chuck and Mats will talk about the backup and replication code, and will show off a web interface, that allows you to go back in time, similar to Apple’s Time Machine in Mac OS X. Its a talk that I most certainly want to attend, as an avid Time Machine user.


Register for the MySQL Conference & Expo 2009 before February 16, and you’ll get an early bird discount (saving $200). April 20-23 2009 will be a rocking few days, see you there.

Fixing Time Machine: Backup failed with error: 11

Got the dreaded “Backup failed with error: 11” with Time Machine. Actually, I only got the dreaded message from the Console – the application itself, just kept failing silently with no suggestions (Apple, this is your cue to make Time Machine a little more useful). Nothing in Apple’s knowledgebase. Nothing seemingly useful come up in a Google search (i.e. something conclusive)

Solution? Delete:

/Time Machine Backups/Backups.backupdb/nameOfComputer/date.inProgress

It’ll ask for your password, and be gone with the file. Now the backups should start working again.

An example of what the Console showed:


13/08/2008 12:51:57 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[4946] Error: (-43) copying /Users/byte/Library/Application Support/Adium 2.0/Users/Default/Logs/AIM.bytebotdotnet to /Volumes/Time Machine Backups/Backups.backupdb/lovegood/2008-08-13-125154.inProgress/424A6617-37A5-4C20-8845-764D9167E317/Macintosh HD/Users/byte/Library/Application Support/Adium 2.0/Users/Default/Logs
13/08/2008 12:51:57 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[4946] Copied 702 files (169 KB) from volume Macintosh HD.
13/08/2008 12:51:57 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[4946] Copy stage failed with error:11
13/08/2008 12:52:03 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[4946] Backup failed with error: 11
13/08/2008 12:55:31 com.apple.launchd[73] (0x10dbd0.Locum[4961]) Exited: Terminated


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