Archive for November 6, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Arq 3.0

My favorite backup program has added support for Amazon Glacier. This is exciting news, as S3 is great for backups of my frequently changing files, but I want to use the less expensive Glacier to archive large quantities of mostly static files.

With Arq 3, when you choose a folder to back up you can select whether to use S3 or Glacier. The two services can have different backup schedules. Unlike with S3, Arq does not let you set a target budget for Glacier, however it does help calculate the Glacier retrieval costs and set the restoration transfer rate to maximize speed or minimize cost. Since it takes hours to retrieve files from Glacier, Arq stores the bookkeeping for the Glacier data on S3.

In my opinion, Arq is one of the best new apps of the last few years (along with Tower and Hibari). That said, due to some unfortunate interface design, I haven’t actually been able to get Arq to use Glacier yet. Each folder must be set to use either S3 or Glacier, and Arq prevents me from creating two folders that overlap. So, for example, I currently have my Photos folder backing up to S3, with all but the last few months excluded. I would like to back up the entire folder to Glacier, but Arq won’t let me create another entry for it.

Mac Freezes Waking From Screen Saver

Since updating to Mountain Lion, or perhaps later versions of Lion, I’ve seen a bug where the Mac freezes when coming out of the screen saver. There’s no way to unlock the screen. It has not actually kernel panicked, as applications continue to run and I can ssh in, however the Mac is essentially unusable until it’s been shut down—via ssh, as that’s a bit cleaner than using the power button. This problem didn’t occur every time I used the screen saver, but at its peak it was happening nearly once a day.

I tried different screen savers, but that didn’t help. What did help was disabling the screen saver entirely (setting it to “Start after: Never”) and instead using Energy Saver’s “Display sleep” setting to lock the screen. (I had been using this before, but with Energy Saver set to kick in after a longer delay than the screen saver.) Using these settings for nearly a month, the problem has not recurred.

However, I’m still seeing various display waking problems that have been happening since Lion. Sometimes both screens remain blank (but with the backlight on) until after I’ve entered my password and pressed Return. Other times, the internal display wakes but the external one doesn’t. In that situation, the workaround is to unplug and replug the display. The window positions get all messed up, then Moom fixes them automatically.

All of this is to say that I still think that 10.6.8 was the pinnacle of Mac OS X reliability.