Archive for November 12, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Retrospect 10 and Instant Scan

Adam C. Engst:

A year after returning to private ownership after suffering under a series of uninterested corporate owners, Retrospect Inc. has simultaneously released Retrospect 10 for Mac and Retrospect 8 for Windows.

The Retrospect FAQ:

Instant Scan runs as a background process on Retrospect servers and clients to maintain a list of all the files and folders present on HFS+ (Mac) and NTFS (Windows) volumes. It uses FSEvents on OS X and the USN change journal on Windows to keep track of new, changed, moved, and deleted files. When it’s time for a backup or a restore, Retrospect gets the file listing from Instant Scan, instead of needing to scan each volume, as it did in previous versions.

Synk’s Live Sync (formerly ZeroScan) and Time Machine also use FSEvents. I’m not very fond of this approach, as it introduces an additional point of failure. Indeed, one of the FAQs is about how to rebuild the scan file if you think it’s corrupted; another is about how a file added 30 minutes ago might not be included in the current backup.

Instant Scan lets the Retrospect server back up more clients in a specified amount of time. However, to me it seems that the bottleneck is not the slow client scanning but the fact that the server only backs up one client at once. (At least, that’s how it worked the last time I used the product.) My guess is that backup throughput would be much higher if the server could let multiple clients do their slow scans simultaneously rather than have clients “instant” scan one-by-one.

Colors in “Paper”

Chris Dannen:

In the new version of Paper released last week, you mix colors with your fingers, like it’s paint—only somehow more beautiful. This one magical feature burned a year of development time, resurrected the work of two dead German scientists, and got Apple’s attention.

Peter Morovič:

To model colorant mixing you need to use subtractive color models. Adding a blue paint and a yellow paint together result in a paint that subtracts light in both the areas that the individual paints subtract in and relate to their concentrations and relative proportions—an over-simplification but conceptually true. None of the color representations referred to in the article (RGB, HVS, LAB, LUV, …) are subtractive, which is why the “yellow plus blue don’t give me green” issue arises—linearly mixing RGBs was never going to work as it’s not meant to :) Even taking a simple CMYK (e.g. a standard one like ISO Coated v2) space would have already solved this one issue alone…

Snow Leopard Hanging Around

Gregg Keizer:

For all its gains since then, however, Mountain Lion has not kept pace with the uptake trajectory of Apple’s last two editions, OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, and OS X 10.7, better known as Lion.

Mountain Lion adoption has been quick for my customers, with slightly more than 50% of SpamSieve users now running 10.8. (25% are on 10.7, 19% are on 10.6, and less than 4% are on 10.5.)

Mountain Lion’s gains were again more at the expense of Lion than Snow Leopard, although the gap narrowed in October.


Snow Leopard has lost more than half its share of all Macs since Lion’s appearance over a year ago, but so far it has been resistant to Mountain Lion’s call to upgrade. In each of the last two months, for example, Snow Leopard’s losses were less than its 12-month average.

The chart of the Net Applications data is striking. It’s also interesting that a higher percentage of Macs are running Snow Leopard now than were when Snow Leopard was as old as Mountain Lion currently is. I’m not sure what’s behind this, although people seemed to agree last week when I noted Snow Leopard’s reliability.

Andrew Singer, RIP

Rich Siegel:

The THINK products helped define the Mac software ecosystem in the 1980s, and I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that the THINK products, and Andrew’s influence, made the Mac software industry successful at a crucial time. There’s a great writeup here (thanks to Philip for the link) about Macintosh Pascal and THINK Pascal and their effect on how Mac software was developed.

Update (2012-11-12): Clark Goble:

It’s hard to explain just how big a difference Think C was. There were many programming languages for the Mac but it honestly was shocking how poor Apple’s own tools were. For several years you basically had to buy a Lisa just to write Mac programs. I tried several languages but it was really when Lightspeed C got me that I think I finally started writing real programs and not just small hacks.