Archive for April 29, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why I Prefer CrashPlan for Online Backups

Joe Kissell:

CrashPlan developer Code 42 publicly stated a few years ago that a native Mac app was in the works, but for some reason it has so far failed to materialize. Instead—perhaps as an interim measure while the native app is being perfected—CrashPlan now bundles its own copy of Java. That means you can run CrashPlan on your Mac without having to download Oracle’s Java—it behaves just like a stand-alone app. More importantly, CrashPlan’s built-in version of Java is self-contained, inaccessible to other Java apps and to websites, which are where most Java security exploits originate. And it doesn’t include the adware.


First, [Backblaze] file restoration drives me nuts. You log in to your account on the Backblaze website and select the file(s) you want to restore, and what you get back is a Zip file containing those files—in a replica of their original folder structure. So, if you restore a single file that was stored 10 levels deep in a series of nested folders, your expanded Zip file will be a series of 10 nested folders with your file inside the last one. After digging down to it, you’ll have to drag it manually to the corresponding spot on your disk. That’s a minor inconvenience for one file, but a huge hassle if you’re restoring lots of files from different locations.

By contrast, the CrashPlan app gives you the option to restore any file to its original location—either overwriting or renaming any file of the same name. Which is exactly what I want, 90 percent of the time. Or, if you prefer, you can restore files to your Desktop or any other arbitrary folder.


Unfortunately, although Carbonite is pretty good on Windows, the Mac version lacks a number of features I consider essential, including versioning (storing old versions of backed-up files after the original changes).

Software, Psychedelics, and the Origins of OS X & iOS

Andrew C. Stone (via Bill Bumgarner):

Today I’m going to share with you stories of the people and events that helped create the World of Today and talk freely about the influences and the coming of age stories affecting the kids born in the mid-1950’s (Like Steve, Bill Gates, me & probably many of you).


NeXTStep had become OpenStep, then Mac OS X and now iOS - something almost unheard of in software engineering, something magical - a technology not only survives 25 years but thrives and evolves and the NeXT community gets to use it’s sharply honed ObjectiveC and XCode skills.

There was a grand feeling of having chosen the underdog’s underdog and being part of a small group of people that led the stray puppy home, and then being part of the next 18 years when this underdog becomes the world’s most profitable corporation and replaced the mighty Ma Bell AT&T on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Being an underdog sort of person, I can see after almost 30 years, 30 applications and apps, my job is done here.

Removing Unmaintained Apps from the App Store

Gavin Hope:

Here’s why I don’t want an unmaintained app in the App Store:

  • It goes again my values. I value good software and I try to make good software. Leaving apps around that I have no intention of improving feels wrong.
  • It’s not good for the customer. Allowing someone to invest time and/or money into software that’s been written off seems unfair; I like the software that I use to be kept up to date, bugs fixed and improvements made.
  • It looks bad. Out of date apps don’t reflect well on the other things I’m developing. They can suggest poor decisions, habits and practices. They make the overall portfolio look disjointed and messy.

I recently discovered that Gameloft’s The Oregon Trail (App Store) has been abandoned. I purchased it when it was released for $6. 65,652 ratings later, it’s still for sale at $5 with this too-subtle disclaimer in the description:

We are aware of an issue that might prevent the game from running properly on iOS 7 or iOS 8. We apologize for any current inconvenience this may cause.

It turns out that it doesn’t launch at all on iOS 8 or even iOS 7. So it’s been broken for a long time. It’s apparently abandoned because the last update was in 2011. When I reported the problem to Gameloft, they said:

Unfortunately, The Oregon Trail has not been optimized for new Apple devices, that is why you may experience problems of this kind.

We suggest the following solution:

  • delete The Oregon Trail
  • install The Oregon Trail: American Settler Free+

The “solution” is to install a completely different game (App Store). Or, I guess, you could play the free JavaScript version, although that doesn’t work on my iPhone.