Time Machine Saved My Bacon.

Quite a while ago, I wrote an article for Make Magazine Volume 08 on restoring pinball machines.

When writing the article, my first draft was a much more general (and quite a bit too long) guide to finding, buying and restoring pinball machines. The fine editors at Make wanted something more specific to the machine I was restoring and, thus, I rewrote the article.

Of course, I rewrote the article and was intending to hit “save as” when I hit “save” instead.


I also mis-remembered having sent the original Pages document when I submitted the article. To make matters worse, I continued working on the article off/on for more than a week before I realized that I really did want to preserve the original version and I didn’t have a copy in email.

Double-oops. Crap.

Oh, wait. Time Machine! Yes — I had been using an early version of Time Machine and– thus– was able to quickly traverse back to before I had overwritten the article, even though I had made several backups since destroying the data.

In other words, Time Machine doesn’t just make the latest backup dataset available. It makes all previous backup snapshots available and easily accessible, too!

And that, to me, is the real value of Time Machine.

8 Responses to “Time Machine Saved My Bacon.”

  1. corbin says:

    Wow! Time Machine also saved me. During the development of Leopard (about 1 year ago), the hard drive on my home PowerBook started going south. Eventually, I kept getting kernel panics to the point of it no longer booting! Well, luckily I had a (fairly fresh) backup thanks to Time Machine, and I just restored over to my new MacBook Pro with no problems!

  2. sponge bob says:

    I have some troubles to believe this story about an early time machine backup…

    While I can’t disclose why because of NDA on Leopard seeds, I’m wondering whether this is the start of a new season of marketing bullshits (first season was broadcasted on developer.apple.com and was titled “Xcode 1.0 is great, use it!”) or it’s just the contents of release notes that was bullshit.

  3. bbum says:

    No bullshit here, rude boy.

    On this weblog,I don’t shill for Apple or anyone else. This is my weblog, my voice, and my words.

    I certainly choose not to write some stuff because my employment would make doing so uncomfortable or inappropriate, but I have never and will never shill for anyone’s products.

    I’m perfectly happy writing a glowing and enthusiastic review for a product — regardless of manufacturer — but only if I believe it and/or know it to be true.. And I’m certainly quite happy to have free stuff sent to me so I can post reviews in this particular forum, but sender beware that it’ll only be positive if I like the stuff.

    I know Corbin, too, and he ain’t no shill either.

    Time Machine saved my ass. Period.

  4. sponge bob says:

    Well, it’s not that I believe that Time Machine does not work or I don’t trust you, it’s just that I’m skeptical about the earliness of the backup. Considering that previous Time Machine backups were supposedly unrecoverable between 2 early versions.

    I’m used not to trust release notes when they say that something is fixed but now if one can’t even trust them when they state something is not working…

  5. bbum says:

    Lots of time elapses between seeds. Even if Time Machine’s format changed between two versions, there were long periods where it was stable.

  6. corbin says:

    Yup, as Bill said, there is no bs; time machine really saved me! I actually have the bug reports to prove it. My home PPC PowerBook (which I lug back and forth from home and work) had been making quite a bit of hard drive noise for a while.

    Eventually, I started to get kernel panics (back in February 2007 — I found the emails), and so I logged bugs (heck, Leopard was in beta, and panics do happen). I didn’t even read the panic titles, which were: “..IOATABlockStorageDriverV2.cpp:2302 “ATA Device recovery failed\n”.

    Our panic debug team replied back “The message says it all. Your drive is dying. A trip to OnSite is in your near future.” (OnSite is our on site hardware repair guys).

    Luckily, I had been playing with Time Machine and backing my home directory. I hadn’t run the backup for about a week, but I wasn’t using that machine too much at that time. So, I bought a new Mac Book Pro, and installed the internal Leopard build. This was before we had the “restore from time machine backup” option, so I simply “dittoed” over everything from my backup drive (the way Time Machine creates sym links made this simple). It worked GREAT, and it saved my ass. I still have my failed hard drive (now replaced with a new hard drive). There is no bs here, and I was probably one of the first people to really be saved by Time Machine.

  7. Michael David says:

    The hard drive on my Macbook Pro (17″ 2.5Ghz) went boom without any warning. It was one week before the warranty period was up. I took it to the Apple store and they replaced the drive the same day (pre-loaded with Leopard). I got home and hooked up my external with the Time Machine backup. I kept getting errors just seconds into restoring. I looked closely and found that the “anon” account was causing it to crash out. I unclicked on the anon account and away she went. It took about an hour and a half (I have years and years of emails and so forth from previous Macs I’ve owned), but when it booted up the icons were right where I left them on the DESKTOP. A-w-e-s-o-m-e.

    #1 What other computer company would replace a drive under warranty the SAME day?
    #2 What other computer company has a back-up system built-in to the system and does such an excellent job of “making” you use it, and making it simple.
    #3 What other system would so seamlessly and excellently rebuild your system so that you cannot even tell you just replaced your hard drive?

    Bottom line, Apple ROCKS. I have news for you bbum, I’m no shill either, but what you are going to find is that Apple users are *fiercely* loyal. We love all things Apple and a lot of times people think we are company plants. Wrong. Sorry. What we are is incredibly loyal to a company that has treated us well and has done an EXCELLENT job over decades now of providing the best hardware and software that every other company shamelessly rips off (badly).

    I own two PCs and have owned them since the first IBM PC came out. NO PC company rivals the quality, innovation, service and value for your money that Apple does. NO PC company would have the hard drive in a laptop replaced – same day – preloaded with the system software. NO way.

    As far as I’m concerned, Apple can do NO wrong. They don’t need company shills, because their average customer bleeds Apple colors and has nothing but good things to say about the company.

  8. Michael David says:

    Oops, that tome was directed to Sponge Bob, not bbum. So, that’s for you Sponge Head!

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