Is Time Machine also dead?

Apple is discontinuing their wireless routers

Last week as I was writing a list of things that sucked in 2016 (which I didn’t finish / publish) I came across three products Apple doesn’t seem to particularly care about: Wireless routers, Headless Desktops, and the Server app, with depressing implications for Desktops +

These days you’d be a fool to use most of the stuff in that are just easy buttons for LAMP stack and other stuff that really should be done on a Unix box that won’t break everything when minor updates occur, but there are three things that can only be done with (on preferably a desktop Mac).

  • NetInstall (Manage macOS machine imaging)
  • Xcode Server (offshore building and testing)
  • Time Machine Server

The point of Time Machine Server as far as I understand it is to enable Time Machine backups over the network to a destination attached to the Mac doing the hosting – a Rich Man’s enterprise ready Time Capsule. By tying backups to network access you’re pretty much guaranteeing them to happen. Plugging in an external USB HDD for backups for laptop users in my experience just doesn’t happen, or it only happens when the system nags them to until they turn it off because it was either annoying or Time Machine got full and couldn’t figure out how to free up its unneeded versions of crap.

The versioning aspect of Time Machine that was supposed to make it better than other backups ends up making it worse because it caused drives to fill up and backups to stop instead of purging earlier copies. It was seriously possible for a Mac with a 256GB SSD to fill up a 1TB Time Machine volume if their daily workflow included “Pro” stuff like dealing with RAW, video, or virtual machines (Pro Tip: don’t back up your VM’s VMDK – store your files outside the VM with network sharing to your Mac). With that Time Machine adding 40GB of versions daily after 20 days there’s 800GB of just versions on that volume + the 200GB base backup and it’s “Full” because it’s not day 30 yet so it can’t start deleting old versions.

Of course, I don’t trust Time Machine (It’s only one of my backups along with BackBlaze) but the stupid simplicity of it made allegedly sufficient the non-IT inclined family members who make you troubleshoot various things while you’re trying to get drunk on Christmas Day. Without the Time Capsule or do-it-yourelf Time Capsule (Extreme + BYO USB HDD) however we’re back to relying on people to DO their backups. It’s not automatic if they have to plug something in to do it. $5/mo for Backblaze is just as hard a pill to swallow as whatever the crap iClouds awful prices are and iCloud documents are also scary, but apparently that’s the future here. Sigh.

Apple assuredly has the metrics to justify their decision. People don’t buy routers period. They use the awful one their ISP provides and don’t even change the default settings – certainly not to do anything that would make the info on the sticker inaccurate! It’s also true that the “good mesh network” market belongs to Eero. There’s no good reason for Apple to be in this market anymore, even though they basically started it.