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Build Your Own Time Capsule Work-Alike For $200

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the stash-stuff-here dept.

Data Storage 208

An anonymous reader writes "If you're a Windows or Linux user, or simply an Apple user that can't justify the $500 price tag on those beautiful 3TB Time Capsules, why not build your own? With a wireless router, an external USB hard drive, and a little bit of setting up, you can make your own wireless, network-attached backup device for around $200."

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Justification? (0)

lostmagik (776421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764770)

I am all for hackerish solutions, trust me. But perhaps the justification lies in warranty users have on backups. Devils advocate over here, I think this is great! will try it tonight.. good idea.

Justification for Dead Baby Jokes? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36764898)

What's black and bubbly and taps on glass? A dead baby in the microwave.

What's black and bubbly and taps on glass every few seconds? A dead baby in a turntable microwave.

What's the only thing worse than a dead baby in a garbage can? Ten dead babies in a garbage can. What's even worse than ten dead babies in a garbage can? One dead baby in ten garbage cans.

What's worse than a big pile of dead babies stacked almost to the ceiling? The live one at the bottom trying to eat its way out.

How do you get 50 dead babies in a phone booth? With a blender. How do you get them back out? With a straw.

Re:Justification? (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764948)

Try this, instead:

http://www.amahi.org/ [amahi.org]

Amahi is a Linux appliance that will run on plug computers or nettops. It rocks for these applications. Like Timecapsule on steroids - cos you can add media streaming servers, whatever.

I like the disk pooling. It's like volume management for all the little drives you have scattered about the house.

http://www.amahi.org/tour/disk-pooling [amahi.org]

Yes, it handles backups for Mac, Win and Linux - slicker than the setup in this article.

http://www.amahi.org/tour/backups [amahi.org]

Re:Justification? (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765236)

I like the disk pooling. It's like volume management for all the little drives you have scattered about the house.

Apparently the disk pooling is done by Greyhole. It seems quite novel in that you get JBOD with user-selectable redundancy, a "JBOD concatenation storage pool" as the author calls it. I might finally have found a home for all those old IDE drives I have laying around!

Re:Justification? (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765434)

I'm not familiar with any of these other apps listed on here, but why would you have to pay to run a MediaWiki server?
Who are you paying for this?

http://www.amahi.org/tour/apps [amahi.org]

Other than that... it looks nice and clean.

Re:Justification? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765504)

Not paying anyone.

Download, install, go.

They do have Internet or "Cloud" services you can optionally pay to use. I'm sure that this cloud-mirroring and whatnot are clever web-service adaptors in front of Amazon S3.

Foolproof my arse! (4, Interesting)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764796)

Sorry, but I always laugh when people describe anything as "foolproof". (In this case the meshing of Time Machine and the Time Capsule.

All it does is show a PROFOUND underestimation of the creativity and destructive potential of fools.

Re:Foolproof my arse! (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764938)

Actually, I had to start over because I'm used to the wireless network having its own address pool. With Time Capsule, the wireless network uses the same address pool as the wired network (by passing wireless DHCP requests through to my SonicWALL firewall where the DHCP server is located). Too cool!

Re:Foolproof my arse! (2)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764980)

Sorry, but I always laugh when people describe anything as "foolproof". (In this case the meshing of Time Machine and the Time Capsule.

All it does is show a PROFOUND underestimation of the creativity and destructive potential of fools.

You make a sound point here, but in the relative scheme of things, Apples solutions are rather foolproof and extremely intuitive by comparison. And I'm not trying to be some fanboy either, just stating what I've seen owning and working in multi-vendor/OS environments.

Re:Foolproof my arse! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765294)

Are you kidding?

Have you ever actually used any of this crap?

Time Machine can't even reliably stay connected to a directly attached device. I shudder to think what adding a network to the mix or heavy forbid a WIRELESS network into the mix would do.

Apple is highly overrated. Driven by general ignorance and mindless fanboys.

That said, you can BUY ready made solutions for the PC. You don't have to build your own solution. Plus, if you do build your own then the possibilities are endless and you can end up with something that's even better than Time Machine in some ways.

Re:Foolproof my arse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765174)

Perhaps it's the extended meaning of "tested on fools", which Apple and Microsoft have built rather tidy businesses on.

Re:Foolproof my arse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765408)

Sorry, but I always laugh when people describe anything as "foolproof". (In this case the meshing of Time Machine and the Time Capsule.

All it does is show a PROFOUND underestimation of the creativity and destructive potential of fools.

Or their amazing ability to breed with no concern for whether they can afford to raise their children... or the way the welfare state makes this so easy on them since fools will always vote for the politicians who give them more welfare and other entitlements, causing a feedback loop... or the way we should seriously remove all warning labels and give the companies blanket immunity since if you really cannot understand that bug spray is poison then congratulations you just won the natural selection lottery and proved that we don't need you...

The great thing about fools is they'd do themselves in if we quit interfering with the natural order. The terrible thing about fools is a lot of well-meaning but really stupid people keep interfering with the natural order. They think it's some kind of tragedy if a fool offs himself. They also think it's terrible if an unfit parent who's not responsible enough to get an education and a career prior to having children has those children taken away and adopted by people who care about them more than that.

The very worst thing about fools is they vote, they drive, they burden others who are not fools, they create a world that suffocates sensible people, and they think their petty immature emotional arguments reflect reality. They can't even shop for groceries without parking their carts so that they block doorways and impede aisles even though there would have been plenty of room for everyone, because doing differently and having the slightest fucking common courtesy would require thinking of someone other than themselves for a whole 2 seconds and well, you see the problem there...

Lack of polish (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764802)

Sure any geek can setup a versioning backup system. Time Capsule is elegant as hell and really easy to use, even for a lay person. The way its visualized is pretty much the only way a GUI for this type of functionality (targeted at lay folk) should work.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

admiralranga (2007120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764912)

This. Its why time capsule holds so much appeal, its the very user friend gui. Sure i and probably a decent proportion could put together something that does the same function as a time capsule for the bits in our parts box's, couple hundred meg of dled software and the price of the hdd's. But it sure as hell wouldn't be any where close to as user friendly as a time capsule.

Seriously (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764962)

Wish wash

A hard drive needs power and a connection.

How much do you need to pimp that to make the Apple fan-girlies understand the function?

Seriously!

Re:Seriously (5, Insightful)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765008)

Enjoy providing free computer support to your family and friends. I have other priorities.

Re:Seriously (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765074)

Buying them Apple stuff does not free you from that responsibility. I can attest from experience. Buying a Mac simply makes it more difficult for you to discern what the problem is.

"When I plug in the USB wire, nothing happens."

Apple is user-friendly, indeed.

Re:Seriously (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765342)

Really? You find it difficult to pull up System Profiler Apple >About this Mac > More info and click on USB to see what USB devices the Mac can see?

Either it can see nothing which usually means broken cable, or it can see something unrecognisable, meaning it either isn't supported or needs additonal software from the device manufacturer. Not exactly rocket science.

Re:Seriously (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765378)

Your own response is a confirmation of what the OP just said.

If anything goes wrong, you're pretty much in a Windows style "restart and hope for the best" sort of debugging mode.

That said, using a bash shell can be really handy sometimes. It kind of defeats the entire point of having a Mac, but it's handy.

Re:Seriously (2)

Angostura (703910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765670)

No. The OP claimed that it was *more* difficult to discern the problem. The sub-text being that the dumbed-down cutesy GUI prevented you from getting at low level diagnostics.

Re:Seriously (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765440)

"When I plug in the USB wire, nothing happens."

You need to plug the other end of the wire into something too.

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765046)

fan-girlies?

Because they want to buy something that works so they can go on with their lives?

Not everyone wants to have a ghetto rig and spend time troubleshooting it.

Re:Lack of polish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765034)

Timemachine/capsule also work without corruption if you interrupt a backup half-way, like by closing the lid of your laptop.
I do not think the proposed solutions can manage that. This is something Apple says airport extreme + an usb disk can't do, so there is more than a wifi-router and a disk.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765068)

How is that any different than rsync?
I think you are giving apple too much credit.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765402)

How is that any different than rsync?
I think you are giving apple too much credit.

I get the impression that the Time Capsule is actually keeping versions ... so every time you modify a file, you have the backup.

Rsync is basically just doing a copy.

I'm not 100% sure, but I get the impression that the actual Apple product is doing something more complicated than a simple rsync.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765708)

That was my impression as well. I thought the whole idea of a time capsule was being able to go back a week in the file's life if you needed. The solution in the article does not do that.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765518)

How is that any different than rsync?

I've just bought a RAID 5 bay box from Sans Digital. I'm about to load it up with drives....and try to set it up as a NAS for my computers to use.

Do you know of any links of good primers for:

1. rsync?

2. backup strategies in general?

And for that matter...I hear a lot of people on here say that backing up to disks or sets of disks isn't really backup...do people only consider tape to be a viable backup? Where does one get a reasonable tape backup for home or small office?

Thanks in advance!!

Re:Lack of polish (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765722)

RAID is definitely not a backup. For one thing, it (by itself) doesn't keep multiple versions of your files.

However, backing up to external hard drives IS a backup. To be a GOOD backup, you should back up to multiple hard drives. It might be improbable to have two drives fail one right after another, but it's not impossible (especially if there are environmental factors.) The more drives you back up to, the less chance that a multiple failure will hurt you. Ideally, you should always have at least one of the backup drives offsite as well.

Backing up TO a fault-tolerant RAID is a decent idea, but again you ideally want off-site replication in that case.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764930)

This is exactly the comment that should be modded up.

Yes, geeks have been doing versioning backup systems for ages, and what Apple does is not new by any stretch of the imagination. What they have done with Time Machine is make it easy enough for anyone to use to expand the number of people who use backups now that we are all using our computers more and more.

And yes, the Time Capsule is expensive, but you can use Time Machine on any network share (there's a setting you can flip using the command line) and with very little messing with third party products (several SAN boxes support it out of the box).

It's still a little too basic in some areas for more technical users - I'd like to be able to query at a glance what files were backed up, for example (the lack of logging and stats is quite a glaring omission - sure it *says* it's backing up your home folder, but is it really? Confirmation is king for backups!). I'd also like to be able to specify external disks to *include*, not just exclude, so it would back up my USB stick whenever I mounted it, for example (since not all files and important data that end up on it originate on my home machine and it's easy to lose or damage it).

As a simple to use, elegant backup system it is really very good, and you really don't have to shell out $500 to Apple to use it effectively.

Re:Lack of polish (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765060)

Yes, geeks have been doing versioning backup systems for ages, and what Apple does is not new by any stretch of the imagination

Actually, it's pretty novel. No other *NIX systems that I'm aware of permitted hard linking directories. Doing this with Time Machine was a pretty neat trick. Any directories that haven't been modified are just hard links to the previous version. Directories that have been modified contain hard links to files in the previous version. The copy-on-write support in ZFS is a more elegant way of doing this (just clone the backup volume and apply changes), but Apple managed it without needing to modify anything other than the VFS layer.

The thing that Time Capsule adds is basically the ability for a remote device to issue an fsync command. When Time Machine finishes running, it knows that the data is safe on the Time Capsule's disk, not in some cache somewhere. Again, not a massive improvement, but an attention to detail that's important if you care about your data.

It's still a little too basic in some areas for more technical users - I'd like to be able to query at a glance what files were backed up,

This is trivial to do. Just look at the time machine snapshot. ls -R will give you all of the information that you want.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765196)

Don't all POSIX compliant OS support hard linking?

Re:Lack of polish (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765268)

Don't all POSIX compliant OS support hard linking?

I don't think you can regularly hard link directories. See this for example: http://linuxgazette.net/93/tag/2.html [linuxgazette.net]

Re:Lack of polish (1)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765394)

Hard linking of files yes, but hard linking of directories no.

This is important for Time Machine space saving because instead a directory full of hard links to files it's one hard link to the directory. Each link takes a bit of space, dropping several thousand of them saves a lot of space on the backup drive without losing any information.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765492)

Not for directories. In fact, POSIX requires that the destination passed to the link() system call not be a directory. Most UNIX systems permit hard linking of files, but not directories. There is a good reason for this: if you can hard link directories then you can make cycles in a directory 'tree'. Symbolic links are easily identifiable, so you can simply not follow them if they point up to a higher point in the hierarchy (or at all), but hard links are indistinguishable from normal files: they are just normal files.

On OS X, Time Machine is permitted to do this, and is responsible for ensuring that the directory hierarchy that it creates is acyclic. It can guarantee this because it is just mirroring an existing hierarchy, and using hard links to save space. Each time Time Machine runs, it creates a new directory structure that looks exactly like the structure that it is snapshotting. If nothing has changed since the last snapshot, then this is just a hard link to the last snapshot, so it just takes one inode. Doing this with a system that only allows hard links to files would require one new inode per directory in the snapshot.

As I said, it's basically a poor-man's version of ZFS O(1) snapshots, it's just neat that they implemented it in a non-invasive fashion.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765502)

Not of directories. The trouble with hard-linking of directories is you can have filesystem loops that are more difficult to detect than with symlinks.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765296)

Actually, it's pretty novel. No other *NIX systems that I'm aware of permitted hard linking directories.

It's intentionally disabled in Linux, and there's a good reason for that.

mkdir foo
cd foo
ln -d ../foo .
ls -R

Re:Lack of polish (1)

kbolino (920292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765420)

Because cycle detection is such a difficult algorithm.

Re:Lack of polish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765444)

Infinite recursion is infinite. lol.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765538)

No other *NIX systems that I'm aware of permitted hard linking directories.

That's surprising and very interesting. I must admit I have always thought that it should "just work" in any Unix. They certainly do in Windows (since Vista, anyway). Is there any technical reason for why this is so, or is it an arbitrary limitation?

At the same time, in Windows, you actually have to tell mklink whether you're creating a link to a file or to a directory when creating a symbolic link, which seems strange to me (why can't it determine the correct course of action while resolving the link?). For hard links, though, it doesn't need to be told the difference. Weird.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765608)

... correcting my previous post. Okay, so I've actually tried, and you can't create hard links for directories in Windows, either (as a side note, the error message you get from mklink if you try is truly a pinnacle of user-friendly UI: it says "access denied"). You can create junctions, but that is not the same thing.

Now I'm really curious as to why. When two completely different OS families share the same limitation, surely there must be some good reason?

Re:Lack of polish (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765730)

Yup - because it's an insanely dangerous thing to allow. A lot of software assumes that the directory tree is... a tree. Hard links are not really links. A directory is just a map from names to files. A hard link creates another map entry. Both are equally authoritative. This means that you can do things like make a directory that contains its parent directory if you allow hard linking of directories. Now, you have a cycle and any application that tries to recursively visit the directory tree will never terminate. Worse, lots of tools do depth-first searches of the tree, so they won't even see all of the real directories. Visiting an arbitrary graph requires you to mark every node, requiring a minimum of one bit per directory on the disk, which can be a lot. Time Machine guarantees that it will not create cycles, so the OS gives it a special privilege.

Symbolic links are much safer. They can be trivially distinguished from normal files, so they can point to directories.

Re:Lack of polish (2)

Angostura (703910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765356)

There's a nice little free app called BackupLoupe that will let you examine what was backed up and when.

Re:Lack of polish (1)

lucian1900 (1698922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765514)

The GUI is precisely what I intensely hate about it! It's silly, useless, breaks TotalFinder, makes my laptop overhead an makes partial restores extremely difficult.

The actual backup functionality is good, though.

come on submitters! (1, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764810)

howzabout a direct link to the print version [extremetech.com] that's not arbitrarily hacked into chunks to inflate ad views?

Re:come on submitters! (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764958)

The editors should standardize this. The article on Stuxnet from Wired was correctly linked the other day.

Re:come on submitters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765482)

What ads? I didn't see any.

200 my foot! (1)

SethThresher (1958152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764814)

Or, you can just bury all your media in an old shoebox in your backyard for free!

Re:200 my foot! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765250)

are you kidding me? do you realize there support nightmare?

"I have a show box but nothing is happening"
"Do you have a spade 2.1?"
"umm.. sure..er no.. what do you mean?"
"a device doe digging a holes?"
"I have a shovel."
"Great, no simply dig a hole.."
"How"
"What was that?"
"how do I dig one of these so called holes?"
"Grip the shovel.."
"I can't do that"
"Why not?"
"I am holding the shoe box"

at which point we all realize that people are a product of design...by Infocom.

Shortcut (1)

Azmodan (572615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764860)

If you don't wanna read TFA : Get a router with a usb port, add a usb hd. TADAM!

That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764878)

I RTFA (I know, I know) and it amounts to:

1. Buy one of the many wireless routers coming onto the market that support plugging in a USB hard disk and sharing it over the network.
2. Buy a USB hard disk.
3. Format the USB hard disk and plug it into the router.
4. Profit!

Re:That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765032)

In fact, you can buy an Airport Extreme base station, plug in any external USB drive, and use that as a Time Machine backup. It's not as pretty as a Time Capsule, but who cares when it's hidden under the desk? The advantage is that Airport Extremes have excellent wireless range, and can be used with the point-and-drool Airport configuration utility. And you get to feel good for giving even more money to Apple whilst sort-of screwing them by finding a cheaper option.

Re:That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765104)

Points if the router supports rsync + zfs on the HDD.

rsync -ad me@host:/home/me/ /home/me/backup
zfs snapshot tank/home/me/backup@`date "+%Y%m%d"`

Re:That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765154)

And this is proof that it's not something a tech-savvy person is actually required for. Sure, twiddle a few settings in the router's GUI, but that's about as advanced as it gets...

Once again showing that Apple products typically cost 2.5 to 3 times more than non-Apple equivalents.

Re:That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765266)

That argument is pretty much dead.

Price an Apple computer against a competitors eq. computer. They will be pretty close.

Re:That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765386)

That argument is pretty much dead.

Price an Apple computer against a competitors eq. computer. They will be pretty close.

Uh. Really? Howabout the MacBook Air? It's basically an Apple Netbook, but they won't call it that. There are plenty of sites explaining how to install MacOS onto price-cheaper Dell and getting basically the same thing. Just Google "Hackintosh Dell".

Base price of a MacBook Air: $1000

Price of a hackintosh-friendly Dell Mini 9: $400

Result: $1000 = $400 * 2.5

Site: http://gizmodo.com/5156903/how-to-hackintosh-a-dell-mini-9-into-the-ultimate-os-x-netbook [gizmodo.com]

Granted it's from 2 years ago, but there's plenty describing hackintoshing the Dell Mini 10v. A quick search found one as recent as Jan 2 this year.

Re:That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765426)

> That argument is pretty much dead.
>
> Price an Apple computer against a competitors eq. computer. They will be pretty close.

Depends...

      Can you avoid a form factor that is is prone to escalate costs?

      Can you tune your hardware to fit your solution rather than just being stuck with whatever Apple offers?

If either of those is yes, then Apple has no hope of matching a PC on price.
Being able to put a new GPU into an ancient machine also opens up other interesting possibilities.

Re:That's 5 minutes of my life I won't get back. (1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765592)

They're equivalent to you. To my mom, there is a huge difference. The great thing about this world is that we each get to balance our priorities differently. My Mom hasn't yet found six months to devote to learning Linux, but she has no trouble dumping an extra $400 on a laptop every four years and perhaps an extra $300 on a backup drive every four years. Not much different from me spending $80 on an oil change when the oil probably only costs $20. Priorities.

Even with a beefy router... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36764886)

Even with 64MB RAM and a 600MHz CPU, my Netgear WNDR3700 running openwrt-trunkk was simply too slow for my tastes. :-( Sure, this isn't a time-critical operation, but watching netatalk exhaust all the CPU and RAM on my router made me scrap the idea. Maybe if I'd had one of the new Atom-based Soekris boards you could do it...

Me? I bought a NAS instead. :-) I'm a Mac+Unix guy, but sticking a disk in a plastic box witih no ventilation and no cooling? Yeah, _no_.

Re:Even with a beefy router... (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765030)

Costs more, but here's an example eSATA/USB2 enclosure with a little 40mm fan, also trayless easy-remove design for quick swapping of drives:

http://www.startech.com/product/SAT3510BU2E-35in-eSATA-USB-Black-SATA-External-Hard-Drive-Enclosure [startech.com]

I've deployed a few of these, they work fairly well. At this point I'm curious when routers will start having USB 3.0 ports on them...

Re:Even with a beefy router... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765168)

While a good question, im curious as to when these routers will be able support anywhere near USB 3.0 throughput.

Re:Even with a beefy router... (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765038)

but sticking a disk in a plastic box witih no ventilation and no cooling? Yeah, _no_.

Exactly. I've lost to heat-death enough external USB/Firewire drives mounted in too-tiny boxes to have sworn a mighty oath that I'm never ever buying another. Plus the joy of having yet another wall-wart power supply to find a home for.

Re:Even with a beefy router... (1)

admiralranga (2007120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765418)

one of the more useful mods ive done to my pc was attaching one of those car universal adaptors thingies to the 12 volt line i.e. 12 in one side 12 to 3.3v out the other with a selection of interchangable tips

Re:Even with a beefy router... (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765070)

You weren't using NTFS-formatted storage were you? Hint: Linux-based OSs perform a lot better on Linux-native filesystems. Try ext4 or jfs next time.

Re:Even with a beefy router... (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765102)

Me too. After hearing all the stories of one year old dead Time Capsules, I went with an outdated ReadyNAS Duo for half the price with a RAID. Of course it don't do wi-fi, but I already had that.

Re:Even with a beefy router... (1)

InvisiBill (706958) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765166)

I'm not sure about the newer models, but previous routers were known for having very slow (like 2MB/s) USB access. Obviously this isn't quite the same problem if you're actually seeing resource exhaustion, but it is a common issue that someone just techy enough to follow these instructions could run into.

I can build a transmogrifier (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764888)

for much less than that!

Summary (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36764894)

"If you have a wireless router with a USB port for external storage, then you can map said external storage to a drive (or volume, as appropriate) on your computer. And then you can use whatever backup solution you have available by pointing at that drive/volume."

Better yet (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764968)

Make your existing Linux server into a Time Machine backup server [blogspot.com] .

Re:Better yet (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765700)

Time machine at my house backs up onto a windows share. It was painful to set up (although there are tutorials online), but works fine once it gets going.

Or.... (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764982)

I have a Netgear WNDR3700 running dd-wrt.

So I plug something into the usb port on that, and voila. Wireless NAS.

Done!

Re:Or.... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765192)

Voila! a NAS slower then consumer NAS models from 2006. I get about 1.5 MB/sec to my WNDR3700 reading or writing. Hell i even hooked up my spare SSD to the router jsut for funsies.

Re:Or.... (1)

uiucgrad (325611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765674)

Mod spire up. I did this same setup and and the speed was so slow it was unusable. Time Machine would just crap out after a long long while.

Missing a really cool feature (2)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36764998)

One of the coolest things about the Time Capsule is the ability to restore OS X from the installation media.

If your system crashes completely or you've just had your hard drive replaced, it's really cool to do the restore directly instead of having to install the OS first, remember what hacks to apply and then restoring it.

Is the Time Capsule expensive? Sure. Is convenience worth it? Possibly.

Re:Missing a really cool feature (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765370)

Possibly not, though. I mean, you can do exactly the same thing with Windows 7, backing up to either any old SMB share, or a USB-connected hard disk(s). Or both.

RAID is kind of Important (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765006)

To be entirely honest, portable hard drives are so cheap that it’s almost not worth the hassle of building your own USB enclosure. Empty enclosures cost at least $15 — and today you can get a Western Digital My Book Essential 3TB for $129 from Amazon. You’d be hard pressed to find an internal 3.5 drive $15 less than $129, that’s for sure.

Well, truth be told, I like it when a writer feels free to be entirely honest. The writer overlooks an important point, though, which is that with a DIY drive setup you can use multiple drives and implement RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) [wikipedia.org]

Re:RAID is kind of Important (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765238)

RAID is not a backup, nor is it a needed solution for most home users. The advantage of RAID (in this context) is SPEED in recovery, not true redundancy.

Pay attention, McFly (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765406)

"RAID is not a backup, nor is it a needed solution for most home users. The advantage of RAID (in this context) is SPEED in recovery, not true redundancy."

I never claimed RAID was a backup system, however a backup system has, as one of its constituent parts, a storage subsystem. That subsystem can leverage RAID. "The" advantage of RAID depends on what RAID level [wikipedia.org] or combination is used.

Airport Extreme has a USB Port (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765010)

Airport Extreme has a USB Port. Plug in a hard drive. Ta-daaa! Time Capsule.

All of your connected devices can backup wirelessly to the hard drive.

I bought my Airport Extreme on eBay for only slightly more than the price of a regular 802.11n router.

hard disk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765014)

Storing your backup on a single 3TB drive is a fantastic idea. While the hard disks in your desktop may die at any given moment, the ones they put in those timecapsules NEVER fail.

Re:hard disk (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765144)

A better idea would be using one of these with crashplan. Basically make that the onsite backup and do the offsite backup somewhere else. I personally do something similar with my computers so that if I need to restore a large file, I can do it locally. Pretty much the only case in which I'm going to need to do a remote restore is if something happens to the local backup.

Re:hard disk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765292)

your point? if your backup drive fails get a new one and back up again. if you're paranoid sync the timecapsul drive to yet another drive

Re:hard disk (2)

Angostura (703910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765400)

What are the odds that they will fail at exactly the same time as your desktop?

So what? (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765042)

I bought my refurbished timecapsule direct from Apple's website for $179 delivered.

Re:So what? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765152)

Here's a hint, backups + refurbished hardware = disaster. If you care enough about your data to back it up, then it ought to mean enough to you to pay for quality media. It doesn't do you a damn bit of good to backup if the backup is on unreliable media.

Re:So what? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765276)

Backups are easy..recovery on the other hand, not so much.

Re:So what? (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765282)

I have bought many refurbed products from Apple.
I would expect more problems from a cheep USB hard drive.

Re:So what? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765464)

You never trust the media.

That is why having all of your backups on a single piece of media seems so absurd to some of us. A single appliance that holds all of your backups is just asking for trouble. Although RAID or mirroring would mitigate this somewhat. Having only one non-user serviceable drive in a backup appliance is just stupid.

Although having multiple appliances cooperate could be interesting.

Any proper backup should include multiple distinct physical copies.

Or, you could do what any real Apple geek would do (2)

alispguru (72689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765132)

Apple has traditionally overcharged for more capacity (RAM and hard drive space). You ALWAYS buy the smallest model and upgrade it yourself.

1. Buy a 500GB Time Capsule from a third party ($100 and up)
2. Open it up [hardmac.com] and replace the hard drive with a bigger SATA drive
3. Be amazed as the Time Capsule formats and uses the bigger drive
4. Buy a cheap USB notebook cooling fan and put the Time Capsule on top of it, to make sure the new drive doesn't overheat

Actually, #4 is a good idea with a stock Time Capsule, too.

Re:Or, you could do what any real Apple geek would (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765272)

Did you forget that time is money? What you described is AT BEST a one hour job, with it quite possibly taking longer along with research if everything doesnt go exactly right (o look 3TB is an Advanced Format Drive, will it work? is it supported etc etc). The point is, sometimes its jsut cheaper to buy whole solutions then to putter around for 8 hours trying to save $100.

Re:Or, you could do what any real Apple geek would (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765488)

Unless you've got a magic money making machine, time really is not money.

"Should" Work (2)

kf6auf (719514) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765134)

The cheap options all evaporate as soon as you want a router with the same features as the Time Capsule or the $180 AirPort Extreme (plus BYO external drive); Simultaneous Dual Band and USB looks like it'll run you $120, not $50, from non-Apple brands.

Oh, and "you’ll need to use a little hack [13] to force the new drive to appear in Time Machine. Once it appears, however, your cheap-and-cheerful DIY Time Capsule should function in exactly the same way as the real thing."(emphasis mine) I'm sorry, but what is the point of a backup that should work?

I want a backup that I am confident works; saving $60 isn't worth it.

Re:"Should" Work (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765522)

That's the great thing about PCs: you aren't stuck with the one and only one option that Steve is willing to sell you.

You can throw out all of the extraneous nonsense that you don't want and will never use.

"Confidence" should be about more than just getting "warm fuzzy" from seeing the Apple logo.

Time, Effort, Warranty = $$ (2)

Mn3m0nic (234085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765170)

I don't have a Time Capsule, but I can say that the time and effort involved in a homebrew version would tack on to that 200 price tag. Also, the warranty and support you get from Apple far outmatch Western Digital, TigerDirect (shudder), etc. I learned a long time ago that sometimes you have to spend a little extra money to avoid a lot of extra headache down the road. This goes for many things in life.

Re:Time, Effort, Warranty = $$ (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765662)

It's a backup device. If you need "service" then it's already a failure. The fact that it can linger at the Genius Bar for 2 weeks for free is really not terribly useful.

If you are fixating on "warranty support" then you've already lost the argument when it comes to product quality.

BFD: Use git+ssh+Debian on NSLUG (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765202)

This is vaguely interesting, but shouldn't be news to anyone here; I suspect most of us have had this capability via rsync|git+ssh+a barebones UNIX/Linux server for decades. I know I have. For the rest of you (including Time Capsule users), welcome to the 1990's :-)

And I suspect you suspicions are suspect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765554)

I suspect that actually most of us haven't. What you did there was to confuse yourself with most slashdot users.

Re:BFD: Use git+ssh+Debian on NSLUG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765594)

This is vaguely interesting, but shouldn't be news to anyone here; I suspect most of us have had this capability via rsync|git+ssh+a barebones UNIX/Linux server for decades. I know I have. For the rest of you (including Time Capsule users), welcome to the 1990's :-)

This is vaguely interesting, but shouldn't be news to anyone who knows anything about real computing. This has been available on S/360 based mainframes for even more decades. For the rest of you (including Linux users), welcome to the 1960's :-)

Pathetic... (1)

Fitch (584748) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765304)

If you have a wireless access point of some sort (and what home these days doesn't?) what the hell's the point of this article? In three sentences, let me summarize it for those who don't want their precious time wasted.

Go buy a cheap NAS box sans hard drive for $40, install a cheap / spare hard drive and plug into existing router / network. Use existing backup software on your winblows machines to backup to the SMB share. Post lame article on slashdot that will irritate the technically competent.

This is slashdot, not the official Cult of Apple fanboi site. Gawd... I seriously take issue with the gay Apple logo photoshopped onto the Linksys router.

Missed the point (1)

surfcow (169572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36765528)

The computer / network is just a tool that lets me do the stuff I need to do.

I *know* I could make a better time machine / mouse trap / etc. And it would be cheaper. I know.

I willingly pay a premium so I don't have to mess with that crap. That's the same reason I have a newer, reliable car - instead of one I built myself from parts. I don't want a lifestyle, I want a reliable tool. I'm an IT pro, I mess with tech for a living, not a hobby.

Companies like Apple sell more than just hardware, they sell integration and consistent design. Sometimes you really can pay for convenience. For me, it's worth it. My time is not free.

Not a Time Capsule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36765600)

Didn't turn it into a Time Machine disk... lame ass article.

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