The Core Dump

The Core Dump is the personal blog of Nic Lindh, a Swedish-American pixel-pusher living in Phoenix, Arizona.

[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 12 November 2003]

Backup for the average user

Mike Deem is talking about how WinFS will make it much easier for users to backup their data once Longhorn comes out:We are working with backup vendors to [sic] great backup support in WinFS. User’s won’t have to know where their files are in order to back them up. The same powerful query capability they use to find their items can be used to identify the items to backup. The system should take care of the rest.I say bravo. Backing up is a major pain point for end users, as it has been for way too many years now. But then he goes one better:In WinFS you’ll be able to easily tell the system to replicate a set of items to another WinFS store, and ask the system to keep them in sync. Viola [sic]… instant backup.It’s great to see Microsoft thinking about these things, and to build them into WinFS.

I don’t think the big problem right now is that it’s too hard for users to comprehend the “insert CD, drag files to it, burn” part of backing up their data (even though there certainly are people out there still struggling with that concept). The big problem seems to be to know (a) where the files are that need to be backed up; and (b) which files need to be backed up. WinFS will solve the first problem. It doesn’t matter where the file is, it’ll find it for you. Cool. From my experience, though, the bigger problem is (b): which files to back up. Figuring out that the spreadsheet you just created should be backed up is not hard, but there are so many parts of the system that are silently touched by the system and that need to be backed up. Like email. Where on your harddisk is your email? Where are the customizations you made to Word? Where are your bookmarks? What are the odds you’re going to remember to back up those files?

This is one area where the Home folder centricity of Mac OS X (and other Unixes) can really save your behind: If you remember to back up your entire home folder, all your settings, even the ones you’ll never remember by yourself, will be backed up. And if you don’t fight the machine by saving your files outside the sanctified area, your risks of data loss decrease tremendously. As an aside, this was a huge pain point for old-school Mac users as they migrated (often kicking and screaming) to Mac OS X–the feeling that being forced into a sort of user ghetto on their hard drive diminished their sense of control over the machine. During my tribulations at the Fruit Stand I even had a customer who insisted on saving all his work into /Library. Not maliciously, mind you, he just didn’t know any better. I didn’t want to delve too deep into his thought processes, so I can only assume he felt that a library would be a good place for his Works.

The challenge for OS developers is to make it very obvious where files are being stored, without the users (customers) feeling that they are being forced. There’s room for improvement everywhere.

Oh, and if you want to experience the goodness of automatic syncing of files between filesystems today, have a gander at rsync. Beautiful piece of software.

You have thoughts? I’m @niclindh on Twitter and I want to know what you think.

Enjoy the latest posts!

Man is ready to die for an idea, provided that idea is not quite clear to him.

Paul Eldridge


Feline Follies Presents: The Uninvited

We are entertained by feline drama during quarantine.

Thursday, 02 July, 2020

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

―James Baldwin


Book roundup, part 30

Back once again with the sci-fi and general calamity. Includes The End is Always Near, Eat the Apple, A Memory Called Empire, Gideon the Ninth, Infinite Detail, Permafrost, Fallen, and The October Man.

Monday, 20 January, 2020

The master’s tools will never be used to dismantle the master’s house.

Audre Lorde


Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

―Grey’s Law


Impressions moving from an Apple Watch Series 3 to Series 5

Is there reason to upgrade from a 3 to a 5?

Friday, 27 September, 2019

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.

—Dwight Eisenhower


Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.

―Marcus Aurelius


Die in a ditch

After all these years, Nic still can’t understand the American attitude to healthcare.

Tuesday, 13 August, 2019

The big thieves hang the little ones.

―Czech Proverb


Book roundup, part 29

A sci-fi and fantasy heavy installment that includes The Valedictorian of Being Dead, The Mastermind, Broadsword Calling Danny Boy, Tiamat’s Wrath, The Raven Tower, The Liberation, The Light Brigade and Cryptonomicon.

Tuesday, 14 May, 2019

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

―Kenneth Galbraith


Book roundup, part 28

Includes The Incomplete Book of Running, Aching God, The Murderbot Diaries, Lies Sleeping, The Consuming Fire, and Rendezvous with Rama.

Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Las Vegas trip report

Did you know Las Vegas is kind of nutty?

Monday, 31 December, 2018

Book roundup, part 27

Includes Hollywood Dead, Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood, The Court of Broken Knives, and Port of Shadows.

Friday, 19 October, 2018

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.

—George Orwell


“Cancel everything. You’re going into emergency surgery today”

Nic has a retinal tear and has his vision is saved by a laser.

Sunday, 02 September, 2018

Book roundup, part 26

Includes The Storm Before the Storm, White Trash, Calypso, Tell the Machine Goodnight, Prince of Fools, and Provenance.

Friday, 03 August, 2018

Renewing the nerd card: Installing Ubiquiti UniFi in the house

The Internet tells Nic to install Ubiquiti gear in his house, so he does, and now he has thoughts.

Friday, 29 June, 2018

About The Core Dump

The Core Dump is the online home of Niclas Lindh, a Swedish-American man in Phoenix, AZ.

Read more about this site and Nic.



Subscribe to the RSS feed like the h4x0r you are

Nic around the web

Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Creative Commons License


The Core Dump is built with Jekyll, coffee, and giving a crap.