Online backup services: why, how & which?

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Macs make automated backup childishly easy: simply plug in an external hard drive and OS X will ask whether you want to use it as a Time Machine disk. Say yes, and you’ll then get fully-automatic, hourly, versioned backups without doing anything further.

Unplug it to take your MacBook out & about, and it will catch up as soon as you return and plug it back in. Even easier, get a Time Capsule, and those backups take place over wifi, so you don’t even have to connect a drive.

But I’m a belt-and-braces chap. I like multiple backups, and I like one of those backups to be off-site. That way, if the house burns down, or a burglar takes both my Macs and my backup drives, I still have access to my data. Which is where online backup services come into play. Think of them as your backup of last resort.

iCloud, covered in my cloud storage roundup last week, already backs up quite a lot of your data – but nothing like all of it. The services covered here are ones that backup either your entire Mac, or a large proportion of it …

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How-to: Set time limits on your Wi-Fi network using AirPort Utility

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AirPort Utility is a built-in Mac app that is used to configure and control Wi-Fi networks using Apple’s AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule. The AirPort Extreme is a base station router like you would use when setting up your Wi-Fi network. An AirPort Express is used to extend a Wi-Fi network to a larger area, or can be used to stream audio using AirPlay. A Time Capsule is a combination of an AirPort Extreme and an external hard drive, and comes in 2 TB or 3 TB. It automatically backs up all Macs on your network.

AirPort Utility has the ability to set limits on what time of day the network (and therefore the internet) can be accessed from specific wireless devices. This can be helpful in situations where parents want to keep kids off of the internet after a certain time. Time limits can be set for different times on different days of the week.

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Stock shortages suggest possible new iMac and Airport Express on the way

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MacRumors is citing low stocks of Airport Express base stations as suggesting that a faster 802.11ac model is expected soon to match the capabilities of the latest Macs. This would offer wifi speeds almost three times faster than current 802.11n models, a capability that has already been incorporated into the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule models.

We’re also hearing similar whispers about constrained supplies of iMacs, alongside price-cuts by resellers …  Read more

Synology launches new 8-bay DS1813+ NAS with 4 GbE ports for $1099

If you’re fed up with Time Capsule and looking for a reliable, feature-filled NAS solution that also packs in some killer iOS companion apps and AirPlay support, we’re huge fans of Diskstation NAS Enclosures from Synology. We’ve reviewed the Synology NAS experience in the past, such as the two bay SD212 Diskstation, but today the company has announced its latest 8-bay unit with the launch of the new “DS1813+” model.

The new unit is similar to the 5 bay DS1513+ model it launched earlier this month, features the same screwless drive bays supporting 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives, but also includes four GbE ports and speeds up to 350 MBps reads and 200 MBps writes. On top of some nice iOS, web, and Android apps for managing all of your content, Synology also offers apps for printer sharing, VPN server, ERP software, mail server, web server, anti-virus, and network video surveillance built-in.  Read more

Apple’s Time Capsules go missing from retail stores globally

Shipping times for Time Capsules are increasing steadily across regional online Apple stores in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, France and other territories. While the 3TB version of Time Capsule is in stock at certain online Apple Stores, most now list the wireless backup appliance with up to one to three weeks delivery time. Meanwhile, 2TB Time Capsules in some stores take one to two weeks. Over at Amazon (temporarily out of stock) and Best Buy (sold out) things are not looking peachy either.

This is similar to the AppleTV shortages we noted over the weekend but may not be for the same reason.

Time Capsule constrains could be linked to the Thai floods that have led to global shortages of hard drives and subsequent jacked prices by as much as 28 percent. A disruption in the hard drive supply already affected the 27-inch iMac. That, plus the fact that other AirPort-branded products stay in stock only reinforce the notion that constrained supplies of Apple’s Time Capsule is likely caused by global hard drive shortages.

According to an unnamed tip that 9to5Mac received this morning, several Apple outlets in Australia no longer have Time Capsules in stock:

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Time Capsules accept user 3TB drives?

Apple last week bumped up its Time Capsule wireless backup appliance to 2TB and 3TB models, priced the same $299 and $499, respectively. In addition, Apple appears to be now using consumer public drives from Western Digital (bumped up from Hitachi Deskstar drives). That, plus the $499 price point puts the new 3TB Time Capsule pretty much out of reach on price-conscious buyers. In fact, you’re better off, as we explained, hooking up an external USB drive to your 1TB Time Capsule.

But if you hate the clutter and yearn for a sealed, elegant solution with only one plug, you needn’t pony up $200 extra for a 3TB Time Capsule: It would seem that the wireless gizmo accepts 3TB internal drives, if properly partitioned. According to a HardMac reader:

I personally installed a 3 TB WD Caviar Green 3To (by chance!), when it came out 5 months ago, in a 1 TB Time Capsule that I bought around that time as well. I formatted it with Airport Utility to have the 3 partitions that are necessary for Time Machine and it was immediately recognized as a 3 TB disk. I’ve been using it ever since without any problem.

One caveat…

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