Time Capsule is “preparing” forever, diagnostics and also hangs

I have two different problems now. First, the Time Capsule at work is “preparing”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1606417&tstart=0 forever. No one really has a resolution to this. I’ve run it for 24 hours and it never stops preparing. I really don’t want to lose my backups, but not sure what to do. Maybe take it home over the weekend forever.

Some folks recommend limiting the files you backup (the point is a whole disk recovery!) or turning off Spotlight. I don’t know…

You can check the “system log”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7554509 by going to:

# /Applications/Utilities/Console which is a confusing application.
# On the left side, there are many Log files and many different entries. Click on _All Messages_
# You want to search for the backup process called _backupd_ by going to the search box at the upper right and typing _backupd_ and pressing enter

Here is an example of a good backup log:

un 6 18:31:01 livy fseventsd41: log dir: /Volumes/Backup of livy/.fseventsd getting new uuid: 3F939294-8F0D-493B-956B-FFB2CC5B5334

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Disk image /Volumes/Time Capsule Disk/livy_001b632ffd76.sparsebundle mounted at: /Volumes/Backup of livy

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Backing up to: /Volumes/Backup of livy/Backups.backupdb

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Ownership is disabled on the backup destination volume. Enabling.

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Event store UUIDs don’t match for volume: Macintosh HD

Jun 6 18:31:03 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Backup content size: 88.8 GB excluded items size: 48.0 GB for volume Macintosh HD

Jun 6 18:31:03 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: No pre-backup thinning needed: 48.97 GB requested (including padding), 879.05 GB available

Jun 6 18:31:03 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Waiting for index to be ready (906 > 0)

Jun 6 18:31:18 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Waiting for index to be ready (909 > 0)

Jun 6 20:55:47 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Copied 226484 files (34.7 GB) from volume Macintosh HD.

Jun 6 20:55:53 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: No pre-backup thinning needed: 543.2 MB requested (including padding), 841.58 GB available

Jun 6 20:56:27 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Copied 366 files (4.0 MB) from volume Macintosh HD.

Jun 6 20:56:30 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Starting post-backup thinning

Jun 6 20:56:30 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: No post-back up thinning needed: no expired backups exist

Jun 6 20:56:30 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Backup completed successfully.

Jun 6 20:56:36 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Ejected Time Machine disk image.

Jun 6 20:56:41 livy kernel[0]: AFP_VFS afpfs_unmount: /Volumes/Time Capsule Disk, flags 0, pid 511

Jun 6 20:56:41 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Ejected Time Machine network volume.

The other issue which just happened is that my Time Capsule seems to hang. The light stays green but it goes offline line like it is crashed. No internet and it disappears as a hard disk. Seems like a hard crash. Hard diagnose but I was doing a big spotlight search of it, so it looks like some bug in the filesystem is hard crashing it.

The “folklore”:http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=6886156 is you need to fix permissions and repair the disk before you do the backup and use a wired Ethernet connection as that seems faster.

Time Capsule Archive

In the 7.3.1 firmware, you can now connect a USB Drive to a Time Capsule and then archive the 1TB disk itself. That is a backup of the backup. This is supposed to be fast. However, this is a one time copy so if you don’t have enough space on your backup USB drive and delete some, the Airport Utility doesn’t update the free space available. So, if you find you don’t have enough free space, then here is the process:

# Start Airport Utility, click on the Time Capsule entry and click on Manual Setup. Then click on Disks and Archive…If things are greyed out, but you can see the USB Disk, then you don’t have enough space.
# Start Finder and go to the Time Capsule and the USB disk, delete stuff, so that you have enough free space (if the Time Capsule is using 200GB, then you need at least 200GB free on your USB).
# Close Airport Utility and restart it and the thing should be not be solid color and you can archive! BTW, while this is happening, you can’t write to the Time Capsule and the LED in the front blinks amber. So you want to do this in off hours.

It will definitely take a while, but is way faster than doing this over the network with a copy.

Twitter is cool…

I don’t quite get where you are, but “http://twitter.com/richtong”:http://twitter.com/richtong is something I’ve started to use. It is great for two things, in case someone really wants to know where you are and doesn’t want to call I guess, but the really great thing is that with twitter IM and twitter texting, I can send URLs that I often times forget and twitter remembers it. Also with Mobile Twitter on my iPhone, I can send photos simply too.

So here are the cool links from this evening I’ve collected (I’ve got to see if there is some sort of Twitter to WordPress plugin) and “Quickonlinetips.com”:http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2007/04/10-best-twitter-tools-for-wordpress-blogs/ has a bunch to look at. The most interesting being Twitter tools that turns new blog entries into new twits (is that a word) and turns twits into new blog entries.

“Pineapple Grill”:http://tinyurl.com/6zfbgu. A really great spot. Some say the bes restaurant on Maui. The slow cooked beef ribs are amazing, the fish is terrific and the chopped salads are really great. I agree, this is pretty cool place. Its at Kapalua close to the Ritz Carlton. Main drawback is that it doesn’t have much of a view, but the food is absolutely amazing.

Time Machine as a Windows file server

Well, if you buy a Time Capsule, it works easily as an Apple network disk, but what about as a file server for Windows machines. This is a bit tricky, because of mapping, but basically, if you set it up to. By the way a *big limitation is that the Time Capsule name must be 27 characters or less, so beware*

Apple name is

bq. Rich’s Time Capsule

The Netbios name that you need to type into Windows is

bq. \richs-time-capsule.local\

So you can see that you can either have a nice Apple name, or the usual hashed out Windows name, but not both. Personally, I go with nice looking Apple name and live with long file server names.

The default disk is Time Capule, so to access it on a PC:

bq. \richs-time-capsule.local\Time Capsule

Also there is another issue, if you take the easy default which is that the password on the Time Capsule is the same as the hard disk, then the user name you have to fill out for Windows is that same as the Netbios name. That is, the user name ir _richs-time-capsule.local_ and the password is the password on the whole Time Capsule.

As an aside, Time Capsule does allow you to have users and passwords (these are of course separate from machine users and passwords). You set this up with the “Airport Utility”

Apple – Support – Discussions – time capsule “user name” problem …

Go into Airport Utility:
Select Time capsule > manual setup
There are five choices across the top – choose disks
Choose the file sharing tab:

Enable file sharing
enable share disks over ethernet WAN port

Secure Shared Disks: select “with accounts”
click on configure accounts:
click on + and add a username (keep it simple) and a password
Click update

Rockin’ Fast Network

Normally at work, we have two networks, an unprotected and a protected wifi network, here’s a cool way to implement this. We are going to try this at our Seattle office.

h2. Internally

If you are lucky, you have all new machines from Apple (yeah!) that are 802.11n. These are all the late model MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. So now you can have a fast and much safer network. Here is what you need to do:

“Set”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1455580, your AirPort Utility>Airport>Wireless to 802.11n (5GHz) and “use wide channels”. What this does is to push all those MacBooks into the fresh air of 5GHz out of all those 2.4GHz standard cards. That means you have clean radio frequencies and if you aren’t pushing range (2.4GHz propagates better than 5GHz) like an open office, you are going to go from 130Mbps to 270Mbps because wide channel uses twice the channel width so you get double the data. It is also safer in that most laptops only have 2.4GHz radios and should have less interference.

I’ve tried this with an Time Capsule and the results are a little surprising. Copying a 350MB file, here are the speeds I got:

| | | Upload to TC | Download to Mac |
| 802.11n wide channel 5GHz | Macbook Air | 22MBps | 78MBps |
| 802.11n (b/g compatibility 2.4GHz | Macbook Air | 6MBps | 6MBps |

So the loading seems asymmetric as if the MacBook Air has some other issues. The 78MBps is pretty impressive for real world through compared with the 300Mbps theoretical maximum (or 30MBps). The 22MBps seems closer to what is real, so maybe there is some buffering or something going on. Both are impressive though compared with the 802.11n/b/g performance. As an aside, this is with a single computer no the network, so all this bandwidth has to be shared, that is why switched wired Ethernet is still better, each port-to-port connection gets the full 100Mbps or 1Gbps (in Gigabit case).

The conventional 802.11n with a theoretic capacity of 108Mbps seems about right. It is symmetric with a true over the air throughput of 6MBps (about 60Mbps) and on the disk, I get 5.5MBps of disk transfer.

h2. External

Then you can setup another Airport Base Station Extreme or even an el cheapo Airport to 802.11b/g at 2.4GHz and leave this open. This lets devices that are presumably not from your company in. I would put this on the open Internet so folks can have basic access and such.

Time Capsule Quirks

“John”:http://www.theludwigs.com has been having some trouble with his Time Capsule. The two I have have been working great with the exception that backups don’t seem to start properly (may be related to passwords), but there is lots of “folklore”:http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/timecapsule/ about how to deal with Time Machine and also a very active http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=1253

* If you update to 7.3.1, folks are seeing “dropped wifi connections”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1455021&tstart=75 and so the solution is to rollback to 7.
* Be careful about updating to TimeCapsule firmware 7.3.1, there have been many “reports”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1457671&tstart=0 of issues with it. Of course I did by taking the autoupdate, so woe to me. No problems yet though, but we don’t push our network hard. Many folks are “reverting”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1450037&tstart=30 to 7.3. Most of the problems seem to be TimeCapsule goes into an infinite ooop resetting the password. To get back goto Airport Utility/Base Station/Upload Firmware and look for 7.3
* Time Capsule is a router, so to really make it work, you have to disable the router part of it. Some folks report that doesn’t work. Ours at work seems to work fine as just a wireless access point
* Computer names and the Time Capsule name have to be 8-11 characters (reports vary) and no special characters like the apostrophe which is the default in computer names (Rich’s MacBook Air). This would require changing every Mac name to look like a DOS name (ugh, back to richmacair). With the Time Machine in the first version this seemed to be a problem, but right now it seems to work with “normal readable names” so i don’t know
* Make the Time Capsule’s Airdisk password the same as the admin password of the Time Capsule. Hmm. I did this by accident, but it is the advice of many on Apple forums. Don’t know if this is folklore or not
* If you have Symantec Antivirus, disable the autoprotect feature, otherwise it is very, very slow as it checks everything on the way to the Time Capsule during backup. Folks have reported 10x increases in speed.
* Laptops won’t backup unless they are connected to power, that’s a robustness feature
* If you have a Canon Pro9000, you have to use the generic Canon IJ driver and not the dedicated Pro9000 driver.