A comment got to me via friend mentioning why am I suddenly so negative about Apple and Macs, which quite surprised me. True, I have had some serious hardware issues in first two weeks of June, but this negative event was about as much positive experience as hard disk crash can be.
Thinking back what I have learned and discovered from this:
- Time Machine actually works
- it pays to plug in the firewire disk with Time Machine backups every day - the two second operation saves a lot of time in long run
- Carbon Copy Cloner is fantastic tool that makes creating bootable copy of your system disk as easy as possible
- I can easily use multiple bootable disks with various versions of OS-X, not only for backing up but also for trying out new things / installs - a kind of "VM on a disk"
The most pleasant discovery is that separation of system files and user data actually works in OS-X. Before, when I had to reinstall Windows, even when I had backup of my data files, it was always a pain because the only way how to get back customizations of installed applications was to reinstall them and re-customize. If the application supported something like export of customizations (e.g. Eclipse "Export Settings") or had config files and I was lucky to export these or backup copy after each change, it sort of worked. Sometimes. But if application stored the settings in Registry, good luck. IMHO, if there were a competition for most stupid and disastrous software idea, I bet that Windows Registry would get a medal ...
What I did kind of lost trust in, are hard disks, especially high capacity notebook size drives. I am currently reviewing my backup procedures across all systems. I have created bootable clone of my daughter's Macbook hard drive - just in case and start serious think about buying Drobo later this year.
But on operating system side, I am happily staying with Apple and Macs. It is not perfect solution and is certainly not as rock solid and secure as Apple would like the world to believe - the last year record of security flaws, crowned with latest discovery of first trojan and root access hole in ARD proves it more than enough. But it is still - IMHO - closest thing to that ideal I have seen. To qualify that (before I get email from all my friends that happen to be Linux/BSD/Solaris fanatics enthusiasts: I agree that there are better, faster, safer versions of Unix available - OpenBSD, some Linux distros, etc etc. But using Mac is actually fun and pleasant experience, despite of all shortcomings and you can do with it much more than develop in Java or recompile C programs :-). For example run Photoshop or Textmate - none of which works under Linux.
Therefore - Shane - do not hesitate to get a Mac. If my disk crash story made you reconsider, I am really sorry about that. Coffee sometimes ? Email me.