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#956: ST:TOS=50; Time Machine; iPad in Space


Hello Fellow Technophiles,

As you have probably heard by now, Apple hosted an event today. At this event they announced the new iPhone 7, the Apple Watch 2, updates to the iWork suite which allow for real-time collaboration on documents via the internet (similar to Google Docs or Office 365) and perhaps most importantly that Nintendo is now making iPhone apps. I am sure I will be downloading Mario Run as soon as it is released. Look for a more detailed update in this Friday’s Kibbles & Bytes, our flagship newsletter.

Despite this exciting set of announcements, the biggest event of the week is this Thursday. On September 8, 1966 Star Trek aired on American TV for the first time making this the 50th anniversary. Since the traditional gift for this is gold, I am accepting any and all gold figurines. Just send them to Small Dog to my attention. I promise to cherish them, play with them regularly and not just trade them in at Cash4Gold.

Since time travel was a frequent plot device on Star Trek, I am going to take you into the past with two great articles from the archives. The first, appropriately enough, is about the Mac backup program Time Machine. The second is a hard hitting journalistic piece by a (then) young up-and-comer about iPad in space.


  FROM THE ARCHIVES: Time Machine  

Time Machine has been a feature of Mac OS X for so long that I do not know how we ever did backups without it. It keeps a copy of all your files and updates it automatically. It remembers how your system looked on any given day so you can “go back in time” to see your Mac as it appeared in the past.

Setting up Time Machine

You need to select a backup destination before you can use Time Machine. You can choose one of these:

  • an external drive connected to a USB, FireWire or ThunderBolt port on your Mac
  • an AirPort Time Capsule or OS X Server on your network
  • an external drive connected to the USB port of an AirPort Extreme

Time Machine will keep hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month and weekly backups. The oldest backups are deleted as your drive gets full.

Using Time Machine with an External Drive

This is the simplest way to use Time Machine. Plug that 1TB drive that is on sale this week into the USB port on your Mac. If you haven’t already specified a backup device, Time Machine will ask you if you want to use that drive when you connect a blank drive to your Mac.

  • Click “Use as Backup Disk” to select that drive
  • You can choose to encrypt you backups if you want to prevent other users from accessing your data without a password. But a word of caution, if you do encrypt your data and forget your password you will not like it.

Using Time Machine with an AirPort Time Capsule or AirPort Extreme with attached Drive

Once you have your Time Capsule configured on your network you can set it up to select as the backup device for Time Machine. Here’s the steps to get started:

  • Open Time Machine preferences an click Select Backup Disk
  • Select the AirPort Time Capsule (or the drive attached to your AirPort Extreme) from the page that comes up
  • You again have the option of encryption

Backing Up (beep, beep ,beep)

Backing up begins automatically when your Time Machine drive is available. Your first backup will take a while, especially if you are doing it wirelessly with a Time Capsule. It does not interfere with your use of your Mac but you’ll want to give it a few hours for the first backup. If you are using the AirPort Time Capsule you will find that it goes a lot faster if your connect an Ethernet cable between your Mac and one of the Ethernet ports on the Time Capsule.

Once the first backup is complete, Time Machine automatically backs up files that have changed on your Mac since the last backup was performed. You can check the status of your backup by clicking on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar.

You can also manually start a backup by selecting “Back up Now” from the Time Machine menu bar item. If you hold down the Option key when selecting this menu you will also see additional items such as verifying the backup disk or switching to a different disk.


With Time Machine, you can go “back in time” to restore files, versions of files or the entire system. If you accidentally deleted a photo you can enter Time Machine, imagine you are H.G. Wells, and grab it from the past and restore it to the present.

Using the timeline on the right side of the window will allow you to reach back to a certain point in time. The timeline shows all the times of your backups on the drive. If you don’t know exactly when you deleted that photo you can use the back arrow to tell Time Machine to travel through time to show you when that folder last changed.

You can also search for a file using a Finder window. From the Finder, enter Time Machine and then enter a search term in the search field. Use the back arrow to have Time Machine search through your backups.

To restore a file, select the file or folder and click the “Restore” button. If you are not sure if you are restoring the right file, you can use Quick Look to preview the contents. Highlight the file and press the Space Bar to take a closer look.

You can also revert to earlier versions of a document from within apps. In those apps that support this feature, open a file that you want to revert and you can either

  • Choose Enter Time Machine for the Time Machine Menu
  • Choose File>Revert to>Browse all Versions
  • Click the Time Machine icon in the Dock

Restoring your Whole Mac

If you lost your Mac or like Grace left it someplace and you want to restore your whole life to another Mac you can do that by using Migration Assistant. A new Mac will ask you how you want to transfer data or you can launch Migration Assistant. Then you will be prompted to select a Time Machine Backup and whether you want everything or just apps, etc.

As long as you keep storage attached wirelessly or by direct USB connection to your Mac, Time Machine can be a real lifesaver without any attention from you unless you need something from the past.

  FROM THE ARCHIVES: iPad in Space  

Believe it or not, just six short years ago the iPad was a brand new device and no one knew how Earth changing it would be. But it didn’t just change the Earth; it has changed space as well. Read on for a blast from the past..all the way from 2011…

In the Star Trek universe, one of the most common devices in use by Starfleet is the PADD, a handheld touch-screen device that serves a variety of purposes. Many people have noted the similarity in appearance and function of this device and the iPad. Now the devices will have something else in common: space travel. The Progress M-13M unmanned supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which successfully docked on November 2nd, included a pair of iPad 2s.

Even though Apple claims that no matter the task “there’s an app for that,” the iPads will be used for entertainment purposes only and not for any mission-related functions. It will, however, probably not be too long before the iPad is used for more important tasks (not that entertainment isn’t important when one is trapped inside only 388 cubic meters of habitable space for months on end). The iPad has already been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for use as an electronic flight bag, replacing the traditional paper manual, which consisted of up to 12,000 pages and weighed up to 38 pounds, with a device weighing just 1.33 pounds. I can definitely envision the iPad fulfilling a similar function for the astronauts in the ISS.

Someday, once Siri is integrated into the iPad, the entire ISS could be controlled through voice commands and the ISS Remote Control app. Hopefully, Siri has more in common with the Enterprise computer than HAL.

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