Took the Plunge, Now Have Questions...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JoelBC, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. JoelBC, Nov 24, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #1
    I am a long time and very comfortable Windows user....

    I am in need of a new laptop as I can longer use one laptop for both business purposes and personal purposes...I debated whether to get a Windows ultrabook or try a MacBook...I have done a lot of reading and decided for the first time in my life to give Apple a try...

    I ordered a MBA with an i7 / 8GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD...I will need to run Parallels [or some other VM] as I do have some Windows applications that I can not avoid using...

    I would appreciate answers to the following items:

    1. Backup

    I am fairly comfortable with Windows programming and have written a number of small application...one of the most useful such applications is a simple bat file which when combined with Window's Task Manager automatically backups critical folders on my hard drive.

    Is there a simple way to replicate this functionality is OS X...is there an easy way to do this OR is this best done through learning AppleScript or other?


    2. Case

    I am fanatical about keeping everything I own in "like new" shape and with that....is a case / shell a good idea [or, does it create cooling issues] and, if yes, which is best / recommended.


    3. PDF

    I am going to try to use native Mac apps to the greatest extent possible and would therefore like to know what is the Mac application that is closes to Adobe Acrobat as I need an application for password protecting PDF files, etc.


    4. NTFS Drives

    I will need to read / write to my existing NTFS formatted drives and, in particular, my NAS drive...what is the best application for this purpose, is it Paragon's NTFS for MAC



    5. Time Machine

    I will be using -- at least that is the current plan -- Time Machine for backup purposes and was wondering whether it is possible to use Time Machine with an NTFS formatted drive which is AFP compliant.



    6. Update

    I noticed that Apple has released a V2.0 update for all 2012 laptops...how do I check whether I need to install this update?



    7. VPN

    I will need to connect to a Cisco SA...I was able to do so with iOS 6's built in VPN app which was Cisco clients...is there a similar app in OS 10.8?


    And, if there is anything else that I should be aware of know please add it to your response....thanks for reading this post and for responding.


    Joel
     
  2. Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

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    #2
    See responses in red above.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #3
    Appreciate the response...two quick follow ups:


    1. Backups

    I am looking to write a small application / script that backups specific folders to a USB thumb drive or portable drive without any compression...is this possible in TimeMachine?


    2. PDF

    I will give Preview a try but is it compatible with files that have been PDF password protected files using Adobe Acrobat?

    Thanks,

    Joel
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

    Joined:
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    The Triangle, NC
    #4
    1. You'll probably want to write up a shell script using rsync and then either pipe it through cron or set it up as a .plist file that gets fed into launchd. Both routes are a bit of a hassle to get set up initially, but are rock solid once they work properly. I can provide some guidance on this if necessary.

    2. I believe that it is. I have opened password protected PDFs with it in the past, but I don't know if they were created with Adobe initially.
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #5
    The closest thing to a bat file is to create a bash script, and assign it to launchd to run on a schedule you can define. The old way of doing this is to assign the bash script to cron, but I think this still works.

    Use Acrobat Reader? It supports forms, signing, etc. Preview does prompt for a password for password protected PDFs, but the extent of its ability to manipulate PDFs is limited compared to Acrobat Reader which is free.


    For DAS that's NTFS formatted, you'd need a Paragon or Tuxera offering.
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/paragon-ntfs-mac-os-review-rewards/

    For NAS, the file system doesn't matter as it's offered up to OS X as either CIFS, AFP or NFS.

    If the NTFS volume is made available via NAS over AFP then Time Machine will create a disk image file containing an independent JHFSX filesystem, onto which your backup will exist. Time Machine will not backup to NTFS formatted DAS. To support Time Machine to a 3rd party NAS, you need to make sure the version of AFP it's using is up to date (netatalk 2.2.3 or better).

    If the built-in VPN support is inadequate you should look at IPSecuritas.

    I agree with the use of VM for Windows support. Boot Camp is irritating. If you do go down that road, plan your partitioning well because there are no resizing tools provided by Apple. You'd need a 3rd party resizing tool, or an excessive amount of knowledge of both GPT and hybrid MBRs to negotiate the multi-step process to do this yourself.[/QUOTE]
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    #6
    First, thank-you for your response as they are both appreciated and very helpful....a few follow ups which hopefully you will not mind...


    A little help please as I am entirely new to Mac despite being very seasoned and very comfortable with Windows...

    Although I will Google "Bash Script" could you i) please elaborate on the language, syntax, difficulty, etc. and ii) please confirm that launcher is essentially Mac's version of Task Manager?



    And that is one of the points, I needed the power of Adobe Acrobat which is more powerful that Adobe Reader...the other point is that I could use Adobe Acrobat in my VM but, as noted elsewhere, I am trying to use as many native Mac applications as possible.



    Looks as though a copy of NTFS for Mac is in my future...



    I am fairly certain that the AFP is current as the AFP was added through a firmware update as the time of Lion's release principally to allow Mac connectivity.

    I am somewhat confused about the first sentence above...I would appreciate you expanding on how the creation of a disk image containing an independent JHFSX file system is different / same from how TimeMachine would normally operate.



    Thanks, presumably IPSecuritas is Cisco friendly.



    I have decided against Boot Camp not only because I have no desire to boot and reboot but I also figured that i) backup and maintenance is easier in the VM world in that TimeMachine will back up the VM machine's virtual disk which means everything can be backed up and once and ii) there are fewer / no disk partition or other related issues.


    Thanks for the help,


    Joel
     
  7. SuperJudge, Nov 24, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

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    Location:
    The Triangle, NC
    #7
    i) It's shell script and will use either sh or bash syntax. I recommend bash syntax since it gets you more functionality and you probably won't be too worried about portability. If you've done .bat files before, you shouldn't have too much trouble picking up bash scripting. I'll even give you some examples to get you started.

    Here's a sample rsync script:
    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    #rsync.sh - A simple backup script
    rsync -a /Users/$USERNAME/Documents/ /Volumes/ThumbDrive/BackupFolder/
    The basic syntax of rsync is: rsync -OPTIONS SOURCE DESTINATION

    The switch of -a gets you the Archive option, which is a shortcut that preserves permissions, timestamps and the like. Of course you replace $USERNAME as appropriate and the backup destination will change based on your specific machine, but you get the idea. Don't forget to chmod +x your script from the CLI!

    Unfortunately, launchd is a bit more complicated than Task Scheduler as there's no GUI included in the OS. There's Lingon, but I've never used it. It's highly regarded, though, and it's by the same guy that made Smultron, so I imagine it's pretty good. Here are some directions for creating a .plist file to talk to launchd.

    First, construct your .plist file. Here's an example that uses the script above.
    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
        <key>Label</key>
            <string>com.blah.rsync-trigger</string>
        <key>ProgramArguments</key>
        <array>
            <string>/bin/sh</string>
            <string>/path/to/rsync.sh</string>
        </array>
        <key>StartCalendarInterval</key>
            <dict>
            <key>Hour</key>
            <integer>3</integer>
            <key>Minute</key>
            <integer>35</integer>
    </dict>
    </dict>
    </plist>
    That sets up our script above to run every day 3:35am. It's inelegant as hell, but it does work like a champ.

    Save that .plist in your ~/Library/LaunchAgents directory. Load it into launchd like this:
    Code:
    superjudge on mentalla on local [ 2.45, 2.46, 2.42 ]
    (17:34:57) 206 /Users/superjudge % > launchctl load  Library/LaunchAgents/com.blah.rsync-trigger.plist
    I realize that's a lot to dump all at once. Here are a few links you might find handy in your travels through POSIX land:
    http://floppix.ccai.com/scripts1.html
    http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Bash-Prog-Intro-HOWTO-2.html
    http://www.haykranen.nl/2008/05/05/rsync/
    https://developer.apple.com/library.../Reference/ManPages/man5/launchd.plist.5.html
    http://alvinalexander.com/mac-os-x/launchd-plist-examples-startinterval-startcalendarinterval

    ii) Yes, launchd is roughly equivalent to Task Scheduler on Windows.
     
  8. MJL
    macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Good to try out the Apple platform, just keep an eye on temperature if you have long runs of high CPU utilisation. You may want to get smcfancontrol (OS X) to have different fan speed settings.

    I am also very structured and use FBackup (under Windows, free) for my documents etc backups. If you do decide to run Windows under bootcamp then you can use Winclone for backing up the whole bootcamp partition (shareware, something like 20 USD from memory and worth it).
    OS X is a different paradigm but if you persevere then you'll eventually get there.

    At the moment I am trying to get Windows 8 loaded but the keyboard mapping is getting the better of me.... grr..... (and just bought another Mac mini).

    Windows 8 is extremely frustrating and it is beyond me why people like it oh wait it must be this tablet thingy....
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    #9
    Thanks for all the help...

    1. Backup

    I will most definitely try the batch scripting as it seems like it will be useful to learn...I will, until I get proficient, use this application which I found on the web earlier today which seems to "do it all" [at least for my needs]...the url is
    http://download.cnet.com/Backuplist/3000-2242_4-93627.html

    2. Windows 8

    I have been using it for a while...it is one of the reasons why I am trying OS X...it is wonderful on a tablet but useless on a laptop as there is far too much clicking..to me, anyone staying with the windows platform need to either i) get something like Start 8 to make WIndows 8 like Windows 7 or ii) stick with Windows 7


    Thanks to all,


    Joel
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #10
    bash is a GNU shell, and is what's found on BSD and Linux systems. You might find it easier to just get Carbon Copy Cloner which includes the latest rsync (Apple's installed version is 2.6.9 from 2006; if you want to use the latest from upstream you can install Macports and build the current version yourself) and schedule your backups.

    OK then get Acrobat 10 or 11 from Adobe, there is a Mac version.

    I'd make sure it's current, if you're going to rely on it for Time Machine backups over a network.

    Time Machine has three modes for the target location of backups: local (same file system), DAS and NAS. All three are normal. Local is used to maintain (temporary) backups when you're not connected to your usual backup destination, and are cleared to that destination when you reconnect. DAS is expected to be either JHFS+ or JHFSX in order to accept a Time Machine backup because each incremental backup behaves as if it were a full backup by using hardlinks to unchanged files instead of actually backing everything up every hour, other file systems aren't supported. DAS is the usual case for most users. NAS as destination causes Time Machine to write a sparse bundle disk image (a growable file system contained inside a file that also grows as the file system contained within it gets bigger) which is mounted locally only via AFP and used as the destination target.

    Dunno, you'll have to investigate.

    Yes. I strongly advise you get the VM the way you want it, and from that point use snapshots within the VM so that changes to the virtual disk are made to a secondary file (the snapshot) rather than to the very large single monolithic virtual disk file. Otherwise, you end up with hourly backups of what's likely to be a 20+GB virtual disk file, even if only 10MB have changed. Alternatively, set in Time Machine, to ignore the VM virtual disk to exclude it from backups, and back it up with a different system (Carbon Copy Cloner, or rsync, or even cp from a bash file) where you keep fewer copies and less frequently done.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #11
    Thank-you…



    Despite having checked their website I did not realize that Mac versions existed as they are so deeply buried…in any event, thanks, this is very helpful.




    Agreed…the best way to do this is likely trial and error to see whether or not it works as I could not find any relevant information on the internet.



    Assuming that my NAS is AFP/TimeMachine compatible then would you suggest that I use a DAS [i.e. I could pick up a 2TB+ USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt Drive] or my NAS which is 4 GB in size and setup as a RAID 5 device.



    To be clear…it is your suggestion that I either i) make changes to a secondary file [i.e. a file other than the VMs virtual hard drive] so that TimeMachine does not consistently backup a 20 GB+ file OR ii) exclude the VMs virtual hard from TimeMachine and back it up separately such as with backuplist+ [i.e http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/21413/backuplist+ ] which I happened upon yesterday.

    With respect to i) above is not the case everytime I open the VM its virtual disk will change which means that there is no way to avoid TimeMachine from consistently backing it up other than excluding it.

    While on the subject of TimeMachine, what is the protocol when one’s DAS or NAS is full as a result of TimeMachine [i.e. is there a feature to delete backups beyond a certain age]?


    *****​

    Thanks for the assistance and the time as it is greatly appreciated,



    Joel
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #12
    Well no, the best way is to call or email support and ask. It could be days, weeks or months of backing up before an incompatibility reveals itself.


    Doesn't matter. Either way I don't have much long term trust in these backups so I blow them away and start over after ~9 months (+- 3 months). And I keep 2nd and 3rd backups using rsync rather than depending entirely on Time Machine. But my first choice is to restore Time Machine backups because it's basically push button.


    Yes.

    That's why I said to use snapshots so the main VM disk image file isn't updated, but rather a snapshot file, and that still gets backed up.


    Time Machine starts deleting old backups. Well before this happens, I've blown away the TM backup and started a new one.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I will call to be on the safe side to find out whether the Netatalk version is X or higher.



    Agreed as this is what I do know with Windows…I am thinking that I will use TimeMachine in conjunction with backuplist+ which looks to be both full featured and simple.



    Thanks, much appreciated

    ******​

    Again, thanks for everything,


    Joel

    ----------

    One more thing...will a just ordered MBA come with Lion or Mountain Lion as forgot to ask the sales agent but truthfully just figured it would come with Mountain Lion?

    And, if not, what is the best way to upgrade from Lion to Mountain Lion?
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #14
    I took your advice and called Western Digital technical support...fast to get a live person to talk to...and incredibly slow to get an answer...

    After two separate calls, each with a 10 minute confirmation of who I am, I was finally put to a Level 2 technical advisor...though he could not provide me with the specific version of Netatalk that was was being used on my NAS drive he did tell me i) it was a version of 2 and ii) the firmware upgrade was specifically written to be compatible with OS 10.7 and 10.8 so apparently I am good to go...

    A little more detail would have increased my confidence but I will preform a test or two to ensure that all is okay...

    Thanks for all the help,


    Joel
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    MBA arrived today but because I am swamped at work there is no way that I will be able to start setting it up until the weekend...

    I do however have one question -- and, apologies as I am new to the Mac world -- and that is whether or not there will be a mid-cycle refresh of the unit or whether the next update will be in late Spring / early Summer time frame as I would hate to have spent $2,000 on a laptop and accessories only to have replaced by another unit in a few weeks time.

    Thanks in advance,


    Joel
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2012
    #16
    No one can answer this question. This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning Apple hardware is the completely obscured nature of hardware releases and the fact Apple doesn't comment on unreleased hardware or software.

    From Wikipedia, you can see there was a MBA released in late 2010 and a refresh appeared in mid-2011 which is less than a year. So it's possible to see a refresh before summer 2013.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Appreciate the response...I am not concerned about a refresh that happens +/1 5 months time I am just concerned about a refresh that happens before late December / early January.

    I am in a situation where I would have liked to have waited until the next refresh -- which presumably will have Haswell and which, in turn, presumably will not be before late Spring / early Summer -- but need a new computer now [i.e. the is a case of "need to buy something" rather than "want to buy something"] so here I am.

    I think, for the reasons that I noted above, that I am safe because I do not think that there will be a refresh before Haswell...what are your thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Joel
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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    Ohio, USA
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Yes, I saw that but then again I was one of the "lucky ones" who had their 64 GB WiFi + Cell iPad 3 updated 8 weeks after purchasing it...not a nice feeling...
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #20
    Although there is an entire thread on cases it is mixed with bags, cases, skins, etc. so I am asking again....

    I am looking for a case to cover my MBA that will NOT in and of itself scratch it...I need protection from scratches...I do *NOT* need protection from "drops" as I am very careful with the things that I own...

    With that, which case would you recommend.

    Thanks in advance,


    Joel
     
  21. macrumors 6502

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #21
    Before you drop $$$ on Adobe Acrobat, take a look at PDFPenPro from Smile Software, is a lot less expensive and has a lot of capabilities.

    TextExpander by Smile is also a great app, by the way (but don't buy it from the App Store, sandbox restrictions prevent Smile from releasing updates to it via the App Store).

    I'm not affiliated, just a happy customer.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #22
    Appreciate the suggestion...one follow up, can PDFPenPro open Acrobat files and, in particular, Acrobat files that have password security? I looked on their website and could find an answer.



    Appreciate the answer...I am new to Mac, what are sandbox restrictions?


    Thanks,


    Joel
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #23
    I don't know if PDFPenPro can open Acrobat files, I've only used it to create and open pdf files. Sounds like you are a more sophisticated user of Adobe - maybe this site would help you? https://smilesoftware.com/PDFpenPro/compare.html

    Or, ask the folks at Smile, their tech support is very responsive (Support page on their site has a link to email).


    Sandboxing is a security measure apps sold through the Mac App Store have to abide by, prevents apps from interacting with one another (I'm sure that's not a technically right description). TextExpander works regardless of what app you are using, which violates Apple's sandbox rules. Apple allows apps "grandfathered" in before the sandboxing restrictions, but does not allow devs to build additional functionality in the grandfathered apps - so while you can buy TE on the app store, you would be better served to buy it direct from Smile in order to get upgrades w/ additional functionality.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #24
    Thanks for both responses...I will PDFPenPro a try as there is a free trial period...
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #25
    I finally got around to spending some time configuring my i7 / 8 GB/ 256 GB SSD MBA...

    I think that I got a fairly good unit in that:

    1. Battery / Health Information / Cycle Count = 0

    2. Display string = LSN133BT01A02 = Samsung

    3. Hard disk drive = SM256E = Samsung

    I will write more once I get a few more hours on the laptop,

    Thanks for all the help,


    Joel
     

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