CrashPlan Waiting for Connection

Consider this my frustration of the week:

I got a new MacBook Pro from the office last week. Awesome machine.

But after installing all my apps from scratch, CrashPlan refused to connect to my home server and the backup server at the office. Backing up to the Cloud runs smoothly, but a backup to another device times out.

The connection initiates, but immediately after the connection is made between my Mac and the server, the status led turns from green to grey and the error message waiting for connection appears.

Since both my server and the one at the office are a functioning backup destination for other devices, I assumed the issue had to be something on my new Mac. Crashplan is a Java based application, so I decided to troubleshoot that part first. After reinstalling both Java and CrashPlan a couple of times, testing connections, I gave ve up and decided to contact CrashPlan directly. Their support pages on Crashplan.com didn’t give any answers, so I resorted to their Zendesk ticketing system. And while typing the ticket’s subject, the following link appeared.

Apparently, when they released their latest 3.6.3 update last week, they broke connectivity with the previous 3.5.3 release.

And what frustrated me more: they update machines automatically, but not all devices at the same time.

So while my MacBook now runs 3.6.3, the server was still running 3.5.3 and connectivy broke without any alert or notice.

For a company that runs a backup service, breaking this kind of core functionality with a point-update is simply a lack of quality control. And offering either a manual uninstall and reinstall of the software as an immediate solution, or waiting for an automatic update as an automatic solution, is even worse.

Customers expect their backups to be reliable. And for less tech savy people, waiting for all their devices to auto-update in order to resume backing up means they probably don’t have a backup until CrashPlan decides to auto-update.

In the end, a manual reinstall and update fixed the issue, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Backups should be reliable. It’s as simple as that.

Tags in the Dock

Tags in Mavericks have been a very nice addition to the way I work with files on my Mac.

I use it almost exclusive to monitor and easily find files from current projects. Contracts, checklist, current coding projects, are all tagged with one of four tags:

Tags

  • Frequent, for files I need on a daily basis
  • Work, for current work files
  • Pint Of Code, drafts and website stuff
  • Bills, bills I still need to pay (automatically tagged via Hazel with what I’ll call a script that clearly is in an early development stage…

It makes it easy to find those files and edit them without navigating through folders in the Finder. Concurrent with the Tags I’ve also got an Inbox folder, heavily monitored by Hazel, that serves as a start point for all new files. This folder sits in the Dock and has replaced the default Downloads folder for me.

What annoyed me is that Tags are only visible in the Finder, and not accessible via the dock as a stack. Having a frequently-used-files-tag-stack accessible via the Dock would be a huge time saver.

Since you can’t drag and drop a tag from a Finder window into the Dock as with any other regular folder (try it!), I needed to create a work around.
I ended up with a nice hack that perfectly recreates the Frequent Tag-stack in my Dock:

Here’s what I did:

  • Create a Smart Folder, Finder – File – New Smart Folder..
  • Set Search Criteria:
    • Use Tag – name of tag as the only search criteria
    • If the option Tag doesn’t appear, click on Other.. n the DropDown
    • Focus on either Macintosh HD or your home folder.
    • Save the Smart Folder and add it to the Finder Sidebar, and give it a logical name.
    • Drag the Smart Folder from the Finder Sidebar into the Dock
    • (Optionally remove the folder from the Sidebar since it’s redundant)
    • Right click on the newly created Stack and optionally choose Display as Folder