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Why I like Time Machine

Time Machine screenshot

It’s cool. Admit it: you think it’s cool too. Time Machine, one of Apple’s flashier new innovations for Leopard, lets you go back in the past, grab a document you’d lost (maybe you deleted or saved over it) and bring it back to the…umm…future. No flux capacitor or warp-speed slingshot maneuvers around the sun required. Here’s what I like about it:

Automatic recovery or a la carte
Manually backing up your system is a hassle so most people, myself included, don’t do it. Restoring to an earlier entire disk image can be daunting because there are so many potential conflicts and interdependencies. You’re liable to cause a temporal rift in the time space continuum–only instead of the universe exploding, your programs might crash! Time Machine’s piecewise approach (independent histories for individual folders, applications, etc.) makes backup AND recovery totally ubiquitous and risk-free…er.

Combines with search
The example given in the keynote was more about executing time machine with a filter, but now that they’ve got Spotlight really humming, it’d be amazing to see a Spotlight search results window go back through time. Now all you need to remember is that you had document X SOMEWHERE on your computer at SOME POINT IN TIME!

It helps everyday users become better geeks!
What’s under the hood is really an automated backup system with rudimentary version control. Pretty sophisticated stuff for consumers, but the interface frames it up well. Nicely demonstrates how much innovation can be squeezed out of problems that have been solved technically, but are still unsolved from the user experience perspective.

David Gillis More posts by David Gillis