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DavidHertzberg

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Posts posted by DavidHertzberg


  1. On 7/13/2017 at 12:39 AM, x509 said:

    David, I agree that Dantz management doesn't want to expose all its bugs and bug history to the world.  But Dantz is hardly unique in that issue.  I also use an Adobe product for photographers that suffers from the same issue, andI don't know if Adobe is so militant (my word choice) about concealing the bugs.  What I do know is that any software of any degree of complexity is going to have some "technical debt," some of it quite old, if only because bugs have to be prioritized for fixing.  I also think that buyers of such software understand that issue, more than managements realize.

     

    Also, if some Dantz competitor started using the bug list as a weapon against Dantz, that would probably come across as

    (1) sleazy, very sleazy

    (2) hypocritical.

     

    x509

     

     

    The problem is that Retrospect Inc. (the modern name for Dantz Development Corp.) is in a different marketing position from Adobe.  It cannot have escaped your notice, x509, that Adobe has IMHO a near-monopoly on certain categories of software products for photographers.  (Although that near-monopoly was undoubtedly obtained mostly by a combination of product excellence and competitors' mistakes, in at least one other category of graphics software products Adobe's near-monopoly was gained by tactics that could be categorized as sleazy.)  Being in that position, Adobe [a] can afford to employ an extensive staff of skilled testers to catch bugs before release of new versions of its software and need not be afraid to admit existence of bugs after release.  Adobe also [c] can afford to employ knowledgeable employees to aggressively scan user forums to detect bugs and [d] can afford to employ enough programmers to promptly fix bugs that come to Adobe's attention.

     

    Unfortunately Retrospect Inc. is not in a near-monopoly position for backup software, and has not been that position—even for Mac backup—since at least 2007.  See  the second paragraph in the "History" section of the Wikipedia article (incidentally DovidBenAvraham's reference for the first sentence of that paragraph is a Macworld article which to this very day is linked to in the fourth-from-earliest post—made by Mayoff—in the Latest News forum on this website).  Thus IME Retrospect Inc. does not qualify in categories [a] or or [c] or [d] as described in the first paragraph of this post.  Therefore IMHO Retrospect Inc. management has "rabbit ears" about its "technical debt", some of which became years old before being brought to that management's attention.

     

    That's why I say, as my third sentence in the second paragraph of post #10 in this thread, "I think, however, that Retrospect Inc. ... doesn't want to scare off potential software purchasers".  Since making post #10 in this thread, I had a reply to a feature request Support Case from a senior Retrospect Support engineer, which I posted nearly intact in the thread related to that feature request in this Forum.  Before posting I asked the engineer if it was OK to do so, and he wrote "If you just mention it on the forums, that is fine. I'd appreciate if you refrain from bringing it up to your Wiki correspondent, as that is a much more likely place for our competition to see the information."  As I pointed out to the engineer, DovidBenAvraham is constrained by Wikipedia's requirement for a Neutral Point of View (NPOV) in articles; therefore, even if I had mentioned it to him, DovidBenAvraham would generally never include a mention of a Retrospect bug in the Wikipedia article—although DBA did make a brief parenthetical exception for the Wake-on-LAN feature for Retrospect Mac (announced in 2009, but it isn't clear whether it ever worked even in Retrospect Mac 😎 .


  2. It has been bugging me that the Google facility I mentioned in the first paragraph of post #19 in this thread only shows patents that reference the patent number you enter (well, you'd expect that—it's Google implementing the facility it thinks the world needs!).  To actually access the original U.S. patent 5,150,473, you have to browse https://www.google.com/patents/US5150473 (omitting the commas, naturally).

     

    So, having figured this out, I took another look at U.S. patent 5,150,473.  It doesn't discuss the Snapshot, only the Catalog File.  If I click the leftmost image under Images, it shows Figs. 1-5—unfortunately Figs. 6-20 are not shown anywhere.  To the extent that I understand Figs. 2-5, each figure seems to show the format of a possible type of node within the tree shown in Fig. 1.  Fig. 4 is a File Info node, and it contains a single name.

     

    IMHO, as a result of the calculation I discussed in my third paragraph of post #16, Snapshot nodes on the average aren't that large.  Therefore I infer that Snapshot nodes link to Catalog File nodes.  This in turn would mean that a Snapshot node would have to be enhanced to include a file name, if Ash7's feature suggestion were implemented, so that the file name in a Snapshot node could be different from the Catalog File node representing the last backup of that file—without a change to the Catalog File node that is almost certainly a no-no because you'd have to also change the copy of the Catalog File stored on the possibly-tape Backup Set medium (if you didn't make that change you'd create the problem I mentioned in post #9) .  That enhancement would enable renaming of files without their being re-backed-up, but would likely require a significant change in Retrospect's handling of Snapshots.  That's why I don't think Retrospect Inc. is likely to implement Ash7's feature suggestion, since—as I said at the end of the first paragraph of post #21—the feature is most likely to benefit the probably-few home users of Retrospect.

     

    Of course the question of whether Snapshot nodes contain file names is best answered by someone actually taking a look at one.  Unfortunately, since I am not yet doing any programming on my home Macs, I don't know what "file dump" app to use to view data whose structure is unknown.  If someone reading this post is also familiar with Mac programming, maybe he/she could offer a suggestion?


  3. If you think this is a bug that should be fixed by Retrospect Inc., you will have to submit it as a Support Case.  For English speakers, that is done by going here http://www.retrospect.com/en/support/contact, and filling out the form (sorry, I don't know what the equivalent addresses are for non-English speakers, but they can figure it out from their appropriate Retrospect website address).  IMHO this is quite reasonable; obliging you to fill out the form provides Retrospect Inc. with useful details about your Retrospect installation that they would otherwise have to query you for.

     

    As a result, Retrospect Inc. will pay no attention to your post in this forum.  On 12 December 2016, in response to a letter I snail-mailed to Mayoff,  I received an e-mail through a Mayoff account that was signed by JG Heithcock, CEO, Retrospect, Inc. http://www.retrospect.com/en/about#exec.  In it he says "From reading your letter, I think the main issue is that you view the forums as a good place to talk to us, Retrospect, Inc. But we view the audience of the forums as restricted to our customers [my emphasis]. The one caveat we have made on that is for feature requests, largely as we would like to see if other customers also agree on the desirability and feature set for these requests."

     

    That means that the only audience for "Retrospect bug reports" in this forum will be other administrators of Retrospect.  Nevertheless, by posting in this forum you are providing a useful service to us fellow administrator peasants.  Thank you.

     

    Please be aware that the "description of your issue" in the Support Case form is IME limited to about 2000 characters by the Support Case software.  If you go over that limit your "description" will be broken up into a "description" plus one or more "additional notes".  The same is true for any additional notes you may later post yourself.  I suggest that, to avoid the appearance of choppiness in your Support Case, you create your case in a post in this forum and then copy it paragraph-by-paragraph to your Support Case. 

     

    Note that, despite the new dialogs in the Retrospect Inc. Support Case system urging you to sign up for Annual Support and Maintenance, Mayoff has verbally assured me that you don't need to be signed up for ASM to report a bug—only to get personal assistance with coping with it.

     

    If this post sounds formulaic, that's because I intend it to be.  I intend to post it in every new thread that appears in this forum, unless the OP indicates that he/she has or will open a Support Case for the bug that the thread reports.  Of course, Mayoff could take 5 minutes of his time to post a slightly-more-polite version of this post as a  "sticky thread" that will always appear at the top of the forum.  I don't intend to hold my breath until that happens (insert appropriate smiley here).

     

     


  4. No, dagnabbit, don't ignore the "[*] soccClose: shutdown() failed with error 0" messages, even if the backups are completing successfully.  Instead report the messages as a bug to Retrospect Inc., by filing a Support Case.  If we don't report these Retrospect bugs, they'll never get fixed.  twickland—blessings be upon him—didn't report this as a bug four years ago, and look where that got us.

     

    My next post in this thread will be my boilerplate instructions on why and how to file a Support Case.  Lindsay Robertson can simply copy portions of his/her first two posts in this thread as the "description of your issue" and "additional notes" for the Support Case, so his/her total elapsed time to file the Support Case will be less than 5 minutes.

     

    P.S.: I forgot that, after I filed a Support Case on my -530 errors about 6 months ago, Retrospect Support asked me to upload copies of a couple of Retrospect files.  But uploading those files didn't take me more than 5 minutes apiece, so Lindsay Robertson shouldn't have to spend more than 15 minutes total on his/her Support Case—spread out over several days.

    • Like 1

  5. I entered "select backup set member" into the Advanced Search (gear icon on the top right of the page, on the same line where "IPS Community" appears on the left) Find Words box, including the quotes, and selected "Windows Products—Retrospect" from the Find in Forum dropdown.  Take a look at this thread, x509, especially posts #5 and following.

    • Like 1

  6. ....

     

    ... I feel I should address David's 3rd paragraph. ;-)

    I've taken his advice and reconsidered my choice of indicated gender, and am quite happy with it thanks.

    He makes a very good point about the age we live in, and as such, people do realise that gender has nothing to do with ability to do a job, solve complex technical issues, nor how you should relate to them.

    Unless, of course, they're looking for a date - which I didn't think would be the situation here, and not really being in the market myself, felt that wasn't valid.

    So I left it as it is, unstated.

    I've put my location, Dunedin New Zealand, (an awesome place just out of range of Kim Jong-un's missiles (not that we've ever pissed anyone off :-p (or got anything that anyone  else wants)). I've never bothered, figuring that the profile itself lists my time zone as GMT+12 anyway.

    Will go now and update my avatar :-)

     

     

    For some months now, I've been using "he/she" and "him/her" on these Forums whenever I can't figure out a poster's gender.  I do that to remind everybody—including myself—that we shouldn't assume a poster is male.  But it's a nuisance, and I'd rather every poster put their (chosen) gender in his/her Profile—that way we might re-educate ourselves.  I'm afraid the combination of a glamorous female avatar and an unstated gender got me a bit irritated in Lindsay Robertson's case; I apologize.

     

    As for the time zone in someone else's Profile, I can't view it; that's why I asked Lindsay Robertson to at least put his/her country in the Location field of his/her Profile, so I could get a general idea of what time of day to expect new posts from him/her.

     

    P.S.: Although I felt impelled to point out in post #3 in this thread that Lindsay Robertson had posted in the wrong Forum, my primary objective in writing the first paragraph in post #3 was to show once again how to use Advanced Search.  Since Mayoff no longer has time to read the Forums, we can't rely on his memory and/or internal records to dig up past occurrences of a particular problem.  Therefore you'd all better learn how to use Advanced Search; I don't expect to be around forever to do it for you—and you can save time by doing it yourself.


  7. I did an Advanced Search (click the gear button at the extreme right of the top line that says "IPS Community" on the left), and typed "soccClose: shutdown"—including the quotes—in the Find Words box.  Then, since Lindsay Robertson had posted this in the "Retrospect Products—Windows->Server, SBS and Multiserver" forum, I selected "Windows Products—Retrospect" in the Find in Forum dropdown and clicked the Search Now button.  I found no posts.

     

    I later reread post #1 in this thread, and saw in the fourth paragraph "I run retrospect single server version 13.5.0" and "Server is a Mac mini late 2014".  I then reran the Advanced Search, but did not select anything in the Find in Forum dropdown.  I found this thread and this thread.  Since the first linked-to thread is the only one with replies, I suggest that Lindsay Robertson look at twickland's post #2 in that thread.

     

    And, while Lindsay Robertson is contemplating Daniels' post #3 in that thread about posting in the wrong forum, IMHO Lindsay Robertson should also reconsider his/her choice for the Gender button for his/her Profile.  This being the second decade of the 21st Century, and less than three weeks after Pride Week (I'm straight, but my apartment overlooks the parade route), I'm not sure whether Lindsay Robertson's profile photo represents his/her normal gender or gender in drag or a first-name-related joke.  As long as he/she is updating his/her Profile, adding at least a country in Location would be nice in view of time zones.


  8. What I find rather disheartening, under the first bolded heading in post #31 in this thread, is Jeff's admission in his third and fourth paragraphs.  He says "There is a bug where the Dashboard application is not popping up automatically in the case that a user tries to launch Retrospect when it is in the background. Instead a message that says something to the effect of 'Retrospect is already running as another user, click OK to relaunch'."  He then admits that this is a bug in Retrospect Windows that has existed for years.

    Jeff is not exaggerating, folks.  I did an Advanced Search in Retrospect Products—Windows for the phrase "Retrospect is already running in" ("Retrospect is already running as" didn't return any results, and "Retrospect is already running" returned too many results).  I found a thread started in October 2013, in which this January 2014 post and the succeeding ones are of particular interest.  The "totally useless little monitor window" that dzeleznik is talking about in that post is obviously the message that Jeff was talking about in the preceding paragraph of this post.  The same Advanced Search also turned up this post by Mayoff in a November 2012 thread. 

    To be fair, even the later of those two threads is talking about Retrospect Windows 8.5, and the Dashboard (second bulleted item in this section of the old Wikipedia article)—as stand-alone app (last sentence in the second bulleted item) or as part of Retrospect.exe—was not introduced until Retrospect Windows 9.  However, I'd hope that someone at Retrospect Inc. would have done enough testing in 2013-2014 to make sure the "totally useless little monitor window" had really been eliminated in Retrospect Windows 9.

    The moral of this story, IMHO, is that we should all keep "banging Retrospect Inc. over the head" with Support Cases.  Don't rely on Mayoff to spot a Retrospect bug in your Forums post and pass it on to the engineers, especially since Mayoff seems to no longer have time to read the Forums at all.  If you report a "bug" that turns out not to be one, let someone at Retrospect Support exercise his/her fingers by writing an e-mail that says "This is expected behavior."  Sometimes it won't be expected behavior, and a bug that might otherwise stick around for years has a chance of being fixed promptly.

    P.S.:  Moved the first sentence of the third paragraph to the end of the second paragraph, and changed the new first sentence of the third paragraph to say that both of the linked-to threads were talking about versions prior to Retrospect Windows 9.

    P.P.S.: Note that, in the earlier post linked to in the last sentence of the second paragraph, Mayoff says "Engine and console separation is still planned."

    P.P.P.S.: Very belatedly put a link to post #31 into the first sentence of this post.  I really miss the automatic post-numbering facility that used to be in the old version of the Forums software.  Also deleted the extra blank lines, that show up in old posts such as this as a consequence of the new version of the Forums software.


  9. As stated in this post in the "New Windows user" thread, I have now received a reply from Retrospect Support to the Support Case I created for my product suggestion from post #1 in this thread.

     

    Under the first bolded one-sentence heading in that "New Windows user" post, I quote what the Support person Jeff says about the problems iCompute reported in posts #1 through #15 in the "New Windows user" thread.  [a] Jeff explains the real nature of the issue iCompute was having, and how it is compounded by a long-standing bug that is supposed to be fixed in the next Retrospect Windows release.   Jeff says that the issue is further compounded by inadequacies in the Retrospect Windows User's Guide, and that he hopes for a simple short-term insertion in and a more-comprehensive long-term rewrite of the UG.

     

    Under the second bolded one-sentence heading in that "New Windows user" post, I largely quote what Jeff reveals about plans that are in the works for a UI overhaul for both the Retrospect Windows and Retrospect Mac platforms.  He says "The new UI will leverage the IPC scaffolding we already have in the engine today", in the process explaining that iCompute's discovery that the Retrospect Mac Console can be used to almost entirely control the Retrospect Windows Retrospect.exe merely reveals inter-process communications capabilities that were carefully designed and tested by Retrospect engineers in 2008-9.  

     

    IMHO "IPC scaffolding" means that there will be two separate processes; one an Engine-equivalent and the other a Console-equivalent (to understand that, see the third and fourth paragraphs of post #18 in the "New Windows user" thread)—whether the Console-equivalent GUI looks like the current Retrospect Mac Console or looks like the Retrospect Virtual Management Console.  What's not clear to me is how, without running into the same Windows Vista-and-after limitations mentioned in the fifth paragraph of post #23 in the "New Windows user" thread, the Retrospect engineers can make this overhauled UI work for Retrospect Windows unless the Engine-equivalent and the Console-equivalent are run on two different machines.  I therefore stand by the essentials of what I said in the first two paragraphs of post #3 in this thread.

     

    Of course it later occurred to me that the overhauled UI Console-equivalent could be made to work in the same Retrospect Windows machine process as the Engine-equivalent, by converting the inter-process messaging into inter-thread messaging (a subject about  which I have essentially no expertise) within the same process.  However IMHO that solution would essentially bring back the same kludginess with which iCompute struggles in posts #1 through #15 of the "New Windows user" thread—a kludginess which Jeff recaps under the first bolded one-sentence heading in post #31 (the post linked to in the first paragraph of this post).  To avoid that, I think that on the same Windows machine the Engine-equivalent process would have to run in a virtual machine manager, as I said in the first paragraph of post #3 in this thread.

     

    P.S.: Expanded the fourth paragraph in order to clarify it; if you read that paragraph in the first 1.75 hours this post was up, before this P.S. was added, you'd better read it again.

     

    P.P.S: Added fifth paragraph; also clarified the fourth paragraph a bit more.


  10. By now you have probably all received an e-mail from Retrospect Inc. that says "Also available is our new product: R... V..., designed for managed service providers (MSPs) to protect VMware and Hyper-V environments."  I think that explains the "high-level political sensitivity within Retrospect Inc.—probably related to marketing questions" I mentioned in the last paragraph of post #28 in this thread.  So Retrospect Inc. doesn't think R... V... is fit for discussion by us non-MSP administrators, but I don't see how they expect to handle problems with it without a user-to-user Forum.


  11. Ash7 may very well be correct as to the former slowness of CPUs and RAM explaining why Retrospect's developers originally considered full deduplication to be computationally too expensive; U.S. Patent 5,150,473 was filed by Dantz Development Corp. in 1990.  If you read the lead section of the old version of the Wikipedia article on Retrospect, especially the second and third paragraphs, you will see that the sales target for Retrospect shifted after Time Machine (and later the equivalent Windows facility) were developed to meet the backup needs of home installations.  Ash7 and I may be among the few home users of Retrospect left, which IMHO explains why Retrospect Inc. does not think it has "many users requiring this feature."

     

    I mentioned the childlessness and breakup of my marriage to explain why I don't have a family archive with a lot of kids' pictures.  The scenic trip I took pictures of was in 1999, when digital cameras were still somewhat expensive and a bit exotic.  As a result of that trip I swore off taking my own pictures, because I found I was spending so much time planning the shots that I wasn't really looking at the sights.  Today I see so many people in my scenic part of Manhattan taking pictures (presumably for their Facebook pages), and wonder whether they are making the same mistake.  Anyway I now own a cheap digital camera, but I rarely use it; I'm not really a visual person.

    • Like 1

  12. In response to my Support Case for the Feature Request, I received a couple of replies from Jeff—probably Jeff McIntire the Lead Support Engineer.

     

    Here follows the reply I can fully share with you, a response to my discussion of iCompute's original problem:

     

    >... If he had chosen not to enable the Launcher, but to just run Retrospect Windows _continuously_ in his user account, he could have continued to do things as he does with Retrospect Mac—where the Engine normally runs continuously.

     

    "The issue doesn't necessarily have to do with the launcher service being on or off, its really more based on whether or not the UI is left open or not.

    If Retrospect is left opened and minimized, there is no need to auto-launch since it is already launched. We usually suggest locking the desktop in these scenarios, instead of logging off as logging off will kill the Retrospect.exe process.

    If Retrospect is set to autolaunch, and the UI is not opened when a scheduled script needs to run we will launch in the background. Even if the user is logged in, and Retrospect is set to launch as that user, the UI is hidden. After a job finishes, Retrospect will remain running in the background if there is another script scheduled to run within the 'look ahead' time, which by default is 12 hours. There is a bug where the Dashboard application is not popping up automatically in the case that a user tries to launch Retrospect when it is in the background. Instead a message that says something to the effect of 'Retrospect is already running as another user, click OK to relaunch'. This dialog box currently broken, and its only displayed due to a bug ( one we have had for years sadly), but will be fixed in our next update.

    The new behavior, following the upcoming update, will include the Dashboard app automatically launching any time Retrospect is running in the background. I've also requested that there be a short explanation available to the user to explain what is going on, and how to use the dashboard, we'll see if it makes it in." 

     

    >The other thing Retrospect Inc. should do ASAP is to put the above info into the Retrospect Windows User's Guide. A Knowledge Base article would be nice, but IMHO not sufficient.

     

    "We have a TON of things that need to go into the User's guide. This probably will be less urgent when we fix the Dashboard bug. (So the dashboard pops up automatically when Retro is running in the background). As you can imagine, the support team would be thrilled to get a real User's guide update. When we do update the guide, it will be a large update comprising of many changes, new screenshots, removal of components that are no longer a part of Retrospect, etc..."

     

    Here follows the reply I wasn't until 2020 quite fully sharing with you (because I thought it unwise for the 2019 scheduled date of the UI overhaul to be displayed to Retrospect Inc.'s competitors), a response to iCompute's discovery and my Feature Request:

     

    "At the time the new Mac console was being released, it was designed to communicate with the Windows engine. I was doing QA work back then, and spent good amount of time testing it. There were problems (there always are) but for the most part it worked just fine.

     

    Yes, there are mechanisms for interprocess communication in the Windows engine. Unfortunately the current UI is tied to the engine in a way that is very difficult to disconnect (A gross oversimplification, forgive me). Doing so would be nearly as much work as re-writing the entire UI. So we are doing that instead.
     

     

    We have a UI overhaul in the works for both the Windows and Mac platforms, currently scheduled for 2019 [shared 2020]. The new UI will leverage the IPC scaffolding we already have in the engine today and should solve a lot of the autolaunch issues that some customers encounter on the Windows platform."


  13. If you think this is a bug that should be fixed by Retrospect Inc., you will have to submit it as a Support Case.  For English speakers, that is done by going here and filling out the form (sorry, I don't know what the equivalent addresses are for non-English speakers, but they can figure it out from their appropriate Retrospect website address).  IMHO this is quite reasonable; obliging you to fill out the form provides Retrospect Inc. with useful details about your Retrospect installation that they would otherwise have to query you for.

     

    As a result, Retrospect Inc. will pay no attention to your post in this forum.  On 12 December 2016, in response to a letter I snail-mailed to Mayoff,  I received an e-mail through a Mayoff account that was signed by JG Heithcock, CEO Retrospect Inc..  In it he says "From reading your letter, I think the main issue is that you view the forums as a good place to talk to us, Retrospect, Inc. But we view the audience of the forums as restricted to our customers [my emphasis]. The one caveat we have made on that is for feature requests, largely as we would like to see if other customers also agree on the desirability and feature set for these requests."

     

    That means that the only audience for "Retrospect bug reports" in this forum will be other administrators of Retrospect.  Nevertheless, by posting in this forum you are providing a useful service to us fellow administrator peasants.  Thank you.

     

    Please be aware that the "description of your issue" in the Support Case form is IME limited to about 2000 characters by the Support Case software.  If you go over that limit your "description" will be broken up into a "description" plus one or more "additional notes".  The same is true for any additional notes you may later post yourself.  I suggest that, to avoid the appearance of choppiness in your Support Case, you create your case in a post in this forum and then copy it paragraph-by-paragraph to your Support Case. 

     

    Note that, despite the new dialogs in the Retrospect Inc. Support Case system urging you to sign up for Annual Support and Maintenance, Mayoff has verbally assured me that you don't need to be signed up for ASM to report a bug—only to get personal assistance with coping with it.

     

    If this post sounds formulaic, that's because I intend it to be.  I intend to post it in every new thread that appears in this forum, unless the OP indicates that he/she has or will open a Support Case for the bug that the thread reports.  Of course, Mayoff could take 5 minutes of his time to post a slightly-more-polite version of this post as a  "sticky thread" that will always appear at the top of the forum.  I don't intend to hold my breath until that happens (insert appropriate smiley here).

     

     


  14. This thread discusses the -641 error, and how henry-in-florida got around it.

     

    I found the thread using the Advanced Search facility by clicking the gear icon on the extreme right of the top line in the Forums page that says "IPS Community" on the left.  I then typed "-641"—including the quotes—into the Find Words box; I could have selected "Retrospect 9 or higher for Macintosh" from the Find in Forums dropdown, but I didn't because I wanted to see posts from any Forum that discussed error -641.


  15. A helpful side note to this discussion comes as a result of my reading an Ars Technica front page article on a patent troll.  The article linked to the patent being discussed using https://www.google.com/patents .  Obviously I couldn't resist using that URL to look up U.S. Patent 5,150,473.  The nice thing about that Google Web facility, as opposed to the Patent Office's own facility that I found in a Wikipedia article, is that it also lists patents that cite the numbered patent.

     

    There are 9 U.S. Patents that cite 5,150,473, Besides 5,966,730, they include 8 other patents assigned to EMC Corporation—which owned the Retrospect software from 2004 to 2010.  Unfortunately they don't further explain the structure of the Snapshot.  The information retrieved via the Google search is still only what the Patent Office put on line; it's just formatted a bit more nicely, and provides links to other patents that cite the patent you're looking up.

     

    Incidentally, the lead inventor on U.S. Patent 8,341,127—filed in 2006—is someone named Jeffery Gordon Heithcock.  The name sounds somewhat familiar; I wonder what happened to him?  That patent is for "client-initiated restore", which according to this section of the old Wikipedia article wasn't released until 2011 in Retrospect Mac 9.


  16. Ash7, my basic concern—as someone with 40 years of professional programming experience—is that your feature suggestion seems so obvious that there must be some good reason why the Retrospect Inc. engineers didn't implement it years ago.  My feeling is that good programmers (which I believe the Retrospect Inc. engineers to be, although their ability to eliminate bugs before release and to fix them afterward seems not quite up to snuff—even allowing for Retrospect being a complicated system) have good reasons for what they do or don't do.  Therefore if Retrospect doesn't carry de-duplication down to the filename level, my tentative hypothesis is that it must be because the Snapshot doesn't currently directly contain filenames.  I was hoping to see C structs as part of U.S. Patent 5,150,473 in order to confirm or refute my hypothesis, but the code listings aren't in the Web-published document.

     

    Also, because one of the things I have learned in the last few months of participating in these Forums is that many of the Retrospect administrators who post here are consultants to organizations, I had envisioned you as such an administrator with an obsessive-compulsive need to regularize filenames in organizational archives.  That's why my contrived example in post #11 in this thread was constructed the way it was.  I see now, from what you have written in the fifth paragraph of post #17, that you are more likely to be an administrator of a home installation who needs to regularize filenames etc. in a family archive.  Although my own installation is in my home, my 20-year marriage (childless by mutual agreement) ended 14 years ago—before the advent of digital photography.  I have an archive of still photos I took on a scenic trip we took in 1999, but it is sitting in a box in a closet—I have never digitized it.  My ex-wife took some photos on previous trips, but she has retained those.  Anyway, I am now much more sympathetic to the need for your suggested feature.

     

    I presume that, because you wrote in post #1 of having contacted Retrospect Support, you have already filed a Support Case for this feature request.  If you haven't, please let me know here—so that my next post in this thread can be my boilerplate explanation of how to do that.


  17. If you think this is a feature that should be added by Retrospect Inc., you will have to submit it as a Support Case.  For English speakers, that is done by going here, and filling out the form (sorry, I don't know what the equivalent addresses are for non-English speakers, but they can figure it out from their appropriate Retrospect website address).  IMHO this is quite reasonable; obliging you to fill out the form provides Retrospect Inc. with useful details about your Retrospect installation that they would otherwise have to query you for.

     

    As a result, Retrospect Inc. will pay no attention to your post in this forum.  On 12 December 2016, in response to a letter I snail-mailed to Mayoff,  I received an e-mail through a Mayoff account that was signed by JG Heithcock, CEO, Retrospect, Inc..  In it he says "From reading your letter, I think the main issue is that you view the forums as a good place to talk to us, Retrospect, Inc. But we view the audience of the forums as restricted to our customers [my emphasis]. The one caveat we have made on that is for feature requests, largely as we would like to see if other customers also agree on the desirability and feature set for these requests."

     

    That means that the only audience for "Retrospect feature requests" in this forum will be other administrators of Retrospect.  Nevertheless, by posting in this forum you are providing a useful service to us fellow administrator peasants.  Thank you.

     

    Please be aware that the "description of your issue" in the Support Case form is IME limited to about 2000 characters by the Support Case software.  If you go over that limit your "description" will be broken up into a "description" plus one or more "additional notes".  The same is true for any additional notes you may later post yourself.  I suggest that, to avoid the appearance of choppiness in your Support Case, you create your case in a post in this forum and then copy it paragraph-by-paragraph to your Support Case. 

     

    Note that, despite the new dialogs in the Retrospect Inc. Support Case system urging you to sign up for Annual Support and Maintenance, Mayoff has verbally assured me that you don't need to be signed up for ASM to request a feature—only to get personal assistance in coping with its absence.

     

    If this post sounds formulaic, that's because I intend it to be.  I intend to post it in every new thread that appears in this forum, unless the OP indicates that he/she has or will open a Support Case for the feature request that the thread reports.  Of course, Mayoff could take 5 minutes of his time to post a slightly-more-polite version of this post as a  "sticky thread" that will always appear at the top of the forum.  I don't intend to hold my breath until that happens 😞.

    • Like 1

  18. There doesn't seem to be a Wikipedia article that discusses Windows Libraries; I found this article from Microsoft.  It says "A Library doesn’t contain files. Rather, a Library provides a single aggregated view of multiple folders and their contents."  That explains why pages 444-446 of the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide don't tell you how to define a Windows Library as a Subvolume.

     

    So jdhill is going to have to file a Feature Request; the next post in this thread will be my boilerplate explanation of how to do that.

     

    P.S.: I took a further look at the Microsoft article linked to in the first sentence of this post, including the comments.  A number of those comments are not at all complimentary about Windows Libraries; in fact they discuss ways to disable the facility.  So jdhill should be careful using Windows Libraries, and IMHO not expect Retrospect to support them.  Also, Windows Libraries are a facility added in Windows 7; do later versions of Windows support them (I wouldn't know, because I'm a Mac administrator)—or is jdhill stuck on Windows 7?


  19. FYI, here is another YouTube video—entitled "R... V...: Technical Training"—that showed up (along with other YouTube videos) on the right-hand of my YouTube Web page when I viewed the video linked-to in the second paragraph of post #28 in this thread.  I have only viewed the first few minutes of this video, for reasons explained in the paragraph below.

     

    Warning: fortify yourself with copious amounts of caffeine before viewing the "R... V...: Technical Training" video.  It is a bit over an hour long, and appears to be a screen video with accompanying audio of a presentation made by a R... Support engineer to other R... I.... people (and possibly allied outsiders)—probably technical salespeople.  If you can stay awake, it's probably even more informative than the linked-to "Demo" video.

     

    A certain organization may not be too happy about the "Technical Training" video being viewed by ordinary administrators.  However I do not have the "seekrit spy" edition of Firefox or Safari; this video just showed up as available to view when I viewed the "Demo" video with my ordinary edition of Firefox.  I'm only posting a link to it because IMHO the "Demo" video does not provide administrators enough info to properly evaluate choice [2] in the fourth paragraph of post #28 in this thread.

    • Like 1

  20. I think it's important not to negate the viability of the feature suggestion based on assumptions about the product's implementation. Putting aside assumptions about how the feature suggestion might be implemented or any related obstacles in that endeavor, what would be more interesting to hear is whether or not you would find this feature, if implemented/released, a value-add, a positive, and good thing... Do you give the feature suggestion a +1 vote or not? That's truly the purpose of this thread as the Retrospect team suggested I seek out user feedback... if they hear enough such feedback, they'll be more apt to consider the suggestion.

     

    An aside... while I don't have access to Retrospect source code and don't want to make assumptions about its catalog file's implementation, I feel compelled to address your assumptions by saying that common sense tells me the catalog file's current design is either ripe for this feature or very easily extended to accommodate it in a backward compatible manner, that all of the issues you've raised so far are non-issues when considering whether or not you like the idea of this feature from a conceptual standpoint (regardless of Wikipedia, manuals, implementation/design assumptions, etc). This is all to repeat the question.

     

     

    It's all a question of trade-offs.  If the feature suggestion resulted in—e.g.—making Snapshots 10 times as large as they are now for all Retrospect administrators, I would definitely not find this feature a value-add.  But that's because I am a Retrospect administrator who does not personally engage in the renaming of massive numbers of files.

     

    Therefore I have just engaged in a bit of research in the archives of the U.S. Patent Office, using the Web app http://patft.uspto.gov/ for which I found a link in the External Links at the bottom of the Wikipedia article "United States patent law".  First, you can forget about U.S. Patent 5,966,730; that turns out to be Dantz Development Corp.'s patent for Proactive backup.  So I looked at U.S. Patent 5,150,473; that appears to be Dantz Development Corp.'s patent (filed in 1990 and granted in 1992) for the interaction of the Snapshot and Catalog File.  Unfortunately I simply don't have the time to make sense of the flowchart-like explanation in what I can view; there was C code filed with the patent application as Appendix A, but it isn't stored online as part of this USPTO system.  However one of the prior patents cited as references is U.S. Patent 4,945,475, which turns out to be Apple's patent for the Hierarchical File System; a quick look says it works as I guessed in the first paragraph of post #13 in this thread.

     

    So I did a simple calculation using the logged results of last Saturday's Recycle backup of my MacBook Pro.  I backed up 720,339 files, and the Snapshot contained 2 files totaling 229MB (building and copying the Snapshot reportedly took a bit less than 2 minutes).  That comes out to an average of 318 Snapshot bytes per file, which doesn't sound as if the names of parent directories are being stored in Snapshots.  However I can't tell if the names of the files themselves are being stored in Snapshots; it's possible that they are.

     

    Thus, without further information on the question discussed in the last sentence of the preceding paragraph—for which the need is discussed in the first paragraph of this post, I'm afraid I can't give this feature suggestion a "+1 vote".  Sorry, Ash7.


  21. ProFromGrover, IMHO which of the two proposed interfaces a Retrospect Windows administrator will want to move to depends on the nature of his/her installation.

     

    For you folks who haven't had a chance to read the Feature Request thread I started, I'll briefly recap it for you.  My post #1 was an expansion of what I stated in the first and second paragraphs of post #25 in this thread.  ProFromGrover countered in post #2 of that thread with a presentation of Retrospect Virtual, centered around this YouTube video—which is linked to from this page of the Retrospect.com website..  I pointed out in post #3 of that thread that the Virtual Host Server for Retrospect Virtual, which is essentially an adaption of the Retrospect.exe "backup server" app (although the video refers to it as a "client"), must be run within a virtual machine manager—a fact clearly stated within the first minute of the YouTube video linked-to in the sentence preceding this one within this paragraph.  It is also stated within the first minute of the video that the Virtual Management Console for Retrospect Virtual, which is IMHO a fancy re-implementation of the Retrospect Mac Console described in the third paragraph of post #18 in this thread, can run on either on a physical machine or virtual machine—which doesn't have to be run by the same virtual machine manager the Virtual Host Server is installed in.

     

    What makes the Virtual Management Console for Retrospect Virtual fancy is that it has a Web browser interface, as pointed out by ProFromGrover in post #27 of this thread.  What makes it feasible on Windows, as I also point out in the first paragraph of post #3 in the Feature Request thread, is that it does an "end run" around the security features added to Windows Vista—because they apparently don't apply to communications between a process running in a virtual machine manager and a process running on another (or the same) Windows machine (virtual or hardware).  OTOH the separate user-space GUI app similar to the Console app in Retrospect Mac—which I proposed in post #1 of the Features Request thread—could undoubtedly also be given a Web browser interface, and it wouldn't require that Retrospect.exe be run in a virtual machine manager—only that the Console and Retrospect.exe be run on separate machines.

     

    So you long-suffering Retrospect Windows administrators are faced with three choices: [1] Live with Retrospect Windows as is, with the kludges described in posts #1 through #15 of this thread.  [2]  Go with Retrospect Virtual, and install your Virtual Host Server(s) within virtual machine managers.  [3]  Go with the Retrospect Windows Console I proposed in post #1 of the Feature Request thread—assuming it is developed, and accept that the Retrospect Windows Console must be run on a machine separate from the machine(s) your Retrospect.exe "backup server" app(s) is/are running on.

     

    Over to you, Retrospect Windows administrators, for discussion.  One caution, though: Please, please—for the sake of this thread's existence—do not discuss any other characteristics of Retrospect Virtual here.  As I pointed out in the third paragraph of post #3 in the Feature Request thread, almost 3 months ago I had a single-post thread deleted from both the "Windows Products—Retrospect -> Professional" and the "Retrospect 9 or higher for Macintosh" forum.  The e-mail accompanying the deletion, from support@retrospect.com, said "Posting anything about Retrospect Virtual is totally off topic from the topic in the Retrospect forum."  (I think that was Support's excuse for deleting the thread; I think the real reason was that I had used a strong but non-obscene verb describing what the User's Guide committee had done.)  I will only note here that as of nearly 3 months since documentation for Retrospect Virtual appeared on this website: [a] no announcement of Retrospect Virtual has appeared in the Latest News forum; ["bee"] the YouTube video linked-to in the second paragraph of this post was narrated by someone other than Mayoff—the video-creating expert at Retrospect Inc.; [c] the Retrospect Virtual documentation posted on this website seems very preliminary IMHO; [d] (most important IMHO) no Retrospect Virtual discussion Forum has been established.  My nose, tuned by 40 years of experience working for a number of large and small organizations, says there's some high-level political sensitivity within Retrospect Inc.—probably related to marketing questions—about Retrospect Virtual.  Let's keep discussion in this thread confined to whether or not you would use Retrospect Virtual in your installation.


  22. I did a Google search for "IncrementalPLUS" and "patents".  I found that some website connected with Amazon has a .PDF of the Retrospect Windows 6.5 User's Guide.  At the front of that 2003 manual were listed U.S. Patents 5,150,473 and 5,966,730; there were also trademark notices for a number of Dantz Retrospect terms.

     

    Have fun researching those patents, Ash7.  I suspect that they contain the secrets of how Snapshots and Catalog Files interact to do Retrospect's IncrementalPLUS backups, which your proposed feature would modify.  When I get time and can find out how to view online at least a summary of a U.S. patent, I'll also research them.

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