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SUPALab has a TimeCapsule in the Westie booth. The TimeCapsule allows you to wirelessly backup important files through Time Machine (or an equivalent backup program on other systems). Follow the instructions below to set up backup on your computer.

Note: At present instructions only exist for MacOSX. Instructions for Windows and Linux will hopefully be added soon.

Registering your Mac Address with the TimeCapsule

The TimeCapsule is locked to only certain MAC Addresses for security reasons. Before you set up backup, you'll need to register your wireless adapter's MAC address with the TimeCapsule.

  • Open a new Terminal window. Type the following exactly as you see it (the '$' represents the prompt that appears automatically in terminal. It indicates a new line):

$ networksetup -getcomputername

  • Take note of the resulting name, exactly as you see it (capitalisation is important!). This is your computer's name on the network
  • Next, type the following into terminal, exactly as you see it:

$ networksetup -listallhardwareports

  • This will list all of the network ports on your computer. It should look something like this:

macpro-alexh-02:~ supalabufo$ networksetup -listallhardwareports

Hardware Port: Bluetooth DUN

Device: Bluetooth-Modem

Ethernet Address: N/A

Hardware Port: Ethernet 1

Device: en0

Ethernet Address: 27:cd:34:a8:f2:9g

Hardware Port: Ethernet 2

Device: en1

Ethernet Address: 27:cd:34:q8:aa:c6

Hardware Port: FireWire

Device: fw0

Ethernet Address: 27:cd:34:fg:fe:58:11:f4

Hardware Port: Wi-Fi

Device: en2

Ethernet Address: d1:23:8d:f3:e1:e2

VLAN Configurations


  • Search for the 'Hardware Port' named 'Wi-Fi' (OSX Lion +) or 'Airport' (OSX SnowLeopard -) and note down its 'Ethernet Address' (E.g. in the output above, the 'Ethernet Address' you would note down is 'd1:23:8d:f3:e1:e2').
  • Register these details with the TimeCapsule:
    • Attach your computer to the TimeCapsule via Ethernet (network) cable.
    • Open 'AirPort Utility' (Applications>Utilities>AirPort Utility).
    • Click 'Other AirPort Base Stations' at the top and make sure 'Ethernet' is selected.
    • A TimeCapsule should appear called SUPALabDataVortex. Click on it and select 'Edit' in the bubble that appears.
    • Switch to the 'Network' Tab, and select 'Timed Access Control...'. A new dialog should open.
    • Under the 'Wireless Clients' list at the top of the dialog, click the '+' sign. A new entry will be added. Put your computer's network name (which you extracted above) in the 'Description' field. Put the 'Ethernet Address' of your Wi-Fi or AirPort in the 'MAC Address' field. 'Save' the changes and 'Update' the TimeCapsule options. A dialog will pop up telling you that the TimeCapsule will be temporarily unavailable, click 'Ok' and wait.
    • Once the TimeCapsule reappears in AirPort Utility with a green 'light' you're good to go.

How to set up backup to the SUPALab TimeCapsule (aka DataVortex) on MacOSX

This process has been made extremely simple and rather automatic. It shouldn't take longer than about 10 minutes to set up and test.

  • Unfortunately the first step is the most time consuming. The way Time Machine is set up, it tries to back up everything on the harddrive. This is not space efficient (especially if everyone in the lab is using the same drive) so you will need to select only the folders with important information to backup. Again, the way Time Machine is set up, you will need to exclude all the folders that you don't want backed up :roll eyes:.
    • Open System Preferences (on the dock bar, or in the Apple menu (click the apple in the top right hand corner), or in the Applications folder).
    • Click Time Machine (which is in the 'System' group in System Preferences). The System Preferences pane will be replaced with the Time Machine preferences pane.
    • Click 'Options...' and an options dialog will pop up.
    • Click the '+' sign and a file browser dialog will pop up. In this dialog, starting at the level of MacintoshHD, you will need to select all the folders that you do not want to back up. I.e. those folders you want to exclude from being backed up. Keep in mind that if you select a folder for exclusion, you will automatically exclude all of its sub-folders as well.
    • You may need to follow the above step 5 or 6 times to successfully add all the appropriate files and folders to the exclusion list.
  • Once you've set up which folders should be backed up, the rest of the process is simple. In the SUPALab Admin collection on googledocs, you will find a zip file (SetUpTimeCapsuleBackupOnOSX.zip) which should contain 3 Terminal shell script files (.sh). One of the Terminal script files turns Airport on and connects you to the TimeCapsule network (you need to make sure your computer is registered with the TimeCapsule first - see above), another sets up and runs backup, while the final one disables the Airport (see below for more info on this). Download the zip file and extract the contents into a folder in some known location.
  • At this point, you have 2 options. You can manually run the Terminal script files as appropriate, or, it's possible to integrate it into the system and have it run automatically at a particular time every day. To do this;
    • Download CronniX and install it by placing the app in your applications folder. Run it.
    • Set up any of three events, whatever you feel you need - one to turn Airport on, one to backup and one to turn Airport off. To set up an event:
      • Click 'New' a drop down dialogue appears.
      • In the dialogue, switch to the simple tab, select which days of the week and/or which dates/months you would like the backup to occur at, or tick the box next to 'Month' and 'Day of Month' if you want the event to repeat daily.
      • Type the hour and minute you would like the event to occur at in 24 hour time (I.e. midnight is 0 hours and 0 minutes, 7:25 am is 7 hours and 25 minutes, 6:44pm is 18 hours and 44 minutes etc.).
      • At the bottom of the dialogue, in the 'Command' box, type 'sh ' (without quotes, note the space) and then the path of the script file you want to run at the above time. make sure the 'Prepend "/usr/bin/open"' option is unchecked.
      • Press 'New' at the bottom once you're done, and remember to 'Save' before you quit CronniX. You can test whether a command will work by selecting an event and pressing 'Open'.
    • If you are setting up backup on one of the computers in the lab which is used to run experiments, it is important to note that the airport should be switched off to avoid timing issues. Thus the EnableAirport and DisableAirport Terminal scripts can be used to keep the computer in an experiment-ready state throughout the day while backup automatically occurs at night. Just ensure that you leave enough time between events so that the airport can be fully started up and connected before you set backup to begin (I recommend half an hour, just to be absolutely sure). Also, make sure TimeMachine has enough time to backup before you set the AirportDisabler script - say 5 or 6 hours minimum.