5 things I hate about Mac storage - that Lion won't fix

Apple gives the best user experience in the business - which is why I own 5 Macs - but their storage mojo stinks. Here's the 5 worst things about Mac storage.

Apple gives the best user experience in the business - which is why I own 5 Macs - but their storage mojo stinks. Here's the 5 worst things about Mac storage.

5. No Blu-ray. The Blu-ray folks have done a great job screwing up what should have been a no-brainer tech upgrade: over-priced; another stupid DRM scheme; and ridiculous licensing and authoring fees. I get that.

But it does provide up to 50 GB of removable, mailable storage for a not-unreasonable price today. And Apple isn't on-board even as it produces the fastest and most versatile data crunching notebooks today. Premium-paying customers deserve better.

4. Search The Mac's Spotlight search was a nice advance - 4 years ago - when 320GB mobile drives were The Next Big Thing. With 1 TB mobile drives coming this year, Spotlight isn't 3x better.

Spotlight is where I start searching, but too often not where I find what I need. Search by date range, creator app and some simple Boolean options would make my life easier.

The data's there, but the interface isn't. What gives?

3. Time Machine Time Machine is the triumph of form over function: a great face with creaky plumbing. I don't recommend it because too often it is a horrible resource pig - even on my quad-core Pro - and the hourly pain isn't worth the occasional gain.

Better to back up nightly using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper.

2. Sync You'd think that anyone who owns a Mac Pro, a new MacBook Air, and iPhone and (soon) an iPad2 would be swimming in a seamless cloud of synchronized data. And you would be wrong.

Even after paying extra for Mobile Me and spending a few joyless hours wading through System Prefs and iOS menus, sync Nirvana eludes me. A combination of Dropbox, Pogoplug and an often faulty memory keep me from total chaos.

Apple has to do better.

1. HFS+ HFS+, the Mac file system, gets more pathetic every day. Fine for the days of 6GB disks, it no longer cuts it.

Apple took the bragging lead when it announced ZFS on Snow Leopard, but corporate bungling nixed that. Today, Time Machine is barely functional, data corruption is growing, Secure Erase doesn't and the Versions and Auto Save features in Lion will disappoint power users who know what a joy a true versioning file system can be.

With Thunderbolt and great media apps, Mac users create and share more data more easily than their Windows counterparts. But much of the Mac's recent storage work is putting lipstick on a pig named HFS+.

And like pigs, that won't fly. Update: I'm reminded that 3 years ago Linus Torvalds called HFS+ "complete and utter crap". End update.

The Storage Bits take USB3 almost made this list, but I'm giving Thunderbolt the benefit of the doubt. And maybe Apple's huge new data center services will fix all my problems, but given Apple's unhappy history with online services I'm not holding my breath.

Apple's famous attention to detail seems to desert them when it comes to infrastructure. Steve appreciates great design, but architecture not so much.

So much of the day-to-day grunt work of data replication, protection and management could be automated. And with their margins Apple should be the leader, but for some reason they aren't.

Well, maybe Mac OS XI will fix it all. You think?

Comments welcome, of course. Every time I go to a forum I am reminded of how much more elegant and usable VAXnotes was - and there is still no equivalent today. Progress is uneven at best.

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