Time Machine still a janky mess

Time Machine is an incremental backup system for Macs that was introduced by Apple in the fall of 2007 with OS X Leopard. Several versions of the OS later, it still sucks. This is a fine example of a technology that other people regularly praise, apparently oblivious to its two glaring flaws:

  1. unreliable
  2. dog slow

Reliability. Like a TiVo, Time Machine should get rid of your oldest backups as it runs out of room. In four years of regular TM use, I have never had a Time Machine backup "fill up." I have never had a chance. Every single TM backup has gone tits up — corrupt — before my backup drive filled up. Like romances, TM backups mostly end badly.

No, I am not in any way hard on my TM backups. Like an anal retentive IT manager, I tend to run very "clean" systems, as standard as possible to avoid exactly this kind of crap.

Speed. I also run very fast Macs. My current iMac is one of the fastest machines money can buy. It screams. I can encode a feature length movie in about 12-minutes flat. My boot drive is a an SSD that has been a performance revelation, in general.

But Time Machine opens at exactly the same glacial pace that it did in 2007. Maybe slower. It is entirely unresponsive for an agonizing 30 seconds or so after it looks ready. When it finally does respond, it does it haltingly, laggy enough that you get that dreadful "did I actually click that?" feeling just before it finally responds.

And there’s more. I’ve noticed many irritating little blemishes on Time Machine. Worst of all: as you click deeper into the backup history for a window, every single time it displays the current window contents for a good full second before showing you the historical contents. So it alternates: original, historical, original, further back. This is clearly a glitch, and one that completely screws with the intended illusion of “flying” back through the history of your files.

All of this is clearly a suboptimal and glitchy behaviour in a product that should be quite mature and stable by now — it's not like the Time Machine team has been pushing the envelope. There are no new features whatsoever. It appears to be buggy abandonware.