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How to use 'cp' as a simple but reliable backup tool
Authored by: robg on Feb 17, '10 05:25:17PM

Let's count the number of people who have memorized all of Unix. Let's count the number of people who have not memorized all of Unix. If the difference between the two is greater than zero, then Unix tips may help someone do something they didn't know how to do.

If you don't like a hint, don't use it. If you have a better way of doing something, submit it. If you just want to complain without adding any value, I'm not sure I see the point.


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How to use 'cp' as a simple but reliable backup tool
Authored by: mael on Feb 18, '10 01:08:37AM

I am complaining about the quality of this hint and the quality of hints in general on
I have voiced my opinion here, at a good example of a cheap "hint" in the hope to find others that think like me.

If this is of no value to you, I'm not surprised. It's your site, you are making money off it, you are certainly interested in a certain volume of hints a day/week/whatever to keep people and advertisers coming. And maybe "cp" was - next to another 1064 commands in /usr/bin - actually a new command to you.

I do agree that it is very hard to draw a line between what counts as a hint and what not. Others have already tried in the past and when "cp" counts as a hint, they've failed. I am most certainly not able to draw the line, as this is and always be subjective. So the "line" should be one the community draws. It is still open how that could happen. But if nobody does anything, things won't get better. If you like that or not. offers the option to rate hints. This is a very good tool.
So I started to vote for good hints and vote less for trivial "hints". And I am trying to make people aware that not everything they perceive as a hint really is worth blogging about.
I wish more people would speak out, so as to learn their opinion. If the majority really thinks that "cp" is a hint, well, then I would not say anything about it anymore. Right now I am feeling this site gets swamped by trivial posts, and I would like to stay a quality site.

Your formula is way too easy. The reasons for that I don't But I see now why "cp" counts as a "hint" and "cp -H" will be the next big thing.

I am sorry if I said something you don't like. But it will not get better by standing by and shaking the head. You can always delete my posts, send me a pm or move it to some place you seem more appropriate.

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How to use 'cp' as a simple but reliable backup tool
Authored by: brucio on Feb 18, '10 08:10:55AM

How short-sighted. This hint solved a problem for me that I've been wrestling with for a week.

I only wish it would have been posted 7 days ago ;-)

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How to use 'cp' as a simple but reliable backup tool
Authored by: Helge33 on Feb 19, '10 03:43:31AM

I would agree that this hint is somewhat trivial but dont forget there are many Mac Users who never touch the Unix part of OSX so a simple "cp" or "rsync" can be mind-boggling as man-pages are often confusing and cumbersome to read.

I rather dislike those hints where someone writes a super-duper shell/perl.. script to solve a very specific transformation problem from Programm A to B (but only version 1.xx and not 2..) which only 10 other users out there with exactly the same config.

Or the 555.hint how to change the iTunes/Mail buttons/windows, yawn..

There is simply no way to "censor" the quality of a hint so just read or ignore..

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How to use 'cp' as a simple but reliable backup tool
Authored by: robg on Feb 19, '10 04:40:21AM

I welcome complaints, but really, they have no value as part of the thread of comments on the hint itself: they just confuse users who are looking for discussion on the hint and various alternatives.

For feedback, please feel free to email me directly (there's a link on every page), or even better, start a public discussion on it on the forum site, Feel free to submit "Why sucks" or whatever you want to call it, and describe why you think it sucks, and what you would do to make it better, and ask others for their thoughts.

*That* would be useful. Posting an off-topic rant about why a given hint sucks won't do a thing to change anything in the long run. First, there's no way I can follow every thread in every hint to see the general opinion, and second, it spreads that opinion out over a large base, so it's hard to tell whether complaints about the hints are an exception or a trend.

I long ago gave up trying to make everyone happy; life's too short for that. I know that any given hint will help some people, not help others, and genuinely piss off some other group of people.

And no, I don't make money based on hint volume. I'm on salary. Never in my time with Macworld have I been told how many hints to publish, or that my ad revenues were down (or up) and that my pay would therefore drop (or increase). So there's no "pressure" to publish a certain number of hints per day. I publish things I think at least some number of people may find interesting -- if you grossly disagree with my approach, another alternative is to launch your own site, focused only on those hints you find hint-worthy.

But really, if you're just going to complain about the hints, please either do it to me directly, or via the forum site. Posting complaints in the hint thread does nothing but make the hint harder to use for those trying to read through it.

As for deleting your account/postings, that's not my style. I've only deleted one account here that I can recall, and that was because the user physically threatened to harm myself and my family. If you use foul language, I may edit your post; if you're a spammer, I'll delete your post. Other than that, I leave things alone.


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How to use 'cp' as a simple but reliable backup tool
Authored by: mael on Feb 21, '10 02:08:05PM

Okay. I see your point. Sorry to have voiced my opinion in the wrong place.
I'll now unsubscribe this thread as I assume everything has been said and insults like "arrogance" or whatever else imbecile members try to phrase won't help this at all.

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