My (well, my employer’s anyway) 24 inch iMac was stolen from my office in the wee hours of Saturday morning. (It was locked to the desk but only using the laptop lock hole in the back - I’m sure the thieves simply wrenched the lock out and left a small crack in the back of the unit, which nobody will notice anyway).
That was the bad news. The good news, however, was that I was running Time Machine and within two hours of turning on my new Mac (an aluminium Macbook), I had successfully restored the entire system, including computer settings, network settings, all applications, application settings, browser settings, documents, music, etc etc etc.
The only thing I needed to do was re-install MySQL from the dmg file and tweak a few entries in the hosts file and my entire development environment was working as well! (It seems Time Machine backs up the /opt folder structure, which is where Macports keeps its stuff).
Now, THAT is priceless!
The only data I lost was a few weeks worth of Subversion history, because I had Subversion running inside a Parallels VM under Debian. The reason for using a VM instead of installing it natively was the whole “Apple built-in PHP sucks, MAMP doesn’t include some libraries (like, I think, GD), compiling from source is a pain and, after all that, SSL is hard - if not impossible - to get working” story. After trying for a week to get SVN, Trac and SSL working under various versions of Apache on the Mac I eventually gave up and just installed it on Debian in the VM - took about 30 minutes. The only problem was that my backup regime for the VM files (which were excluded from the regular Time Machine backups) boiled down to manually copying the VM files to a location that was being backed up by Time Machine. Unfortunately I only tended to do this about once a month, so, of course, I lost a few weeks worth of revision history. No biggy - I just rebuilt SVN on an actual server, restored the backup I had and then manually merged in all my outstanding working copies. And yes, the server backs itself up daily. :-)
Other than that small hassle (oh, and the actual loss of the iMac, which, of course, the most depressing aspect of the entire thing), it was a very, very good outcome.
Time Machine rules!