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ATPM 12.05
May 2006




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Yes, it’s everything the man says.

—Don Munro

• • •

I also dropped Retrospect several years back when they went to Microsoft-like options and pricing and increasingly poor tech support (and when my tape drives no longer had sufficient volume). Most recently, I’ve been using SuperDuper and am very happy with it—simple to use and it works without hassle. It would be nice to see an archival feature for previous backups so you could get at data (or files changed) from several months back.

—R Rayner

• • •

SuperDuper is the best Mac back-up utility I’ve had the pleasure to use. Support (should you ever need it) for the application is top-notch too.

—Krishna Sadasivam

• • •

I have been using Carbon Copy Cloner for several years now and wonder if anyone out in the Mac sphere can comment on comparing Carbon Copy Cloner with SuperDuper.

—Jack Barr

• • •

I've written a few comparison comments on MacUpdate and VersionTracker. Here’s a post from Apple Discussions that I made last February (the original’s long gone):

I was reasonably satisfied with CCC (which I paid for) before switching to SD so I have experience using both.

Some of SD’s features/benefits:

  • Nicer, “out-of-the-box friendly” user interface

  • User interface is responsive during copying

  • Better system resource management

  • Superior documentation and support

  • Smart Update is faster and more robust than the psync Perl script CCC uses

  • Handles cases CCC that doesn’t (floating owner/on-the-fly verify)

  • Doesn’t copy-then-delete items like virtual memory and temp files

  • Updated fairly consistently, with optional automatic updating

  • Copy scripts (not just top-level folder selection)

  • Saved settings

  • Safety Clone

Aside from cost (maybe), the only advantage I can think of that CCC currently offers is a built-in scheduler and that’s coming in the next major SD release.

While CCC works fine for many users there are valid reasons why some might prefer SD instead, or consider it worthwhile upgrade (as I did).

Of course that was written before version 2 was available.

Maybe they exist, but I’ve never seen convincing arguments why CCC is superior to SD.


Performing a Video Extraction

Have you considered the much-less-time-consuming analog-to-DV option?

The article is a bit out of date now, but the information is basically the same. There are now a number of other models from Canopus from which to choose (high-end to low-end). Best of all, you would be cutting out most of the export, import, and translation steps by going this route. Also, your final video quality might not lose as much in the translation process. I don’t know this for sure, because I haven’t tried it yet.

I’ve been researching both options for over a year and have frequently thought about doing things exactly as you have done them (I may go both routes simultaneously, just to be safe; but prices will have to continue to drop before I do that); however, I suspect some quality is lost converting from VOB to DV. Am I wrong about that?

I like the idea of converting my many home videos directly to DVD, as you have done, without going through the bottleneck of my computer’s hard drive, but I also really want to be able to edit my home videos in iMovie, and I do not like the thought of all the extra steps involved in converting them from VOB to DV and the possibility of quality loss.

I have read a number of customer reviews of analog-to-DV converters at various sites, and most of them are quite positive. Are you in a position to get “loaner” analog-to-DV converters?

—Mike Welfl

I did consider some of those options briefly. At the time, I had a Blue and White G3 that had been upgraded to a G4. I wasn’t sure it was going to be up to the task. The other nice thing about this method is that it should work for those folks that have combination video recorders/DVD burners as long as the unit produces standard DVDs.

I’m not in a position to borrow an analog-DV converter at the moment but may be able to do so soon. With the transfers that I have completed thus far there has not been any significant quality loss. The tapes that I have tried are not a good indication, though, because they started out in pretty bad condition. Any time things get converted from one format to another and then back again (MPEG-DV-MPEG) there is the potential for loss of quality—especially if the format/settings are not chosen correctly.

—Sylvester Roque

• • •

For a very straight-forward and simple solution for bringing your DVD projects into QuickTime for editing or converting, try using DVDxDV. I have used this application often and with great success.

The basic application is $25, and the professional version is around $80. Just a heads up—the trial version is free, but will put the words “TRIAL VERSION” across your imported video.

—Bryan Walls

DVDxDV is one of the applications that I experimented with while trying this project. I also tried a program called Cinematize from Given my current budget, MPEG Streamclip had an advantage. There are also a few other options available. I hope to do a comparison of these options in the near future.

—Sylvester Roque

• • •

After 25 years or so as a PC user, I just bought a new Intel Mac mini, primarily because I wanted to edit video that I had archived from my DVR to DVD. I struggled trying to figure out why iMovie did not recognize the VOB files. Out of desperation, I found this article a tremendous help. I followed the instructions step-by-step and succeeded at my first editing/DVD creation without the usual efforts and confusion that usually accompany breaking new ground like this. I am enormously grateful for the instructions!

—John Dean

Thank you for the positive feedback. There are other hardware and software options available. Hardware-based options are out of my budget at the moment. I hope to test some of the other software options soon but many of them require purchasing full versions of software ranging from $25 to $90 each.

—Sylvester Roque

Making Calendars in iPhoto ’06

Isn't there a way to print this at home?

—Jason Madore

• • •

I guess you can print it to PDF, as you can do with photo books, and then print the PDF file to paper.

The only thing missing will be the spiral…

—Sergio Carmona


I’ve had this now for about two months, and it’s nothing short of awesome. At home, I get all the basic channels. I noticed that I get them in Standard Definition, but if you go up in the higher numbers you get those same stations in high definition. In fact, all the major shows, news, and sports are in 1080i as well. I’ve recorded many of them even with the little antenna it comes with. I’m blown away at the quality. Here is what to remember if you are considering: You’ll need a lot of space. CSI (Vegas) in HD was more than 8 GB. After I removed the commercials, another cool feature of this product and software, it was only 5 GB. It should be noted that when you schedule it to record, you can automatically set it to compress it down for the iPod video when it’s done. Also, check to see what the DTV coverage is in your area. It’s great at my house, but bad at my work. Hopefully they’ll broadcast closer in the next few years. Otherwise, a medium to large HD antenna pointed in the right direction can make this product shine. I even use it while I’m a passenger in cars, but reception is somewhat limited based on driving direction. This, too, would change if a broadcast tower was put closer.

By the way, dark levels and color have a ton to do with file size. Here is an example: I recorded Gray’s Anatomy (GA) and CSI Vegas on the same night. GA was 5.6 GB and CSI was 7.2 GB after recording. I edited commercials from both, and GA was 3.6 GB while CSI was 5.2 GB. Each were 1080i signals and exactly 41 minutes long. The only difference was CSI has very heavy blacks and extremely rich colors. GA is light, due to the hospital scenes, and its colors are subtle. Both look stunning. By the way, sometimes in playback there will be some stuttering. I’m trying to figure out the best way to playback to avoid this—especially when it’s hooked up to an HDTV screen.


• • •

There is, as yet, no really good way to use this or any other such device with encrypted digital cable signals…maybe satellite too.

You can jury-rig it if you have a little spare cash and don’t mind getting your hands dirty with some simple AppleScripts. I’ve been using a G4 mini with an EyeTV to record encrypted digital cable for more than two years now. I use the iRed/IRtrans software/hardware combo (I think this is the only extant OS X–compatible IR blaster) and a programmable remote like the Keyspan digital remote. Everything (Keyspan, iRed, EyeTV, iTunes, DVD Player, QuickTime, etc.) is scriptable, so it’s easy to whip up some AppleScripts to make the operation seamless: i.e. pause iTunes, turn on the TV, start EyeTV, and go to fullscreen all with one button.

With some tweaking, this works very very well. The only problem is that you have no program guide and can’t use the TitanTV service. I started to look into making a program guide with XCode and XMLTV, but it’s beyond my abilities.


• • •

The only problem is that you have no program guide, and can't use the TitanTV service.

Have you tried MacProgramGuide? It uses Zap2it instead of TitanTV.


Copyleft, Right?

Software companies need to be realistic and make some distinctions between home users with multiple computers and businesses where multiple computers are actually being productive at the same time. Are individuals with a desktop and laptop supposed to feel morally bound to buy multiple copies when they can only use one machine at a time? Even in family settings (ours anyway), the times when two computers are in use at once are rare, and even then the second user is probably a child doing homework. If you buy a boxed copy of the Mac OS it will install on any machine that’s capable of running that version. You can install a box-specific copy on another model by using target disk mode and installing through the original box. I think it’s commendable that Apple does not impose network restrictions, and it’s also commendable of Adobe to allow a copy of Photoshop or CS2 to be installed on both desktop and laptop in their license. I think the Microsoft thing about the motherboard is hilarious—is that for real? Maybe they should just ask for donations.

—Jimmy Gleason

Path Finder

Cocoatech recently released version 4.1 of Path Finder with significant improvements and new features. The quirk of desktop filenames not word-wrapping when right-side label placement is enabled is still present, but as best I can tell, the bug of not remembering the View By setting (Name, Kind, Size, etc.) has been squashed. And the improved Go To Folder function is fantastic.

A detailed list of new features and fixes is on Cocoatech’s Web site.

—Lee Bennett

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