ElGato’s Turbo264 HD is a winner

OK… little mini-report here. (I usually write these if I’m either really happy, or really not… sharing to help or warn.)

In this case I’m really happy.

I’ve had for a while an EyeTV 250 which has worked just fine.

Then I got the EyeTV iPhone application. What this does is transfer whatever EyeTV on your Mac is playing, to your iPhone/iPod Touch in real time.

In my case I use it when I’m working out. I usually listen to Audible books on the iPod, but now I can watch the news or whatever.

How well does that work? Actually, pretty well. There is one gotcha: every 10 minutes or so it pauses to load the next batch/stream/chunk.

At first, I found an annoying mis-sync of the audio, but a tweak in the settings on the iPhone app cured that.

OK. That’s part one: the EyeTV works; they iPhone app works.

Part two.

On the Elgato website, they note that thing work even better if you have their Turbo264 HD compressor stick.

Well…. I had their first Turbo264 stick, and discovered that my computer (a fast desktop quad, that pretty much matches the speed of 8-cores) running VisualHub at 100% on all 4 processors could handily beat its time by 2x, for equal quality. Bummer because it was a $100 “test” to buy the stick. (The stick was faster than my old MacBook laptop, however.)

Well, I hunted around on eBay and found a T264 HD for $40 less than elsewhere and NIB… and took the plunge.

I just now completed a comparison of VisualHub and the new stick… and the results have been reversed!

Yes: for the same quality, the T264 HD stick beat reliable old VisualHub, by a factor of more than 2x!

An 11-minute NTSC mpg clip took 3 minutes to compress to 640×480 30fps H.264… almost 4 X faster than real time.

That’s impressive. Video quality was VG to Ex… no obvious artifacts or stuttering even with full panning.

I’ll let you know if I see anything change vis-a-vis the iPhone/EyeTV connection, which I can’t test just now.

But, the Turbo.264 HD (look for the “HD” – the previous, slower, version is just “Turbo264” with no “HD”) is a winner in my book.

If you’ve a need for h.264 files, and for speed, it’s a winner.



Making an incomplete SuperDuper! clone on Purpose

Here’s a tip for those of you who use SuperDuper! (which most of you know: I swear by.)

WARNING: what follows are instructions on how to make your SD cloned drive NOT a true clone! Use only if you understand what I’m talking about!!!

If you have files that frequently change, and you don’t really care if they are backed up, or you have a separate backup of them, you can tell SD to ignore them during a cloning operation.

What? Why on earth would I want to do that?

Here’s my own example: I have VMWare Fusion, and two different VM (Virtual Machine) files: Ubuntu and Vista.

Now, every time I use one of those, or update Fusion, the files are marked as changed, and SD backs them up. Fine, except that’s some 30-ish gigabytes on each cloning operation. That stretches out my backup time a bit. Not so bad on my main Mac, but on my Old, Tired MacBook, that adds 25 minutes to the backup time.

So, since I don’t really change those files that much, I’ve chosen to back those files up individually, and don’t want them always backed up each time I run a quickie SD backup.

(Other such things are caches; frequently updated RSS feeds and so on.)

Now, with the caveat that you are >defeating the purpose< of an instant, drop-in clone by eliminating some files from the backup, here's how to proceed to eliminate files from a SD clone. Again: my advice is to just leave SD set to back up everything, and ignore what follows! If you're still reading, and aware of what I'm saying, then, here's how to eliminate chosen files from a clone operation and hence from the clone itself. When you run SD, you'll notice the popup right under the source & destination volume buttons... it usually says "backup - all files" and that's what you want for a drop-in cloned drive. To eliminate some files from that, however, go to that same popup and choose "New Copy Script." In the Description tab, enter a nice clear explanation to yourself what this script will do. Then click on the Included Scripts tab, and the + button in the lower left. That should open up to a folder called "Copy Scripts" and show you an alias to "Standard Scripts." (The actual path is ~/library/application support/superduper!/copy scripts.) Click on Standard Scripts, and from the resulting list choose "Backup - all files.dset" This will create a "backup everything" starting point. (You can, of course choose -with care- any of the others, but be sure you know what you're doing...) Now that's been added, click on the "Script Commands" tab, and look at the three panes in the lower part of the window. That's like a finder column view. What you're going to do is point that at the files you want -excluded- from the backup; in this case, all the virtual machines. Go to the first pane, and select "users"; then in the next, your home folder; then next "Documents"; then finally "Virtual Machines.localized." (Of course, you can substitute your own path here, if you're trying to eliminate something else.) With "Virtual Machines.localized" still highlighted, choose the "Add Item" button in the lower left corner. When you do, you'll see it added to the list in the upper pane. Make sure "ignore" is selected in the "Command" column, and that your full path is properly listed in the "Item Specification" column. Then click the "Close" button. That will bring up a dialog for you to save the new script with a meaningful name. You're done. Now you can select that script you just made from the pop up on the mail SD screen. When you do a clone using it, it will copy everything the full clone copies, but will not copy the huge virtual machine files. Just to repeat, however, that means that your cloned drive WILL NOT HAVE the VM files on it. If you want them, you'll have to have them backed up elsewhere, or on a drive that you cloned not using your new script, but the "backup - all files" default script.