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ATPM 15.04
April 2009




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Eye-Fi Explore

Did you notice any effect on battery life?

—Andy Lee

My apologies for not mentioning that in the review, because this is something that was pretty much an automatic given.

Yes, the Eye-Fi card will put an additional drain on your battery—no question. The degree to which it drains was a little hard for me to relate because my Nikon D90 has the add-on battery pack that lets me install two batteries simultaneously. In addition, the D90 uses heavy-duty, long-life Li-Ion batteries, which last much longer than the tiny batteries that come in pocket/point-and-shoot cameras.

If you promise not to take the following as factual data, I’ll attempt a “guesstimation.” The number of photos I shot during the Epcot trip I feel may have normally used somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the power in one of the two batteries. (The D90 doesn’t drain both batteries simultaneously—it auto switches over to the other when one is empty.) Best I can recall, after I let all the photos upload at home when I returned from the park, the remaining power in the battery that was used was certainly no less than half.

When you’re talking about pro and prosumer DSLRs that use the heavy-duty batteries like the Nikon D90 does, the perceived drain is going to be barely noticeable. Whereas a single D90 battery might have enough charge for me to shoot for a few days, using the Eye-Fi might shave a day or two off that. But the truth is, if I was in a place that Wi-Fi was readily available for the Eye-Fi to work, it means I’m also in a place where I can top off the battery long before it runs dry. If I were shooting for days out somewhere and wouldn’t have power for a while, I’d certainly not use the Eye-Fi since it wouldn’t be able to find a signal to upload, anyway.

For the small batteries in point-and-shoots: I’d be grateful if a reader who has used the Eye-Fi with a smaller camera would like to share his or her experiences with battery life estimates.

—Lee Bennett

ChronoSync 4.0.1

Good review; ChronoSync does an excellent job as a backup utility, and you did a nice job covering that aspect.

Two comments: what ChronoSync lacks (that Time Machine and even Apple’s Backup offer) is something of an incremental backup. If you make changes that are backed up, you can never undo them; that’s one of the things that makes Time Machine so compelling. For what you’re doing, something akin to SuperDuper! would be sufficient (though admittedly the ChronoSync scheduling features are more robust, and the ability to back up more selectively is an important distinction).

Secondly: as is implied by the name, ChronoSync is more than simply a backup program; it also has surprisingly robust capabilities for synchronizing between multiple machines. You alluded to this in your review, but I would like to have seen more devoted to this idea, as it is an increasingly appealing option for those of us who use multiple machines.

—Ed Eubanks, Jr.

• • •

You can use FolderOrgX, a freeware folder action to create a Time Machine–like backup. FolderOrg is an AppleScript Folder Action that organizes files and folders by moving them into dated subfolders. This is helpful in keeping files and folders organized by the day they were added, not created or modified.

—Diane Ross

• • •

Very competent review. Thanks for the great information. I am considering purchasing ChronoSync and am comparing it to Intego Personal Backup X5. Your review will help me make the final decision.


• • •

As the name indicates, ChronoSync is first and foremost a folder synchronization utility and it is the best one I know of. I found it easy to use, fast, and flexible. It offers the option to ignore aliases, the choice to synchronize deletions, and the choice to treat bundles as files or as folders. It detects conflicts, offers trial synchronizations, has many options to exclude files or folders, allows many different scheduling schemes and (unlike several other synchronization and backup utilities I used or tried) warns when a scheduled synchronization failed (e.g., because a disk is full).

Like many file synchronization utilities ChronoSync can also be used as a backup utility, and as such it does a very good job, as Linus explained very well.

I don’t understand Ed’s remark:

what ChronoSync lacks (that Time Machine and even Apple’s Backup offer) is something of an incremental backup. If you make changes that are backed up, you can never undo them; that’s one of the things that makes Time Machine so compelling.

ChronoSync does not only do incremental backups (it only copies files that have been modified since the last backup), but (as Linus explains) like Time Machine and Apple Backup, it can also maintain an archive of modified and/or deleted files which can easily be moved back to the place they came from with the restore function. Version 4 adds compression to this, a feature Time Machine lacks. What is lacking in ChronoSync, though, is the nice snapshot feature of Time Machine, which gives you a picture of entire folders at a certain time in the past.

—Arno Wouters

Backup Grows Up

Very nice, Qaptain. We need more Mac-related Comics!

—The Lone Gunman

• • •

Love the way you’ve got binary going up into MobileMe! Nicely done…all of it!


Time Travel: Introduction to Time Machine

Time Machine proved to be priceless when one of the MacBooks in the house lost its drive. After suffering under the demands of a teen’s virtually 24/7 use, after two and one-half years the drive finally gave out.

Apple replaced the drive under the AppleCare warranty and Time Machine restored the contents of the old drive without a hiccup.

While it’s true one cannot boot from a Time Machine backup, the step of starting from an OS X install disk and performing the restore from Time Machine was really not a hassle.

—Robert Paul Leitao

• • •

Good review, but you missed the real power of Time Machine. It doesn’t (just) restore files, it restores things. What I mean is that if you enter Time Machine from an application, Time Machine will restore things (files) that that application uses.

Try this: open Mail (assuming you use Mail). Enter Time Machine. Now you’ll see your Mail interface in 3-D Time Machine mode, where you can go back in time and find that brilliant satirical e-mail you sent to some political figure, but have since deleted.

My point is that most people don’t think in terms of files, they think in terms of things that a given application uses.

—Patrick Weigel

Thanks for that tidbit Patrick. In my setup I am only using Time Machine to back up data (which is stored outside of my user folder) so I probably wouldn’t have noticed that.

You may be right about the way people think of files. That might be especially good metaphor for filetypes that can be read by multiple applications (PDF, JPEG, text, etc.).

—Sylvester Roque

Time Machine’s special “things” restoration mode only works in a small number of Apple applications (Mail, iPhoto, and Address Book are the ones I know about), and the facility is not open to third-party developers.

—Michael Tsai

• • •

In addition to the methods you mentioned for changing the backup interval for Time Machine, there is the freeware program Lingon. Lingon is useful for creating and modifying all sorts of daemons launched by launchd. Specifically, to change the time machine backup interval.

  1. Launch Lingon.
  2. Click on the arrow beside System Daemons.
  3. Select
  4. Dismiss the warning.
  5. Change the time interval as desired and save.

Another useful utility to use with Time Machine is Tri-Edre’s Back-In-Time. This utility allows you to manipulate the Time Machine backup in a number of useful ways. Two in particular are noteworthy.

  • Back-In-Time allows access to Time Machine data for machines other than the one you happen to be using. This allows movement of files from machine to machine using the Time Machine data.
  • Back-In-Time works well with PathFinder. In particular, you can restore files using Back-In-Time and PathFinder without launching Finder.

—Bill Rowe

Mac About Town: Hurry Up and Slow Down!

I still own a iBook Tangerine 300 that handles my needs just fine. Don’t really need anything newer.

—Alan Xenos

The Zippy Quest for Jazzy Flash

Been there, done that, except I go back to 8″ floppies, magnetic tape, disk packs, paper tape, and punched cards.

Now I’ve just bought a pair of FireWire/USB/eSATA hotswap docks and four 1 TB SATA drives!

And the scary part is I’ve already filled three of them without really trying. Thinking hard about the latest 2 TB drives next. Just as well: they only cost as much as a couple of boxes of 8″ disks used to.

—Fulvio Gerardi

Apple Keyboard

I was visiting an Apple store and for the first time in my life—after 20 years in the industry—decided to see what is an Apple Mac—that people are so attached to. I tapped away on the keyboard and thought—wow—this is a keyboard. Five minutes later—I had bought the wired version and attached it to my PC. I must say that this keyboard is amazing—anyone considering a new keyboard needs to look at this. I never thought that a keyboard could make such a difference.

—Kon Manos

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