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Cull Graphics Quickly with Preview

You're faced with a folder full of images, and you need to sort through them, trashing some number and keeping the rest. For a quick way to do that, select them all, and open them in Preview (in Leopard, at least). You'll get a single window with each graphic as an item in the drawer. Use the arrow keys to move from image to image, and when you see one you want to trash, press Command-Delete to move it from its source folder to the Finder's Trash. (Delete by itself just removes the picture from Preview's drawer.)

 
 

VCR Backups

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I'm sure many people have thought of doing disk backups to a VCR tape, particularly the poorer crowd that can't afford all sorts of snazzy backup hardware. I know I thought of doing it several years ago, but gave up because I couldn't find information on how. That was before I knew how to navigate the nets. Well, someone else has realized that a VCR is basically a big, dumb, slow tape drive. The trick is figuring out how to hook your computer to your VCR - those little RCA plugs that connect to your stereo won't cut it.

The net people produced information on a product that allows you to do this. It's called Videotrax from a company called Alpha Micro. Videotrax is a combination of an external SCSI controller and software that provides basic backup features and talks to the controller. It's not terribly expensive, at $499 or $1299 if you want the special Videotrax VCR that does automatic backups as well. Unfortunately, it's not a lot cheaper than the no-name SyQuest drives. Videotrax saves 80 meg on a normal cassette, which is better than a standard SyQuest's 42 meg, but a good backup program like Retrospect or MacTools Backup can come close to 80 meg of original data with file compression.

I've heard that using a VCR to backup computer data is relatively dangerous in that videocassettes and VCRs aren't designed to the exacting specifications that computer equipment must to work at. A single bit of data doesn't make the slightest difference in displaying an image on the TV screen, but it could destroy a file. I had a similar idea about converting a cheap audio CD player into a CD-ROM drive, and was told basically the same thing - a skipped bit in music is nothing, but a skipped bit in your program is fatal. This low level of accuracy might be a reason why we aren't all using the Videotrax, because otherwise it's a good idea subject to a few logistical problems, such as the separate locations of my VCR and computer. Details, mere details.

Alpha Micro -- 800/253-3434 or 800/821-0612 in CA (old #)

Information from:
David Elliott -- dce@smsc.sony.com
John Kratochvil -- moebius@mofh
Ted Morris -- morris@ucunix.SAN.UC.EDU
Mark H. Anbinder -- mha@memory.uucp

 

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