Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Superduper 2.5 -- An A.P.P.L.E. Review

Product Name: Superduper
Version: 2.5
Cost: Free for Basic, $27/95 for Pro
Publisher: Shirt Pocket

It finally happened! That's right, that weird noise that signals the end of the lifetime of my hard drive. The one these the Shirt Pocket crew talks about in their reasons for their program. But then, the noise might not have been the hard drive. It may have just been the internal fan gone awry. But of course, I wasn't taking any chances. I got on the net and looked for a simple backup solution which would backup an entire drive.

Superduper was the one program that seemed to to prevalent. It came up in several forums as the program to have. And at a 2.7mb free download for the basic backup utility, it is perfect for the job. It loaded right up with its installer and was running within seconds

User Experience
The hard drive I was forced to use was a dual partition hard disk drive with Leopard on a separate partition for installing from HDD. Obviously I didn't want to lose that and was afraid the program would delete all the partitions. However, my fears were soon laid to rest when the program told me it was only going to wipe out the one partition that I wanted to use.

And true to form, it did and soon the drive in my machine was being backed up like a champ. Now I cant tell you enough that doing a backup like this is time consuming, so dont wait until your drive completely dies before doing something about it. In my case, I was wanting to upgrade to a larger drive anyways, so with 500gb hard drives at barely $100, it is now time to do that in coordination with everything else.

Good Points
Everything about this program is great as far as we can see. Not only does it backup your drive to an external HDD, but it also makes that backup bootable. This is a key factor in dealing with HDD failures and replacements. It allows you to back up the drive, tear out the old one from your machine, install a new one and then backs up the external right back to the new internal disk. It all is quite simple and elegant.

Also the fact that the programs integral components are as the site says, "free -- forever!", plays heavily in the fact that this program is great. You don't really need all the pro features to make your hard drive copy but if you do, the cost is not out of this world.

The one feature that is in the Pro version that is a nice to have item is the ability to schedule backups, allowing a bootable image to be stored on the Time Machine drive. The problem with Time Machine is that it only copies files and thus any installed apps are useless and the only good point of having it is to backup your files. Superduper goes beyond that allowing complete recovery.

The best point of the software is the learning curve. There is practically none. It just does what it says it will do. It even gives the warnings about how it will deal with the partition and the fact that if you have any information on it, it will be gone.

Bad Points
The only bad point we could find is one that is not even related to this software. it is about backing up HDD's in general and that one point is the amount of time it takes. Be prepared to do something else while the program is performing its magic. Our drive only took 4.5 hours but that is for 160gb. Larger drives will obviously take more time. You can figure just over an hour of time for every 30 gb of hard disk space. Even the cost for the pro version is not out of reach.

Our experience with this program has been wonderful. The best part is now I can replace my drive without worrying about the fact that my machines internal drive is on its last leg. It certainly allows me to sleep much better at night since it was 5am in the morning when the machine's drive started making enough noise to wake me out of a sound sleep.

5 out of 5 Apples

Universal Binary

Microsoft closes Aces and kills FS World in one swat

Over the past thirty or so years, the Flight Simulator has been the center of the universe for most wanna be pilots and even real world pilots. Even I have the latest versions of the program along with all the goodies from CH Products and multiple screens, etc. But now that world has become somewhat confused thanks to Microsoft closing down the Aces Productions where the program was made.

Flight Simulator X was an advancement in the technology of the flight simulation systems with many new ideas and clarity of graphics and objects being added to the program. Supposedly the version that was being worked on for the next release of the product series was even more advanced. Of course we will never know due to the fact that when Microsoft laid off 5,000 people, they had all signed the Non-Disclosure agreements with the company meaning they cant even talk about the company or the product.

I guess that means the 14 million dollar question is "Will Microsoft ever sell Flight Simulator again?" My only answer to that is hopefully someone else will take it off Microsoft's hands and continue the hard work that was put into it.

If you are wondering where I came up with the number 14 Million dollars, that is the amount of money that Microsoft made from the release of Flight Simulator X. Not huge money by today's standards but it is still a sizable sum. And it means that there were a lot of people out there willing to plunk down the 70$ for the simulator and then a lot more who bought the other items that went with it.

Now an entire industry hangs in the balance. From those companies like CH Products who make controllers and joysticks for Flight Simulation systems to those companies that sell skins for the airplanes and enhancements for the scenery and flight control. Even Jeppesen stands to lose from this closure.

If you want to follow the conversation on this closure, you can check out some of the community sites at:

So far what I am seeing is not pretty and many people are angry. This is a small fish but it just goes to show how intertwined many of the computing companies are.