Essential No. 1: Final Cut Pro
Essential No. 2: Media 100 Remote Field Editor
Essential No. 3: Disk Warrior
Essential No. 4: Connectix Copy Agent
30 , 2000
What put Road Hog on the map was our look at some essential hardware add-ons for the PowerBook G3, a brute on its own terms, but boosted to Beast status with a few choice accessories. There's some software that will make the road much smoother, too, as well as showing off in the way that true Road Hogs do.
On a desktop G4, you can actually trick out FCP to run uncompressed, high-definition video with the Targa Cine card for about $30,000, with standard-def versions running considerably less. Other than this remarkable ability to run HD, I just don't find FCP all that compelling on the desktop, though. A lot of folks disagree with me on this point, which is fine by me. This is America, where it's your god-given birthright to be wrong.
No disputing, though, FCP rocks on a PowerBook. The combination of FCP and a PowerBook is entirely in its own classthere's nothing even vaguely like it on the Mac side, and there's not even anything on the peecee side that's even in the same genus or species. It's cool enough that I'm going to devote an entire Road Hog column to it, but you can buy it now and start having fun.
It doesn't matter if you don't have FireWire built into your flavah of PowerBook, although that certainly makes it easier. The fact is that FCP will work just fine with just about any FireWire CardBus card on the market, and they run right around $100, give or take. Note that you can't run a FireWire drive and digitize video through a FireWire add-in card at the same time.
(Another reason I didn't put any FireWire cards on my essential hardware list is that they don't supply enough juice to run most FireWire drives without an AC adapter, which kind of negates the usefulness of those drives for road hogging. Both of these caveats are distinct from the built-in FireWire of the current crop of PowerBooks, which can do all this just fine.)
If you really want to unlock the potential of FCP, though, you have no choice: You must, must, must buy the DV Companion, the next generation online Help system developed by Philip Hodgetts and published by Intelligent Media. Buy it now. You can thank me later.
You know that Road Hog worthy hard drive you've got, loaded with tens of thousands of files? The file directory is what keeps track of where they all are. If the directory goes, you can't use your files. Period. They might as well not even be there. Disk Warrior can rebuild your directory in case of emergencies, but, better still, can prevent directory damage. The more files you have, the more important Disk Warrior is to you.
One of the most common sources of directory damage? Norton Utilities. Friends don't let friends use Norton, man. Download Disk Warrior. You can thank me later.
The problem with the usual suspects in the backup software field is that they're just too annoying to actually use. They're getting better, but they're still a long way from the kind of ease of use that you've rightly come to expect from your Macintosh. The first one to get it right is Copy Agent from Connectix, folks who've consistently gotten it right when it comes to drop-dead simplicity and reliability with utilities like RAM Doubler and Speed Doubler. This one's that good, too.
You can use it to automate copies, which it not only speeds, but does intelligently: you can choose to copy all your files from one location to another, to replace new or changed files or to synchronize both the source and destination drives.
Best of all, the copies aren't in some arcane, proprietary format. They're just regular old Mac files. I can't believe that we had to wait this long for somebody to get something this important this right, but Connectix nailed it. They've made backing up easy enough that you might actually do it. Do. You can thank me later.
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