Elgato Turbo.264 HD – My Thoughts

Elgato Turbo.264 HD – My Thoughts

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Elgato Turbo.264 HD encoder/accelerator.

The device does what it claims… it transcodes most any type of video file and produces an H.264 file formatted for your device (iPhone, iPod, AppleTV, BeyondTV, etc.). The processing time is (more or less) equal to the length of the video. e.g. A 60 minute video takes around 60 minutes to transcode.

My only complaint is that it uses 100% of my machine’s CPU while processing. I recall seeing a blurb about this somewhere in the documentation, but I thought it said it used “some” of the CPU. On my Macbook Pro 2.16Ghz, it spiked out the entire time. Obviously, that causes the internal fan to kick into overdrive, generating a good bit of noise.

The older non-HD version did NOT use the host CPU, so the transcode time was longer. But on a laptop I would gladly sacrifice the longer time in lieu of the fan noise. On a desktop, it would be a non-issue for me. A perfect solution would be to have a setting in the software that allowed you to choose how much of the CPU was used.

Some folks in various forums have complained about (and demonstrated) very dark videos from the device, but none of my tests were dark.

Overall, it’s a neat gadget. My only complaint is the CPU issue.

Copy Files To Your iPhone

Andy Ihnatko has a review of the Air Sharing iPhone app at the My Digital Life Podcast & Blog.

Of particular interest to me… Andy says:

“Music and video are both formats that the iPhone OS can simply view outside of the iPod app. If I just copy it into my Air Share, I can play it with just a tap. I often put whole albums on the iPhone, if I don’t yet know if I want to throw them into my big iTunes soup. That’s a particularly big plus when it’s a 700 meg movie file and I don’t know if I want to burn up that much space on my notebook’s little hard drive by actually importing it into iTunes.”

Only $4.99. Go read the review… good stuff.

Speed Up Mail.app

Mail.app seems to get slower and slower. Plus it crashes at least once a week. As I started looking around the web to find a solution I ran across this post from Tim Gaden at his blog: http://www.hawkwings.net/2007/03/01/a-faster-way-to-speed-up-mailapp/

He describes this solution:

Open Terminal, then run these three commands:

ls -lah ~/Library/Mail/Envelope\ Index
sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/Envelope\ Index vacuum
ls -lah ~/Library/Mail/Envelope\ Index

I’ve just ran it myself and it only dropped the size of my index from 73MB to 60MB, but it DID speed up Mail considerably. I’ll have to wait and see if it helps the crashing.

Hosts File on Mac

I can never remember the path to the hosts file on my MacBook Pro. So, here it is:

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts