Scripting News for 12/11/2006

SuperDuper claims to back up iPods. Does it? Of course, any podcast player should either 1. Allow easy file system-level access to all the data stored on the device, including metadata or 2. Include a reliable, perfect, one-click backup utility (and not too many clicks to restore). #1 is vastly preferable. 

Dave Nanian says that SuperDuper is not an iPod backer upper. But Roger Corbin, via email, sends links to CopyPod, iPod Rip and XPort.  

And they say all the good domains are taken. πŸ™‚  

David Cohn: “The strength of YouTube isn’t the mass of copyrighted material and television shows, many of which have been purged. Rather, it’s the loyal community of viewers and users who upload content. That’s what Google was buying and what other media companies don’t have.” 

Rivera does rivers 

Gabe Rivera does rivers for each of his news sites.

Here’s the river for Techmeme, for example.

He also explains why rivers can be so useful. “I just got back from a long weekend. Now how do I scan headlines that I’ve missed without plugging in different dates?”

Rivers are also useful if you can’t remember where you saw an article you want to quote in a blog post.

Also, don’t forget the NY Times and BBC rivers. They’re still running strong, although there aren’t many people fishing on their banks. 😦

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tommy on December 11, 2006 at 8:30 am

    This comment is actually about a problem with the site itself. The “Previous/Next” links at the top don’t go exactly where you might expect. They both go backward in time, just different amounts.

    Here’s the scenario — I wanted to see if there were any comments entered for your iPod problem on December 10th, but of course the “comment on today’s scripting news” link takes you to TODAY’s wordpress page, and I thought I would shortcut its navigation using the navigation.

    UNFORTUNATELY the “Previous” link at the top of the page takes you back to November 30th, and then when you get to 11/30 the Next link takes you to November 29th, whereas the 11/30 page’s previous link takes you back to November 27th.

    So now that I’ve documented the bug (I presume it’s a bug!) I’ll click through the WordPress navigation to look for the November 10th comments, if any!


  2. Posted by Tommy on December 11, 2006 at 8:31 am

    I mean DECEMBER 10th. I must be confused now!


  3. Posted by Bryan Schappel on December 11, 2006 at 9:28 am

    Dave you can use a product called “SuperDuper” to backup your iPod. Download the product from here:

    Run the app and clone the iPod to a Disk Image. You can then clone this image back to the iPod when needed.

    The free version of SuperDuper will do this.


  4. Posted by Bryan Schappel on December 11, 2006 at 10:21 am

    Actually there is file system level access to the files on the iPod. You just need to enable “Show invisible items”. This is not a simple switch like Windows but it can be easily turned on with TinkerTool.

    You can access the files directly from the command line if you want.

    cd /Volumes/”Name of iPod”


  5. Posted by Jake on December 11, 2006 at 10:25 am

    Pretty much any PC can be backed up – people still don’t do it.

    What are you going to back up that 2-4-8-20-30-60-80GB iPod to? Your PC? A network storage server? A stack of CDs? A stack of DVDs?

    I think many people believe that their iPod is backed up by the computer that they sync with.

    I guess when your Podcast player comes out, we will see the light of what you mean.


  6. (Sent this via mail, but just noticed that there was a way to comment — sorry about that.)

    Anyway, we don’t claim to be able to back up iPods, as far as I know.

    But if the iPod is stored as a regular, plain old HFS+ volume (as it seems to be), we’re happy to back it up, of course — as Bryan said, above. But the result is just a copy of the original, as-is… just like it would be if you were to back up any other volume.

    (In general, iPod-specific support didn’t seem to make much sense, because iPod content comes from the Mac in the first place, and thus can be restored simply by re-syncing with iTunes.)

    Hope that helps: let me know if you have any questions.


  7. Sorry, one of my readers claimed you did backups of iPods.

    Also, I don’t use synching because I plug my iPod into more than one Mac. I still need to back up my iPod as I would any other computer with data on it that’s valuable to me.

    And I’m pretty sure synching doesn’t preserve metadata.


  8. Use one of the scripts in the freeware CLIX from Rixstep:,00.shtml

    You can backup the entire iPod and do several other Unix commands, several Mac OS X-specific, from a convenient GUI.

    I’m a satisfied user.


  9. Fair enough, Dave. We will back it up as a drive, and can restore it, at least right now, because it’s (currently) a straight up HFS+ volume. We’re even happy to Smart Update that backup so subsequent backups are fine.

    Of course, there’s no guarantee that Apple will continue to keep the iPod in HFS+ format. But, while they do, we’re happy to handle it like any other drive.

    As far as iTunes Sync goes, I think the files are copied to the iPod as-is, so metadata is preserved, but I could be wrong. Of course, “reverse” sync only brings back play count, time and rating (last time I looked)… and when you’re talking about > 1 Mac all bets are off, unfortunately. πŸ™‚


  10. Not directly related to today’s episode, but surprised you haven’t blogged it yet:

    (found on a Daily Kos thread in which a Speaker Pelosi staffer is asking for feedback about bringing transparency and accountability to the sausage-making process):


  11. Posted by Bryan Schappel on December 11, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by backing up an iPod. But SuperDuper will make a snapshot of everything on the iPod to a disk image on your Mac hard drive. This snapshot would include all MP3’s, all metadata, and other files on the iPod. This image file can be copied back to an iPod to restore the iPod to a known good state.

    The iPod is really nothing more than a hard disk. The music and metadata are stored in a hidden folder. A quick Google search for “iTunesDB” will yield many sites that have reverse engineered the iTunesDB file. This file tells the iPod where the song file is on the iPod. I believe that the rest of the metadata for a song is stored in the ID3 tags.

    I you want programs that can copy songs from the iPod back to a Mac I can recommend these:

    Senuti –
    iPod.iTunes –

    Search for “iPod” to find many other programs to sync iPod’s back to iTunes.


  12. I use senuti (iTunes backwards) myself and it works quite well. In addition I use File Buddy from Skytag software for examining and copying the contents of iPods.



  13. Posted by vanni on December 12, 2006 at 12:05 am

    frozen ipod?? try this from apple :


  14. Posted by Diego on December 12, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    You’re right, Dave. Not all good domain names have been taken. and are still there. πŸ˜‰

    BTW I am not having a dig (or is that two gs?) at you. Just referring to the melodrama which is


  15. I noticed you shut down the NY Times river today. I’m very bummed, as I used it almost daily. Whenever I had a free moment, I’d fire up the mobile browser and read a story or two. Any chance it will return? Any other similar sites you can recommend? I need my mobile news fix.


  16. Not sure why my previous comment disappeared. I’m still wondering about I really liked the site, used it a lot, and am wondering why you decided to scrap it… Are there any other similar sites – with a general news focus – that can be recommended? Google News hasn’t done the trick for me because its stories aren’t mobile friendly…


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