My High Def Life: Reformatting, repartitioning, reinstalling

by Erica Sadun

So I spent all of yesterday reformatting my Mac Mini, repartitioning and reinstalling Tiger. Why, you ask me, would you bother reinstalling Tiger? Because, my dear readers, I made two (count 'em) backups of my developer operating system partition and none of the Tiger one.

Stupid me.

[more after the jump]


2007-02-12 12:51:16
I like most Apple products, but their scope and suggested use do not necessarily fit my own usage profile.

Here are a few comments, in no particular order:

For non-Bootcamp use, it is far better to create partitions on (firewire) external drives. It gives one a lot more flexibility for creating different working environments.

The configuration above also works well with SuperRaid3, which gives one the advantage having a live backup. Then one does not have to worry about the disk crashing, which tends to happen once in a while on drives older than 2-3 years. Hard drives have gone down in price a lot lately.

Apple is not getting into the space of recording live TV broadcasts (either analog or digital), so it is probably better to go with some MythTV version. It can handle both analog and HD. And it provides complete functionality of managing everything from videos downloaded via torrents, your own videos, and your DVD collection. (I use VLC for local viewing, but have not tried it for streaming yet.)

If one can run the home LAN connection to the location where your TV is, one can avoid the expense of acquiring Apple TV right away till one has figured out the advantatge of having one. The video-on-demand and video distribution game is going to go through major changes in the near future.

2007-02-12 14:59:45
Wow, you're pushing that poor little Mini pretty hard!

Mixing production and beta stuff on the same system, even on different partitions, is not recommended, and might be why you were having such trouble re-installing. Beta stuff ought to be on it's own machine - an older system not in regular use is ideal.

On updates, you could relieve some of the pain by un-checking all but the latest Tiger update and Quicktime. Once rebooted into those, check the 'Download important updates in the background' box in Software Update. The other stuff is probably much less critical to the tests you are trying to do.

Regarding your streaming idea, Quicktime Broadcaster, though not the easiest thing to use, is free and might do the job.

2007-02-12 15:00:09
I'd suggest you look at SuperDuper.

While you will need to do the first installation from scratch, any reinstall after that would be a lot quicker.

Jamie McC
2007-02-12 16:18:50
Relaying or repeating the TV output - I have an EyeTV 200 on the mini, and I use CyTV for moving the broadcast around my Airport Extreme network. There's a slight lag (first for the EyeTV, then for the CyTV re-broadcast) from "live", but it works pretty well as long as there aren't any 802.11b clients on the network.

I would love to use Quicktime Broadcaster or QTSS instead, but that doesn't work out of the box with the EyeTV products- I don't know if it could even be made to work (CyTV developer doesn't think so).

Erica Sadun
2007-02-12 16:29:54
I haven't used QT Broadcaster for a year or so, but if I remember correctly it will not handle the raw EyeTV MPEG data. Admittedly, I always used QTB with a live FireWire feed rather than with already recorded video.
2007-02-12 17:10:32
I used CyTV as well. It's slow, but works.
2007-02-12 23:50:55
If you frequently re-install, just download the combo updater from the support section of Apples web site once and burn it to CD. Look into your /Library/Receipts folder for other updates to download.
2007-02-13 06:49:23
Why not just use Netrestore and make a nice backup image. Once you have done all of the updates and installed all of your apps you can have a nice image made and then restore it in 10min max! This is especially good if you are constantly having to do reinstalls.

You can also just use disk utility to make an image of your system, but I find Netrestore to be better for my tastes.


Jeff Flowers
2007-02-13 08:42:32
"Why can't OS X just allow you to create a new install disk?"

I think that the one smart thing Microsoft has in Windows is the concept of slipstreaming, where you can apply service packs and such to the installation media.

Like you, I reinstall Mac OS X a lot. What I do is download the complete Combo Update for point releases and then burn them to CD-R. This makes reinstalls a lot easier and it doesn't require a configured network to update.

2007-02-14 06:09:34
CyTV is the way to go. There's a lag, but given the encoding/re-encoding/de-coding process necessary to pipe TV over the network, that's hardly something you can fault them for.
Erica Sadun
2007-02-14 13:24:25
I downloaded CyTV but I haven't had a moment to give it a try. I did get VLC to work with the live streaming, just finished writing it up and hopefully there will be an article about it on Devcenter soonish. No encoding/decoding/transcoding needed.
Erica Sadun
2007-02-14 13:27:46
ps anyone who wants to see an actual screenshot of the HDTV playback on the remote G4, just drop me an e-mail
2007-02-14 16:39:43
The way I handle complete reinstalls is to first download a Combo updater and keep it on removable media. Then I reinstall clean, DISABLE automatic updates, and run the combo updater from the CD or DVD I burned.

Some other updates also come as independently downloadable installers, usually dmgs, and I collect those on removable media, too. So although I don't have a single clean reinstall disc, it's a lot fewer steps and less time than letting the OS update itself. After all, it has no idea that I've already downloaded the Combo updater and have it right here in my hand.

2007-03-12 14:18:36
You haven't re-installed WinXP lately have you? ;-) *** Deep Sarcasm *** - Yeah, you can slip stream WinXP w/SP2 but there's still like 80 updates to download. Similar issues with Tiger and updates post re-install. At least Leopard will likely be shipping sometime in June.

You can download the updates and save them.
$ softwareupdate --download

There's also this goodie for creating an image that could be used to deploy to thouands of users or just your development system.