I went back to packetfu today (see here for my first talk about it) for a large collection of pcaps I have (about 30GB worth) hoping to use it to help me quickly get an overview of what I've seen.

Fortunately, a lot of the hoops I had to jump through previously are now non-issues; using gem to install pcaprub and packetfu itself made it dead simple. Even more fortunately, I didn't bother trying it on my Mac initially, guessing - correctly, as it turns out - that RAM usage would go through the roof. I ^C'ed my test ruby script, pasted from my first post on the subject, after it hit 7.5GB resident on my 8GB test machine. I have Ruby 1.9.1 on that box, so I don't think there's much more I can do to optimise. Sadly, I guess I'm stuck with tcpdump and looping shell scripts for the time being, and I'll try to follow up with the author, although I don't know what help I can provide.