Macintosh blog postings
|Earliest: June 26, 2003||Latest: October 19, 2018||Total: 266|
|October 19, 2018|
If your adding songs to iTunes, from outside the iTunes store, such as importing from CDs or something that you created in GarageBand, chances are that you'll need an Artwork.
The official way to add an artwork is to using the "Get ArtWork" functionality:
- Select the Song
- Go to File > Library > Get Album Artwork
That's great, but iTunes may not find an Artwork for your song, especially if it's a custom audio clip.
No album ArtWork really shows up when viewing albums in iTunes.
Google Images for ArtWork
The better way is to use Google Images to find the perfect artwork image.
This used to be a complex task, as I would have to search and then save the image to the desktop and then drag the image to the song. I then end up with a bunch of images on my desktop, where I would save them in a folder for "future" usage. In fact, I really don't use them again because it would be just as efficient to search for them image in Google.
I found a simple way.
Simple Tip on using Google to Add ArtWork
Here's what I do now:
- Go to Google Images and search for a particular image.
- Click on the Image.
- Right Click on the larger image, and select 'Copy Image'
- Go to ITunes, find the song I want.
- Select the Image and do a Command-I
- Then past the image in the box in the top left of the dialog box.
Doing this method, I can quickly get 10-15 songs added in minutes - especially with dual monitors.
Good tip on the image size of a Song ArtWork:
Here's an interesting tip from Apple on the size of the Artwork to use in iTunes. This advice is for Podcast, but it probably a standard convention for any iTunes artwork:
"Artwork must be in the JPEG or PNG file formats and in the RGB color space with a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels at 72 DPI."" - itunespartner.apple.com
This is good to know so that your artwork will look good today and for a while.
Based on the suggested size from Apple, here's a few links to popular searches that I perform:
Remember: Images searched for through Google Images may be subject to copyright. Just don't steal people images and take credit for them. The above tip is good for personal use.
|October 12, 2018|
LaunchBar Reminder Action
Using LaunchBar, you can easily set up all sorts of Location based reminders. Since they don't fire until you're near the location, feel free to add whatever you want!
It's very simple to use the 'Add to Reminders' action in LaunchBar. This is much easier to use than opening up the Reminder Application.
Example of Location Reminders to Set
- Did someone give you a gift from their vacation? Remind yourself now, so when you're on your vacation you get them something. You could use the departing airport as the location point.
- If your driving down route 1 in Maine, remind yourself on where the best Lobster Roll is.
- Like Popcorn? Remind yourself about which movie theater has the best popcorn. That way you'll be reminded as you pull into the parking lot.
- Remind yourself to get things at stores you may not shop at frequently - such as getting a 100-foot outdoor cable at Ocean State Job Lot.
- Need something at the mall but don't want to go now, set up a reminder so you don't forget the item next time you're there!
- Set up a reminder when you get home to do certain tasks so you don't forget about them.
Couple Location Reminders to Set
Click on the title to download the .ics file that has the reminder set up for you!
- Largest Hidden Mickey - Look for Disney Solar Panels as you drive by: 1400 World Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
- Geographic Center of the United States - if your driving by Lebanon, KS, might as well check it out!
LaunchBar Action is Very Handy
LaunchBar's 'Add to Reminders' action is very powerful. Just spending a few minutes with it now can save a lot of headaches in the future.
|October 5, 2018|
Itycal is a cool desktop utility that displays the current date in the menu bar. You can customize what actually gets displayed in the menu bar. When you click on the date, you get a view of the current month.
Five Things that Make Itsycal A Cool Tool
You can add Exchange and Calendar events to the calendar, the current day events also appear below the monthly calendar.
You can add a custom format, such as EEEE, MMMM d, y for Friday, October 5, 2018. Full details on the Unicode Locale Data Markup Language format support is available. You can hide the icon if you just want the full month to be displayed.
Using the Arrow keys you can navigate between months, making it easy to find dates in the future. For example, if you install this in October, click on the icon, then the arrow key twice, then the down key to see what days Christmas will appear in the future.
If you plan to reference the calendar a lot, you can set up a global shortcut to open up Itycal calendar. This is set in the General section application preferences. I have setup Shift-Command-0 as my shortcut on my computer
Once Itycal is open, type Command-N to quickly add an event on your calendar. This makes it easy to set a reminder when you on the phone and wants to add an entry right away.
Itycal is free, so there's no excuse on why you shouldn't get it.
|September 28, 2018|
JPEGmini, by Beamer, is a good image utility to compress images without losing the quality of the image. Simple drag and drop the image, and you don't have to worry about settings or seeing if the image looks good. JPEGmini makes sure that the image looks the best as possible.
Tested Again other Mac Tools
I did a comparison with some other Macintosh tools and found that JPEGmini offered better compression without any loss of photo quality.
Photo comparison using a photo taken with my iPhone Xs:
|Original Image||2.8 MB|
|Photo Size Optimizer||2.8 MB||0%|
I was able to compress the same image much better on the JPEGMini website. The same image was compressed to 1.9 MB a savings of 47%
ShortPixel Did Better
ShortPixel compression was much better. ShortPixel was able to reduce the image by 90% to 598 KB.
JPEGmini is a cool Macintosh tool to compress images, but ShortPixel seems to be the better value when compressing images.
JPEGmini is available in a Lite and Regular version. The lite version lets you compress 20 images a day. The regular version is $28.99 for an unlimited number of image compression. If your looking for a computer specific version this seems to be a better option.
ShortPixel offers 100 images a month for free, or various monthly plans starting at $5.
|September 21, 2018|
When Macintosh Users first start out doing videos on a Mac chances are they use iMovie. Two Key reasons:
- Already installed on the computer
- Made by Apple - so it should be easy to use.
After a while, as more video gets made, users start to see the limits of the application.
- Limited number of Transitions
- Text functionality is very limited
Soon you start seeing the same iMovie effects all over YouTube. Wouldn't it be great if you had a more powerful application to edit videos.
Final Cut is great and powerful, but it has a high price point and a steep learning curve.
Filmora to the Rescue
Wondershare Filmora is definitely the next step up from iMovie. Its a nice application that makes it super easy to create awesome videos.
Once you start using it, you'll never open up iMovie again.
Two Things That I Like:
The really cool feature of Filmora is the Title Inspector. You have a lot more flexibility in your titles than you do in iMovie, check out this side by side comparison.
Filmora Title Inspector is on the top, while iMovie Text editor is on the bottom.
In Filmora, you have a lot more options to how the text is displayed in the video. There are 23 text style presets, in addition, there are 29 animation options. Giving the producer a lot more control over how the text appears in the video.
Oh, and if you like a particular style you can save it as a favorite to use in a different project - can't do that in iMovie.
Title Design/Style Options
In Filmora there are a lot of title options, lots of good ways to add lower third text to your video clip to introduce the scene. In fact there are 42 different designs to select from. In iMovie, you have only 53 titles in the entire library (including lower thirds and Standard titles)
Why settle for the boring Cross Dissolve when you transition between video clips? Filmora offers a lot more. iMovie only has 24 transitions while Filmora offers 37 just in the "Warp" category. Check out this screenshot of just a sample of the transitions in Filmora:
I have been using iMovie for years, loved it's simplified the interface and how easy it is to create videos. However, every time I make a video I get frustrated with the limitations.
Filmora does have some issues:
- I have found that it crashes more often than iMovie. Usually because of the length of the video.
- Exporting to YouTube doesn't always work from within the product, I have been saving the movie and then upload it to YouTube via Chrome.
- Takes a while to understand the text editor
- You have to pay to subscribe to download additional effects from the library. The nice thing is that its a flat rate, so your not paying per effect.
Despite these limitations, Filmora is a great product and I certainly recommend trying it out. They have a great team of support reps that show you some cool tips and tricks.
Download the Trial and see why 50,000,000 users love Filmora.
|September 14, 2018|
TechSmith’s Snagit Editor
TechSmith?s Snagit Editor is a great editor to touch up screenshot images. It?s popular because it has a lot of the tools you need without a steep learning curve on how to use them.
Here?s a couple of feature highlights that make the Editor very cool to use:
One of the cool Snagit Editor effects is the Edges effect. You can quickly transform any image to look like it was torn out of a book:
Simple Steps to add a Torn Effect
- Take a screenshot, or drag drop an image into Snagit
- Click on the 'Effects' icon, located to the right above the Library bar
- Click on Edges
- Check out the quick effects for some examples.
- You can change the settings by clicking on the icon to the right of effect. Torn, Shark and Wave are the three types of edges that are available. In addition, you can change the size of the edge.
I like adding a drop shadow or a thin border to give the image a pop.
This is cool when you have a screenshot of a social media post, or an email screenshot and just want to dress it up a bit better. This is much easier than using Photoshop or Affinity Photo to touch up the image.
Did you know that you can grab the text in the screenshot? This is useful when you may want to include the text version of what you captured, for example, if a spec was in a PDF and you can?t simply copy the text.
This shows how Snagit was able to grab the text from a screenshot
Simple Steps to Get the Text
- Take a screenshot, or drag drop an image into Snagit
- Under the 'Edit' menu select Grab Text, or simply remember the shortcut: Shift-Command-O
- Copy the text wherever you want!
This is useful if you want to include an ALT text in a blog posting, or if you want a description in Slack posts.
|September 7, 2018|
Last week Belight Software released a new MacOS app call Letters. This is a cool free application that allows anyone to be creative.
Letters is an application that transforms any letter or text into a professional looking graphic. You can choose from many styles and change the font/color and the 3D rotation. This application is great if you write blogs or want to add some creative text to your Slack Channel
Description from the Developer
Letters offers a multitude of text design templates easily customizable to your liking. Each text style is the result of long hours of professional design work on creating texture materials and photo objects, and carefully selecting proprietary fonts. Simply enter your text and voila! You get amazing graphics as a flattened image or a set of files with a background, a text object and various effects separated into several images.
Four Things I learned About Letters
- There are 50 Free Designs, and you can buy more designs that are categories in18 other sets where you buy individual designs or all designs in the set.
- The most expensive set is the Old School Set - which has 16 designs.
- The default size is 1100px by 512px - which is similar specs for the best size to post on Twitter (1024 x 576). There are presets for A4, US Letter, Facebook Cover, Facebook Image Post, Twitter Header, YouTube Channel Art, YouTube Thumbnail
- You can open up multiple designs and copy the text designs so that you can have different styles
You can get Letters from the Apple Store.
|August 31, 2018|
Aladdin StuffIt is an application that compresses files. Stuffit became popular in the mid-1990s because of the need to store large data on floppy disks and CDs.
Stuffit has changed hands over the years, and is now owned by Smith Micro.
I purchased the application in the 1990s, but never felt the need to update it. Once I was storing data onto CDs and DVDs I didn't encounter any max storage issues.
Here's the description of Stuffit from the Educorp Catalog from 1990:
Technology Got the Better of the Application
Over the past few years the application had lost its effectiveness. Thanks to cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive:
- It's easier to store large documents - no longer do users have to worry about the limited space of disks, CDs or DVDs.
- Sharing files are super easy, simply upload a file to DropBox right click and get a shareable link to send in an email or in Slack.
- Cloud services allow users to encrypt files and offer monitoring services, something that Stuffit didn't provide.
- Storage has gotten cheaper. You can get a good quality 6TB USB drive for about $120. Apple Cloud goes for about $2.99 a month for 200 GB (which is about 3 DVDs)
You can still buy Stuffit from SmithMicro for $19.95. The cool feature is the new StuffIt Destinations Toolbar, where you can drag and drop your files to various destinations.
Stuffit still is an important app because of encryption and storage space. For example, you can encrypt project folders that you don't want to end up in file search results from Spotlight or on shared space in Google Drive or Dropbox. Since Spotlight won't index the files,
Long Waiting Time
One of my all-time favorite screenshots:
That comes to 84,308,617 days or 2,309.82 Centuries. The Mar19_2517.jpg file should definitely be worth the wait.
|August 24, 2018|
Classic Macintosh: Sherlock
Apple introduces Sherlock with Macintosh OS 8.0 on July 26, 1997. There were several versions of Sherlock and the software was discontinued in Mac OX 10.4 in favor of Spotlight.
Sherlock was never ported as a Universal Binary. So when Apple killed off Rosetta, it meant the end of Sherlock.
What made Sherlock neat was the ability to select the source of your search query so you know where your searching. It was a simple single source to find anything you want in one dialog box.
Sherlock Screen Shots
This is a great snapshot of internet search engine history. Notice that Google isn't listed? Know why? They were not a big player in 1999/2000.
Running Sherlock Today
When I tried to search for some of the internet sites, Sherlock crashed. I wasn't able to get any successful internet search.
I wasn't surprised by this, as I am sure most of the sites had removed the legacy code years ago.
|August 17, 2018|
BBEdit Anchor tag Changes
I have been using BBEdit for many years. The earliest copy that I could find was BBEdit 4.3. Recently, I was looking through my applications on my Macintosh Powerbook G3 and found an old copy of BBEdit 6.0. I thought it would be interesting to see how the Anchor tag has changed over the years.
BBEdit 6.01 for OS X
BBEdit 12.1.5 (Latest Release)
Things to Note
- The dialog box is much cleaner in BBEdit 12.1.5
- In BBEdit 6.01 the scheme include http,https,ftp,mailto,news,telnet,finger,gopher,wais and whois
- in BBEdit 10+, doesn't save recent URLs
- In BBEdit 6.01, The strange symbol next to href field is to enter the document selection in the text field
- in BBEdit 10+, you can change the anchor items to whatever you want.