iTunes Match & SoundHound Make Beautiful Music Together

We've all seen the problems iTunes has with recognizing CD tracks that you may have turned into a special mix Audio CD you burned. If you've taken a collection of MP3s and burned them for an Audio CD, you are probably familiar with this image - Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, etc. You have no idea what those songs are - or at the very least, what the correct names are.

With an app, iTunes Match subscription, and some CDs you can change your 'unknown' collection into something useful and make them available to all of your iOS devices and Computers.


1. Launch the SoundHound app on your iOS device.

2. Insert a CD with unrecognized tracks into your Mac - you can import now if you wish as well.


3. Click Play on one of those tracks (Track 1, Track 2, etc).

4. Turn up the volume on the song, and then Click  'Tap Here' on the SoundHound app.  Within a few seconds, that song with be recognized. Incredible.


Itunes artist entry

5. Now go into iTunes and CONTROL-CLICK on the track you are playing and choose 'Get Info'.  Now enter the correct data into the track. I'm not sure of how iTunes Match makes a match, but it doesn't hurt to enter the track info as precisely as you can.

Itunes artist entry

6. Now iTunes Match should do it's thing and try and Match, or at least Upload to iCloud. If not, CONTROL-CLICK On it and choose 'Add to iCloud' and this should match or upload it to the iCloud service.

7. Check your other Macs or iOS devices - these newly updated songs will now be in your iCloud. If you had poor quality versions, now you can download the MATCHED songs in the higher quality 256kbps AAC format. Easily worth the $25 a year!


Use iCloud Now - With Auto Download - Mac Tips Daily! #404

With with Apple's latest announcement,  iCloud, we are all pretty excited. Even if you aren't a developer running the beta of IOS 5, we can still use a couple of new features apple has made available to all of us.

If you have an IOS device you can now go in and see what items you have purchased in th e past and re-download them if you want. Also, you can configure your device to automatically download new purchases, even free ones, onto your other IOS devices. To make this happen you need to flip a couple of switches.  I do believe you need to be running at least iOS 4.3.3 to take advantage of them though. 

Let's get to it:
1. From your iOS device - iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, click on Settings. Now find the Store menu. Click on it and then you may need to click on your Apple ID name. Do this and then you should be presented with the automatic download options.  
You can turn on Music, Apps, and Books, and where applicable you can enable downloading over the cellular network or just do it when you have Wi-Fi available. If you have a limited data plan with your cell carrier, you may want to make this wi-fi only.

Do this on all of your devices.

Then, the next time you buy a song on iTunes, it will download automatically to all of your devices. The same thing for Apps and Books from the App Store.

If you buy an app on the iPhone, and it's not a universal version, meaning the same app works on iPad natively, then it won't auto download to iPad. However, if you want it, you can go onto your iPad under the App store and click on previous purchases and then install it that way as well.

2. Run Software Update and update to  the latest iTunes 10.3.1.

Once you do that, you will have that functionality on all of your devices now available via iTunes as well. You just need to go into the iTunes Preferences and click on Store, and then enable Automatic Downloads. If you purchase it in itunes, it will be sent to your iOS devices wirelessly over the air.



Fun With Preview in Mac OS X



I am often amazed at how much great little stuff we get with the Mac OS. It is particularly surprising when I go to do something on a Windows machine and remember, 'oh yeah, that's an OS X thing.' I think one of the least recognized little tools we have is Preview. 

Preview comes preinstalled on a new Mac as part of the OS. Apple updates it with the OS every so often. On the one hand it seems like iPhoto's little brother on the other hand you can save yourself buying Adobe Acrobat for basic PDF editing. It seems like the more I hear about Preview the more I don't know. So I spent some time poking around, trying new tricks out and learning a bunch of useful stuff. Here's a few tips for you!


1- Annotation- You can add arrows, circles, text and lines over pictures, PDFs and anything else you open. You can even annotate a link onto a file.

2- Change Files Kinds- Convert files from one kind to another, quickly. You can convert pretty much any file into a PDF. You can even open up a bunch of app specific files like Photoshop, Illustrator or Pages. And then change them into a PDF or web ready picture.

3- Easy Edit Tools- Change the file size? Change the pixel size? Crop? Change the color? Yep! The most useful of the simple edits from iPhoto can be found under the 'Tools' menu. They are easy to use and understand.

4- Soft Proof Preview- Ok you may not be as graphic geeky as me, but what this means is you can see how your picture will print; the cool thing is you can use all of the Apple color profiles to do it in. Geek out.

5- Build a PDF From Anything- Yes, you can convert from a single file, but you can also build a multi-page PDF from any assortment of PDFs. You can even add blank filler pages. I like to smash together assorted PDFs and turn them into one document just for fun. Did I mention you do this by dragging and dropping? When you save your PDF, you should check out the 'Quartz' filter drop down menu in the 'Save As' window. It gives you a few iPhoto like edits to apply to the entire PDF doc.

6- Import From Whatever You Want- Sure you can open files, but you can also import them directly from your camera or scanner. (of course this may depend on the usefulness of the drivers for said peripherals) Also, you can tell Preview to take a screenshot (from a selection, window or the entire screen) and do what you want with it. You can import from your clipboard. You can even open animated GIFs and look at each frame in the thumbnails.

7- Send Directly From Preview- Take your newly annotated multipage PDF and e-mail it to your work colleagues. Or take those imported images/files and send them to iPhoto or Aperture.

8- Use Preview for a Slideshow- It has a command just for this. This is great for sharing a PDF on screen. You can also do Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents. And try this: open a bunch of photos at once (use shift or control to choose multiples) and then view those as a slide show. Since it opens them in one window and gives you the thumbnails in the sidebar, you can change the order too. I like this for slideshows more than iPhoto, because it means I don't accidentally share my embarrassing cat photos.

 9- Add Keywords to Your Files- Personally, I think keywords are the essential search tool of the future. If you have 20 documents that are similar but not the same, adding keywords will save you 10 minutes opening 20 files, 30 times to find the exact one you're looking for. 

 10- Take Yourself Out of That Old Background- Use the Alpha selector to remove areas of color. Use the Lasso to remove busy areas. This means you can take your ex out of your Facebook profile pic. And you should. You can change the window background color in the general Preferences; this may help you see your photo for editing better. This can also be useful to take a profile pic into a chat program.

 11- Bonus! The first bonus is that you can view any attached GPS info of a photo, via the 'More Info' tab in the Inspector. The second is that Preview can view .DAE files (Digital Asset Exchange files). DAEs are documents that include 360 degree views or 3D information. These files are often animated and can rotate around you, the viewer. This is a new feature and newer technology.

Kill Flash with Click2Flash - Mac Tips Daily! #400

I  love the web, but there are some things about it that really annoy me. The most prominent thing is content made from Adobe Flash.  You've seen it - as soon as you get to a website a video starts playing automatically, an ad superimposes over the content you are trying to see, all kinds of annoying things like that.  

While flash is great for these things, it also decreases how fast you can load a web page. In fact, poorly encoded flash can even crash your web browser.

Click2Flash to the rescue. 

Essentially it is a plug-in that will allow you to block flash content in Safari.  When there is something you want to see, you simply click on the area that is blocked and then it will start to play.

Under the Safari menu it will also allow you to customize how the app works. You can configure white lists of sites that you don't want filtered, so no worries about missing anything on the web.  

You simply run the install program and then when you go to a website offering flash content, you will see an image that says Click2Flash. You click on it and the flash loads, when you want it to... not first thing.

It's easy to do and it's a great enhancement (IMHO) to web browsing.



iPhoto Extended Info EXIF - Mac Tips Daily! #399

If you use iPhoto to import your pictures you may not know exactly how much info is available about them. Each photo has Extended Info attached by your camera  and also data you've entered into iPhoto that can tell you a great deal about them.


Here's how to do it:

1. Open iPhoto

2. Click on a photo to select it

3. Go to the PHOTO menu and choose 'Show Extended Info'


4. Now you will see a box pop up that shows when the image was taken, resolution, filename, size, when it was modified, when you imported it into iPhoto,  GPS coordinates if your camera supports it (such as the iPhone), Camera info, shooting info such as the aperture, F-Stops, focal length, whether or not you had the flash on, etc.

This show you lots of valuable information regarding your image.