tutorials

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.

Track1

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.

SOUNDHOUND 1

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!

Match

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.

Cleanup Your Mac - Mac Tips Daily! #331

Listen to this Episode NOTE: Sorry for the missing images.This is a result of lost files from our backup.

In our continued coverage of getting ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Leopard, today we have a few tips for cleaning up your computer. If you plan on doing an upgrade, instead of a clean install, It's a good idea to clean up some of the stuff you don't use on your Mac. Stray applications, preference panes, maintenance scripts, etc. Taking care of business first gives you some trouble repellent....

Remove Apps

The first thing I recommend is to look through your Applications folder, and take a look for any applications that you no longer use; expired trial software, apps you know you will never use, stuff like that. With most applications, you can simply drag them to the trash. If your app came with an uninstaller, it's best to use that to ensure it gets everything. To assist with this process, you can also use the Appzapper program.

Take a look

If you want to see what's taking up valuable disk space, download a free program called Disk Inventory X. It provides a VISUAL mapping of your whole hard drive and color codes the items so you can quickly eye up where your disk space is going. 

 

 

Run Maintenance Scripts and Repair Permissions

If you can't remember the last time you did this, it's probably a good time to optimize the system by running a utility such as ONYX. Onyx allows you to automatically run all of the needed maintenance scripts and optimize the system. It's free too! Just be sure to get the version released for your current OS X. There are different versions for 10.4 & 10.3.

Disable any login iTems

This will help prevent any problems upon bootup that Leopard isn't expecting when it's trying to update the files on the initial bootup. You can disable them by opening system preferences, Accounts, and clicking on the Login Items tab. From here, just select the unneeded items and remove them.

Check for Application Updates

Start Visiting the Software developers sites for software upgrades or hints that their app is Mac OS 10.5 Leopard compatible. That's key, because if your much needed application doesn't work with Leopard, and the developer doesn't have any plans to update it, it may not be worthwhile for you to step up to OS X Leopard.

Backup Your Data Before Upgrading - Mac Tips Daily! #332

Listen to this episode firewire_icon.pngBackup your data before you upgrade to Mac OS X Leopard 10.5. In fact, even if you aren't upgrading to Leopard -- Backup Up Your Data!! Everyone uses their own solution, but here are a few recommendations. Some are free, some cost some $$, but each have their own set of unique features. Find a solution that works for you and fits your needs.

Full Drive Clones

First let's go with doing a total clone of your hard drive. To do this you will need another drive and/or partition that is approximately the same capacity as your OS X Drive. What's nice about this method is that if Leopard totally bombs your system, you can boot from your cloned disk with all of your original data & operating system. There are two great utilities each with their own set of features. But they both have one feature that works well, and that's making an exact bootable copy of your hard disk. The first program is SUPER DUPER from Shirt Pocket Software, and it's well worth the $27.95, due to the versatility and extra features it offers. Another alternative is Carbon Copy Cloner, and it's Donationware!! Both will duplicate your disk for free and area equally great programs.

Partial & Incremental

If you want an incremental backup, and you subscribe to .Mac, you already have the Backup program. It will allow you to copy files and folders and store them one another drive, your iDisk, or burn to Cds and DVDs. This is nice if you already have .Mac. A free solution however is a program I really like called iBackup. It's a another donationware program and it will backup all of your files and folders, and you can then burn them or copy them elsewhere. Personally, it's the program I prefer to use when I am backing up and not doing a full drive clone. There are a plethora of options, but these are a few quick suggestions that I have tried, and I like them all, depending on your needs. NOW GO BACKUP!!

Share Files and Folders - Mac Tips Daily! #356

Listen to today's show If you have multiple accounts on your Mac, you may have a need to share a file with all of the user accounts on your Mac. Mac OS X offers several ways to do it, but I think the SHARED folder is the easiest. It gives all users READ/WRITE privileges to it, so you can easily collaborate.

How to do it:

1. Open Macintosh HD mactips_356_1.png

2. Open the Users folder.

mactips_356_2.png

3. Open the Shared folder. Once it's open, you can drag and drop files into it that you want to share with everyone on the Mac. mactips_356_3.png

4. If you are going to do this frequently, a quick shortcut is to add this folder to your sidebar. Simply click and drag the folder to your sidebar under the places section. mactips_356_4.png

5. For users to access these files, they will have to navigate to this folder from their account. Remember that everyone has Read and Write privileges to this folder.