Category: Macs

This is part 2 of a 2 part series on upgrading your MacBook. Part 1 is exchanging the hard drive.

After you upgrade your MacBook’s hard drive, you’re stuck with a computer that likely has no data on it. This, of course, is impossible to boot, so you’re left with a very nice looking paperweight. With a few pieces of software, you can be back up and running in no time.
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Yesterday morning was Apple’s annual developer convention — called WWDC — and in case you weren’t able to read about everything that was announced, here’s the important stuff to take away from Steve J’s presentation.

  • 3G iPhone — now with more speed!
    One of the big complaints about the original iPhone was that it used the slower EDGE network for surfing the web and emailing. Not anymore. iPhone 2.0 takes advantage of the faster 3G network to enable you to surf and email at near WiFi speeds. In addition to the data rates, the new iPhone also contains GPS for geotagging photos, uses a more sculpted shell, and comes at a lower price (from $399 to $199!).
  • OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard — slightly different name, slightly different OS
    While Steve Jobs only briefly mentioned the new Mac OS, Apple has an entire page dedicated to the new cat. This new version contains fewer incredible new features, but instead focuses on polishing the interface and under-the-hood system.
  • MobileMe — .Mac’s replacement
    MobileMac is positioning itself to make most of the applications people use on a regular basis (Mail, iCal, iPhoto, etc.) more platform-neutral. Basically, this service will allow subscribers to sync their data together and view anything in a regular web browser. It could be a cool service if you have multiple computers, but it will cost $99/year.
  • iPhone / iPod touch software 2.0 — adds many new features
    Available in the 3G iPhone for free and the iPod touch for $10, version 2.0 of the OS acclaimed for its interface contains many new features, the biggest being Microsoft Exchange support for enterprises, and 3rd party applications. Some of the demos look pretty amazing, and there should be even more available when the iPhone and system upgrade are available in July.

[tags]iPhone, WWDC, Apple, Mac OS X, iPod touch[/tags]

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Front Row was a great addition to the iMac G5 when it was introduced in 2005. It gave a home theatre-like interface to some of the excellent applications that make up the iLife suite — iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, Garageband and iWeb. Using the included Apple Remote, users can sit on a couch and view movies, movie trailers, photos and listen to songs that are stored on the computer.

If you’re using an iMac, there’s no problem because the screen is likely large enough to view media nicely. But what if you’re using a MacBook or MacBook Pro and have it connected to a nice big HDTV? The problem is that Front Row only shows on the primary display, and if you’re using the portable in extended desktop mode, the interface will default to the internal screen.

The solution is to only use the external monitor. How? Simply close your MacBook to put it to sleep and use the remote to wake the computer. If you have a password to exit the screensaver you’ll need to open the laptop to type that in, but once you close it again, the computer only uses the external display.

Press any button on the remote, or even use an external keyboard while the computer is asleep and you’ll be able to enjoy Front Row in beautiful high definition on your big TV. Couple that with 5.1 surround sound and you’ve got a complete theatre experience.

[tags]MacBook, Leopard, Front Row, HDTV[/tags]

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It’s funny how solutions to problems come out of the blue. I was in the process of converting a number of .aif audio files to .MP3 with ffmpegX when I happened to pick up the April 2006 edition of Macworld and found a program that could speed up the process under the Tools of the Trade section. That program was called Max.

Max is a versatile, easy to use application does one job: convert audio. It takes in audio files of many formats — multiple files — and can convert them to many others. I was happy to find this program because it can convert to MP3. Other programs like Quicktime Pro and Audacity don’t have this ability.

To use Max and output to any format of your choosing, you open the preference panel and select the format you need. I only used MP3, but there are an abundance of other formats available.

After you’ve selected the correct format and output folder, it is a simple matter of draggin any audio file into the queue and pressing Convert. Max takes it from there and gives you a complete collection of your original tunes in their own formats. This batch processing ability makes it a tool that I will be using for a long time.

Max represents another excellent piece of software developed for the open source community, and does a terrific job at its designed purpose.

[tags]Max, audio, convert, import, Mac OS X[/tags]

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When you get an iPod, you’re faced with many decisions: should I put mostly movies on it? Which songs should I use? Should I manually manage the music, or can I leave it as automatic syncing?

While I can’t help you pick which tunes your iPod will contain, I can help you decide which method to use. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, and can make using your iPod even more enjoyable.
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