Category Archives: Apple

Replug

replug imageReplug

This is just like the new Macbook’s magnetic power cord release but for your headphone jack.

“Replug transforms any 3.5mm audio jack into a breakaway connection, protecting your audio jack from the rigors of daily use. When too much force is appled, Replug simply detaches from itself, preventing catastrophic damage to your audio device. Simply reattach plug to tip and you’re ready to go. Jack saved.”

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updated iTunes related plugins (iLike and iConcertCal)

iLike:

iLike has been updated recently…

get iLike here
my iLike profile

iConcertCal:

“iConcertCal is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS X and supports worldwide searches.”

New features in iConcertCal 2.0:

“Today we are releasing a major new version of iConcertCal. This new release builds on the power of the initial release by now including cd release dates (with links to pre-order albums) as well as the ability to share your personal concert calendar with your friends and find other concert goers in your city. Here are the highlights of the new features available with version 2.0”:

A new calendar of upcoming album release dates for artists in your library
Provides links to pre-order upcoming albums
Lets you share your calendar with your friends
Lets you see your friends’ calendars
Lets you highlight shows you care about for easier reading (and to share selected shows only)

That this app scans your music library and tells you about soon to be released albums from artist you already have is HUGE! I have not found any other service that does this. Has anyone else?

get iConcertCal here

Please share with me your must have iTunes related plugins. Especially those in alpha or beta that aren’t very well known yet.

Other music plugins I use:

SizzlingKeys:
view and control iTunes from the keyboard

GeekTool
I have it set to display my favorite streaming radio station’s (kexp.org) “now playing” track on my desktop via a curl command. You can do the same with lyrics, etc.

last.fm
learn about your music listening habits, find people with similar taste, and find similar artist to what you already like. An alternative is Mog.com.

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Sound enhancement for iTunes

I read this article about digital audio sound enhancement in the NY Times earlier in the week.

I remember before iTunes existed I used something like this when I used SoundJam back in the late 90’s. This is a great thing to use, especially for me. It’s incredible how it works and fools you into thinking your speakers or headphones are better than they are. I say, “for me”, because I have a mild hearing loss (high end tones) so I can wear earbuds at work and still tweak with the sound beyond the iTunes equalizer settings.

Here is an excerpt from the nytimes article:

—–

“Because sound cannot be replaced with complete accuracy once it has been removed, enhancement software uses principles of psychoacoustics — the perception of sound.

“Our technology tricks your brain into hearing something that isn’t there,” said Doug Morton, a programmer at SRS Labs. It does it by creating a sound effect that causes the brain to fill in the gap in the actual sound.”

—–

http://www.srs-store.com

Advanced audio enhancement features so you can tune and customize your music, movie or video.

SRS® 3D – 3D stereo enhancement for mono or stereo content
SRS 3D Center Control™ – a “virtual” zoom lens that dynamically extracts and positions the dialog in the foreground or background of the audio mix

SRS TruBass® – bass maximization

SRS FOCUS™ – optimize speaker output to compensate and reposition audio placement

SRS Definition™ – delivers a more lively and brilliant sound by highlighting the high frequency details originally presented in the audio source

—–

The nytimes article talks about another software product that is Windows only so I wanted to give Mac users an alternative.

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Remote Buddy for OS X

It’s time for another Mac related post. It’s been a while. With Remote Buddy you can practically, fully control your Mac from afar with a remote.

Remote Buddy turns the remote control in your hands into a key to your entire system. No matter, whether you want to control applications and presentations, browse and playback your music- and video collection, watch TV with EyeTV, browse the web or your filesystem, make the globe turn in Google™ Earth, enter a text, move the mouse, play games or maybe just change the brightness of your screen – you can do this all with Remote Buddy! And so much more!

remote buddy

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DockArt: Change your iTunes icon to Album Art

DockArt is a nice little iTunes plugin that does something simple, and does it well. When installed it will change the iTunes icon in your dock to the album art of the currently playing track (assuming of course that it has album art). The developer is on the ball and recently released an updated version for iTunes 7.

DockArt is a neat little toy that’ll offers a very unobtrusive visual reminder of what’s playing. Best of all it’s a free download from developer Greg Weston, who requests donations for Fidelco.

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Display song lyrics on your desktop automatically!

Display iTunes song lyrics on your Mac desktop with GeekTool.

1. Download and install GeekTool.
2. Put this as a shell command into GeekTool (with all quotation marks, in one line):

osascript -e '''tell application "iTunes" to set currentLyrics to the lyrics of the current track'''

This should display the lyrics of the current song as long as the song has lyrics in its tag.

GeekTool user forums for more ideas and for help.

Does anyone know of an easy way to have iTunes fetch the lyrics if they aren’t already there?

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How to master your iTunes EQ

How to master your iTunes EQ

Web site MethodShop takes a close look at the 10-band iTunes EQ, explaining how to get the most from your music by tweaking the EQ.

The post describes which sounds are most effected by each of the 10 bands of the iTunes equalizer. For example, ‘The 2k frequency can boost or cut the ‘nasal’ sound of your music, in the range your voice makes when you hold your nose and talk.’ Obviously these tips apply to more than just iTunes, so if you’ve always wanted to tweak your EQ but never really understood what was going on with all of those sliders, this guide looks like a good place to start.

Perfect iTunes EQ Settings

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iTunes Artwork with Curator

iTunes Artwork with Curator

Kavasoft has released version 1.0 of Curator, an iTunes Artwork management utility. Curator allows you to search for missing artwork and download any MIA items from Amazon. It also has a few spiffy features like creating Finder icons for your music and helping you perform custom searches for hard-to-find artwork. It costs $18 and there’s a free trial version.

This is the first application I’ve seen that changes your Finder folder icons to have the image of the album. I did this once by hand and it’s a pretty cool look.

It’s a bit pricey if you ask me. So many other apps exist that provide similar functionality except for changing Finder icons. Is this app worth it just for that? I think not. You never play your music from the Finder so it’s not something that you get to enjoy all that much.

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13 iTunes AppleScripts

Hack Attack: Top 13 iTunes AppleScripts: “search%20wikipedia%20header.png

by Adam Pash

If you use iTunes on the Mac, you should know about Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes, a repository of scripts that add tons of useful functionality to Apple’s music player.

Doug’s AppleScripts not only plug obvious holes in iTunes’ feature set; they also add functionality to iTunes you never knew you wanted. Today I’m rounding up my 13 favorite iTunes AppleScripts, from simple ‘why isn’t this already in iTunes’ add-ons like automatically removing dead tracks to more interesting scripts that build playlists and search for your music in Wikipedia.

NOTE: Doug Adams’ collection of iTunes scripts has been around in one form or another since before iTunes was even iTunes (the original scripts were SoundJam AppleScripts). Unfortunately, AppleScript is a Mac-only thing. Sorry Windows users, this is one of those times there isn’t really much of a Windows counterpart.

The following scripts need to be installed to ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts (if this directory doesn’t exist, you may need to create it). Some of the scripts make it drag-and-drop easy, others require you to manually copy the file. Just be sure to check each script’s Readme to ensure proper installation and use.

Maintenance:

remove%20dead%20tracks.png

1. Super Remove Dead Tracks: Like the name implies, this script scans your music library for all of your missing tracks (indicated by the little exclamation mark) and removes them. Simple, quick, and handy if you ever move some files around and end up with a bunch of scattered dead tracks.

Playlisting:

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2. Block Party!: Over President’s Day weekend, I enjoyed a ‘three-for-all’ weekend at one of the San Francisco radio stations, in which the station played 3-song blocks of music from the same band. (I enjoyed it for the first day, at least – turns out that radio station could only find about 5 bands with 3 songs to play.) The Block Party! script creates playlists of random blocks of artists in your iTunes library of any size you choose. Fun!

1-hits.png

3. Gather Up the One-Hits: Got a lot of one-hit wonders in your iTunes library? Gather them all into one united playlist of one-off delight called One Hit Wonders.

4. Make Album Playlists: Not as exciting as the above two scripts, this script creates a playlist for every album in your iTunes library. I’d only recommend this one if you like to have all of your albums available in your playlist sidebar; personally, I don’t, since it makes for a lot of sidebar clutter, but I can see where the script might come in handy.

Metadata:

rate%20me.png

5. Rate Me! Rate Me!: I’ve never been good at rating the music in my iTunes library. I love that I can use my ratings to splice my music with smart playlists, but I’m terrible about remembering to rate my music. This script throws up a nag window every time an unrated song starts playing to remind you to rate it. Potentially very annoying, but also guaranteed to get those songs rated.

get%20lyrical.png

6. Get Lyrical: This script searches the lyrics database at http://lyrics.astraweb.com/ for a match to either the currently playing or selected song(s) and, if it finds a match, automatically imports the lyrics to the lyrics tab of your metadata. It can be a bit hit or miss, especially if your music’s more obscure, so do check the matches. Even though I had a few false positives, it’s still pretty handy.

Internet:

search%20wikipedia.png

7. Search Wikipedia: I love reading about the music as I’m listening to it, so I love this little guy. You can choose to search Wikipedia for the currently playing or selected song, then choose to search by album, artist, or composer name.

8. Google Video Search: Like the Wikipedia search, this script searches Google Video using either the selected or currently playing track, this time by song, artist, or album.

9. Search for Pandora Stations: Here at Lifehacker, we all think Pandora is just swell. Apparently so does Doug Adams, who put together this script to search for stations on Pandora based on artist, album, or composer of your selected or playing track.

iPod:

import%20ipod%20files.png

10. Import iPod Audio Files: This handy little gem lets you grab audio tracks (AAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, AIF WAV, and Audible) from a plugged in iPod and automatically adds the tracks to iTunes.

Exporting info:

make%20pdf%20booklet.png

11. Make PDF Booklet: Ever made a CD for someone and wished for an easy way to quickly throw together a booklet with whatever metadata you choose in a nicely formatted PDF? If so, you have very specific needs… and you’re in luck! The Make PDF Booklet script does just that (the more and better metadata you have, the better), then copies the PDF to the iTunes playlist from whence it came.

cd%20case.png

12. Playlist to papercdcase.com: This handy little critter sends up to 28 tracks worth of information to previously mentioned web site Paper CD Case , so making a CD case for your burned CDs is completely painless. You can select which fields are included, so you can choose song and artist info for compilations or just the song title for regular albums. Paper CD Case will spit out a PDF all sized up for folding into a CD case complete with track info.

Controlling iTunes:

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13. Script Shortcut Maker:

If you’ve correctly installed your scripts, they should be available through the iTunes menu by clicking the little script icon. But since we’re so keen on keyboard shortcuts here at Lifehacker, we’d be remiss not to point out that any of your scripts can be accessed via customizable keyboard shortcut – because who needs to use a mouse? Not you, that’s for damn sure. The Script Shortcut Maker is still in a pretty rough beta state (and didn’t work that well for me), but you can also assign shortcuts using this tried and true method from Doug’s AppleScripts.

As of this writing, there are 423 scripts in Doug’s AppleScripts repository – meaning I’ve definitely skipped over someone’s favorite. Let’s hear which AppleScripts you’ve come to rely on in the comments.

Adam Pash is a senior editor for Lifehacker who loves free, scripted, homegrown software solutions. His special feature Hack Attack appears every Tuesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Hack Attack RSS feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

(Via Lifehacker.)

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Mac Finder Tip: moving files to another hard drive

Many of you already know this…
If you drag files on your internal/main hard drive from one folder to another on the same hard drive, all you are doing is moving them. (The same applies to any hard drive as long as you are dragging to a location on the same drive) If you want to create a copy in the location you are dragging to instead of moving the originals, simply hold down the OPTION key on your keyboard before you release the mouse button. You’ll see the cursor change to include a green circle with a white plus sign. This indicates, “make a copy”.

But how many of you knew this?
If you drag files that are on your internal/main hard drive to an external hard drive attached to your computer (or the other way around) this copy process is the default behavior and you’ll see the green circle with the plus sign automatically. However, if you want to move the files from one drive to another, and not copy them, hold down the APPLE key (also known as the COMMAND or Splat key). This can save you from copying the files and then going to their original location and deleting them.

I know I’m not the first one to discover this. Don’t get up uppity. But I bet many people didn’t know it or had forgotten.

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CoverFlow

http://www.steelskies.com/coverflow/HomePage.html

“Don’t know about you, but I find browsing a list of album names somewhat uninspiring, to say the least. One of the big appeals of a physical album is the beautiful packaging and aesthetic appeal, something that’s sorely missed with the digital equivalent.

CoverFlow aims to bring that aesthetic appeal to your mp3 collection. It allows you to browse your albums complete with beautiful artwork pulled from any sources it can find, whether that’s buried in your song tags, collected via Synergy, or looked up on Amazon.”

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iTunes Registry

http://www.itunesregistry.com/register.php

This site allows its users to upload their iTunes playlists and run them through a (growing) series of reporting tools in an effort to help you, the listener, better understand your musical collection.

Some of the interesting things available (once you make an account) include a Browse-By-Letter tool for your iPod, rankings of entire songs and albums, an estimate of how diverse your music collection is and a handy little report that sits in your iPod’s ‘Notes’ folder, and gives you some interesting statistics on each of your genres.

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Tiger shortcut for word definitions (hidden feature)

If you have Tiger installed, hold your cursor over any word, anywhere. Then hold down [control]+[Apple]+[d]. After pressing those 3 keys, you’ll see a nifty little definition window pop up. You then can let up on those 3 keys and hold the cursor of any other word and the definition will change to the word that is under the cursor. (I am told that it doesn’t work in Firefox) I’d take and post a screenshot of what it looks like but I’m too lazy right now.

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