How-Tos

The time comes in every Mac user’s life when he or she hits the metaphorical wall: That rainbow-colored beach ball shows up way too often, and your Mac is bogged down by too many files, big caches, too many cookies, and who knows what else that builds up with everyday use. Or you think you’ve done everything you can to be more, ahem, productive, and your Mac still isn’t fast enough. Well, you don’t have to live with that state of affairs. We’re skipping right past the obvious time-savers (keyboard shortcuts? Been there, done that) to show you some of the best ways to speed up your workflow - and herd some more of your time back to pasture where it belongs - whether you have absolutely no time to spare or you can make a 20-minute investment in your Mac’s smooth operation.

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1956 issue of magazine predicts Mac|Life Squidget.

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Mac|Life reader, Peter Weisz, tipped us on an undocumented option within Leopard's Time Machine application. According to the documentation, "Once Time Machine has been set up, it’s a snap to zoom back and alter exercise prices, revise board minutes, or whatever you need to do to avoid annoying SEC scrutiny." Check out the "screen grab" below for the full set of options available to the small business.  Click to enlarge  

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When it comes to music, the iPod is the greatest thing since amps that go to 11. Audiobooks, on the other hand, are a completely different beast. While audiobook downloads from the iTunes Store are as simple as a few clicks, getting your existing books from CD, or audiobooks from other stores like eMusic or the free Librivox into your iPod's Audiobooks playlist can be a chore.

Using automation, you can make sounds move left, right, forward, and backward through a scene or song. It takes great effort to create music that moves people; creating movement in music is way easier. Toss in Apple’s GarageBand, and the feat is downright simple. Using the automation features in GarageBand ’08, you can virtually set instruments in motion in your music or create sound effects that move forward, backward, and across the stereo field. To demonstrate the basics of creating motion, here’s how to create a sound effect of footsteps walking across a room and then out a back door.

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Wheel rims with Apple logo in center
The iPod set benchmarks for product usability, aesthetics and cultural cachet -- and then the iPhone proved that Apple's design mojo could strike twice. So, what could Apple possibly deliver next? Mac|Life imagines the future of Apple hardware design in the form of four product fauxtotypes.

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 Adam Benton blew us away with his 3D renderings of our Apple product fauxtotypes. Now he describes the ultimate Mac-based 3D workstation, and shares must-know info for 3D artists-in-training. He’s done work for Saatchi & Saatchi, that most prestigious and tony of advertising firms. He’s done work for Activision, a video game company that seems to make one out of every three titles that gamers play. And he’s done work for T3, the world’s preeminent gadget magazine, which is published in 22 international editions.

Anyone remember what kind of box the Lisa came in? Our point exactly. There was a time when Apple product packaging had all the charm of generic cigarette cartons. Today, however, the form and function of Apple packaging matches the panache of the company’s product design - buying and opening a piece of Appleware is an experience in and of itself. So how might Apple skin its products in the future? Using the next version of iLife as a canvas, we asked three local designers to show us some evolutionary paths.

Digital cameras are smarter and more capable than film cameras, but underneath, they still work the same: light hits an image sensor, and the camera’s interpretation of that light is the image you see. Sometimes the camera (or the photographer) gets it wrong, and the picture suffers. But once you’ve mastered a few tools found in Adobe Creative Suite 3, you can make adjustments to exposure and contrast. You can also do it nondestructively, making things easier to fix in the future if you change your mind.

Lightening the Darkroom

If there’s one thing to love about digital photography, it’s the instant gratification. There’s no reason to wait one hour for your prints. If you have your own home digital photo lab, within minutes, you can shoot, print, and flip through a stack of prints - and you don’t have to spend a ton of money on heavy equipment.