Who says crime doesn’t pay? Our final script pickpockets old ladies when we’re not even at our Mac.
Recently, we’ve gotten into a few Web-based role-playing games that remind us of the ones we used to play on old-school dial-up BBSes. In these games, players choose actions from a menu, sometimes selecting other players as targets for the actions. Before the Web, we played by typing. Now we click links, but the style of play is still the same.
Some of these games have tens of thousands of users, many of whom will log in multiple times per day and grind away repetitively on some basic actions so they can level up faster than you. Fortunately, AppleScript was made for automating repetition, and Safari’s support for AppleScript means that with a modicum of evil genius scripting know-how, your Mac can gain those levels for you while you’re out enjoying real life.
A gorgeous sunset or sunrise is a great subject for this project.
You’ve seen time-lapse video effects: A smooth sunset peacefully glides into the ocean, jittering traffic patterns swerve at night, and construction projects are instantly assembled. These effects are loaded with emotion, and can take their makers from amateurs to auteurs. We’ll show you how to shoot individual still photos and compile them into an HD video. You’ll need a tripod, still camera—a DSLR is ideal but not required—and QuickTime Pro. The results are much more cinematic than just turning up the playback speed for a video clip. (See our example video at www.maclife.com/time_lapse.)
iMovie ’08 lacks the chapter-marker feature found in iMovie ’06, but you can still add chapters to an iMovie ’08 project by using GarageBand.
Purchase a movie from the iTunes Store, or extract a film from a DVD with HandBrake, and you’ll end up with a file containing chapter markers that you can use to skip to specific parts of your video in iTunes, on the Apple TV, or on an iPod. Wouldn’t it be great if you could add such markers to your own home movies too?
Wouldn’t it be great if your home-ripped movies looked the same in your iTunes library as their expensive iTunes Store–bought brothers?
We already showed you how to convert your DVD collection into iPod-compatible clips using MacTheRipper and HandBrake (“Hardcore How-Tos: The Digital Media Edition,” Apr/08, p23). This time, we’re going to take this process a little further and polish up those files to make them look just like iTunes Store purchases, complete with named chapter markers, poster artwork, and a description field containing a film synopsis as well as a short list of its cast and crew.
If you followed our directions in the April issue, you’ll have to re-encode your film in step 1 below if you want to name the chapters. But the rest of these steps can be done to the files you already have. Most of the information for the description field can be gleaned from your DVD covers, but if you don’t own a scanner and don’t feel like typing all that information, the Internet is the best place to search for alternative content. Time to get your DVDs out and start creating a beautiful digital film collection.
CardRaider is one of many utilities that can help you recover photos and movies that you deleted from your digital camera’s media card.
I accidentally erased my photos on my digital camera’s SD Memory Card before importing them into iPhoto. Is there any way I can get them back?
Judging by the number of utilities that help you recover erased photos and movies from your camera’s media card, you’ve obviously made a common mistake. We’ve successfully used Exif Untrasher (free, www.bluem.net/downloads/exif-untrasher_en) to recover images from memory cards.
Other programs that can help you recover your photos and movies include CardRaider ($19.95, www.ecamm.com), Klix ($29.95, www.joesoft.com), CameraSalvage ($49.95, www.subrosasoft.com), MediaRECOVER ($29.95, www.mediarecover.com), and PhotoRescue ($29, www.datarescue.com). Many of them let you preview thumbnails before recovering, can attempt to retrieve files from damaged or formatted cards, and can even securely delete a file so it can never be recovered again. CardRaider also offers iPhoto integration to restore your photos directly into iPhoto.
Create a rule in Mail to automatically assign background colors to incoming messages.
I just switched from Entourage to Mail, and I can’t figure out how to use colors to highlight the email messages that I receive, as I could in Entourage by selecting a category (e.g., friends are purple, family is green, and so on).
To manually apply a background color to an email, click the message in your viewer window, choose Format > Show Colors to bring up the color picker, and select the one that you want. If you find yourself using the same colors repeatedly, you can “bookmark” a color in the color picker by dragging the large rectangle that represents your color onto one of the small boxes that appears below. Unlike in Entourage, your background colors only appear within the ist of messages, and not in the actual window of the message itself.
To automatically apply a background color to incoming emails, you can set up a rule in Mail to color email messages if they’re from a certain person or Address Book group. Let’s say that you’ve already created a group in your Address Book called Family and dragged all of your family contacts into that group. Now you want any incoming messages from those contacts to be highlighted green. Select Mail > Preferences, click the Rules button, and choose Add Rule. Give the rule a description, select the condition “Sender is member of Group,” and then choose the group Family. Underneath “Perform the following actions,” choose “Set Color” and “of background” from the drop-downs, and select the color you’d like.
Checking this box in EasyFind enables you to search your trash, plus it simultaneously shows results from the rest of your hard drive in the same window.
I just upgraded to Leopard, and now whenever I perform a Spotlight search, it no longer searches my trash like it used to in Tiger. How can I search the contents of my trash?
Until Apple brings this feature back to Mac OS X, one solution is to use the search utility EasyFind (free, www.devon-technologies.com), which can simultaneously search through both visible and invisible folders.
Another solution is built into Mac OS X, but it only searches your trash and nowhere else on your hard drive. Go to the Finder, select Go > Go To Folder and type in ~/.Trash to bring up a Finder window showing the contents of your Trash, but this time around, Mac OS X recognizes it as a searchable window. Type your search criteria, and then be sure to select .Trash as the location you’re searching (if you choose This Mac, the results you’re looking for won’t be found).
You can even save the results of this search as a custom search in your sidebar, and then modify it later by clicking the Action menu in your Finder’s toolbar and selecting Show Search Criteria.
This smart playlist will collect every one-star song in your library.
Why didn’t Apple give me a way to delete songs that I don’t like while listening to them on my iPod, and then have those songs automatically delete from my iTunes library next time I sync? By the time I get back to my computer, I’ve totally forgotten which songs I wanted to get rid of.
There’s no automatic way to do this, but you can try this trick (it works with any iPod except the shuffle) to help make deleting songs easier in the future. But first let’s make sure everyone understands the syncing process between your iPod and iTunes: If you use automatic syncing (i.e., you don’t have Manually Manage Music checked in the iPod Summary screen), it’s a one-way sync from your iTunes Library to your iPod. However, there are a few important pieces of info that iTunes pulls from your iPod into your iTunes Library when you sync: purchased songs that don’t already exist in your Library, newly updated play counts, and star ratings. If you manually manage your music, this trick won’t work.
First, use star ratings on your iPod to flag the songs that you don’t like by giving them one star. On the iPod touch and iPhone, click the Track List button to display all the tracks on an album, then click the track you don’t like and drag your finger across the ratings bar to assign one star to the track. On the iPod nano and classic, press the center button twice while the song is playing, which makes the five rating bullets appear, and use the clickwheel to select a rating.
After you sync your iPod to your Mac, you can quickly find all of your one-star songs by sorting your Library by the Rating column. (If you don’t have a Rating column, choose View > View Options and check the Rating box.) Delete a song by selecting it and hitting Delete on your keyboard.
You can also create a smart playlist containing all of your one-star songs. Choose File > New Smart Playlist and create the rule “Rating is 1 star.” Normally when you delete a song from a playlist, iTunes removes the song from the playlist but keeps it in your library. But if you select a track and hold down Option while you press the Delete key, iTunes will delete the song from your library.
Ahhh, the silent ringtone. It’s been on every phone I’ve had in the last eight years or so. But, like voice dialing, one-touch speed dialing, MMS, and the ability to shoot video of my dog running around at the beach, it’s one of the things I’ve had to give up since transitioning to an iPhone.
I can hear you already. “Just flip the switch to make your phone silent, Stupid.”
But I don’t want my phone to be silent; I want the ability to selectively silence my phone for certain callers. Those annoying telemarketing recordings come to mind. Or maybe your crazy ex, or perhaps your parole officer if you’re on the lam. Anyway, the point is, the iPhone doesn’t offer a No Ring option for your contacts. But with a little GarageBand fiddling, you can roll your own non-ring in a couple minutes, with just a few clicks.
Learn how to make your own silent ringtone after the jump.