In Little Snitch’s configuration screen, we set iTunes to deny connections to the Internet radio while still allowing access to the iTunes Store. In Safari, all websites are allowed except for www.pandora.com.
The Internet speed at my office slows down tremendously when my employees are streaming music through iTunes Radio and pandora.com. Is there any way to block my employees from streaming music on their Macs?
You could invest in a hardware-based content filtering firewall such as the Barracuda Web Filter (starting at $1,499, www.barracudanetworks.com), which blocks the users on your network from accessing websites that you specify based on domain name or category. It can also prevent applications, such as iTunes, from accessing the Internet.
For a software-based solution, there’s Little Snitch ($29.95, www.obdev.com), which informs you whenever a program attempts to establish an outgoing Internet connection (letting you know the specific port and IP address that your application is trying to access) and lets you block those attempts. You can prevent apps from accessing the entire Internet or just certain websites. Best of all, you can lock Little Snitch to prevent users from making changes to the settings that you’ve customized.
Selecting this option in iTunes ensures that your friends will see the track names when they insert your custom CD into their computers.
I used iTunes to burn a few awesome mix CDs for my girlfriend, but when she puts the CDs in her Mac, the track names either show up blank or with completely wrong track information. We had to manually type in all the information about each track. What’s going on here?
This is a topic that provides a great deal of confusion for many.
The quick answer is that if she’s going to be importing the tracks into her computer (instead of playing the CD in a normal audio CD player), you should burn your CD as a data CD. To do this, go to iTunes > Preferences, click the Advanced button, choose the Burning tab, and then select Data CD Or DVD. This is the equivalent of making a backup copy of your songs, which keeps the song title, artist, and album information intact for each song. Note that your girlfriend won’t be able to play a data CD in a normal audio CD player, nor will she be able to play any protected songs that you’ve purchased from the iTunes Store unless you authorize her computer with your iTunes username and password.
The explanation behind this answer is more complex. iTunes uses an audio CD standard created back in the 1980s that doesn’t allow for any text information about the tracks, such as artist name or song title. Yet whenever you insert a commercially released CD into your computer, iTunes goes online to a massive music database called Gracenote and looks up the track information based on the length of each track. iTunes then saves this information for future use into the CDInfo.cidb file located in ~/Library/Preferences. When you burn a custom audio CD, iTunes saves your track info into the CDInfo.cidb file as well. This is why you can reinsert a custom audio CD into your computer and iTunes will still recognize the song titles…but only on your own computer.
You could conceivably carry over your CDInfo.cidb file to your girlfriend’s computer (by putting it in her ~/Library/Preferences folder), and she would get all the track information about the custom audio CD that you burned for her. Many people have submitted custom CD track names to Gracenote by choosing Advanced > Submit Track Names in iTunes, but Gracenote was only supposed to be used for commercially released CDs and it should never be used for personal CDs. This misuse of the Gracenote service is the reason why you often get incorrect track names in iTunes when inserting a custom audio CD.
One final note: You may have noticed the CD Text option within the Advanced preferences of iTunes for burning audio CDs. This option actually does write song name and artist information onto a normal audio CD, but this information can only be read by certain audio CD drives. The CD drives that ship with Macs are unable to read this CD Text information.
Choose Music > Pop-H when you're rocking out to Abba with headphones. Sure, it's easy enough to do, but we were too lazy to change Hear's preset to Hip Hop / Rap-H when the song switched to Akon's Smack That. Even nonaudiophiles can appreciate an app like JoeSoft's Hear, which, for $49.95, boosts the sound quality of your entire digital music library - and any other audio you care to listen to on your Mac. After an admittedly quick look at the app, however, we found ourselves wishing JoeSoft could build in a few more features that cater to lazy mousers like us. To wit: With its dozens of music presets - from Alternative / Punk to Hip Hop/Rap to Techno, all for both speakers and headphones, choosing the one you want quickly is, well, a challenge.
While there are lots of controls for tweaking the sound, you’ll fall in love with Pianoteq by just playing the darn thing. While the digital music world is ruled by gnarly synthesizers, decked-out drum machines, and spacey sound effects, most musicians will tell you that the Holy Grail of software is one that can emulate the good old acoustic piano. Sampled piano instruments typically require sample libraries that eat up between 15 and 30 gigabytes of hard drive space, and are constrained by the limitations of sampling technology. Well, fear not: A group of French geniuses have come up with the ultimate nonsampled piano, and it’s downright luscious.
Still have dreams of being the next Jimi Hendrix or Elton John? But your guitar or piano/keyboard is now gathering dust in the corner because you don’t have the time or the money to spend taking lessons, right? Well, dust it off, because online lessons may be the answer to your dilemma. Online lessons are much cheaper than in-person lessons, which typically cost $50 or more an hour; you can take a lesson at home whenever you want, or even on the go with a laptop and portable instrument; and with streaming video you can see exactly how your instructor plays the melodies and chords. Also, unlike package deals that send you DVDs and books, online material is not static—new lessons are continually added, and in some cases you can select from a variety of instructors. Online lesson forums also allow you to get feedback from your teachers and have them or other students answer your questions, listen to your music, and more.
At just under 4 inches on all sides, the iCube fits nearly anywhere—as long as there’s AC power nearby. Boynq offers the iCube II (and another iPod speaker, the Sabre) in both black-and-chrome “Pour Homme” and lavender-and-white “Pour Femme” versions. While “Pour Femme” is one glitter unicorn sticker away from being “Pour 9-Year-Old Girl,” the black-and-chrome version is attractive enough for a desktop, bedroom, or kitchen.
Groove Agent 3 lets you synch up two different drum modules, for extremely dense and lush rhythms. Anyone who makes—or listens to—music is well aware that, in the end, rhythm is the thing that keeps it all together and makes it gel. If you create your own tunes, you might feel constrained by using existing drum loops, and that’s where Groove Agent enters the picture: It’s a unique software drum machine that incorporates some innovative MIDI and sampled drum technology, and the result is one seriously groovy virtual skin beater.
It’s pretty obvious where Apple wants you to get your music: the iTunes Store. And we’re not knocking it—we appreciate the simplicity and convenience of iTunes for buying songs, managing our collections, and loading up our iPods. But only looking for digital music in one place—even iTunes—is like only getting takeout from one restaurant, or only ever accessing the Internet through AOL. There’s just so much more out there if you’re willing to look around.