view in plain text or web browser  
Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | SmallDog.com | 800-511-MACS
 
#698: Getting More Out of iPhoto, Google and Yahoo Integration, Dealing With Duplicates in iTunes, From the Archives

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

All of us at Small Dog thank you for stepping up to donate to Doctors Without Borders in this time of extreme need in Haiti. I’m thrilled to report that we’ve raised about $20,000 for this excellent organization, and are sending an additional $10,000 through our donation matching program.

The response to our call for help on Facebook, Twitter, and around the Internet was, and continues to be, truly amazing. While we’ve reached the threshold for matching charitable donations, you may continue to donate through our site.

In Apple-related news, Apple is holding a press event next Wednesday to reveal their “latest creation.” Hopefully this creation isn’t just an updated iPod touch with built-in camera (though I am still waiting for that!), but rather the long-fabled Apple tablet computer. No one knows what’s coming, but watching Steve Jobs command the attention of a giant room of reporters and Apple faithful is always a treat. We’ll cover that announcement in depth on our blog, Barkings! next week.

Until then, thanks as always for reading, and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Getting More Out of iPhoto  
   
 

After years of dreaming and drooling over digital SLRs, I finally bit the bullet and invested in a used Canon Digital Rebel XT last week. After years of shooting with my Nikon FM-10, a fully manual 35mm SLR, I have the basic skills under my belt, but considering that camera has been non-functional for several years, and I’ve never used anything with automatic functions, I’m currently in “learning mode.” Luckily, iPhoto is very helpful with aiding in the learning process without being overwhelming.

While most professionals and even pro-sumers primarily use Aperture or Lightroom for their photo organization needs, iPhoto actually has quite a few robust tools to help those who aren’t quite ready to graduate to that higher level yet. The biggest tool for me has been using the “Extended Info” window. Open iPhoto, select a picture and go to Photos > Show Extended Photo Info. This brings up a robust info window with many helpful details about the picture. If you’ve been shooting with a point-n-shoot or a cell phone you might not see too much information. However, if the picture was taken with a digital SLR, you would be able to see important details like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering, exposure and much more.

So how is this helpful? In learning the features of a new camera, I often take the same shot using multiple settings. Once the pictures are on my computer, I can see the differences, but I don’t necessarily always remember exactly which settings I changed for each shot. By leaving the extended info window open, I can clearly see what settings yielded what specific results.

As an extra bonus, iPhoto allows for photo comparison. This is the perfect feature for me as I can select several similar pictures, double-click on them and watch them come up side-by-side on my screen. By entering full-screen mode (pressing the button that looks like two arrows pointing away from each other), I can really take the time to compare the details between photos while keeping my eye on the extended info window to remind myself how I created the image.

Once I find an image I like, I like to flag it. There are two ways to flag a photo: press the flag icon on bottom left if you’re in the photo browser, or press command+. if you’re in edit or full screen mode. Flagging allows me to start pairing down the photos I like without going through the rigamarole of creating a photo album and dragging photos over. Once I’ve gone through a set I can view all of my flagged photos by selecting “Flagged” in the “Recent” menu on the left column of the photo browser. I can then go through the flagged images and select the few that I want to share.

Sharing in iPhoto 9 has become easier than ever. I can select individual photos, events or albums and simply press the button that corresponds to how I want to share my pictures. I split my photos among three main sites: Facebook, Flickr and MobileMe. It’s insanely easy to upload to all three locations right from within iPhoto. After selecting the pictures I want to share I just hit the “Flickr”, “Facebook” or “MobileMe” button, my pictures are automatically resized for the web and posted.

If I forgot to change the name of my picture or if I don’t like the generic name that iPhoto gave to the set I can edit that information right from within iPhoto and it will re-sync the changes to the web for me. I can even drag and drop additional pictures into the established photo set or delete photos from the set as desired. iPhoto takes care of all of the resizing and uploading for me.

Easy-peasy!

 
   
     
  Tip of the Week: Google and Yahoo Integration  
   
 

Hundreds of millions use Google and Yahoo for their email, address book, and calendaring, and there was no way to integrate these services with Apple’s iCal and Address Book software. It’s now very easy under Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard.

To integrate your address book, simply open Address Book’s preferences from the Address Book menu on top of your screen. Click on the Accounts item at the top of the window that pops open, and then click on the boxes next to the various synchronization options. Unsurprisingly, you can sync with MobileMe in addition to Google and Yahoo.

iCal is configured in a similar way. Select Preferences from the iCal menu, click on Accounts, and follow the instructions. You’ll be asked to specify the account type (CalDAV, Exchange, Google, or Yahoo).

Of course, making a change in the web interface of any of these services will result in your iApps updating themselves on next launch. It works the other way, just as expected. Google’s web interfaces tend to be elegant and functional, but lack the simplicity of iCal and Address Book that I like so much. This was a very welcome addition to the operating system, and is just one more reason to upgrade to Snow Leopard!

 
   
     
  Dealing With Duplicates in iTunes  
   
 

I opened iTunes this morning when I got to work, and kept hearing the same song twice; I just upgraded to a unibody MacBook and ended up importing some songs twice in the migration. As much as I like Dave Brubeck and Amy Winehouse, I didn’t want to hear duplicates all day.

With about six thousand songs in my library, I didn’t want to go through one-by-one to remove all the duplicates. Thankfully, iTunes does have a feature that isolates duplicate songs. Unfortunately, though, there is a fair amount of manual labor involved.

When in iTunes, select “Show Duplicates” from the File menu, which will then reveal all the duplicates in your library. This will show you the songs with duplicate titles. If you’re like me, you’ll have several versions of the same song, so holding down the option button on your keyboard while in the File menu will reveal “Show Exact Duplicates.” This will show only files with identical titles AND identical lengths, file sizes, etc. This way, I didn’t lose each different version of these tunes.

Now that you’re showing duplicates or exact duplicates depending on your situation, you’ll need to manually go through the list and remove the duplicates by clicking on them, then pressing the delete key on your keyboard. iTunes will ask if you’re sure first, don’t worry.

This can get old quickly. A systemwide trick for selecting nonconsecutive multiple items in any window is to hold down the command key (yours may have an Apple on it) while clicking on the items. With all the duplicates highlighted, press Delete, and you’ll be left with a clean iTunes library. Don’t forget to check through the items now found in the trash to make sure you didn’t delete something you didn’t mean to. It’d be a good idea to let Time Machine back up your computer before hitting the delete key!

 
   
     
  From the Archives: Anticipating OS 9  
   
 

Originally written in September 1999!

Apple’s OS 9 system software features are being outlined and explained at Apple’s website. Go figure—there are 9 main reasons why everyone should buy it. Copied directly from Apple, I have brought their site to you. Check Apple’s version of this info for even more about OS 9.

1. Sherlock 2
The search for the ultimate search engine is over. Your personal shopper on the Internet, Sherlock 2 not only finds the products you’re looking for, it’s also the easiest way to find people, news, and just about everything else on the Internet.

2. Multiple Users
We should be calling this feature “multiple Macs,” because it customizes one Mac for each user who shares it. Now you can share your Mac without hassle or worry. This feature securely stores each user’s preferences and files for privacy and convenience.

3. Voiceprint Password
Your voice is your password. Mac OS 9 analyzes your voice and stores your voiceprint. Then when you talk, your Macintosh listens. And lets you—and you alone—log on and access your files.

4. Keychain
Forget keeping track of those dozens of Internet passwords. The personal keychain in Mac OS 9 securely stores all of your user IDs and passwords. Your voice—or one typed password—unlocks them all.

5. Auto Updating
Keep your Mac up-to-date, automatically. Always have the latest software. Mac OS 9 can automatically download software updates over the Internet, and can even install them for you.

6. Encryption
Send files across the Internet securely. Mac OS 9 helps you keep your private information private with industrial-strength encryption.

7. File Sharing over the Internet
Apple’s easy-to-use File Sharing now works the same way over the Internet. So you can share files, folders and data with anyone. No more boundaries!

8. AppleScript over TCP/IP
Put your Mac on automatic pilot—remotely, over the Internet. AppleScript lets you automate tasks on your Mac. Now AppleScript over TCP/IP takes that to the next level, letting you remote-control your Mac (or a whole battery of Macs) from wherever you happen to be.

9. Network Browser
The Internet is about to become much more manageable. The Network Browser in Mac OS 9 lets you find Internet file servers, FTP servers, and web servers about as easily as you find printers on your network.

Many of these features I can’t wait to see. The voice recognition is certainly a direction that Apple and all computer makers and software engineers are going towards and it is good to see Apple leading the pack. There is no word on availability of OS 9 and also no guarantee that they will be able to include all they promise, but let’s hope they can.

 
   
     
  SPECIALS | 01/19/2010 - 01/26/2010  
   
   
   Buy an Apple TV 160GB with AppleCare and get a free $15 iTunes Gift Card plus FREE shipping!
274.99
View  
   MacBook Air 1.86GHz 2GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, USB SuperDrive, + FREE Shipping
1,399.99
View  
   iPod touch 8GB (3G), AppleCare Plan, FREE iPod Case, FREE RapCap Microphone, FREE Shipping!
249.99
View  
   iPod classic 160GB - Black (Latest version), AppleCare (Save $15), Free RapCap iPod microphone!
289.99
View  
   iMac 27in 2.66GHz Quad Core i5 8GB RAM, 1TB drive, 4850, 3-year AppleCare Plan, Free Shipping!
2,229.99
View  
   iMac 27in 2.66GHz Quad Core i5 8GB RAM, 1TB drive, 4850 Graphics, Free Shipping!
2,099.99
View  
   Line-in Auto Kit for iPhone or iPod: PowerUP Car Charger, FREE 18-inch line-in cable, FREE Shipping
19.99
View  
   iMac 24in 2.93GHz 4GB/640GB/SD/GT120, Save $500 from original price + free shipping!
1,189.99
View