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iLounge’s Instant Expert article: iTunes 8.1

iLounge discusses the secrets and features in the recently updated iTunes. The articles covers topics such as the ‘new’ iTunes DJ feature, autofill, importing CDs in iTunes Plus quality, and a few more.

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Filed under: iTunes,

iTunes 8.1 enables autofill on all iPods

From ArsTechnica:

Apple didn’t really mention the expansion of Autofill when it announced iTunes 8.1 and, unlike Genius, iTunes itself doesn’t exactly get in your face about using Autofill. In fact, you’ll have to visit a few different screens to use the feature, although enabling it isn’t difficult by any means. Basically, once your iPod is connected, visit the Summary tab and make sure you’re set up to “Manually manage music and videos.” Once you’ve done that, use the triangle to reveal the contents of your iPod or iPhone, and click on Music, at which point you’ll see the source selector, Autofill settings, and Autofill button at the bottom of the screen.

Filed under: iTunes,

iPod shuffle 3G follow-up articles and reviews

Macworld’s Jason Snell answers some of the questions some of us might have about the new iPod shuffle, like: what’s the story behind removing the controls (something to do with the iPhone) or what will happen to audiobooks and podcasts when loaded into the shuffle (they’ll have their own playlists) or there are no pictures of the bottom of the iPod shuffle, so what does it look like? You have to read the rest of the article to know the answer to the last question. Besides, it’s worth the read.

In the meantime, iLounge and AppleInsider has posted unboxing photos if you want to see more 3G iPod shuffle goodness. iLounge includes a first look review on the new iPod.

Two prominent tech journalists have already reviewed the 3G iPod shuffle and they were fairly positive in their reviews. The downsides, according to Walt Mossberg, include the decrease in claimed battery life to 10 hours, 2 hours less than the previous generation, the difficulty in using third-party earphones because of the lack of control, and the tediousness of having to listen to the iPod enumerate all your playlists if you have stuffed a lot of them into the shuffle .

Edward Baig from USA Today shared the same sentiment with Mossberg with regards to the Apple Earphones and the shortened battery life. He did say he got an hour more than the claimed 10 hour battery life during his tests.

Filed under: Apple, Inc.

iPhone OS 3.0 to be introduced on March 17

AppleInsider has said that Apple will hold a special media event on March 17 to unveil the latest iPhone OS.

Journalists will be given a sneak peek into iPhone v3.0 at the Apple Town Hall in Cupertino. Speculations to what the new features will be include MMS support, Push Notification Server for apps and, copy and paste.

Filed under: Apple, Inc.

iTunes 8.1, Front Row 2.17 updates released

Right on the heels of the new iPod shuffles, Apple released updates for both iTunes and Front Row.

According to Apple’s download support page, iTunes 8.1 is “now faster and more responsive.” The support page also said, “You will enjoy noticeable improvements when working with large libraries, browsing the iTunes Store, preparing to sync with iPod or iPhone, and optimizing photos for syncing.”

Other improvements and bug fixes include:

  • Supports syncing with iPod shuffle (3rd generation).
  • Allows friends to request songs for iTunes DJ.
  • Adds Genius sidebar for your Movies and TV Shows.
  • Improves performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs.
  • Provides AutoFill for manually managed iPods.
  • Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus.
  • Includes many accessibility improvements.
  • Allows iTunes U and the iTunes Store to be disabled separately using Parental Controls.
  • The update also includes some security enhancements.

    iTunes 8.1 (64MB) can be downloaded using Software Update utility or directly from Apple’s iTunes download page.

    Front Row 2.17 provides iTunes 8.1 compatibility. This update (12.6MB) can be downloaded using Software Update utility or from Apple’s download page.

    Filed under: iTunes, Software

    Cropping multiple PDF pages in Preview

    I found this very good tip on Macworld yesterday on how to crop multiple pages in Preview.

    The reason why I found this tip useful is because I wanted to get rid of the 1″ to 1 1/2″ margins seen in most of the PDF documents I download. The margins are a waste of space and that wasted space tend to make the pages look small on my 17″ iMac. It’s not a big deal to zoom in but I tend to read a lot of PDFs and that can become time consuming.

    Another way this tip has helped me is when I’m reading some of these PDF documents on my iPod touch. If the text on documents with margins already look small on a 17″ screen, what more on a 3 1/2″ screen?

    I can read un-cropped PDFs on the iPod touch but that would require me to pinch, zoom in and as I read the page I have to flick the page to the left and then right and then left and then right and then… well, you get the point.

    With cropped PDFs, all I have to do most of the time is put the iPod touch in landscape mode and then I can read the document without having to zoom in. The text is kind of small but it is readable.

    Normal page

    Cropped

    One limitation of course is for documents that have really small letters. There’s no choice but to pinch, zoom in and flick flick flick.

    Filed under: OS X,

    Updates galore!

    Aside from the new Macs last Tuesday, Apple also released a slew of updates for the Mac.

    TUAW enumerates Tuesday’s updates:

    • iPhoto 8.0.1 “improves overall stability and addresses minor issues in a number of areas, including internet connectivity, keyword import, and slideshow export.”
    • iLife Support 9.0.1 “improves overall stability and addresses a number of other minor issues. It is recommended for all users of Aperture, iLife ’09, and iWork ’09.”
    • AirPort Client Update 2009-001 for Intel Macs “addresses issues with roaming and network selection in dual-band environments.”
    • AirPort Utility 5.4.1 (Mac) “the simple to use, setup and management utility for the AirPort Express Base Station, the AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule.”
    • AirPort Utility 5.4.1 Windows (Windows version of the above.)

    Fire up Software Update utility to get these updates or you can get them from Apple’s Support Downloads page.

    I’m hoping the AirPort Client Update fixes the problems I’m having with my iMac’s Wi-Fi.

    Filed under: iLife, , , ,

    Apple Tuesday Update: New Mac desktops, Airport Extreme, Time Capsule and more! [update]

    Last Tuesday, Apple updated their desktop line, from the Mac mini to the Mac Pro, and two of their wireless devices: Airport Extreme and Time Capsule. They also did some minor tweaks to their Mac portables.

    First up, what’s new with the desktop Macs?

    iMacs: bigger and cheaper

    Apple’s mid-range desktop line up now includes one 20-inch model and three 24-inch models. The previous line-up consisted of a low-end and a high-end 20-inch iMac. The high-end 20-inch has been replaced by a 24-inch model at the same price point.

    The lone surviving 20-inch iMac is still priced at $1,199 and with the following specs: 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 320GB sATA HDD, NVIDIA GeForce4 9400M integrated graphics, built-in iSight and Airport Extreme 802.11n wireless networking, 8x SuperDrive, 4 USB 2.0 ports, and 1 FireWire 800 port, among other things.

    As mentioned previously, the high-end 20-inch iMac of yore, priced at $1,499, has been replaced with a 24-inch iMac. That’s 30% more screen AND twice the RAM (4GB) AND twice the hard disk space (640GB) at the same price.

    One analyst did a spec-by-spec comparison against Dell’s and HP’s all-in-one desktop PCs. It turns out, the new $1,499 24-inch iMac was the better value.

    The other two iterations of the 24-inch iMac line includes the 2.93 GHz option at $1,799 and the 3.06 GHz at $2,199. Both have the NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 video chipset instead of the GeForce4 9400M graphics found in the $1,199 and $1,499 models.

    Apple’s wired slim keyboard gets slimmer

    The new iMacs now ships as standard an Apple Wired Keyboard sans the numeric keypad. The new compact keyboard has the same layout with that of the Apple Wireless Keyboard but has two USB 2.0 ports on each side just like its bigger sibling.

    Buyers can still opt to get the Apple Keyboard with the numeric keypad at the configuration page without any added cost. The Apple Wireless Keyboard is $30 extra.

    The new iMacs didn’t undergo any physical makeover except for the subtle design refinement of the stand, as noted by AppleInsider. Pictures are from Macminicolo.net, showing the unboxing and dissecting of the new Mac mini and comparison photos between the old and new iMacs.

    Mac Mini: more ports, faster graphics

    Apple’s cheapest desktop Mac underwent minor cosmetic surgery, specifically its behind.

    Gone is the FireWire 400 port which has been replaced by a FireWire 800 port.

    Added are two additional USB 2.0 ports, bringing the total to five, and a Mini DisplayPort and a mini-DVI for video output (prior model only had a DVI port).

    Aside from more holes to poke at, the Mac mini now has the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip that the new unibody MacBooks use which means5x better graphics performance according to Apple. The new graphics chip will also allow Mac mini owners to have a dual-monitor setup using both the Mini DisplayPort and mini-DVI ports.

    Apple’s COO, Tim Cook, said that aside from the Mac mini being the most affordable Mac, it is “also the world’s most energy efficient desktop computer.” The Mac mini, when idle, uses only 13 watts of power, 45% less than its predecessor.

    For its price, the entry-level Mac mini at $599 (2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo Intel processor, 1GB RAM (can support up to 4GB), 120GB HDD) seemed pretty solid” by the Macworld staff. They all agreed, however, that the next in line $799 model was “a little ridiculous” since the additional $200 can only get you an additional 1GB of RAM and an extra 200GB of hard drive space.

    It’s true that you can get bigger memory and HDD for $200 but to install those yourself will take nerves of steel, a putty knife and this disassembly guide.

    Update:
    Macworld benchmarks revealed a 23% increase in performance in the new entry-level Mac mini as compared to its predecessor and the new high-end Mac mini is 21% faster than the old high-end Mac mini. The benchmark also showed the entry-level Mac mini and the white MacBook almost having the same test scores.

    An AppleInsider article on the other hand showed negligible speed improvements on both the new Mac minis and new iMacs.

    Mac Pro: better graphics and cheaper

    I won’t go into much detail about Apple’s high-end desktop because 1) I don’t need the raw power that this puppy has and 2) it’s way too pricey for me (base price: $2,499).

    With that out of the way…

    The Mac Pro is now $300 cheaper, sports Intel’s latest Nehalem-based Xeon CPU (the first desktop to be released with this chip), and has Nvidia’s GeForce GT 120 graphics chipset (with 512MB of memory). The new graphics provides 3x the performance as the older models, according to Apple. Up to four GT 120 can be used which can then drive 8 displays. Insane.

    The interior has been redesigned for easier memory and HDD upgrades.

    Airport Extreme & Time Capsule

    Two of Apple’s wireless devices also got an update. Both Airport Extreme and Time Capsule now supports dual-band networking, allowing each device to simultaneously use of both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. Also added is the Guest Network feature, which allows a user to setup a separate account for friends and guests so that they can use the internet without letting them have access to the rest of the user’s network.

    Last but not the least…
    Apple didn’t want their Mac portables to feel neglected. The MacBook and MacBook Pros also got an update. Sort of.

    The high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes standard with a 2.66 GHz chip, up from 2.53 GHz. There’s also an option for the 3.06 GHz processor. The low-end 15-inch has remain unchanged. The 13-inch Macbook and 15-inch MacBook Pro can also be configured to have the 256GB solid-state drive instead of a hard disk drive, an option which used to be only available for the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

    Filed under: Hardware,

    Exporting HD movie from iMovie ’09 (or ‘There ought to be a simpler way to do this’)

    Apple’s iLife suite gives the consumer the ability to manage, create and distribute their photos, music, and video. With those in mind, you’d think exporting videos from iMovie ’09 shouldn’t be this complicated.

    Filed under: iLife, ,

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    On July 21, I moved my blog to its own server.

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    I've already got a few new posts over there so please join me at www.davaomacuser.com.

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