Macintosh blog postings

Macintosh Postings - Page 21

Earliest: June 26, 2003Latest: September 10, 2021Total: 417
September 10, 2021

Roxio Audio Assistant

Roxio Toast includes an Audio Assistant application. The application lets users record audio, split up an audio track, play tracks, delete tracks, edit tracks, apply filters and export the tracks.

Product Description

Toast® Audio Assistant lets you capture audio from a variety of sources. You can then edit the audio, break it up into tracks, add effects, and export it to iTunes or burn it on disc.

Roxio Audio Application

Filters

These are the filters that come with the application - they are part of the Apple AudioToolbox framework. There are no special filters offered by Roxio

  • Apple: AUBandpass
  • Apple: AUDynamicsProcessor
  • Apple: AUDelay
  • Apple: AUDistortion
  • Apple: AUFilter
  • Apple: AUGraphicEQ
  • Apple: AUHipass
  • Apple: AUHighShelfFilter
  • Apple: AUPeakLimiter
  • Apple: AULowpass
  • Apple: AULowShelfFilter
  • Apple: AUMultibandCompressor
  • Apple: AUMatrixReverb
  • Apple: AUNBandEQ
  • Apple: AUNetSend
  • Apple: AUNewTimePitch
  • Apple: AUParametricEQ
  • Apple: RoundTripAAC
  • Apple: AURogerBeep
  • Apple: AUReverb2
  • Apple: AUSampleDelay
  • Apple: AUPitch

Five Thoughts on Roxio's Audio Assistant

I have heard about this application for a long time, and the only way to try it was to actually purchase Roxio Toast. Here are my thoughts from playing around with the application for a bit:

This is a very bare-bone audio application. The free Audiacity application has a lot more power. Note: The application and documentation's last copyright date is 2015. This tells me that the application is several years out of date.

I found it difficult to split the audio. Rogue Amoeba Fission has easier tools to split the track.

I couldn't find any way to balance the audio - none of the filters seem to work for me.

The application crashed when I had multiple splits and I was trying to enter in a title

You can use Gracenote/CDDB service to search the audio database and have the audio properly labeled. Which is done using the "Auto-define" link in the toolbar.

Overall Thoughts

I would certainly avoid this application. You'll be better off learning Audiacity and Rogue Amoeba Fission.

I was hoping for something cool - that didn't happen. Instead, I got frustrated trying to use the application.

Feel free to check out the Toast Audio Assistant User Guide [PDF] for more information.

September 3, 2021

Burning DVDs - Final Cut Pro

If you're looking to create DVDs from a Final Cut Pro project. It's pretty simple. The good news is that you don't need applications like Roxio Toast to burn the basics. If you want fancy menu selections, then ya - you'll need Toast.

Final Cut Pro D V D

Simple Steps

  • Export the Project media using the "DVD..." settings.
  • This creates an IMG file - which is basically a digitalized version of a DVD.
  • In the Finder, right click on the Disk Image and select "Burn to Disc..." If you don't have that option, you don't have a DVD burner connected to your Macintosh.
  • You can basically keep the default options. (Always verify the burned data!)
  • Click Burn and wait.

That's it!

The one downside that I encountered is that you can't set the number of duplicate discs you want. There is an easy workaround, simply repeat steps 3 and 5 for each disc you want to be created.

Another alternative is to get a DVD duplicator: PlexCopier 24X SATA 1 to 5 CD DVD duplicator Burner Writer Standalone Copier Tower ($249). This is a good investment if you need to do a lot of DVDs. The amount of time it saves you would be worth it!

August 27, 2021

PhotoScape X Blog Tools

Photoscape X has a lot of great graphic tools. This makes it a must have application for blogging or social media posting. Here are three creative things that you can easily do in PhotoScape X.

Single Color Image

Easily make one color stand out in your image.

Photoscape Point Color2021a
I used the effect to only show the green in this photo

Under the Adjustments section, select Point Color / Emphasize Color (Its 8 options down on the left.) Use the color picker to select what color you want to keep. Use the Background Saturation picker to select if the non-color should be Black/White or have a slight color.

Miniature Effect

This transforms a landscape image to look like a miniature. This is a creative way to change a boring landscape into something that pops.

Miniature Effect2021

  • Open up an image that has a landscape.
  • Select Miniature from the regular Tools menu, its just below the Resize option.
  • Use the selector to adjust the focus area. Make sure the circle isn't too small. For most situations the default value has the best effect.

Cloud Background

Generate a unique sky for your background.

Photo Scape Cloud Effect
Simple cloud image in PhotoScape.

  • Create a new image in the size you want (Example 1920 x 1080)
  • Set the background as any shade of blue
  • Select Edit then the "Light" menu at the top
  • Select Nature
  • Scroll down and select any Fog pattern

Creative Tip: After you select a Fog Pattern, You can go back to the Light menu and select another fog pattern. (Be sure to check out the Smoke patterns.)

August 20, 2021

Office Layout

Over the past year I have been working hard to get my desk in productive shape. I have multiple monitors - which is great. The thing that I have been struggling with is getting it all to work.

After playing around with different configurations, I finally got something to work. Here's my current monitor setup.

Home Office Layout Summer2021

MacBook

This computer is my Slack headquarters. The only application that I have open on this display is Slack. This way I can easily respond to messages and see what is going on with various teams.

I know I could just enable notifications to see alerts, but I find it easy to have the application open so that I can keep an eye out.

Applications Used Here: Slack. (Occasionally I'll park Cypress task window so that it's not in the way.)

20" - Apple Cinema Display

This is my primary monitor. When I am working on automation or graphics this is where I am working. It's not as big as the Thunderbolt display, but it seems to be the perfect size to stay focus.

I'll have Chrome open with various tabs pinned to work-related responsibilities - such as email.

Applications Used Here: Chrome and BBEdit.

27" - Thunderbolt Display

This is my overflow display. Here is where I'll do some development work or browse around the Internet. This computer is wide and I usually have multiple apps open to get things done.

There are times when I use this computer to watch the Chrome console while automation runs. It's great to have windows side-by-side. Having my daily goals up on this display makes it easy to stay on track. I find that I tend to stay focused more on my goals.

Applications Used Here: Affinity Designer, BBEdit, DayOne, Notion and more.

August 13, 2021

Panic Nova

Last month, I thought I would experiment with Panic's Nova application.

Nova is a modern text editor that focuses on being the best Macintosh text editor. It's built for developers and design for the Macintosh.

Nova Testing

Five Things I Liked

  1. Minimap - Great way to get a high level visual of a code.
  2. Split screen - Ability to see different files anyway that works best for you.
  3. In Product Preview - You can add preview to the split screen. When you save a file the preview window refreshes and you see your change instantly.
  4. Remote Access - You can easily load up connected remote files. This made it easy to open up multiple files and make changes. You can break down destinations to different directories. In my case, I was able to separate public_html and secure_html - making it easy to see what's in what section.
  5. Extensions - There are a lot of extensions written by loyal Nova users. If you don't see what your looking for, you can always create your own.

Four Things I Didn't Like

  1. No Shortcut Commands - I didn't find a way to apply HTML Anchor to the selected text. The closest functionality would be the "Wrap Selection in Tag"
  2. Saved Search Queries - There wasn't a way to save common search/replace queries.
  3. Wrap Selection in Tag - In my test I found it difficult to apply a style sheet to an object while using the "Wrap Selection in Tag." I would see my classname being entered in the closing part of the tag.
  4. Expensive - Hard to justify spending $100 for another text editor. I already purchased BBEdit and use it as my default text editor.

In Summary

For now, I am not going to purchase Nova. It's a pretty cool application, but I think the tools in BBEdit are good for me.

I'll keep an eye on updates, especially since September 23 is the one-year anniversary of the launch.

August 6, 2021

Art Text 4.1 Update

Last week Belight Software updated the popular Art Text Tool with some cool new features.

What's new in Art Text v.4.1

  • Vector drawing tools: Pen, Move, Convert Anchor Point, Reverse Path Direction.
  • 20 new badge and logo design templates.
  • 300 new vector icons and shapes.
  • 137 shapes for badge design.
  • Export to vector images for graphics with no raster effects.
  • Introducing Convert to Shape that lets you edit text using vector drawing tools.
  • Various other program improvements.

Art Text41
Graphic made possible by Art Text 4.1 update!

What Does All this Mean?

Here's where you can discover all the changes in v.4.1.

Vector Drawing Tools - These are located in the '+' in the bottom of the main window. Simply select the Shape option. You'll see the 'Pen Tool,' 'Move Tool,' 'Convert Anchor Point Tool.'Reverse Path Direction.' These are great when using existing vector designs.

Badge and Logo Design Templates - These are located in the "Design Gallery." On the bottom of the main window, click on the icon to the right of the plus sign. Once the gallery opens, click on the category called "Badge Logos." There are lots of great designs to help inspire the imagination.

New Vector Icons ahd Shapes - These are located in the content panel, which is the left side of the main window. On the top bar, click on the icon that has a circle and a square. You'll see the 17 new categories - Animals, Architecture, Arrows, Business, Flora, Food, Leisure, Media, Music, Nature, People, Science & Technology, Signs, Stars, Symbols, Tools, and Transport & Travel.

Shapes for Badge Designs - These are also located in the content panel, which is the left side of the main window. On the top bar, click on the icon that has a circle and a square. Look for the Badges category. There are 137 options. Wow, great collection of badge designs. Better than some packages I have seen on CreativeMarket.com.

Convert to Shape - Now you can convert your text to shapes! Simply right-click on any shape, and select the Convert to Shape option.

July 30, 2021

Keyboard Maestro Date Macro

Every now and again I need to figure out a simple date calculation. For example, I am writing up a wiki page and want to reference something next Thursday. I don't want to say next Thursday but I want to say the simple date format.

I encounter this enough times, that I decided to write a simple Keyboard Maestro macro. There are three types of date scripts that I wrote:

  • Simple Date - Display the date x days from now. Added built in for Tomorrow, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 30, 60, 90, 100, 180 days
  • Advanced Date - Put a number in the Clipboard and use that to display the date.
  • Days Until - Put a date in the Clipboard, and then display the number of Years, Months, days until the event. If its in the past, then show the number of days that has past.

Days Simple Date

Simple Date

This set of macros are built-in date calculations. Simply by using the generic hotkey: day* and some number I can display that date. So if I wanted tomorrow, I would type in day1. If I wanted 100 days from now I would type in day100.

This macro makes use of the ICUDateTimePlus functionality that is part of Keyboard Maestro.

Days Days Plus

Advance Date

This single macro makes it easy to put in any number of days. Simply type in a number, copy/paste, and then type in day++. This also makes use of the ICUDateTimePlus function. The return display shows the Month, Day, and Year.

Days Plue Plue Plue

Days Until

This macro is my date count down. If I want to know how many days until an event, I simply type in a date, copy/paste and then type in the trigger: day+++. The return value will show Years, Months, Days, Hours until the event. This also works for events in the past. So I can see how many days past since I graduated.

The PHP secondsToHumanReadable function, used in this example, can be found at stackoverflow.com.

July 23, 2021

BBEdit 14

This week Bare Bones released an update to BBEdit - bring the application to version 14.

It took 9 years to go from version 10 to version 14. So when BBEdit does a major update - it's a big deal. In this update, the big new feature is Notes.

New: Notes

One of the biggest features in this update is a Notes section.

For years BBEdit users would open up a blank document and just type away. When it came to saving the document, if they remembered, they would use the default name "untitled."

With BBEdit Notes, you can simply write away and don't have to worry about saving - it does it automatically! The name of the file is the first few words on the first line.

You can organize your notes into collections. (otherwise called folders) This makes it easy to view your data.

B B Edit13 Update

Seven Things I Learned about BBEdit Notes

Filename: While the name of the file displayed in the sidebar is the first few words of the first line. It's actually stored as a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID). The notes are not accessible in the Finder, they are in a package file in the finder in the BBEdit settings library. You can always use a simple trick to view the package file content - but why would you do that?

Emoji Filename - You can have Emojis in your filename! This is a creative way to make your notes stand out.

Dropbox Setup: If you are using BBEdit Dropbox sync configuration, you'll share the same Notes database between Macs. This is pretty useful. The problem is that notes created on a different Mac will show up in the Notes section using the GUID instead of the "friendly name." The workaround is to right-click on the note and select "Rename Note…" and assign a name. This name will carry over to the other Mac.

Collections: The Note collections works great on different Macs. You can nest collections. I setup up the notes to have two collections for the two computers that I use. This makes it easier to focus on the notes that may be important to me on a particular computer.

Search by Name: You can search for notes using the "Open File by Name." Only Noted created on the currently used computer will show up in the listing.

Search by Content: Use the new Notes check box in the Muti-file search dialog box to search through all your notes.

Opening Notes: You can open Notes in any BBEdit window. You don't need to use the Window->Notes feature to view a particular note. I find this useful as I have some reference documents and its great to have them available in the same window. The downside is that there's no indicator in the sidebar of what's a note file type and what's a plain file. I identify any filename that doesn't have an extension as a BBEdit note file.

Markdown: When you create a new Note it uses Markdown by default. If you are not familiar with the format, there is a Markdown Cheat Sheet in the Windows -> Palettes -> Markdown Cheat Sheet. This isn't new in 14, but useful to have when starting with Markdown.

Great Shortcuts to remember

Control - Option - Command - N -> Create a New Note (When you use this a few times, the keyboard combination makes sense.)

Shift - Command - F -> Multi-file search (Find Content in your Notes)

Lots of Other Changes

BBEdit 14 has a lot more changes other than Notes. Here are some other notable changes that I am excited about:

  • Remove Blank Lines: One simple menu item to quickly cleanup those blank lines.
  • Emmet Support: Simply install the Node.js and you can finally use Emmet within BBEdit.
  • Markdown Images: When you drag images to a Markdown document, BBEdit will insert the correct image tag format - like it does for HTML.
  • Text Factory: Replace All - Nice to see the history option. This makes it easy to implement a recent search/replace into a Text Factory action.
  • Application Icon - Bare Bones has a new icon for BBEdit, but you can change it back to the old style in the Preferences.
  • Pattern Playground - You can adjust the Search Pattern section. Now you can see more of crazy search pattern.

Go For the Upgrade!

BBEdit 14 is worth the upgrade. Still not sure? Why not try the the 30-day trial to explore how BBEdit can help you manage text easily.

July 16, 2021

"there isn't enough free space" error

Have you ever run into this kind of error message:

?There isn?t enough free space?

Usually this occurs when trying to save a change. The weird thing is that when you look at the disk space there?s plenty.

The lack of disk space can?t be the reason.

What?s Going On?

The other reason for the error is when the system clock is not set. Especially if the date is around 1970.

This may happen if your computer battery drained and it?s not connected to the internet.

Quick Easy Solution

Simply fixing the clock will fix the error.

July 9, 2021

Quickly Put the Computer to Sleep

Sometimes you need to put the computer to sleep without using the mouse. This happens when you're charging the mouse - or the mouse battery died.

Did you know that there?s a keyboard combination shortcut to quickly put your computer to sleep? This is a very useful combination to remember.

Computer To Sleep

Download this graphic and use it as a quick reference to putting your computer to sleep.