Sunday, October 26, 2008

Play a VCD on your Mac

If you ever need to play a VCD on your Mac, here's how:

How to Play VCD, XVCD on Mac or Windows computer, or DVD Player:

How to Play a VCD using QuickTime Player (Mac)

QuickTime Player will play a Video CD (VCD), but doesn't recognize the VCD format, so it will not find the video files on the disk and play them in order. You have to find each of the videos files for it and then open them.

To play a VCD with QuickTime Player:
  • Launch QuickTime Player.
  • Insert the VCD in the CD Drive.
  • From the menu bar, open the MPEGAV folder on the VCD you want to play (File>Open File>"Video CD" Name>MPEGAV
  • Select the first file and click the "Open" button. On the Player window, click the play button (>).
  • Adjust the screen size. For full screen playback, upgrade to QuickTime Player Pro ($29.99).
  • When QTP has played the file, open the MPEGAV folder again, open the next file and click the play button. Repeat this step until you have played the entire movie.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

iT8: Convert any file to an "audiobook"

Neat little tip...thanks!

ITunes: iTunes 8 Makes It Easy to Convert Any File to an Audiobook:

The simple trick? Just right-click a track and select Get Info, head to the Options tab, and then select Audiobook from the Media Kind drop-down menu. The file will instantly leave your Music library and head straight for your Audiobook library. To mark multiple files at once, just select them all and go through the same process. The only remaining step is to tick the Remember Position checkbox if you haven't already, and your tracks should now have easily found their way to your Audiobooks section, and even better, they should work like an audiobook.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OSX's Firewall: ipfw

FirewallDon't waste your money on other firewall products. Apple comes with two great ones built right in. One can be found in System Preferences->Security->Firewall. The other is hidden and a bit more powerful. Just grab one (or both) of these free utilities to ease your ipfw configuration (which can be a little tedious via the command line), and you'll be safer in your online activities. These firewall offerings basically control what data is allowed into your computer, so if you ever have trouble doing something online, check your firewall settings first.

You might want to add Little Snitch too (for outgoing connections), and if you connect with a router, keep in mind that you're already behind a hardware firewall. You need a software firewall for when you're at Starbucks or some such place, using a wireless hotspot.

Macworld | Mac Gems | NoobProof 1.1 and WaterRoof 2.0:

Mac OS X’s built-in firewall—an implementation of the Unix ipfw program—works well, but Apple offers very few options for configuration. Hanynet’s NoobProof 1.1 and WaterRoof 2.0 are utilities that provide just such customization.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

iMovie 08 bites

Come on Apple! This is the kind of idiotic thing Microsoft does: Take software that's working well and, inexplicably, redesign key interface elements so that it becomes almost unusable (just look at the new MS Office 2007 for an example). Whoever convinced the iLife supervisors at Apple that the timeline in iMovie had to go should be sacked, posthaste, and those Apple supervisors should probably be booted as well. God, we're in trouble once Steve Jobs either retires or dies!

There's no end to the ranting out there regarding this issue, but just so you're aware...Apple apparently understands it's a dumbass, because they allow downloads of iMovie 06 to augment the 08 version. What they meant to say was "replace."

And just so you know, I made an effort and gave iMovie 08 a try; I just edited a movie with it. I got used to some things after a while (and a few new features are actually desirable), but it's still cumbersome and confusing. A timeline is too important, especially for audio edits.

BRING BACK THE TIMELINE APPLE! Leave the bumbling to Microsoft.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Copy paths from the Finder

Need to copy a path to give someone instructions or tell them where to put something? Here are some ways to do it.

Macworld | Mac OS X Hints | Copy paths from Finder selections:

First, you can use the Services menu. In both 10.4 and 10.5, the Services menu works in the Finder. With the object whose path you’d like to capture selected in the Finder, choose Finder -> Services -> TextEdit -> New Window from Selection. A new TextEdit window will appear containing the full path to the selected item. Press Command-A to select it all, then Command-C to place it on the clipboard.

Another option is dragging the object from the Finder and dropping it into a TextEdit window (or a Terminal window). This will only work if your TextEdit document is in plain text mode—if you use rich text mode and drag in something TextEdit can open, such as a JPEG image file, the file will be opened. But with TextEdit set to plain text mode, you’ll instead see the path to the file or folder. Again, just select it and copy it to the clipboard, and you’re done. (Some third-party text editors support this feature as well; it works with Smultron on my machine, for instance.)

You can also copy any item (file or folder) in the Finder and paste it into Terminal. You’ll see the path on the command line; you can then select it with the mouse and copy it. You can also press Command-Space, then drag-and-drop the file into the Spotlight search box. Finally, you can drag a Finder window’s proxy icon—the small icon in the title bar of the window—into TextEdit (again, in plain text mode) to see the path to that folder. Select the path and copy it to your clipboard.

Great idea for syncing keychains

No MobileMe or dotmac required!

Extra Pepperoni » Keychain Sync without .Mac:

I thought of a solution for manual sync last week: One keychain per Mac. Say I have 3 systems: work, home, and other. Each system has 3 Apple keychains: work.keychain, home.keychain, and other.keychain, with each host using its own as the default. Then I can rsync work.keychain to home.keychain & other.keychain, etc. This is awkward with rsync because it’s inherently unidirectional, but keychains are small so it’s quite feasible to script.

In Tiger, I know the keychain is actually stored in memory once it’s unlocked, so it’s good to lock (unload) all keychains with “security lock-keychain -a” before updating the files — this goes in the same script.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Protect your MacBook or MBP from theft

MacbookThese techniques have actually been used to recover stolen MBs and MBPs and prosecute the scumbags who stole them. Video here.

How to Secure your MacBook or MacBook Pro against theft : Switching To Mac:

Do you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro? If you do then you’re in luck, give iAlertU and TheftSensor a try [also see Undercover]. These two free applications take advantage of your MacBook or MacBook Pro’s Sudden Motion Sensor as well as other input information to activate a Security Alarm-like sound notifying you of intruders on your Mac.