Category: Apple

Taskmaster Now Available

July 6th, 2009 Permalink

I’ve been slowly learning how to develop for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, and this is the first result of my experimenting. Taskmaster is a simple To Do list manager for the iPhone/iPod Touch. For the first release, I wanted to focus on the core functionality: Add tasks, sort tasks, delete tasks. The calendar icons are […]

Taskmaster screen shot
I’ve been slowly learning how to develop for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, and this is the first result of my experimenting. Taskmaster is a simple To Do list manager for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

For the first release, I wanted to focus on the core functionality: Add tasks, sort tasks, delete tasks. The calendar icons are the fanciest part of this release. The text is rendered onto the image dynamically as needed.

You can get the application on the iTunes store. The application is free. If you have to time to try it and provide feedback, it’s greatly appreciated. New features will be added based on the feedback received.

Pac-Man Theme Ringtone

February 29th, 2008 Permalink

When you think of classic arcade games, Pac-Man has got to be high on the list. The game is a simple concept — just one maze, 5 characters, and a bonus fruit — that it seems almost boring. But it was implemented quite well. The difficulty was just right…it always seemed that if I just […]

When you think of classic arcade games, Pac-Man has got to be high on the list. The game is a simple concept — just one maze, 5 characters, and a bonus fruit — that it seems almost boring. But it was implemented quite well. The difficulty was just right…it always seemed that if I just played one more game, I could get past that level.

The arcade cabinet is difficult to find these days, but here is that wonderful sound that you hear after paying your quarter and pushing the start button. Now you can get that thrill every time somebody calls your phone! There is also an mp3 version for your enjoyment.

Pac-Man Theme — iPhone Ringtone Version

Pac-Man Theme — mp3 version

Tron Ringtone

February 6th, 2008 Permalink

I know, I know, you want your iPhone to digitize you and suck you in so you can play Light Cycles with the CPU. But until then, you’ll have to settle for a Tron iPhone Ringtone. Or you can get the sound effect as an mp3.

I know, I know, you want your iPhone to digitize you and suck you in so you can play Light Cycles with the CPU. But until then, you’ll have to settle for a Tron iPhone Ringtone.

Or you can get the sound effect as an mp3.

GeoTagging, Strike 1

January 18th, 2008 Permalink

I have been wanting to make geotagging my photos part of my regular workflow for some time now. I have experimented with some applications that integrate with Google maps and allow you to tag photos one at a time, but they are too time consuming. To make it practical to geotag each and every one […]

Bar Crudo

I have been wanting to make geotagging my photos part of my regular workflow for some time now. I have experimented with some applications that integrate with Google maps and allow you to tag photos one at a time, but they are too time consuming. To make it practical to geotag each and every one of my photos, I decided that I would have to come up with a solution that is automated as much as possible, and that could work on the raw photo data prior to importing it into Aperture.

After some research, I decided to try the Sony GPS-CS1. The GPS-CS1 is a battery powered GPS data recorder. It does not have a screen, it simply records the current position in a log every 15 seconds. It connects to your computer via USB, allowing you to retrieve the data and work with it. Initial research revealed that Mac’s running later versions of Tiger were able to read the data from the GPS-CS1, so I figured that Leopard would be able to as well. I found one on e-bay, clicked Buy It Now, and had it a few days later.

While I was waiting for the device to arrive, I did some research about the log format, and discovered that a program called HoudahGPS could translate the log format used by the GPS-CS1 to GPX format, which is used by GPSPhotoLinker, a program that can compare the timestamps on photos to the timestamps in the GPS log and automatically tag the photos with the GPS data. I downloaded and installed HoudahGPS and GPSPhotoLinker while waiting for the GPS-CS1 to arrive.

I used it for the first time this morning while walking to work, and excitedly hooked it up to my MacBook Pro this morning, waiting for the drive icon to pop up so I could get the GPS logs… and discovered that the keyboard and trackpad were locked up. I unplugged the GPS-CS1, and the keyboard and trackpad started working again. Hmmm. That is not supposed to happen.

Some further research revealed that Leopard, in fact, does not work with the GPS-CS1, but that Windows XP running under Parallels could see it. This required configuring Parallels to attach USB devices to the guest OS, rather than letting both the host and the guest see the device. I booted up XP in Parallels, and was able to retrieve the log files.

After copying the logs to the Mac, I fired up HoudahGPS, converted the Sony log format to GPX format, and then used GPSPhotoLinker to geotag the photos I had taken. The actual tagging process worked quite well, and Flickr was able to pick up the geotags just fine. Zooomr doesn’t seem to have picked up the geotags, but at least the data is in the files.

This is a good first effort, but I am going to try again. The work required to get the data from the GPS-CS1 is just too much of a hassle. I found another GPS data logger that is supposed to work correctly with a Mac, the Amod AGL3080. It seems that early versions had some problems, but the manufacturer has fixed those issues with firmware updates. One of these is on the way, and hopefully will work better than the Sony. I’ll use the GPS-CS1 until the Amod device arrives, and then sell the Sony. Anybody need a slightly used GPS data logger?

Galaxian Theme Ringtone

January 15th, 2008 Permalink

Here’s another ringtone for your iPhone! This time, it’s the theme for one of the most awesome video games of all time, Galaxian! You can get the ringtone or the source mp3 file. Enjoy!

Here’s another ringtone for your iPhone! This time, it’s the theme for one of the most awesome video games of all time, Galaxian!

You can get the ringtone or the source mp3 file.

Enjoy!

Fix For Vista Shares

January 15th, 2008 Permalink

It seems that Vista has some issues when sharing drives over the network. Connections drop, connections cannot be established, etc. Here’s a fix that may help if you are having this problem: Click Windows Visa Start Orb In search box, type “regedit” and return Once regedit opens, click File -> export to make a backup […]

It seems that Vista has some issues when sharing drives over the network. Connections drop, connections cannot be established, etc. Here’s a fix that may help if you are having this problem:

  1. Click Windows Visa Start Orb
  2. In search box, type “regedit” and return
  3. Once regedit opens, click File -> export to make a backup copy
  4. Navigate to Computer HKEYLOCALMACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Lsa.
  5. In the right pane, right-click the “LmCompatibilityLevel” key and select “modify”
  6. Change the value from 3 to 1
  7. Restart

I don’t use any Microsoft OS’s, so I can’t say that this will fix all your problems. This tip comes from my friend snoops, who knows his Microsoft stuff. If it makes your cat explode and your car catch on fire, don’t come crying to me.

Update: It should be noted that this fix is only applicable when connecting to a share from a Mac. When connecting with a Windows machine, it should work without this change.

Simple, Fast, iTunes Backup

January 10th, 2008 Permalink

Our iTunes library at home is on the large side (250 GB) and I am always looking for a better way to back it up. The main library lives on an external hard drive hanging off of a G5 iMac, and the backup drive is an external drive that gets a copy of the data […]

Our iTunes library at home is on the large side (250 GB) and I am always looking for a better way to back it up. The main library lives on an external hard drive hanging off of a G5 iMac, and the backup drive is an external drive that gets a copy of the data and stays at work most of the time.

I recently upgraded the G5 to Leopard and replaced the main external drive with a 750GB Seagate drive. As part of this swap, I wanted to find a better backup solution. I was using software that came with the LaCie drive, SilverKeeper. This worked alright, but it was quite ugly, and seemed a little bit clunky. I use SuperDuper to do full backups of my computers, but it didn’t seem to be able to backup just a single folder. I spent some time searching for a simple, free backup program, but couldn’t find anything that did what I wanted.

Then I remembered that under all that pretty GUI is the muscle of Unix. Why not just write a simple shell script and use rsync to do the backup?

Here is the script:


#!/bin/bash # Back up files from SRC to DEST # The hidden .DS_Store files will be excluded # The iTunes library will also be backed up #SRC should point to the folder you want to back up SRC="/Volumes/Media/iTunes Music" # DEST should point to the location you want to put the files DEST="/Volumes/My Book" # LIBRARY is the location of your iTunes music library file. # In most cases, this does not need to be changed LIBRARY="$HOME/Music/iTunes" # This line backs up the media drive rsync -av --exclude '.DS_Store' "$SRC" "$DEST" # This line backs up the iTunes Library files rsync -av --exclude '.DS_Store' "$LIBRARY" "$DEST/iTunes Library"

To use the script, copy and paste into any text editor. You will need to modify the SRC and DEST variables to reflect the source and destination for your backup. Once you have modified the script, save it with a .command extension. Then, when you want to back up your music, just double click the file. The Terminal program will launch, and the backup commands will run.

If you store your music in the default location in your home directory, you will only need one rsync command. Just make the value of SRC “$HOME/Music/iTunes”, and comment out the second rsync command by putting a # at the beginning of the line.

This technique can be used to back up any directory. I have found that rsync is reliable and fast. If you have any questions about this script, leave a comment or send me an email, and I’ll try to help.

The Leopard Is Coming

October 30th, 2007 Permalink

I purchased Leopard last week at the Emeryville Apple Store, but I have not had the time to install it. I don’t want to do an upgrade; rather, I want to do a full backup, then a clean install. However, this is a bit more work, since I will most likely have to migrate data […]

I purchased Leopard last week at the Emeryville Apple Store, but I have not had the time to install it. I don’t want to do an upgrade; rather, I want to do a full backup, then a clean install. However, this is a bit more work, since I will most likely have to migrate data from my backup to my new install.
I’ve been searching for some tips on how to reliably migrate data to the new install, and decided to collect them all here. I will update this post as I come across these tips.

First off, here’s how to get your Mail accounts back, and fix the indexes:
Missing emails after installing Leopard

iPhone Software Update 1.0.1 Crash

July 31st, 2007 Permalink

Apple released version 1.0.1 of the iPhone software today. It addresses the security hole in Safari that has been widely (mis)reported on in the media. When I tried up update my phone tonight, the update crashed (twice) and the iPhone entered recovery mode. After I reconnected it to the computer, iTunes saw it and started […]

Apple released version 1.0.1 of the iPhone software today. It addresses the security hole in Safari that has been widely (mis)reported on in the media.

When I tried up update my phone tonight, the update crashed (twice) and the iPhone entered recovery mode. After I reconnected it to the computer, iTunes saw it and started a restore process. It synced up again just fine, but that was a bit of a scare.

The iPhone was modded with some custom ringtones and system sounds, and I suspect that this is what caused the firmware update to bomb out. I think I will wait a little while and see what is happening with this update before uploading the custom ringtones again.

Handling Multiple Versions of Video for Apple TV & iPhone

July 18th, 2007 Permalink

How’s that for a verbose title? Lately I have been encoding my DVD’s for viewing on Apple TV and the iPhone. A video encoded for the iPhone (or iPod video) will play on the Apple TV, but it does not look ideal when it is scaled up to fill a large TV. A video encoded […]

How’s that for a verbose title?

Lately I have been encoding my DVD’s for viewing on Apple TV and the iPhone. A video encoded for the iPhone (or iPod video) will play on the Apple TV, but it does not look ideal when it is scaled up to fill a large TV. A video encoded for the Apple TV looks great on the TV, but will not play on the iPhone/iPod. So I have been encoding each DVD twice: once with Apple TV parameters, and once with iPhone/iPod parameters. The iPhone/iPod version contains “(iPod)” in the title to help me tell them apart.

This is great, except that by default iTunes syncs all new movies to the Apple TV, which means I have a large, high quality version, and a lower resolution version on the Apple TV. What’s the point? I am never going to watch the smaller version on the Apple TV anyway. There must be a better way.

Here’s the solution I came up with. Maybe there’s a better way to do it, there are definitely other ways to do it, but this works well for me.

First, I created a new Smart Playlist named Apple TV Movies which matched Video Kind is Movie and Name does not contain (iPod), limited to the 10 most recent additions, with live updates:

Smart Playlist

Then, I selected the Apple TV in the Devices list in iTunes, and told it to sync only my Apple TV Movies playlist:

iTunes Apple TV Movies Sync Settings

Voilá! My Apple TV now only syncs the 10 most recent movies added, and only the movies encoded with the correct format for playback on my TV. I probably could have used the bitrate of the videos to determine which movies to sync as well, but I am going to have different versions with different names anyway, so I just used the name.