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Archive for November, 2006

Jay-Z Gives A Shout Out To Steve Jobs

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I finally got the chance to listen to the new album from Jay-Z titled “Kingdom Come.” I always listen to the full album, though I only end up liking about half of Jay-Z’s songs.

As I was listening to the first track titled “The Prelude” I wasn’t really digging it. I was about to skip it when I heard Jay-Z give a little shout-out to Steve Jobs and the iPod. The exact line was “you see hova wasnt digital yet, before steve jobs made the ipod.” If you want to hear just that part, here is an mp3 of it.

It was kind of neat, but that song still stinks.

Related: Apple Sponsors In The Piston Cup Circuit

Mac Server Series: Setting Up A VPN On A Mac With Hamachix

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be used for security and convenience. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a VPN working but we’ve found a great free tool called HamachiX to make set up quite simple. And it’s ability to go thru firewalls and routers is amazing.

I apologize if I used any VPN terms wrong. I’m new to the use of VPN’s, but this video is complete in the set up and should have your new VPN up and running in no time.

Movie Link: Setting Up A VPN On A Mac with HamachiX


- HamachiX – a free tool to set up a VPN on a Mac
- – Mac mini colocation service
- More on Virtual Private Networks – Wikipedia entry on VPN’s

The Key To Cleaner Emails and Documents

I’m not sure where I picked this tip up, but I’ve been using it forever and I wish more people knew about it.

It’s always annoying to recieve a document or email with different text sizes and fonts. For instance, if someone sends you a file of different quotes they’ve gathered from the internet, often each quote will be a different size and sometimes a different color. If you ever have this problem, there is an easy way to fix it.

First, you just need to click on any paragraph that has a style you want. Once you click there, press “Command+Option+C” and this will copy the character and paragraph style. Then, you can press “Command+a” to highlight all the text on the document. Finally, press “Command+Option+V” to paste the character and paragraph style. Now, all the text will be the same size and the same font.

This works especially good when you copy and paste into an email.

Don’t use Rosetta if you don’t have to

Here’s a tip for Intel Mac users:

Rosetta is the invisible software that makes your PowerPC applications run on Intel Macs. It makes it possible to run applications like Excel and Photoshop that aren’t yet available as Universal binaries. But if you’re using an old PowerPC version of an application when a Universal binary is available, you may be missing out on some performance.

To check this, open Activity Monitor in your Applications Utilities folder. Then under the View menu, click Columns and choose “Kind”. The “Kind” column shows what type of processor each application was built for. For all of the “PowerPC” applications you find (and it will only show the ones that are currently running), you should find out if a Universal binary is available and upgrade to it. Universal binaries will run much faster.


Keynote’s Powerful XML

Apple’s presentation software Keynote is a powerful tool for even the most demanding professional uses. Because Keynote’s file format is based on XML, KBYU was able to export statistical data from its election polls directly to Keynote, making it insanely easy for the TV reporters to display poll results using beautiful Keynote graphs.

Each election cycle since 1982, KBYU-TV, the public television station of Brigham Young University has broadcast live on election night featuring data from a statewide voter survey conducted Election Day. The KBYU/Utah Colleges Exit Poll has gained a reputation for accuracy in its predictions. … Hundreds of interviewers fan out on Election Day to administer surveys to scientifically selected voters.

Each year a major challenge for KBYU has been how to display data from the poll. Previous solutions have involved old fashioned text tables generated by TV titling systems, custom TV graphics hardware and software, and converting computer displays to video. All have had major drawbacks from poor image quality to steep learning curves. In 2006 KBYU will employ Apple Computer’s Keynote software to build and display crosstabulated data from the exit poll. A MacBook pro laptop is on the Election Night studio set with the program hosts. It drives a large plasma screen display placed next to the hosts. Keynote presentations appear on the display where a studio camera captures the images for broadcast. Keynote was chosen for its ease of use, its professional quality transitions and animations, and the flexibility of its XML engine. Poll statistics are computed using SAS (a statistics program) and exported directly to Keynote using SAS’s ability to output XML data. The XML code from SAS format the graphs used on the broadcast and dynamically update them as needed. The broadcast hosts merely click on the Keynote file which contains the graphs of interest and place them in presentation mode. Sitting next to the display screen allows the hosts to engage with the data, pointing to items of particular interest for the audience watching the broadcast live on KBYU-TV.

For more information about using XML in Keynote:

Keynote’s XML Connections

The XML in Apple’s Keynote

About the Keynote XML File Format (official spec)

How To Quickly Delete Songs From iTunes


We’re usually about giving tips on FreeMacBlog, but today I’m hoping that some of you can give me some tips.

Like a lot of iTunes users, I went on a wild tear of building up my music library in iTunes. It seems like I was ripping music cd’s left and right. (“What’s that? You have a copy of Mr Roger’s Greatest Hits? Can I borrow that to rip it real quick?”)

I’ve managed to keep a pretty good handle on my collection. Everything is tagged properly and the album artwork is included on all songs.

Well now it’s seems that I’ve been more about quality and less about quantity. I’ve been trying to trim down my collection. To do this, I just have the songs play random while I am working on my computer. When a song comes on, I’ll switch over to iTunes, find the song that is playing, delete the song from the library and the music folder and start the next song. I’ve been able to get rid of quite a few interludes on rap albums and other waste of space songs.

But here is my question. Can anyone think of a faster way to delete the currently playing song? I use Sizzlingkeys to jump between songs, but I really wish that there was an included keyboard shortcut to “delete the current song and skip to next song.” (I did write to the developer and request it. He replied that he’d see about getting it into a future release.)

In the mean time, does anyone have any other suggestions? It’d be great to trash the songs without having to leave the application I am working in at the time. Is there a plugin out there that is alluding me?