Best iPod accessory ever!

On today’s Daily Giz Wiz podcast (a short daily audio program featuring Dick DeBartolo and Leo Laporte) Dick reviewed the best iPod accessory ever!

The 500XL Desktop Earbud Speakers are 500 times the size of the stock earbuds that come with iPods but are otherwise identical (though a version old.) While I’m not about to replace my new Klipsch desktop speakers these would look great next to my iMac!

Retirement of a tired Mac G4

So I finally took the plunge and bought a new 20″ Apple iMac. I’ve got to say I love the machine in all its glass and aluminum glory, but I can’t let this transition pass without paying a little homage to my 400MHz Mac G4 tower that has served me so well for so long.

Macintosh G4I bought this machine in January of 2000 (my senior year of college.) It has run essentially nonstop since then at any time carrying out some or all of the following duties at any given time:

  • Ethernet router
  • Wirless router
  • Web server (with dynamic DNS)
  • UNIX development machine
  • MIDI workstation
  • Editing short movies
  • Rendering of POV-Ray images for Tom
  • Countless MAME games

The system came with a 10GB hard drive which I immediately upgraded to 36GB. The initial 128MB of RAM was removed to make way for a couple 512MB chips giving the system a full gigabyte of RAM. Though this mac originally came with Mac OS 9 I was able to upgrade it to OS X, even 10.4 without any problems. Now I don’t mean it ran part of 10.4 or it was in any way crippled. This 7+ year old machine runs the latest OS just fine.

The decision to replace the machine came for two reasons. One, I wanted a machine I could hook up to my TV. Two, when working with large files (high resolution movies and pics from my 7 MP camera) things really slowed down. It was also time for a bit more hard drive space.

So with over 7 years of runtime with, by the way, no maintenance required I can happily retire this old G4 and honestly say it owes me nothing. I only hope the new iMac does just as well.

mac, macintosh, os x, imac, g4, mac vs pc, computer, apple, apple inc, apple computer

Make listening to your podcasts in iTunes even easier

I follow a lot of podcasts. They make for great background while I work and by following podcasts like TWiT and Buzz Out Loud I can easily keep up with what’s going on in the world of tech.

To make listening to my podcasts even easier I made a Smart Playlist in iTunes to consolidate my unplayed podcasts. Here’s what I did:

  1. In iTunes, select “New Smart Playlist…” from the File menu
  2. In the Smart Playlist rules create a rule for “Podcast is true”
  3. Add a rule by clicking on the + next to the first rule
  4. Set the second rule to “Play Count is 0”
  5. You can add more rules if you like, or just click OK and name the playlist

Smart Playlist setup

This Smart Playlist has a couple advantages when playing podcasts. First, podcasts will play continuously, so when one podcast ends, the next one will begin. Second, podcasts will not drop off this list until you have played them to the end. This is better than the “is new” indicator in the Podcasts list which disappears as soon as you start playing a podcast.

Update: As an added advantage if you are sorting by item number you can drag and drop your podcasts to change their play order.

itunes, apple, ipod, music, podcast, mp3, netcast

Safari on Windows – Where’s my Home?

SafariI am impressed with how fast Apple’s Safari browser runs on Windows, but a lot of Win/Safari users are going to be wondering one thing… Where’s the home buttton?

So here’s how you add the home button to your toolbar in Safari:

  1. Start Safari (well, duh!)
  2. Select “Customize Toolbar” from the View menu
  3. Drag the Home icon from the dialogue box to the location you want it to appear on your toolbar
  4. Click Done

A few other differences will quickly become evident. For example, you can’t just drag an address over the home button to set the homepage. Instead, to set the homepage navigate to the page you want to set as your home, select Preferences from the Edit menu and click on the “Set to Current Page” button about half way down the page.

apple, windows, safari, software, browsers

Steve Jobs – Thoughts on Music and DRM

Ever wonder what the CEO of one of the world’s leading music retailers thinks of Digital Rights Management? Today Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. told us in a message titled “Thoughts on Music” which I hope we will some day look back on as the beginning of the end for DRM.

In the post Jobs clearly presents the current situation (each vendor has their own library of music, protected by their own DRM which will only work on their own software and devices) and offers up three possible futures, the most interesting of which is the third:

The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.

If you are interested in DRM or would like to learn more about it and why it’s such a hot topic right now, I highly recommend reading Jobs’ entire post. Remember, Apple is currently ahead in this field and if anything has the most to loose if they lost their brand lock-in.

drm, digital rights management, music, mp3, aac, apple, computer, records