The perfect mix with iTunes: from cover to disk

May 3rd, 2004

Since version 4.5, iTunes has some really interesting features that makes it a great music software from Apple. The best new thing to the iTunes party is the ability to create good looking CD inserts for your albums.

Using the new printing feature along with the Smart Playlist feature, we’ll see how we can create a perfect music mix within minutes using iTunes. We’ll also review some new features, and how we can use them at their best.

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Safari’s useful tools: Google power revealed

March 31st, 2004

The search field in Safari toolbar is a very direct way to seek information on the Internet using Google. Safari also makes it possible to launch a search on any selected text on a Web page (Control-click). But did you know that it can do more than just list pages corresponding to your search ? Safari search field also makes it possible to obtain numerical conversion and calculation result, words definition, numerical information (parcels numbers, area codes), along with many more options for your search (target this search on only one site or search for a type of document for example).

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Text selection and edition using drag and drop

March 19th, 2004

Text edition is undoubtedly the task which occupies the greatest part of our computer work. In spite of the subtle differences between applications, it is possible to outline general methods for text selection and modification, and this, by extension of our knowledge already acquired on drag and drop. This knowledge will not be useful solely in word processing applications, but also in any text modifications we can do on screen.

We will initially make a summary of text selection methods with the mouse and the keyboard, then we will see the various ways for creating and preserving text clippings. Lastly, we will see how to use drag and drop for text edition and to manage information (Internet forms, information fields in various applications). As this text constitutes the third from a tutorial on drag and drop, it is recommended to start by reading the first text. Read the rest of this entry »

Uses for the icon in windows title bar (proxy icon)

February 14th, 2004

Who never noticed this icon which appears at the top every document window, to the left of the window title, that we call “proxy” icon. Although these icons seem to be added almost as a decoration to the top of the windows, they are filled with somewhat hidden features that are very useful, particularly for drag and drop. Here is an example of proxy icon, on the left of the document’s (in TextEdit):

Proxy icon example

We will see in this text the features offered by the proxy icons located in the windows’ title-bar. It is recommended to know the bases of drag and drop with files before reading this text.

Drag and drop in the Finder and the Dock

February 9th, 2004

My first text about drag and drop will be related to files in the Finder and the Dock. Drag and drop obviously feels like a natural way to do things, yet we don’t know every time when we can use it on a computer. Some might think that drag and drop only is for beginners, but I bet you will be surprised by some tips you’ll find here (I hope at least !)

I’ll try to make an in depth review of the subject, and highlight what I consider to be one of the greatest strength of Mac OS. This review will also cover basis of File management and some essential features found in the Finder and the Dock, but ending with more advanced tips.

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How to publish two versions of your iPhoto albums online, targeting two audiences with different comments associated to photos

January 16th, 2004

When building online photo albums to share with others, there are cases where adding each photo only in one album seems impossible : you’d like to add your photos to more than one album ! Basically the same thing happens with printed photos : just think about how often you order doubles. In many cases, the two copies of your photo will end up in two different albums. Take the example of a simple family album. Maybe you want to make one album for your family to see, and another album for your coworkers to watch on their spare time. Chances are you won’t put the same comments under photos in the two albums, using more private comments in the album you’ll show to your family. If your family consist of two children, you’ll probably want to make an album for each kid, adding comments appropriate to each one (you might even choose to write comments using first person to make it more personal to your child). All this is quite easy using traditional photo albums and printed pictures, but somehow more difficult when using iPhoto. Well, once you know how to do it, it is not that much more difficult ! Read on to know how I do it.

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Visually mark a quoted sentence from any text using Mac OS X PDF capacities

January 13th, 2004

Sometimes, when doing a report on a given subject, you need to quote an official text. This has to be done textually in many cases, but if you plan to make a nice graphical presentation for your paper or else if you decided to make a short documentary using iMovie, you’ll probably want to quote the source more visually, highlighting the sentence your reader should read. It helps focusing on a part of the text, while preserving the exact look of the original document, thus allowing to put the quotation in perspective from the rest of the document. The result should then look like this :

Visual quote example

Continue reading to learn how to use Panther’s PDF capacities to do this.

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Quickly compare a Web page before and after its update in Safari

January 9th, 2004
  • Level: average (possibly useful to Web developers)
  • Required: Safari

When Web page content changes (either because the author updated it or you updated it yourself while building your own site), you can always use Reload to show and updated version of the page. But after you reload the page, you can’t go back to display the page like it was before, so if the content changed and you want to access the information that previously appeared on page, or if your goal was to compare the new page and the old one, then you are out of luck !

But if you use Safari, you are lucky because there is something you can do instead of using the Reload button. First, click in the URL field (it is not necessary to select the address). You can always use cmd-L to do this. Then hold the Command key and press Return. Voilà ! If you use tabs, the updated page will show up in a new tab, and you can go back and forth between those two tabs (with cmd-shift-right arrow and cmd-shift-left arrow if you prefer using the keyboard). If you don’t use tabs, it’ll open up in a separate window.

Notice that you can do the same by dragging the URL on the right of the last tab in the tabs bar. This last trick works for any URL, even those found on Web pages.

Searching Mail

November 25th, 2003

When tons of messages appear in your different mail accounts every day, it is sometimes not easy to find some messages when you need to read them immediately or to find the exact sentence you are looking for in one message.

I’ll cover all you need to know to search messages in Mail, from the basic options to search some text (a knowledge you can apply to text from any application in Mac OS X, including web pages viewed in Safari) to the new options in Panther to search in some specific Mailboxes at once. You’ll also learn how to mark your message once your found them, using any color if you want.

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Screen zooming used to show content on TV and Panther new zoom options

November 23rd, 2003

When you want to show something on screen to many people, having a 12″ iBook might not be ideal. But there is a way around this shortcoming : using an Apple AV Cable, you can use your computer to show your screen on a TV (some other Mac portables have this option as well). This helped me when I wanted to show pictures to my family using iPhoto. But I also wanted to give titles to those pictures, and make sure names and places would be written correctly, so I asked my aunt to proofread as I wrote. Given the poor resolution of the TV, it was impossible for her to read, but using screen zooming, I managed to make it possible. Using two key sequences, I was able to zoom in to the rename box in iPhoto, and zoom back to full screen where our pictures were displayed as big as possible (filling the photo frame in iPhoto).

I’ll introduce key concepts to Screen zooming as well as the new options that appeared in Panther.

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