Thursday, 26 December 2013

Best way to add movies to iTunes

A better way to add movies to iTunes

Add movies to iTunesIf you have a TV show that you have recorded and you want to watch at a later stage using iTunes, one of the problems is that when you add it to iTunes it goes into Home Movies. When it is in Home Movies, what you have to do then is to go into the meta data through Get Info, go to the video tab to put in the details for the television show such as number for the series and the number for the episode. Then you need to go to the options tab and in the options tab you inform iTunes that it is a television show where it says Media Kind. Sometimes you also have to put a check box room where it says remember playback position and also for skip when shuffling. Only then do you have your TV show in the correct place ready to you to watch. Having to do this I find is tedious and annoying and I am delighted to say that I found a better way of doing this using an application called iVI Lite.

Using iVI Lite to get movies into iTunes

With this application all you have to do is to drag the files that you want to put into iTunes into the main window. The application goes off to the internets and gathers information about the file that you have put in there. Unless there is any Meta data within the file it helps to give the application iVI Lite some information to help it get what it needs. Where I would use this program is to get a TV programme I have downloaded through the BBC iPlayer that I want to watch on the television rather than on my computer. It could be possible to send my computer screen to the Apple TV and I would do that if I was in a hurry, but I find that it messes things about too much, with my computer and I would rather put it into iTunes.

IVI Lite Edition and File Details Circlecount How to SD for Apple Devices m4v and Movies

iVI Lite seems to be quite clever in that it will not only find the details for the series and for the episode numbers, but it will also add a title if it finds it and often other information. I don't know where it gets its information from but I have had great success with this so far. If you have more than one file in the application you can click on the button to Convert All or use the button Convert if there is only one movie to work with. Another little window opens up and after a very short wait it will convert the file and then send it directly into iTunes in the proper place. No more fiddling about with the meta-data in iTunes to let it know that it is a TV show and not a movie. From within iVI Lite there are buttons available let you say what type of video it is. So obviously if it is a movie it goes off and looks in the proper places to get the information which by the way also includes artwork.

iVI Lite - Job done all sorted

This is the light version of the application and so far I haven't found any need for getting the paid for version. I think that the application iVI Lite is full featured except for the number of types of files that you can convert to. The free version of this application works great and I can highly recommend it as it works quickly and accurately. It is much better than you doing it manually and then having to go and find out where iTunes has put your movie.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

How to get your photos into Aperture

Importing photos into Aperture

The easiest thing is to put your SD card into the slot and Aperture pops up with your photos all checked and all you need to do is hit the Import button and all the files are sucked into Aperture. There again you could use some of the import settings and save yourself some time and effort later. In the video I show you how you can set a number of things into motion, including backing up the photos as they are imported, change the files names, add keywords, put in copyright info and even alter the versions of the files with effects presets.


Look to the right of the screen

You will see all of the option in a drop down at the top of the right side bar, it is called Import Settings. You can the Aperture app where you want to put the files by choosing a new project and naming it or choosing a project already present. Tick the box if you don't want duplicates to be imported and if you want to see the photos split into projects automatically. The photos get split by date.

I like to name files based on the syntax of Year-Month-day_hour-min-sec and this means I will always have unique names for the files. If I had two cameras taking picture at exactly the same time (which is not going to happen often) the application will add a number to the end of the filename to make it unique.

Metadata in photos

The camera will put some info in the file that is your photo. If you look you will see that the camera make and model is recorded and other details such as the lens and the settings in use for that image. When you import the photographs, why not add you name, telephone number, contact email, and your web site url. Then is someone steals your photo you will have details that prove the photo is yours and the thief can't say I didn't know how to contact you to be able to offer to pay for the use of the image.

In the previous video we looked at adding keywords to photos and I think it is better to add keywords using the HUD for that in Aperture. You can be sure of the spellings and that you will not have a confusion of having similar words that would make things harder for searching later.

Back ups of photos automatically

As the photos are put in Aperture the import settings can take care of making a back up of those photos. Set up this default setting once and you will have a level of back up in place that will keep your files safe. It is worth doing so that the photos also get sent to another disk too, or to an online storage facility.

Not just your photos in Aperture

You can add movies and also audiofiles into Aperture and this makes the app even more useful, especiallly if you are guy that works with various types of media. Good to have all your stuff looked after in one place, especially as you can use Aperture to help you find files based on the keywords, file type, length of file and with loads of terms in the metadata. Aperture is such a useful application for photographers of all types and level of professionalism.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Finding your stuff - Old-style versus new

In days of old when knights were bold and personal computers had just been invented it was very difficult to find your files into which your thoughts had just been vented so you ended up making the files live in folder after nested sub folder but now there is a new way of doing it and you throw them all in one big bucket with tags, meta data, intelligent search you can get at all your stuff without just being lucky.

Big bucket or folders inside folders?

So there you go, that's the way it was and it took a while to get away from the bad old DOS days when you had to tidy away your computer files just the same as if they were inside paper folders in grey metal cabinets. The more senior members of our world still want to work that way and still have this belief that things are more organised and much better when everything is tidied away inside of those nested folders. Some go for organising by year, month and day with more separation inside of that based on type of file. Some go by project and then do the types of file inside that. I think that doing that these days is just plain silly and hides files more than it makes them accessible. I am a convert to the single big bucket and the use of fantastic search tools and smart searches to get my digital stuff.To a certain extent we are still in a transition period moving on towards just throwing it into one big amorphous glop inside a single folder on the computer and letting search do all of the work for us, but things are moving on.

There are some computer systems and applications setup to put their documents into specific places and keep them away from all of the other dirty files and folders from other applications. Now that we have intelligent searching on computers where the tools that you can use know documents by kind or type, know the data that is contained within the file, has extra metadata to use in some types of document, as well is even possible to use fuzzy logic when searching, then why give ourselves the hassle of having to put certain types of files in certain places.

You could drive yourself crazy looking for stuff if you have organised yourself by date and you can't remember what month or year it was when you created that spreadsheet, text file or whatever sort of document. You also could end up with subfolders within folders that have the same name. Such as a folder called spreadsheets each time you work with a New Year when you have opted for a folder organisation that has a folder for every year and divided again into months and so on. Mind you, you can use intelligent search of such an organisation, but it is a waste of time sorting it like that in the first place.

What about if you organise by project and then you want to find all Keynote presentations and each one is in a different place on the hard drive. Fortunately you can have a mix and put files where they make sense for you and then use a tool like Spotlight in Finder or HoudahSpot which does the same, but a whole lot better. Or you could use Evernote and manually bring files of different types into Notebooks or has links to your stuff all in one place. Then with Mavericks we have Mavericks tags, which are not the same as keywords or open meta tags as used in files saved before Mavericks.

It's all a little bit mixed up

So the way that it kind of works at the moment is that there are folders created by applications and by the system such as one for music, another for pictures, a movies folder and another for documents. If you don't create many files and you know the type of file at your looking for then it can be fairly easy just to go by name of the movie or audio file and just looking inside a particular folder. This doesn't work so well if you have hundreds or even thousands of files or a particular type and you only have a vague recollection of what the file was called. So you need to get into using the better search tools with Boolean operators and smart searches that can look in whatever places you tell the computer to look.

It is a good idea to have all of your document files that you create yourself separated from the computer system files. So that when you are doing a backup or you are moving files from a one computer to another it is easy to know that you have all of the important data taken care or. You can tell the backup application or the application you're using for copying just to look in that one place, the big file bucket with everything in it. For example, with my photographs I know that all of my photographs are in the application Aperture. The files are stored within one single file/folder and I make sure that the files are not scattered around the hard drive and referenced into the application. If I need to do a backup everything is in one place and it is all really very easy.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Upgrading to Mavericks for free

Mavericks for free - Yippee!

Of course all of the Apple fans are so very happy with the updates that Apple announced yesterday at the October Apple event, but one of them stands out from the rest. The fact that Apple have made this major update to the operating system, OS X Mavericks free, surprised just about everybody. It would be nice to think that Apple have done this to give something back to the Kool-Aid drinking, Apple loving Mac community. There is a possibility that this is the case, but we do have to remember that Apple is a multibillion dollar company, that quite possibly has business and marketing motives for giving us Mavericks for free. This may seem cynical, but we should remember that this is the way the world really works. Whatever the reasons are for giving away the Mavericks for free, there is no reason why we shouldn't do our happy dance anyway.

Mavericks for free

Mavericks a big download

With the updates weighing in at over 5 GB it is taking a very long time for the update to download over my slow Internet. I started the download at about 11 PM last night, so that is about 14 hours ago and I still have more than 1 GB left to download. No problem, as during that time I will be able to do all of the necessary backups and setup work to be ready to do the Mavericks upgrade.

A completely clean install of Mavericks

Not long ago I added an SSD to my iMac and I did an unclean install onto that drive. I decided that seeing as Mavericks was coming quite soon it would be a good opportunity to set it up right at that time. No point in me doing the job twice and besides I wanted to do a quick job while I had the new SSD drive in my hot sticky fingers. The plan now is to create an SD card installation drive and to wipe clean both the SSD drive and the data drive on the iMac. This way I will have a completely virgin installation of the operating system on the SSD and I will be sure that I don't have any old and unwanted bits and pieces on the old hard drive. I know that this needs to be done because the booting into the SSD drive over Thunderbolt should be extremely fast and at the moment it isn't.

SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner


The first part of the job is the most important and that is to do bootable backups of all of my system and data drives. I will be using Superduper or possibly Carbon Copy Cloner to do this. Then I will go through the applications folder and get a list of all of the applications that I have installed. I plan to go through this list of applications one by one, first of all marking the applications which I can just grab from the Mac App Store. Then I will mark applications that are just to be forgotten about and not to be reinstalled. Then I will go through the rest of the applications which will be applications needing up-to-date software licenses and serial numbers. I will make sure that I have all of my software serial numbers in one place and I will also see that I can download any software installers that I need. I was pleased to see that GPGMail Plugin has been updated for Mavericks.

It is going to take a couple of days probably to get everything just the way I like it. But it is a job that is going to be worth doing correctly so that it will last a long time before I need to do a rework of the operating system on my iMac. When I have the iMac job finished off, the next thing to tackle will be my wife's computer, a MacBook Pro. I am thinking that I will buy an SSD drive to install in her computer so that with the new drive and new operating system it should fairly fly along for her. I'm sure she will be delighted and she can repay me in kind.

Friday, 16 August 2013

There's Writing, Blogging And Note Taking

Part One - Mac text entry

One of the things that we all do with our computers and our mobile devices, portable computers, is that we are creating text documents of one sort or another. There are a lot of different types of writing that we do and therefore we are going to sometimes need to use different tools for different jobs. Over the years with using the Mac and iOS I have been using applications such as SimpleNote, Notational Velocity or NVAlt, Evernote, Mou, Drafts, Scrivener and even Pages. I have absolutely no need whatsoever for Microsoft Word which I regard as a legacy type application. I often get the feeling that people use Word because they know no better, although I suppose if you do need to make a document that is for a presentation and it requires more layouts along with pictures and tables it might be a possibility. Obviously though, being a Mac user I would be more likely to use Pages as it does all that I would need to and looks good while doing it too!

Doing it with Markdown

Whatever sort of writing I do it always starts off as Markdown for me, I just think that sort of way now. I like to know that I will be up to open up the text based files of markdown with any application now or in the future. Keep it simple is a good philosophy to use for many things in life and that includes writing. Can you imagine trying to open a WordPerfect file with the application that you have on your computer now?


So the sort of writing I do mostly is blogging and for the most part I am writing longer articles using dictation in Dragon dictate. I have the workflow for this completely sorted out that I don't really have to think about it too much. I dictate directly into the DragonDictate window because that is the best place for the dictation, then I use a Keyboard Maestro key combination which will select all of the text and open it up in Mou. When I have the text in Mou I do the reading out aloud text editing of the markdown text. I like the dual pane which allows me to see the finished version of the text alongside the markdown. I also add the links to other articles at this point using some Mac OS X services automation.


MarsEdit best blogging tool

The next stage of the game for me is to do a special copy which gives me the HTML of that text so that I can put it into the Mac blogging software that I prefer to use called MarsEdit. Some people would ask why don't just dictate directly into MarsEdit, but I have found that the dictation doesn't work quite so well that way. It worked well for me to have the process separated out into separate stages. It is in MarsEdit that I add the images and video embedding.

Part Two

Sunday, 21 July 2013

DragonDictate to Control your Computer

Controlling your computer using DragonDictate

Most of the time when I'm using DragonDictate it is to turn speech into text in OS X. I find this to be most successful when I'm using the actual DragonDictate text input window. Due to this my workflow has evolved into me dictating into this window and using a Keyboard Maestro shortcut which selects all of the text, copies it and then pastes it into my text editor that I use for a read through and editing process. I use Mou Text editor for this. To a certain extent I also use DragonDictate when I want to dictate into other applications like Day One the journalling application, into the various social networking pages on the Chrome browser. If I have my Twitter client open on the desktop I will also dictate into that and I find that DragonDictate works well with the Messages application. It is really quite simple to dictate the message and at the end of it simply say "Send message" and the message is sent. What I should really do though, is to spend some time learning other commands that I can use in applications such as Apple Mail, Safari and maybe some of the global commands. I already use the global command to switch from one application to another, most often when I am dictating into DragonDictate and I want to see the HTML results in the Marked application. All I have to do is to say "Open Marked" and the application is there in front of me ready to go.

DragonDictate available commands

Learning more by using the available commands window

Grid Transparent Window 2

When the available commands window is open it shows you the various types of available commands that you can use. As I am looking at it now, I can see three words in the list, Dictation, Global, DragonDictate and each of these have disclosure triangles. Click on the dictation disclosure triangle and you get another list of command types such as Capitalisation Commands, proofreading, special symbols and text editing and movement. So if I want to learn more commands that I can use specifically with regards to text editing and movement, I can quickly see the available commands within the DragonDictate window. There are a huge number of commands that are available. I would suggest that the best way to learn how to use these and to get them so that you know them, is to choose a couple of commands and concentrate on them for as long as it takes to get them into your head. It could be that you will need a number of sessions using these commands before you have them in your working vocabulary for DragonDictate in memory.

Controlling Safari with DragonDictate

I have been testing the available commands that are in DragonDictate for Safari and to be honest it is quite overwhelming. I have started to learn some of these, two commands at a time. I just choose a commands that I think will be useful and use them over and over again until I remember them. You can use the commands to do things like scrolling to the bottom of the page and back again to the top. You can open new windows of Safari and you can also open a new tab. There is a command that will let you do a web search which puts the cursor into the text area for creating a search and all you have to do is to dictate in what you want to search for. I find it quite useful to open the find on page command, enter a word I'm looking for and this can save an awful lot of clicks and typing.

free applications

Saturday, 20 July 2013

You don't need a Mavericks to be able to tag files

I was kind of wondering why there was such a fuss about tagging files in Mavericks by the Apple people at the WW DC event that happened to the beginning of June. It is already possible to tag your files using free software called Tag it and also if you use useful utilities like Default Folder X or Houdaspot. So for at least a year or two years I have been tagging my files as I create them and for me I find these his way to do this is using Default Folder X.

free applications

A better system of tagging in Mavericks

I have seen recently that it is going to be possible to tag files by doing a drag-and-drop. I don't have the full details on that yet but it does look like it could be something that would be very useful for quick and easy tagging of files. I can already do a drag and drop files to Tag It, but obviously it is going to be much better to be able to do all of that in the Finder. With the other enhancements to the finder that is coming with Mavericks maybe I will be drawn away from using the application Pathfinder. Often I find that I don't get the full use out of Pathfinder as I haven't spend the time yet to delve into all of the extra functionality that there is available within it.

Friday, 19 July 2013

OpenPGP/ GPG get started

This is the best way to encrypt your emails. Using GPG Tools and the Public / Private key pair does take a bit to get your head around the way it works but it is not rocket science really. It is a cross platform solution and you can easily get sending encrypted emails that can't be read by governments around the world. Think PRISM and how un protected your emails are now. It is like you sending a postcard - Anyone can read whatever you have written as it travels across the internet.

Now there is the plug in you can get for Apple Mail as well as one for Thunderbird if you prefer which makes it really easy to use. This is the first in a series of videos about how to use GPG Tools so that you can be an expert without having to try too hard.