Blog Archives

How-To: Replace Your iMac’s Hard Drive

The iMac is a great machine that can last you a very long time. In its life, there are two things that you may find yourself wishing to upgrade, the memory and hard drive. Memory is easy enough to get to but the hard drive can seem a little daunting to some.

I’ll go through how to open the iMac up, just enough to replace the hard drive. There is risk involved with this but if you take your time, you should be just fine. If you want to transfer your data to the new drive before you begin, I recommend using a USB drive adapter such as this one by Apricorn and Carbon Copy Cloner.

Parts Needed

Suction cups: I am using suction cups from our server room floating floor but you can use any kind of suction cups you find at your local store.

Phillips Screwdriver: This is to remove the memory door on the bottom.

T8 Torx Screwdriver: The internal screws require this bit.

Canned Air: This is to remove any dust that may settle on the screen before you reassemble it.

Disassembly

  1. The glass is held in by magnets so use your suction cups to pull the glass off the iMac.

  2. Remove the memory door on the bottom of the iMac.
  3. Remove the Torx screws that are holding the metal case on.
  4. Pull the metal case off by starting at the top. You will see a connection by the iSight that you need to disconnect. After that, the case will slide right off.
  5. Now the remove the screws on the sides of the actual LCD screen.
  6. Gently rock the LCD screen forward from the top and you will see the hard drive behind it. You may need to disconnect the two wires running to the LCD.
  7. Pull on the back plastic bar  on the left side and it will swing out.
  8. Remove the heat sensor by pulling off the foam and sensor carefully. Set the foam aside so we can use it to re-attach the sensor to the new drive.
  9. The drive is ready to be come out by rocking the top out of the frame and then pulling it up.
  10. Once out, we need to transfer the Torx screws to the new drive.

To reassemble, just follow the same steps in reverse. Go slowly and don’t force anything. All the pieces should slide back together without much effort. Some people like to take the LCD screen all the way off and that’s fine. You will need a T7 bit to disconnect the LCD screen from the board and just remember where each connector goes. Before you put the glass back on, use some canned air to blow off any dusk that may have settled on the LCD screen.




Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »

How-To: Final Cut Express Stabilization Using iMovie

One big feature missing from Final Cut Express is the SmoothCam video filter, which is found in Final Cut Pro. Of course some things had to be left out to make you want to buy the pro version but I had to find a way around this.

iMovie, on the other hand, does have a stabilization feature built in so I hatched a plan: I’d use iMovie for the clips that need to be stabilized. Here’s the process of taking a clip from Final Cut Express and using iMovie to stabilize it.

Export the Clip from Final Cut Express

Find the shaky clip in your Final Cut Express timeline and set the in and out point around it. To do this, go to the start of the clip and press I to mark the in point. Then go to the end of that clip and press O to mark the out point.

Go to the File menu and Export the clip as a QuickTime Movie…

I titled mine “BeforeStabilization.”

Stabilize the Clip in iMovie

Launch iMovie and create a New Project.

Now go to the File menu and Import the clip.

I unchecked Optimize video in an attempt to keep the file from being converted too many times.

After the clip is imported into your Event Library, Right-click on the video and select Video Adjustments.

The Inspector window will come up. Click on the Clip tab and then the Analyze Entire Clip button.

Wait for iMovie to analyze the clip.

Now the Inspector window can be closed.

Now drag your clip to your project and watch the clip to confirm iMovie did its job.

Export from iMovie

Now we need to export the clip out to bring it back into Final Cut Express. Click on the Share menu and select Export Using QuickTime.

You want to try to use the same settings as the files currently in your Final Cut Express timeline. I’m using a 1440×1080 Apple Intermediate Codec timeline so my export settings mirror that.

Give this new file a location and a name to save with.

Import the Clip into Final Cut Express

Use the File menu to import the stabilized clip.

Add the new clip over the original to see how they compare.

Conclusion

These are a lot of steps to go, but if Final Cut Express & iMovie are all you have, they will work. The stabilized image is noticeably softer than the original but it’s worth it to have shake-free footage. I’ve also stabilized this clip in Final Cut Pro using the SmoothCam filter and I think it looks cleaner than iMovie’s attempt.

Use a tripod or monopod for your videos and you shouldn’t have to go this process too often. I’ve included my sample clip below with the before and after clips so you can get an idea of the results.

How-To: Create a Custom User Template in Snow Leopard

Setting up your OS to your liking can be an art for some. What if you need to set up Snow Leopard to present every user with the same look and settings? By following these steps you can have every user who logs into the machine receive the same look, feel and preferences that you desire. What we’ll be doing is creating a new user, setting it up to look how we want, then copying the settings so every new user will get those preferences.

Setting Everything Up

  1. Login under your admin account and open up Accounts pane in System Preferences.
  2. Click the + to create a new Standard user.
  3. As an example, we’ll use the name testuser.

  4. Log off and log back in as testuser.
  5. Set everything up the way you want. I customized the Dock, Safari’s home page and the Finder preferences.
  6. When you are done customizing, log off the testuser account.

Copying the Files

  1. Login under your admin account.
  2. Navigate to the /System/Library folder in Finder.
  3. Right-click on the User Template folder and choose Get info.
  4. By default, you cannot browse this folder. Change the permissions so Everyone has Read & Write permissions.
  5. Now we can open up the User Template folder & copy the English.lproj folder to your desktop. This will be our backup copy in case we want to restore it back.
  6. Open up Terminal and navigate to the User Template folder.
    cd /System/Library/User Template/English.lproj
  7. Copy the testuser folder over, which will replace the defaults. You may get errors about some files that can’t be replaced. I haven’t seen it cause any issues though.
    sudo cp -R ~testuser/* .
    sudo cp -R ~testuser/.* .
  8. Change the permissions for the User Template folder back so everyone has No Access again.

Test it Out

  1. Create a new user to verify everything worked. I used the name testuser2.
  2. Log off as admin and log back in as testuser2.
  3. You will now see your customized settings. These will be used for all new users created on the system from this point on.

Conclusion

To put everything back the way it was, log in as admin and copy the English.lproj backup file on your desktop back to the /System/Library/User Template folder.

If you have a lab of Macs but aren’t using Open Directory, this is a nice solution to maintain some control over the OS presentation. This change will only affect new users. It has no effect on existing users, so keep that in mind. If you start getting constant requests for more customizations similar to this, setup a Snow Leopard Server and start using Workgroup Manager. The changes can be much easier to implement but the Server solution has a larger price-tag for that convenience.

How-To: Use Time Machine Over a Network

I love Time Machine for its simplicity and the fact that it’s free. Apple did the right thing in creating a backup utility that was integrated into the OS and was actually useful. Anyone who has fought with Windows Backup can tell you, this has been needed for a long time. Apple created a beautiful backup  utility and then made money on hardware that seamlessly works with it. For the home user, nothing could be more simple.

In the office environment however, users tend to backup to server shares and not local external drives. So, let’s take a look at how to use Time Machine over a network.

Setting it Up

It’s easy to do this in Leopard Xserve by sharing a backup folder. Under Server Admin, you can check the box “Enable as Time Machine backup destination.”

This worked great in Leopard but in Snow Leopard, Time Machine no longer saw this as an available destination. Luckily, changing a property for System Preferences solves this.

Enter this command in Terminal:

sudo defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

This tells Time Machine to treat network shares as possible backup locations. Now, when I go to select a disk in the Time Machine preferences, I see my mounted AFP share listed.

Restoring

So that’s how you get the Time Machine backup working, but what about restoring. Most people don’t test the restore functionality but it’s the most important thing you can do. To restore a Time Machine backup over an AFP connection,  first boot off the Snow Leopard install DVD. Then, Launch Terminal by clicking on the Utilities menu. In the terminal window, type the following commands.

mkdir /Volumes/TimeMachine
mount -t afp user:password@afpserver.local/ShareName /Volumes/TimeMachine

This will mount your AFP share and make it available to restore from. Quit Terminal and then run “Restore from Backup” from the Utilities menu. You will see your backup listed and you should now be able to restore from it.

Time Machine is a very nice utility and if you aren’t using it, you should be. I even have other Xserves backing themselves up to this share using Time Machine. Sure, there are third-party applications out there can do so much more, but I’m for just getting the job done. Integration with the OS is also important to me. It’s the main reasons I use Safari as my main browser. As with all backup solutions though, you need to test the restore functionality once in a while. If anything, you might sleep better at night knowing your data is not only safe but recoverable.

How-To: Create an iPhone Web App

The iPhone OS is pitched as the entire Internet in your pocket…minus Flash. This works most of the time, but what if you just want to design a site or form that looks like a native iPhone App?

This is where iWebKit comes in. iWebKit is a free framework package for creating websites and applications that are optimized for the iPod Touch, iPhone & iPad. The bulk of the framework is CSS3 which can work its magic to makeover any dreadful site and make it look fresh.

I will be covering the web-form aspect of creating an optimized site, but iWebKit has many deeper features that can communicate directly with the OS. Its documentation is excellent, so dig around or check out the demo site on your iPhone to get inspiration.

When designing for the iPhone OS, you should use the iPhone simulator available in the SDK to get an idea of where your design is heading. You can also use Safari to get a pretty close representation, but nothing beats using a real physical device. It’s amazing how cool it feels and you really do get the impression it’s a native application.

Getting Started

Here is what the form looks like on the iPhone before we optimize it.

It’s pretty dull looking, to say the least. Below is the original HTML code being used. We’re going to get Apple-blood running through it and give it a makeover.

 <html><head><title>Test Form</title></head> <body>   <form method="post">     Name: <input type="text" size="12" maxlength="12" name="name">     Password:<input type="password" size="12" maxlength="36" name="passw"><br />     Gender:<br />     Male:<input type="radio" value="Male" name="gender"><br />     Female:<input type="radio" value="Female" name="gender"><br />     Favorite Food:<br />     Steak:<input type="checkbox" value="Steak" name="food[]"><br />     Pizza:<input type="checkbox" value="Pizza" name="food[]"><br />     Chicken:<input type="checkbox" value="Chicken" name="food[]"><br />     <textarea rows="5" cols="20" name="quote" wrap="physical">Enter your favorite quote!      Select a Level of Education:<br />     <select name="education">       <option value="Jr.High">Jr.High</option>       <option value="HighSchool">HighSchool</option>       <option value="College">College</option>     </select><br />     <input type="submit" name="" value="Submit" />   </form> </body> </html> 

This code needs to be in an HTML file in the same folder as the iWebKit framework. I called it index.html.

The first step is to add these lines between the <head> tags.

 <meta content="yes" name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" /> <meta content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" http-equiv="Content-Type" /> <meta content="minimum-scale=1.0, width=device-width, maximum-scale=0.6667, user-scalable=no" name="viewport" /> <link href="css/style.css" type="text/css" /> <script src="javascript/functions.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="homescreen.png"/> <link href="startup.png" rel="apple-touch-startup-image" /> 

These lines tell the iPhone browser that this page is designed for it. It also references the CSS, JavaScript and images for the iPhone Home Screen and a startup image.

To create the top title bar we need to enter the following code immediately after the <body> tag.

 <div id="topbar">   <div id="title">Test Form</div> </div> 

If you load up the page in your iPhone simulator browser you will see this bar at the top.

Now we need to start our main content with the following <div> tag.

 <div id="content"> 

All the form fields will be inside of this <div> and we won’t close it till the end of the form. The first form fields we want are the Name and Password fields.

Replace the original code:

 Name:<input type="text" size="12" maxlength="12" name="name"><br /> Password:<input type="password" size="12" maxlength="36" name="passw"><br /> 

With this:

 <ul class="pageitem">   <li class="bigfield"><input placeholder="Name" name="name" type="text" /></li>   <li class="bigfield"><input placeholder="Password" name="passw" type="password" /></li> </ul> 

Our Name and Password fields have now been transformed.

The <ul> container represents the white box while the <li> tag is to signify separate sections inside of the white box. You could also put each of these fields in their own <ul> containers and they would look like two separate boxes. To save screen space, I group similar items together. Now lets replace those old fashioned radio buttons from the Gender question.

Replace this:

 Gender:<br /> Male:<input type="radio" value="Male" name="gender"><br /> Female:<input type="radio" value="Female" name="gender"><br /> 

With this:

 <span class="graytitle">Gender</span> <ul class="pageitem">   <li class="radiobutton">     <span class="name">Male</span>     <input name="gender" type="radio" value="M" />   </li>   <li class="radiobutton">     <span class="name">Female</span>     <input name="gender" type="radio" value="F" />   </li> </ul> 

The radio buttons are changed for the better.

Next up are the checkboxes under the Favorite Food question.

Replace this:

 Favorite Food:<br /> Steak:<input type="checkbox" value="Steak" name="food[]"><br /> Pizza:<input type="checkbox" value="Pizza" name="food[]"><br /> Chicken:<input type="checkbox" value="Chicken" name="food[]"><br /> 

With this:

 <span class="graytitle">Favorite Foods</span> <ul class="pageitem">   <li class="checkbox">     <span class="name">Steak</span>     <input name="steak" type="checkbox" />   </li>   <li class="checkbox">     <span class="name">Pizza</span>     <input name="pizza" type="checkbox" />   </li>   <li class="checkbox">     <span class="name">Chicken</span>     <input name="chicken" type="checkbox" />   </li> </ul> 

Now instead of check boxes, we get those pretty on/off sliders we’re accustomed to inside the iPhone OS.

The textbox is pretty simple since it just creates a nice white box around the textbox.

Replace:

<textarea rows="5" cols="20" name="quote" wrap="physical">Enter your favorite quote!</textarea><br />

With this:

 <ul class="pageitem">   <li class="textbox">     <textarea name="quote" rows="5">Enter your favorite quote!</textarea>   </li> </ul> 

Lets move on to the dropdown menus. Dropdowns always use the iPhone’s built-in method and help create the feeling of a native app.

Replace this:

 Select a Level of Education:<br /> <select name="education">   <option value="Jr.High">Jr.High</option>   <option value="HighSchool">HighSchool</option>   <option value="College">College</option> </select><br /> 

With this:

 <span class="graytitle">Level of Education</span> <ul class="pageitem">   <li class="select">     <select name="education">       <option value="Jr.High">Jr.High</option>       <option value="HighSchool">HighSchool</option>       <option value="College">College</option>     </select>     <span class="arrow"></span>   </li> </ul> 

Notice the arrow span class adds the down arrow to the right of the selection box.

As far as the form goes, all that’s left is the Submit button and to close the <div> tag.

Replace this:

<input name="Submit" type="submit" value="Submit" />

With this:

 <ul class="pageitem">   <li class="button">     <input name="Submit" type="submit" value="Submit" />   </li> </ul> 

Now close the content <div> tag with the following:

</div>

Finally, we may want to put a footer at the bottom of our page. It’s nice to also support the iWebKit folks.

 <div id="footer">   <a href="http://iwebkit.net">Powered by iWebKit</a> </div> 

That’s it for the HTML portion. Two nice little touches you can do are for when someone adds the page to their home screen. When browsing the page, click the “+” button and select the Add to Home Screen option. You will see an icon that, by default, is a screenshot of the page. You can customize this by making your own 58×58 pixel image and referring to it in the <head> section. Mine is named homescreen.png and I’ve already included the code at the beginning of the article.

Now when this page is added to the Home Screen, it will look and feel like a native app. Why not have a startup screen displayed while the page loads? iWebKit also has this feature and you simply need a 320×460 pixel image that again, is referenced in the <head> section. I have called mine startup.png.

That’s it, we’re done! iWebKit has many other features that you should check out. You may get some inspiration for an app or at least look good to your boss when you pretty up that old form that’s been around for years. All the files used in this article are also attached for your viewing pleasure along with a short video walkthrough of this tutorial.

Project Files: iwebkit-tutorial-files.zip (94 KB, ZIP)

How-To: Connect to a Cisco VPN Using Snow Leopard or the iPhone OS

Snow Leopard has more than its fair share of improvements. If you work in the corporate world then Cisco IPsec VPN is a great addition.

Before Apple added this feature, you had to use Cisco’s client to connect up to its VPN. With Snow Leopard and the iPhone OS, this support is built in. You may need to get together with your Network Admin to get all the correct passwords, group name and such but anything that can be done in the OS versus a third-party app is good by me.

  1. Open up Network in System Preferences.
  2. Click the + sign to create a new connection. Select VPN as the interface, Cisco IPSec as the VPN Type and name it what you want.
  3. The VPN connection will now be in your list. Fill in your Server Address and Account Name. Our VPN checks authentication against Active Directory so my Account name is domainusername. Also be sure to check the Show VPN Status box so you can easily start and stop your VPN connection.
  4. Click Authentication Settings and enter your Shared Secret and Group Name. Once again, your Network Admin should have this information for you.
  5. Go ahead and apply your settings and close System Preferences. You should see a new VPN status icon in the menu bar that when you click, gives a drop-down menu to start your VPN connection.
  6. Click Connect and you should receive a Password prompt.
  7. After you are connected, notice the menu bar icon indicates how long you have been connected. This can be a nice reminder to disconnect if you aren’t using the VPN anymore.

Setting up your iPhone or iPod touch is just as easy.

  1. Launch Settings and then click on General.
  2. Click Network.
  3. Click VPN.
  4. Click Add VPN Configuration.
  5. Click on the IPSec button and fill in all your information just as you did in Snow Leopard. Click Save when you are done.
  6. Try it out by flipping the VPN switch to On.
  7. If all is good, you’ll see you are now connected.

Things to remember when accessing shares over a VPN are that you may need to use fully qualified domain names or IP addresses. Every network is different so get friendly with your Network Admin and he/she will hopefully help you out. It’s nice to see Apple developing things like this on the business side of the market. It does it so simple and to the point, that it puts everyone else to shame.

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Cisco’s Big Bet on Consumer Telepresence

How-To: Remotely Wipe an iPhone Using Exchange

The thought of your iPhone or iPod touch falling into the wrong hands is enough to scare anyone. The iPhone does have the passcode function to keep prying eyes out, but what if that’s not enough?

In a corporate environment, the loss of a device like this is a major ordeal. Apple has touted the MobileMe remote wiping capabilities, but what if you don’t use MobileMe? If you are in a corporate environment, you probably connect to an exchange server for mail. Using OWA (Outlook Web Access) you can remotely wipe your lost or stolen iPhone/iPod touch and breath easy knowing your data is safe.

As I stated, this relies on using the Exchange email push functionality in the iPhone OS. I have only tested this with Exchange 2007 so I can’t verify how or if this works in older versions of Exchange. OWA is Microsoft’s fancy name for web mail so the first thing you need to do is access your company’s web mail.

  1. After you successfully login, click on the Options button in the top right.
  2. Now click on the Mobile Devices option in the left-hand menu.
  3. You should now see your iPhone or iPod touch device listed. Click the radio button next to your device and the click Wipe All Data from Device…
  4. You will get a confirmation dialog to confirm you really want to do this. After you confirm, the Status will change to Pending Wipe.
  5. The next time your iPhone/iPod touch has an internet connection and checks in with Exchange, a secure wipe is initiated. This is what the screen looks like to the user.
  6. After the wipe has been started, the status for the device in OWA will change to Wipe Successful and you can remove the device from the list.

You can give this a try on your own device if you want to see the magic. Be advised that it will take about an hour to wipe the device so you can’t use it during that time. After the wipe, you can restore from a backup in iTunes. Since this is done in OWA, you don’t even have to bother your Network Admin. Maybe you are a little embarrassed that you lost your iPhone. This way no one has to know. Your secret will be safe with me.

How-To: Create a Chiptune in GarageBand

Chiptunes are everywhere, and if you’ve been intrigued by them, this article will help you create your very own out of just about any song.

Chiptunes are traditionally created using sound chips from old computer systems and game consoles. Some of the best examples of chip music can be made using Commodore 64s, GameBoys and the original NES. Since these pieces of hardware could only generate sounds and tones over a few channels, there is difficulty in creating complex songs. Along with the fact that this kind of circuit bending is not for a novice like myself and the learning curve tends to be very high. I wanted to find a way to accomplish this without spending days learning and researching software or hardware.

I am not trying to devalue chiptunes in any way, it definitely is an art form. I just want to present an alternative for those that are curious in creating their own masterpiece. So if we’re not going to need hardware and complicated software, what are we going to use? Using GarageBand ‘09, a plugin and a MIDI file, you can convert a song you already know and love into a chiptune.

First thing is to find a MIDI version of a song you want to create. I just went to Google and searched for “Muse midi” and quickly found a Muse song that would work. Save the MIDI file on your computer for later. Now we need to download the Magical 8-bit Plugin from the YMCK website and put the magical8bitPlug.component file in the /Libraries/Audio/Plug-ins/Component folder.

  1. Startup GarageBand and start new project by selecting the Piano. This will create a single track project that we can import our MIDI file into.
  2. Now drag your MIDI file into GarageBand and you will see it create new tracks for each voice in the MIDI file.
  3. Double-click a track to change the instrument from the Piano to our chiptune instrument.
  4. Click the Edit tab and then click the drop-down where it says “Piano” and select “Magical8bitPlug”
  5. Now if you want to tweak that tracks sound, click the Plugin logo and play around with the settings.

  6. This needs to be setup for every track except the drums. Use your creativity and change the track sounds to match the instrument they’re representing. The drum track needs some special attention and since the plugin won’t work for this, I did the following.
  7. Change the drum track sound to the Hip Hop drum Kit.
  8. Add a new effect to this track. Use the Bitcrusher effect and select whatever settings sound good to you. I used Wave Deconstruction.

Now you may have to tweak the volume levels on each track to your liking but for the most part, you are done. Export an MP3 and amaze your friends! Well maybe not if they read this article too, but with this knowledge you could create your own music and use the chiptune sounds as your instruments. I know this is not as hardcore as true circuit bending, so don’t send me angry emails. It’s more of a fun little project to please your creative side. Share your own creations with us through the comments and check out my final results in the audio clip below.

How-To: Create Your Own iTunes LP

iTunes LP Logo

The iTunes LP is the new format Apple has been pushing in iTunes. It’s more like a DVD than anything else. You have menus, music, photos, liner notes and videos. Since this is such a fresh format, not many albums are available in it yet. The good news is, you can make your own.

I’ll take you through the process of creating your own iTunes LP that you can distribute yourself.

Getting Started

Apple offers a template to help you out, which can be found here (ZIP). After it is unzipped, you should see an iTunes-LP-Example.itlp file. Right click on the file and select “Show Package Contents.”

If you open up the index.html file in Safari, you’ll see the LP.

First, we want to edit the iTunesMetadata.plist file in TextEdit and enter some info about the LP we are creating. I decided to do the Neutral Milk Hotel album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Filling out this information helps iTunes import the LP correctly. Make sure the artist and album name are correct at a minimum.

Now we can get into the good stuff. We want to create the background image and the bleed image. The bleed image is what the user see’s if they are viewing the album at a resolution larger than 1280×720. Open up the images/interface/bleed.png file in your image editor of choice. For now, you might just want to make the image a solid color, otherwise it may look cluttered.

The buttons are simply images that can be replaced easily. The LP format is really just HTML with some nice JavaScript and CSS. Because of this, you can make your LP’s as complicated as you see fit. The CSS folder contains all the CSS files that reference the positioning of the buttons. Editing the home.css file, I can change the position of my title on the home page.

The one thing your LP will need, no mater how simple, is music. The music doesn’t live inside the LP itself. The LP file just references songs in your iTunes library. There is an audio folder, where the intro music that plays on the LP lives. Apple suggests keeping this short, so I opened up one of the songs off the album in iTunes. I then edited the Start and Stop times.

After I made sure it played back properly, I created an AAC version of it by right clicking and selecting “Create AAC Version.” This created a new m4a file that was the specific length I wanted. I renamed the file to intro.m4a and replaced the original intro.m4a file in the audio folder.

Next, lets add some photos. I used Google to grab a handful of images related to the band. Then I replaced the photos in the images/photos folder and used the same naming convention of photo01.jpg.

The photos will get resized and cropped automatically to 600×400 when they are displayed, so size doesn’t seem to be too important.

Now I want to add some liner notes, so I used the band’s bio information from Amazon. Just edit the views/linernotes.html file and add your own text.

I decided that I didn’t want the credit or video sections so I deleted them out of views/home.html.

Then I had to edit the css/home.css file to move the liner notes button up.

Things are really starting to come together.

Adding Songs & Lyrics

Adding songs is probably the hardest part of the whole iTunes LP creation process. The LP references songs by their XID. The XID is a serial number of sorts that Apple assigns to every song available for purchase in the iTunes store. This means the LP can play any song that it knows the XID for, regardless if the user renamed the file in anyway. If it’s a song you didn’t purchase from iTunes, you have to create your own XID.

We’ll look at how to find the XID for songs you’ve purchased from iTunes. First, you need to enable author mode for iTunes. Make sure iTunes is closed and then run this command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true

Now open iTunes back up, right-click on a purchased song and choose Get Info. Under the Info tab you will see an XID field. That is how to tell your LP what song to play.

But what if this isn’t a song you purchased through iTunes? Then the XID field will be blank. We need to generate our own. Go to Terminal and enter the following command:

uuidgen

You will now get back a random UUID string that can be used for a song. You have to do this for every song so they each have a unique XID. Find your song in iTunes and get to the XID field. Apple wants us to prefix this UUID with TEST:uuid: to create the complete XID string. Now our song has a unique XID that can be referenced in our LP.

There are two places these XID’s need to be entered. The manifest.xml file and the controllers/data.js file. First we edit the manifest.xml file and replace the default XID with the one from our track.

Then we edit the data.js file and do the same.

Now open up your LP in iTunes, play the first song and admire your work. These same steps need to be done for every song on the LP.

Let’s add some lyrics to our song next. The lyrics are just an image file located in the images/songs/ folder. They are named simply lyrics01.jpg and so on. You can either just create a simple image with text in it or get creative. What about scanning lyrics from the original vinyl/CD art? You could go even further and scribble the lyrics down on paper then scan it in.

Replicate these steps for each song and remember to be creative. The LP will only be as cool as you want it to be. I like to think of it as digital scrap-booking. If you love the music, you will be inspired to go all out.

If you create an LP and use XID’s from songs purchased through iTunes, you could give the LP to someone else. As long as they also purchased the songs in iTunes, it will work for them. You could also find a small local band that you dig and create one for them. That should get you some backstage passes.

How-To: Image OS X and Boot Camp to a New Mac

You get a new Mac and even though you know you should, you don’t want to start over from scratch and reload the whole system. To make matters worse, you have Boot Camp installed and really don’t want to start over on the Windows side. So, here’s how you can image both OS’s to a new machine using free tools.

You need to download the Carbon Copy Cloner and Winclone software packages. CCC was created by Mike Bombich and has been used for years to clone Mac machines. It is the standard tool for this job. Winclone is made by Twocanoes Software and this is what we will use to image the Windows Boot Camp partition.

Let’s Get Started

Lets start off with Winclone first. After you install the app and run it for the first time, it will tell you it needs to download and install NTFSProgs. Click the download button and install NTFSProgs by following the wizard. The NTFSProgs software allows Winclone to properly read NTFS formatted partitions.

Now run Winclone again and select your Boot Camp partition in the Source dropdown. You can write some notes in the Item Description field if you’d like. When you’re ready, click the Image… button.

It will prompt you for a name and location to save the image to.

Now we wait for Winclone to do its work. When it’s completed, this dialog box will appear. You can now quit Winclone.

Carbon Copy Cloner is a little different in that it can image from your old machine to your new one using a Firewire or network connection. For this tutorial we’ll use the Firewire method. Setup your new machine and connect a Firewire cable between the two Macs. On the new Mac, hit the power button and hold down the “T” key on the keyboard until you see the Firewire symbol on the screen. This boots it into Target Disk Mode where it will act as if it’s just an external Firewire hard drive. On your old Mac we need to launch Carbon Copy Cloner. Your Source Disk drive is your local drive and the Target Disk is the Firewire drive. Click the Clone button and off we go.

After CCC is finished, reboot the new Mac and it should be identical to the original. From here on out, we are done with the old machine. When we imaged the Mac partition, we also brought along the Winclone image with it so now we can restore that image on our new Mac. Launch the Boot Camp Assistant in the utilities folder to create a new Windows partition.

Launch Winclone and click on the Restore tab. Click the Select Image button and browse to your Windows image. Mine was in the Documents folder.

Restore it to your newly created Boot Camp partition.

You know have a new Mac that’s a complete clone of your old one, Boot Camp and all. Windows will probably complain, as it always does, about drivers. Just insert your OS X DVD while in Windows and let it re-install the Boot Camp drivers for you. Of course, starting over from scratch is cleaner but sometimes you just don’t have the time. Proper cloning offers a reasonably quick solution.

WP Like Button Plugin by Free WordPress Templates