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Wiretap Studio

Review: WireTap Studio Making Podcasts Easier

Wiretap Review: WireTap Studio Making Podcasts Easier
Wiretap Studio : If you can hear it, you can record it.

With the Samsung Meteor microphone on its way for review I realised I had the non-enviable task of trying to find some adequate software to match a premium microphone and must leave the idea to create our first ever podcast was born.

By no means is podcasting a black art but it’s certainly not as simple as one would think, so after laying down some pretty hefty cash for a microphone it only seems right that a similar investment was made in terms of software.

Cue Ambrosia’s WireTap Studio ($70).  A few of my friends had mentioned this software previously along with several forum posters.  Originally I was looking for a simple way to test and microphone but then it occurred to me why not just go the whole 9 yards and produce a pod cast.  As always as simple idea then turns into a bit of a complex project as I wanted to record a Skype call for the broadcast.

Wiretap studio sits as an out of the way widgets which proves to be deceptively powerful.  The widget effectively acts as a very simple mixer allowing you to select two same sources so, in my case, I can select one source as a microphone and the other as Skype. Selected audio sources can be saved as a separate files, very handy the editing later.

Once audio has been recorded there are a myriad of options to save the audio in a format of your choice. These range from the de facto MP3 standard right up to AAC lossless quality format. If you aren’t sure what your destination file type will sound like there is a live preview option to let you make that ultimate decision between the quality of sound and desired file size.

So that’s the basics but what Wiretap Studio really does excel at is to add spit and polish to any voice clips.

In my case I tend to do most of my EssentialMac.co.uk new and reviews with the aid of  via speech recognition, however, I do have a tendency to pause midsentence to recollect my thoughts into a coherent sentence. Wiretap studio has a feature to automatically remove and cut pauses from the track. By selecting an option from the menu the application delete silences and you can control how long and how quiet passage is before the application considers it a silence and adds the appropriate pause.

Believe me the ability to remove pauses from stuttered speaking during podcasting sessions is a complete boon and this is just scraping the surface of this application. There is a complete sound effects suites which I haven’t even started dabbling with.

Of course, software like this, only reaches its full potential with proper, clear and concise documentation and the developers have obviously realised this with a plethora of videos and walk-throughs to get the most out of the software experience.

Disappointingly when we visited their websites to look at the add-on files section it seems that none have been developed from 2005 onwards. Older plug-ins don’t always put us off but with USB microphones becoming ever more prevalent in the market plug-ins can make a program look underdeveloped or discontinued.

We aren’t quite ready to make this one of our coveted essential applications as this really is our first foray into the world of broadcasting. That being said we did find it a rewarding experience for first-time venturing forward into the audio rather than textbased format.
Note.  We did encounter some problems running this software after our upgrade to lion however we have been assured by the developers that they are working on this issue.As soon as the Lion compatible version is released we will update this review.

Taming OSX Lion With Gestures

How to make the most of Lion gestures

lion taming How to make the most of Lion gestures
Taming OSX Lion With Gestures

Essential basic lion gestures.

Lion is really taking it to the traditional mouse and computer interaction we have all become accustomed to. Snow Leopard really did push me towards being more interactive with my desktop with more than three buttons and Lion makes even more use out of the track pad.

1.  Tap for dictionary.

The dictionary facility has been about for a number of Mac OSx incarnations. Previously he had to press command   control   D whilst hovering over a word. Lion simplifies this approach by allowing you to simply double tap on any word using three fingers

2.  Finder navigation using gestures.
Finder didn’t escape the briefest of makeovers in the lion operating system as opening the finder presents you with a Cover Flow style presentation of files and folders. To navigate through these items with a gesture, simply scroll up and down with two fingers to see the different groups and position your points are in a group and slide two fingers left or right on the trackpad to see different files in the sections.  As normal, when you see a file you want to work with, just double tap on it.

3.  Make the most of mission control.
Mission control is activated by simply swiping up four fingers on your track pad. Once in mission control, you can swipe left and right with three fingers to move between different desktop, spaces or any of the full-screen applications that are currently in operation.

If you have any hints or tips on how to manage Lion with gestures then please drop us a line with the comment form below

Apple's LaunchPad In Lion

How To Remove Applications From LaunchPad.

LaunchPad How To Remove Applications From LaunchPad.
Apple's Sneaking in iOS For The Desktop?

Launchpad may be Apple’s somewhat ham-fisted attempt at bringing a IOS look and feel to our beloved Apple desktops but unlike the implementation found on our own IOS devices there doesn’t seem to be a way to manage what’s shown on launchpad, until now!

As it stands launchpad will show every application in your applications folder as default.   The program selection  isn’t selective either, as it will show things like and installers and other updating software  programs.

Launchpad control is a system preference pane that takes all the hassle away from managing applications found on the launchpad menu system.

Managing the applications you wish to see on your launchpad is a simple case of taking and undertaking what you wish to see with the three fingered swipe

Best of all this application is free however the author would gladly accept any donations.

More information and download sources can be found at the developers website.

blueLounge MiniDock

MiniDock blueLounge MiniDock
blueLounge MiniDock

One of the most overlooked areas in my little Apple eco-structure is my sync cable. At the last count I think I have about four, perhaps fiver as they are cheap enough to have one in pretty much every appliance I have with a USB socket.

Now, it’s no secret, Apple products do command a slightly higher price than normal so when I came across the blueLounge MiniDock at $20 acting as a replacement the Apple Dock connector to USB cable I didn’t drop into the typical “who would pay that much for a xxxxx” mindset.

The blueLounge MiniDock si designed to be used with your existing Apple USB Power Adapter to charge your iPhone or iPod.  Meaning no more iOS device on the floor or cable’s having to be tucked away, hidden or tripped over, sending your cherished Apple device hurtling across the room.

Unfortunately with the blueLounge MiniDock is you need to supply the wall mounted charger yourself.  Another downside is that it works best (read only) with flat bottomed devices so those of you with fancy covers might struggle to use this.

The blueLounge MiniDock is available in three versions to fit either US, UK or EU style adapters and sockets ($24.28 is the cost including shipping for our UK users)

Orange Free Movie Thursday

Apple and Orange Giving Away FREE movies.

Orange Free Movie Apple and Orange Giving Away FREE movies.

Those of you in the UK on the Orange mobile network will be more than  aware of Orange wednesday’s where it’s buy one and get one free to goto participating cinema’s on the cheap.

Now it’s going one further it seems by teaming up with iTunes to offer a free movie. Orange’s new website, FilmToGo, lets customers grab a film a week to watch using PC, laptop or iOS device.

Downsides are that films are only playable for 30 days after receiving them and it will cost you a 35p text message to get the redemption code. Orange customers text FILMTOGO to 85060.

I sent my text to that number and got an immediate reply with my download code an instructions to goto the FilmToGo website. However the codes are only valid on a Thursday ONLY but they do offer a handy e-mail reminder service.

Next Thursday is “The Wrestler” and that has to be worth 35p of anyone’s money.

Mac OSX Lion 1 Click Installer

Make a Lion Bootable DVD / Flash Drive / SD Card In One Click

mac os x lion Make a Lion Bootable DVD / Flash Drive / SD Card In One Click

Developed by Guillaume Gete, Lion DiskMaker allows users to make bootable DVDs/USB flash drive/SD card of OS X Lion in a few outstandingly simple steps.

All you are required to do is ensure that the OS X Lion file you downloaded from the Mac App Store is in the /Applications folder.

The program asks the user if they want to create a bootable DVD or a flash drive; once they’ve decided the media, the app does the rest!

Another great advantage of this app is how you can use a 4GB flash drive instead of the previously minimum 8GB one.

From the official website:

Lion DiskMaker is a small application programmed with AppleScript that you can use with Mac OS X 10.6 or 10.7 to burn a DVD or build a bootable USB key from Mac OS X Lion’s Installation program.

As soon as you launch the application, it checks the presence of Mac OS X Lion Install in the /Applications folder, or tries to find one using Spotlight. Then, it proposes to build a DVD or create a USB bootable install disk.

Now that we’ve mentioned its good side, let’s talk a little about its limitation: Lion DiskMaker will not work if you’re on a Mac with OS X Lion pre-installed (like the new MacBook Air).

If you don’t have a copy of Lion available (the file is erased automatically when you move from Snow Leopard to Lion), you will have to download it again by opening up its page on Mac App Store and then pressing the Option/Alt key. This will allow you to download Lion again.

Lion DiscMaker is a free application and can be download from the link embedded below.

Download Lion DiscMaker
[Official Website]

Apple’s iCloud is now live (for devs at least)

Hot on the heels of the 4.3.3 update for Apple tv, iCloud has just gone live with pricing details.

 Apples iCloud is now live (for devs at least)
Apple iCloud Pricing

Along with launching the new beta service, Apple has also revealed its pricing strategy for additional storage on the cloud service. Apple will charge $20 for 10GB, $40 for 20GB and $100 for 50GB a year.

iCloud is Apple’s take on the cloud service. After lambasting employees over the failure of MobileMe, Apple is looking to get it right with iCloud. With Apple revealing the new service for the first time, it would indicate that the service is nearing public availability.

There have been many rumors about when the new service will go live. It is believed that the service will be launched along side the iPhone 5 which will hit retail later this fall. It is unclear if the new device will launch in September or November.

For those who are waiting anxiously for Apple’s latest service, this is a step in the right direction. With iCloud, Apple will kick off its cloud based service that offers many features to entice the user into placing their trust in Apple for securing their personal content.

Apple iTunes Purchased Tv Shows

Apple rolls out iCloud TV : now possible to re-download purchased television shows in iTunes.

Apple iTunes 10 1 purchased section tv shows Apple rolls out iCloud TV : now possible to re download purchased television shows in iTunes.
Apple iTunes Purchased Tv Shows

Apple has just made some back-end changes to the iTunes Store cloud as the new iOS 4.3.3 firmware updated for Apple TV went live a couple of minutes ago.

As demonstrated above you cano now re-download any perviously purchased tv shows in iTunes.  You can still rent tv shows from the Cupertino giant alonside this new features and comes on top of the options to already re-download purchased apps, e-books and music in desktop iTunes.

This seems to be the start of the iClould era!!

TinyGrab 2.0. Image Capture and Upload All in One

Sometimes the simplest of tasks can just be a major pain in the ass. Posting a screen shot from your desktop and posting on forum involves enough steps to warrant not bothering at times.  Normally it’s a case of

Capture Screen
Ftp Image or goto website, upload image and then grab the image link grab link

In steps TinyGrab 2.0 with a premise to make all this simple.  Using a simple keyboard combination, TinyGrab performs the capture and upload in one easy step.  All the images are accessible shared as part of a social interaction webpage where comments can be left.  So it’s not quite a Capture, Upload, Link to blog tool but a different take on sharing screen captures.

TinyGrab Account Types TinyGrab 2.0. Image Capture and Upload All in One
TinyGrab Account Types

TinyGrab resides in the menu bar waiting for either a combination press or a manual choice of capturing a screen area and after creating your account, putting in details to the app, you are ready to start screen capturing.  With the screen capture you are limited to use defined areas so you can’t grab a complete window by clicking on it unlike the built in Grab application on IOS.

Once you’ve captured part of the desktop you get the chance to name your snapshot, add a description and upload to your TinyGrab account.  You can upload to your own FTP server as well as the default TinyGrab servers.

TimyGrab Pre Upload TinyGrab 2.0. Image Capture and Upload All in One

It’s as simple as that, hitting save brings a nice upload bar underneath the TinyGrab icon showing you the upload status which blends in with the desktop feeling.

TinyGrab Uploading TinyGrab 2.0. Image Capture and Upload All in One
TinyGrab 2.0 uploading bar

Accessing your grabs
Once uploaded your grabs are situated in your web control panel.  There is a delay from upload to items being showing the control panel view which, I presume, is down to some pre processing for the thumbnails.  Pictures and collection management is best summed up a simplified Google Picasa experience.

TinyGrab Control Panel 1024x582 TinyGrab 2.0. Image Capture and Upload All in One
TinyGrab Control Panel

Screen grabs and manual uploads are shared in a social context rather than a hotlink to the image itself.  For example http://grab.by/aDRg takes you to a view of the picture alongside the ability to enter comments as well.  Comments can only be left if you have a pro version of the software. As you can see by the url, links are shortened for a Twitter friendly length.

Those looking for simplified upload and share on blog features are going to be disappointed at this point in the review.  Sharing your photo’s to the outside word is apparent from the outset but as mentioned earlier you can upload to your own servers if you wish.

“You can use TinyGrab to host images for your blog through hotlinking. Please be aware though that TinyGrab is intended for simple screenshot sharing, not as an image host/alternative to save your site’s server bill. We ask kindly that you do not abuse this feature, if you do you may find your account and service terminated.”

Stability Issues?
The developers themselves have noted some stability issues and these are blatantly apparent unfortunately.  It “could” just be my Lion setup but never have I experienced app crashes, high cpu usage and then complete network connection take-down at times on this sort of level.  None the less it remained stable enough at times to get a feel for the program.

Overall
I had hoped this would be more aimed toward bloggers in general with the ability to hotlink to images and such. A previous favorite of  mine, Imagewell, became all bloaty and TinyGrab fills the niche area of capture and upload with ease.

If you take the bugs and performance issues at times, Tinygrab is a great tool for simple screen capturing, uploading and has great potential to come.

How to delete objects from Time Machine backups

Delete Time Machine Items 1024x640 How to delete objects from Time Machine backups

Easier than you might think but why would you want to delete items, folders from Time machine.

Just recently whilst testing Eye TV and the Equinux Tizi I made the mistake of putting recorded TV shows in my documents folder.  This was getting backed up each and every time.  Once I’d watched them I was deleting them so it was became a good idea to delete unwanted guff from my Time Machine.

We have a guide on what to exclude from Time Machine that you might want to take a gander at.

Open time Machine.

  1. Go to the top level — the first window; the one with your hard drive.
  2. Navigate to the backup you want to delete and use the Actions menu (gear icon) in the Finder’s toolbar. It has an option to delete the backup. Also, when using the Actions menu, with a file or folder selected, there is an option to delete all instances of the file/folder from all backups.
  3. You can right click and delete all instances as well.

If you have any Time Machine hints and tips please Yell US! or use the form below.

Time Machine Exlusion Areas

What Folders To Exclude From Time Machine Backup’s

Having never really used Time Machine before now I thought it was high time that I put the spare HDD I have lying about to use. Well more like I’m debating formatting my system to do a clean install of Lion and wanted a local backup for a change.  I’ve also included updated information for what folders to exclude from Mavericks and Yosemite backups.

Continue reading → What Folders To Exclude From Time Machine Backup’s

Facetime - Server Error

Facetime Error : The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later

I thought that it was just me and that Apple servers had singled me out for looking so dishevelled all the time stopping me from using FaceTime to protect the world from me.  However it seems that I’m not alone in the world and many Lion users are getting the following error message.

“The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later”

Continue reading → Facetime Error : The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later