July 4, 2007

Easy video transcoding on OS X

A not-that-well-known way and one of the cheapest ways (free) to convert video on the Mac (or Windows for that matter) is to use a free program that many of you already probably are using VLC.

1) Launch VLC

2) Goto File -> Open File

3) Click Browse and choose the source file you wish to convert

4) Click the Streaming/Save check box and the settings button.

5) Click the file radio button and then Browse, then enter the filename you wish to use for the new file to be created.

6) Choose your Encapsulation Method, I chose AVI this time.

7) Click Video, choose your favourite video codec and the bitrate of the video you wish to encode to.

8) Click Audio, choose your favourite audio codec, the bitrate of the audio you wish to encode to and as well the number of channels of audio.

In this case I chose divx and mp3 for my codecs.

Click OK and VLC should create the new file and start transcoding your video to it. You can click "Window" and then "Information" to see the status of the current job, there will not be any video being displayed during this process....

Lastly one thing to note is to make sure you don't have any "Repeat" of any file playing otherwise your transcode will start over at the completion and then rewrite the output file... and you'll need to start over.

There you go, cheap and easy way to transcode video to and from almost any format for free!


July 5, 2007

Expose annoying you?

My wife has strong fingers.

She was complaining to me the other day about how Expose keeps popping up while she's trying to work. The problem is that her desk space to the right of the keyboard is quick small and she has to constantly pick up her mouse, bring it over and move it again to get the mouse cursor to move across the whole screen.... (yes mouse acceleration is her friend here)...

Anyway, when she picks up the mouse, she squeezes the side of the mightymouse and when u do that expose comes up.

Well, if this bugs you the fix is very simple:

Goto System Preferences -> Dashboard & Expose

Then unmap the mouse button to nothingness, you can always use the F9-F12 keys instead.



July 6, 2007

Booting from firewire disk by default

If you have an external firewire disk and you use as your main boot drive, it can become a pain in the butt if you constant have to hold onto the Command Key each time you reboot and choose the drive you want to boot from.

A simple solution to change the default boot disk to the external boot disk and this can be done in the System Preferences.

Basically, go to System Preferences -> Startup Disk and Highlight the drive you wish to have as your default boot disk


.... simple as that!


July 7, 2007

iPhone development guidelines


This is a few days old but needs to mentioned anyway.

Apple has release what is currently considered the iPhone development guidelines document.

The 7 major points are:

  • Understand User-iPhone Interaction
  • Use Standards and Tried-and-True Design Practices
  • Integrate with Phone, Mail, and Maps
  • Optimize for Page Readability
  • Ensure a Great Audio and Video Experience
  • Know What Safari Supports on iPhone
  • Connect With Web Developers

    There's some good information here for those of you who are developing or are planning to develop for the iPhone... at least until a real SDK comes out.... which I bet will within a year.


    July 9, 2007

    Online offsite backups


    It seems that this is a great online backup service and they now have a OS X client.

    The restore process is simple and the price is right ($4.95 / month) for unlimited storage, you really can't beat that.

    You can use their encryption key or even specify your own.


    July 11, 2007

    More Apple stock manipulation

    First story this Reuters story comes out:

    "Chang said a way to follow up the iPhone with a cheaper version would be to convert the Nano into a phone and price it at $300 or lower. The iPhone sells for $500 and $600, depending on storage space.

    "We believe that iPod Nano will be converted into a phone because it's probably the only way for Apple to launch a lower end phone without severely cannibalizing iPod Nano," he said noting that the new phone could have "rather limited functionality."

    But then shortly after JP Morgan releases several other stories expressing the doubt of this story.

    What a load of crap, I wonder how much money this Kevin Chang from JP Morgan and his friends made manipulating the Apple stock price.

    This happened when Engadget posted the possibility that the iPhone shipping date was going to be delayed a few weeks back. The stock price went for a roller coast ride until the news was retracted.

    Sigh, I can't people can actually do this and get away with it.


    July 12, 2007

    Why is the iCal date a week off?


    My wife asks me a couple of nights ago, why is the iCal icon on her Mac showing date that's a week off? It should be July 10th but it says July 17th?

    Well, I didn't know why... so a quick google search resulted in this blog posting.

    Basically, if your iCal is open, it shows the current date.... but if your iCal is closed, it would always show July 17... and what's the significance of this date?

    Well, it turns out that iCal was launched on July 17, 2002 MacWorld in New York and that's the date that they used for the icon.

    It's rather amusing because the person who wrote the blog article happened to have his birthday on July 17 as well and always thought iCal was using his birthdate for the icon to make things more "personal".

    Also, here's a script that updates the icon that you can schedule to right every night at midnight, that's if you like to have it show the current date all the time.


    July 13, 2007

    JPG (or other format) Screenshots in Tiger

    By default screen shots in OS X Tiger 10.4.x are saved as .PNG files.

    If you want to have the screenshot saved in some other format, you can run the two following commands in Terminal:

    $ defaults write com.apple.screencapture type graphicformat
    $ killall SystemUIServer
    Replacing graphicformat with one of jpg, tiff, png, bmp or even pdf!


    July 16, 2007

    Playing .wma files in OS X

    Coming over from Windows and haVe a bunch of .wma files to convert so that work in iTunes?

    A what use to be shareware program that has now gone free called Audion is a great tool to do so, and it should work on any .wma file that doesn't have any DRM on it.


    Goto Tools -> Encode Item... and pick the files you want to convert and you'll find them magically appearing in your Music folder.

    Since it has gone free now they even post a serial number you can use to get rid of the nags!


    July 17, 2007

    Oh look an Apple worm!

    Could there be a Mac OS worm in while wild?

    There's a tonne people threatening the author here... doing so serves absolutely no purpose. Not cool.

    I just hope the person who made the discovery does the responsible thing and not let the code out into the wild before Apple has had a chance to patch the problem.


    July 19, 2007

    Album Art from Amazon


    Fetch Art is a nifty little program that scans the id3 tags of all the music in iTunes collection and then looks for the appropriate matching album art from Amazon!

    It does a pretty decent job and it's free!


    July 21, 2007




    This is a great case you can get for your Ipod, it's basically a case that makes your iPod and iPhone look like a Zune, in fact it's like an anti-theft case! =)

    (Yes this is a fake, but it's pretty darn funny)


    July 23, 2007



    Shiira is another open source browser that has lots of neat little Mac'isms that Firefox doesn't have.

    Screenshots and features list can be seen here as well.


    July 25, 2007

    MythTV OS X SVN Builds

    Get MythFrontend Only SVN Nightly Binaries

    Some may know that I sure love my MythTV.

    I recently felt adventurous and updated my backend linux machine up to the latest revision from svn... only to realize that the site where I've gotten my OS X binaries in the past doesn't have an up-to-date svn build. For some reason there haven't been any for a few weeks now.

    Well, here's my chance to try building it myself, the instructions look pretty straight forward... and so the birth of this page. I've written a little script that will build an image each night and post it at the location above... any updates or notes will be updated on this page.

    Disclaimer: No guarantee that these binaries will work on your system, it works on mine. =)


    July 26, 2007

    818 million!?!?!?!

    CUPERTINO, California—July 25, 2007—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2007 third quarter ended June 30, 2007. The Company posted revenue of $5.41 billion and net quarterly profit of $818 million, or $.92 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $4.37 billion and net quarterly profit of $472 million, or $.54 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.9 percent, up from 30.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 40 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

    Apple's Press Release announcing this quarters's earnings

    Holy camoly.

    818 million in profit, with a revenue of 5.41 billion. Those are some BIG numbers.

    And if I read the statements correctly, only 5 million of that is attributed to the iPhone, it looks like the release the iPhone was timed quite well, to coincide with the timing of the next quarter... to maximize sales figures for the next report. =)


    July 28, 2007

    Mac Cheat Sheet

    I'm sure this has happened in the past, you need to call Apple or your ISP or some other vendor for some help and they ask you for information about your system and you don't have it all ready, thus they make you crawl underneath your desk, your closet... whereever, looking for serial numbers and hardware MAC addresses and such.

    Well, Apple has a little "Cheat Sheet", which is just a simple checklist that you can fill out once and hide away, and when it comes time to need this information, it's all there in one place. It sounds like something you'd never use and even silly to fill out but one day it will come in handy.

    Find My Mac Cheat Sheet at the Apple site.


    July 30, 2007

    Command + ,

    Hold onto the Command key and press ","

    This will bring out the Preference Pane in most applications... kind of a nice convenient quick keystroke that you should add to your arsenal Command keys such as Command+C and Command+V (Copy and Paste), especially for those who like to fiddle with Application settings.


    July 31, 2007

    OS X is now UNIX 03 certified


    Leopart gets UNIX 03 cert, what does this certification mean?

    Basically OS X now meets the specifications that are required to be a "Unix" operating system. No flavor of Linux has yet met these specifications.

    To the end user it probably doesn't really mean much, but in the corporate world, it means OS X is now considered to be peers with AIX 5L 5.3 , HP-UX 11i V3 Release B.11.31 and Solaris 10. A nice boost for OS X server and feather in Apple's cap.