Category: Software

Transfer Music From iPhone to Computer

I recently got a new iMac and wanted the music from my iPhone on it. I have tried several different apps that work well with iPods, but have trouble with the iPhone for whatever reason. Senuti used to be my go-to app, but it hadn’t been updated for the iPhone 3G, not to mention that they had started charging for the software. Yamipod is a great free app that does the job for getting music off, as well as putting music back on the iPod (although a little unrefined as far as UI goes and occasionally crashes), but it doesn’t work with the iPhone 3G either.

I settled on Music Rescue, which costs £10 to register, but you can download and try it for free.

When you first launch it with your iPhone plugged in, it automagically recognizes it and gives you the option to open it or QuickRecover. Pretty smart, eh? I chose to open it, because I didn’t know what QuickRecover would do. I’m ignorant. I admit it.

Auto Detect

After you open it, you can see the contents of your iPhone in a beautiful and very iTunes-esque interface. I’m not saying iTunes is the best, but at least it eliminates the learning curve. You have access to view and playback your music, movies, podcasts, and audiobooks. I didn’t have any TV shows on my iPhone, but it appears to handle all media on your iPhone. Probably not voice recordings, though.

Media Library

I was impressed with all the options in the preferences to customize how you want the app to behave. Very flexible and useful. You can even setup a profile for your device that will be stored on the device itself so that when you plug into other computers with Music Rescue, it will remember the settings. This could be useful if you want to keep two computer music libraries synced through the use of your iPhone.

App PreferencesProfiles

When you’re ready to start the copy, click the button in the bottom right corner that says “Begin Copy…” and you’re presented with some options of which media you want to copy as shown below. I love options and flexibility! I also love the little encouragement in the bottom left, “Don’t steal music.” Isn’t that Apple’s line?

Copy Options

If you use the software in the Demo mode, then you’ll be nagged every 50 songs with this little window which goes away by clicking OK. I love developers who tell you it isn’t free software, yet they let you use it for free. It’s like those companies that send you free return address labels, but then ask you to send in a donation if you plan on using them. Yeah, ok, I’ll get right on that.

Register Nag

It’s a small annoyance, but if you use this more than once, it would definitely be worth it to purchase a license key. After all your media is copied from the iPhone, it then opens iTunes and adds it to the library. If there are conflicts, it warns you and gives you options for overwriting, skipping, or merging data. How very thoughtful!

Overall, a very flexible, easy, quick, and painless procedure to get my music off my iPhone. I highly recommend this software to anyone in the same boat.

P.S. They also offer a Windows version, but I have not tested it. Let me know how it works for you.

Get Large Voice Recordings Off Your iPhone

The new Voice Memos app on the iPhone 3.0 software is pretty cool. It makes great sounding recordings, and it’s easy as pie to use. The only glitch I’ve run into is that you can’t get the recordings off if they are over 2 minutes. Now what?

There are two three methods. One is easy, one is for the geeks, and the third is an in between one.

Method 1: iTunes [easy]

When you plug your iPhone into iTunes, go to the Music tab and make sure that there is a check mark next to “Include voice memos”. This will automatically sync your voice memos into their own playlist in iTunes where you can then do whatever you’d like with them. Here’s a screenshot of where to look in iTunes.

Method 2: SSH for Jailbroken iPhones [geeky]

If you have your iPhone jailbroken, you can SSH into it and pull the recordings off manually. They’ll play just fine in iTunes or QuickTime and then you can convert them to another format if you want.

In your SFTP program (I use Cyberduck, it’s free), go to this path to find the recordings:

Method 3: iExplorer [in between]

I’ve had a lot of questions about this, so I’m adding it to the post. If the previous methods didn’t work, this one is also pretty easy, although it requires installing iExplorer. It’s third-party software for Mac and PC and your phone doesn’t need to be jailbroken. Here’s a step-by-step for using iExplorer:

  1. Download and install iExplorer.
    • Version 2 is free, but version 3 has a demo mode that will allow you to transfer the memo for free. You can find both versions on the downloads page.
  2. Connect your iPhone via USB cable to your computer and open iExplorer.
  3. Click the arrow next to your iPhone’s name, and then navigate to:
  4. Locate the voice memo you’d like to download. They will be named with the date they were created, such as:
    20110210 114619.m4a
  5. Once you see it, you can drag it to your Desktop or any other folder on your computer

If this has helped you, I would greatly appreciate a dollar or two, but no pressure. Either way, thanks for reading!

WordPress Footer Spam

I’ve had a ton of spam links for drugs of various kinds showing up in my header and footer for a long time. I keep deleting them and they keep coming back. They aren’t visible, but they have caused Google to no longer list my site in results even when searching for my specific domain name. I finally hunted down the code that was causing the problem. I don’t claim to know everything about php or WordPress, but maybe my experience will help you.

In my footer.php file, I found the code <?php do_action('get footer'); ?> at the bottom of the file just before the </body> tag. This seemed to be retrieving the spam links in the footer.

I found some help on the WordPress forums, so I guess it’s a known problem.

My Most Frequently Used Mac Apps

I wish I could count how many of these posts there have been over the years of blogging, but I can’t. A recent read from a friend of mine’s blog has convinced me that I need to make a list, also. These are the apps that I either love, find very practical, use most often, or all of the above.

Quicksilver – The website describes this free app as “A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data.” Although that is true, it really doesn’t give a clear picture to the average Mac user about how useful this app is. The interface is activated with a keystroke (mine is command-space) and then you start typing. The power of Quicksilver is that you don’t have to take your hands off the keyboard to use it, so it’s always at your fingertips no matter what app you’re using at the time. The difficulty in explaining this app is that it can do so much, that it’s hard to describe what it is. So, with that in mind, here are a few examples of what I use it for.

  1. It’s an application launcher. I can be typing away, and then activate it, and start typing the name of the app I want to open. It finds it as I type, and then I hit return and it opens it.
  2. I reboot my Mac. If I need to restart my Mac for some reason, I just activate it, start typing “restart” and then hit return, and it reboots my Mac.
  3. Control iTunes. I can be typing an email or using another app that takes up the screen and realize that I want to skip the currently playing track in iTunes, so instead of taking my hands off my keyboard and moving around windows or apps to see my iTunes controller, I just activate Quicksilver, type “next” and hit return and it skips the track.
  4. FTP uploads. I really find this one useful. I frequently upload images to my server for posting on my friends’ myspace pages or other places. I activate Quicksilver, type the name of the image, then tab over to the action field, start typing “upload,” tab over to the selection of servers, start typing the server name I want, arrow over to the directory on the server I want it to go, then hit return. I know it sounds like a lot, but this action seriously saves about 2 minutes each time I upload an image.
  5. Bookmarks. It keeps a list of my bookmarks from as well as my browser, so I can activate it from anywhere and start typing the name of the bookmark, hit return, and off it goes in my default browser.

I know that still might not impress you, but the reality is that the more you use it, the more you’ll find how powerful it is and how much time it’ll save you. One caution: if you don’t know how to type by touch, you’ll probably hate this app.

Camino – This is my favorite web browser hands down. It’s a free and open source project by the same people who make Firefox. The difference is that Camino is made to fit in better with the Mac interface so you get the look and feel of a native Mac app. The part that I really like about it is how fast it is. The startup time of Camino is much faster than both Safari and Firefox. The rendering of pages is also much faster. I’ve noticed that the nightly builds are even faster than the latest stable release. It doesn’t have the addons that Firefox has, but it does come with the ability to block pop-ups and web advertising. Once you learn to live without some of the excesses of Firefox, you’ll find that it’s a lightweight browser that gets out of your way and lets you surf the web faster.

VLC – This is a video player that plays just about anything. It’s free and open source, so there’s no reason for it to be missing from your Applications folder.

ImageWell – This is a free (for basic version), lightweight image editor. It’s great for when you want to email a photo to someone. You don’t want to send the full-size image, but you don’t want to open iPhoto or worse, Photoshop, and resize it in there. This app opens quickly, lets you resize or edit your image with some great basic features, and then use the image wherever you want. It also has a great built-in FTP client that lets you hit a button and upload the image to a preset server on the Internet.

Handbrake – I don’t know how many of you watch movies on your computer or iPod, but if you do, then you’ll want this app. It’s a free and open source conversion tool that will convert a DVD or VIDEO_TS folder into an iPod-friendly MPEG-4 video file (.mp4). I use it to archive my DVDs to my iMac, which has Front Row, which is connected to my TV. Now I can browse my movie library on my TV with the remote. Nice, huh?

Adium – Some might say I’m getting too old for instant messaging, but I don’t care! 🙂 I still enjoy chatting with my friends all around the world through the various services: AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, GTalk, and ICQ. Adium is a free and open source app that connects you to all of these networks (and more) and combines all your buddies into one easy-to-customize list. It has a tabbed IM window so that you don’t have to clutter up your screen, but rather can have all your conversations in one window. There are easy shortcuts to jump from tab-to-tab so that you don’t ever have to take your hands off the keyboard. It’s still ironing out some difficulties with file transfers, but it’s come a long way in that area. Other than that, it’s the best IM app ever created.

Those are about the most frequently used apps on my Mac, aside from the standards like iTunes, Quicktime, Photoshop, and iPhoto. If you haven’t tried some of these, then I encourage you to give it a shot because you have nothing to lose. I strongly recommend that everyone download and start using Quicksilver weather you like it or not. Eventually, you’ll learn how to use it and be thankful that you took the time to get used to it.

Tutorial – Animated GIF

I’m not exactly sure how many times I’ve been asked on MySpace how I made my default pictures flip through like a slide show, but it’s been close to 15. It seems like people want to know how to do this, so here’s how I do it. It’s not the only way, and it’s probably not even the easiest way, but it’s how I do it. If you have a different way that you’re proud of, post it in the comments.

Before you get started

You’ll need to have Adobe ImageReady to use this tutorial. It comes with Adobe Photoshop, so if you have Photoshop, then you have ImageReady.

Also, you may want to prep the images that you’ll be using to make your animation. If all the images are the same dimensions before you go to ImageReady, it makes the process a lot simpler. You don’t have to make them all the same dimensions if you don’t want to, but you’ll have to play with the transparency or a matte background if they are different.

Here we go!

1 Open ImageReady.

2 Click on the File menu, then Open… and you will see the open dialog box. Navigate to the images that you want to include in your animation. (Hopefully, you already have them prepped as I do below.) Select all of them at once by clicking on the top one, and then holding the shift key as you click on the bottom one. Click Open.

3 Now you need to have certain tool palettes and windows open. Make sure your Window menu matches mine below. (The check marks indicate a palette/window is open.)

4 Make sure you have the Marquee tool selected in the Tools palette, and then click on one of the images. I have clicked on the far right image. Now press command+A to select all (control+A on Windows) and then command+C (control+C) to copy the entire image.


5 Next, click in the far left window and press command+V (control+V for Windows) to paste the image on top of the first image. Continue to do this with the remaining image(s) until they are all copy and pasted into the same window (or for you pros out there, the same “canvas”). You’ll notice that each time you paste an image onto the canvas, a new layer will be created.


6 After you copy all the images onto one canvas, close all windows except for the one that contains all the images. Your display should look something like the screenshot below with only one canvas open (top left red circle) and three layers in your layers palette (bottom right red circle).


7 Click the Duplicate current frame button as many times as you have images. In my case, I have three images, so I clicked it three times to create three animation frames.


8 This is where the going gets rough, so don’t give up! The animation works by simply displaying only one layer in each animation frame. We have to tell ImageReady which layers we want displayed in which frames. We can do this by setting the layer visibility as shown below. The little eye icon means that the layer is visible. If there is no icon to the left of that layer, then that means it is hidden.

Highlight the second frame of the animation, and then go over to the layers palette and make it so that only one layer is visible (i.e. only one eye is showing next to the layers).


9 Highlight the next frame in the animation, and go over to the layers palette and make the next layer visible, and the previous layers hidden as show below. Repeat this process as many times as you have layers so that each layer has its own frame in the animation palette.



10 You now have an animation! To preview it, you can click the play button on the bottom of the animation palette.

Whoa! Hold your horses, pardner! That’s moving a little too fast, isn’t it? You’re not done yet. Let’s fine tune the animation and export it for use on the web.

Highlight the first frame of the animation by clicking on it once, then hold down the shift key and click on the last frame of the animation. This will select all of the frames of the animation as shown below.


11 You can change the amount of time each frame is displayed by clicking on the menu directly below the image in the animation frame (the default is 0 sec.). We already selected all of the frames, so when you change it to 2.0 seconds, it will change all selected frames to 2.0 seconds. (If you would like the delay to be different for each frame, you can only select one frame at a time and change the delay separately.)


12 Ok, we’re almost done… in the optimize palette, select the format GIF as shown below.


13 In the same optimize palette, select 32 colors. (This will decrease the file size by only using 32 different colors to make up your images. You can play with this number to find a balance between low file size and a good quality image. For my animation, 32 was about right, especially since it’s not a very large image that will easily show grain.)


14 Now we’re ready to export the file. In the File menu, select Save Optimized As…


15 A save dialog box will pop up and ask you to name the file and ask you where you want to save it. I’ve chosen to name mine “my_animation.gif” and I’m saving it to the Desktop.


16 Make sure that you have the Format set to Images Only as show below, then click Save. That’s it! You’re all done making your animated GIF.


17 If you would like to preview the final product, you can do so by dragging the image file into a browser window as shown below.


18 Here’s the final animation.

My Animation-2

If there was anything that was unclear, please let me know and I’ll try to rephrase or add more descriptions. I’m always trying to walk the thin line between writing too much that it becomes confusing or insulting, and not writing enough and getting people lost. Enjoy and feel free to send me your newly created animations.

Reader Submission:

SmileyNoBike of the
Photographs by JT aged 8 1/2