Lorikeet and iBook

Quicktime & other video

Eye TV & Home Entertainment

Front Row

Converting to Apple TV

Apple TV is a great format for home entertainment systems. It works well with Front Row. Quality is as good as DVD and file sizes can be much smaller. Apple TV videos will play on any Mac with the latest Quicktime, as well as AppleTV hardware (of course).
  • Use Elgato Turbo 264 USB "dongle" to create Apple TV files from unencrypterd VIDEO_TS folders or from any Quicktime-readable file. Queue the files up to do the conversions overnight. Go to Turbo264 Preferences to change the default location for saving files (they are named automatically).

More MPG Streamclip tips (because I won't remember them)

Apparently iTunes keeps its playlist information in one XML file (<home>/Music/iTunes/Itunes Music Library.xml). This  file is updated every time you use iTunes. As I found out, it can get corrupted and you lose your playlists. I have not found an easy way to recover them. What is worse, if you connect your iPod, it will probably automatically "update" with the corrupted list and you will lose all the songs on your iPod. DO NOT

Frustratingly, all of your songs should still be in the Music folder, all neatly arranged by artist and album. iTunes does have the capability of "importing" all of these songs, including artist and album information but it seems you have to trick it into thinking it is the first time you are using iTunes. Here are the steps (might not apply to the latest iTunes!):
  1.  Rename Itunes Music Library.xml (eg Itunes Music Library.xml2)
  2. Rename <home>/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iTunes.plist  (this is iTunes preferences file - not playlist)
  3. Start iTunes and follow the new user prompts.
  4. Choose to search your hard disk and add tunes to your library - this takes several minutes
  5. From the iTunes  menu choose Edit / Show Browser
  6. The browser window shows album and artist information
  7. From the browser window, drag each album to the blank space under the playlists column - this creates a playlist of each album.
You will have to manually recreate custom playlists. It is possible that you will be able to skip steps2 and 3 and your music might still appear in your library and browser for steps 5 to 7.

You can try keeping a backup copy of the XML file but there is a chance it will not work due to changes to the folders. Apple advice on backing up iTunes music.

Another way is to use iPodrip to copy songs from the iPod back to iTunes [no longer seems to work with Leopard!]

You can really confuse an iPod user by turning Music "off".  Just go to Settings, select Main Menu then turn Music "Off". "Music" disappears from the main menu! Check this setting before assuming your iPod has become corrupted (it happended accidentally to me!). You can add or delete other Main Menu items using this  process.

If your internet connection is off and iTunes is taking ages to load go to iTunes Preferences / General and uncheck "Automatically check for iTunes Updates".

Contacts list.

iSync [2005] works "seamlessly" with the iPod BUT it sends all the contacts in your OS X Address Book. If you only want to send contacts from a particular group then follow these steps:
  1. Open Address Book
  2. Select (or create) the group that you want to transfer to the iPod
  3. Ctrl Click to display the item menu
  4. Select Export to vCards
  5. Fill out the save file form (give it a name such as ipod.vcf)
  6. Close Address Book
  7. Open the iPod in Finder (it should appear on the Desktop when you plug it in)
  8. Open the Contacts folder
  9. Drag/copy your newly created file to that folder
  10. If necessary, delete/trash the iSync.vcf file from the iPod folder (Note that the iPod does not work with groups. If there are any other vcf files in the folder then it simply combines them all into one long list. That list is limited to 1000 contacts.)
Hopefully Apple will automate these steps in the next update to iSync! 
While on Address Book - the latest version has a very annoying auto-fill feature when you add a new card. It tries to guess the field data from other cards, which is not much use for a new card. To turn it off your have to start MAIL and change its preferences (Address Book preferences don't list the feature)!
The 2005 iPod has an Audiobooks menu item in the Music list but no advice on how it is used. The following is based on helpful advice at Apple Discussions (thanks David Boroditsky )
Data storage
Data files can be easily stored on your iPod using Finder. Open the iPod icon in Finder. Create new folders in which to save your data. Drag/copy the data folders from your hard disk to the iPod. See Apple's How to use your iPod as a hard disk for storing files for more (I found the iPod and OS X (10.3) were automatically set up to do this). You cannot manage audio files in this way - you must use iTunes.

You might want to secure your data, since the iPod is so "portable". For example, see Podlock.

Using an iPod with multiple Macs.

You can play music and videos via iTunes directly from an iPod, if it is set to "manually manage music and videos". This checkbox is on the Summary tab in iTunes when the iPod is connected. If this item is unchecked then all music and video content on the iPod will be grayed out (ie cannot be played). Unfortunately, the setting is saved on the iPod and when you plug it into the main Mac (that is used to manage music and videos on the iPod) it will also be ste to manual. You will neded to uncheck the item to manage the music and videos (and check it again if you wish to play the items on the second Mac).
iPod USB driver for Windows 98 (includes Shuffle) - XP will see the iPod as a memory stick but Win98 needs drivers.

Portable hi-fi

IFire + iPodThe Griffin iFire gets its power from any Firewire port and sends high-quality audio to Apple Pro Speakers. Audio input is any headphone socket. The iPod AC adapter has a Firewire port for connection to the iPod. This port can be used to power the iFire instead. You can therefore set up a portable hi-fi system using an iPod, iFire and Apple Pro speakers, as shown in the picture.

Add  a Griffin ProSpeaker Breakout Cable (possibly a discontinued line) and you can use any unamplified speakers with your iFire, including car speakers.  After being disappointed with an FM transmitter (see below) for use in the car I decided to do just that, using a Griffin Powerpod to power the iFire instead of the iPod. I now have a pair of mono headphone sockets in the glovebox that disconnect the radio and connect the iFire to each of the speakers in the car door. The sound quality is excellent. Note that you need to keep the left and right speaker cables totally independent so cannot use a stereo socket with common earth.

Other ways to send iPod music to your car's hi-fi using an FM transmitter such as:
New for 2007: LaCie Firewire Speakers. Oct 08: Unfortunately the new Macbook does not have a Firewire port!

iPod links:

iPhone 3G


Tethering to the iPhone

26 Jul 09 Benm.at: Activate tethering without jailbreaking - risky as it changes your iPhone configuration and your carrier might charge you for the privilege.
25 Jul 09 iClarified: How to Jailbreak Your iPhone 3G (or 3) on OS 3.0 Using RedSn0w - risky!
10 Jun 09: iPhone OS 3.0 will allow tethering - but carriers will likely charge you for it

There is a long-running Apple Discussion about "tethering" your laptop to the iPhone 3G to obtain internet access. There are good tips on doing this at Wired. A problem is that this depends on the availability of an iPhone App called Netshare. Apparently it appeared briefly on the Apple iTunes Store App list and a few thousand americans downloaded it. Unfortunately the exclusive ATT deal in the USA meant that tethering was not permitted and the App was withdrawn (with no explanation from Apple or ATT).  Worse still, it seems that the Netshare.App is being automatically deleted from iPhones during regular updates. Update: it seems the person who reported this had a computer glitch but the capability for Apple to "nuke" apps may be there.

There might be reasons for not making Netshare.app available via the US iTunes Store but this is not the case with other countries like Australia where there are several iPhone service providers. Here Optusnet has iPhone plans that include a data allowance (and more "data" can be purchased). It does not seem to matter whether the data allowance is used up  from the iPhone or a tethered computer. Trouble is that Optusnet has no current support for tethering. There is a hack ("jailbreaking") that can be used to allow apps to run on the iPhone which are not "approved" by Apple (ie not downloadable from the iTunes Store) and these include apps that can facilitate tethering . However I would not recommend this approach as it could wreck your iPhone and, even if it works, it could be undone by the next iPhone software upgrade. ARS Technica: Jailbreaking and unlocking an iPhone: What you need to know (read the comments) + QuickPwn with the latest downloads and tips

Does iPhone appear frozen or stuck? To reset iPhone, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time for at least 10 seconds. During this time, a red "power off" slider may appear and the screen may go black, but do not release Sleep/Wake and Home buttons until the Apple logo appears.

It seems the best way forward it to resist the temptation to buy the iPhone and make it clear to the retailers that you are waiting for tethering to be supported.

PDAnet is now available for the iPhone but it requires jailbreaking (not recommended)

Netatalk lets you transfer files between iPhone and your Mac wirelessly (also requires jailbreaking)


Watch the iTunes Store Apps for voice-over-internet-protocol applications that will allow you to make phone calls when connected to the internet via wi-fi. So far only Truphone is available (see reviewers comments). Hopefully Skype will have an app there soon! Update June 09: Skype is now in the iTunes App store BUT it will only work when the iPhone is connected to the internet via wifi. It will not work via 3G (where it would compete with the carrier's charged calls)


I just read the Apple Pro Tip about adding tasks to your login (start-up) items. It gave me the idea of automatically taking a snapshot of the user when logging in. A little searching came up with an application called iSightCapture at ScriptBuilders: 

and some tips by "Neoporcupine"

The steps are:
1) Create a SNAPME folder in Applications and add the iSightCapture executible to it
2) Create a LOGIN_PICS folder in <Home>/Pictures
3) Start Script Editor and paste the following code

tell application "Terminal"
    do shell script "/Applications/snapme/isightcapture ${HOME}/Pictures/login_pics/snap.`date '+%y%m%d.%H%M%S'`.jpg"
    delay 4
    close the front window
end tell

4) Save it as a runtime script application SNAPME.APP in the APPLICATIONS/SNAPME folder
5) Test it (run the script then look in the LOGIN_PICS folder for the snapshot - the filename is cleverly date and time stamped)
6) Add the script to your logon items (System Preferences - Accounts)

iPad (April 2010)

Initial comments/complaints based on an Apple Discussions page.
iPad News & Tips Mobile Broadband - using a MiFi device with iPad


To create an iBook see this Apple Discussion & this one.


: These tips are really my record of ways to do things on the Mac and might not be suitable for your system. If they work for you - great. Backup your data regularly, particularly before  trying any major changes to the system.