Manage Mac disks, drives, and other storage devices!

Learn the best ways to store and manage large amounts of data
with Take Control of Your Digital Storage by Jeff Carlson.

Savvy GarageBand ‘09 Documentation Now Available

Good documentation can be hard to find these days, and Apple’s GarageBand has particularly suffered in this regard, since relatively few books have focused on it over the years, with even fewer titles for later versions of GarageBand. Our guess is that most publishers didn’t sell enough books about earlier GarageBand versions to make it worthwhile to release new editions. It’s also tricky to find someone who is good at writing about how to use the Mac, who has time to write book-length documentation, and who is well-versed in real-world GarageBand usage.

In an example of ebooks breaking the constraints of the physical world, our two GarageBand titles have been steady sellers, and interest in them has grown over time, so naturally we wanted to update them for GarageBand ‘09. We were relieved that author Jeff Tolbert found the necessary time while working on his ever-increasing number of music-related projects. (We’re hoping that we don’t regret our flip “remember us when you’re famous” line by having Jeff sucked out of the Take Control orbit when he hits it big.)

So, we’ve just released new editions of the 117-page Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ‘09 and the 134-page Take Control of Recording with GarageBand ‘09.” They cost $10 individually or $17.50 in a bundle. To purchase both books with the bundle discount, use this direct link or look for the “Buy Both” option in the left margin of either Web page.

  • Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ‘09: This 117-page ebook provides step-by-step instructions and linked-in audio examples for using GarageBand’s built-in loops to create three songs, explaining not only how to use GarageBand’s editing and mixing features but also how to be playful and creative while composing tunes that please the ear. Readers will learn how to plan a song, get the most out of Magic GarageBand, edit and arrange Real Instrument and Software Instrument loops, create exciting mixes, and export projects. The ebook also covers how to change track volume, tempo, and panning dynamically, and how to work with GarageBand’s effects.

  • Take Control of Recording with GarageBand ‘09: This 134-page ebook explains how to create musical compositions with vocals, drums, guitars, MIDI keyboards, and even the kitchen sink. Readers will learn how to get the most out of their existing gear or purchase new equipment that fits their budget and style. The ebook covers how to plan a recording session, and it discusses real-world recording studio techniques for tasks such as using a microphone effectively, getting the best sounds from your gear, applying effects, fixing mistakes, using the new Electric Guitar track and new stompbox effects, and recording multiple tracks at once. Two example songs demonstrate many of the techniques discussed.

If you own an earlier version of one of the Take Control GarageBand titles, you may have received an email message about getting a free (for those who purchased after January 1st, 2009) or discounted update; otherwise, open your PDF and click Check for Updates on the cover to get update details.

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

Apple Announces Official End of HomePage and Groups

On April 9, 2009, Apple sent MobileMe members a message stating that HomePage, the Web-based interface used by .Mac for creating Web pages and online photo albums, will be discontinued on July 7, 2009. Existing pages will remain available, at their previous addresses, indefinitely, but after that date HomePage will no longer be available for creating new pages or modifying existing ones. (You can, however, still access the files directly on your iDisk and edit them using another program, if you like.) Apple recommends that all MobileMe users move to iWeb or iPhoto for creating MobileMe-hosted Web pages. In addition, as previously announced, .Mac Groups will cease to function on July 7, 2009.

Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

Apple Announces iPhone Software 3.0

Apple has announced plans to update the iPhone software to version 3.0 during “summer” of 2009. This update will be free for the iPhone and cost $9.95 for the touch. In the announcement, Apple noted new features reminiscent of those available on a Mac, including cross-app copy and paste, Spotlight searching, and shake to undo. Apple is also adding features that third-party software and hardware developers can use to extend how the device is used; possibilities include using the iPhone as a car GPS with turn-by-turn directions, using the iPhone as a data modem (this is called tethering and will work only if Apple can sort it out with your phone carrier), and the ability to dock the device to additional devices (think medical devices like a blood pressure cuff or insulin monitor). Apple also added an in-app purchase feature, so that developers can sell a low-cost app and then charge for more levels or features.

For more information about the many, many announced features, check out the raw news in a video of Apple’s presentation and the TidBITS write-up, Apple Previews iPhone 3.0 Software.

Those who are particularly interested in syncing data with an iPhone also took note of new support for CalDAV. CalDAV is a non-proprietary protocol used for transferring events between calendaring software, and it is supported by most major calendaring systems, including iCal 3 under Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, SOHO Organizer, Yahoo Calendar, and Google Calendar. There are already various methods of using CalDAV to move data to and from an iPhone, so presumably the built-in CalDAV support will make it easier to create CalDAV-savvy apps for the iPhone, making for still-more options in the future.

Apple also announced Bluetooth-based peer-to-peer networking, which means you’ll be able to create ad-hoc connections among nearby iPhones and iPod touches for a variety of purposes (such as multi-player gaming), but from the syncing perspective, this might also, for instance, enable users to quickly exchange contact data. —Tonya

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

iWeb ‘08 Ebook Adds MobileMe and Twitter Info

We’ve just released version 1.1 of Take Control of iWeb: iLife ‘08 Edition. Author Steve Sande has updated the text to make sense for MobileMe, not .Mac, and he has added an appendix that explains how to display your Twitter feed on an iWeb page.

Why release a new version of an ebook about iWeb ‘08, when iWeb ‘09 is available? First, lots of people are still using iLife ‘08 and don’t yet wish to put the time and money into an upgrade, and second, we were able to create the update reasonably easily as a interim step while drafting a new edition to cover iWeb ‘09.

Readers who own the iWeb ‘06 ebook can upgrade to this new version with a 25% discount, and those who own the iWeb ‘08 ebook can download it for free. If either of these situations applies to you, open your existing PDF to page 1 and click Check for Updates. (If you’re already on the Check for Updates page for the 1.0 version of the iWeb ‘09 ebook, look above, on the Downloads tab!)

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

New Shuffle, iTunes 8.1

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p>Apple has released a new shuffle model, which is noteworthy for its even tinier size and its quadrupled storage capacity (now 4 GB) compared to the previous shuffle model. It also comes with headset-based buttons and new voice capabilities. You can learn more in the TidBITS article, 3rd Generation iPod shuffle Shrinks, Gets Mouthy. To support the new shuffle (and to add various enhancements), Apple has also released iTunes 8.1. iTunes 8.1 changes the name of the Party Shuffle feature to iTuens DJ and makes it possible for iPhone and iPod touch users to use the Remote 1.2 app to vote on songs they’d lke to hear. iTunes 8.1 also changes the way the Autofill sync works and adds other tweaks. To learn more, see the TidBITS article, iTunes 8.1 Enhances DJ Capabilities. –Tonya

Apple Announces New iPods

September 10, 2008 – Apple yesterday announced another round of new iPods: a new nano that has a slightly different size and the capability to flip the screen from horizontal to vertical, just like the iPhone; a classic that has slightly different specs and that supports the new iTunes Genius feature; and a new iPod touch that has a few tweaks and a built-in speaker. For more details and some analysis on how the new models compare with the old ones, and the iPhone, see Adam’s write-up in TidBITS, in Apple Reveals New iPod Nano and Updated iPod touch. –Tonya

January and February 2008 iPod News: New Shuffle, New Pink Nano

Apple has introduced a new shuffle that offers 2 GB of RAM instead of 1 GB, and they’ve dropped the price of the older 1-GB model. They’ve also released a pink nano, perhaps in order to have it available as a Valentine’s Day gift. See Apple Drops iPod shuffle Price, Introduces 2 GB Model in TidBITS for more details.

Recycling an Old iPod

May 3, 2007 – Although this ebook doesn’t have a section about how you can take your iPod so far beyond the music that you replace it with a newer one, some readers may find themselves owning an older iPod that they no longer need, even to serve as an alarm clock or auxiliary portable for bringing music to friends’ houses. Although there’s a lot to be said for passing a no-longer-wanted iPod to someone else who might enjoy it, if you have an iPod that’s no longer wanted, you can recycle it and get 10 percent off the purchase of a new one. Steve Jobs wrote about this in his “A Greener Apple” letter, posted on the Apple Web site on May 2, 2007.

Here’s what Steve wrote: “Let me take a moment to talk specifically about iPods, even though they are included in the above data. All of Apple’s U.S. retail stores, which now number more than 150, take back unwanted iPods for environmentally friendly disposal free of charge. As an incentive, we even offer customers a 10% discount on a new iPod when they bring their old iPod to our stores for proper disposal. This summer we’re expanding it to Apple retail stores worldwide, and we’re also extending it to include free shipping from anywhere in the U.S. No product purchases are required for any of our free take back programs. In a few months, we think we’ll have ‘best of breed’ iPod recycling programs in the U.S., and we plan to continue to expand our free iPod recycling programs globally in the future.”

Right now, I would imagine that you’d contact an Apple Store to learn about iPod recycling. Apple may also update their “Apple and the Environment” page to provide more info in the soon.

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

Useful Team Fusion Blog Publishes Excerpts of Ebook

The Team Fusion blog, part of the VMware Web site, has just begun running a series of short excerpts from Take Control of VMware Fusion, by Joe Kissell. If you’re a fan of Fusion and want to learn some tips (including handling driverless printing not working after applying a recent Apple security update), I recommend the blog.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule Gain New Features

Apple today released significantly revised models of the AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule. The new hardware features two radios, allowing a base station to operate networks simultaneously in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands. This allows older hardware (and an iPhone or iPod touch) that doesn’t have 802.11n built in to access a slower network in 2.4 GHz, and newer hardware to zoom along in the faster, less-used 5 GHz range. Users of existing base stations can’t upgrade their units, as the change is in hardware, not software.

Also in this update is the addition of guest networking, which lets you set up a separate network with a separate password that visitors can use without giving them your main network password, or full access to the resources on your main network. The new base stations generate two distinct network names: One for your main network, and another for the guest network. Guests can’t access the devices on your main network or even sniff the data passing over it.

Apple also added remote file sharing for drives inside of or attached to either base station model. Using a method identical to file sharing in Back to My Mac, Apple uses MobileMe as a way to register a base station centrally. Any Leopard system also registered to the same MobileMe account and with Back to My Mac activated in the MobileMe system preference pane will see base stations as yet another server choice in the Finder’s sidebar, under the Shared label. This new feature will be added to the original Time Machine model and to older 802.11n AirPort Extremes via a firmware update.

You can read more details at TidBITS, AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule: Like Two Base Stations in One and Answers to Questions about Updated Apple Base Stations, and at Macworld, Analysis: Inside Apple’s AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule Updates.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

MobileMe Accounts for iChat No Longer Indefinitely Available

I was just made aware that the tip on page 12 of this book about obtaining a free iChat account via MobileMe is out of date. When Apple converted its .Mac service into MobileMe, it also eliminated a long-standing policy of allowing a trial subscriber to retain a .Mac account for use with iChat even if the trial user didn’t sign up. That’s still true for any old mac.com account you may be using in this fashion. However, with MobileMe, your account is active for only 45 days after the end of a trial or after the account expires. Then the account is disabled, and the account’s name may be used by another subscriber if they request it. There’s a way around this, though, as Apple still offers free .Mac accounts if you know where to sign up for them. TidBITS editor Jeff Carlson explains how to create such an account with in iChat in Get a Free, Non-Expiring .Mac Address for iChat.

The advice about setting up an AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) account at no cost for use with iChat is still valid, however.

Thanks to fellow author and TidBITS editor Joe Kissell, author of Take Control of MobileMe, for explaining the MobileMe change, and to Jeff Carlson for his advice on .Mac free accounts.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman (Permalink)