Mac Warcraft Multiboxing

Posted January 5, 2014 by Gerald B
Categories: mac, Mac OSX, Macintosh, Multiboxing, Warcraft, World of Warcraft

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I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for the past several years and have a primary level 90 raiding toon (iLvl 558 Ret Paladin) and a secondary “alt” that I use for gathering herbs and ores (up to level 70 zones). My guilds full of people my age and in some cases older (which = more mature behavior more often).

Warcraft on Mac is significantly similar to the PC version (which I’ve downloaded in the past). The thing I like most about the Mac version… FAR less malware exploits.

I discovered something nice about the Mac version though for multi boxing purposes… I can completely duplicate the World of Warcraft directory in the Applications folder (rename it to Read the rest of this post »

Dear Tim Cook: AppleTV + Spotlight-like Search Please?

Posted January 3, 2014 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple, AppleTV, iOS, lucene, Tim Cook

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AppleTV-SpotlightHaysoos Marimba Apple. Sheesh.

Is it too much to ask for a simple, unified search across all the discombobulated silos that make up AppleTV content?

I’ve worked with Lucene and I’ve worked with Nutch and Acrobat Indexes. This isn’t hard to do. Heck, hire me for a couple months. We’ll get this done PDQ.

It could go a long way to helping your CONTENT PARTNERS… It would go a helluva long way to making the user experience immensely better. Isn’t that what you claim to be all about? Or is your “hobby” exempt from your best efforts? Hullo!!

I wanted to watch something, anything… with Stephen Hawking. I didn’t care if it was iTunes content, or Netflix content, or Hulu content, or Smithsonian content, or PBS content. But, why in hell do I have to search 19 times?

Update your more-than-capable OS just this wee little bit, please? Or let us write and distribute the app necessary to get the job done. This is getting ridiculous.

Apple TV “Search” Needs Improving

Posted May 20, 2013 by Gerald B
Categories: AirPlay, App Store, AppleTV, Hulu Plus, iPad, Netflix

It’s been on my mind lately and needs flogging again: Apple TV Search leaves a lot to be desired.

We jettisoned Cox Cable Television (kept internet, for now). The only content we subscribe to now is Hulu Plus and Netflix.

Unfortunately, Apple TV doesn’t make it easy to search ONE place for content across all my services. That’s just plain stupid and not at all EASY (as Apple would have us believe their stuff inherently “is”). Um, yeah. If I want to find a show I do NOT want to have to type that into the three different search screens to determine IF it’s even available on Apple TV.

Hell, Google’s figured that out. One search input for all their platforms (web, news, YouTube, etc). Imagine if Apple highlighted content available on the other services we weren’t already subscribed to… Hey, Apple… that’s called an “UPSELL”. Your retail guys have this one figured out nicely. Have your people talk to their people.

Meanwhile, you are rapidly wearing out your welcome in my living room due to missing intuitive ease-of-use features.

For instance, why the hell can I not control my Apple TV with my iPad. No, not AirPlay! I want to be able to type on my iPad to my Apple TV screen. If I **can** do this, I apologize for not being able to find it on the App Store. Heh! Funny. ME apologizing to Apple for not being able to find something on THEIR App Store. Sick.

There are other annoying things about Apple TV too. For instance, why can’t I consolidate my accounts directly on the device? I’ve somehow managed to create two accounts. Let me merge them and keep my content under the one I prefer. Why can’t I rent something on my iPad and play it through to my TV or the other way around?

It’s at points like this when a company so overextends itself and takes it’s CUSTOMERS for granted that the house of cards begins to wobble precipitously. Hate seeing that happen at such a neat and special place as Apple. But, we’ve seen it happen at places like Disney before. Heck, it’s happened at Apple before! Fortunately, “The Suck” doesn’t have to last forever.

Streaming Christmas Music (iTunes)

Posted December 22, 2012 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple, AppleTV, Christmas, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, Streaming

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Apple could stand a better search interface for searching their “radio” streams in both iTunes and especially in AppleTV.

So, Merry Christmas from me to you… I’ve found a good number of the streams from within the various iTunes radio categories just for you conveniently linked below:

Snow FM Ireland (classic Christmas oldies, 128 kbps)
Classical 24/7 (classical instrumental Christmas muzak)
Big R Radio Christmas Classics (eclectic Christmas mix, 128 kbps)
Fresh Christmas (hodge podge of Christmas “hits”, 64 kbps)
Got Radio – Christmas Celebration (all-over-the-place XMas music, 64 kbps)
1.FM TM – Always Christmas (From around the world, 64 kbps)
Christmas – Sky.fm – (roll of the dice, ?? kbps)

These might work fine on iPhone and iPad (or not). I haven’t checked them yet. I have no clue how to get these “bookmarked” on AppleTV (don’t get me started on that line of griping). And, if I manage to get back to this post I may be able to add a few more before Santa’s big globe trotting spree.

Enjoy!

iOS 7 Better Have…

Posted December 13, 2012 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple, AppleTV, appstore, Google Maps, iPhone, iTunes, Mac OSX, MacbookPro, Safari, technology

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There are some things iOS7 had better have before I consider shelling out the bucks for the next new iPhone. Here’s my iOS bucket list:

  • I need a way to import a high quality greeting to my voicemail. Hardline dialing and recording a new greeting is NOT Apple-worthy. I don’t mind recoding to the Voice Memo app or on my Mac. I just ought to be able to import a sound file as my greeting dangit!
  • I expect a way to SEND my voicemails to my iCloud account as email attachments. Or create a rule that does it automatically.
  • I expect a way to FORWARD voicemails to other iOS devices as messages. I can send a picture/video via MMS… Why not a voicemail attachment?
  • I expect a heckuva LOT more out of Siri. It’s more useless than the Maps app right now.
  • Maps is borked. Now that Google Maps app is on the App Store… I’m going back to what works. Still love you Apple. Just need excellent Maps when I need a map.
  • Something’s still not quite right about Contact sync between iPhone, Mac laptop and iCloud. I have duplicates of many contacts in the order of 19 to upwards of 30 of the same person. There needs to be a super easy way to purge duplicates. Contact management shouldn’t be this nasty a chore.
  • Speaking of chores… Apple got the Notes app sync PERFECTLY across devices. It’s not broke. Don’t fix it. ;) Replicate it’s success for the other devices.
  • Facetime is such a great idea. I’ve tried and tried and tried to Facetime on our local wireless LAN. Each time it rings once (so I know the call is coming through) and then indicates I’m busy to the other devices. Needs to be easier.
  • The new messaging works pretty swank too. Not sure how they’d improve it just now.
  • Can we PLEASE just sync up our phones to Time Machine? Pretty please?
  • Passbook is freakin awesome! A killer, kick ass kind of awesome. The world is ready (it just doesn’t know it yet).
  • Airplay = way awesome.
  • Safari “Reader Mode” is slick. Wish there was a way to make Siri read the content while I’m driving or otherwise occupied. That’s one thing I love about Alex on my Mac.
  • Photo streams to my AppleTV is not quite as straight forward an intuitive as I would expect from Apple. Needs Improvement.
  • Newsstand is a useless icon on my phone deck. Please, let me delete it or file it in another folder.
  • Faxing from my phone should be a no brainer easier than anything to do.
  • Finally, PRINTING. Guys. C’mon. Really? Printing is right up there with copy and paste. We’ve been doing this a long time. Why can’t we seem to get this right?

iOS is a super platform. So good in fact that in our household we’re getting device confused. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve swiped our fingers across the screen of the laptop or the iMac. It’s silly really that we’ve become so accustomed to iOS that is’s bleeding over into how we interact with the other computers around us.

 

 

The New Apple TV Project

Posted December 12, 2012 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple, AppleTV, Cox

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Apple’s always working to where “the puck is GOING to be” and so it should be no surprise they feel TV is next.

The iPhone wasn’t fully formed at birth. I don’t think we should expect the next-gen TV experience from Apple to be any different. So, when Engadget’s Lawler contemplates his navel over HDTV content deals… I can’t help but chuckle. We’ve been here before. He’ll, AC/DC is only just now joining iTunes. The Beatles didn’t come on until recently. Who the hell cares if Moonves is on board right this moment? Seriously!

We are very much headed toward a more tailored entertainment era. One where I can subscribe ala carte to whatever I want to consume. Radio. Books. Games. Video. I build what I see value in and then… Voila!

We’ve already chucked out Cox Cable. We are a purely AppleTV household. Apple, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube are our primary content portals now. We haven’t missed a beat. If anything we’re enjoying MORE of what we like in a time shifted kind of way. I don’t miss DVR. I don’t miss the cable bill and all the dumb ass fees that came along with.

My kids will never know a rotary phone or a tape based answering machine. They WILL think back on the day when we had that little box attached to the TV dad used to cuss at occasionally as a relic of days gone by. A simpler time. Funny to think in those terms.

They won’t give a rat’s behind if CBS was on board or not. There’s no shortage of content and its only going to get more crowded.

Where the problem is going to come is easily searching across all the available “streams”. It’s a serious pain in the ass to simultaneously search across Apple, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube on an Apple TV. I think it’s not possible today. So, to hear Jobs say, “We’ve nailed it.” Gives me hope their next big iteration of the interface addresses that sort of thing.

HOW TO: Grabbing Mac App Icons

Posted December 9, 2012 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple, icons, technology

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There are a number of reasons to want a Mac App icon. Maybe you want to create a how-to document for a class. Maybe you want to customize a folder icon on your desktop. Maybe you want to create a header for a blog (like the one above). Who knows why you’d want the icons. There are a couple ways to do what you’re wanting to do though. I’m assuming you have OSX 10.5 or better.

To change a Mac folder (or document icon)

1) In the Finder, click ONCE on the document or folder icon you want to copy.
2) Press cmd-i (for “get info”). An informational window should appear.
3) In this new informational window click ONCE on the icon you want to copy.
3) Press cmd-c (to “copy” the image to your clipboard).

Halfway there!

4) Close the informational window and click ONCE on the document or folder you want to change.
5) Press cmd-i. The familiar informational window should appear.
6) Click ONCE on the icon you want to change.
7) Press cmd-v (to “paste” the image from your clipboard).

The nice thing about this approach is if the SOURCE image has transparent spots (also known as an alpha channel) in it… it will carry through to the TARGET file/folder icon. If you already have an image on your clipboard you can simply follow the second half of the instructions above and voila!

Copying App Icons Into Photoshop Layers

There are times when you may want to create a picture with a clean icon in it. Copying and pasting the “get info” icon doesn’t quite cut it for Photoshop. Yes, the icon gets copied. Yes, you can paste it. But the alpha channel gets lost and your icon comes through with a white background on the same layer as the icon you wanted. That may not quite be what we intended. Not to worry though. There is a better way.

FYI: I’m using Photoshop CS5 and think this applies to older and newer versions but reserve the right to be wrong :) This is a little more involved of a process. The steps below are pretty straight forward. But, the video may be easier to follow for some. [Video added after the original posting] This procedure is for copying an APPLICATION ICON for use in an image editing app.

1) In the FINDER ctrl-click on the icon you want to copy. A contextual menu will pop up. Select “Show Package Contents”
2) A new folder will open and depending on the app you’ll see a “Contents” folder and maybe some others.
3) Open the “Contents” folder.
4) Inside that you’ll see a few more files. One of them will be a .icns file. Usually the one you’ll want is your App name + the icns suffix. For example: iDVD.icns
5) Open the .icns file with something like Preview.
6) There may be multiple “pages” to the icns file. Select the first page’s thumbnail.
7) Select “Export” from the FILE menu.
8) The format you want to export as is PNG and you definitely want the Alpha channel checked. Save it where you want and named as you like.
9) Now, simply open that file in your image editor.

You now have a super high resolution app icon with exceptionally crisp edges. Yes, you could have achieved something acceptably close with some of the image editing tools. But, this way you have edges every bit as good as the app author is using for their own purposes.


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