Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Apple, Macs & OS X
Merlin Mann | Apr 11 2007
(Disclosure: Merlin is a proud member of Stikkit’s advisory board)
I've been using a pre-release of the plug-in for a few weeks now, and personally I think it's just swell. A few little tips and suggestions:
Merlin Mann | Apr 10 2007
TextExpander: Customizable Typing Utility Saves Time! (TextExpander snippets)read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 8 2007
Merlin Mann | Apr 7 2007
Way to innovate, Redmond. Once the period of EMI's exclusive deal with Apple has ended, this should make both Zune owners very happy.
Merlin Mann | Apr 5 2007
The last week or so of The Merlin Show has featured three fun interviews with independent musicians -- talking about Macs, handling email, and figuring out how to get paid. Stop by for visits with John Roderick, Chris Wetherell, and John Vanderslice (or view the videos right here, after the jump...)read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 5 2007
So far, Google Desktop for the Mac isn't moving me.
I like the idea of it a lot. Integrating my Google and local searches and theoretically improving on Spotlight's UI and indexing foibles are laudable goals and, to my mind, could be useful additions if they're done properly. But, based on, admittedly, just 24 hours' usage, it hasn't provided a lot of new usefulness for my own purposes that isn't better served right now by a combination of Quicksilver and Spotlight.
When people ask me (ad
Merlin Mann | Apr 4 2007
(On each MacBreak Weekly, guests choose a "Pick of the Week" -- a piece of software or hardware, a web site, or just a cool trick -- that they want to share with the audience. Here's Merlin's pick for this week's episode)
For my money, VLC Media Player is the coolest OS X digital video player out there. It's free, open source, frequently updated, and seems to have no trouble running most every kind of video I've thrown at it.
Currently, one way I use VLC is to play movies on an old (pre-IR remote) PowerBook that's S-video'd up to our TV. This works like a champ, but, if I want to pause or fast-forward the movie, I have to haul my lazy ass over to the Mac to do so. To the rescue comes VLC Remote Interface Widget.
This is a very simple, (currently beta) Dashboard widget that lets me access the VLC controls on a Mac over my local network via a second Mac that's sitting on my lap. Just tell the controlling Mac what the IP address of the movie-running Mac is and to which port it should send the commands ("8080" should work fine), and presto: your laptop turns into a $3000 remote for your $3000 PVR. And all for free. :-)
It would be cool if future releases mirrored more of the VLC key commands -- e.g., I've gotten very fast at
Merlin Mann | Mar 30 2007
Via my internet puppetmaster, Brian Hogg, comes another very good (and very long) piece from Daniel Eran on the Apple TV that runs down some of the details on 5.1 audio and attempts to clear up some ongoing confusion about what works, what doesn't, and why.
I don't personally have a 5.1 setup so I have no way of verifying this, but I'm curious what you audiophiles are discovering -- especially given that some of the Scott Bournes out there have cited lack of 5.1 audio as one reason for holding out on an TV purchase.
Any luck getting 5.1 working satisfactorily with your Apple TV? Is the lack of 5.1 content on iTS a dealbreaker for you?
Merlin Mann | Mar 28 2007
Adam Pash has written a terrific introduction to Quicksilver that I recommend for folks who are still scratching their heads about what all the fuss is about.
Part of the challenge is the "layers of the onion" problem. There's no explanation of what Quicksilver does that's at once brief, accurate, exhaustive, and easy for new users to immediately grok; it really does reveal its delights over time, through repeated usage, and in proportion to your willingness to learn and experiment. Adam does a good job of acquainting new folks with the basic idea and the setup, then he walks through a few of the many bits of fu that have made this app the phenomenon that it is.
Also from our own archives, here are a few popular Quicksilver items from the extended 43 Folders family (including 4 video tutorials). And seriously: if you really still don't see why QS is different, do watch the videos; writing about Quicksilver is like singing about a magic trick.read more »
Merlin Mann | Mar 25 2007
Since the new TV can handle video up to HD's 720p resolution, there's been a lot of speculation about whether the iTunes store will eventually start selling HD content, such as TV shows and movies. You can bet that the desire for that quality of presentation is theoretically out there (at least it is for this HD TV owner). The problem, as many folks have discussed at length, is that the file size for HD movies, in particular, may be prohibitively large for the garden-variety home broadband user.
As Greg Keene notes, "With simple math, we can extrapolate that a 2-hour movie would be about 3.9 GB." That's not only a substantially lengthy download for, say, a residential DSL subscriber, it also represents the investment of over 10% of the available space on the Apple TV's drive (as well as, it should be noted, an equivalent chunk of space back on your Mac or PC's disk).read more »
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