iTunes Backup made easy

 iTunes Backup

One of the most viewed articles on One Digital Life, is this tutorial on how to effectively backup your iTunes music library, and keep future backups organized. Well, with iTunes 7, that procedure is no longer necessary.

Under the File pull-down menu, Apple has added a new item called “Back Up to Disc…”. It even has a checkbox for excluding items that you’ve already backed up. This is a great new feature. Thanks Apple!

Found via TUAW

Apple’s iTV

Apple iTV

As I mentioned in the run down of today’s Apple event, Steve Jobs gave us a sneak peak at a hardware box, code named iTV, that will be available in the first quarter of 2007. If you haven’t seen it, this is it. It basically looks like a short Mac Mini.

The iTV will be used to stream media from your computer, to your TV. There were 2 things that struck me about this image though:

1. The wireless networking is only referred to as 802.11. I think it’s a fair assumption that the iTV will use a version that is faster than “G” for it’s movie streaming.

2. This thing has a USB 2 port on it. I wonder what that could be for? It’s not needed for the functionality that Steve described at the event. I’m wondering if by the time this thing comes to market, it will have turned into a full fledged DVR, and that USB port will allow you to attach whatever size hard drive you want to it.

Just speculation, of course.

New iPods / iTunes / Movie Downloads / iTV?

iPods and iTunes 7

Today special Apple event didn’t disappoint, at least not in my mind. The more realistic rumors came true. We have new model iPods across the board, including larger capacity full size iPods, a totally redesigned line of Nanos, and a super small new Shuffle. The new iPods also have upgraded batteries that last a bit longer.

There’s a new iPod Nano add for your viewing pleasure.

One awesome new feature is you can now sync your iPod with more than 1 computer! Yahoo! This has caused me a lot of headache when traveling. I’ve been waiting for this forever!

We also got iTunes 7.0, which I’ll be writing an entire post about. It has some really awesome new features that we’ve all been waiting for… can everyone say, browse by cover?

As expected, the iTunes Music Store is now simply the iTunes Store. They’ve dropped the word Music from the name. They’ve added full length movies and iPod games to the mix of things you can buy.

Video content bought through iTunes got a bump in resolution. All video will now be 640×480, instead of 320×240. I’m trying to find out some more info on this. I’m hoping this isn’t going to cause a problem playing the new videos on existing 5G iPods.

Also, in a very uncharacteristic move, Steve Jobs gave us a sneak peak at a new product, code named iTV. It’s a set top box that communicates wirelessly with your computer to stream videos and music to your TV. The device will be available in the first quarter of 2007, and will retail for $299 (USD).

Here’s a couple of very interesting quotes from the end of todays event:

“Apple’s in your den now, right?” said Jobs. “iTunes on a Mac or a PC. Apple’s in your living room with iTV, driving your big flat-screen TV. Apple’s in your car, with over 70 percent of the 2007 model cars offering iPod connectivity. And of course, Apple’s in your pocket, with iPods.”

“Den, living room, car, pocket. And i hope this gives you a little idea of where we’re going,” said Jobs. “Thanks for coming. and we’ll see you all soon.”

I haven’t been able to connect yet, but Apple is providing a webcast of todays event. You can also get some more specific information on Macworld’s live coverage.

XHTML Character Reference

 XHTML Character Reference

I’ve come across several of these XHTML character charts while browsing around, but this one is particularly handy. You can break the characters down by type, filter by keyword, and preview them in several common web fonts.

Don’t Hassle the Hoff

This has been out for a while, but I finally got around to watching it. Oh… My… God! I sincerely hope that this wasn’t meant as a serous music video. I like to think that he is poking fun at himself, but I’m not so sure that’s the case.

The video promotes the “hofficial” Australian music tour, “Hasselhoff: Ready for action“. The site currently says the tour was postponed so that ‘Hoff’ could shoot a new TV pilot. New show dates were supposed to be announced in February, 2006. Apparently they’re a little late.

The sad thing is, when I was a kid, I actually really liked Knight Rider. As an adult, I’ve realized just how horribly awful, or should I say Hofful, the show really was. Unfortunately it was the benchmark for his entire career.

Is it just me, or does his face seem a little too tight?

found via Creative Procrastination

Windows Users: Turn on ClearType!

Windows Clear Type

I don’t normally do a lot of Windows tips, but in the interest of web beautification, here it goes.

If you’re using Windows, your computer is displaying text in a very crappy way, but it doesn’t have to. You have it in your power to turn on a feature called ClearType, which enables your computer to anti-alias text. I won’t bother with the technical details of how this works, but the end result in cleaner, smoother text.

I used my sidebar as an example. See how the heading, and list look very different with ClearType turned on?

In their infinite wisdom, Microsoft has chosen to turn this off by default, but it is extremely easy to turn on. But, you do need to be running Windows XP.

Go to your Start Menu, and select Control Panel. Then select Appearance and Themes. Then select Display. Select the Appearance tab, and click on Effects…. In the second pull-down menu, change it from Standard to ClearType. Click OK, and then click Apply.

Now all text in your system should look better. Your eyes, and web designers everywhere, will thank you.

Of course, you could just switch to a mac and skip all this silliness ;)

This tip inspired by this article at TUAW

Amazon Unbox Video Downloads

Amazon Unbox

Did Amazon beat Apple to the punch? We’re all speculating that Apple will release some kind of movie download service next week, but Amazon did it today. They’ve officially opened Amazon Unbox, a download service for DVD quality video from 30 TV and movie studios.

Mac users won’t be too happy about this, as the new Unbox video service doesn’t work on a Mac, and the movies won’t play on an iPod. The service only works with Windows XP, SP2 and above. You also have to install the “Amazon Unbox™ Video software”.

You can get the full details over at Playlist Mag

Forget Me Not Safari plugin

Unclose Window

We’ve all done it… you’re browsing the web in Safari… you have several tabs open… and instead of just closing one tab, you accidentally close the browser window instead. Or, you hit command-Q instead of Command-W. That sucks, right?

The next major release of Safari will be addressing this, by throwing up a warning dialog box if you try to close a window with multiple tabs open. But, you don’t have to wait to gain this functionality.

Forget Me Not is an excellent (FREE) SIMBL plugin for Safari that can take care of this problem right now.

It has a couple of ways of doing this. First, it adds a handy item to the File Menu called, Unclose Window. If you close a browser window, and then decide you want it back, just select Unclose Window. It will restore the window with whatever tabs you had open.

The second way it helps is if you accidentally quit Safari, all you windows and tabs will be right where you left them the next time you open Safari. This is a great feature, but it also has some risks. If you’re browsing your favorite porn site, and your girlfriend walks in, and you quit Safari… the next time you launch Safari you’ll be right back at your favorite porn site… better make sure you’re alone.

found via MacWorld

Tilt Shift Photography

Tilt Shift Photography

I came across this site with some really great examples of tilt shift photography. I’m not sure what the site is about, as it’s in Japanese.

If you’re unfamiliar with tilt shift, you can find a very technical definition on wikipedia. Basically, the end result is a real scene that ends up looking like you photographed a miniature model (yes, the image above is a real beach).

Historically, tilt shift has been done in the camera, but you can simulate the effect in Photoshop as well. See the links below.

Lensbabies – pre-made tilt shift device

DIY tutorial – make your own with a plunger

Photoshop tutorial – fake it on any photo

found via Vestal Design