Converting FLAC to iTunes and Apple Lossless

Get the best sound quality
If you are like me you want to get the best sound quality from your portable device as possible. There are some ways to achieve this and I will show you how you can do just that.

Maybe you have wondered how you can fit so many songs onto your device, and still have room for thousands more songs. The answer is compression. If we just copy a CD without compressing it into MP3 files it would not hold so many songs. And it would be painful to transfer the songs over the Internet, because of its size.

If we DID copy a CD directly without doing anything, the sound quality would likely be much better, you might hear more details and the music quality would likely be a lot better. And that is almost exactly what I am going to guide you through right now.

Hold on! wont this fill up my device fast?, and give me less room for songs? Good, you understand me. You are absolutely right, this will fill up your player pretty fast but let me ask you … How many songs or albums do you really listen to? Do you listen to thousands of songs? Or do you have favorites you mostly listen to? Do you really want the best sound?

Right, rip those favorites of yours in Apple Lossless and keep those songs you listen to less in their current quality state. I will now guide you in how to rip your CD in Apple Lossless with iTunes.

Rip a CD with Apple Lossless

Insert your CD and this window will popup, select NO here because we are going to change some settings.

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Now get into the Preferences.

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Click the Import Settings button.

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Choose to import using Apple Lossless Encoder. Then click OK to get out of this window, and OK again in the other window.

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Now click the Import CD button in the lower right corner of iTunes, and it will start to rip the CD and encode it with our newly set settings.

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Now you just connect your iPhone, iPod to your computer and drag the newly ripped CD to your iPod, and you can enjoy lossless music on the go! Or stream it with Airplay!

What about FLAC support in iTunes?

I have to confess, sometimes it annoys me that Apple insist on doing things his own way. For people having their entire music collection in FLAC format it is cumbersome to get it over to iTunes. First you have to decode the FLAC files to WAV for example, then you have to re encode those to Apple Lossless … and not to talk about the metadata lost in the conversion process. Pretty annoying to punch in the track names again, but there is a solution. And as always I try to find FREE solutions and I found one.

Your solution is the following free application: X Lossless Decoder. This will help you with the entire process and save you a lot of time!

How-To Get More Battery Time Out Of Your Apple Laptop Battery

If you want to get more battery time out of your macbook battery read this guide for some general guidelines and tips that will help you improve the battery life of your laptop.

First, read about: Learn Battery Care and how-to take care of your MacBook Battery and especially the section where it explains how to calibrate your battery. Calibrate your battery first, it is important if you haven’t done it already.

Notebooks today have many features which can drain the battery. Wireless networking, bluetooth, screen brightness, power hungry applications, a CD that spins in the drive and much more. You can disable some of these features easily if you do not need them, this way you will save precious battery juice!

Turn off Wireless networking (Airport)

If you have no need for Internet access there is no reason to keep the wireless network active, this put a drain on the battery and will decrease the time you get to work with the computer. Click the Airport icon on the top menu-bar and chose turn off the Airport card.

Turn off Bluetooth

If you often sync your mobile phone to your computer maybe you have bluetooth turned on, this will also put a little drain on the battery. Just click the bluetooth icon on the menu-bar and turn it off.

Decrease the screen brightness

You can also save a little battery time by decreasing the screen brightness. Turn it down until you feel comfortable with the brightness. For me, max brightness is almost too bright in some cases anyway.

Turn off keyboard backlight

You could turn this off. Just to get a few extra minutes. And learn where the keys are 🙂

Shut down applications not in use

Check the Dock and see if you have applications open that you do not use. This can in some cases cause the CPU to work more and thus requires more juice from the battery. In Mavericks if you click the battery icon in the top menubar you can see what apps that drains your battery the most.

Remove any CD or DVD

The CD drive might spin up if you have a CD or DVD in it, this will also drain the battery and therefore… take it out.

Energy Saving

Also check System Preferences if you have the most optimal energy saving features turned on.

You understand that all these small things adds up in the end, if you follow this guide you will probably notice some increase in battery time. This will depend on the condition of your battery, but if you get 15 or 30 minutes more work time it was all worth it, right?

This Switch Guide Helps You Switch To Mac OS X

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This switch guide is for you that have switched from Windows to Mac OS X or perhaps thinking about switching. Learning a new operating system could be frustrating especially if you have little or no experience with computers. The goal of this guide is to help regular people getting started with their Mac, with comparing some of the features with Windows and what the differences are on the Mac. You can also use this switch to mac guide if you have no or little experience with Windows.
First, you have to set your mind in a special state before reading this switch guide. You are used doing things in a certain way when using Windows. You have to let go of this thinking, this is not Windows, some things are similar, and some things are just not the same. You will get this experience throughout the use of your new Mac, and let me tell you, it is quite normal. Everyone need some adjustment time, in the end you can look back and think: Hm, this wasn’t so bad after all, it is easier now!

Another thing about the Mac, you can trust it. You can trust it to take care of your files, you do not need to poke deep inside the hard drive, the applications do that for you. It is a computer! it should work for you, and only you. You CAN tweak settings all you want though, but it is not needed at all to get productive in no time.

The Dock

OS X Dock
The Dock is the bar with icons you have at the bottom of your screen. If you just started up your new Mac you will have some icons there already. The icons you see is shortcuts to some of the applications you get with your new Mac. If you click on one of these icons it should start to bounce a little bit and the application starts. When the application is running you will see a little blue dot under the icon, this means that the application is up and running. In Mac OS X versions prior to Mac OS X Leopard the icon could be a triangle instead of a dot notifying you of the running application. This switch guide cover Mac OS X Leopard at the moment.

Compared to Windows the Dock is like the list of applications you have under the start button, and the task bar in one. You can also remove icons from the Dock that you wont be using, it is quite easy. Just click and drag the icon outside the dock and release the mouse button. This removes the shortcut and not the application itself. You can also add shortcuts to the dock by simply dragging them in there.

If you closed your application by clicking the red circular button you may notice that the little blue dot is still visible under the icon. This is because you did not really close the application, you just closed the window! There are several ways to close the application in question but the most easy way is to press CMD + Q with the application window open. If you do this you notice that the blue dot disappears and the application is now closed.

You can also customize the Dock in several ways, like move it to the right or left of your screen. You can also hide it when not in use and change the size of the magnification when moving your mouse over the icons. Or turn it off completely as i have. These settings can be accessed through System Preferences, then click on the Dock to get to the window where you can adjust the settings.

Top Menu-bar

top-menu-bar

In Windows all applications have their own menu bar, in Mac OS X applications share the same top menu. If you look at the top of your screen while you have a few applications open and switch between them you will notice that the name on the top changes to the name of the active application. This can cause some confusion if you didn’t know about it, but now you do. If you want to close one of the applications select it so it becomes active, then you can press CMD + Q as stated above, or you could click on the top menu-bar, on the name of the open application and you will get a menu where you can choose to quit the application.

Finder

Look in your Dock, all the way to the left you will find one icon looking like a smiley face. If you click that one you will open the Finder. With finder you get access to all the files on your computer and also other computers in your network, if you have a network. The Finder is the equivalent to Windows Explorer.

At the left side of the Finder window you will see shortcuts to common areas you would likely use most. At the top you will find the hard drive and further below shortcuts to areas like your Desktop, Applications folder, Your home folder and Documents. The right side of the Finder window show you the list files.

Tabbed Finder

The buttons on the top of the Finder window changes the view, you can select to view your files as a detailed list, large icons, column view or cover flow view. This is your choice, i for one use detailed view and think it works quite nice. You can also get more information about one file, if you select the file and press CMD + I you will get a window with a more detailed view of the file. With OS X Mavericks Apple introduced long awaited tabs for the finder. Hit CMD + T to open up a new tab.

In Windows you may be used to copy files with CTRL + C and paste with CTRL + V, maybe cut too with CTRL + X. Well these shortcuts also work on your Mac with one exception. You cannot cut files and paste them, also you have to press CMD + C and CMD + V instead. The ctrl button is used for other things. Like right clicking for example. Many people that make the switch tend to criticize the missing cut feature. Somehow Apple do not want to add it, i do not know why but i have learned to live without the Cut feature. But remember, when you are editing text documents and things like that, the Cut and Paste works.

Some that switch to mac get confused by this: if you select a file and press Enter, you will start renaming the file. If you do this in Windows it runs the file instead. This is one of the small differences between the two operating systems.

Three color buttons

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As you can see your applications have three buttons, red, yellow and green.
The red button means close, but in Mac OS X that doesn’t necessarily mean to quit the application. If you press this button the window might close, but the application is still running. This might be new to some of the people making the switch. Also different applications use these buttons differently just to add some more confusion.

The yellow button means minimize the window to the Dock.

The green button means zoom, this will maximize the window so it will display the content you have, or the window will fill the entire screen area except the Dock and the top menu.

System Preferences

System Preferences Mavericks

System Preferences is the Mac OS X “Control Panel” where you can do adjustments and changes. For example changes to the Dock, Security, Look and Feel, Sound, Screen, Power management, Keyboard and mouse settings, printer settings, network settings amongst many other. Some applications may put their own settings in System Preferences.

Mission Control

Mission Control

Mission Control (it was called Exposé earlier) is unique to Mac OS X and it is just one of the reasons to switch!. I use this all the time, I can not imagine living without this feature now when i am used to it. Pressing a hotkey or using a gesture on the trackpad gives me an overview of all open windows. Then I just click the window I want and it will be brought to the front. I have set it up so it automatically show me the open windows if i drag the mouse cursor to the top right corner of my screen. You can adjust these settings to your liking in System Preferences then Mission Control. My top left corner show the desktop.

Run Windows Virtualized

Windows 7 Vmware Fusion

You may have heard you can run Windows on your Mac. Running Windows on your Mac works really good actually, it can be good for those wanting a Mac but is forced in some way to use a Windows application where there is no substitute for on the Mac. Then Boot Camp could be one solution. With this you partition a slice of your hard drive and install windows on that. So you will have to reboot. Another option is to virtualize Windows, meaning you run Windows on top of your OS X installation not having to reboot.

Final Words

It is difficult to know exactly what to put in this switch guide and what to not put in it. The switch guide has to be easy to read and understand. There is a lot more to Mac OS X than this guide offers, however as time go on the guide will be improved. If you feel something is missing or just plain wrong do not hesitate to contact me with your suggestions or questions.

Burn ISO Images With Built-In Burn Mac Software

You can easily burn ISO images with Mac OS X. ISO images are a common standard for distributing large software packages. Linux distributions is often delivered in this format over the Internet. An ISO image often contains the complete contents of a CD or a DVD in a single file. When you tell the burning software to burn that ISO file you are basically telling it to reconstruct the CD or DVD from the specifications in the particular ISO file.

In Mac OS X we have something called Disk Utility and this application amongst many other things can help you burn the ISO image to a CD or DVD.

Do the following:

1. Insert a blank CD or DVD

2. Start Disk Utility

Disk utility

3. Find the ISO file and drag it into the left window pane, or from the file menu choose Open Disk Image and select the ISO file.
In the list of your hard-drives (volumes) you should now see your ISO file. Select the file and then press the Burn button.

Thats all, usually I cancel the verification process but you can let it run if this is the first time you are burning a CD or DVD. Just to check if everything went right.

Change The Timemachine Backup Interval

Apple doesn’t want us to change all settings in our os and the time machine backup interval is one of them. By default this backups your computer every single hour. Maybe you want to change it.

The settings are stored in a configuration file, so you can actually change the backup interval yourself editing the configuration file. But there are easier ways to do this. The free app called TimeMachineEditor will help you with it. The only thing this application does is to update the configuration file. You can schedule it to your liking. For example backup every week, or daily at night.

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This little app have never had any issues, but please double-check your backup if you use third party tools like this. Obviously Apple doesn’t support using this, and Apple may change the way Time Machine works in the future.