The X Fader: iPod Fader on the Cheap

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006, 09:56
Category: iPod


Ever been rocking your iPod at a party and a really lame song comes up in the shuffle? Nothing is worse than that ackward silence as you scroll through your playlist to find something more appropriate to play.
Times like this call for a mixer. The problem is that most mixers are expensive and heavy and unless you’re a pro DJ you’re not about to haul one to a party. Enter the xFader a tiny crossfader designed for iPod DJing. While not a full mixer, the xFader provides an easy way to fade between two sources.
When a lame song comes on, simply fade into a second iPod in the on-deck circle and keep the party going. The xFader features two standard 3.5mm stereo mini plugs so it connects to any device with an audio output – not just iPods. A standard 3.5mm stereo mini jack allows you to connect to any stereo or PA via the included RCA patch cable
The xFader is also great for when that guy invariably comes up and says “you’ve gotta play this!” The xFader weighs in at less than 3 ounces and is encased in a pocketable plastic case. You can pick one up for US$40 (shipped) from


The Apple Core: Using a Treo as a Bluetooth modem with a MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006, 08:29
Category: The Apple Core

treo-bt-dun.jpgWhile it’s not the fastest method of connecting to the Internet, there are times when it’s convenient to use your mobile phone for Dial Up Networking (DUN). The problem is that some operator-supplied handsets (like my Treo 650 from Verizon) have the DUN profile for Bluetooth disabled.
Use the following steps to connect your Mac to the Internet via a Bluetooth connection with your Treo 650.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


The Apple Core: Podcasting made easier with GarageBand

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 13th, 2006, 01:50
Category: The Apple Core

gb-podcaststudio.jpgPodcasting has gotten a whole lot easier with the advent of GarageBand 3. Previously I used Audio Hijack Pro, but GarageBand has been updated with features designed specifically for podcasters.
For the PowerPage Podcast I use two low cost microphones adapted from XLR down to quarter-inch which are plugged into a Miglia HarmonyAudio box which is connected via Firewire to my MacBook Pro. GarageBand picks up both of the input channels (set them to mono, btw) and all you have to do is press the record button.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


PowerPage Podcast Episode 12 Available for Download

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 13th, 2006, 01:00
Category: The Apple Core

PowerPage Podcast LogoPowerPage Podcast Episode 12 is now available for download from the iTunes Music Store.
On Episode 12 (32:57, 16.1 MB, AAC) of the PowerPage Podcast my guest is Youngmoo Kim, Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. On this episode Youngmoo and I discuss audio technology and the Macintosh platform.
You can subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (AAC) or you can add the PowerPage Podcast RSS feed to the newsreader of your choice. Remember to vote for us on Podcast Alley.
00:00 Music: Tragically Hip: Vaccination Scar
02:40 Segment 1: Audio CODECS
14:31 Music: Tragically Hip: Poets
14:56 Segment 2: Mobile (Phone) Music
19:52 Music: Tragically Hip: Twist My Arm
20:21 Segment 3: New Apple Products
25:07 Music: Tragically Hip: Fireworks (Phantom Power)
25:19 Segment 4: Processors
31:54 Music: Tragically Hip: Springtime in Vienna (Trouble at the Henhouse)
A special thank you to The Tragically Hip for letting us use their music in the PowerPage podcast. Check out their first DVD/CD Box Set Hipeponymous.


OS X 10.4.5 Address Book Widget Rant

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 13th, 2006, 00:01
Category: Software

address-book-widget.jpgI don’t often get too annoyed with Apple’s software. Sure, there are at least ten things that I can think of off the top of my head that I would like to see added to or fixed in iTunes, but I am generally satisfied with the program as it is nonetheless. However, the recent 10.4.5 update replaced the Address Book widget with something that I consider to be regressive in its function and design.
Read More…
Contributed by: sculley


Microsoft bombshell: no EFI support for Vista

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 10th, 2006, 11:27
Category: Uncategorized

Digg: Microsoft revealed today that it will not support EFI booting for Windows Vista on its launch. The news will be a shock for owners of Intel Macs who had hoped they would be able to dual-boot between Windows Vista and OS X. Intel Macs only support booting via EFI.
Click through to Digg for the links…


Preview of Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) Thanks to the USPTO

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 10th, 2006, 11:01
Category: Uncategorized

Apple can be cagey but they can’t hide, thanks to the wonders of the badly in need of reform U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). has posted some interesting details (more deets) from some patents that Apple filed for Spotlight. They expose aspects of the Finder previously unseen.

Apple is expected to release the next version of OS X – 10.5 “Leopard” by the end of 2006 or early 2007. Little information has leaked about Leopard but rumours suggest that the Finder of OS X 10.5 (code named ‘Chardonnay’) is going to depend heavily on Spotlight (Apple’s metadata and search tool).
Improvements to the Finder include:
– New Spotlight User Interface
– Hierarchical Nested “Smart Folders”
– (More) Human Readable Search Queries
– Better metadata creation- OCR, voice recognition

Expect a preview of the new OS at WWDC 2006 which runs from August 7-11 in San Francisco.


The Apple Core: MacBook Pro demand outstripping inventory

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 9th, 2006, 10:33
Category: MacBook Pro

MBP-2-3-weeks.jpgA Piper Jaffray research analyst is worried that limited MacBook Pro availability could pose a problem for Apple’s second-quarter Mac sales estimates. Gene Munster continues to maintain an “outperform” rating and $103 price target on Apple Computer, despite the constrained availability of the popular MacBook Pro.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


AP Reviews the MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 8th, 2006, 23:28
Category: MacBook Pro

Associated Press technology reporter Matthew Fordahlk has posted a review of the MacBook Pro. Here’s a snippit:

What about the all-important battery life? Starting with it fully charged, I surfed the Web, listened to music and engaged in other regular tasks for an impressive 3 hours and 10 minutes before the system went to sleep. Once plugged in, it woke up in seconds, exactly where it stopped.
The run time was slightly longer than for an older PowerBook, which I tested under similar under similar conditions a year ago. In that case, the battery fully drained in just under three hours.
The MacBook’s result is even more impressive because the Intel chip runs two computing engines at once, instead of just one on the PowerBook’s G4 chip. The MacBook’s processor also runs at a faster clock speed.

Read the rest of his review for AP.


Ask PowerPage: Universal Binary Browsers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 8th, 2006, 22:21
Category: Uncategorized

Dear PowerPage:
I’m just wondering about Firefox on the new MBP. Does Firefox have to use Rosetta, or is there a native version available. If there is no native version yet, what speed does it seem to work at?

Hello Chris,
Currently Firefox is a PowerPC application which means that it must run in Rosetta emulation on the Intel Macs. However I have found an excellent alternative in Deer Park an alpha release of the next generation Firefox browser which runs natively on Apple’s Intel Macs.
Unfortunately, my favorite browser Flock isn’t yet Universal Binary.

What Universal Binary browser are you using these days? Why?