Convert WMA to MP3 with EasyWMA

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 3rd, 2006, 07:00
Category: Software

Last week I posted a piece on my ZDNet blog about voice recorders lamenting that the new Olympus DS-2200 voice recorder (US$289) I purchased doesn’t yet work with Intel Macs.
So there I was, stuck with a bunch of MWA files that I created (including PowerPage Podcast #13) that I couldn’t do much with. I thought that I’d be able to simply open the WMA files in QuickTime Pro (via Flip4Mac) and convert them to something useful, but alas Flip4Mac isn’t compatible with Intel Macs either. Bleh.
A quick search of MacUpdate yielded a little nugget called EasyWMA a US$10 application that did exactly what I was looking for: converting WMA’s to MP3s.
EasyWMA accepts wma, asf, wmv, wav and features manual or automatic bit rate selection from the source, batch processing and ID3 tags support. Now I only wish Olympus would reimburse me the US$10.

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WMC06 Session: Audio Lab – Abelton Live

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 31st, 2006, 17:54
Category: Software

wmc06-live-5.jpg
The following article is from one of the conference sessions at Winter Music Conference (WMC) last week in Miami where the PowerPage was covering the mobile music scene, digital DJing and the pervasiveness of PowerBooks in the Electronic music community.
Miami — Dave Hill, Jr. one of the foremost experts on Ableton and author of Ableton Live 2 Power took us on a journey through Live 5 showing us how to get the most out of the software.
Live is an audio creation, production and performance application used by electronic musicians like Sasha and Gabriel & Dresden. Live 5 is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that boasts a bunch of new features that add to its creation, production and performance capabilities, including improvements in remix, organization, instruments and effects.
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Daylite Turns Three

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Date: Thursday, March 30th, 2006, 15:01
Category: Software

Marketcircle has announced Daylite 3, the successor to their wildly popular Business Relationship Manager for the Mac. Daylite is more than a contact manager, it’s also a calendar, opportunity, task and project manager that features multiple pipelines, activity delegation, smart lists, powerful reports and super-tight integration with Apple’s Mail.app.
I have been using Daylite for two years now and highly recommend it to anyone that needs to keep track of contacts, relationships and sales opportunities – and who doesn’t?
The new Daylite 3 Productivity Suite bundles Daylite 3 with Marketcircle’s Daylite Mail Integration Module (DMI 2.0) for US$189. Sold separately, Daylite 3 retails for US$149 and DMI 2.0 for US$49. A 30 free trial is available from www.marketcircle.com.

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The Apple Core: ChargerChecker Fixes MagSafe Interruptus

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 27th, 2006, 10:14
Category: Software

charge-checker-icon.jpgLast week I wrote about one of my pet peeves about Apple’s new MagSafe power connector: the fact that it comes out too easily without you noticing causing untold hardship when you find your battery completely discharged the next day.
Read about an excellent new donationware app that is the answer to my prayers on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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Apple’s Screen Capture Falls Short

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Date: Tuesday, March 21st, 2006, 12:00
Category: Software

I used to love snapping pictures off the screen, Internet, etc. in classic. What I enjoyed most was the ability to assign that image file (screen capture file) to any location such as a folder on a spare harddrive by going through the preferences and choosing a definite location. Now the clunky hot-key operation only allows you to save it to the stupid desktop. If you want to save it elsewhere you have to go one step further and open Grab!
Even the Grab utility does not have any preference settings to allow you to choose other options such as: “ask everytime where to save” nor does it have a feature “save here…” it assumes you like to be asked everytime and thats that. By taking away our ability to choose the end result of where the screen capture goes really showed me that Apple somehow is slipping in the way they interpret users needs.
I’m not going to spend US$30-$60 for a app to allow me to get that one desired single feature. Does anybody know a HACK to allow me to customize where my hot-key screen captures can go other than the stupid desktop?
-DoubleB

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Cool Treo Application: TAKEphONE 6.50

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 17th, 2006, 13:26
Category: Software

takephone.jpgOne the problems with the PalmOne Treo’s user interface is that it is difficult to quickly pick up the phone and call someone from your address book. Sure, if you’ve called them recently, you can press the call button for a list of the last 10 people you’ve called, but that list only contains numbers for calls that you’ve placed. Not calls you’ve received.
Digging into the address book requires several clicks to find the contact you’re looking for – hardly ideal, especially while driving.
Enter TAKEphONE (US$20) from SHSH Software, a Palm OS application for the Treo 650 that makes finding and calling contacts incredibly easy. It makes operating the Treo truly one-handed and is an indispensible application.
After you install it, you can configure it to run when you press the green call button (instead of running the default “phone” application). From there you can quickly press and dial one of your pre-defined speed dials (large buttons dedicated to contacts) or you can use another view to quickly search for a contact by typing the first few letters of their name.
TAKEphONE’s enhanced searching capabilities are what sets it apart. In addtion to typing the first few characters of a name (which searches any combination of fields), there are four search methods including a sorted search that allows the ‘and’ operation in search strings.
You can also define up to five seperate “locations” each with calling-card support (auto-dials access-numbers, PINs), extension and IVR handling. TAKEphONE even includes a “capture hack” that allows you to dial numbers from other applications.
TAKEphONE is available for US$20 from SHSH Software.

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Aluminum PowerBook (15-inch) Battery Update v1.1

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Date: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006, 19:21
Category: Software

Apple today posted Aluminum PowerBook (15-inch) Battery Update v1.1 a 400kb firmaware patch that “aids the 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook battery in performing at full capacity.” Accroding to Apple knowledge base article 303035 (“Updating battery firmware for PowerBook G4 (15-inch Double-Layer SD) and some earlier PowerBooks”):

This firmware update is required to keep your battery life up to specification, may recover battery life in some batteries that have developed short run times, and in some cases can recover batteries that are not recognized by the system.

If your PowerBook requires the update, it will be available through Software Update (called “Aluminum PowerBook (15-inch) Battery Update”). You can also download it from Aluminum PowerBook (15-inch) Battery Update v1.1 a 400kb firmaware patch that “aids the 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook battery in performing at full capacity.” Accroding to Apple knowledge base article 303035 (“Updating battery firmware for PowerBook G4 (15-inch Double-Layer SD) and some earlier PowerBooks”):”>Apple Downloads.

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Security Update 2006-002 Released

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006, 11:54
Category: Software

Security-Update-2006-02.jpgApple just released the second security update for Mac OS X of 2006:

Security Update 2006-002 is recommended for all users and improves the reliability and security of the following components:
apache_mod_php
CoreTypes
LaunchServices
Mail
Safari
rsync
Additionally, this update incorporates Security Update 2006-001, which improves the security of the following components:
apache_mod_php
automount
Bom
Directory Services
iChat
IPSec
LaunchServices
LibSystem
loginwindow
Mail
rsync
Safari
Syndication
For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61798

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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.
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Contributed by: sculley

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Disk Utilities and Intel Macs

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Date: Wednesday, March 8th, 2006, 22:06
Category: Software

I wrote to each of Micromat (TechToolPro) and Alsoft (DiskWarrior) on the status of their products with respect to the new Intel Macs. Both said they will have new versions soon which run on Intel and that their current versions should not be run on Intel Macs.
Micromat said that if you run their current version of TTP4 on a PPC Mac, and access an Intel Mac via firewire disk mode, that TTP4 will properly work on the Intel Mac, optimizing disk directories, optimizing drive space, etc. Alsoft said exactly the opposite:

The partition map of the Intel-based Macs is different from the PowerPC-based machines. DiskWarrior will not rebuild the Intel machine in Target Disk Mode.

What has your experience been with the disk utilities for the Mac? Post in the comments below.

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