How-To ▪ Yesterday

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Less than two years after they each went into service, only one of the three Lightning cables pictured above is actually working properly. It’s not the big Belkin cable on the left, which is visibly pretty wrecked, or the thick, no-name 6-foot cable on the right, which looks fine on the surface but can’t properly supply power to a connected device. The one that works without problems is, amazingly, Apple’s official Lightning cable — the one that has been pilloried by numerous dissatisfied users, notably including our own Zac Hall, for coming apart after months or years of use.

These complaints aren’t without merit: even Apple-authorized Lightning cables do break, which is particularly infuriating given how expensive they tend to be. But there’s a lot of bad information about Lightning cables floating around right now, and having spent a lot of time using them and reading user complaints, I wanted to help people avoid some of their preventable failures. Taking a few precautions can save you a $10 to $20 replacement cost, as well as wasted time and stress…

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How-To ▪ July 26, 2015

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we will be looking at ways to speed up our editing and song creation with LPX’s MIDI Transform feature. In many cases, manually working Logic’s Piano Roll editor will get the job done, but there are certainly times when editing MIDI performances/events can be a very tedious process. Getting those extended performances just right or zeroing in on problem areas for complex passages can’t take hours (or days) to get right in some cases. But with LPX’s MIDI Transform features we can get many of these types of arduous tasks done in just a few clicks: expand full story

How-To ▪ July 20, 2015

History will remember the early 21st Century as a turning point for photography — the point at which mainstream photos transitioned from chemical to digital, thereby becoming “print optional” for the first time. Although digital photography has taken small annual steps for 20 years, those steps have collectively evolved early, uselessly low-resolution digital cameras into superior alternatives to their film-based predecessors. Even the tiny cameras built into iPhones take much better-quality photos than Kodaks and Polaroids, and more of them, too: the days of 12-, 24-, or 36-exposure film cartridges and fading exposures are long gone, replaced by all but infinite burst-mode photos that can live on your computer forever.

But some photos deserve a more prominent display in your home than a vault in your computer’s photo library. Apple has known this since the dawn of digital photography. Since iPhoto launched in 2002, Apple has offered photo and book printing services, a feature later added to Aperture and OS X Photos. Yet even though CanonSony, and Nikon have introduced high- and ultra-high-resolution cameras capable of creating huge prints, Apple hasn’t updated its apps with new large-format print options. That’s where this How-To series comes in.

It’s possible to use Photos to create large paper prints, but there’s a lot of exciting large-format photo printing work being done now with other materials, including metal, glass, and canvas. Part 1 of this How-To guide looked at large-format metal prints, and Part 2 looked at canvas and glass prints, with tips on composing large-format images. This third and final part looks at several additional options: turning your photos into hand-painted art, printing on brushed silver aluminum, and large-format “behind acrylic glass” photo printing. Each is different from the prior prints we covered, and one is the most beautiful large photo-to-wall art process I’ve yet seen…

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How-To ▪ July 19, 2015

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we are taking a look at how Logic handles external MIDI-based instruments in the real world. It really doesn’t get any easier than loading up your favorite soft-synth, but that doesn’t mean they are as fun or inspiring as the real thing. LPX has a handy feature that makes it so many of the most popular and sought-after external synths/MIDI-instruments can integrate just as smoothly: expand full story

How-To ▪ July 13, 2015


Apple just released a minor update to iTunes 12, seemingly addressing several issues related to Apple Music’s debut in iTunes 12.2. One major problem — automatic switching of certain iTunes Match songs to “Apple Music” status, along with the unwanted addition of Apple’s Fairplay DRM — is mentioned in iTunes 12.2.1’s release notes. Apple says the update resolves an issue “where iTunes incorrectly changed some songs from Matched to Apple Music,” and lets you restore non-DRMed files to your library.

But unless you follow a specific procedure spotlighted in a new Apple support document, the fix could create even bigger problems for your library. Apple notes that if you download 12.2.1, “previously matched songs [that] appear as Apple Music songs” will be fixed, as iTunes will “correct the information automatically.” Indeed, you’ll see that Matched or Purchased songs that switched to “Apple Music” status now say Matched or Purchased again within the iTunes library. “After you update,” says Apple, “you can remove and download again any songs that were incorrectly downloaded as Apple Music.” But if you hit the wrong button, you’ll find it hard to restore your tracks…

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Your digital photos were never intended to remain trapped on your computer’s hard drive. Apple’s original 2002 version of iPhoto proudly included physical book and photo printing services, adding new books and various types of cards every 2-3 years. Since early digital cameras took low-resolution photos, Apple’s services focused primarily on small prints. But over the past decade, cameras have really evolved: there are now 36-Megapixel Nikons42-Megapixel Sonys, and 50-Megapixel Canons. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t update iPhoto or its later Aperture and Photos apps with additional large-format printing options to keep up with the higher-resolution cameras many people are using.

Even if you don’t have a high-end DSLR, there are ways to turn more typical 20-Megapixel images into large pieces of wall art — if you’re willing to look outside Apple’s photo apps for printing services. And amazingly, even recent iPhones and iPads can create 43-Megapixel ultra-wide panoramas that will look stunning on one or more large canvases, as shown in the photo above.

What’s the best large format to choose for your photos? That depends on the type of images you have, and the results you’re looking for. To illustrate the options, I reached out to a number of popular photo printing services to see how digital photos would look on metal, glass, and canvas — large-format alternatives Apple doesn’t offer. Part 1 of this How-To guide looked at metal prints that apply dyes and gloss directly onto aluminum surfaces. Today, Part 2 looks at large-format canvas and glass prints. And the last part, coming next week, will look at several additional options that provide unique twists on these options. Inside, you’ll see how each process has its own unique appeal…

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