How-To: Go beyond OS X Photos + make amazing wall art from your Mac’s pictures (Part 1)

metalprints21

Apple knew it had something special to share with the world when it released iPhoto in 2002: in addition to printing 20″ by 30″ poster-sized photos, the original iPhoto’s “most stunning feature” (according to Apple) was a page layout tool that quickly turned digital photo collections into printed hardcover books. These were Apple’s acknowledgements that tangible photos still had value in a digital era, and it subsequently added calendars, greeting cards, softcover books, and letterpress cards to iPhoto. Apple’s newer app Photos for Mac hides these options under the File menu at the top of the screen, and hasn’t expanded on them, a shame considering how nice the results look.

But apart from including the poster options in 2002, Apple never added “large-format art” to the list of things its photo apps could produce. Back in 2002, digital cameras were so low-resolution that they struggled to produce pixel-free 4″ by 6″ photos, so it’s no surprise that Apple wasn’t trying to build a market for large prints. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. Canon currently sells two 50-Megapixel cameras, Sony has one 42-Megapixel camera, and Nikon offers four 36-Megapixel cameras. iPhones and iPads can create up to 43-Megapixel ultra-wide panoramas. A large, properly-composed print from any of these cameras (or even the more common 20- to 25-Megapixel cameras people are using today) will look amazing hanging on the wall of your home or office… if you know how to do it.

I wanted to see what the best options were for large-format photography, so I reached out to a collection of excellent art print services to see how digital photos would look on metal, glass, and canvas — materials Photos doesn’t offer. In Part 1 of this How-To guide, I’m looking at large-format metal prints that apply dyes and gloss directly onto aluminum surfaces, with results as saturated as Apple’s famous “nanochromatic” iPod nanos. Part 2 will look at large-format canvas and glass prints. Read on for all the details…

Read more

How-To: Record live Beats 1 radio shows on your Mac for free

beatsoneradio

Apple’s Beats 1 global radio station went online this week, and its programming is already grabbing plenty of headlines. The challenge: just like conventional radio, the station doesn’t (yet) offer on-demand recordings of complete past shows. If there’s a DJ, specific artist, new show, or interview you’re really interested in hearing, you’ll need to tune in live… or, if you have a spare iOS 8.4 (or soon, iOS 9) device, you can use this handy guide to record Beats 1 shows using OS X’s free built-in app QuickTime Player. Read on for the details…

Read more

How-To: Move your playlists from Spotify, Rdio, and more to Apple Music

apple-music

With the launch of Apple Music just around the corner, music lovers currently subscribed to competing services like Spotify and Rdio may be looking to jump ship and give Apple’s offering a try. Apple first confirmed in a Beats Music FAQ that there will be a Beats Music update that allows users to import their libraries to the newer service, but users with music collections elsewhere seem to be out of luck without any official migration tool.

Thankfully, there’s an unofficial route to import all of your playlists from multiple services to Apple Music, but you’ll need to act before the 30th if you don’t already have a Beats Music account as Apple could turn off new subscriptions (and trials) at any moment.

Keep reading for instructions…

The Logic Pros: How to customize Logic’s Drummer, beat-by-beat

The Logic Pros-Drummer-01

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we wanted to dive deeper into Logic Pro X’s Drummer. Considered by many to be a tool for kids, amateurs and even the lazy, Drummer is a much more versatile and customizable feature than you may think. In fact, I would argue it might be one the most interesting and powerful additions to LPX, not to mention one that Apple just hands out for free.

Whether its the slightly embarrassing drummer names or the preset stigma that surrounds it, Drummer tends to be overlooked and, in my opinion, quite underrated. Today we will be taking a closer look at what this feature has to offer, along with how to customize the drummers and the parts they play to work with our original compositions and ideas: Read more

The best Mac desk, chair, decor, and peripherals for your home office

ultimatemachomeoffice

Like Apple Watches, home offices are “personal” — the look and furniture that work well for one person might not seem “right” to another. But the unified metal and glass aesthetic of Apple products works really well with modern office furniture, and there are also some iconic decor items Apple lovers can incorporate into a home office.

I spend a lot of time working from my home office, and have considered it a work in progress ever since I started building it around an aluminum PowerBook many years ago. Below, you’ll find a collection of items that will help you build a beautiful, practical home office that really spotlights your Apple gear, based on a mix of affordable and small investment-worthy choices…

Read more

The Logic Pros: 6 powerful new features you may have missed in Logic 10.1

6 New features-The Logic Pros

The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

In this week’s edition of The Logic Pros, we will be diving into some of the most tucked away and over-looked features packed inside the release of Logic Pro X 10.1. We saw a number of interesting new features get added including AirDrop/Air Mail, a host of new Drummers, and Retro Synth got a seriously powerful overhaul (something we will be looking at in the future). But there were also a few features that didn’t get much attention, whether it be Logic’s brand new MIDI performance creation tool, its simple embedded automation, smarter quantization, or its fully customizable plug-in menus: Read more

The Logic Pros: How to control anything in Logic using your hardware MIDI controller

Novation 64-Button Ableton Controller-Logic ProsThe Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

In this week’s edition of The Logic Pros, we will be looking at how to map all those fun looking sliders, switches, buttons and encoders on our controllers to various functions inside of Logic Pro X. In many case, we get home with our MIDI controller, plug it in, and it just works. The keys/pads function just as they should, but the plethora of other dials and faders available generally won’t do much, unless you tell them to.

We will be covering the basics of how to get our MIDI keyboard/controller mapped to just about any parameter in our session, along with a few creative ways to bring some of Logic Pro X’s more powerful features into the real world: Read more

How-To: Prepare your iPhone, iPad or Mac for iOS 9 + OS X El Capitan public betas

ios9ipad

Up until recently, unfinished “beta” versions of iOS and OS X were only officially available to registered Apple developers, enabling companies to make their apps compatible before the operating systems were publicly released. But to increase openness and expand its pool of beta testers, Apple decided to offer “public betas” of both iOS and OS X to interested users, starting with iOS 8.4 and OS X Yosemite. Very soon, both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan will become available as public betas under the Apple Beta Software Program, which you can sign up for here.

Should you install these new and unstable betas on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac? What can you really expect after doing so? Below, I’ll provide you with some guidance so you can make an informed decision to participate in the public betas, or hold off…

Read more

The Logic Pros: How to create multi-layered synth patches & drum sounds with Track Stacks

The Logic Pros-Track Stacks-01The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

In this week’s edition of The Logic Pros, we will be sticking with the basics to highlight one of Logic Pro X’s most helpful additions: Track Stacks. It is mainly used for organizational reasons and to provide a simple way to create sub-mixes inside your DAW, a technique that has been used by recording engineers/song makers for decades, and previous to Track Stacks, required a number of clicks to get up and running.

Most tutorials and articles online that showcase Logic’s macro, auto-grouping feature focus on the track management abilities and the ease with which Track Stacks allow not-as-experienced users to group tracks together in sensible ways. On top of all that, we will be exploring some of the more creative ways to use the feature, including the creation of fat, multi-layered synth patches/drum hits, and the streamlined editing there of: Read more

Apple Watch How-To: Take and share screenshots from your Apple Watch

Apple Watch Screenshot

Now that you have your Apple Watch, you might be curious to know how to take a screenshot from your your new device. The process is a little different from taking screenshots on an iPhone or iPad and the photos aren’t automatically saved to the watch, but you may want to screenshot fitness and activity achievements or show friends your customized Apple Watch face. In this how-to article I will quickly discuss how to take a screenshot on your Apple Watch and how you can make the process easier.

Read more

How-To: Build a $150-$300 iTunes video + music server for your home

iview-11

In May 2005, iTunes evolved from a music player into a video library manager, paving the way for video iPods (October 2005), Apple TV (March 2007), and AirPlay video streaming (September 2010). Since then, iTunes libraries have become bigger and more central in homes, as users now stream content stored in iTunes — sometimes called a media “server” — to “clients” including Apple TVs, iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches. Unless you stream all of your content from the iTunes Store, you probably have some space-consuming videos sitting in your computer’s iTunes library, where they can be accessed by client devices so long as both the server computer and iTunes are turned on.

Apple has resisted calls to release a standalone, inexpensive iTunes home media server for years: 2008’s release of Time Capsule came tantalizingly close, but couldn’t act as a standalone streamer. So when my video library became too large to keep on my iMac, I bit the bullet and bought a used Mac mini to serve as an iTunes server. It works well, and consumes a lot less power than keeping my iMac on all the time, but it’s still a full-fledged $700 computer — overkill for streaming videos to the Apple devices in my home.

Today, I’m going to help you build a small, inexpensive, and ultra energy-efficient iTunes media server. Depending on the size of your iTunes library, it could cost as little as $150, or as much as $300, in either case much less expensive than a Mac mini. The key component is Intel’s new Compute Stick, a tiny basic Windows PC that can plug directly into an HDTV, run iTunes, and stream videos across your network. For around $130, you can now get an iView-branded Compute Stick with a CPU similar to the 12″ Retina MacBook, bundled with a wireless keyboard and trackpad. Although there are some important caveats you should understand up front, the Compute Stick can become a ~3-Watt video server using a $20+ microSD card, radically reducing the energy required to stream iTunes content in your home. If you need more storage and power, you can easily add a near-silent $90+ hard drive with 2TB-5TB of capacity

Read more

The Logic Pros: Turning iPad into a virtual pedalboard using Logic Remote

Logic-Remote-Pedalboard

The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

Apple’s Logic Remote app for iPad allows for a lot of control over sessions in Logic Pro X on the Mac— its two main functions include controlling the mixer/transport controls, and using it as a midi controller for playing virtual instruments with user interfaces for keyboards, drumpads, and fretboards. But the app’s other feature is a grid of drumpad-like squares that can be used as buttons for key commands.

My goal was to be able to easily flip through amps and pedals as I jam, rather than having to deal with mouse clicks, opening/highlighting the plug-in I want to interact with, etc. So using Logic Remote, I setup a workflow with custom key commands that makes the drumpad-style interface work like a giant foot pedal for flipping through the awesome set of virtual amps and pedals Logic includes. Here’s how I did it: Read more