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In iLife ’08, Apple added lots of neat templates, sounds, and other useful features that come in handy. From experimenting with most of the iLife apps, I must say Magic GarageBand is one of my favorites. For the average user, GarageBand can be a hard program to start off with due to its very detailed interface. Thankfully, with GarageBand ’08 you can now use GarageBand to make very basic songs with the Magic GarageBand feature. Here’s how:

  1. Open up GarageBand.
  2. In the startup window that appears, choose “Magic GarageBand” from the list.
  3. When Magic GarageBand opens up, you should see a row of themes on the bottom of the window.
  4. To hear an example of what each sounds like, click on a theme and click the play button. I recommend changing the slider to “Entire Song”, that way you can get a better idea of what it will sound like in general.
  5. Once you’re done with that, click on the “Audition” button in the bottom right corner of the window.
  6. In the Audition window, you should see what looks like a real stage and instruments.
  7. While the song is playing, feel free to swap out the instruments, by clicking on an instrument on the stage and changing it to one that appears in the row of icons corresponding to that instrument.
  8. If you aren’t quite ready and want to experiment more with the other genres, click on the “Change Genre” button on the left corner of the window.
  9. Once you feel comfortable with the song, click on the “Create Project” button on the right hand corner of the window.
  10. GarageBand will open with its normal view and there, you can edit your song with more advanced settings to make it sound “professional”. If you are done and don’t want to mess with it anymore, then quit GarageBand and the song is saved automatically.
  11. To access the song you just made, browse to the “Music” folder in Finder.
  12. From there, click on the “GarageBand” folder and it should be in there.

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With iChat 4.0, you now have the ability to share screens with your friends, add Photo Booth effects to your video chats, send SMS messages to cell-phones, record video chats, “present” your files with iChat theater, and much more. The other day, I stumbled across a neat feature where you can customize how your chat message windows look. Here’s how:

  1. Open up iChat.
  2. Once it’s open, start a chat with someone.
  3. Right-click on the message window, and you can now change how your messages look.
  4. You can change the message “bubbles” to boxes, compact, or text.
  5. You can change the buddy icon so it shows their name, picture, or have both.
  6. You can also change the background to any image/color you want.

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In Leopard, the new way of using dock folders is Stacks or Grid view. I must admit, they are most appealing to the eye, but not efficient as far as using them goes. In Mac OS X Tiger, you had the ability to browse through a folder in the dock, just by right-clicking on it. Sure, there are many developers out there who have already made applications that recreate the Tiger-style dock folders in Leopard, but why bother downloading it when you have Quicksilver? A lot of people may have misunderstood all of what Quicksilver is capable of. I use it daily as part of my workflow. I’ll share a neat trick to enable those “Tiger-style” folders with Quicksilver.

  1. If you don’t already own Quicksilver, download it here.
  2. Open it up by pressing the default hotkey, Control and Spacebar.
  3. Once it’s open, hold down ⌘ (Command) and the “,” keys to access Quicksilver’s preferences.
  4. Click on the “Triggers” section.
  5. On the bottom left corner of the Triggers window, click on the “+” symbol and select “HotKey”.
  6. In the drop-down window, type in “app” until the Applications folder icon appears.
  7. When it does, hit the “Tab” key.
  8. Type “con” until “Show Contents Menu” action appears.
  9. Click on the “Save” button to save the trigger.
  10. Now the final step is to add a keystroke to enable it.
  11. Click on the “i” icon on the bottom right-hand corner of the Triggers window.
  12. Click on the “Hot Key” field and hold down the keys you want to be the trigger.
  13. Click on the “i” icon to close the slide-out drawer.
  14. Now you’ve got drop-down “Tiger-style” windows anywhere!

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With Leopard, the Finder got an extreme makeover. Many new features are not so visible at first, so I’m going to teach some tricks to help you “relearn” the new Finder.

Spotlight Searches

In 10.4, you had the ability to search your entire hard-drive for files. With 10.5, you can’t search your entire drive for files, unless you make a few changes.

  1. Open a new Finder window by clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock.
  2. In the Finder window, hold down the ⌘ (Command) and the “F” keys to invoke a search.
  3. In Finder, change the menu titled “Kind” to “Other”.
  4. A drop-down menu now appears with many different search attributes.
  5. Scroll down to “System Files”.
  6. Check it off and click the “OK” button.
  7. Now when you search for something in Finder you can see all files related to the search query.
  8. After you have made these changes just make sure you switch to “System Files” in the “Kind” menu so it will work.

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Quick Look and Slideshow Feature

With Leopard’s new Quick Look feature, you can now do a “quick preview” of just about any document.

  1. To do so, click on the document icon itself, then tap the spacebar and it should appear.
  2. One nice feature about Quick Look, is that you can switch to Slideshow mode if you want to view some pictures in fullscreen view.
  3. To enable that, hold down the Option, ⌘ (Command) and the “Y” keys.

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Using The New Help Menu

The new Help menu has an amazingly helpful feature now which is like “Spotlight” for applications. In other-words, if you type something in it relating to the application you’re in, it will locate the item from the menubar. For instance, if I was in Photoshop and wanted to know where “Zoomify” was, all I need to do is type that in the Help menu and it will locate it for me. As well, the Help menu searches through documents to find something relating to your search query.

screenshots: Click here for a screenshot

With the new release of Mac OS X Leopard, over 300 new features have been installed on your Mac. The most talked-about one would be Time Machine by far. Apple include Time Machine, because it will encourage people to backup their files on a more frequent basis. The only feature with Time Machine that bugs me, is that you can set a time to backup, it’s only by the hour. With a little bit of code, Automator, and iCal, I got Time Machine to work when I want it to.

  1. To start off, open up Automator.
  2. Select “Custom” in the drop-down menu that appears upon opening Automator.
  3. Find “Utilities” in the sidebar and then drag “Run AppleScript” to the blank space on the right side.
  4. Where it says “(* Your script goes here *)”, copy and paste the following code. Here’s the code:
  5. 
    do shell script 
    /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd.bundle/Contents/Resources/backupd-helper
    >/dev/null 2>&1 &
    
    
  6. Go to the File menu in the menubar, and choose “Save as Plug-in”.
  7. Type in a name for the plug-in.
  8. Choose “iCal Alarm” under the drop-down menu below the title field.
  9. After clicking the “Save” button, iCal will open up.
  10. Switch to iCal, and double click on the application title you just made. It should appear on the day you made it.
    1. Click on the edit button to change the settings.
  11. In order for this script to work properly, you must have your hard-drive connected to your Mac at the time the plug-in runs.
  12. A trick to remind me to turn my hard-drive on is to add another alarm with the event that makes a pop-up message with sound.
  13. I have my alarm set up so the pop-up message reminds me to turn my hard-drive on, then 2 minutes later the script will run and backup all my data.


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