Category Archives: Mac

Dictation Software

I’m considering using MacSpeech Dictate for blogging. However I can’t decide yet whether using dictation software is more liberating or more constricting in the writing process. So far I feel I have a limited vocabulary, and the dates it and the dictation software can’t pick up on my implicit punctuation. However the software is otherwise quite fast, and generally highly accurate.

The next thing that I would like to see, is MacSpeech Dictate implemented on the iPhone. A dictation application on the iPhone would be really awesome. However, I wonder about the accuracy of the built-in microphone. Although I imagine a Bluetooth headset, along with noise reduction technology, could be a solution.

Lyrics for Last.fm

Ever since I installed MobileScrobbler on my iPhone, I’ve been using Last.fm a lot … like almost every day, and for hours at a time. Here’s my profile. Last.fm “scrobbles” (keeps track of what you listen to, and uploads that info) your music, and my iPhone automatically does this when I listen to anything in the iPod feature, and so does my Mac when I listen to anything in iTunes. Why do I want to do this? For posterity, as you might imagine, but Last.fm also provides music recommendations in the form of a personalized radio station. And the personalized radio station is what I really love. I mean, you press play, and you’ve got all sorts of new stuff to listen to, and the percentage of it that I like is much higher than listening to anything else. And it’s more interactive, because I can teach the system my preferences by pressing either the “Love” or “Ban” buttons.

Anyway, MobileScrobbler lets me read lyrics while I listen to songs… Which I LOVE doing. That Mac version however, does -not- do this. I was able however, to find a Greasemonkey script that adds lyrics to the song page on Last.fm, and therefore enables a workaround. (Greasemonkey is a FireFox plugin that I use daily… it let’s you add things to, and modify websites. People make scripts to make all sorts of websites do all sorts of cool things. Check out http://userscripts.org for examples).

My workaround is this: Listen in the Last.fm app. When I want to read lyrics for the current song, just click the link in the app to open up the song page at last.fm. The greasemonkey script shows the lyrics right there for me. Works.

Oh, and then I can also comment on the song right there too, another feature I’d like to see added to the Last.fm Mac client.

Applescript: Fade iTunes to Selected Track

Ever playing music for other people from iTunes? And want to change the song without everyone noticing? Trying to do a manual fade is tough. This script lets you select the next song you want to play, and then fade the volume out and in to that track. Download: itunes-fade-to-selected-track.zip


property initialVolume : null
tell application "iTunes"
set speed to 5 -- lower means slower fade
if sound volume = 0 then -- if volume is all the way down, fade in
play
set initialVolume to 60
repeat until (sound volume) is greater than or equal to (initialVolume - speed)
set sound volume to (sound volume + speed)
end repeat
set sound volume to initialVolume
else -- fade out, skip to selected track, fade in
set initialVolume to (get sound volume)
repeat until (sound volume - speed) is less than or equal to 0
set sound volume to (sound volume - speed)
end repeat
set sound volume to 0
play selection
repeat until (sound volume + speed) is greater than or equal to initialVolume
set sound volume to (sound volume + speed)
end repeat
end if
end tell

Mac 101: Keyboard text selection

I use these all the time… especially holding Option or Command while using the arrows to move the cursor around.

To select text you hold down the SHIFT key and then use the arrow keys or HOME, END, PAGEUP, and PAGEDOWN. The left/right arrow keys (plus SHIFT) will increase the selection one character in that direction, if you hold down the OPTION (⌥) key the left/right arrows will select an entire word in that direction, and if you hold down the ⌘ key the left/right arrows will select to the beginning or end of the line. The up/down arrow keys (plus SHIFT) will select a full line up or down; with the OPTION key held down the up/down arrows will select a paragraph. The HOME key (plus SHIFT) will select all the text to the beginning of the document and the END key (plus SHIFT) will select all the text to the end of the document. Finally, the PAGEUP and PAGEDOWN keys (plus SHIFT) will select a full “page” up or down.
Mac 101: Keyboard text selection – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)
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You only need to hold Shift if you want to select text. Without holding shift, the aforementioned key commands will just move the cursor around. You probably don’t realize how much time you waste trying to point with that Trackpad on your MacBook.