Lyrics and Artwork on the Mac

I’ve tried a bunch of tools. Pearlyrics is gone thanks to the RIAA, it was great because it would go through your whole set of songs. All the rest just do the current playing song and most are widgets now:

# “Harmonic:http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/2035. This seems to work the best. Listens to the current song and plugs the lyrics into iTunes and therefore into the MP3s.
# Cantopod. Nicest interface, but doesn’t automatically insert
# I Sing iTunes. This is most popular sing it handles Japanese and Chinese lyrics, but it seems to hang for me.
# “Album Art Thingy 1.9”:http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/ipod_itunes/albumartthingy.html. Reported downloads artwork and lyrics inthe background. Cost $15, but saves lots of time!
# “Amazon Album Art Widget”:http://www.versiontracker.com/php/dlpage.php?id=28644&db=mac&pid=85611&kind=&lnk=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.widget-foundry.com%2Fdownloads%2FAmazonAlbumArt-2.12.zip is a manual utility and looks up the current song.
# “GimmeSomeTune”:http://mac.blorge.com/2007/10/21/free-mac-software-sunday-automatically-fetch-itunes-album-art-with-gimmesometune/ is donationware that does lyrics and artwork.

Also you want to automatically get artwork. ITunes finds artwork, but unless you manually go a Get Info and put it in, it doesn’t copy it into the MP3.

High Quality Compact Camera

Well here are the choices right now in rough order and the net is that if you can hold off, the Canon G10 is probably good. I’d say for quality the LX3 is probably going to give higher quality shot but be larger.

* Panasonic DMC-LX3. Good quality to ISO 400 and great Leica lense. Reasonably compact. But the main thing is that it is a true wide angle at 14mm so that you can get nice landscapes. It only goes to 60mm equivalent so no zoom shots though. But I’d trade that anyday. Main problem is that it is a big camera. The lense is so large it makes the camera about 50mm or 2 inches high vs the much slimmer G9/G10
* Canon Sureshot G10 which is coming shortly might be better but the Sureshot G9 is their current 12MP camera. Very professional. Good through ISO 200 without noise, but like the Ricoh, relatively slow lense.
* Ricoh GX200. A nice update, but only shoots to ISO 200 without noise and lense is relatively slow so Panasonic is nicer.

The ones that are rejected are:

* Sigma DP1. Has a big sensor but it is amazingly slow. Requires 3 seconds shot to shot!
* Nikon P6000. Nice and new, but requires Windows Vista proprietary software to read its raw format. Ugh. Has GPS and Wifi.

Duplicate Calendar Events

I’ve got literally thousands of these in Exchange that somehow have grown and grown. After an hour of deleting manually, figured there has to be a better way. Here is how to delete duplicates:

Duplicates: Removing or Creating

Remove Duplicate Calendar Events Author: Jolly Roger

This script removes duplicate calendar events from the calendar in the current identity. The script determines whether an event is a duplicate of another event by examining these event properties:

To use it, you basically copy it to ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Entourage Script Menu and then run it from Entourage. This thing works but is extremely slow, finds one duplicate every minute or so with 5000 calendar entries. Also you have to approve each removal.

There is an iCal deduplicator that works way faster I blogged previously and on the Windows side, I tried “Mapilabs”:http://www.mapilab.com/outlook/remove_duplicates/ application that costs $15 with a free 14 day trial that works much faster.

MacBook Air update

Apple to Update MacBook Air to Penryn Soon? – Mac Rumors

The external design is to remain the same, but the new MacBook Air is said to incorporate a new Penryn-class processor “from 2.0GHz and potentially beyond”. To compensate, Apple will be including a higher capacity battery.

In fact, the new revision of the MacBook Air will draw it much more in-line with the current MacBook internals. Expect to see SSD prices in-line with the current revision, however the hard drive version of the MacBook Air will likely be upgraded to 120 GB, and optionally 160 GB, due to falling prices for 1.8-inch hard drives.
PhoneNews is not a typical source of Apple rumors, but appears to have a reasonably good reputation.

The timeframe for such an update is also reasonable with earlier reports indicating that Intel was planning on a Penryn update to the custom MacBook Air processor. Several readers, however, had hoped that Apple would simply choose to utilize the more power-efficient chips at the same processor speeds in order to extend battery life.

iPhone 3G Reviews

Well, “ilounge”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/live-iphone-3g-vs-iphone-comparison-test-results-here/ has a good first review set:

* The White 16GB is going to be much cleaner with fewer fingerprints than the black one. I’m kinda regretting ordering the black one now that I’ve seen photos. The white one is actually quite cute.
* Some folks are saying that this is really like iPhone 1.1 because other than 3G not much has changed, so if you already have a current iPhone you can wait for the next churn. (For those of us who have lost our iPhones, we are screwed!).
* The best thing to do with an iPhone is to try to get an unlocked one. The plans are really expensive at $30/month if you are a consumer. OTOH, the $45/month enterprise one is at least, just as much of a ripoff as the Blackberry plan. So you are no worse off if you are an Exchange user 🙂
* Sound quality on Bluetooth is better, but about the same as the original iPhone on the headset. The speakerphone is a little louder (important for me).
* 3G network isn’t always faster. Naturally, it depends on AT&T’s network, which I’m sure is not too high performance. Essentially 3G is about 26% faster in NYC. Wifi is still the method of choice at 2-7x faster than 3G with an average of 4x. In Orange County (who knows where and how that network is configured), 3G about 2x faster than in NYC. So YMMV

MacBook Air SuperDrive jammed and will not eject so shake it!

Hat tip to “TUAW”:http://www.tuaw.com/2008/06/24/mod-use-your-macbook-air-superdrive-on-any-machine/ apparently, “Tnkgrl”:http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/macbook-air-superdrive-for-all/ has figured out how to open up a Superdrive, replace a part and thus make it universally compatible with all computers. Great geekout. OTOH, why go to all the trouble :-)? The “photos”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/sets/72157605790040071/ are really useful so you can disassemble it. The short version is the black bottom comes out if you slip a credit card in the seam. Then you can look the LEDs and see if the drive is lighting up. (Mine was). In the end, I shook it enough that it seemed to unjam the drive. So give that a try before returning.

Some other tricks are noted below that are software related

The short story is that although some folks think it is incompatible with other computers because it needs more current (1 amp is needed to burn, although much less to read). There isn’t specail firmware either. You can take apart the SuperDrive and mount it into a PC and it works fine. What happened is Apple hacked into the IDE-to-USB bridge and make special firmware. The slime!

“Apple Discussions”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1550094&tstart=0 has other frustrated people with the same problem. Apple – Support – Discussions – Disc stuck into superdrive AND won’t …

I have just bought a MBA. I managed to install windows ans other software through the superdrive. Now I’ve just put a DVD into it to watch a movie and it got stuck into the superdrive. I browsed on the forum, tried to reboot while holding the trackpad button but the disc is still stuck… at rebooting the superdrives “becomes alive” but it looks like it has no force to eject it (and I have tried rebooting both with and without the power cable connected to MBA)

There is a rumor that holding the mouse button down while it reboots will work. Also that holding down the “C” key when booting might help.

Now here is what I think it happening, it is trying to eject (you can hear the drive spinning and it trying to hiccup). Apple – Support – Discussions – Disc stuck into superdrive AND won’t …

Does it sound Like it’s trying to eject? These new SDs are so thin that it is common for them to get out of alignment. The DVD rubs against the top of the case and stops ejecting. It happens often on the MacBooks and maybe this is the case with the USB drive.

With the aluminum MacBook Pros Apple ships a spatula to adjust the case. It’s under warranty so you should take it back in any case.

As an aside one strange thing is the drive doesn’t appear at all in the “System Profiler”:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=262108 and they also suggest resetting your “PRAM”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=2238 or “PMU”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303319. Most folks are just replacing the SuperDrives though on MacBook Pros as this example shows.

Intel Nehalem 20-50% faster due in 2009

Early Version of Intel’s Nehalem Benchmarked, Much Faster than Penryn – Mac Rumors

Anandtech had access to a 2.66GHz Nehalem processor which they pitted against a 2.66GHz Penryn processor. Performance improvements ranged from 20-50% faster for the Nehalem chip. h.264 video encoding was tested and saw a 44% speed boost on Nehalem vs Penryn on the equally clocked processors. They claim that the 2.66GHz Nehalem outpaces the current top-of-the-line 3.2GHz Penryn.

Early Version of Intel’s Nehalem Benchmarked, Much Faster than Penryn – Mac Rumors

Apple will certainly adopt the Nehalem processors after they become available. While the first server-grade Nehalem processors are expected in Q4 of 2008, desktop and laptop models won’t be available until sometime in 2009.