Video 02 – Cleaning up those dirty tracks!

Sort out your music collection for once and for all with the help of 2 programs for the Apple Mac.

Coverscout and Tune Up!

Enjoy

You Can Now Gift iPhone Apps

A new feature has come to iTunes: The ability to gift specific iPhone apps to other users.

On the drop-down box on each application’s page (next to the “Buy” button) there’s now an option that says “Gift This App.” From that point, you then just enter in details like name, e-mail address and the message that you want to include.

Apple has long let people gift music albums to friends, but being able to gift applications is pretty cool. There are times I really want to recommend an app to my fiance — and I know he’ll forget about it — but if I can gift it to him, we can bypass the amnesia. Hey, it’s a nice surprise AND a nice app.

It’s also a solid alternative to using iTunes Gift Cards if you just want to buy someone a certain application.

Please note, you can only give users in your country gifts — so keep that in mind, especially if you have more than one iTunes account.

Let the app gifting begin!

via You Can Now Gift iPhone Apps.

At the movies with iFlicks for the Mac

Everyone has a load of video files these days. With youtube, hulu, and BBC iPlayer providing most of the content. There some things though, that can’t be sourced through normal channels. Anything that’s good on US television has be downloaded from torrent sites. So, once you have the second season of “Life” for example, what’s the best way to get them onto your iPod/iPhone/Apple TV?

CM Capture 1

I found a nifty little program called iFlicks today. It’s not free ($18/£12), although you do get a 15 day trial. It’s ideal for importing TV shoes or Movies into itunes, and then in a format that can be played on your chosen device.

iFlicks will convert the actual video into your chosen format, find cover art, and then metadata (episode info, etc). It’s very slick, and very Apple like. The quality of conversion is great and the use of it is very intuitive.

It does have a couple of niggles though – you can’t drag files in from Finder, and it doesn’t remember where you were. So, if like me you keep all your files on an external drive or different mac, than it’s a pain to try and find the right folder again.

Apple TV: A little gem hidden away at the back of the shop

Most people don’t even know what one of these little beauties is!  No, it’s not a TV, but a little box that you plug into your TV.  There are two ways in which you can use this.

  1. The official Apple way
  2. The “hacked” way

I’ll talk about the official way today and the “hacked” way tomorrow.

So, what does it do then?

Well, if you have a computer on your home network running iTunes, this little unit (about 10 inches square and 1.5 inches high), will syncronize all your music, films, TV shows, and photos, and you can then view them on your big TV in the lounge.

What is really nice is that the Apple TV has an HDMI output so picture quality is very good. In fact you can now “rent” HD quality films from Apple TV/iTunes and watch them on your TV. In fact, as a test, I rented Xmen in HD and, after 2 minutes, told I could start watching the movie, which I proceeded to do without a stutter. ( I do have a very fast ADSL connection though – 16mb/s.)

Apple Tv Menu

Apple Tv Menu

All the music looks good, as it uses all the artwork from the music tags and you can also listen to podcasts on your TV (or indeed watch Video Podcasts).

Nice slideshows of all your photos can also be viwed, which is great for sharing with family and friends.

The spec of the Apple Tv is pretty good, and is really a sort of mini computer, but without keyboard/mouse, and a 6 button IR remote instead. It comes with either a 40gb/250gb hard drive, an NVIDIA graphics chip, wifi, and a 1ghz processor.

I chose the 40gb model because I have a wired ethernet network in the house.  If you only have wifi, you should choose the larger 250gb drive, as your whole collection can sit on it and you will not have to rely on streaming over the network.

Prices start from £199.

Amazon £3 album deal in MP3 war – Take That!

I’m a big iTunes fan. It’s convenient, it’s got loads of choice, and prices are reasonable. However, there is now a new kid on the block. Amazon are selling MP3s.

They are DRM free – meaning, there are no restrictions on how many computers, or devices, you can put the tunes on.

They are great quality – ALL Amazon music is coded at 256kps – not all iTunes music is.

They are cheap – lots of albums at £3, single tracks from 59p.

Amazon MP3 Store

Amazon MP3 Store

I tested the store by downloading a couple of tracks. An Amazon program has to be downloaded first – this looks after your music, and using this you know the status of any downloads. You can also specify where you want the music to go. There is also an option for iTunes to add any music that you download, straight into the library.

Download speed was excellent – and all artwork was correctly attached. A very easy way to buy music. The range of albums was also very good – at the time of writing – Take That’s brand new release was available for just £3. Cheaper than a closing down sale at Woolworths!

Amazon MP3 Store

Amazon £3 album deal in MP3 war | This is Money.