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MacEdition Pro News : March 20, 2003

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Mr. Music Please!

Click, bang, done.

Trinfinity Software issued three AppleScripts that help to cleanup the ID3 tags of songs in an iTunes library.

The three scripts, which are free for the taking, capitalize the first letter of each word in a song title, extract the artist name from the song title, and remove the track number from a song name.

The scripts work in iTunes 2.0.3 or later and work in Mac OS X and Classic. If you can use any or all of the scripts, just point your browser to Trinfinity’s scripts page and download them.

The request line is open

Imaja Software is running a survey page seeking ideas on which of their nine software offerings users would like to see brought to OS X.

Imaja’s stable of nine titles run the gamut from software that trains musicians to play by ear to screen savers, to productivity software and a font utility. Much of the current line up is being offered at steep discounts and works on hardware dating back to the old 68k machines running System 6.

University of the air

Those wanting a quick crash course on making your Macs more musical might want to tune in their browsers to MacRadio where this week’s archived broadcast includes a chin wag with Paul Foeckler, director of corporate marketing for Digidesign, and session musician Mike Crotty.

Well ring my chimes

What would you say if we told you there are two companies out there who have found a way to get digital audio out of a Firewire port and hook it up to a S/PDIF input on a home theater system.

Dolby Laboratories and Texas Instruments Incorporated announce they have jointly sponsored the design and development of a device that allows consumers to easily connect PCs with 1394 connectors to their home theater systems.

The Firewire(TM)-S/PDIF converter allows Dolby(R) Digital and PCM audio to be transferred from a network of IEEE 1394 devices (which may include laptops and desktop PCs) to the S/PDIF connection commonly found on today's home audio equipment.

The converter, created by Island Digital Media Group, consists of an IEEE 1394 connector at one end and a coaxial S/PDIF connector at the other. It requires no additional wires if power is available from the 1394 cable, though a DC connector is available on the device for an external power supply, if needed. The device runs on a Texas Instruments iceLynx-micro (TSB43CB43A) chip.

Now, before you go grabbing for your wallet thinking that this will hook up your digital hub sit down and take a deep breath. It seems this piece of audio goodness incorporating the invented by Apple technology so far only works on Windows XP and the new Windows Media Center operating systems.

However, if somebody were to hook up with Island Digital in a meaningful commercial relationship they’ll find Island Digital eager to sell their wares to almost any OEM vendor.

Radio of a different sort

Dog Park Software released an updated version of MacLoggerDX, adding driver support for the JRC NRD-535, introduced a new radio bits pop-up to the preferences panel, color coded log entries to indicate sent and received status and reduced the application’s overall memory footprint by incorporating compressed mapping images in the program.

I browse around

Alexander Wilson Studios has broadened its range of toolbar icons for Internet Explorer by adding a set especially created for German web surfers.

Version 4 of the icon set includes the new category: “International Flavors: German” with Germany-specific links, which were among the most requested since the last update. For future “International Flavors,” Alexander Wilson Studios is now soliciting favorite non-US sites for which Mac users would like to have toolbar icons.

The toolbar icons can be downloaded for free from the web site and are installed by simply dragging and dropping the icon in place.

Also newly released from the company is AudioBookMaker 2.0, an OS 10.2 utility which creates audio files from text documents using Jaguar’s text-to-speech technology.

Version 2 of AudioBookMaker adds approximate words-per-minute control, allowing users to both increase the speed of speech and decrease file size and length. Users may also now control the length of preview and choose whether to have numbers read normally (“100” as “one-hundred”) or as digits (“100” as “one-zero-zero”).

AudioBookMaker 2 requires Macintosh OS X 10.2 Jaguar. Users may choose to have text read by any of the operating system’s 22 voices, and may initialize the conversion by either dragging and dropping text files or by cutting and pasting the text itself. Users may also type text directly into the program.

The program costs $2.50 and payments can be made through the honor system. Upgrade pricing for owners of the previous versions of the program is $1.50.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Anybody who’s gone through elementary schooling probably remembers (albeit somewhat ruefully) parents and teachers using those cards they always had the answer on the other side.

Well, a shareware developer is making it possible for educators (and trivia fans) to recreate those effective learning tools in today’s digital age.

Studycard Studio is for teachers and students, or anyone who has something to memorize. Students can create and study their own cards and track their progress. Teachers can develop quizzes or flashcards for their students.

With fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, multiple answer, and true/false questions, users can create quizzes for a variety of material. Plus, users can create tutorials by adding informative explanations to follow wrong or correct answers.

Studycard Studio offers a unique way to specify questions and answers allowing flexible card design. Form sentences with a fill-in-the-blank directly within the sentence itself. Arrange multiple choice answers in rows or columns, or positioned around a picture.

Users can easily drag-and-drop graphics, digital photos, movies and audio into their cards. Users can format text using unlimited colors, fonts and styles. Studycard Studio supports world scripts, and international fonts so users can study, for example, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Hebrew languages.

Studycard Studio is available from Digital Meadow for US$29. A free version of the software, Studycard Studio Lite, is also posted on the site.

The glitz of the CRT screen

Mien Software released a new version of their MediaEdit Standard and Pro video editing software. MediaEdit’s key feature is the program allows the user to paint on the movie using traditional painting tools. It also incorporates an audio editor. The program has the usual bevy of effects and filters and can export to any QuickTime supported file format, or directly to a DV camera.

MediaEdit is a premiere movie and graphic editing tool that lets you add stunning effects and transitions to your movies. It is the only movie editor that works a lot like a painting program. There are over a hundred transitions and tons of cool effects to choose from. It not only edits video, but also audio. It allows you to edit individual or multiple audio tracks to make your movies dance. Its ease-of-use lets even beginners to create movies that could impress even the pros!

Mien Software also released minor updates to two other programs in its product lineup. ScreenRecord and Paintfx.

ScreenRecord is a screen capture utility that captures events on a desktop as a QuickTime movie while Paintfx is an image editor with a number of filters and supports masking.

The request line is open (part II)

e-on software is casting about for the opinion of Corel Bryce owners to find out what features they’d need to include in a upcoming version of Vue d’Esprit in order to entice those artists to their natural scenery and animation tool.

e-on software is committed to being the premier vendor of natural scenery animation and rendering tools. To that end, e-on software is sponsoring a survey for users of Corel Corporation’s Bryce. This survey is open to all Bryce owners. Five random participants who answer all questions will receive a free copy of Vue d’Esprit 4.

Those interested in responding can hook up with e-on’s survey page.

e-on recently updated Vue d’Espirt to give the program better compatibility with Mac OS X by leveraging many of Jaguar’s enhancements and adding support for OBJ, 3DS and import/export compatibility with files from Expression Tools’ Shade.

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