Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

Top 10 iPad App (Essentials)…

I have been using the iPad for a while now & the experience keeps getting more awesome every day. After it was launched the iPad didn’t have many native Apps (apart from the regular Apple apps) a thing which has changed over the course of the year. Apple has made it easier for the developers to make universal Apps & thus we see the explosion of iPad Apps in the market. Now there’s an App for anything & everything. The iPad has changed the way we look at tablets and most of its success goes to the millions of useful( and some not so useful) Apps out there. I thought I would share some of the Apps I use on a regular basis…

10 ) IM+ (Free)

We all have our contacts scattered across different instant messaging services & using a different client for each one is a big pain. On the Mac/PC there are several great options to do so like Trillian, Digsby, Adium and so on. IM+ bring all the features of a regular multi-messenger to a portable platfom. With IM+ you will stay connected to your friends, family and business contacts anytime and anywhere. All-in-one communication tool at your fingertips, plus text, voice, video and picture messages for free. And most importantly its FREE (well at least the basis version which has most of the features is). The App is not a port of the iPhone version & beings a fresh new interface design to the iPad.

9 ) xbmc (Free, Requires Jailbreak)

xbmc is a great App for all your Media needs. Tired of converting media and putting it on your iPad. Well with xbmc you can access all your videos & music without any transfer. It uses UPnP streaming to stream all your favorite content to your iPad & does a great job at it. Check out my previous post on how to set up xbmc on your iPad.

8 ) Files Connect (Paid)

Transferring via iTunes is a big “PAIN”. You need to drag & drop select files to select Apps to open them. Files Connect offers a solution to this & so much more. Just download the App, enable sharing on your Mac/PC and you are done. You can copy files to & from your iPad with a few clicks. It offers you to create folders & organize your content. The best thing I like about this App is that it gives you the option to open the file you just copied with any App on your iPad that supports that particular file format. It also gives you a neat preview of the file( if its a pdf or a doc file). You also get the option of connecting with your Dropbox, SugarSync & GoogleDocs account from within the App for easy transfers. This is one of those Apps which lets you do it all.

7 ) Opera mini (Free)

Opera mini has been around for a long time for the iPhone & iPod touch. Recently a new revamped version has been released specially keeping the iPad in mind. Opera fans will feel right at home & people who use firefox or chrome on their desktop or laptop will get a refreshing change from the default Safari. The browser claims to be aroung 6 times faster & performs reasonably well on slow networks. The settings tab has an “image quality” option which changed to help load graphic intensive sites faster on a slow connection ( It actually works). Other features include tabbed browsing( way better than Safari), bookmark sync, a quick share option etc.. One option which i dearly missed is Opera Turbo but I guess it will be added in subsequent releases.

6 ) WinterBoard (Free, Requires Jailbreak)

All of us are big fans of customization. This is one app which lets you apply custom themes to your iPad (yes who can make you iPad look like the “HELM controls of USS Enterprise”). You can choose from thousands of custom themes and tweak each setting to your delight. If you need to make your iPad look cooler than your neighbor’s than this is the App for you.

5) Stanza

A lot of us use the iPad as an e-book reader i.e. a Kindle or Nook substitute. Although you won’t get the strain free feel of an e-ink display most reader Apps do the job pretty well. Where Stanza stands out is its ability to combine a simple reading interface with a lot of customizations. You can customize the background theme (like change the paper type ), the fonts and a whole lot more. A huge selection of e-books are available for download free of cost from sources like Project Gutenberg. It does PDFs well too. And yeah one more thing, its much easier on the battery the google reader or kindle reader.

Converting Photos to Sketches for free…

Not all of us are photoshop gurus & sometimes need an easier alternative. In this post I will discuss quick & easy photo manipulation techniques, be it applying filters or removing a Red Eye. I will keep adding to the post as the discover more ways to do so. You are more than welcome to share any tricks & know-hows.

linesmART ( Mac OSX only – freeware)

This is one of the most awesome ways to quickly give your photos a make over. This tool can give your photos a painting or sketch effect. Great for converting those simple landscape shots into something amazing. Great for family photos too. There are five paramaters to tinker with: Intensity, Exposure, Saturation, Contrast & Brightness. So start tinkering and get those awesome results in no time.

Check this out. With linesmART you can cook something similar in a manner on minutes.

pixlr-o-matic (cloud)

Pixlr offers an online photo-editing tool which is pretty good but what they also offer is an awesome filter tool which allows you to add about a “MILLION” effects to your photos with a few simple clicks. Remember the photo apps we use to have on our camera phones with which we could put our friends face on the cover of TIME or put them behind bars. Well this is that and much more. Simply upload the photo, chose the filters which are pre-divided into sets & let it work its magic.

How to configure XBMC to stream video/music to ipad…

   

Ok here we go… I know lot of people are giving Media Centers a real thought cause of all the gadgets lying around their house. May be u want to check out a cooking video in your kitchen, watch a podcast or two while you answer nature’s call or just check out a video without sitting down and browsing through your collection on your PC/MAC. Well this “How to” will help you achieve all that and more. For this tutorial I will use XBMC on my Mac to stream the content to my ipad running the XBMC IOS app ( find via Cydia: Links below).

Things You need.

Hardware:

  • A wireless router that supports UPnP ( “Universal plug & play” which most routers support these day).
  • A PC/MAC to host the media center application ( if you are rich- which I am not- you could always go get a Media center box with Wifi like Boxee or something).
  • A device to stream content to (duhhhhh… obviously).

Software:

  • Any Media Center application will do. Try XBMC if you haven’t. Its free and looks cool too.
  • You will also need the XBMC app for your iDevice.

Steps:

  1. Install the Media Center application on your computer.
  2. Now you need to add your content to the media center library. Start the application & go to Video>File>Add Source. Click the Browse button and select the directory where your videos are stored. Click ok. You can use the Add button to add more sources. Keep clicking Ok until you are back to the main menu.
  3. Now you can go back to videos and check if your content folder has been added. Right click the folder and select “Set Content from the menu. Select the type of content. Make sure the “Run automated Scan” & “Scan Recursively” buttons are pressed.
  4. Good work your content is now added or being added to the library. You can browse the content folder and assign info to the various video if you like.
  5. You can turn on Library Mode from the Left popup menu to enjoy a visual spread of your content.
  6. Repeat the same for your music collection.
  7. With all your content added go to the “System” Tab on the main screen.
  8. Go to “Network” tab inside System and press the “Share video and music libraries through UPnP. You are all done on the Computer part.
  9. Now install the XBMC app on your iDevice via Cydia( or whatever other way you use). If you can’t find Cydia on your device you are a fool cause Cydia only comes with jailbreak ( Completely legal if you are wondering).
  10. After you are done. Connect your device to the same network as your computer(Media Center). Fire up the XBMC app.
  11. Go to Videos>Add source. Click Browse and select “UPnP Devices”.
  12. You should see your Media sever along with its IP( Don’t see it: Make sure your computer is connected to your wifi and the application is running on it).
  13. Now its just a matter of Browsing to your content and selecting the proper folders where all your dirty (mostly illegal ) videos are stored.
  14. Enjoy… Keep in mind the app is a battery drainer.

Some useful links:

How to use Home share on your iDevice

I was looking for a way to stream content (mainly video) from my Mac to my ipad. I mainly use VLC as my primary video player so when I found out there was an app named VLC Streamer I was over joyed and thought all my streamig problems would end. Alas! the buffering just took too damn long. The app gives you lots of options (bit rate & what not) and you don’t have to convert videos to iTunes specific format but there is considerable lag even for non HD videos ( I wasn’t brave enough to try HD videos). So when I read about Home Share I was eager to try it. I have been told that its been around since iTunes 9 but I never got around to use it. This post helps you set up Home Share on you iTunes(Mac/PC) which acts as the source and on your iDevice.

Make sure both devices are connected to the same WiFi connection.

 iTunes 10.2 or later Setup (PC/Mac)

  • Start up iTunes & go to the Advanced menu.
  • Turn on Home Sharing
  • Enter your Apple ID credentials.

 iDevice Setup (iPad/iPhone/iPod with iOs 4.3)

  • Go to Settings>iPod.
  • Under the Home Sharing section enter your Apple ID credentials.

Thats all there is to it.

Now to access the content simply go to the iPod app and select the library you want to connect to.

Enjoy…