Thursday, February 26, 2009

Working on the new Safari

If you haven't updated yet, check out Safari Beta 4, available now for download at the Apple website.

I installed it last night and I must say it's performing really great. The sites are loading much faster than they do in my Firefox. I love the Top Sites, which is somewhat the default "homepage" when you load Safari or open a new tab. It's like Cover Flow for your browser, and it looks so sleek and smooth. As you browse, Safari will note the sites you most often visit and put in on your top sites. You can edit it and pin the sites you most visit so that Safari won't change it.

I've yet to see the other changes Safari has for this release, but so far I'm loving it.

OSX Leopard users would have to update their system to 10.5.6 as well as to the new Security update. Took me a few minutes to run all that before I could install Safari.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tech updates

I recently updated my Yahoo Messenger on my MacBook. It's now Version 3.0 Beta 4 (156957).

Changes? Well, I changed my font color, and noticed that when I opened a new chat window, the colors are automatically on. Today, when I signed in, the colors are still there so that's definitely a good change!

However, my avatar's gone when I signed in. Even when I tried to change it, it's still blank.

My DSL is up and running fine now, thanks to my brother's insistence in having a technician come over to get it fixed. I hope this will stick, because I'm really sick of dealing with a very bad quality service.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ready to go!

In the past year, Drew and I have discussed the possibility of creating our own podcast. It took a while for us to even try to go on Skype for a test call, to the point that we managed to drag several of our friends to join in the fun. We found that we could all carry a decent and clear conversation, it's the recording part that's another story.

I've been unofficially given the job of being the technician, in charge of recording and cleaning up the files before sharing it with the world. So far, I had been unsuccessful in finding methods in recording the calls clearly and cheaply (read: free).

My searches choked up tons of software on Windows, both free and not. With Mac, it was a bit more tough, but there were workarounds. Often it involved using more than one software, which was daunting at first.

The first how-to that I found was courtesy of The Clever Sheep. I downloaded the required apps, configured them the same way and tried calling my sister (who was sitting across from me that time). It worked, or so I thought. When I tried recording a call with Drew, it didn't work... and I couldn't make it work.

I did a few more searches, most of which required me to buy a software. One offered using Garage Band with Line-In and Soundflower, but I don't know how to use GB, so that failed as well.

Finally, last night, I stumbled across a page from Make magazine (Issue 2, published by O'Reily) on how to make your own podcast. Their list of software were what I already have, which was great. I copied the instructions to my index card pad, configured the settings for each program, called Drew and... it worked.

I still don't get how it works, technically, but since it does, I don't even bother to try figure it out so long as it keeps working. I am just surprised that I can actually hear myself through my headset, whereas normally, when I talk I just hear the other person. The effect of this set-up is much like that of an actual radio recording, where you can hear yourself as the audience (will) hear you, allowing you to moderate your voice if needed.

Here are my settings:


Line In

Don't forget to click "Pass Thru". This is the feature that will allow you to hear your own voice from your headset, and will make the mic seem extra-sensitive in picking up sound.


For Soundflower, choose "Built-in Output" for the channel you are using. I left the sound preferences of my Mac on default (and besides, I couldn't seem to change it).

According to the guide, if it doesn't work, change the channel to 16ch instead of 2ch. Also, you may want to vary the order of programs you open. Lastly, try another recording program.

So far, this set-up works when I call Echo123 (Skype's test service) and that one call with my friend Drew. Hopefully, it'll continue to work.