Mac 911

Reindex Spotlight

How can I make Spotlight start over with its indexing, or at least force it to reindex a particular volume, without reinstalling Tiger?—Steve Osborn

If you can’t find what you’re looking for when you search with Spotlight, you may want to create a new index of your hard disk. But try a couple of things first: use Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities) to repair your file permissions, in case mucked-up permissions are the problem. (Launch the program, select the disk from the list, and click on Repair Disk Permissions.) Also, if you’ve recently indexed the drive, wait another day or so. Spotlight might not have finished indexing the drive even though you’ve been able to use it.

If your searches still don’t work, then try this: Open the Spotlight preference pane, click on the Privacy tab, click on the plus sign (+), and add the volume you want to reindex. Wait about five minutes, select the volume in the Privacy list, and click on the minus sign (-) to remove it. Spotlight will index the volume again from the ground up.

Give Slide Shows a Voice

Is it possible to add voice annotations to photos in an iPhoto picture album and then transfer the images to DVDs?—Roland Maltais

iPhoto doesn’t allow you to record audio comments and attach them to pictures. However, there are a couple of fairly laborious ways to do what you desire.

Use Prerecorded Narration The first way is to create an iPhoto 5 slide show that fits a prerecorded narration file. Begin by assembling a slide show in iPhoto. Then open iMovie or GarageBand and record an audio track that describes, in sequence, the pictures that appear in your slide show. Make a note of how long each picture’s comment lasts and leave a couple of seconds of silence between each comment. Import this audio track into iTunes.

Return to iPhoto, select your slide show from the Source list, choose the first slide in the slide show, and click on the Adjust button. In the Adjust This Slide window, adjust the length of time the slide plays so that it matches the timing of the comment you recorded (see screenshot). Repeat this procedure for each slide. Click on the Music button at the bottom of the iPhoto window, and in the pane that appears, choose the audio narration track you created. Select Share: Send To iDVD. Your slide show with synchronized commentary will be sent to iDVD, where you can then burn it to disc.

Use QuickTime Pro Record each comment as a separate audio file in GarageBand or an audio editor such as the free Audacity. Open one of the audio files in QuickTime Pro ($30), and then open the image you want associated with it. Press Command-A to select the entire image and then Command-C to copy it. Click on the audio file to make it active and choose Edit: Add To Selection & Scale (this command is called Add Scaled in versions of QuickTime Player Pro prior to version 7). This makes the image display for as long as the audio file plays. Repeat this process for each slide and comment. Create a new QuickTime movie, and copy and paste each slide you created into that new movie. The last step is to drag the completed movie into iDVD and burn it.

After completing either process, pray that Apple adds a voice-annotation feature to iPhoto so you never have to do it again.

Upgrade or Trade Up?

I have a Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics) with 320MB of RAM and a 10GB hard drive running Mac OS 8.6. I use Microsoft Office 98, Outlook Express, and a few games, and I have a dial-up connection to the Internet. I’d like to add a second hard drive, install OS X, and use Virtual PC 7.0 with a current version of Windows. Will using OS X cause a noticeable drop in performance? If so, is a processor upgrade worth it, or should I look for a new Mac?—Keith Thomas

Yes, you will notice a difference in performance when you move from the old Mac operating system to OS X. When I use my Mac that’s still capable of booting into OS 9, I’m astounded by how much more responsive it is in the old OS. Of course, I’m quickly brought back to earth when I recall that I can’t perform simultaneous tasks in the old OS.

Setting performance aside for the moment, let’s look at the cost of what you’re proposing. At press time, a 1GHz processor upgrade from Sonnet Technologies costs $400, a 120GB ATA hard drive costs about $85, OS X 10.4 (Tiger) will run you $129, and Microsoft’s Virtual PC 7 will set you back another $129. My Calculator widget tells me you’ll be putting $743 into this old Mac.

Compare that with the $499 price tag of a new 1.25GHz Mac mini, which comes with OS X installed. You already have a keyboard, a monitor, and a mouse that will work with the mini. I’d configure the mini with 512MB of RAM and upgrade to an 80GB hard drive—you’ll want the extra RAM because 256MB just isn’t enough to get the best performance from OS X, and a 40GB hard drive will be cramped if you play games and run Virtual PC. Apple charges $75 and $50 for these upgrades, respectively. Virtual PC will still cost you $129. So a mini, a hard drive, and Virtual PC add up to $753.

For $10 more than your proposed upgrade, you can have a brand-new computer that will offer better performance than your old, upgraded Power Mac. I’d feel a bit better if you also put a copy of Microsoft Office 2004 on this machine, but you can get along by running your version of Office in the Classic environment (you should switch your e-mail client to Apple’s Mail, however, as no version of Outlook Express exists for OS X).

If it appeared that you required a more open Mac—one in which you could add PCI cards or additional internal hard drives—the decision wouldn’t be so easy to make. But your needs appear to be modest enough that I’m comfortable saying, “Out with the old and in with the new!”

Bugging iMovie

In iMovie, is there any way I can put a little bug—like the ones TV stations use—in the corner of my movie?—From the Macworld.com forums

iMovie lacks an effect that lets you watermark your movie with an on-screen logo, but you can create this effect with a third-party matte plug-in. If you’re the type who likes to shop à la carte, give cf/x’s Picture in Clip (Static) plug-in ($1.50) a try. It lets you place a picture saved at any size, and in just about any graphics format, into your movie. You can also distort the picture and change its transparency. The company sells a Multiple Movie plug-in ($3.50) that lets you create video bugs, too. (Both plug-ins work with iMovie 3, 4, and HD.)

For a full-course meal that includes other useful plug-ins, try GeeThree’s Matte-tastic plug-in, part of its Slick Transitions and Effects Volume Four—Hollywood Edition ($50). (This plug-in works with iMovie 2 through HD.) Like the cf/x plug-in, Matte-tastic supports a variety of graphics formats, allows you to size the bug, and lets you set its transparency. This plug-in also enables you to use not only static graphics files but also QuickTime video files. This edition of Slick Transitions and Effects includes useful effects such as VidMix, a tool for performing blue-screen tricks; Picture in Picture; Split Screen; and SlickMotion, a supercharged Ken Burns effect.

Work Wirelessly

I have a DSL connection running into my Power Mac G4 and would like to use a wireless link to an iMac about 30 feet away. Right now I’ve got an Ethernet cable running between the two but would like to eliminate it. What options do I have?—Art Ritchie

Probably the least-expensive option is to purchase a $79 Apple AirPort Extreme card for the iMac and a wireless router for the Power Mac. Companies such as Linksys, Netgear, and D-Link offer 802.11g wireless routers that cost between $50 and $80. Run the DSL connection into the router’s WAN port, string an Ethernet cable between the Power Mac and one of the router’s LAN ports (these routers usually have four such ports), and access the router’s Internet connection via the AirPort card you’ve installed in the iMac.

Alternatively, you can add an AirPort Extreme card to each Mac. Connect the DSL modem to the Power Mac’s Ethernet port, open the Sharing preference pane on the Power Mac, and click on the Internet tab. Choose Built-in Ethernet from the Share Your Connection From pop-up menu. Then enable the AirPort option in the To Computers Using list. Click on the Start button. Run over to the iMac, and you’ll discover that your Power Mac appears under the AirPort menu. Choose it from the menu and start sharing its connection to the Internet.

Switch for Switchers

I am mainly a Mac user, but I need to use a PC sometimes. I don’t want to take up desk space with two keyboards, so I’m looking for a KVM switch that will let me use a Mac keyboard to emulate a PC keyboard. Can you recommend one?—Robert Sena

You don’t necessarily need to seek an exotic KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch for this. (A KVM switch lets you control multiple computers from a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse.) You just need to configure Windows so that its keyboard mapping matches your keyboard’s physical layout. There are a couple of choices. The first is RandyRants.com’s free SharpKeys 1.1, a Windows registry hack that makes certain keys on a keyboard act like other keys. The second is AppleK Pro’s $25 Apple Keyboard driver for Windows, a driver for Windows that supports Apple’s USB keyboards (among others).

[ Contributing Editor Christopher Breen is the editor in chief of Playlistmag.com and the author of Secrets of the iPod and iTunes , fifth edition (Peachpit Press, 2005). ]

Adjust the timing of iPhoto 5 slides to match audio annotations.

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