Video: Join audiobook tracks for iTunes

My wife listens to a lot of audiobooks on CD—or more precisely, audiobooks originating CD that she converts for her iPhone. I listen to a few too—as well as full-cast audioplays. The problem is, iTunes is designed to import music CDs. So it defaults to bringing in every single CD track as its own file. A single book can end up being comprised of 200 individual tracks!

The good news is, there are a few different approaches to simplify your iTunes library. There’s a little-known iTunes command that will save you a long time if you haven’t begun the CD ripping process. The free utility Join Together will join iTunes files together after the fact. And users of Roxio’s Toast may be unaware that it includes a nifty audiobook-ripping tool of its own.

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Configuring Mail's rules

Many of us live and die by email, and because we do it makes sense to organize that email so that you can quickly find the messages you need. One way to organize email is to create filters or rules to automatically file it as it’s received. In this week’s Macworld Video I show you how to do just that.

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Share files with Dropbox

Email’s nice for sharing the occasional holiday photo or short story, but what to do when you need to share something more substantial? In this Macworld Video tip, we explain how to set up a Dropbox account so that you can exchange files of all sizes with your friends and family.

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Create custom iPhone alert sounds with GarageBand

Apple’s iOS devices come preloaded with a handful of alert sounds that you can use for ringtones and, as of iOS 5, for text messages, voicemails, reminders, and more. But maybe you want something more distinctive: a snippet of your favorite song, a clip from a classic movie, the whoosh of a materializing TARDIS?

No problem. Using GarageBand ( ) on your Mac, you can quickly turn any sound file into an alert sound for your iOS device; then you won’t have to check your phone every time you hear one of those default iPhone ringtones in a crowded café. Follow along with this week’s Macworld video tip to see how.

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Control iTunes from the keyboard with Take Five and SizzlingKeys

I like to listen to music while I work, but I don’t like needing to switch back to the iTunes app whenever I want to change tracks. I also have a bad habit of pausing music—say, when my boss calls—and then not realizing until quitting time that I’ve spent the rest of my day in silence, after forgetting to resume my tunes.

By using a tandem of Take Five ( ) and SizzlingKeys ( ), I get the full playback control I crave, and the automatic un-pausing I need. I’ll show you how in this week’s Macworld video tip:

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Set up custom iPhone email alerts with Boxcar and Gmail

Sure, you can set your iPhone to chime when you get new mail. But if you get a lot of mail, like I do, it's not very helpful. What you really want is a notification when you get important mail from important people. So that's just what I created, using a few Gmail filters and an iPhone app called Boxcar.

If you get a lot of mail and use a mail service with server-side rules, such as Gmail, you can do it too. Let me show you how in this week's Macworld video tip.

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