Although this month's Mac 911 fails to turn straw into gold, water into wine, or frogs into princes, it does offer slightly less-miraculous methods for converting your old Netscape bookmarks into bookmarks for the current Netscape, turning slide shows into Web pages, and dividing drawn-out discourses.
Change of Address
I've collected several hundred URLs in Netscape 4.7 by dragging and dropping the small icons at the left end of the Location field onto the desktop (where they turn into bookmark files). Then I upgraded to Netscape 7. Now when I double-click on one of the old icons, it opens as a file in Netscape, rather than directing my browser to the site. Is there a way to convert my older bookmarks to work with Netscape 7?
-- A. E. Siegman, Stanford, California
There is. Download, install, and launch a copy of Alco Blom's $25 URL Manager Pro ( www.url-manager .com ). Create a new folder by selecting New Folder from the Bookmarks menu, and give it an intuitive name such as Convert. Drag your URLs into this folder and, once they appear, drag them right out again. This converts them into Web Internet Location files. Double-click on one of these files, and your default Web browser will launch and whisk you to the Web site associated with that URL.
I read an article in a recent issue of PC Magazine that described how to create an HTML file with relative links to photos on a CD-ROM. It contained a lot of HTML code. Is there an easier way to do this on the Mac?
-- John Peterson, Manhattan Beach, California
This can be more difficult on a PC because of Windows' insistence on assigning letters to media drives and hard drives. If you use Windows' regular file shortcuts, they may point to the pictures on the PC's hard drive rather than to the files you've burned to the disc.
And that, dear John, is Why Windows Stinks: Reason 9,862. There's no need to write a single smidgen of HTML code to accomplish this task on a Mac. Just launch iPhoto 2, select the photos you'd like to add to your disc, and select the Export command from iPhoto's File menu. In the resulting Export Photos window, click on the Web Page tab and enter a title for your photo album in the Title field (MyCoolPix, for example). If you care to, change the settings for the number of columns and rows of pictures, as well as for the size of the thumbnails and images, on the HTML pages iPhoto generates. Click on the Export button; in the sheet that appears, create a new folder to store the HTML files in. Select this new folder and click on OK. Your collection of photos will be saved as a series of HTML index files that display thumbnails of your pictures, as well as folders that contain those thumbnails and the full image files.
Insert a blank CD, copy the folder you created to the CD, and burn the CD. To browse the finished CD, simply shove it into a Mac or a PC and double-click on the index page (which, using the earlier example, would be called MyCoolPix.html). The computer's default browser will open, revealing the first page of the index, replete with thumbnails of your pictures. Click on a thumbnail to view the full image.
When I make an iMovie film, I like to archive it to DV tape. I occasionally need to edit an archived movie, but when I capture it into iMovie, the program automatically divides it into clips. Is there any way to make iMovie capture the movie into a single video clip?
-- Jeffrey Johnston, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
It depends on the length of your video. iMovie creates new clips when it detects a scene change -- a convenient feature when you capture raw footage, but not desirable in your situation. Thankfully, you can easily put an end to this automatic clip creation. Just select Preferences from the iMovie 3 menu and deselect the Automatically Start New Clip At Scene Break option.
This may not completely free you from multiple clips. iMovie limits clips to 2GB (which works out to 9 minutes, 28 seconds, and 2 frames). If your video exceeds this length, iMovie automatically creates a new clip when it reaches the 2GB limit.
We record the ministers in our church and then transfer the resulting audio files to a Mac, so we can make CD copies for members. We'd like to insert a break in the audio every 10 minutes, so members can choose a point at which to start listening. Is there a program that inserts such breaks automatically?
-- Stan Bemel, Portland, Oregon
I'd tackle such a project by dividing the sermons into separate, 10-minute audio files and then burning those files -- in order -- to CD. Creating such audio files is a cinch with HairerSoft's $25 Amadeus II ( www.hairersoft.com/amadeus.html ).
Just open the sound file in Amadeus (it can read AIFF, WAV, and MP3 files) and select Generate Marks from the Selection menu. In the resulting Generate Marks window, enter 10'00"000 in the Time Interval field to create markers that appear every 10 minutes in the track. Enter something in the Text field that hints at the contents of the files -- Sermon1, for example. Click on OK to dismiss the window.
From the same Selection menu, choose Split According To Marks. Click on OK in the Split window that appears. In the resulting Save As sheet, designate a location for your split files, select AIFF from the Format pop-up menu, and click on Save. Amadeus will split your file into 10-minute increments and sequentially number the segments -- Sermon1 01, Sermon1 02, and Sermon1 03, for example.
Load these segments into iTunes and then into a playlist, ensure that they're in the proper order, and burn them to disc.
Is there any way to connect a number of tunes in iTunes, for background music behind a long slide show?
-- Bill Semplice, Wethersfield, Connecticut
I haven't found a slide-show application that can do this. However, there's no reason you couldn't stitch together the tunes you'd like to play during your slide show. The free way to do this is to import into iMovie 3 the songs you want to join.
Click on the Audio button in iMovie and drag the songs you want to string together into iMovie's timeline (these songs can be in any audio format iTunes supports, including the protected AAC files you purchase from the iTunes Music Store). Select Export from iMovie's File menu, and in the iMovie: Export window that appears, select To QuickTime from the Export pop-up menu. Choose Expert Settings from the Formats pop-up menu and click on the Export button. In the resulting Save Exported File As window, choose Sound To AIFF from the Export pop-up menu; then name and save the file. Your tunes are now contained in a single audio file you can use to accompany your slide show.
If you're willing to convert your slide show into a QuickTime movie, you can create the entire slide show in iMovie. Add nothing except still clips to your movie, drag the song files you want to use into iMovie's soundtrack, adjust the length of the still pictures so they fit the length of your soundtrack, and then export your creation as a QuickTime movie.
Tip of the Month
Having your Mac read text documents to you is a great way to proofread your writing -- you're more likely to notice mistakes when you hear them. The Services command in OS X's Finder menu offers a Speech command from which you can choose Start Speaking Text, but this service works only in applications such as Apple's TextEdit, Safari, and Mail. If you're using Microsoft Word, the service is unavailable. Although you could copy and paste your Word document into TextEdit, there's a simple way to hear your text within its original application.
Open the Speech preference pane, click on the Spoken User Interface tab, and enable the Selected Text When The Key Is Pressed option. Click on Change Key, and enter a keyboard command for activating text-to-speech (choose a key combination your applications don't use). Once you've set this up, you can select the text in any application and press your keyboard command to hear the text read aloud. Press the keyboard command again to stop it.
-- Garrick Chow, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
When you select multiple picture files numbered in a series -- Picture 01, Picture 02, and Picture 03, for example -- and double-click on them, Preview doesn't display them in order. There are two ways to make the pictures appear in sequence: You can open a folder full of pictures in column view, select them all, and double click on them. You can also launch Preview, press 1-O to produce the Open dialog box, navigate to your pictures, 1-click on the pictures you want to view, and click on Open. With either method, the thumbnails will appear in the proper order.