Posted Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mac Miscellany: EyeTV to iPod Export, Creating Books in Aperture, Fluid Mask for Photoshop, and Travels with My New PowerBook

Grab your bag, because here comes a grab bag of items.

My EyeTV export instructions don't work. So say a couple of correspondents. As I mentioned in my post of October 14, I don't have a fifth-generation (5G) iPod yet, and I got those instructions from the folks at Elgato Systems—and they didn't have a 5G iPod at the time, either.

As they might say in Berkeley, it was a case of the visually impaired individual leading the visually impaired individual.

Elgato Systems has posted a vague tech support blurb on its site, but it isn't all that useful. Here's hoping the promised EyeTV software update with direct iPod support arrives soon.

In the meantime, my 5G iPod-owning friends, I ask: Have you tried the Automator action that I wrote about last week? That might do the trick. I don't have a 5G iPod yet, so I remain visually impaired. Or video-impaired. Or both.

Aperture will print high-resolution books. With iPhoto, you can, too. According to a reader comment on Macintouch, the book-layout features in Apple's forthcoming Aperture imaging program will print images at a resolution of 300 dots per inch.

That's twice the resolution used for most iPhoto book formats. (iPhoto prints the small, pocket-sized books at 300 dpi, but all other sizes print at 150 dpi.) Apple's own tech specs page for Aperture does indeed tout "high-resolution book printing," so that seems to validate the Macintouch reader's comment.

But remember, iPhoto users: you can hack iPhoto's preferences file to enable 300-dpi printing. Instructions here.

Masking made (a little) easier. I'm reviewing a Photoshop plug-in for Macworld called Fluid Mask. It's designed to simplify the arduous process of creating masks and cut-outs in Photoshop.

I've posted one of my experiments on Flickr; I'll link to my review when it appears on

A new baby on the way. After a few years of slogging along with a 667Mhz PowerBook G4, I took the plunge and ordered a new 15-inch PowerBook G4 last week. I was waiting for Apple to bump up the processor speed (weren't we all?!), but my old Titanium is gasping for life and I have a big trip coming up in December, so it was time.

I did the build-to-order thing, upgrading to the 100GB, 7200-rpm hard drive. With disk-intensive programs, 5400-rpm laptop hard drives can be the weak link in the performance chain, and the 7200-rpm drive should give a nice performance boost. It should really help with GarageBand multitracking.

According to FedEx, my PowerBook shipped from Shanghai a couple of days ago, and after taking in the sights in Anchorage, Alaska, it decided to jet over to Indianapolis, Indiana before heading west to Northern California.

I'll update you on its travels next week.