Tag: iTunes

HOWTO: Create iTunes audiobooks from MP3s

I’ve been getting into audiobooks recently, but have been frustrated that they’ve been in MP3 format. I want them in iTunes audiobook format!* This article explained most of what I cover in the screencast below, but I’m delighted to have figured out how to use Automator on Mac OSX to make the file-renaming a whole lot less tedious… 🙂

*As I explain in the video, having them in audiobook format rather than MP3 allows you to ‘bookmark’ a chapter if you don’t finish it. With MP3s you would have to start from the beginning again or fast-forward…

Podcasting: Step 3 – Converting and uploading your podcast ready for the masses!

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Before reading this, you should have gone through the steps indicated in these two posts:

In this last part of the Podcasting guide, we’re going to convert our audio masterpiece to a format suitable for mobile audio players and the Internet, and make it available as a podcast! This will involve 3 steps:

1. Converting your audio to MP3

2. Sending your MP3 file to your blog

3. Getting your students/colleagues to subscribe to your podcast

To get started, follow the guide below! 🙂

I’ll tell you this for free…

…put yer money away!*

This post was prompted, in part, by a wonderful recent presentation by Merlin Mann’s entitled How To Blog and its horror-inducing first few slides.

I’ve been contacted in the past week by two separate individuals who wanted to place paid advertisements on my sites. The first offered $150 for 6 text-link ads at the end of blog posts on the now-defunct teaching.mrbelshaw.co.uk. I presume this is because these appear near the top of Google search rankings for certain keywords. The second was simply exploring the possibility of paid adverts on this blog.

I said no to both on principle. You may find that strange, as I’ve had Google and iTunes ads on my sites before.** Well, yes, but I’ve realised the error of my ways! As has been pointed out to me by several people, adverts on a personal blog make people question your impartiality and just don’t look very professional. I’ve taken these points on board. The only advertising on my sites now can be found at historyshareforum.com to help cover hosting and bandwidth costs. :-p

So you can be sure that when I recommend certain products and services, I’m not being paid the individuals or companies behind them. Transparency is key.

The only thing I’m now struggling with now is revealing which school I work at. In the past I’ve made sure I don’t say where I work to keep the professional and personal completely separate. In a connected online world, however, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Take elearnr, for example. This is a blog I’ve set up to share links, resources and guides I create in my new role as E-Learning Staff Tutor. Whilst I mention names of members of staff on there, I haven’t – as yet – said which school I’m talking about. I’m torn between what it will mean for this blog, and being completely transparent with the other.

I’d appreciate your thoughts and comments. 🙂

*Watch this YouTube video clip of Peter Kay if you don’t get what I’m talking about…

** I apologise you can see an iTunes ad in the sidebar, I’ve tried several times to get rid of it using K2’s sidebar manager, but it just won’t budge! 🙁

(image by Joseph Robertson @ Flickr)

Sync any type of video (DivX, Xvid, etc.) with an AppleTV

AppleTVMy ongoing saga with the refurbished AppleTV I bought continues. After hacking v1.1 of the firmware that came as standard on the unit, I then upgraded it to v2.0 as soon as it came out. Currently I can transfer files via SSH directly to the device (instructions on how to do that here) and play pretty much anything, as I’ve installed the Perian plugin for Quicktime.

What I want is something like XBMC which I’ve got installed on my old Xbox. With that I can play almost any type of media directly from my NAS drive (an unmodified Buffalo Linkstation). I’ve tried following the instructions in the Take 2 Full Update Procedure on the AwkwardTV wiki, but to no avail; I still get errors when I try to access network shares from my AppleTV. 🙁

For the moment, I’ve found a workaround. It’s an AppleScript that basically fools the AppleTV into thinking it’s a standard .mov file that it can play out-of-the-box. I followed the instructions here, but all you really need to do is:

  1. Download and unzip AppleTV Fooler (backup copy here).
  2. Drop a video file onto the AppleTV Fooler AppleScript.
  3. Drag-and-drop the new version of your video file into ‘Movies’ in iTunes.
  4. Sync with your AppleTV.

That should do it. Any problems, just comment! 😀

Amazon MP3 launches, not for UK

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Amazon.com have launched a Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free online music store. Unlike Apple’s iTunes music store, music can be played on any device and, wait for it… it’s actually cheaper per song! Although the number of tracks available is currently somewhat limited, more music is likely to be added soon.

I’d love to buy music from Amazon MP3, but I can’t. It would seem you have to be a US citizen to purchase music in this way as I was unable to using my current credit card billing address. Hopefully it will be extended to Amazon UK soon. Read more →

Run Doug run

I went a run this morning – my first since Ben was born. I usually listen to the MP3s stored on a ‘running’ playlist on my mobile phone in shuffle mode, but seeing as it’s the first one I’ve been on since I got my new phone, I was looking for another option. I ended up listening to a podcast from Podrunner, a free 1-hour mix of music at a set BPM (beats per minute).

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