Category Archives: iOS

FlippedBITS: Four Password Myths

Are your passwords strong enough to resist an automated attack? If you believe any of several common password myths, they may not be. In this installment of FlippedBITS, Joe Kissell examines a few of the most dangerous myths about password security and explains smarter and safer practices.

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from TidBITS: Apple News for the Rest of Us


Mountain Lion Server May Look Limited, But It Still Has Enterprise Bones [Feature]

Appearances can be deceiving. Mountain Lion Server still has solid enterprise capabilities.

Apple has released two documents about Mountain Lion Server ahead of this month’s Mountain Lion (and Mountain Lion Server) launch. The first, a 25 page product guide, offered a some insights into the changes and new features that Apple wants to highlight for customers. The second is Apple’s Advanced Administration guide, an in-depth document that would be nearly 400 pages is it were printed or packaged as a PDF. This guide is the full documentation for Mountain Lion Server and it offers a lot of information about all the changes that Apple has made since Lion Server shipped last summer.

On the surface, these two guides are enough to make longtime OS X Server administrators nervous at Apple’s removal of the advanced admin tools and features that have been in nearly every previous OS X Server release. It’s very easy to look at the contents of the Advanced Administration guide and assume Apple is completing the consumerization of its server platform.

Digging a bit deeper, however, reveals that Apple may actually have a winning strategy in the way that it continues to integrate iOS and Mac management into a single workflow and that not all of the capabilities from previous iterations of OS X Server have been scrapped.

Let’s start with the bad news. Server Admin and Workgroup Manager are indeed gone. The Server app and web-based Profile Manager, both introduced in Lion Server, are now the primary administration tools.

The long running Mac client management system known as Manager Preferences, which was largely administered using Workgroup Manager, appears to be gone as well.

All in all, it looks like the OS X Server that many Mac IT folks are familiar with is gone and isn’t coming back. Without a doubt the familiar tools and user interfaces are gone, but much of the functionality still seems to be there.

One of the biggest questions is whether or not Apple has ditched Open Directory, the native directory service in OS X. With the push for Active Directory integration and the apparent focus of Mountain Lion Server as a small business tool, a natural assumption is that Open Directory might be deprecated and its functionality significantly reduced. That doesn’t seem to be the case. The guide contains references to all the advanced capabilities of Open Directory including support directory replication and locales (both major enterprise features), the ability to create multiple domains and multi-domain search policies, and the ability for Mac clients to be integrated with both Open Directory and Active Directory domains.

Profile Manager is the new Workgroup Manager. That seems pretty clear from looking at both documents from Apple. Many of the options that were previously set using Workgroup Manager (such as removable media access restrictions, Dock settings, and a custom login window on managed Macs) are now listed as items that can be set using Profile Manager. That implies that one of the tasks Apple did between Lion and Mountain Lion was shifting the client management data out of Open Directory and into Profile Manager. That would be a logical process (and one assumes straightforward) since Managed Preferences data is stored as XML data and that Configuration Profiles created and used by Profile Manager are essentially just XML files.

Centralizing Mac client and iOS device management in a single tool makes a great deal of sense. It allows administrators to visualize and work with user, group, device, and Mac policies in a single interface. That eliminates a lot of redundancy and makes it easier to avoid and troubleshoot mistakes.

Profile Manager has two other big advantages over Workgroup Manager. Being web-based, Profile Manager allows IT professionals to administer Mac client and iOS device management from virtually any computer or device they want. A Mac admin workstation is no longer required.

The second bit advantage is that Apple developed a self-service portal for users as part of Profile Manager. That means an administrator can create the needed profiles and associate them with user accounts, Macs, or iOS devices (or groups of them) and users can enroll whatever devices they want to use for work. Any settings, apps, or restrictions are then propagated without no further effort on the part of IT.

Some enterprise services are still there, but somewhat disguised. One example is RADIUS authentication. RADIUS is a network service that allows users to connect to Wi-Fi networks using the username and password. That makes life easier for users, but it has a lot of value as a security tool because there is no single password that is shared with everyone who uses the network. In the Advanced Administration guide, RADIUS is referenced, but its initial reference is described as “Manage Wi-Fi” – that’s something easily missed if you’re looking for the name RADIUS.

In the end, the story of Mountain Lion Server may not be about Apple hobbling of its server platform by removing its enterprise capabilities. Instead, it might be about how Apple has taken those capabilities and created a new interface that makes them much more accessible.

Source: Apple

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TinkerLearn Promises To Help You Easily Learn iOS Development

Until now, it’s been relatively difficult to make an app for iOS without a considerable amount work learning how to write code. Mysterious Trousers, the developers of apps such as Calvetica Calendar and Dialvetica Contacts want to change all of that with a new tool they call TinkerLearn. In a nutshell, TinkerLearn helps you learn code with real example apps.

To use TinkerLearn, you’ll need Apple’s Xcode software, which is available for free in the Mac App Store. With Xcode installed, you’ll download a real, working application that you can tinker with. As you make changes to the app, it’s easy to see what you’ve changed.

TinkerLearn walks you through the code, helping you understand what is going on. You can buy a variety of lessons such as Buttons, Tips, Shapes, Browser, Todos, and Events, ranging from $1.99 to $5.99. Each lesson helps you learn a new skill, and one  is included for free.

To see exactly what TinkerLearn is all about, Mysterious Trousers has a promotional video you can take a look at:

Source: TinkerLearn Via: AppAdvice

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Mixdown And Share Your Musical Genius With GarageBand for iPad [iOS Tips]

Sounds sweet, right?

Recording a musical masterpiece with GarageBand for iPad is fairly straightforward, especially when using the “smart” instruments together to layer a song together. However, if you don’t get the music out of your iPad, no one will hear it. If no one hears it, how will you know how amazing it is? Let’s take a look at some basic mixing and sharing features of GarageBand for iPad.

When you finally finish recording your Smart Bass, Smart Drums, Smart Keyboard (and, yes, Smart Strings as in the screenshot above), and Smart Guitar parts, it’s time to mix that baby down and then get it out to the rest of the internet.

Open the song you’ve been working with this week and tap on the Track button in the upper part of the screen, just to the left of the transport controls (the start from bar one, play, and record buttons). You’ll then be able to see the multiple tracks you’ve recorded. They’ll all be green, as the smart instruments in GarageBand are MIDI performances controlled by software, not recorded samples, which would be blue colored.

If the volume sliders are not visible like the screenshot above, swipe on one of the instruments to the right, and the sliders will appear. Hit the play triangle at the top of your iPad’s screen, and then move the sliders left or right for each track until they sound right to you. Drums, especially the snare, should be loudest, along with any melodic instruments you want your listeners to pay attention to. The other harmonic instrumentation, like soft strings or padded out synths, can be quieter, just to set the mood. The important thing is to have dynamics – make sure not all the instruments are playing at top volume – unless that’s the effect you want, of course.

Soundcloud Options

Once you’ve mixed to your heart’s and ear’s content, it’s time to share your music with the world. Tap on the My Songs button in the upper left. This will take you to the song browser, where you will tap on the Edit button in the upper right. The rectangular previews of your song files will start the iOS wiggle. Tap on the song you want to share, and then tap on the familiar iOS sharing button, the one that looks like a square with an arrow popping out to the right of it.

Your options here are to share to Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud, iTunes (where you can import your tracks into GarageBand for Mac as well as Logic, a more professional audio package), or send via email. You’ll need logins for each of the services, of course, in order to send your music there. Login with the required service credentials, tap through the various options buttons, including quality of compression in the options for internet services like SoundCloud.

And bam! You’ve just recorded, mixed down, and shared some music created by your very own self, right from your iPad. For a look at what someone who obviously can play an instrument can do with GarageBand, I offer you this, your moment of zen:

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Record A Potentially Award-Winning Podcast With GarageBand [OS X Tips]

GarageBand is not only a full featured recording studio, a highly capable MIDI synth station, an electronica musician’s dream, or a place to record full songs without a day of music lessons. It’s also fantastic software for podcasting. GarageBand makes creating a podcast easy and fun.

Back in the heady days of the early 2000s, I recorded and distributed a podcast of my own, called The ANC Podcast. It was a short internet radio show that focused on local music in Anchorage, Ak, where I had recently relocated to. I spent some time working on the craft of creating a podcast, and let me tell you, GarageBand makes it much easier than it really has any right to be. Most of the podcasters I know use a Macintosh and GarageBand to get their internet audio show on, including the Insomnia Radio Daily Dose, The Portable Podcast, and The Touch Of Gaming Podcast, just to name (drop) a few.

To start your own GarageBand media empire, launch GarageBand ’11 on your Mac and create a new project. If you’re already in GarageBand, choose New from the File menu, then click on New Project from the project browser window. Click on Podcast from the available options, then the Choose button, and then name/save your podcast episode – GarageBand will open up it’s podcast-y goodness to you.

GarageBand will open with a special template just for podcasting, with a track pre-populated with sound profiles for a Male voice, a Female voice, and a track for jingles. On the right, you’ll see the media browsing pane. Click on the loop browser button (far lower right corner, looks like a loop of tape) to bring up the jingles, stingers, and sound effects browser. When inserted correctly, these will make your podcast sound more like a professional radio show than a basement recording. Not that there’s anything wrong with recording from the basement.

Click into the male or female voice track, depending on your voice type, and hit the red record button. Speak into your built in or external microphone naturally and normally, and record your content. Head over to the loop browser pane, and click on Jingles. Garageband has several to choose from, and categorizes them as Cinematic, Country, Electronic, Jass, Orchestral and more, so you can find just the right mood to set at the beginning of your podcast. Once you choose a Jingle, drage it to the left side of GarageBand, into the Jingles track.

Now click on Stingers. These are the little sounds that come in under audio titles, or between sections of a podcast. Find one that fits your podcast theme, and drag it over in the appropriate place underneath the tracks already containing music. A new track will be created, called Stingers.

Building your podcast with just these few components will take your podcast to the next level. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next podcast to be featured in the new app for iOS? Either way, you’ll have a ton of fun making a podcast with GarageBand, and it will help you focus on content, not on audio engineering. Though, of course, that will help, too.

Let us know how it goes in the comments below.

from Cult of Mac

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Sweeten Your Tunes With Smart Keys And Smart Guitar In GarageBand For iPad [iOS Tips]

Once you’ve laid down a solid rhythmic foundation with your drums and your bass, it’s time to sweeten things up with some different sounds, like guitar or keyboards. GarageBand for iPad makes this sincerely easy, with Smart Keys and Smart Guitar, letting you widen the range of harmonic counterpoint in any arrangement, regardless of any experience with real instruments.

All the work is done by your iPad and the GarageBand app, just like with the Smart Bass and Smart Drums functionality discussed earlier. Simply launch GarageBand for iPad and follow the steps below, and you’ll be listening to your own sweet tunes in your own sweet time.

Once GarageBand is launched, you’ll want to get to the Instruments section, which is accessed via a button in the upper left of the screen. Tap that, and you’ll be able to swipe left or right through the different musical instrument pictures. Let’s start with some keys, using the Smart Keyboard. Tap the icon of the keyboard keys encircled by a gear icon.

Set up your tune the same way as with Smart Bass, turning the AutoPlay setting to a number between one and four. Choose the type of keyboard you want to have play from the eight choices available, from Grand Piano to Classic Rock Organ to a variety of funky synths. Each keyboard will have a few different options, so feel free to play around with them. If you’ve been creating a whole song along with us, you’ll have drums and bass tracks to have GarageBand play along to. Tap the columns along the top half of the rows to play the right hand, and the smaller column sections along the bottom half of the rows to play the left. WHen you’re ready to keep your performance, hit the red Record button at the top and have at it.

Next, tap on the Instruments button again, but this time swipe over to and choose Smart Guitar. Things should start to feel familiar, with the same type of instrument choice interface in the upper left, and AutoPlay options to set up. Hit play on the transport toolbar at the top, and tap along with the same chords you used in the rest of your song. But now, let’s try something a little more advanced.

Switch the toggle on the right side from Chords to Notes. You’ll see what looks like a regular guitar neck come up on the iPad screen. Tap the strings between the vertical lines, called frets, to hear guitar notes. Now, assuming you’re not a guitar player, but you want to sound like one, tap on the Scales button that’s discretely placed in the upper right corner of the fretboard. Choose a scale style you want to play with (I grabbed Major Pentatonic) and your fretboard will turn into a more stylized version of itself. Now, tap on the strings in the resulting rectangles. Each rectangle to the right will be the next note in a scale along the same string. Tap in one of the highlighted rectangles and drag your finger to the right all the way to the next highlighted area to the right. Sounds like a guitar solo, right? Mess around with this over your backing tracks and you’ll be surprised what you’ll be able to come up with, regardless of your guitar experience in the real world. Pro tip? The strings can be bent, or moved up and down to create vibrato. Sweet skeuomorphism, eh?

Save your song by tapping out to the My Songs list, and you’re ready to roll.

from Cult of Mac

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Create An Electronica Masterpiece With GarageBand [OS X Tips]

Make yer own block-rockin beats!

GarageBand for Mac OS X is a full recording studio for your Mac. It allows musicians to connect microphones, guitars, basses, and other instruments for a fully analog recording session. It has MIDI playback and recording capabilities as well, allowing anyone with a MIDI capable keyboard to record right along with those instruments.

One of the less-touted features, however, is the Loops section. GarageBand comes with pre-recorded MIDI and sampled audio that fit together in various ways. Without knowing to play a single instrument, you can create amazing sounding music with GarageBand, simply using Loops.

The first step is to bring up the GarageBand Loops browser. Start GarageBand and select New Project in the start window. If you’re already in GarageBand with another project open, select New Project from the File menu to get this window. Click on Loops, and then on the Choose button in the lower right. Name your file something you’ll remember, and file it somewhere where you can find it again. Desktop, anyone?

The familiar GarageBand window will open. This time, however, the Loop browser will show up in the right hand pane. Note the different filter buttons at the top of this browser pane. Click on a musical style, like Rock/Blues, Urban, or World from the left column of filters, or click on the type of instrumentation in the column just to the right, filtering the list to only show Loops containing specific instruments, like Guitars, Piano, Synths, Bass, etc. The next two columns to the right are filters for tone and mood, filtering for loops Apple has categorized as Relaxed, Grooving, Melodic, Dissonant, etc.

Click the buttons to filter the list of available GarageBand Loops. For our example here, click on Electronic in the filter list. If you see the Column browser, or the Jingles, Stingers, or Sound Effects browser, click on the little musical notation item in the tab buttons in the upper left of the Loops pane.

Click on Beats in the second column, and click on any of the beats to listen to them. I chose Club Dance Beat for my song. Once you find one you like, click and drag the Beat’s name over to the Tracks window. A new track will appear, and a big green Plus button will show up. Drag your beat loop over to the far left, to start on the first measure. Drop the beat there. Hover the mouse over the upper right corner of the resulting green rectangle and you’ll see the extend cursor; it looks like a round arrow. Click and drag the corner, and GarageBand will extend out the Loop, with visual cues as to the beginning and end of each loop section.

Now, in the Filter list, click on Beats to reset the buttons. Click on Synths, and repeat the above process. Mix and match as you will, but create a new track for each new sound. It will make things easier to edit later. Once you find a synth track you like, filter to Bass loops, and bring a nice grooving bassline over. I was able to create the six track loop-based snippet in the screenshot above in about 5 minutes.

If you want to hear the whole thing put together, click the Play triangle at the bottom. You can also set the Cycle/Loop button so GarageBand only plays the section you’re working on, over and over. That helps get into the groove of your masterpiece.

If nothing else, I find this sort of creative activity calming, soothing, and a great way to make a couple of hours disappear. Your mileage may vary, but give it a shot, and share links to your music with us below, if you can.

from Cult of Mac

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Lay Down A Fat Smart Bass Track With GarageBand For iPad [iOS Tips]

With GarageBand for the iPad, Apple has brought an inexpensive, very powerful music recording studio right to your favorite mobile device. This fantastic $5.00 app lets anyone with an iPad create, record, and enjoy making music, even if they have little experience with recording software or musical instruments.

With a killer beat in place, it’s time to add the second (mostly unsung) hero of modern music: the bass. Whether your tastes run to big, fat and bottom heavy or to quick, snappy and distorted, GarageBand has you covered. With GarageBand for iPad, you can create bass tracks that sound incredibly good with very little knowledge or expertise. Let’s take a look at the simplest way to do just that: Smart Bass.

Smart Bass allows you to play the four string instrument without any previous experience. I prefer to put down a bass track on top of some drums, but your preference may vary. If you choose to put drums down first, use your example from yesterday’s tip, or add a quick drum loop that stretches across eight measures. Then tap on the Instruments at the top of the screen to select Smart Bass. You may need to swipe left or right to find it. Once you do, though, tap it to open it up in your song.

Notice that the default view shows you a bass instrument in the upper left corner, typically the Liverpool style bss made famous by Sir Paul McCartney. Tap on the picture to choose one of the other eight bass sound choices. I grabbed Picked for this example. The background of the bass guitar changes to the bass instrument you chose, which is super fun.

Tap the Play triangle at the top of the screen to get your drum tracks rolling, and then take a look at the bass screen. There’s a toggle switch that lets more advanced bass players tap representations of the bass strings as they might on a real bass. Make sure the silver toggle switch is set to Chords. A new option shows up, and the strings disappear. The AutoPlay option allows up to four different patterns to play when you tap in the column under the chord names. Tapping on a new column changes the notes the bass will autoplay, while changing the number in the autoplay section will change the arpeggiation of those notes. If you turn off AutoPlay, the bass strings come back up, even with the keyboard bass sounds. Odd, but it makes sense. The strings will now play one of four notes within an arpeggio, but only when you tap them

Choose a bass sound, then one of the AutoPlay options that best fits with your drum track, then hit the red Record button at the top of the screen. Tap the chording columns in time with the music, and GarageBand will record the changes as you tap them out. Swipe across the measure ruler on the top to switch over to a new eight bars to record over. Repeat until your song is filled with sexy bass and drums. You did it!

Feel free to share links to songs you’re creating along the way – we’d love to hear them.

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Create Ringtones And Other Alert Sounds Easily And Quickly With GarageBand [OS X Tips]

Ringtones, right? How can you be the coolest kid on the bus without your own custom ringtone? You can’t, that’s how.

With GarageBand ’11, it’s very simple to make one, and we’re here to show you how.

All you need is the latest copy of GarageBand, iTunes 7.5 or later, a Mac that runs OS X, and some music. Oh, and an iPhone, of course. You can use music that you create with Magic GarageBand, record yourself all fancy-like, or import an MP3 track to GarageBand to make your ringtone. Here’s how.

Once you’ve decided what music you want for your custom ringtone, click on the Cycle button in the Transport control area (it looks like an oval made out of arrows). Then, click on the little icon to the left of the LCD-style panel. It will have a musical note, a clock, a tuner, or a metronome icon there. Set it to Time, the little clock icon. This will make the display show minutes and seconds, rather than bars and beats.

Click in the area just above the music you’re using. Adjust the cycle (loop) area to cover the part of the song you want as your ringtone. You can change the length of the song by dragging either end left or right. Grab it from the middle to move it around. If you can’t find the bright yellow loop/cycle section, go to the very beginning of your music: it defaults to the first measure.

Adjust the cycle area to a maximum 40 seconds for ringtones, or 30 seconds for other iOS alert sounds, like for Text Tones, New Mail, and the like. Save the project and name it whatever you want to call your ringtone. I suggest Phillip, but you can choose this one.

Head up to the Share menu and choose Send to iTunes. Sync your new ringtone to your iPhone in the typical way.

Now you can rock your thrash metal band’s latest single when your Aunt Tillie calls from home to tell you that you forgot the lunch she packed for you.

Share your custom ringtones with us below. If you dare.

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Create A Musical Masterpiece With Magic GarageBand [OS X Tips]

GarageBand '11 OS X

GarageBand for OS X changed the way mere mortals create great music on their Macs. The latest version, GarageBand ’11, makes things even easier with Magic GarageBand. Essentially, this will guide you through the steps needed to create a great music track for video projects, ringtones, or just your own music to share with family and friends. Here’s how to begin your journey.


Firstly, open GarageBand ’11 and click on the Magic GarageBand icon in the left-hand pane. There will be nine icons in the area to the right, each representing a different musical genre. To listen to each track, hover over the specific icon you want to hear and click on the Preview button that appears.

Once you’ve decided on a musical style, it’s time to click the chosen icon and head onto the stage. GarageBand will lay out all the instruments that it’s chosen for that given song. It may take a couple of minutes to load all the instruments and sounds, depending on your Mac’s CPU speed and RAM.

Once it’s all loaded, click on the triangular play button at the bottom of the screen to preview the whole song. First, note that the front instrument is supposed to be the instrument you’re playing, like a keyboard or connected guitar. If you’re not playing an instrument, click on it and then click on the No Instrument button at the bottom of the window, to make it disappear.

Hover over each of the other instruments on the stage, and a spotlight will appear, plus the name of the instrument. Click on an instrument and the other options for that music track will show up at the bottom of the window. Click on the drums, for example, and the other drum kits will show up. Click on one of them while the music is playing to hear the difference it will make to the overall mix. It may take a measure or two for the new instrument to find its way into the mix, so be patient.

Once you’ve customized all the instruments, it’s time to Open in GarageBand. Click on the button that says that same thing, and GarageBand will open to the full track recording experience. In here, you can change the levels, the balance, and any other crazy thing you can think of. You can drag the sections around at the top of the window, too, by clicking on the title bar (Verse, Bridge, Ending, etc.) and dragging it to where you want it.

See what you did there? You created a song in under ten minutes, right? Hit the Share menu and choose how you want to send this masterpiece out. Choose one of the sharing options to get the song from the editable stage to a more final stage, whether you want to make a ringtone for your iPhone or burn the song to a CD.

How are you using Magic GarageBand on your Mac? Let us know in the comments below.

from Cult of Mac

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