Screencast 17 - Magic Install Disk


During Mac Power Users episode 6, I talked about my Magic install disk. I've had lots of inquiries about exactly how I did it so here it is. This episode demonstrates how to create an external drive with all of your application installations using the built in OS X Disk Utility application and's Hazel. Enjoy.

By the way, an amazing thing is happening over on iTunes. I'm starting to get comments and ratings. Thanks everyone for taking the time. If you haven't yet, please do so. These screencasts are quite a bit of work and I'd like to see them get a bit wider distribution. Ratings and comments help that. Thanks.

Screencast 15 - email sorcery

apple mail icon.jpg

I just published my longest screencast yet. This one weighs in at 32 minutes and covers email management from top to bottom including such subjects as:

1. Pop v. iMap
2. Gmail v. MobileMe
3. Best Practices (managing your inbox and smart folders)
4. Spam
5. Archiving old mail

I put a lot of work into this one and I hope it is helpful. As usual, it is in Apple TV format. So what are you waiting for? Head over to my iTunes feed and download it.

Stepping Up the Screencasts


Recently, I've been getting a lot of email questions about some of my productivity hacks. It has inspired me to try and step things up with the screencasts. I'm now tooling up to release a series of productivity themed screencasts. The first two installments will be:

1. Email

All things email - IMAP vs. POP, dealing with Spam, archiving, best practices, plug-ins, and my filing system.

2. OmniFocus

My particular OmniFocus tips, tricks, and tweaks.

I've got a few other ideas but the above two are going to keep me busy for some time. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like covered in the above two shows or if you have any other ideas for screencasts. I'm looking forward to putting these together.

Screencast 14 - OS X Toolbar Customization

toolbar 420.png

I just published screencast #14 which explains how to customize the toolbars in your OS X applications. This screencast was inspired by my sister, Alisa and her pal Karen, who are brand new switchers and told me they understood very little of the ramblings here at Macsparky. So this screencast is aimed at the beginner and should help the listeners understand how to customize their toolbars in a variety of OS X applications. You can download it directly right here.

Screencast 12 - The OS X Dock


This screencast goes back to basics and explains usage and customization of the OS X dock along with a very nice little terminal command to give you a recent applications/recent documents icon in your dock.

I want to give special thanks to my friend Don McAllister, the godfather of Macintosh screencasting. Don showed pity on me and gave me some excellent screen resolution advice that helped make this new format look even better.

You can download it in iTunes or at the Libsyn Feed Right Here.

Screencast #11 - iTunes Smartplaylist



After a bit of a hiatus, I've got the screencast train rolling again. I rebuilt the opening graphics, moved the hosting to libsyn, and I'm now publishing in Apple TV format. Finally, I've been able to ramp up the production values a bit with ScreenFlow.

This short screencast walks you through the process of setting up a smart playlist in iTunes that will allow you to sync 50 of your favorite songs to your iPod that you haven’t listened to in the last month. The smart playlist automatically updates itself so every time you plug in, you get new music.

You can get it through iTunes or right here.

Big Changes for Macsparky Screencasts


Big changes are afoot with my screencast. I was running into a few problems with bandwidth hosting it on this site and the iTunes feed was the dinky little iPod format. I've signed up with a new host, Libsyn, which is now distributing the podcast in Apple TV format. Furthermore, I've set up a new feed in iTunes with the Apple TV format. Please go and subscribe to the new feed. There are currently two feeds but the older feed (with the smaller format) will be going away in the next few weeks. The new feed is the one that includes episode 10.

You can Download Individual Episodes Directly Here

The net result of all these changes is that you can now get the screencasts in Apple TV resolution instead of iPod format. The fiscal impact on Macsparky headquarters is that I have to pay some additional monthly fees but do not have to worry about getting hit with large bandwidth fees. I may look into a donation button or some advertising to offset that in the future but for now I'm just glad to get the increased resolution in a feed.

I hope that all made sense and thanks for subscribing. I love hearing back from happy viewers and generally ignore the unhappy ones.

Macsparky screencasts.png

Screencast Update - Preview in the Works


I've got a really nice screencast in the works addressing many of the new features in Preview. The Leopard version of Preview has some very nice editing features for both PDFs and images. This next screencast will be my longest yet and, assuming work doesn't get crazy, should publish in about a week. I'm also trying to get the feed permanently moved over to the new server. I know that should be easy but it seems to be vexing me.

Downloads Galore


One of the benefits of having plenty of server space is I no longer have to rubber band and scotch tape together ways of getting large fils to readers. I've been doing lots of back-end work on the site the last few days rebuilding links and restructuring pages. It is not completely done but getting closer. The good news is several items are much easier to access now.

Screencasts - All Resolutions, All Day

I now have the screencasts formatted for HD, AppleTV, and iPod and all conveniently available on the screencast page

Humpty Dumpty Revisited

I've edited the Humpty Dumpty entry. That was where I gave the law talk and Keynote to my fifth grader's class. For all those teachers and parents interested in using this, I now have the PDF file, the Keynote and (for those OS X challenged) a clickable quicktime file for the Dell boxes. Who knows, when they see the fantastic Keynote transitions, maybe a few of them will come to the light side. Gone are the days of me sending these files to people via Pando. Now you can find them right here.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Screencast 6 - MagiCal

macSparky SC

There has been a brief hiatus in screencasts as a result of me having so much fun with the new iWork suite, vacation, and a lot of personal and professional commitments. Nevertheless, here is #6 in which I walk you through installation and set up of an excellent menubar clock/calendar replacement, MagiCal. Special thanks to Darren Rolfe at for helping me get the logo into a Final Cut friendly format. Enjoy!

 You can Download it Directly Right Here

or better yet subscribe in the iTunes store

Macsparky Screencasts

Review - iShowU


One of the things I quickly gravitated to after joining the world of macintosh, was screencasts. In case you've never seen one, a screencast is essentially a moving screen capture. These are a sort of on-screen video where some generous soul walks you through the operation of a specific application or nuance of OS X. There are some excellent podcasts that do this along with a few other folks who just post them on their websites.

While making screencasts to help fellow mac users understand their computers is great, there are a lot of other good reasons for a screencast. For instance, if you are having some strange application behavior, why not screencast it and send it to the developer. I've written those long convoluted developer emails and I'm betting if I had just sent a screencast things would have been easier for everyone involved. Or perhaps you have a friend who needs some gentle persuasion why OS X is the way to go. Make a screencast of yourself using iLife and send it to him. Another example would be to make a private tutorial, like to show your Mac Mom how to attach a picture to an email. Really the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

While I have been enjoying these screencasts for sometime now, I never really thought much about making one myself. Frankly, I had no clue how this is even possible. That is, until I started playing with iShowU.

This application, which can be found at takes all of the work out of screencasting. It is a snap to use. The interface satisfies the Jekyll and Hyde in all of us Mac users. That is, while iShowU initially strikes you with its simplicity, before long you realize it is also very customizable. When you open it up the left side has a slew of presets that make screencasting as easy as picking a self explanatory preset and pressing "Record". Alternatively, the right side of the interface has a series of self describing buttons that allows you a variety of options for fine tuning the resolution, quality, audio, and export codec just to name a few. In very little time you'll find yourself either using one of the many presets or perhaps tweaking it just a bit and then you are off to the races. The output options are very versatile and you can make a file as big and pretty as the job requires. Tweaking the frame rate and compression type, it doesn't take long to find out what works for you.

Once you start recording, you are free to roam your mouse over the screen while dictating into your mac with a running narration. It doesn't overly tax your processor and doesn't get in the way. As a test I ran it on top of Garageband, which can be resource heavy, and iShowU hung in there like a champ. One nice feature is the setting to allow the camera to follow your mouse. This way you can make a high resolution file with a smaller screen.

If you need a screencapture tool, iShowU will get the job done with very little work on your behalf. By including multiple presets, the developer gives you the ability to immediately use the program while still giving you a large degree of control. If you don't need a screencapture utility, I still recomend you give this a try. You'll be amazed at the ways you can use this application. Shinywhitebox has a demo available on its website. A license will run you just $20 and I think it is an excellent value.

Using iShowU, I can easily see myself adding a few screencasts to in the future. While I'm not sure I can do them to the high standards of some of the regular screencasters out there, I certainly can see small clips to demonstrate some interesting feature.