By Collin Allen


April 11, 2005

While I’m on the topic of converting audio, I though I’d mention EasyWMA. It’s an often overlooked application for the Mac which converts WMA audio files to MP3 and WAV format, making them much more Mac-friendly. It’s as simple as a drag-and-drop operation to convert your audio files from one to the other.

Do note, though, that converting from one “lossy” format to another means that there may be some degradation of audio quality. It’s unlikely to be noticeable if you’re converting from, say, 320 Kbps WMA to 128 or 160 Kbps MP3, but it’s still there. Personally, I’ve never noticed a change at all, but I’m far from an audiophile.

If quality isn’t of the absolute utmost importance (which it’s unlikely to be if you’re even dealing with WMA and MP3 files in the first place), EasyWMA provides an idiot-proof way to juggle the audio formats so you can play WMA files in iTunes.

Convert M1A to AIFF

April 11, 2005

While converting a video to another format, I found it necessary to split apart an MPEG-2 file into it’s separate audio and video parts: an MPEG-1 audio file (.m1a) and an MPEG-2 video file (.m2v). QuickTime can convert MPEG-2 to another format, but couldn’t do much with an MPEG-1 audio file. After some searching, I found a utility that happily converts .m1a to .aiff, MAD audio encoder.

From that site:

Mad is a high Quality Open-Source Audio encoder Library. It encodes mp3, mp2 and others to aiff or cdda and others. This is particulary interesting, if you want to edit a mpeg file in quicktime or import an mpeg into FCP or DVD-Studio.

Dealing with Bin/Cue Files on a Mac

April 10, 2005

Once in a while you run across CD images in the format of a .bin file and .cue file. These are CDRWin images which can’t (as far as I know) be easily read on the Mac. A little shortcut I found is to open the .cue file with Toast as if you were going to burn it, which Toast can do, but choose File, Save As Disc Image instead. Toast will prompt you for the location to save the disc image, then dump the file there. Drop the resulting .toast file into Toast’s Disc Image section and hit Mount, and the data from the disc image (and thus the original .bin/.cue image) will be mounted on your Mac without burning them to a CD or DVD first. It’s a bit of a long way around, but it works, and might save you a CD-R.


April 9, 2005

Eavesdrop is a network tool which lets you watch TCP connections and record the conversation. I find it useful for watching what kind of information certain programs are sending/receiving for the purposes of duplicating that conversation with another program. I did something like this in my post about BitTorrent info scraping, only not with Eavesdrop, as the program I was watching is a Windows application. It’s quite handy if you’re curious what’s going on between your applications and the rest of the internet.

Invert iTunes Music Store Links

April 8, 2005

This tip has been around since Apple introduced links to the iTunes Music Store from your own music library (version 4.5?), but I always find the need to do it on any new OS X install. Normally, clicking the grey iTunes link arrow takes you to the iTunes Music Store right from your music library, but I hardly ever want to do that. Luckily, someone at Apple thought of this too, and included a hidden setting that lets you browse your own music library using those links. To change the behavior from linking to the Music Store to linking to your own library, quit iTunes and enter the following in the Terminal:

defaults write invertStoreLinks -bool YES</code>

Upon relaunching iTunes, clicking the grey arrows will now narrow your music library to the selection you made, as opposed to whisking you off the the Music Store. If you ever need to search the Music Store using those arrows, hold down the Option key to temporarily change the behavior back. Read more about this hint on

(For iTunes under Windows, hold Control to invert behavior. I’m not sure how to make the change “stick” on Windows, though…)