Apple’s latest desktop operating system, OS X 10.11 (also known as El Capitan) was officially launched a couple of days ago, bringing exciting new features such as the new system-wide San Francisco font, full screen split view and Safari 9. However, us music types would be well advised to avoid upgrading for the moment, as it would appear that this particular upgrade is causing more than the usual number of compatibility issues for third-party audio plug-in developers.
Reports are flying all over the web that plug-ins from heavyweight manufacturers such as Native Instruments, Arturia, and Waves are failing validation when used with Logic Pro X on El Capitan, with Waves advising users not to upgrade until compatibility can be confirmed. Hopefully this should take days rather than weeks, but if you run any non-Apple plugins on your system, make sure you check compatibility before you take the plunge.
Issue 109 of iCreate is now available at all decent outlets, and this month I’ve contributed the cover feature! Eight info-packed pages all about how you can get your hands on equivalent functionality to eight of Mountain Lion’s best features right now, without having to wait until the official launch scheduled for later his month.
Besides which, if, like me, you find yourself in the position of having hardware that falls just outside the minimum specs for Apple’s latest version of OS X, you’ll be pleased to note that most of these substitute features are available to users of older machines. And if you’re unsure whether or not your Mac cuts Mountain Lion’s mustard, there’s a handy compatibility table in the article to let you know whether or not you’re able to upgrade when the time comes.
So pick up a copy and get the lowdown on how to replicate Sharing Sheets, Notification Center, Documents in the Cloud, GateKeeper, AirPlay Mirroring, Messages, Notes and Reminders, and get them on your Mac today!
Another new issue of iCreate magazine hit the stores last week. Issue 106 contains a total of 6 pages from me, all in the shape of GarageBand and OS X tutorials.
Kicking off on page 48, I show you how to use GarageBand’s Groove Match feature to tighten up the timing of wayward audio and MIDI tracks. This is a really useful feature that can improve your project’s groove with a click of your mouse.
Elsewhere in the issue, page 74 features a tutorial for OS X Mail about how to tighten up your junk mail filter to prevent your inbox filling up with spam, while over on page 76 I demonstrate how to set up and use Mail’s Smart Mailbox feature, a really simple yet effective way of keeping your messages organised and easy to find.
Lots of other great stuff from the iCreate team in this issue too, including a definitive 16-page guide to the new iPad, an exploration of the new features found in Mountain Lion, and tutorials for iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand for iOS.
A bit of a geeky one this – although I’m not sure how that’s going to make it any different from all the other posts here – but I found a solution today for a Mac OS-based issue that’s been bugging me for a while now, ever since I upgraded to Lion. For some reason known only to themselves, Apple have decided to make the User library folder in OS X 10.7 invisible from the Finder. When you browse to Mac HD > Users > username and try to access the Library folder, it just isn’t there. It always used to be, but now it seems that Apple think that the average Mac user is far too stupid to be granted access to this particular folder. This can make things awkward if you want to do stuff like delete a rogue preference file, manually install an AU plug-in or access any of the Application Support folders contained therein.
Until this morning, this was only slightly irksome, but when I urgently needed to delete an unwanted file from the folder where my iWork templates are stored, it suddenly became an issue for which I had to go hunting for a solution. This turned out to be so surprisingly simple, while at the same time completely counter-intuitive, that I decided to post it here for anyone with a similar issue.
To access the hidden user library folder in OS X 10.7, here’s what you do.
1. Hold down your Mac’s Alt (Option) key.
2. In the Finder’s ‘Go’ menu, click ‘Library’
3. You’re in!
Notice that, if you release the Alt key while the ‘Go’ menu is open, the Library option disappears. Why we now have to jump through hoops to get to this particular bit of our hard drives is anybody’s guess, but you do have to wonder why Apple don’t let users know why they’ve done this, and how to get around it when you really need to.
Now I just need to find a way to rearrange the items in the Finder sidebar so I don’t have to scroll down to eject my external drive, and figure out why the Help browser always floats above all other open windows, no matter which app is in the foreground. Then my post-Lion life will be complete.
Another issue of iCreate
rolls off the presses and into your local news emporia this week, and I have a total of eight pages
of tutorial stuff in this month’s issue, evenly split between OS X
topics. In keeping with the issue’s main theme of WiFi networking
, I show you how to share both a wired internet connection
and another computer’s optical drive
across a wireless network. Elsewhere, on a musical tip, I focus on using free AudioUnit plug-ins
from third-party manufacturers in GarageBand, rounding off with a couple of pages covering how to master your tracks
once you’ve finished recording and mixing them.
Good to see Imagine Publishing getting the year off to a cracking start with another feature-packed issue of iCreate magazine hitting the shelves this week. All the hours I put in before Christmas have resulted in a total of eight pages from me in this month’s issue. On page 40 you’ll find a 4-page mega-tutorial on how to use GarageBand to score your iMovie projects, while elsewhere in the issue I demonstrate how to customise the toolbar in Mac OS X’s Mail app and how to create your own Dashboard widgets using Safari webclips. All useful stuff, especially when combined with the brilliant cover feature detailing 50 secret tips for iLife. If you want to see more, get down to your newsagent or subscribe to the digital version via Newsstand.
Issue 102 of iCreate magazine hits the shelves today, just in time for Christmas, haha. Unusually this month, I’ve been reviewing stuff rather than telling you how to use stuff. Page 120 is where you’ll find my comprehensive 2-page review of IK Multimedia’s astounding iRig MIDI. This is a proper MIDI interface for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, if you can believe it. It’s the size of a Zippo lighter and means that you can hook up a full size MIDI keyboard to your iPhone, or swap things around and use your phone as a multi-touch MIDI controller. My last MIDI interface was a 19″ wide rackmounted unit, so I look upon this device with almost religious awe and wonderment.
Elsewhere in the issue, I get to have a play with Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac. Another amazing bit of kit, this allows you to fire up a virtual PC running Windows on your Mac, but does it so that you can switch and transfer files and data back and forth seamlessly between Windows and OS X applications, with no restarts required. After a while, you forget it’s there, it’s incredible technology. If you regularly need to access Windows software and documents but prefer using a Mac, this is your answer right here.
Issue 101 of iCreate hits the news stands today! This month I have a hefty 6-page feature about ways to make Lion faster – other than dressing up like an antelope and dancing around in front of its face that is. You’ll find the feature on page 64 🙂