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Articles by Christopher Smith

    I use my Mac for writing TV themes

    at 03:00pm April 2 2013

    We talk to musician Dan McGrath about using Macs to write music for the stars. MacFormat: Tell us a little about what you do for a living. Daniel McGrath: I co-write television themes and produce music with Josh Phillips. MF: What soundtracks will people most likely know you guys from? DM: Strictly Come Dancing, Alan Carr, Hairy Bikers, Shooting Stars, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, and the BBC/Lloyd Webber star-search…

    Friday Q&A: Speakers gone silent

    at 12:06pm March 29 2013

    Q. I have an iMac G5, which I bought in 2008, and it is my absolute pride and joy. Unfortunately the internal speakers do not work anymore. I have been in the MIDI setup and nothing works. What is an iMac without its speakers? Why hasn’t Apple got a knowledge-base where one can search for solutions? Clicking on internal speakers in System Preferences, the input level keeps flashing. Please help! Jackie…

    I use my Mac for making music

    at 02:00pm March 26 2013

    TV and radio performer Adam Buxton uses GarageBand to record his latest album. MacFormat: What’s your favourite Mac? Adam Buxton: I love my MacBook Pro, and I run everything off it when doing gigs. I try and be as compact and mobile as possible – I cycle everywhere, even taking the bike on the train, so it’s perfect for me. MF: What’s the idea behind the new Adam and Joe album? AB: Song Wars was a thing…

    I use my Mac for writing comedy

    at 01:00pm March 19 2013

    Television comedian Dom Joly reveals his favourite apps and shouts at some Apple gear. MacFormat: Why use a Mac and not a PC? Dom Joly: Stupid question. They are sexier, sleeker, shinier and better. I once kicked a sound man off a shoot for using a PC. MF: What are your favourite or most-used apps and why? What do you use them for? DJ: On my iPhone I use Angry Birds, Fragger and Flick Football to keep myself…

    Friday Q&A: Disappearing Dock

    at 01:59pm March 15 2013

    Q. I set my Dock to auto-hide, which is great, but I noticed that it seems to reserve a few pixels of space so when you maximise a window it doesn’t fill. You can move the window and resize to fill all the screen, but I can’t seem to get it to use the space naturally and I’m wondering if you can find a solution. A. This problem probably arises…

    I use my Mac for recording music

    at 12:00pm March 12 2013

    Classical music producer Alexander van Ingen uses his iPad to keep in perfect pitch MacFormat: Who do you record music on your Mac with? Alexander Van Ingen: I have worked regularly with major UK orchestras, including the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestra, to record some of their major performances. I also work with orchestras and ensembles in Russia, Kazakhstan, India, and further afield. MF: Why a Mac and not a PC? AVI: Although our primary recording systems are based on…

    Friday Q&A: My iSight can’t see

    at 01:16pm March 8 2013

    Q. Suddenly the iSight camera on my Mac has stopped working. The red light never comes on when it should and all I get with iChat, Photobooth and FaceTime is a black window. Skype’s video option has since been greyed out. I have had the error message ‘camera is in use by another application’ when nothing is running, even when I’ve just switched it on. An internet search suggests the…

    I use my Mac for creating user focused software

    at 11:00am March 5 2013

    MacFormat talks to software designer and programmer Matt Gemmell. MacFormat: Why do you program for Apple products? Matt Gemmell: My job is to create software that’s easy and pleasant to use. The same philosophy permeates Apple’s hardware and software design. The company isn’t focused on technology as such, but rather on the people who use it. That’s an enlightened view and one which I very much share. MF: Why Mac and not Windows? MG: The Mac developer community is small…

    Friday Q&A: Using an iPad in Presentations

    at 12:40pm March 1 2013

    Q. I have a MacBook, which I use for giving presentations using Keynote or PowerPoint, and an overhead projector. I want to be able to annotate notes while giving presentations, but without being tied to the MacBook. Previously I have used my MacBook with a USB tablet, but I am now looking for a way to walk around with my iPad and drive the MacBook presentation while also being able…

    I use my Mac for rotoscoping

    at 10:00am February 26 2013

    Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly animator Bob Sabiston explains his Mac-based craft. MacFormat: What is rotoscoping and how did you get involved? Bob Sabiston: Rotoscoping is basically hand-tracing over video. It used to be done with tracing paper, film and a lightbox. Now it’s done with graphics tablets and digital video footage. I think I got kind of burned out on the laborious 3D animation I was doing back in 1994 and wanted to try something different, more spontaneous,…

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