Murphy uses AirFoil to send audio from a web browser to an Airport Express or an Apple TV. It’s great for listening to Pandora throughout the house, with various speakers all in sync. There’s an Apple TV connected to the stereo and an Airport Express connected to a Tivoli radio in the kitchen. AirFoil can also send audio to another Mac, like the G5 upstairs that has decent speakers connected. Three sets of speakers all playing one stream throughout the house.
Airfoil keeps getting better. Recently it gained the ability to ‘hijack’ audio from an application that’s already running. Previously, you had to start AirFoil, and then launch the application from AirFoil to send its audio to another device. Not anymore – AirFoil can access already-running applications now. And they’ve added an iPhone app. So Murphy can bring a portable radio out on the porch – connect an iPod touch – and listen to the same stream that’s playing in the house. In a nutshell, it turns an iPhone or touch into a battery powered Airport Express in terms of music streaming.
The software is rock solid, no drop-outs. The interface is simple and unobtrusive.
Using Quicktime Murphy could listen to the aapl quarterly conference call over AirFoil. Sending the stream into the kitchen beats lugging a laptop in there. It’s great for Songza, Pandora, YouTube – or whatever audio you want to transmit. You can even transmit an iTunes stream to your iPhone or touch – enhancing its multi-speaker functionality.
The iPhone / touch application is free. The desktop software is $25. AirFoil for Mac / Windows. There’s a bundle with both for $40.
A quick look at simple ways to open frequently visited web sites directly, without your mouse.
Hopefully you don’t click in the address bar and forward-delete and backward-delete to erase what’s there. But some people do. Here are Murphy’s tips for opening web pages directly with the keyboard.
1. Add an alias for the site to the Dock. You can access the Dock with Control+F3, even if you’re in another application. Use the arrow keys to select your site-alias and the Return key to open it. You can create the alias by dragging the icon from your browser address bar to the Desktop. Then drag from the Desktop to the right side of the Dock.
2. Command+L and a Firefox keyword. This is an easy one. Command+L selects everything in the address bar in Safari and Firefox. Control+L does it in Internet Explorer. Now you can start typing – whatever is highlighted will be deleted. But don’t type out the url, just type the keyword you’ve assigned to the site, which could be as short as one character. Keyword? Read on…
Edit your bookmarks in Firefox and view properties by selecting a bookmark. There’s a field for keywords. Go ahead and set a keyword – now you can enter the keyword in the address bar instead of the url.
Safari doesn’t have the bookmark keyword feature – but you can use Command+1 and so forth to access the bookmarks on the bookmark bar. They’re numbered from left to right automatically.
3. TextExpander. With TextExpander your Mac is always watching for certain text strings. When you type a configured string the assigned action is carried out. The action can be an Applescript. A simple script can open your browser of choice to your destination site. The great thing about TextExpander: Your browser needn’t be active to invoke it. You could also use TextExpander simple text replacement to replicate the Firefox keyword function in Safari. More about TextExpander. $29.95.
4. 1Password. You might know about or even use 1Password for storing all your log-on credentials in one secure database. But it also features a bookmark pop-up that lets you jump to a site and auto-populate your username and password. 1Password lets you assign names to your entries, so you can keep them short. It’s a way to bring keywording to Safari.
1Password licenses start at $39.95. This post has more information and a screencast about 1Password.
5. Terminal. Do you always keep a Terminal window open? Set an alias in Terminal to open your favorite browser and pass along the site to enter. A command like this will store the alias for you:
alias mm=’open -a Firefox http://murphymac.com’
Then open a terminal Window, type mm and hit return. Your page will open. See this post for information about making an alias available when you reboot.
6. Use Quicksilver.
Do you have a favorite way to open favorite sites? Let us know in the comments.
Related Post: Murphy shows how to open a set of tabs in Safari with one click.
But there’s more. You can get creative and coax bookmarklets into performing all kinds of tasks. For example, you could use a bookmarklet on your iPhone to search the content of a web page. Here’s a site listing dozens of bookmarklet ideas.
You can adjust the numbers so the bookmarklet works for you. The first number-pair places the top left corner of the window 275 pixels from the left edge and 8 from the top. The second pair sizes the window 900 pixels tall, 800 wide.
Murphy uses this other bookmarklet to open a window for Remote Buddy, which he uses to control a remote iTunes library. A small window is suitable, and it doesn’t need toolbars or bookmarks at the top. The bookmarklet produces a tidy little window for selecting playlists and rating tracks.
Right-click here to copy this code. It needs to be a single line and is only broken up here for convenience.
The http://g5.local:8888 is my G5 running iTunes. Change that to any url you need to open. The other settings are fairly self-explanatory. Murphy has the scrollbars on so he can scroll through his playlists. You can tweak those settings to meet your own needs.
I always thought Safari was adding the .com to addresses I typed in the Address Bar. I think Firefox does. Or did. The other day Road Runner started showing me a search results page with ads if I entered something like “apple” without the .com.
Changing my DNS servers to 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 (Level3) seems to have me back to my lazy ways. I can enter krispykreme and hit enter and I’m all set.
Just go to System Preferences and click Network. Select your network interface on the left. Click Advanced and then DNS. Use the plus sign to add the two DNS servers to your list, just like the screenshot.
Quick post in case you haven’t seen this:
I’ll be the first to admit I knew nothing of Webkit until I saw it mentioned on Digg. I always forget to look at Digg. Murphy does too.
Then I read this glowing review by Seth Weintraub over at ComputerWorld. What is Webkit? It’s a developmental version of Safari you can get your hands on right now. I’ll let the post speak for itself, but in summary Seth thinks Webkit is seriously fast. More importantly, the often-ornery Digg comment crowd seems to agree.
When you start Webkit up you’ll see all your links and bookmarks. Basically, jumping back and forth between Webkit and Safari should be more or less transparent. I only played with it for a few minutes. Gmail wasn’t doing so well with auto-fill on the address line. Let us know how you do in the comments.
Here’s the link to Webkit’s nightly builds.
NOTE: Murphy could use a little help on an Applescript with regard to captured text, paths, and spaces in file names. If you have the required expertise please drop an email to murphy at murphymac dot com. Thanks.