iTunes Store Australia Brings on the Free Stuff

12 March 2009
iTunes Store Australia Free Content

iTunes Store Australia Free Content

US iTunes Store customers have enjoyed a wide range of free items every week, including songs, music videos, TV episodes and short films. In Australia, since its inception, we have only had one free item a week–a song–until recently. Last week there was a free “making-of” clip for the series Invincible (iTunes Store link). This week, look at the bounty laid before us: first episode of Chandon Pictures, Season 2 (iTunes Store link) (this is available as a season pass), a song and the premiere of another TV show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (iTunes Store link). I’m pleased with the increased selection and the free episode of Chandon Pictures I consider especially generous as this is being posted shortly after it has been aired on its cable station. I bought the first season when it came out and this gesture by Apple has guaranteed that I will buy this season pass.

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LaCie CurrenKey

10 March 2009
LaCie CurrenKey 8Gb (Click to enlarge)

LaCie CurrenKey 8Gb (Click to enlarge)

Hardware review isn’t really my thing, but I wanted to sing the praises of this USB drive that I only just became aware of. I bought it immediately. I just love funky USB drives. I’m also going to buy a couple of the beautiful new key-themed drives announced today. I bought the 8Gb because I want enough space to store a DVD. You get about 7.5Gb after formattting.

The image above is an icon for use in Mac OS X and Windows. I downloaded a large image from the website, then knocked out the background, added my own shadow, resized to 512 x 512 (largest Mac OS X icon size) and exported as both ICNS (Mac) and ICO (Windows) icon formats. You can download the Mac version here and the Windows version here.

To use on the Mac, drag into the excellent CandyBar, select it, then drag the drive onto the Quick Drop pane. If you don’t have CandyBar, open the ICNS file in Preview, select all, copy, then get info on the drive in the Finder, click the icon in the top left of the dialog and paste. It should look like this on the desktop, with a lovely transparency:

LaCie CurrenKey 8Gb Icon on Mac OS X Desktop

LaCie CurrenKey 8Gb Icon on Mac OS X Desktop

I give up on trying to get this to work on Windows. In my experience, you usually have to install something which provides an icon when you plug in the specific drive. If you plug it into a different PC, it looks generic. I’ve given you the 256-pixel Windows ICO file. If that’s no good, you can download the above large PNG image and make something from that. If you’re successful, I’d love to know how you did it.

This icon trickery is some form of “media management”, so that’s my excuse for being a little off topic!


Overlooked New Feature in Apple TV 2.3.1

4 March 2009

The Americans would not have noticed this. There is a new feature of Apple TV 2.3.1 that is of interest to iTunes users outside the US: ratings badges.

Ratings have always worked on the Apple TV for parental controls, allowing parents to prevent youngsters from watching certain content, but until now there were never proper badges to reflect the ratings of another country. Early on, the Apple TV would look at the rating, e.g. MA15+, and write it out in the system font. Later, this disappeared for ratings that didn’t match US ones, namely G and PG.

Now there are proper ratings for all Australian movie and TV ratings. The US G and PG are still substituted, and the Australian ratings are nothing more than the text of the code in a box, but they are now represented on screen. I would have preferred the proper symbols though.