The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by August "Gus" Mueller
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April 29, 2005
(This post is from my old, old, super old site. My views have changed over the years, hopefully my writing has improved, and there is now more than a handful of folks reading my site. Enjoy.)

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Here's a feature that I really like on Tiger- the new audio stuff.

I've been using AU Lab (located in /Developer/Applications/Audio/ if you install the dev tools) to slow down guitar solos and piano, so I can figure out what the musician is playing. This is done with a new Audio Unit plugin named "AUTimePitch", and here are some quick instructions on setting it up.

a) Launch AU Lab (duh) b) Create a new document and just dismiss the window that comes up by pressing the OK button. c) Under the Edit menu choose "Add Audio Unit Generator...". Another window should come up where you can drag and drop audio files (like mp3's) in. d) Under the first effects pulldown for your new generator, choose the AUTimePitch effect near the bottom. e) Play with the sliders that just popped up to make the music slow down or speed up, without changing the pitch.

It's a great learning tool.

Update: Chris McLay let me know in the comments that Quicktime will also do this. So uh, yea- that's the easy way to slow down the music.

-- posted 8:02 pm

Tiger Tiger Tiger.

A new version of Quicksilver was released today for 10.4 only. Can't live without that.

I bought QuickTime Pro last night- which is why I was able to encode my Gesture movie as H.264. And let me tell you- this codec is amazing. The original movie was 17 megs. Compressing it as regular mpeg-4 brought it down to 5.4 megs, but with lots of compression artifacts (you can see it here). When I encoded it as H.264, it brought the file size down to 2.8 megs, and the quality was much much better (as seen here). You can hardly tell a difference from the original 17 meg file. Wow.

And Apple just put up a bunch of trailers encoded in this new format- QuickTime HD Gallery. The video is 1280 x 532, 24 frames a second. Wow.

Wow Wow Wow.

There's so much to talk about...

-- posted 12:40 am

I finally get to have an application on Mac OS X that I've been wanting for many years (and here's a CocoaDev post by me from June 18, 2001 to back that statement up). It can basically be summed up like this:

Mouse gestures + AppleScript = Goodness.

Well, at least in my mind it is. And I gave this new app the name "Gesture", since that's what it is all about.

What I did a couple of weeks ago after having an "aha!" moment was throw together a prototype which watched for mouse movements through predefined guides when a hot key was invoked. When it recognized the pattern/trail some AppleScript was called to do.. whatever. I loved it. I started the project over from scratch and spent a whole Saturday + some time here and there working on it and polishing it up for a general public release.

It's hard to explain gestures- so here's a movie that demonstrates it: Gesture b1.mp4 (5.4 megs). Things go by pretty quick, so you might want to play it in slow motion. (And if you have Quicktime 7, here is a H.264 version of that same movie).

After I finish VoodooPad 2.1, and then after I finish FlySketch 1.1, I think I'll be making Gesture an official application. I'm providing it now because I really like it and I think other folks will too- and I'd like to get some feedback on it, because maybe it isn't a good idea for a full app?

I'm certain that some people will love it and some people will think it's stupid, and I'm ok with that... but which camp are you in? :)

Here's the download link: Gesture.dmg. It requires 10.4 (it's April 29th where I am!), and it'll expire on September 30th.

Here's the text from the startup window that explains it a bit more:


Gesture is an application that sits in the background and waits for you to call on it. And when you do, Gesture executes AppleScript based on the movements of your mouse through a series of "guides." (These guides are just little nifty circles that change color as you move your mouse through them, but they track your mouse movements to figure out what command to execute. You saw the movie, right?)

After a bit of use, you'll find that you really don't need to pay attention to the gestures you're making—- muscle memory starts to take over for you. This is where the power of mouse gestures really shines. You don't even think about what you want to do because it just happens at the flick of a mouse-- it's effortless.

By default, Gesture comes with a set of common commands such as "Close Window," "New Window," "Hide All Applications," "Open iTunes," "iTunes Next Song," "New Mail Message," etc. If you can do it in AppleScript, you can do it with Gesture.

You probably want to add your own commands and custom gestures, which you can do by bringing up the catalog window (press Command-T or choose it from the Window menu) and clicking the "+" button. Single click your mouse in the middle of the gesture window and move your mouse through the guides you want to define your gesture with.

Next you want to type in some AppleScript; Command-K compiles, and Command-E will copy your script to a new window in ScriptEditor for serious editing (you would then copy and paste it back to Gesture).

If you don't like F1 as the hot key, you can change it to something a bit more tasty in the Preferences. You can also change the color of the gesture line, or turn it off completely (which is fun to do as well).

You can define as many gestures as you want, because there are an infinite number of guide combinations available. Make a gesture to open all of your favorite applications at once. Or have it save the current window and put the computer to sleep. Or even open four different Web pages, start a new mail message, copy a file in the Finder to a remote server and display a dialog box saying "My work here is done."

Experiment, play and give feedback to:

(This version of Gesture will expire sometime in September, so be sure to check back regularly for updates!)

And then Joe points me to xGestures... Installer? Kernel extension? Not compatible with Wacom Tablets? Bah! And there is also CocoaGestures, but it only works in Cocoa apps.

-- posted 12:05 am