How To: Use Spotify Outside of Supported Locations

18 09 2009

Background

[Windows/Mac] For those who don’t know, Spotify is a new music streaming service based out of Sweden currently making waves around the world. It allows for instant access to Spotify’s database of 4.5 million tracks through searching for artists, songs, albums, labels and genres for no cost and completely legally. Of course with something this good, there’s always a hitch. Currently, Spotify only supports access in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the United Kingdom, France and Spain – some of which require an invite.

Spotify interface.

Spotify interface.

Not in a supported country?

Not to fear! Thanks to my super-incredible Google-fu (not really), I found a posting on a forum detailing how to set up an account online and download the program. All that’s needed is a proxy to set up our account and once that’s set up, the proxy is no longer required and you’re home free. Quoted below is the original forum posting found here.

TO MY KNOWLEDGE, THIS DOES NOT WORK IN THE US. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONFIRM THIS FOR ME, FOLLOW THE STEPS BELOW AND LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS.

“Step 1. Find a good UK proxy. Easiest will be web-based, since you’ll only have to use it to register. I used this one.

Step 2. Through the proxy, visit https://www.spotify.com/en/get-started/

Step 3. Register. You’re going to need a UK postal code, the one I used is LS18 5AZ, but you might find another one on Google.

Step 4. Download the installer. It should give you a link, otherwise use this one.

Step 5. Install it and enjoy your music. No need for any proxies or anything, you’re just enjoying free music. One extra pro here is that if you listen to it through an unsupported country there are no ads!

Step 6. Set your country to your actual country in the settings.

So, there you go, enjoy.

Oh, and once you have it, you can try it out with this link.”

Happy loophole-ing!

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Make Safari Open Links in New Tab [Terminal Tip]

28 02 2009

One of the major gripes I have with Safari is that when you click a link, it opens the page in a new window. I find this totally throws me off and I end up with a bunch of windows and a cluttered mess. Luckily, there’s a quick workaround.

First, quit Safari by going to Safari>Quit Safari (or ⌘Q). Next, open up the Terminal, which can be found in Applications>Utilities>Terminal.app. Then all you have to do is copy the following text and hit enter.

defaults write com.apple.Safari TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true

Once you hit enter, you can quit the Terminal and relaunch Safari. Now you will notice that all licked links open in tabs instead of new windows!





Things To-Do Manager for OS X

5 12 2008

thingsWhile there is no shortage of to-do lists for OS X,  many don’t fit the requirements that I need to have one that suits my needs. TaskPaper oversimplifies it, OmniFocus is fairly expensive and more complex than necessary and the built-in To-Do list for OS X doesn’t have enough features. This is where Things comes in.

Things, by the folks at Cultured Code, is a very simple and organized task manager that works with most users’ needs for a task manager. The Things sidebar is broken down into three main sections: Collect, Focus and Organize. Let’s start with Collect.

The Collect section in Things is where new to-dos that haven’t been sorted will be sent to. In short, it’s your dumping ground for to-dos. Once you’ve inputted all of your things that need to be done, it’s times to move into the second section, Focus.

The Focus section of Things is where you’ll be spending most of your time, and is also what makes Things so great to use. It’s divided into four main parts: Today, Next, Scheduled and Someday. Any tasks that you feel you should be able to complete that day, you can place in the Today section. The checkbox to the left of it will turn yellow indicating that it should be completed today. The Next area is where you will place items that you can complete once you’ve finished everything in your Today section. Scheduled is used if you want to repeat to-do items more than once on a regular basis or want a specific to-do to appear on a ceartain date. For example, you have to ask your boss something at work, but you aren’t able to do it because it’s the weekend and your boss is away, so you move it to the scheduled section and set it to appear on Monday in your Today section. Very handy. Finally, the Someday section is used for items that you don’t want to accomplish right now, but will want to eventually – such as re-doing the basement, but you don’t have the money right now so you file it under Someday.

Now for the final section: Organize. In here, you can create Projects and Areas. A project is basically a multi-step goal that you have that can be accomplished. An area on the other hand, is http://a5.s3.p.quickshareit.com/files/button5b9fa7.png that can not actually ever be finished. Taking the previous example of building a kitchen, lets say you finally have the money to do it. You would make a project  called “Redo Kitchen” and place all your to-dos for that inside there such as “Pick out backsplash” or “Find nice cupboards” etc. If you were to have a Work folder, you wouldn’t make it a project because it can’t actually be completed. This is what the Areas section is for. You can make a new area called “Work” and place all of your to-dos for it in there.

And that is the gist of how Things works as a to-do list manager. There are some other neat features that Things also has. First of all, you can invoke the Quick Entry panel using the hotkey of your choice (I use F5), which brings up a nice HUD for inputting all the things you need for a new to-do: title, tags, notes, due date and its location inside of Things. They also save your data in an open XML file format which means that third parties are able to communicate with Things and your to-do list is viewable using any modern browser, regardless of operating system. Cultured Code also has built a beautiful iPhone/iPod touch application that’s available through iTunes for $9.99 [iTunes link]. The app syncs over-the-air with your Mac as long as the application is open on both systems. The only issues I have dfound with the app would be the lack of support for Areas or tags for to-dos. To get around the Areas issue, I just use Projects section instead, which I haven’t found any issues with.

Overall, Things is a very solid application – and now with the ability to access it on your iPod/iPhone – quite versatile. My ONE complaint? No web-syncing.

Things is currently available as a free preview until 1.0 is released at the Macworld Expo ’09  on January 6. The price for version 1.0 will be $49, but if you sign up to their newsletter before it’s official release, you’ll gain a 20% discount bringing the cost down to $39.





DropBox Now In Public Beta!

11 09 2008

As of today, the once invite-only service DropBox is now available without a special beta code. DropBox provides you with 2Gb of free online storage that syncs with a DropBox folder on your computer. DropBox is available for Windows, OS X and Linux users. Sign up and check it out for yourself here.





1Password Review

9 07 2008

[OS X only] I purchased my copy of 1Password back during Macheist II and have fallen in love ever since. For those who don’t know, 1Password is a manager for web passwords, but with many more capabilities than one might expect. Firstly, it integrates into almost any modern browser, placing an icon at the top for easy access to all web passwords. Another neat feature of 1Password is that it will also store “identities” containing your name, occupation, address, email, etc. to make filling in forms online as easy as clicking a mouse button. It also contains a built-in password generator with a slew of options from the number of characters (from 1 to 50) to the ratio of digits to symbols. Also, (as though that weren’t enough) you are able to place all of your credit card information in a “wallet”. Not only can you put your credit cards in there, but also items such as memberships, passports, Social Security Numbers, iTunes accounts and much more.  Finally, you are also able to create “secure notes” which house any information that you would like to be kept confidential.

Not too long ago, Agile Web Solutions, the makers of 1Password, implemented a similar option for the iPhone and iPod touch which prompts a dialogue box overlaying the current web site, asking for the master password and the options available for the site. I found this feature helpful but not entirely as great of a solution as the one for desktop computers. But once again, 1Password has found out how to create a brilliant workaround – thanks to the iPhone and iPod touch SDK and the AppStore. The plan, according to Agile Web Solutions’ David Teare, is to create their own browser with 1Password built in. They were forced to do that because Apple has disallowed any modifications to their own applications. According to Teare, they’re including some “cool features” that will “make users not want to use Safari directly anyway.” Sounds good to me.

Last but not least, the 1Password team has just released a new feature to their killer application (like there weren’t enough features already) entitled “Bookmarks”. This opens up a well designed HUD panel that contains all of your passwords and with a simple click, directs you to the web site and logs you in. Also, it includes a search bar at the top for easy finding of all of your passwords.

Also to note: It protects against phishing sites by alerting you that you have never entered information on that site before. Also, their customer support is well beyond my expectations, replying to my email within the hour.





SketchBox – Sticky Notes on Steroids [Cool Mac App]

16 06 2008

Mac OS X Only: Here’s a neat little app that takes the simple of an idea of a sticky note, digitizes it and adds some really neat features.

SketchBox, by omz:software, allows you to first of all, type generic sticky notes that can be neatly organized in their sleek user interface and sorted into corresponding folders. They’ve also incorporated a drawing mechanism so that you can draw little doodles, take handwritten notes or make wacky shapes because you’re bored. Also included with this feature is tablet pressure sensitivity, line thickness variation and an eraser. If that wasn’t enough, wach sticky note has the ability to take a screenshot, which they implemented quite ingeniously. If you click the camera button in the bottom right of the sticky note, it transforms the entire note into a resizable frame where you can take your photo. Finally, the last feature (that I’m aware of) is a timer that you can set to go to a maximum of 30 days, 23 hours and 60 minutes.

Combine all of these features into one small package and you’ve got yourself one killer app, my friend. Also, as a final note, I programmed Quicksilver to invoke SketchBox when I press alt+cmd+z, that way I can call it up whenever I find anything interesting and take a quick screenshot and type up a few notes. Overall a fantastic tool for any mac user to have in their arsenal of productivity applications.

You can download SketchBox from omz:software here, and if you enjoy it, be sure to leave a donation.





Adding More Entries To Your Opera Speed-Dial

14 06 2008

Most people are content with the given nine speed dial possibilities, but I found an interesting tip that allows you to add more. All you need to do is follow a few basic steps and it’s all done – virtually pain-free.

Step One:
Open Opera and type “about:opera” in the location bar, without the quotations.

Step Two:
Note the Preferences Path and go there in your file browser.

Step Three:
Close Opera (mandatory) and find the file called speeddial.ini. Open this in your favorite text editor.
Insert the following into the code, around the top. (P.S. Columns are vertical and rows are horizontal):
[Size]
Rows=5
Columns=5
Adjust however many rows and columns you want based on your needs. I personally only used a row amount of 3 and a column amount of 5. Also you may need to play around with it to see what works best, formatted on your screen. Finally save the file.

That’s all there is to it. Just fire up Opera once again and you’re ready to start surfin’ the net with a customized web browser.








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