fixed : quickly create GIF from QuickTime or MP4 video

Question :

For my social media I regularly want to create a .gif-animation from small clip out of an .mp4-video file that I have, but I don’t have a lot of video-editing skills or specialised software.

Is there a simple way to do this ?

 

Answer :

There are lots of ways to do this. And no video-editing skills are required to do the most basic, but with some editing you can quickly get better results.

I would recommend buying the $5 GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore and doing the editing in QuickTime (or iMovie).

The recommendations for a good GIF-animation for most social media are (suggested by .gif-database GIPHY) :

  • duration of about 6 seconds (shorter is better)
  • file size close to 8MB (smaller is better)
  • video resolution of 480 pixels (or 720 pixels maximum) on the shortest side (depending on either landscape or portrait view, or square, or any custom size)
  • total number of frames of 100 maximum (less is better)

If you just want to turn part of an existing video into a GIF, do this :

  • get GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore ( the $5 price tag is worth it if you plan on doing this more frequently )
  • first, open the video source in QuickTime.app
  • then, in the top menu bar, click on “Window”
  • then, in the pulldown menu, click on “Movie Inspector”
  • then, check out the number that is at “Encoded FPS” and remember it (you need this later)
  • then close QuickTime.app
  • now, open your source video in GIF Brewery 3
  • then, in the video slider below your video, slide the green slider to match the first frame of your desired GIF
  • and slide the red slider to where you want your GIF to end
    • click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-length is not okay, readjust the green and/or red slider to improve your clip
  • now, in the editing window, click on the Resize-button top left
  • then, in the popup window, make sure “Maintain aspect ratio” is checked
  • then, move the Scale-slider until either Width or Height is 480px (if the clip size is less than 5 seconds, you could also stop the Scale-slider at 720px)
  • now, in the editing window, click the Settings-button top right
  • then, at “Frames Per Second” set the fps to match the “Encoded FPS” of the original video
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-speed is too slow, adjust the Speed-slider to a higher value (anything less than 110%, even 103%, will usually do)
    • if the preview-speed is too fast, adjust the Speed-slider to a lower value (anything over 95% will usually do)
  • then, make sure there’s a checkmark at “Optimize GIF colors”
  • then, adjust the ColorCount-slider to 48
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview looks okay, leave the ColorCount-slider at 48
    • if the preview looks too dark or otherwise odd, adjust the ColorCount-slider to a higher value like 96, 128, 216 or 256, but make sure to set it as low as possible
  • then, click the “Create”-button (at the bottom, slightly right of the middle, with a beer glass in it) to generate the GIF
  • then, click on the Save-button (bottom right)
  • in the popup window, type the name you want your GIF to have, set the location where you want it stored and click the Save-button
  • then, browse the Finder to find the GIF’s icon and ALT-click on it
  • first, select “Get Info” from the popup menu and check if the file size is 10MB or less
    • if the file size is over 10MB, go back to GIF Brewery 3, lower at least one of the values you have set there and create an extra version of your GIF that has a file size of 10MB or less
    • as mentioned before, the main values you can adjust are :
      • Length of the clip
      • Scale / Resize (might make the picture more grainy)
      • Frames Per Second / FPS (might make motions less fluent)
      • Color Count (might make the colors less vibrant)
  • then, ALT-click on the GIF’s icon again and select “Open with” from the popup menu and select your internet browser (probably Safari) to preview the animated GIF
  • If you are happy with the end result, you are ready to post the GIF on your social media
    • if not… redo your editing and try again

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : macOS Big_Sur installer hangs at 95%

Question :
I just downloaded the new macOS 11 Big_Sur on my Mac mini (2018) and started installing. But even though it said that installing would take about 28 minutes, it’s now about 40 minutes and the installer hangs, the screen is black with just the white Apple-logo and an installer bar that hangs at about 95%.

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

Just wait for about 15 to 20 minutes more, and it might just finish the last 5% of the installing process. If it doesn’t, press the power button on your Mac mini until it shuts down completely. Then, restart your Mac mini by pressing the power button again.

Note : this will probably work for any Mac, but it has been tested only on Mac mini (2018).

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : edit Photos.app pictures in Photoshop

Question :

In iPhoto I used to be able to edit my pictures in Adobe Photoshop. In the current Photos.app it automatically opens the built-in editor that can’t do everything I’m planning to edit (like cutting out or blurring out some parts of the picture). And when I click on the ‘Other…’-button (the circle with 3 dots in it – inbetween the Info-button and the Heart-button) I do get some editing options like Markup and searching the AppStore to find an editing app, but Photoshop isn’t listed… even when clicking “Manage…” there’s no way of adding Photoshop…

What is the easiest way to edit pictures from my Photos.app database in Photoshop ?

Answer :

The option to edit your Photos.app pictures directly in Photoshop is still available, but it’s somewhat hidden. To get it, do this :

  • in Photos.app select the picture you want to edit (if you are in the built-in editor already, click the Done-button top-right)
  • make sure the correct picture is shown enlarged, that the menu-list (Photos, Memories, People, Places, etc.) is shown at the left, and that the Edit-button is shown top-right
  • ALT-click on the picture (right mouse-click) and the popup-menu will be shown, then click on “Edit With”, then select Adobe Photoshop [ or goto the top menu-bar > Image > Edit with > Adobe Photoshop ]
  • so… the picture you want to edit will open in Photoshop, and you can edit it there
  • now, when you save the edited picture in Photoshop, it will be saved in Photos.app [ the version of the picture in Photos.app will be updated to the Photoshop-edited version ]

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : quick slideshow of a folder of pictures

Question :
Someone sent me a bunch of photos that I need to review. I have them in a folder, but I don’t want to import them into Photos.app, Keynote or PowerPoint or even Preview.app to have a look at them and select the most important ones.

Is there any option or simple app to do this ?

 

Answer :

Yes there is, there is an option for this in macOS (and OSX) called Quick Look. In previous versions of OSX and Mac OSX the Quick Look option was visible in any Finder window as a ‘button with an eye icon on it’, in macOS it is slightly hidden in the pulldown menu that opens when you click the ‘button with a sprocket (gear) icon on it’.

There’s even a shortcut for this :

  • open a Finder window
  • open the folder with the photos in it
  • select the photos you want to review (hold the CMD-key while picking photos one-by-one, hold the SHIFT-key to select multiple photos in a row, or press the CMD + A key combo to select all photos)
  • then press the SPACEBAR to view all selected photos as a slideshow
  • or press the ALT + SPACE key combo to view all selected photos as a full screen slideshow
  • note : the file names are shown with each photo, so if you need to review and select photos you will know which photos you have chosen

That’s it.

enjoy 😉

 

 

fixed : USB-C memorystick for iPad Pro

Question :

I have an iPad Pro 2018 with a USB-C port, and I found out that I can connect a regular USB-stick using a USB-to-USB-C-adapter and then browse and use all files on the USB-stick from within the Folders.app on my iPad Pro. That’s great !

Now, since I only have USB-C ports on both my MacBook Pro and my iPad Pro,  I was wondering : are there any good USB-C memory sticks available for an affordable price ?

 

Answer :

The answer is simple : Yes, there are USB-C memorysticks that work great.

We have tested this one, that is both USB-C and USB compatible, that makes it even more versatile :

Topesel USB-C Memory Stick : buy it on Amazon UK / Amazon DE

And there are several alternatives (that we didn’t test) :

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Go USB-C : buy it on Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon DE

Verbatim Store&Go USB-C Flash Drive : buy it on Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon DE

Kenix on-the-go USB-C Memory Stick : buy it on Amazon UK / Amazon DE

Kootion USB-C Memory Stick : buy it on Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon DE

Meco Eleverde USB-C Memory Stick : buy it on Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon DE

Meco Eleverde 2-in-1 USB-C Memory Stick : buy it on Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon DE

enjoy 😉

fixed : use old iPad as an extra screen for your Mac (or PC)

Question :

Since we are working from home a lot (and the children are home schooling), and we have several old iPads and iPhones lying around gathering dust, we were wondering if it would be possible to use them as second screens on our Macs and Windows PCs to make our work and homework easier by being able to do this (and more) :

  • manage our music playlist (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify) on our old iPad/iPhone whilst running  MS Office on our Mac/PC without switching apps
  • use our old iPad/iPhone’s touchscreen to put a signature under a PDF-document whilst typing it on our Mac/PC
  • use our old iPad/iPhone as a drawing tablet for our Mac/PC
  • videochat or view an online presentation onour Mac/PC whilst making notes on our old iPad/iPhone using a full-size keyboard (and easily swapping the two around when needed)

We noticed Apple has introduced this great feature called Sidecar that enables you to use your iPad (or iPhone) as a second screen for your Mac. But when I looked at the Sidecar requirements on the Apple website, I found that our older iPads/iPhones aren’t supported.

Is there any way to use Sidecar (or something similar) on our old iPads/iPhones ?

 

Answer :

Yes, even though you cannot use Sidecar on any unsupported iPad, iPhone or Mac, there is an alternative that works just as great for any old iPad (or iPhone) and is not limited to a Mac, but does support Windows PCs also… and best of all : it’s FREE.

This is ideal for working from home and home schooling since you can do all this (and more) :

  • manage your music playlist (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify) on your iPad whilst running  MS Office on your Mac/PC without switching apps
  • use your iPad/iPhone’s touchscreen to put a signature under a PDF-document whilst typing it on your Mac/PC
  • use your iPad/iPhone as a drawing tablet for your Mac/PC
  • videochat or view an online presentation on my Mac/PC whilst making notes on my iPad/iPhone using a full-size keyboard (and easily swapping the two around when needed)

This FREE alternative for Apple Sidecar is Splashtop Wired XDisplay. It enables you to use any iPad/iPhone running iOS 7 or newer as a second or third (touch)screen for any Mac running OSX 10.9 Mavericks (or PC running Windows 7) or newer.

This means that all these iPhone / iPad / Mac models are supported :

  • iPhone 4 or newer
  • iPad 2 or newer
  • any iPad mini
  • any iPad Air
  • any iPad Pro
  • any aluminum iMac (iMac “Mid 2007” or newer)
  • any iMac Pro
  • Mac mini “Early 2009” or newer
  • Mac Pro “Early 2008” or newer
  • white MacBook “Early 2009” or newer
  • any aluminum MacBook
  • MacBook Air “Late 2008” or newer (2nd gen MacBook Air or newer)
  • MacBook Pro “Mid 2007” or newer

To install, do this :

  • install the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on you Mac/PC
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for Mac or Windows here
  • install iTunes on your PC if you have done so yet
    • you can download iTunes for Windows here
    • on a Mac you don’t need additional software for your iPad/iPhone to be recognized
  • install Splashtop Wired XDisplay on your iPad/iPhone
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for iPhone here
    • you can download Splashtop Wired XDisplay for iPad here
  • then, plug your iPad/iPhone’s USB-cable into your Mac/PC
  • then run the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on your Mac/PC
  • then run the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app on your iPad/iPhone
  • then goto the Settings on your Mac/PC, find the Screen Settings and arrange your screens the way you like
    • you can choose “Mirror Screen” to see exactly the same on your MAc/PC and your iPad/iPhone
    • you can choose “Extend Screen” to arrange the iPad/iPhone as an add-on for your desktop
    • if you already have a second screen attached to your Mac/PC, you can use your iPad/iPhone as an additional third screen also

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : where can I get an Ancient Greek keyboard ?

Question :

I am learning Classical Greek (a.k.a. Ancient Greek) in school, and since I am home-schooling now, I would like to have a Greek keyboard.

Where can I get one ?

 

Answer :

For Ancient Greek, you would preferably use the so called “Greek Polytonic Keyboard” setting on your computer, which is slightly different from a regular / modern Greek keyboard layout.

To enable the “Greek Polytonic Keyboard” on your Mac or PC, see this post :

https://macmanus.nl/2019/02/14/typing-ancient-greek-text-on-mac-or-pc/

However, you are asking for a piece of hardware, a physical keyboard. If you want to buy an actual Greek Polytonic Keyboard, your options are extremely limited and really expensive, especially if you want a real Mac-keyboard (not a Windows-keyboard). You could of course use a modern-day Greek Keyboard instead, but getting yourself one if you’re not living in Greece is rather difficult (and expensive). So I would suggest one of these :

  • …or you can make some stickers yourself, using small round 12mm multi-color stickers and a marker (that you can get in most supermarkets and bookstores)

…and stick those onto an old USB- or Bluetooth-keyboard that you are not currently using. Here’s an example of the layout (yellow & blue are regular keys, white are shift-keys)

If you need an affordable new keyboard, buy the Logitech K120 keyboard (or something alike). Even if you are using a Mac, this Windows keyboard will do since you will be stickering the keys :

 

That’s it !

enjoy 😉