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OSX Alarm Clock

Stuck away from home with a dead mobile phone battery, I needed an alarm clock—no sign of it in Date and Time.

The solution: use iCal on the MacBook. Set an event at the time you want the alarm. Set up an alarm action to open a suitably noisy audio file (which will open with iTunes if you have the default setup).

Make sure you set the alarm to go off on date (not 15 minutes beforehand as I first did). Make sure the volume is set high, headphones removed. Leave the lid open and, preferably, power connected. The alarm will wake the laptop from sleep, and play your song.

Update 2009-02-15 In Leopard 10.5.6 the alarm does not wake your computer from sleep :-( In System Preferences >> Energy Saver >> Schedule, set your computer to wake a couple of minutes before the alarm goes off.

If you subscribe to any external calendars, set iCal offline — otherwise any alerts complaining that some calendar is unreachable will prevent the alarm from sounding.


Live video from an iSight camera

How can you use your iSight camera without iChat? You can capture live video from your iSight camera directly into iMovie HD.

You must have iChat AV on your computer. If you have a stand-alone iSight camera, turn it on by opening the privacy shutter.

  • If iChat AV launches automagically, quit it.
  • Start iMovie HD.
  • Click the mode switch to set iMovie HD to camera mode.
  • Click the camera icon to the left of the mode switch and choose iSight or Built-in iSight from the pop-up menu—you also have the option to make a time-lapse recording.
  • Click the Record With iSight button at the bottom of the iMovie monitor.
  • The video you see in the iMovie monitor is recorded as a clip in the Clips pane.
  • Click Record With iSight again to stop recording.

For still photography with iSight, use Photo Booth.