With iLife, Apple has integrated its latest versions of four superb multimedia applications -- creating one unified environment for doing just about anything with your digital images, music, and movies. (They’ve done for fun what Microsoft Office did for productivity.)
iLife seamlessly integrates iTunes 4 for managing music (and buying it from Apple’s revolutionary iTunes music store); iMovie 3 for editing digital video; iDVD 3 for creating your own DVDs; and iPhoto 2 for working with digital photographs and scanned images.
If you haven’t done it yet, you can buy the whole shebang on DVD and CD for $49 from The Apple Store. Or, download each individual application (except for iDVD) for free, at Apple.com. Either way, though, you won’t get a real printed manual.
The solution? Check out iLife All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies.
Writing with occasional humor and absolute clarity, Mac creative veterans Tony Bove and Cheryl Rhodes cover the entire iLife waterfront. This big book is actually six “mini-books”: one for each iApp, a fifth for iPod, and a sixth that’s packed with iLife extras and projects.
You’ll start with music: setting up your iTunes jukebox and archive; managing tradeoffs between quality and disk space; equalizing and compressing your music; and step-by-step instructions for ripping songs from CDs.
Once you have some music, Bove and Rhodes offer a full chapter of coverage on organizing it: browsing your music library; arranging, sorting, and finding songs; and creating playlists -- even “smart playlists” that automatically add new songs based on what you’ve said you like.
You’ll learn how to back up your music somewhere safe; how to share it; even how to set up one of your Macs to stream music to the other Macs on your network (great for delivering music anywhere in the house).
You’ll find coverage of Web radio (including Listen.com and other options, as well as a list of the top ten Web radio stations); MP3 downloads and imports; audio CD burning and troubleshooting, and more.
Then, it’s on to roughly 150 pages on iPhoto 2: capturing (and transferring) better images (including stills capture from digital camcorders); using Web-based photo services; working with the Photo Library; creating better slide shows and albums; and much more.
There’s soup-to-nuts coverage of image editing with iPhoto, as well as simple explanations of all the ways you can share your images -- from email attachments to bound, full-color books.
You’ll find equally thorough and friendly introductions to video editing with iMovie 3 and DVD authoring with iDVD 3. Then, it’s on to three chapters on iPod: from the absolute basics (naming it, connecting it to your Mac and your stereo system) all the way to advanced power user tips. Editing files for smoother playback. Connecting iPods to professional studio equipment. (Want to know even more? Check out iPod for Dummies, new from the same authors.)
Last but not least, there’s a full section on “extras” for making your iLife experience even more rewarding. This is a potpourri of everything from iLife freeware and shareware add-ons to real-world projects that bring together the iLife applications the way they were meant to be. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.