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iMovie '09: Speed Clips up to 2,000%

iMovie '09 brings back the capability to speed up or slow down clips, which went missing in iMovie '08. Select a clip and bring up the Clip Inspector by double-clicking the clip, clicking the Inspector button on the toolbar, or pressing the I key. Just as with its last appearance in iMovie HD 6, you can move a slider to make the video play back slower or faster (indicated by a turtle or hare icon).

You can also enter a value into the text field to the right of the slider, and this is where things get interesting. You're not limited to the tick mark values on the slider, so you can set the speed to be 118% of normal if you want. The field below that tells you the clip's changed duration.

But you can also exceed the boundaries of the speed slider. Enter any number between 5% and 2000%, then click Done.

Visit iMovie '09 Visual QuickStart Guide



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Tools We Use: Desktop Resetter

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In TidBITS-457, we introduced a sporadic feature called Tools We Use, each instance of which focuses on a single, clever program that makes our Macs easier to use. Although the Internet is awash with freeware and shareware utilities, Tools We Use focuses on programs actually used by members of the TidBITS staff. The first installment covered the freeware GURU (Guide To RAM Upgrades) written by Craig Marciniak and Steve Jackman; now, it's time to take a look at Nick D'Amato's Desktop Resetter 1.2.1.


Desktop Resetter -- If you organize numerous icons on your desktop and frequently lose that organization (switching monitor resolutions can do it), you can use Desktop Resetter to restore your icons to their favored positions. I've found Desktop Resetter handy because I have two large monitors and I tend to keep icons pertaining to current projects on my desktop. The problem arises when I start up from a different disk that doesn't know about my monitor settings. Much of the time, after I return to my primary startup disk, all my desktop icons are haphazardly splashed against the right edge of the right-hand monitor, requiring five minutes of fiddling to get everything back where I want. [I encounter a similar problem using my PowerBook 5300cs on multiple external monitors. -Jeff]

Enter Desktop Resetter. All you do is make sure your icons are placed properly, then run Desktop Resetter and tell it to remember your icon settings. Then you forget about it until the next time you find your icons strewn randomly about your desktop. Before you go to the work of moving everything back into place, run Desktop Resetter again and tell it to reset icons to their remembered positions. Obviously, icons that have appeared since you told Desktop Resetter to remember positions won't move, but everything else magically jumps back into place. Since booting with other disks often happens in periods of high stress (like recovering files or testing dangerous software), it's especially nice not to also suffer the irritation of a messy desktop.

I have no particular complaints with Desktop Resetter, since it does what it promises with a minimum of fuss. Although having Desktop Resetter remember icon positions frequently is possible, thanks to its Quick Remember hotkey (a Quick Reset hotkey is also available), that's more than I need, so I've not messed with it. It's worth reading the Read Me file for additional tips and hints.

Desktop Resetter is $10 shareware, runs on any Mac with System 7.5 or later, and is a 121K download. If you've ever been annoyed at having to reorganize desktop icons after switching resolutions or changing monitors, check out Desktop Resetter.



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