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Ask TUAW: Xbox 360 and PS3 networking, extracting DVD audio, JVC video files, and more

Mat Lu

In this episode of Ask TUAW we'll be taking questions about networking game consoles (both Xbox 360 and PS3), extracting only the audio from a DVD, using non-standard video files from a JVC camcorder, getting photos off of an iPhone, keeping your Mac's screen from dimming and much more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. When asking a question please include which machine you're running and which version of OS X, as certain answers will vary between different Macs and Tiger vs. Leopard, etc. (we'll assume you're running Leopard if you don't specify). And now, on to the questions!

timmer asks

My mom has a JVC Enviro video camera. The video is digital with a .MOD file extension. iMovie or QuickTime does not open the file. Any suggestions to get the files into iMovie or play in QuickTime?

Check out this thread at The Apple Blog. It may be that you can play the files just by changing the file extension. However, if you want to edit them you'll need to do a bit more. Check out iVerio for OS X ($46.69). If you're not using iMovie '08 you might want to see if it's now supported.

Sarah asks

We did a migration from an Power PC iMac (with Tiger) to a new iMac 7,2 (Leopard). What we did not know is that the new computer would overtake the name of the old one. Is there a way to rename the computer without having to install Leopard again?

When you talk about the name of the computer I assume you mean its name on the network. That's easily changed in the Sharing Preference Pane. If you want to define the Bonjour DNS name, be sure to hit the Edit... button and change the name there, and on the main Sharing pane.

Brian asks

Every once in a while I a have to subscribe to a newsgroup for various reasons. Unfortunately, the only free solution that I've found for mac is Thunderbird. To put it lightly, I really dislike Thunderbird. The part I dislike most is having to fire up another app just to read the posts. I use Mail and would love to be able to integrate it into Mac Mail as an rss feed or some way. Is there a way to covert a newsgroup to rss? I know it would make it read-only, but I hardly ever post anyhow.

Google Groups is your friend. Just browse to the USENET group in question with a browser that can see RSS feeds (e.g. Safari) and Google will automatically create a feed for you.

Howard asks

Just upgraded to a new macbook pro 2.6 ghz, 4gb ram. I have had an iphone since last year, and not wanting to "contaminate" the experience with my previous windows machine, I had been syncing with my girlfriend's powerbook 12". My contacts and bookmarks synced without an issue to my new machine, and all of my music is on a shared server that I've had no problem migrating, but I cannot find a simple way of migrating the photos. Is there a way to transfer the photos from the iphone to my new laptop, or do I have to transfer from computer to computer, and then reload them?

You should be able to download any photos taken on the iPhone with Image Capture (in /Applications/Utilities). You can get direct access to the photos database on the iPhone with MegaDrive ($19.95) from ecamm.

sebastian asks

I was wondering how I would go about if I would like to act as a NAT when sharing my internet connection? I mean, can I enable DHCP somehow? To setup sharing faster?

See our TUAW Guide to using your Mac as a router. It's only slightly different in Leopard in that you go to the Sharing Preference Pane and turn on "Internet Sharing" in the Service pane.

iGO asks

I want to stream all my content from my iMac to my PS3. I have it working successfully, via wireless (G) and Nullriver's Medialink. But when I play larger movie files, the G stutters or chokes. So, I tried turning on "Internet Sharing via Ethernet" on my iMac but now my PS3 doesn't see it, even though I set up the PS3 to access the internet via cable/ethernet. What should my settings be to stream over a cat5 between my Imac and the PS3 ? .......can you point me to a walk-through?

Fellow reader Gil suggests that turning on File Sharing might help. From what I understand, the problem is that game consoles like the PS3 (and Xbox 360) can't pick up an IP address from the Mac's DHCP server. So you have a couple of options. You can assign an IP address manually as explained in that TUAW Guide I just mentioned. You may have to tweak the settings and frankly it's often a trial and error kind of thing. Alternately, check out this hint which suggests a way around the DHCP problem, though I have not tested it myself.

James asks

I am wanting to extract just the audio from a DVD. I understand that I could use handbrake, convert to mp4, mess with quicktime and all that, but I am wanting a quicker solution if possible. As a blind user I will never need the video.

You should be able to do this in two steps with MacTheRipper. You can find a full tutorial at SimpleHelp. Basically after selecting the tracks you want you just deselect the video stream. This will produce an AC3 file which you can then convert to MP3 with something like ffmpegX. However, since MacTheRipper is still not a Universal Binary in the end I doubt you'll end up saving much time over the Handbrake method.

ywamer asks

Before I upgraded to Leopard, I used Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable copy (on an external hard drive) of my Tiger install. And I booted into it and used it for several days before the Leopard upgrade (just to test it). But now that I've finally made the 10.5 switchover, I can't see the CCC clone in the Sys Pref's Startup Disk pane. What's up with that? The disk mounts and appears on the desktop when I'm running normally (on Leopard). Is there another way to boot into that external firewire disk (besides using Startup Disk in Preferences)? Or should I be looking at repairing the disk somehow? Or checking it's "bootability"?

As we've noted before there is another way to select a different boot disk. Restart your Mac and hold down the option key. You should be presented with a boot loader menu. If your external disk is bootable it should appear there.

Carl asks

I have an Xbox 360 and also the Time Capsule. Is there any way (without using a computer that is already wired to the network) that I can get the Xbox to see the Hard Drive in the Time Capsule (for viewing videos)...?

Eric asks

I have an AEBS connected to 2 external hard drives and an Xbox 360 connected to the AEBS. Is there any way to get the Xbox 360 to read one of the drives without the need of a computer being on and without connecting directly to the 360?

So far as I can tell, the answer is basically no. The Time Capsule supports SMB and AFP, but the Xbox 360 (and PS3 for that matter) cannot mount a disk over either of those protocols. The Xbox needs a uPnP media server like TwonkyMedia.

Christopher asks

iTunes and VLC are great for watching that content, and both are smart enough to suspend the, uh ... suspend feature. The screen doesn't dim, or go off. But Hulu, on the other hand, has no such control. So my options are twofold: hit the mouse every five minutes, or laboriously disable my settings every time I watch "TV" - only to re-enable them as soon as I'm done. Is there any app to make various "profiles" for your Energy settings? "Movie mode" for example? Maybe a small app that could tell if you're streaming content from Hulu and automagically disable those features? Now, if it could also let me use my Apple Remote to pause, fast-forward, and rewind I would be most appreciative!

There are several little utilties that will perodically move your mouse to prevent the dimming. Jiggler is a free standing application you can launch and then quit when you're done. Caffeine runs in the menubar (all the time) and does about the same thing. Finally there's Jolt ($5) which is similar to Caffeine but includes a convenient automatic timer function.

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