Cheap Bastardizations

Windows SendTo pop-upIn the magazine article, Author Jim Rippie reveals devious ways to pump up your computer's music performance for free. Windows users (in particular) will find many more tips at ProRec, where potentially scary tasks like building your own PC get a lot simpler thanks to expert tips.

Microsoft's DirectMusic Producer is another secret musical weapon covered in the article. To learn more and download your free copy (Windows only), visit this site.

Mac-based musicians will find a bushel of AppleScript resources below, as well as an exclusive utility to help you keep your Extensions Manager startup sets optimized for music.

And no cheap bastard's bookmark list would be complete without PrePal, one of the better used music gear sites.

AppleScript for Cheap Bastards

AppleScript is a free programming language included with Macintoshes, and the magazine article discusses several ways to use it for music. AppleScript resources abound on the Web, and there's a ton of material available for free. To start you off, here are two scripts by "Cheap Bastardizations" author Jim Rippie that should whet your appetite for more complex projects. Clicking the titles will download them in compressed StuffIt format; to decompress them, you'll need the free StuffIt Expander. After you've decompressed the scripts, double-click them to launch the Macintosh Script Editor, from which you can inspect the code and run the scripts. If you like, you can also save them as standalone applications.

Example Script 1: Change File Type and Creator (8 KB). Mac documents contain two hidden codes that specify what type of document they are and what application will open them when they're double-clicked. This script allows you to select a whole folder full of files and change their codes so you can open them with a different application (assuming it supports the file type). This comes in handy, for example, when MIDI or audio files you download from the Web display generic file icons.

Example Script 2: Send MIDI over OMS (4 KB). This tiny script demonstrates how you can exploit the freeware program SoundApp's extensive AppleScriptiveness to do the unexpected, like send GM Reset messages to a connected MIDI device over OMS.

AppleScript Links (Each link opens in a new window.)
Learning AppleScript
Beginning AppleScript Apple Computer's very good, very gentle, very basic introduction to basic scripting issues.
How to AppleScript A more "fast track" approach to learning AppleScript, with an emphasis on publishing (but still very useful for desktop audiophiles).
Macinstruct Many tutorials on multimedia topics, including all issues of MacScripter's Magazine, a great downloadable resource for learning AppleScript. Start with the first issue and work your way toward more complex and interesting scripts, with solid real-world (and often real useful) examples.
General Resources
AppleScript Homepage Apple's clearing house for AppleScript information, and a good starting point when you're looking for answers (or even unsure what questions to ask). It offers links to downloadable scripts and examples, lists of AppleScriptable applications, online help plug-ins, and lots more. A well-designed, frequently updated site, especially good for its links to downloadable AppleScript add-ons and example scripts.
AppleScript Sourcebook Another extraordinarily useful site, with a host of downloadable goodies and tips.
Advanced Resources
AppleScript Language Guide This is the real McCoy. Everything you need to know about available commands, expressions, and syntax is here, but it's only for those with a solid working knowledge of AppleScript and the best ways to use it.
Barnes & Noble A list of BN's collection of AppleScript books.
mySimon Search for AppleScript books by price.
Powell's A list of Powell's collection of AppleScript books.


DMPG Exclusive! Macintosh Startup-Set Protection Utility

As Jim Rippie explains in the magazine article, you'll get the best performance from your Mac (OS 9 or earlier) if you start up with the minimum number of extensions and control panels required to run your software. Many Mac-based musicians use Apple's Extensions Manager to create custom startup sets for each task they want to perform -- one set for gaming, another for sequencing, and so on. (You can launch Extensions Manager from the Control Panels folder in the Apple menu.)

Unfortunately, whenever you install new software, the installer can contaminate your carefully constructed startup sets with new extensions and control panels. As someone who's constantly trying new programs, I was so annoyed by this that I created this tiny program, Toggle ExtensionsMgr Lock State, to lock selected startup-set files. To use it,

  1. Open your System folder, then the Preferences folder, then the Extensions Manager folder.
  2. Locate the startup set file(s) you want to lock.
  3. Drag and drop the file(s) onto the program's icon.

A status window will pop up, telling you how many files were locked, and you'll notice that the files' icons now have a tiny padlock in the bottom right-hand corner. To unlock a file so you can modify it, simply drag it onto the program icon again. The engine behind the program is MakeAutoTyper, a superb utility included with the shareware FileTyper. For the curious, Toggle ExtensionsMgr Lock State works by toggling the file's Type code between RSET (locked) and ESET (unlocked).

--David Battino, DMPG editor

Click here or click the icon below to download the Toggle ExtensionsMgr Lock State program (20 KB). It's compressed in StuffIt format; to decompress it, you'll need the free StuffIt Expander.

Mac startup set protector

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