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2007/11/09

iTunes Issue

I'm a fan of iTunes and I am a long time Apple fan. I'm having a little issue recently with this little media player and I hope to help others work around it. If anyone knows a way to actually fix the problem, I'd like to know.

I've been creating a set of playlists from mp3s (that I totally purchased legally) and these lists have grown longer than would fit on one CD. In case you didn't know it, blank CDs can hold a maximum of 80 minutes of music usually. If you create a playlist of songs in iTunes, you can then record it to disc. For your convenience, if your list is longer than 80 minutes, Apple's music player will split the list up for you.

I've got a two-hour playlist that warns me about the multiple disc burn which I validate and set the first disc to burn. Where the problem begins is when it spits the full disc out and asks for the next one. At this point, it only highlights 3 or 4 songs for the new disc. Sometimes it will burn the rest, but often it seems to completely halt and invisibly cancel the entire burn process.

What I thought at first might be an issue with my CD-burner or a corrupt installation of iTunes appears to be related to the files themselves. All of these mp3 files have been previewed by me start to finish. The player will play them, but iTunes cannot burn them for some reason. I moved the file to the end of the remaining playlist and click the button again and I get success with the one song as exception.

Once I identify tunes like these, I can delete the mp3 and then... "repurchase" them. But I was looking for some other more elegant fix. Thanks!

More About iTunes and MP3s

2007/10/16

Third-World Wind Power: First Look

It's a simple idea, but it's possible to get wind energy without turbines. The result is less expensive, easier to install and most importantly it's more efficient.

Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative, Set to Power Third World

Check out the links and full video at Third-World Wind Power: First Look.

Update: The original links and video are down. Brightcove.tv has ceased hosting it publically. I think they were a hosting service and not a video sharing company. However, I did find the original article on Popular Mechanics, so go check it out! And also there is this response article on Ecogeek.

Turn off that iPhone movie NOW!

A ZDNet post linked to ...

..A Consumerist report that an ATA Airlines flight attendant tried to get a passengerto turn off his iPhone because, well, cell phones are not allowed to be used in flight and he was watching a movie on his iPhone.

And so there is this debate and uproar that this airline customer should be accosted in this way and asked to turn off his digital device while other passengers were allowed to continue. My opinion?

Just as the bartender is well within his rights to determine to the best of his ability who can and cannot drink, flight attendants can determine which electronic devices can and cannot be used. I want them to be experts at their jobs and safety and security. I don't want them to have to keep up on the latest and greatest technological gadgets (like I do).

If it has numbers on it and looks like a phone, it probably is, so if it's lights and screen are still on, you will be asked to hit the OFF button. It's also fair to the other passengers whose phones don't have an airplane mode (or don't know how to activate it).

Nevermind the fact that they have shown on MythbustersAmazon.com: Mythbusters that cell phones aren't likely to be dangerous to the plane. Also, keep in mind that we (those of us reading this page) might think that an iPhone is something everyone knows about. Even though the product might be a household name, I doubt that everyone in the world could tell the difference between one and a television remote.

On a recent cross-country flight, I was asked to turn off my Dell Axim simply based on looks. It is not a phone. It has a Bluetooth mode, but I never turn it on. I turned it off without a second thought. Besides the fact that I'd already read all the downloaded email that was on it, I had an actual novel that I wanted to get to. Perhaps some people believe that certain inalienable rights are being infringed upon, but iPhones and cross-country flights are luxuries that we should enjoy. In order to enjoy them we have to follow the safety rules and requirements of the crew, regardless of their seemingly arbitrary nature.

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom to Assemble and so on are requirements. But Freedom to Watch Jennifer Love Hewitt on Your iPhone? Yeah, turn it off.

Read the full post at ZDNet.com.

2007/09/19

Microsoft TechNet

Microsoft maintains a portal site full of information for IT professionals. It's a good resource, especially for Windows server and desktop administrators. Want some recent highlights for IT Pros?

Try System Center Configuration Manager 2007

System Center Configuration Manager (previously Systems Management Server) offers robust capabilities which allow you to manage servers, clients, and handheld devices, across physical, virtual, distributed, or mobile systems--all from a single, familiar console.

Defend your network against e-mail threats

Junk e-mail can overwhelm businesses and undermine the benefits of e-mail as a communication tool. Exchange Hosted Filtering is a single solution that provides anti-spam and antivirus protection, policy enforcement, and basic disaster recovery functionality.

There is a lot more, including a free magazine. Get your daily dose at the Microsoft TechNet Home Page.

2007/09/16

Live Slick: Top 10 Freeware Software Nobody Knows About - But Should

Quote:

It's always a shame when a great program is not heard about by most people - especially when it's free. Here are the top 10 freeware software that many people still haven't tried, but definitely should.

I definitely agree. I love to stumble upon interesting software that I've never used before and that makes a difference in my day. It is especially interesting to use tools that have not yet gained a large amount of popularity.

Here is the referenced list with my one-line opinion. It is numbered in the opposite order as originally published.

  1. Sharepod - Since this is an iPodAmazon.com - iPod add-on and I don't own an iPodAmazon.com - iPod... it sounds useful anyhow.
  2. ConTEXT - A Notepad replacement, specifically for web and software developers. I've used TextPad and other Notepad upgrades, but this one is new to me.
  3. IrfanView - This simple image viewer and editor is one that I've never used, but it has been recommended to me by my dad, who I consider an authority on image software.
  4. Windows Live Writer - A desktop tool for publishing to multiple blog software programs, including Blogger. I've not used this one, but it's gotten more attractive lately. This is certainly the most intruiging option on the page.
  5. Foxit Reader - More efficient replacement for Adobe Reader. I've not used it yet, but it should be faster than the original.
  6. Snipping Tool - a screen shot tool included with Windows Vista. Since I don't have Vista..
  7. Blender - Computer graphics software usable for art and movies. I've never used it and it would appear to require more system resources than I have at my disposal.
  8. ImgBurn - A good tool for managing ISO files and ripping from and burning to CDs and DVDs. I've not used this one either.
  9. MusikCube - a simple music player and playlist manager. I've found Winamp and iTunes fit my needs for the most part, but I might try this one at some point.

And there you have it. Apparently, for the most part I'm out of the loop and need to start downloading now. You should too. Read the full list and detailed descriptions at Live Slick.

2007/09/15

Google News - Sci/Tech

I recommend Google News - Sci/Tech as a home page for those looking for the most recent and most linked-to news stories.

You can also add a feed of the most recent relevant news stories to your iGoogle home page or Google Reader. Add to Google

DISH Network

We use DISH Network at home. They have a good package and it comes with DVR. Unfortunately, I've had some issues over the last couple of months where movies that we recorded and planned to keep relatively forever (or until I own a DVD-Burner) just disappeared from our list. These were movies that the whole family loved like Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireAmazon.com - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the SpongeBob SquarePants MovieAmazon.com - SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and many others. I went to play them one day for the kids and they simply weren't there. Many of these had been Pay-Per-View films that I felt like we'd bought, even though we'd only really rented them.

A few calls to DISH Network's technical support team didn't get me very far at first, but eventually the tech and I decided that it must have been a power surge or something that had caused a problem with the hard drive in the machine and that the box itself would need to be replaced or the issue would continue to happen. It seemed unlikely to me, but I was ready to try it. The problem of course is that there is a backup of other films and television episodes that will not transfer from the old box to the new one. So I have to either watch them all and delete them or just let them go and put in the new box.

Just another minor dilemma brought about by technology.

Techbargains.com

Keep your eye on Techbargains for the best technology bargains and coupons.

You can also add a feed of the most recent deals to your Google home page. Add to Google

2007/09/10

Devices Enforce Silence of Cellphones, Illegally - New York Times

The New York Times has an interesting article about cellphone jammers that are used illegally and clandestinely in certain businesses.

As cellphone use has skyrocketed, making it hard to avoid hearing half a conversation in many public places, a small but growing band of rebels is turning to a blunt countermeasure: the cellphone jammer, a gadget that renders nearby mobile devices impotent.

The technology is not new, but overseas exporters of jammers say demand is rising and they are sending hundreds of them a month into the United States — prompting scrutiny from federal regulators and new concern last week from the cellphone industry. The buyers include owners of cafes and hair salons, hoteliers, public speakers, theater operators, bus drivers and, increasingly, commuters on public transportation.

This is interesting. If nothing else, this article is probably going to raise awareness that these devices exist. It makes me want to buy or borrow one just to play around with it. See the full article.

2007/08/15

Windows Is Free (A TLUG Article)

Software piracy of Microsoft Windows operating systems is probably pretty prevalent among geeks and non-geeks. It's illegal and arguably immoral, but many people do it anyhow with various excuses. Dave Gutteridge wrote a detailed and convincing argument that piracy of Windows is not only helping Microsoft's software get adopted, but it is also likely hindering the adoption of Linux and/or other open source operating systems.

A recent column on Zdnet, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, discussed the reasons why people won't change from a retail operating system to a free one. The implication is that Linux can't even give away their software.

That sounds pretty dire. Windows retails for around 200 US dollars, give or take depending on which version and where you buy. If the above statement by Mr. Kingsley-Hughes was true, it means that Linux is so bad that people would gladly pay 200 dollars to avoid it. Do users really think Linux is that lame?

This article is not to defend Linux and counter the points that Mr Kingsley-Hughes made. Instead, the intention here is to simply use his article as a starting point to discuss in depth an issue which, so far as I've ever seen, is missing almost entirely from the debate over Windows versus Linux versus Mac.

Mr Kingsley-Hughes gives five essential points to explain what is so bad about Linux that it can't even succeed for free. On the whole, users aren't all that dissatisfied with Windows (I agree). Too many different versions of Linux (I sort of agree). People want certainty that hardware and software will work (I agree that's what people want, but I don't read the situation the same way that Mr Kingsley-Hughes does). As far as most people are concerned, the command line has gone the way of the dinosaur (It has for me, I love the GUIs. But, I'll get into this more below). Linux is still too geeky (Linux developers are still too geeky, sure. I totally agree that the people mainly developing and advocating Linux often don't see users' needs the way users see their needs.)

All the above reasons have some truth in them, but consider how the price comparison makes those points seem so much worse.

Want to read the whole article? It's longish, but important enough and the subject matter complex enough to need the detailed examples, anectdotes and explanations. Go read Windows Is Free (A TLUG Article).

2007/08/10

WorldWideWeb - The Birth?

There has been a long historical debate on when the Internet first came about. The first thing you have to do to keep it very straight is to define the terms and whether the debate is talking about the first network, the "World Wide Web" or the larger Internet. Since so many people at all levels of expertise use these terms interchangeably --and their organic terms anyhow-- it can get difficult and confusing.

However, there was a moment on a usenet message board system where an expert in these matters named Tim Berners-Lee first outlined and proposed the WorldWideWeb as a project. Thanks largely to the fact that these mailing lists have been archived in many places, including Google Groups, we can go back and see the message as it was first posted, typos and all.

The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system.

The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should be freely available to anyone. It aims to allow information sharing within internationally dispersed teams, and the dissemination of information by support groups.

Read the full message on WorldWideWeb Summary.

2007/07/25

Blogger Templates: S08

For fun, I just switched to a different template. To download the same template, go to Blogger Templates: S08. What do I think so far?

Pros: It's beautiful. It's kinda reminiscent of flickr's color scheme. It's fluid and modern at the same time. It has a fixed, non-scrolling background.

Cons: It's heavily reliant on transparent PNG image files, which do not work so well in Internet Explorer v6.0. If the site's columns have a white on gray look to you, this is caused by this issue.

What do you think?

2007/03/19

Cylo 3style 3D Mouse

All I can really say here? NEAT!

This content requires that your browser be Flash compatible. Please download the latest version for Flash from the Macromedia Shockwave Download Center.

A demo video showing the main applications of the Cylo 3style mouse. The mouse provides rotational input for scrolling, 3D, media and gaming. The 3style mouse is free moving in 3 axes and replaces all mouse functionality. See www.cylo.com.au for more info.

See the video again at YouTube - Cylo 3style 3D Mouse.

2007/03/02

Answer From Blogger

Well, this was not the answer I was hoping for, but it was what I expected.

From: support@blogger.com Blogger Help
To: arcojedi
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 11:40:30 -0600
Subject: Re: Permissions

Hi there,

Thanks for writing in. To move a blog to another account on the new version of Blogger you will need to invite yourself or someone else to join the blog. To do this, go to the Settings | Permissions tab, click on the "Add Authors" button, enter the email address of the person you would like the blog to be moved to and click "Invite". An invitation will then be sent to the email address you provided. Open this email invitation, click on the link to join the blog, and enter the Google Account username and password that you want the blog moved to. You should then see the blog on the dashboard of that account. You will then have to login to your other Blogger account and add your second account as an admin member of the blog by clicking on "Guest" from the Settings | Permissions tab.

Please note that currently you will be unable to remove yourself as a member of the blog if you are the owner of the blog. We appreciate your patience as we continue to improve Blogger.

Sincerely,
The Blogger Team

Original Message Follows:


From: <arcojedi@____.com>
Subject: Permissions
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 23:09:51 -0800

Hello,

I am attempting to transfer the ownership of this blog to someone else. This is a blog on blogspot and we both are under new blogger.

We are attempting to follow the instructions here - http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=41448 - and I have successfully added Scott as an admin. However, when he attempts to remove me by following these instructions here - http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=41465 - he is unable to do so. Please see the following post with screenshot to understand the issue more clearly. http://techlifeblogged.blogspot.com/2007/02/plans-awry.html

If there is any way that this could be addressed, we'd appreciate it. I would be happy even if the blog were deleted and added to his account. Just so long as no one else (e.g. a spammer) were to nab it in the interim, this would not be a problem.

The documentation help files are outdated as of the new version of Blogger. This is an issue that has been discussed on the Blogger Help Group several times. http://groups.google.com/group/blogger-help-howdoi/search?group=blogger-help-howdoi&q=How+do+I+move+a+blog+between+accounts%3F&qt_g=Search+this+category If you could address this specific to my issue and make sure it is listed under known issues and addressed, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!
::Jim

Oh well. What can I expect? It's free, right?

2007/02/22

Plans Awry

Well the plan since the beginning of the month has been to transfer ownership of this blog to Scott ever since he got in contact with me in his comment. However, that appears to not be as easy as expected nor as easy as the Blogger documentation would lead me to believe. Here are the references I'm talking about and the instructions we are trying to follow.

The problem is mainly that I have added Scott as an admin, but when he logs in, he does not have the option to remove me. Well that's not going to cut it. Here is a screen shot he sent me.

Blogger Permissions - Cannot Remove Blog Owner
Note that this image has been resized to fit and the email addresses have been blocked out.

There is no remove link next to my name. If we figure out how this is really supposed to be done and the steps involved, I'll be sure to post them. My next step is to contact Blogger Support.

2007/01/31

Google Analytics Results

I've got an update about this site. First off, I found a site simply by doing a Google search for 'Tech Life Blogged' and I discovered a site that was most likely the original prior to posting the blog over FTP. Please visit the actual and most likely original TechLifeBlogged.

Secondly, the preliminary Google Analytics results have shown that only ONE other person besides me visited this site in the last 24 hours. It was about noon today CST and they were from or near Williston, Vermont. The clicked a link from Lifehacker.org. They probably didn't find what they were looking for and left quickly. And hey, if that was you, sorry!

2007/01/30

Google Pagerank

As of today, the pagerank on this site as measured in both Firefox and IE is currently 4. When I signed up for the blog, it registered as a 5 but has dipped a little.

I've mentioned Google PR on my blog multiple times.

But having a site with PR of 4 or 5 is pretty impressive. My question that I'm wrestling with morally is whether or not I should really USE this site or abandon it. The previous owner was a spammer. If I benefit from this, am I not also associating myself with this spammer?

The question is not JUST a moral one. Google may have this site on a bad list, and any site or person associated with it might get marked as spammy also. Hmm...

Any comments? I've installed Google Analytics on this site to see if I can discover more about if anyone is coming to this site and from where. I'll post results when I have them (probably in a few days).

2007/01/28

Tech Life Blogged

Okay, what has just happened tonight was that I was browsing around and found a link to a blogspot site that was giving 404 page not found errors. I was sad cause the content I wanted was on it. I checked the root of the blog but was still getting 404 error. Curious, I decided to try signing up for this subdomain and assumed it wouldn't work.

Well, it did and I'm faced with a quandary. I now have a blog that somebody else used and worked on for a while. It's gone, either lost or abandoned, but now what do I do with it? I feel weird, like I cheated or am guilty of something.

I am not a hacker NOR am a black-hat person at all. I did this rather randomly. However this site

Further investigation has shown that it was one of those rather nasty spammers who signed up for a blogspot account but have it redirect to their spammy domain. Check the Google cache if you doubt me. Still I felt very weird, like I'm painting a big target sign on my forehead for what I just did.

If you have a complaint about this, please post a comment below. If this is your former blog and you want it back please comment as well and I'm sure we can find a way to work it out so that you get it back after we prove it was yours.