Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bob and his iPhone

iphone_home I know that I’ve only had the iPhone  for a week I just wanted to share some thought’s on it. This was a combination quit smoking and Christmas gift. I had been researching the iPhone and other “smartphone’s”  on and off the last few months. At first I thought of the iPhone. Then I thought a Blackberry would be nice. Then I came back to the iPhone. The Android phone came along and that seemed to give the big Apple some serious competition. Despite some of the recent news and negative ads about AT&T’s 3G network problems the iPhone stayed in contention. Most iPhone user’s I encountered loved there phone and wouldn’t part with it.

A few things were the deciding factor:

Cost – Refurbished iPhone’s start at $49.95 & $99.95. An easier price to swallow than some of the  competitive “smartphone” prices.

AT&T – We were already with them with our current phone’s. To be honest they’ve been good with coverage and service. We weren’t locked into any contract but to switch over may have caused some hiccups or hassle’s which we didn’t want over the holidays.

Referrals – Those I’ve talked to about the iPhone all love it. Very little was mentioned about coverage or quality of phone calls. I think it(AT&T coverage and quality woes) may be over hyped and may also depend on your location.

Usage – I’m quite a light user when it comes to the cell phone. So the hype of dropped calls or poor call quality wasn’t a huge issue. I suppose if I was in a business or work that was dependant on being on the phone it may be a concern but I’m not either of those so it’s not a huge issue right now. I was looking for something to be able access the Internet, text, and be able to do more than just make a phone call.

I opted for the base refurbish model iPhone 3G 8GB model. The 16GB (also refurbished) model was out of stock  and new 16GB and 32 GB prices were a bit much to swallow. Actual activation was kind of slight pain calling AT&T customer service but all went well and I was soon playing around with it. The design is sleek and modern looking. It feels solid and comfortable in your hand. The screen layout is intuitive and quick to navigate.  I admit this was the quickest learning curve I’ve encountered  on any phone I’ve used. Working with a touch screen has been interesting and fun.

Within a short time I was downloading apps and customizing and discovering my iPhone and what it could do.  The day after we traveled to (from Rhode Island)Maine for Christmas eve and day. Along the way I noticed no drop in service or slow down. The only bummer was while at my mother-in-laws she had no 3G coverage though I was still able access the Internet even though it was a bit slower. I’ve downloaded a bunch of “apps” to try out. I'll write more about them in the coming weeks as I further try them out.

I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a happy new year.  Thanks for coming by and I welcome your questions and comments.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How not to fix your computer

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Computer Troubleshooting Books

j0300940 There so many books on repairing or troubleshooting computers that it can be confusing to which one to pick. I’ve picked up many books on the subject. Some of which have been helpful and some haven’t. Many get looked at a few times and then to collect dust on my bookshelf. There is two books I do recommend above all else. Computer Repair with Diagnostic Flowcharts and The Laptop Repair Workbook both by author Morris Rosenthal. I wish I had picked these up a long time ago. They are thin in comparison to other computer books but, they pack a good punch.


Computer Repair with Diagnostic Flowcharts

As the author says to us in his introduction this book is not meant to read from cover to cover. This is meant to be a reference or guide. This book is full of flowcharts meant to guide those repairing or troubleshooting a computer. It does have the premise that you have at least some working knowledge of a computer is and what the different pieces are. It has no pictures to help you along. The flowcharts are easy to follow. Following each flowchart is an explanation of each symbol on that chart.

Some examples of the subjects included:

  • Power Supply Failure
  • Video Failure
  • Motherboard, RAM, CPU failure


The Laptop Repair Workbook 

This book covers laptops and is very similar than the previous book.  It only makes sense to have a laptop troubleshooting book. Laptops by there very nature have there own unique problems and can be more difficult to diagnose. This one is split into two parts. The first half of the book is a guide which gives a good overview of troubleshooting laptops. The second half we have the flowcharts with explanations following them. Some of the contents include:

  • Laptop Basics
  • Laptop Upgrades
  • Troubleshooting power problems
  • Laptop Video Troubleshooting
  • Troubleshooting Laptop Overheating

Taking your computer to the local PC repair shop can be expensive.  At the very least you’ll be more knowledgeable and less likely to be taken advantage of.  If you solve the problem yourself you’ve already covered the cost of these books. If your a computer enthusiast or even an A+ Certified Tech I believe you’d find these books an essential part of your toolbox. They are written in a way that isn’t overwhelmingly technical nor condescending to the newcomer.  Like I said before I wished I had gotten these books a long time ago and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What’s in your PC?

Ever wonder what’s inside your computer? Even if you open up your computer it may not tell you much. Sure you may be able to tell the what the components are(Example: Hard drive, CD/DVD Drive, Power Supply, etc..). Even if your lucky to find some manufacturing brand names you need a microscope and a decoder to decipher the markings. I find system information software a valuable tool.

Screenshot - 12_5_2009 , 4_05_32 PMSpeccy is system information software from Piriform who are the developers of CCleaner(system cleaner), Recuva(data recovery), and Defraggler(defragmentor). They have a reputation of producing some well made products.

Speccy can be downloaded from the Piriform website. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll see when you use it:

Screenshot - 12_5_2009 , 4_02_35 PM

It will give you a an overview of what’s inside your PC. If you click on any of these it will give you more in depth details. Like this….

Screenshot - 12_5_2009 , 4_03_21 PM

For a program still in beta it works pretty well and I encountered no problems while using it. It’s a small program of about 1.1 MB so it’s a quick download depending on your connection. It’s not super in depth as far as information but, I believe it’ll serve well for casual and more experienced users alike wanting a quick snapshot of what’s inside. Being still in beta there may be more features to come. I hope they keep it simple and quick. Best of all it’s got a great

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dissecting a hard drive


I just recently pulled apart an old hard drive that I had lying around. I just thought I’d share what I found and post it here. I’ve had the urge to pull one apart for awhile but never got around to it. This particular drive was a 4.3 GB Quantum Fireball. I don’t even remember what computer this one came out of. It was perfect for the task.

IMG_4449 First task was to unscrew the six screws on the top of the drive.


Part of what attracted me to take this apart was that it had Phillips head screws holding the cover on. Many have the TORX head screws which are more difficult to remove if you don’t have the right tool. But wait….



There were two TORX head screws hiding under the “Warranty void if seal is broken” sticker

. Since the warranty period is long past I plowed on. I was able to get a tool to remove the screws.


Then I took a screw driver to pry apart the cover.


We now see the inside of the drive which hasn’t been open since the factory.


It almost reminds me of an old record player.



This is the circuit board that is beneath the drive.


A close up of the actuator arm. You can see where there was space to add more platters. The platters have a mirror like finish. I just thought share this with others that may be curious as to what’s inside there hard drive. Have a great day!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recovering data from older hard drives

j0287252 I had a friend tell me had saved many of his hard drives from older PC’s he had and wondered if he could hook them up and look and recover his old data. There are a number of ways to to this.  I suggested to him that he could use a hard drive enclosure or a some type of hard drive docking station. Most of which connect to your PC by USB port. They can be commonly found at places like and and other geeky shopping places online. One thing to be careful of is the type of interface your drive has. Today the vast majority of drives have what is called Serial(aka: SATA) interface. If you’ve got a drive from an older machine chances are you have an IDE(or Parallel). Be careful when ordering to be sure which type you have. One will not fit into the other so there’s no danger hurting anything. Just the aggravation of having to get the right one. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

3 out of 10 laptops fail within 10 years

According to a study by SquareTrade (a warranty company) 31% of laptops fail within the first three years of ownership. This isn’t too surprising given that laptops by there nature take a lot of use and abuse. It also shows that the popular netbooks are 20%(a projected amount) more likely to fail than there more expensive counterparts. ASUS and Toshiba have the best rates at about 16 % failure rate. Premium laptops tended to fair better. This may be due to that if someone pays good money for a big ticket item they’ll take care of it better. I thought this would be a good comparison if your looking to buy a laptop this coming Christmas season.

Screenshot - 11_24_2009 , 2_58_16 AM

Source: Christopher Null: The Working Guy

Saturday, November 21, 2009

GH: World Tour: Hotel California Expert Guitar, 100%, 355k (FC)

I recently got this game for my birthday. It' very addicting. This is one of my favorite tunes on it so far. I'm only on "medium" level though. I do hope to get this one on "Expert" someday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Are you computer literate?

j0314180I’m not asking whether your a computer geek or nerd. Kind of like you don’t need to know how fuel injection works on a car in order to drive one. Some people still in 2009 have a fear or apathy towards computers. As sort of a computer geek myself I find this incredible. I’ve taken college classes where people would (and still do) turn in papers hand written. Many times they cite they don’t have a computer or have one but don’t have the time to figure out how to use it. I’ve heard of some universities providing laptops for there students. It is practically an essential piece of college life .

Computers are used in almost every business (and homes) today in some shape or form. They are quick and efficient for communication and information. Of course the primary means of sharing this stuff is by the Internet. Almost every business big or small has a website these days.

Being computer savvy has many benefits:

  • You can use your computer more wisely and be an educated consumer.
  • The ability to use a computer is almost essential in most careers and jobs.
  • When your computer literate you’ll be less intimidated by technical jargon and be able to take advantage of new technologies.

One of my goals in writing this blog is to help others overcome this fear or apathy. I was a computer newbie at one time also. I remember when I used to think when my PC told me I performed an “illegal” function I thought for a moment that the authorities were going to start busting down my door(or something like that).  I’m not kidding. It’s a lot like taking care of a car. You don’t need to be an expert mechanic and be able to tear apart and build a car. You just need to know how to care for it and use it wisely and safely. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Illegal downloaders spend more music

j0136715I have never understood the heavy handed tactics of the RIAA and others in cracking down on those who download illegal stuff.   A recent study I found through Tech-Ex says that those that download illegally spend more on music (legally) than those that don’t. In other words they are biting the hand that feeds them.

Many of those who do download the stuff are more than likely music fans already and probably do spend more money on music in the first place than those. Instead they chose to take the “Us versus Them” mentality which turns off your strongest consumer base.

It also puzzled me why Youtube would crack down on video’s that use music. We’ve probably all come across those videos that the audio track has been removed. I think many people discover or re-discover music they like through video sites like YouTube and the like. I know I’ve spent many nights re-discovering music from my youth. You can find old music videos, interviews and other archive video from a particular artist that say ten years ago you’d never be able to see. It’s like a video archive that’s just waiting to be tapped. I don’t think the music industry in general can quite grasp what a gold mine they actually have. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

PC Troubleshooting 101 : Check the obvious first

A friend wanted me to look at his PC because it wasn’t working correctly. He wasn’t too specific. It would shutdown at random and wouldn’t start all the time. He gave it to me to take a look at it at home. I didn’t have time to check it out when he gave it to me. He said he heard a noise like something was loose inside. So when I brought it home and looked inside here’s what I discovered:


First we meet our patient, a Gateway PC about 4-5 years old with a Pentium 4.


Maybe you can spot the problem?


A little closer. What’s missing? The video card of course.



I wish all PC repairs were this easy. I’m not finished though. I reinstalled the video card and I thought I was home free. Upon restarting the PC would power up for a second or two and shutdown. I checked the power supply and that was good. I reseated the memory and that checked out OK. Checked the hard drive by unplugging it it had no effect. I was a bit stumped by this one. A bit defeated sort of started to fear the worst that the motherboard had bit the big one. I priced out motherboards and such so I could have as much information as possible when I talked to the owner. I left it at that for the day.

I came back about a day later thinking about how to go about this problem. I hadn’t talked to the owner yet so my options were still open. Just for the heck of it I turned the PC upright and I’m not sure if I adjusted the video card or not. I turned it on again expecting more of the same. To my surprise the PC continued to boot up. I was in shock and elated at the same time. Sure enough it booted to Windows XP and worked normally. I restarted it a few more times to be sure it wasn’t a fluke. So far to this point it still starts(as of writing this).

Of course I made the mistake of assuming I had seated the video card correctly. I ate a piece of humble pie and felt a little stupid. It’s a lesson in not overlooking the obvious things in troubleshooting a PC problem(or any problem for that matter). I still have the issue of preventing this from happening again. The PC is missing the plastic hold down piece for expansion cards. It won’t take much for the card to fall out again. Of course it can’t be a normal PC and just require a screw to hold down the card. A proprietary piece hardware is required. Meaning I’d have to find the exact same model(or very similar) Gateway PC to fix it. Unless I get lucky in finding one I’ll have to fabricate something. If anyone has any ideas let me know.

Well thanks for coming by and have a great day!

A Day at the Office

Who say's all office work is boring?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

【Dale Carnegie】 How to analyze and solve worry problems

I've just finished reading this book and I thought it was great. Here's a short video I found that summed up some good points about it. I'll be writing more about this in the future.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

With Windows 7 just released you may be wondering if you’d like to upgrade your current PC. You may consider using the official Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Tool from Microsoft. Though I don’t really think I’ll be upgrading soon I downloaded it and gave it a shot. Here I’ll give you a look at what to expect. This is on Windows XP system, if you have Vista it may look a bit different. First you’ll have to download it from here and install it.

Screenshot - 10_25_2009 , 11_09_04 AM

Screenshot - 10_25_2009 , 11_09_38 AM

After you install it click “Start Check” button in the corner.

Screenshot - 10_25_2009 , 11_09_54 AM

The program will start checking your system for compatibility to Windows 7. They weren’t kidding either when it says “This will take a few minutes”. Though I didn’t exactly time it I believe it took at least 10 to 15 minutes to complete. I’m not sure if it was because of my system or that’s the nature of the program. Maybe someone else can tell us of there experience with this.

Screenshot - 10_25_2009 , 11_24_52 AM In the end you’ll receive a report that looks like this telling you if your system and software is compatible. Just from a quick look at this I’d have to upgrade my graphics card at least. Also I’d have to”perform a custom installation”  of Windows 7. This short for clean complete installation of Windows 7 from since it cannot upgrade directly from XP. I didn’t click on the links because I was running short on time when I did this. I imagine the links bring you to pages on the web to assist you.

Good luck and I hope this would help you out. Please chime in and tell us of your experience with this and Windows 7 in general. I may run this on my wife’s laptop which has Vista and see what it comes up with. Thanks for coming by!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bob’s Favorite Free Utility Software

j0385703 This is a list of my favorite utility software that I use to keep my machines running. Like your own body if you don’t take care of them they begin to slow down. These are all free to use but, be aware there may be pay versions you may want to use. I’ve tried many out over the years and some of these have stood the test of time while some I’ve only begun using recently.

  • CCleaner – This is one of my favorite utility software applications. It has stood the test of time and is quite useful. It cleans out temp files, cookies and other items that clog up your PC. It also has a registry cleaner, startup program editor, and add/remove programs. It’s interface is intuitive and is a snap to use.
  • Spybot Search and Destroy – This is another application that has been around for quite awhile. This cleans out malware that can slow down your PC. If you suspect your infected with spyware this is the tool turn to first.
  • Belarc Advisor – If you need a quick snapshot of what’s running inside the computer this is a handy little application. It will give you information on both hardware and software running in your machine. It’s not the most in-depth tool of it’s kind but, gives you a quick look into the machine without installing a huge program with information you don’t always need.
  • Auslogics Disk Defrag – As you use your PC it leaves around little bits and bytes around your machine. If not reorganized(defragged) occasionally it will make your drive work harder(and slower) and possibly shorten it’s lifespan. If you want something else to use to defrag your machine besides the built-in Windows version this is a good choice. It’s hard to tell if it’s quicker than Microsoft’s but, I think it does a good job. It has a friendly interface and even give’s you a percentage of how much you’ve improved your machine.
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus – This is may current choice of antivirus software. I’ve only started using this recently after it was suggested by someone. I’ve also used Avast! and AVG(Free versions) which are also very good choices if your on a budget.

These are my current favorite utility software applications. All are free for personal use. Read user agreements if you intend to use for commercial or business applications. If you have any suggestions of stuff I may have missed or comment about your experience with the above feel free to let me know. Thanks and have a great day!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Windows 7 Launch Party

I first heard of this(thanks Geeks are Sexy!) I kind of silly to tell you the truth. Though I imagine the people at Microsoft wished you wouldn’t. If you don’t know Windows newest operating system called simply enough “Windows 7” is due to be launched on Oct. 22, 2009.  I have not tried it personally but, from the hype it’s suppose to be much better than Vista. I’ve only had some experience with Vista on my wife’s laptop which hasn’t caused any problems so far.

To get back to the idea of a launch party for an operating system? Maybe it’s just me but, I’ve never heard of one (at least in my small social circle). Though many in Redmond, Washington may be excited about the launch Does anyone else get really excited about a software launch besides those launching it? The video does seem a bit on the silly side. I suppose if your in need of a reason to throw a party and your friends are on the geeky side it may work.  If you need to get your geek on go for it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Is a MAC really a PC?

David Risley over at PCMECH brought up an excellent point. The MAC despite all of the marketing hype by Apple a MAC is really a PC.  I have to agree with him on this argument. Let’s see what makes up a personal computer:

  • Hard Drive
  • Processor
  • Memory(aka: RAM)
  • Motherboard(aka:system board)
  • Operating system software
  • Input devices(aka: keyboard and mouse)
  • Video display(aka: monitor)
  • Optical drives
  • Internet capability
  • Designed for personal home use

Now one can argue the finer points of architecture designed into Apple machines and how the are different from Windows or Linux machines. This is no different than saying a certain auto part is only designed and built for a Porsche. That’s fine but, it’s still an automobile just like a Ford.

Please don’t get me wrong I believe Apple machines are well built and are priced accordingly. If you’d like one and can afford one by all means go for it. I do disagree with the perception that a computer made by Apple is not a PC(Personal Computer).

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Paypal Phishing Example

Let’s see if you can figure out which is the fraud in the screenshot:

Screenshot - 8_12_2009 , 11_10_58 AM

Screenshot - 8_12_2009 , 11_11_19 AM

If you haven’t guessed it by now it is the first one. It is a little hard to tell just by a screenshot. The one thing that definitely gives it away is your address bar. In the second screenshot you’ll see your address begin with the first one begins with some weird looking address that looks nothing like something from. Other than the spacing of the website it looks like a pretty good copy of the Paypal login screen. Another difference is that one of the blue tabs running across the top are different. The fraud has “Developers” and the real one has “Shopping”.

The another difference you can’t see is that on the fraud page none of the links are clickable except for “Log In” button. If you run your arrow over them nothing happens. Of course you can enter information for your username and password which of course is what the bad guys want.

This is the original email this fraud was found through:

Screenshot - 8_12_2009 , 11_58_55 AM

Screenshot - 8_12_2009 , 11_59_35 AM

If you look at one obvious thing at the top is that the email address  is from a account. Unless budget cuts at Paypal have forced employees to conduct business through web based email accounts this is a dead giveaway. Second of all Paypal clearly states that it will never email you to login. If you click on anywhere on the page it brings you to the fraud page I first showed you up top. If you get this email delete it immediately. If you suspect something is awry with your account login through the normal procedure which is to go through and login as you normally would.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Assessing the value of Facebook

My morning routine involves coffee, Internet, email and Facebook. My use of of the popular social networking site has increased tenfold in the last six months or so. I sometimes check on the hour to see if I've had any updates or to add one of my own. At first when I signed up for an account I had only a few friends and I didn't really check on it too much. As more of my friends started using it my use has increased also.

It has also become something you exchange along with you email and phone number when exchanging contact info. Though it has it's silly side with quizzes, games and other nonsense it does have the feel of a more mature site. Just how does this Internet phenomenon add value to your life, either in a personal or business sense?

Personally I find it a great way to keep in touch with family and friends in a non-intrusive way. In today's world our time constantly being filled up with everyday life event's like family, work, business or personal issue's. We don't always have time to chat with our friends or family. Coordinating people's schedule to chat on the phone or meet up for lunch can be a major challenge to some. Email's can be lost in shuffle between spam mail or lost in a inbox with hundreds of other messages that we'll get to tomorrow. With a simple status report on our Facebook wall or by adding some photo's we can keep others up to date with what were doing. You can keep in touch with those that live far away and have minimal contact with in real life.

I think this a great way for families that only seem to gather for weddings, funerals or holidays to stay in contact during the in between time. Photo's can be shared along with birthday messages. I've been able to keep up with my cousins who live long distances away and find out how they are doing. I find out family news long before I would have through the tradition grapevine of family gatherings and other traditional social events of the past.

Another benefit is to find old school friends to see how they have changed. Though this can be a double edge sword sometimes. Not everyone probably wants to be in touch with their third grade tormentor. The good thing is that "friending" someone is strictly voluntary so you can weed out the undesirables. The benefits I think outweigh the negative though. It's nice to see how old friends are doing. I've made new friends along the way too that I perhaps didn't forge a relationship in real life. You may even find old flames on Facebook that you

may be looking for.

Another valuable thing is that you can learn a lot about people just by what they post(or don't post). The numerous silly games and quizzes can give you insight into people that maybe you've missed in real life. You can (depending on how much information they reveal in there privacy settings) find out tidbits of info about friends or family that you may have known only a little about.

It can be a way to keep business contacts informed and to maintain professional relationships. A word of caution though, businesses and upper management can use this information for or against to you. You may want to think twice about becoming friends with a superior or someone else that may find some of your personal habits or postings disagreeable. If you call in "sick" refrain from posting picture's from the beach you went to the same day or you may have more time on the beach than you like.

Many businesses, celebrities, musicians, politicians, causes and many more well known entities also maintain a Facebook accounts. This can be a personal way to market there items without being overly commercialized. I keep up with Slash (formerly of Guns'N Roses) does every day along with what former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has to say.

Overall I find it very beneficial being on Facebook. It is a way to maintain contact with friends and family in a non-intrusive manner. You can find old friends you went school with or rekindle an old flame of yours that perhaps got away the first time. You may even learn more about your friends and create stronger relationships with them. Celebrities, groups, businesses may stay in touch with their fans that has a more personal touch and less commercialized or faked message than mainstream media outlets. Facebook has an excellent balance of friendliness, fun and maturity that I find very appealing and addicting.

Originally published on

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Google Voice

Here is a program that’s causing all the fuss with Apple/iPhone/FCC. I didn’t know much about it. I can see how this can have many applications to business(big and small) and personal use. Check out the video which explains more:

Currently you need an invitation to use the service, though it is soon to be open to U.S. Service members which scores points with me. I sent my request in for an invite so I’ll see what happens. Click here to see official website to sign up for an invite if you don’t already have one. See what iPhone users are missing out on.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Use caution bringing computer in for repair

This report found through PCMECH shows computer tech’s rifling through personal customer files. To make matters worse many of them over charged or exaggerated the repairs needed. In one case they charged for a repair that was never done. This isn’t the first type of report like this that I’ve seen.

j0422406Use caution should you have to bring it to a technician. If possible back up your data and remove it. and do a good cleaning with something like CCleaner to clean out history and passwords. If possible encrypt private files.

People that do this are unethical and possibly breaking the law. They also give your honest technicians a bad reputation. When I’ve repaired or troubleshoot someone's PC I do my best to do work without going into personal files or data. 99% of the time it isn’t necessary nor none of my business to go through personal stuff. Good luck and be  careful.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meta-iPod: iTunes tune up

I followed up on yesterdays post on iTunes updating and organizing your music. I’ve found over time your music can accumulate duplicate tracks, missing album artwork, messed up names and so on. I downloaded and tried out meta-iPod: the iTunes cleaner. It works pretty well and I thought I’d share may experience here.

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_27_38 PM 

First you’ll want to start up iTunes then start up Meta-iPod. This is the current version 1.61.

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To start analyzing you click on the great big green Start! button.

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The program will start analyzing your data.

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Individual buttons will become colorized as they become available. The red numbers below indicate the number of tracks affected. You then select one to work on. I didn’t try every feature but, I’ll touch upon a few.

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_36_31 PM

Fix Duplicate Tracks: As the name implies you can eliminate duplicate tracks with this feature. You can auto-select the choices or manually click the ones you want to clean up. After you made choices click on “Delete checked tracks” and say good bye to clutter.

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Fix No Album Art Tracks: One of my pet peeves about iTunes is that they miss a lot of album art  especially from ripped CD’s. This feature let’s you add album art from multiple sources so chances are you’ll find what your looking for.

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_44_13 PM

When you double click on a selection it will search for artwork from multiple locations on the web. I’ve found this can be a bit slow depending on your Internet connection and hardware. Also I seem to get a small glitch like the one below:

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_50_07 PM

I haven’t investigated this problem yet. I clicked on “Continue'” and I was to proceed without much of a problem.

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_50_36 PMContinuing on,   when you scroll down and find artwork that matches your selection you double click it and it will be added to all selections from the same album. When you click on “OK” it will update iTunes.

Despite the minor glitch in the artwork selection I liked this software very much and I do recommend it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to update and organize your iTunes

Like many people I use iTunes to organize my music. To be honest I did not know of many of these tricks and tips from PC World. I’ll be checking some of these out.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Linux vs. Apple

I’ve seen plenty of debate of Apple versus Windows over the years. I’ve even seen some heated discussions on Linux taking on Microsoft. Rarely have I seen debate on Linux going up against Apple. I ran across this article by Matt Asay of CNET News. The original article I sense is not about picking on Linux but, trying to learn from the way Apple does business.

For the record I believe that Apple is different from Linux(and Microsoft) is that they design and build their computers from top to bottom. That includes design, operating system and so on. I believe they do it very well and are able to produce quality products that people love. They do put the customer first in this respect. Are they perfect? No they aren’t but they have been very successful. Will they ever topple Windows based computers? I highly doubt it.

Windows and Linux are operating systems. They do not build or design the computers that the software runs on. In many ways they are at a disadvantage to Apple. Windows and Linux cannot possibly test their software on every type of PC produced. Apple is able to focus and test their software on hardware they designed. Of course it’s going to run well. When you buy an Apple computer you get the whole package. The hardware and software is designed to work together. Now Windows and Linux has to work with a multitude of computer manufacturers.

What Apple also does well is that they focus on the end user. Most people want a product that is easy to use, practical, built well and stylish. Apple does bore people with the technical aspects of their products. They tend to focus on what the product is able to do. They also give there products easy to remember names like iMac, iPod, iPhone, MacBook, Safari, OS X, Mac Pro and so on. They also make there users feel as if they are part of a group that is exclusive.

Part of what keeps Linux from really exploding is in part due to it’s image. It’s looked at like something developed by geeks. This is not a new revelation by any means. They have come a long way from the beginning and have been improving. The sheer number different Linux distributions is daunting. This I believe is an obstacle to mainstream acceptance. When you by a Mac you know your going to get OS X. Buy a Windows PC you’ll get Vista. With Linux just picking out one can be time consuming and confusing. When you go looking around for Linux you get a huge variety of names like Puppy Linux, PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Debian, RedHat, Mint, OpenSUSE, BackTrack,FreeBSD, Fedora, Slackware, Gentoo, CentOS, Sabayon, DamnSmallLinux, Mepis and the list goes on. Then when you start looking more into it your hit with unfamiliar terms like Gnome, Kde, Xfce, GUI, kernel, Terminals, mount, unmount to name a few. The Linux community should get behind one or two distributions and focus resources on them.  Too many distributions is confusing to the consumer at large. You ask a hundred Linux enthusiasts what there favorite operating system is your likely to get close to a hundred different answers.

If Linux is to be seriously considered a major contender for the desktop user(mainstream) it needs to make the end user there focus. Most consumers want something to plug in and use right away. Not something they need to spend hours upon  hours figuring out or getting used. Don’t get me wrong here I do like Linux(I use Xubuntu). It’s fairly easy to use but, I’ve taken the time to learn about it. I have a friend who constantly tries out different ones. That’s his style but, I wonder why not just pick one and run with it.

Mafia Wars Etiquette: Energy Packs

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Energy in Mafia Wars(on Facebook) allows you to do jobs to earn money and experience. It can be frustrating when you use them all up. Energy points are refreshed at a rate of 1 every 5 minutes. Fortunately your associates can send you energy packs as gifts. This will refill your energy plus give you an extra 25%.

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You can only be sent one energy pack once every 23 hours. Once you start building your Mafia you’ll probably start receiving energy boosts like clock work every day(23 hours). It is I believe a common courtesy when receiving an Energy Pack to also pass it along to your group.To do this click on the “Use energy pack” button to receive your energy.

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Next you’ll be asked “Send energy to your mafia”. Click on that button.

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A pop-up will appear and you can now click “Send Energy Pack”. This will send an energy pack to everyone in your mafia. Think of this as “Paying it forward”.

Another tip is that before accepting your energy pack go and use what energy you have on hand and then go and receive your energy pack. This will maximize your energy you receive. Have a great “Mafia Monday”!