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.

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_28_24 PM

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

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_29_12 PM

The program will start analyzing your data.

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_31_35 PM

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.

Screenshot - 7_30_2009 , 12_39_26 PM

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

Screenshot - 7_24_2009 , 2_46_25 AM

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%.

Screenshot - 7_24_2009 , 11_50_47 AM

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.

Screenshot - 7_24_2009 , 11_51_07 AM

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

Screenshot - 7_24_2009 , 11_51_16 AM

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”!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recycle your PC Today!



Friday, July 24, 2009

Social Networking: Mafia Wars on Facebook

Screenshot - 7_24_2009 , 2_46_25 AMNow you can join the mafia without the unhealthy benefits. Facebook is loaded with games(or time suckers as I call them). Mafia Wars by Zynga is a popular game you can play that let’s you join and build your own mob.  You first create your character and then you start building your “family” through your Facebook friends.

Screenshot - 7_24_2009 , 2_46_17 AM

You can move up in your mob by doing  jobs and fights. You can purchase weapons, property, vehicles and more. Win special loot on certain jobs or fights.  I have been amazed on how addicting this game is.

Screenshot - 7_24_2009 , 3_09_25 AM

One quick suggestion. To add to your mob requires you to add people to your friends list. I’d advise to go through you friends first. If your going to add strangers to your list I’d suggest creating a friends list on Facebook and editing your privacy settings to restrict access to your personal information. You can’t be too careful these days.

This game is free but, you can purchase extra “Godfather” points if you want to go that route. They’ve got to support themselves somehow. Zynga does do a good job on this game with a polished look a very intuitive layout. If you’ve got time to kill it’s fun and addictive.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Social Networking: Opt-out of FaceBook ads

By default your FaceBook account allows your profile and picture to be used in advertising by friends or businesses. Though many times this could be a harmless thing if advertising for something like candy or a cause. If your face were to be used for a dating service your significant other or spouse might be a bit peeved.

This is the way to opt out of this option.

1. Go to Settings

Screenshot - 7_22_2009 , 1_24_35 PM

2. On your settings page go to Privacy and click on the “manage” link.

Screenshot - 7_22_2009 , 1_25_16 PM

3. Click on “News Feed and Wall”. On the next page click on the “Facebook Ads” tab.

Screenshot - 7_22_2009 , 1_28_45 PM

4. Click on the small arrow next to “Only my friends” and you’ll see a drop down and here you can choose “No one”. After you made your choice click “Save changes” and your done.

This should help save you from any embarrassing moments and protect your privacy too. Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Computer Hardware Guide


Every wonder what all those connectors and slots are. Hardware has gone through many phases and hardware changes it’s hard to keep up. Here is a handy reference guide I found at “Geeks are Sexy” . It even includes hardware from Apple computers. The poster also shows how hardware has changed in the short history of PC’s which is kind cool too.  It can be viewed in your browser or perhaps printed out for a handy poster or flyer. Click on picture to got to original source.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Free Geek and New England Tech Recycling Day

IMG_3591One week from today Free Geek Providence and New England Tech are teaming up to recycle your old computer* equipment. It helps you clean up the environment by keeping old computers from going to the landfill. It also helps you reclaim your closet or basement from old electronics. HOT 106.3 FM and Pawtucket Red Sox mascot will be joining the event.

The event is to be held at New England Tech, Saturday July 25, 2009.

New England Tech

2500 Post Road,Warwick, RI

9am to 1pm

*a $10 fee is applied to CRT type monitors

Friday, July 17, 2009

Laptop Hunters saga

I have to admit I’m a bit behind on the latest round of MAC versus PC(Windows). I find much of it silly and funny. I do know many MAC users can be very defensive about their choice of computers. I once posted a short post about their Safari browser and was soon barraged by hate mail/comments from MAC users. Maybe this post will also incite some of them too.

I’m not to sure what makes MAC users so rabid. I’m a PC but, I don’t hate Apple owners. To be honest they make high quality computers but, along with that goes the high price. It’s like comparing Porsche to Ford. One builds high performance sports cars which are pricey but other markets to the masses with vehicles ranging from trucks to small cars. Both will get you from point A to B.

The ad points out a simple thing which points to one thing I don’t understand. Why pay for high priced computer when something of a lower price will do what you want it to. Is it the image? I agree in many circles as video and graphical artist and such prefer MAC’s and that’s fine. Does everyone need that capability? No.

Most people just need a computer to surf the Internet, check email, play games, and some small office/school stuff. All the stuff a relatively inexpensive Windows based computer will do. Well I just thought I’d add some fuel to the fire of the debate.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Music: Amazon

Since it’s become unprofitable due to draconian measures taken by RIAA to stop illegal mp3(music) downloading where can you buy music? Well iTunes generally has cornered the market due to it’s popularity of the iPhone and iPod. iTunes generally gets all the press and glory. Music is available through other legitimate sources.


Amazon which built it’s empire selling books also sells mp3 music. Though I have used iTunes I actually prefer using Amazon for searching for music to download. Originally started using Amazon due iTunes having DRM(Digital Rights Management ) encoded  in the music. Which meant you had limited rights to play your music on so many devices. Which to was like if you bought a CD of music you could only play it on players made by a certain company. Apple has since changed this and has loosened it’s grip. The other reason is mp3 format versus AAC format. Technically speaking AAC format is the better format, The mp3 format I believe offers more freedom to be used with many more devices. Plus I think I have a bit of rebelliousness towards iTunes and Apples grip in this market so I wanted to try something different.



Screenshot - 7_16_2009 , 12_36_18 PM

Amazon offers a wide variety of music and is well organized in a way that is easy to search through. I’ve rarely searched for something and not found it on Amazon. Prices for albums are generally $9.99 but they frequently have special for albums for $4.99 or less which can have some gems if you search through. Individual songs are anywhere from $.69, $.99 or $1.29. Amazon does have a download helper which is a small download and automatically downloads your purchase and will integrate with iTunes or other media players. It’s fast and easy and you can be listening to your purchase in minutes(depending on your download speed). 


This is just my personal preference. If you have an iPod or iPhone I’m sure you’ll go with iTunes. Otherwise Amazon music is a very good choice in my opinion. What is your choice for music download purchases?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Social Networking: Facebook Etiquette

On many social networking sites it seems as if anything goes. Part of Facebook’s appeal I believe that it is a bit more mature or refined than most. Here are a few etiquette tips to help keep your friends and not to annoy them. It may also help your experience on Facebook less of a headache and keep it fun and informative like it should be.

  • Will you be my friend? Develop a criteria for accepting friends. Some like to include everyone and others are more selective. Keep in mind that the more “friends” you invite the more activity you’ll encounter on your wall. More quizzes, event invitations, updates about bathroom habits, application invitations, games, chat sessions and so on. Some are fun but they can be annoying to some. I wouldn’t friend someone just out of the blue if you don’t know them. Depending on your privacy settings you could be letting a perfect stranger view your personal information. It’s advisable to think about organizing your friends or contacts and adjusting your personal settings to what they can view about you.
  • I just dropped a big one in the ….. Most people don’t want constant updates. Especially ones from the bathroom. Updating your status every two minutes can be annoying to some and may show how little life you have. Depending on your friends will decide your level of class or taste you display. Keep in mind also your boss,parents,clergy members, or spouse may be on your list getting updates of your latest antics. Use common sense.
  • Which 2009 song are you? Quizzes are all over the place. Many applications also do this.Almost ask you to share with 10 friends or more. Be a bit choosy in who you pick for this. Sending too many can be very annoying to some. If your friends will be interested then go ahead but, try not to send every quiz to everyone on your list indiscriminately. They can also be on the NSFW( Not Safe For Work) category. Most applications or quizzes will give you an option to skip this step somewhere on the bottom of screen if you wish to opt out.
  • Facebook Chat. Just because someone shows up in your chat window means they are willing to strike up a conversation. You can adjust your settings to limit who see’s you online. Be considerate that some may be busy or away from the computer. Send a greeting or ask if they are busy first. Don’t be offended if they don’t respond.

These tips are intended to keep your experience on Facebook positive and fun. Use common sense when using Facebook and don’t annoy others. Yes there is a certain amount of fun and silly stuff that goes on but, try and keep it in moderation and consider who else is viewing your updates. Though I don’t see it as much keep the “Poking” to minimum. Your significant other may not be too pleased.

Source: Print - PC World, August 2009, Page 99

Friday, July 10, 2009

Office 2010: The Movie

Screenshot - 7_10_2009 , 12_52_29 PM



This is a hilarious video promo for the new Microsoft Office 2010. We see the grave of Clippy(1997-2004) the annoying office helper. A rogue font has been released over the Internet and Clippy’s old partner must get over his loss to help fight this new threat.


Microsoft has struggled to get people to switch from previous Office versions to the newer Office 2007 version. 2007 featured the newer “ribbon” interface. I do have this version and it does take a little getting used to.  I took a computer class last fall which used Office 2003. I had to figure out how to do 2003 stuff on 2007 with the new interface. I loved the “Word” hand sign. Enjoy the video.

Source: Tech-Ex

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Recycling your PC

IMG_3589Free Geek Providence and New England Tech are teaming up to recycle your old computer equipment. It helps you clean up the environment by keeping old computers from going to the landfill. It also helps you reclaim your closet or basement from old electronics.

The event is to be held at New England Tech, Saturday July 25, 2009.

New England Tech

2500 Post Road,Warwick, RI

9am to 1pm

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blogger vs. Wordpress

Over the last six month’s or so I moved my PC blogging over to using Wordpress. To be honest it took some work to get the bugs out but, I was able to get it to run. Maybe like yourself you’ve read countless blogs saying Wordpress or others like it are the way to go for serious blogging. This may be true for the serious blogger. I don’t feel it may be right for those starting out on a budget with limited time. To set up Wordpress takes time to figure out and to maintain. Admittedly you’ve have a lot more flexibility and ownership of your site dealing with design and content.

j0282985What Blogger does offer a simplicity in design and speed to get you off the ground with only a small learning curve. I believe when your first starting out the last thing you need to do is dealing with Wordpress themes, themes dealing with php., plugins, updates, using ftp. Many of these things do take time to master. Sure it may be simple to many but for someone starting out I believe you can get caught up into dealing with trivial issues when you could be creating content you need.  A blog is nothing without content.

Case in point: Recently I wanted to add some polls to find out what readers wanted. I tried on my Wordpress blog to add plugins to add them. I spent well over an hour dealing with it and in the end the polls still did not appear on my blog. Frustrated I came over to this blog and I had a poll up and running in about 5 minutes. I also started another poll on another blog I have. Pardon the cliche but time is money. I don’t mind spending some time and effort for something thats worth it. Blogger I grant you doesn’t have the fanciest designs or themes but they do offer something that will get you up and running. Also if you want your own domain you can get one through Google Apps(GoDaddy) for $10 that is super simple to setup. I have already done it for another blog mine and I’ll be doing it here soon.  OK that’s the end of my rant. Have a great day!

Please help me help you

j0341934I’ve posted a poll here to find out what my visitors are most interested in reading about. This is to help me focus my efforts to better help you and others that come hear. This blog and my other tech blog at has at times, admittedly lacked focus and attention to those most important: my visitors. This is your chance to have a voice in the content here.  Thank you for taking the time to fill out the poll and I highly encourage any constructive  comments you may have to make this blog better serve you and others. Have a great day!