x-ipod-rip-1I’ve always wanted to be able to work with my music when away from my desktop, and until recently I haven’t been able to swing it. It always made more sense to me to manage my music over the weekend for example, in the middle of a ski weekend. They say that an iPod will only sync with one computer but really one iPod will only sync with one iTunes library. So I set out to make this work. It was a bit annoying trying to work out all the bugs in the process, but the concept is really quite simple.

The first step in the process is to move all of your music files onto an external hard drive, one which runs from USB without an extra power cord is ideal. You’ll need to change the lettering of the drive. I recommend calling the drive “M:/”. Short for media, this is probably a letter higher then any you’ll see unless you plug in 10 thumb drives. The process for changing drive letters is a relatively simple process. After changing the location of your library you’ll need to setup iTunes. If you install the same version of iTunes on both computers and make sure iTunes is loking for the media on the M:/ drive. iTunes will still be looking for the library files at “My DocumentsMy MusiciTunesiTunes Music.”

Now close iTunes & make a new folder inside your iTunes folder and throw your old library files into there. After creating this backup you can begin copying the files from your former “iTuenes master computer” into the iTues folder. After this is done your music should open on the new computer. You should also notice that your iPod will sync. If this is the case go ahead and delete your old files from the newly added machine. Download Windows Live Sync and 1st set this up on the new machine. add your iTunes folder as the sync location, tehn repeat this action on the Master computer. Give the computers time to sync and then try playing music on both computers, and connect the iPod to each computer and they should both sync.

dual-monitor-731875Do you have two computer monitors? have you ever been sick of what’s on TV and wanted to watch something from a site like Hulu or YouTube full screen on your second monitor while reading through Facebook news feeds, chatting with friends, checking your email, or just surfing around the web? Well they don’t make it easy, but it is possible. After a bit of reading around I found that it can be done. There’s a how to included below, but there’s also a linkto the file that will make it all work. In either case the end result s fantastic!

Link: The “How To” – Dual-Monitors Full Screen Flash
Link: The “Quick way “- (File) Dual Monitor Full Screen Flash Fix

You may recall having seen my post about Computer Repair Software back in May of 2008. If so, I hope you’ve listed to my advice and run some of those great programs which should help protect your computer. The other night while using my computer I got a warning from Avast! (a program I had recommended) that my computer had a virus; a Trojan to be specific. Then it happened again, and again, and again. I started a virus scan which ran all night, finding more and more comprised files. After that scan finished I did another from outside windows, then a third within Windows again. More and more new infected files each time. Finally near the end of the 3rd scan, I thought I ought to look for and download any new Avast! virus definitions updates that could be out there. I did, and then I went away for the weekend. upon returning I created an 120gb Acronis backup (outside or windows) which took about 7 hours. Then I entered Windows, scanned again with Avast! and another time with “Malware Bytes – Anti Malware.” This time; nothing. After a bit of research I learned the following:

On Thursday 12.3.09 avast! had a bad false positive issue. At around 00:15 AM GMT an update was downloaded which started flagging hundreds of innocent files as a ‘Win32:Delf-MZG’ Trojans (or, in less common cases, as ‘Win32:Zbot-MKK’.) On Thursday 12.3.09 at 5:50 AM GMT, another VPS update was released, fixing the issue.

If you were like me and quarantined otherwise safe files, there’s some info on how to restore them at the link below. Sorry if this program I recommended caused you any harm, and hopefully your computer was off during the 6 hours this was a problem. If not read some more below.

Link: Win32:Delf-MZG & Zbot-MKK false positive issues

I’ve just returned from The Alliance for Community Media North East Conference held this year at Champlain College in Burlington Vermont. I took the New Media track as I always do so most of the seminars I attended focused on the web 2.0 concept & social media specifically how they can be utilized in the access television realm. While in these seminars, we also had an opportunity to discuss some of these social media forms and debate their uses as well as their usefulness. To the passive observer it definitely seems that social media and social networking is the in thing for 2009, and that’s great, but why? Common Craft produced short explanatory video which explains that the amount of information on the web has reached a quantity that there needs to be some better way of organizing it and that’s precisely what social media provides. We’re able to get recommendations from our peers (whether we know them or not.) Social media can provide an engine to unite groups of otherwise unfamiliar people who share interest in some common item. Social media can also serve as a meeting area for people of a real world group to converge and share information in a virtual space. There’s lots of social networks out there, really too many to mention (see the graphic,) and most of them provide a slightly different service to their users. From connecting with colleagues, friends, & groups on Facebook, to sharing photos on Flikr, searching through the many blogs out there on Technorati, or sharing video on YouTube. Perhaps users are “tweeting” about the local news or where they’re going to eat lunch on Twitter. Maybe they’re sharing a great bookmark on Del.icio.us; no matter what the use, social media has quickly become an extremely valuable tool in navigating the internet.

So I’m back from my trip to Wyoming catch the pictures if you haven’t yet. I really had a great trip, but as usual on trips to far away places the plane ride was extremely long and arduous. The flight took about 6 hours each way. While newer planes have a decent selection of movies, who wants to pay $2.00 for a headset, then $6.00 per movie? I had my own idea. I’ll catch up on some of the television shows I am behind on. So where do you find these episodes for download? Well you could go to iTunes and download each one, or search for a free alternative. Take a guess which I picked. If you haven’t already checked out Hulu.com you owe it to yourself to stop reading this, open a new browser tab, & go there. Hulu is great, there’s lots of content there and it’s all available 24/7/365. “But you can’t download from Hulu” you might say, & you’d be right, that is until Replay Media Catcher came along. Once you open RMC any flash video you are watching will be automatically downloaded to your computer. Once the download has finished, there is an option available to convert the file into a number of different formats for use on whatever portable device you so please. If importing to iTunes there’s even an easy check box to auto import to iTunes. The program sells for $40.00, and is a good deal for that price, but who pays for video ripping software these days? If you just can’t bring yourself to part with the cash, then check out the trial pay option.

Lately I’ve been doing rather large events over the weekend where lots of pictures are taken. So what I’ve been doing is getting pictures from everyone present, sorting them by time taken, then putting them into one album. I find that one tool that works great for this is Google’s “Picasa.” Picasa is a great photo management tool that displays your photos chronologically and even offers some basic fixes to your photos. Photoshop is great for editing photos too, but when you’re working with over a hundred photos, something quick and easy is best. Perhaps Picasa’s best feature is it’s auto resizing. If I tried to send someone a dozen pictures the email would be huge. Picasa resizes them down to a manageable size enabling me to email lots of photos to people with only the click of a button. It’s prety cool. The program is free and I’d definitely recommenced checking it out.

I took some photos from Washington DC and the weekend of the 4th, and that’s how I post all that stuff. Check it out here. If you were there, and you haven’t sent me your pictures yet; get with it and send them to me. Picasa makes it simple.

Link: Download Picasa
Link: Some Pictures From July

For about a year or two now I have been using my HP DVD940 and been pretty happy with it. Then all of a sudden it decides; no more. You forget how much you rely on a CD/DVD drive. Problem with a program, try to reinstall. Oh wait, broken drive. Want to access that back up of pictures from a few years ago. Nope sorry, find another way. Well today I write this blog not to complain about my drive, but rather about the company who makes it. HP. Again, I really liked the drive, but now that it’s broken, I’d like to try and update the drivers. That shouldn’t be hard, I’ll just check the HP website.

Ok, there’s the drivers section, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Let me just search for my drive. What’s this? Apparently they never made my drive. No, wait, here it is… no, that drive is external, that’s not it. So I figure, I’ll just give HP a call and explain the situation. It’s 11:00pm, and I’m feeling really productive. It looks like the cal center is open 24 hours a day, so I figure I’ll give them a try. After waiting on hold briefly, I give my name, email, phone number, model number, story, and the representative tells me I should call this other number. I write it down and call them after hanging up. They’re closed, and why not. It’s 11:30pm by now, and I was lucky to even get anyone in the first place.
The next day I call the number I was given the previous night and go though all the same standard stuff. Hold, give my name, email, phone number, ticket number, etc. Then I find out that the number I was given wasn’t even HP. It was some company they did business with like 5 years ago who makes mice and keyboards. They basically tell me that HP customer support is a bunch of morons, and I should call them back at the original number and make sure to get connected to the right place (carefully checking against the wrong number had dialed.) I call back HP, to make a long story short I repeated the entire story I just told, and ended up connected to a different number, but with the same mouse/keyboard company. Back to start again. Call HP, give all the info, they ask me for my serial number, I start to give it, but they want the one off the computer. The problem is, I built my own computer, there is no serial number. So the operator says she’ll connect me with their DVD specialists. I say “wait a minute, you keep connecting me to a company you used to do business with and it’s a wrong number.” So then what do I hear? “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” Are you serious?!? How about support your product. How about acknowledge that the product I am holding bearing your brand even exists, how about even knowing how to get in touch with the departments in your own company? Here’s a better question; “what do you expect me to do?” I hang up in a fit of rage. This person is useless. I figure I’ll call back after after cooling down.
Finally I give HP a call back. I’ve calmed down a bit, and I’ve decided not to solve the the problem any more, but rather just speak immediately with a supervisor. I don’t want to discuss the issue, or how to fix it. instead, I just want to complain about the quality of service I have received. Impossible. As soon as you ask to speak to the supervisor, the rep immediately commandeers the conversation and tries to solve your problem again (which they lack the ability to do.) Eventually he says “I cannot put you through to a supervisor because your product is more then a year old.” I explain I am not complaining about a product, rather it’s a customer service issue; but he assures me he can not, and will not put me through to a supervisor.
So there you have it. It’s a long post, but buyer beware. If you buy a HP product you might as well move to a desert island, because your going to be on your own. I would recommend avoiding this company and their terrible customer service at all costs.

People always seem to ask me for help fixing their computers. Most of the time these “fixes” aren’t much more then simple scans of your system or a de-fragmentation of you hard drive. There’s a lot of programs out there for de-fragmenting your computer, but I don’t really recommend any because window does come with a default de-fragmentation tool. Here’s a little more information on that in case you need it.

There’s a lots of software out there which you can use to clean up your computer, but who knows which you need and which ones are the best. The short answer to that question is… me. At least for today’s purposes. So I hope this helps. I’ve made a short list of programs that I think all people should keep on their computers and make a point to run at least once a month. It’s not that I’m an authority on this topic, but I figure enough people ask me what I use, that I can now just as easily direct people to this site to read and be linked for themselves. It seems in my opinion, that these programs seem to be the industry’s standard for the most part.

Link: How to Defrag in Windows XP
Link: Eric’s Recommended Software for Computer Repair

I’ve been wanting to integrate a video player into my website for a while now. I have a number of shows that I produced while at WETC and would like to try and post more of them on my website once I find a good codec that squeezes them down to a reasonable size and preserves some of the quality I worked so hard to create in my shots. About a year ago I went to a seminar about an emerging technology and company called Brightcove. It’s a lot like YouTube, but you can create your own channel and manage the content displayed there. For example just because I post a video about rock climbing on my player, you wont see a video on my player that someone else made a bout rock climbing. You will only see content that I post there. Like I said the task of capturing, converting, posting, and managing all of those shows is quite daunting, but I have wanted to experiment for a while now. Recently I finally found some media that I could post to experiment with this.

For Christmas my father gave me a helmet cam. It’s great, I have shot a lot of great short video clips, and I started posting them onto my player as a way to share them with the people who I took video of. It’s pretty cool, so I thought I’d post it here and create a link to that player so more people can find and enjoy it. The player is pretty stripped down at the moment, and is very utilitarian, simply accomplishing the goal of sharing the videos, not really making them look too pretty, perhaps eventually I will find a chance to make this player a little nicer looking. In the meantime check it out.

Link: Brightcove
Link: SkiCam

Over the last few weeks gmail has randomly deleted 3 weeks of emails from my system. I think gmail is a wonderful thing as it allows me to take my inbox wherever I go and feel at home and ready to work from where ever I am. Gmail is now my primary email account. It’s the place where I communicate with not only my friends and family but also where a lot of my business is done as well. This makes it especially important to keep a back up of your email. Now that all this email is stored off your computer, it is a little more complex to make a back up of the data. I have recently completed my back up & what a reliefe. There’s quite a few steps, but I found a great article detailing how to back up your gmail through Outlook.

Link: Check it out!