Archive for Computers & Internet

Firefox Problem Solved!

I should have posted this ages ago but, clearly I haven’t been posting anything lately. I repent! I finally fixed Firefox by deleting and recreating my profile. You didn’t know you had a Firefox profile? Neither did I. Apparently, they can get corrupted from time to time. Once I created the new profile and copied my bookmarks in from the old profile’s folder, I was totally up and running again. It took me about ten minutes. Go figure.

Go here for the official instructions…


Firefox Update

The new update appears to have improved my Firefox situation. I mentioned in a previous post that I was having a horrible time with Firefox lagging. After yesterday’s update, which ostensibly fixed a Quicktime security issue, I’m having fewer lags. They’re still happening from time to time but they’re not so frequent that I can’t use it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Firefox is Driving Me Insane

Update: I rolled Firefox back to a previous version. Same issues. I fired it up in safe mode. Same issues. I’m typing this from IE. I can’t take it anymore! I’ll keep trying to find a solution when I have the time and if I do, I’ll post it here.

About 2 weeks ago, Firefox starting randomly hanging. It’s not related to a specific Web site although I suspect it has something to do with running Java scripts. The symptoms are as follows.

I click in a box to type something and nothing happens for up to 15 seconds. I click on a button on Web page and nothing happens for up to 15 seconds. Everything moves along fine for a couple of minutes and then I try to scroll a page. Nothing happens. Sometimes the Firefox program icon goes to the non-responding icon. My CPU usage spikes to 100% during these lags. It’s maddening.

Googling this problem has not returned anything useful yet. I don’t have any extensions installed. I reinstalled the latest Java update (which I think is what caused this mess in the first place). I ran a spyware check. I checked my processes for anything that looked suspicious. I cleared my cache. I changed Firefox so it only uses one processor. No improvement so far. Arrrgh!

The Firefox error console shows lots of the following errors: “Warning: Error in parsing value for property ‘cursor’. Declaration dropped.” The Firefox forum claims this wouldn’t cause a crash. It’s just a CSS error.

I haven’t done a full reinstall of Firefox yet. I think it may be my last hope. Help me Obi Wan!

How I got My Music Off My iPod

construction_girl_holding_sledgehammer_hg_clr.gifI acquired a nifty new gadget the other day. It’s a Sansa e280 mp3 player. I got it so I can use Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go but I have a bunch of music already on an old iPod. I wanted to get all of that music onto the new Sansa with the least amount of trouble.

It turned out to be much easier than I expected!

1. Connect the iPod to your PC.

2. Right click on the [Start] button in Windows. Select Explore.

3. Browse to your iPod in the left panel and left click on it. Note: It should be listed as a separate disk under My Computer. In my case, it was called PODCASTS (F:).

4. In the right panel, double click on the folder called ipod_control.

5. Right click on the folder called Music then select Copy.

6. Right click on the directory in the left panel where you’d like to store you music and select Paste.

From here the directions depend on what application you use to synch your mp3 player. I used Yahoo Music Unlimited Jukebox. I simply added the Music folder to My Music and it organized all of the songs by Artist, Album, and Song Title. I synched my Sansa and I was in business. I had 4.7 gigs of data to transfer so it took a little while.

If you look inside the Music folder, you’ll see a bunch of other folders with your songs dispersed in no particular order throughout them. The filenames are truncated so if you try to find all of the songs from an album and move them into their own folder, it may see them as duplicates of each other. That’s the downside. Happily, the music players read the tags, not the filenames.

Another Note: These instructions assume you have Windows set to allow the viewing of hidden and system files.

Quote of the Day

In case you’ve ever wondered why technical manuals are hard to follow sometimes, this is a partial transcript of a conversation between a project manager and a contract technical writer who couldn’t log in to a particular online database. It was not unlike trying to log in to Gmail.
Contractor: still having probs with popups
Employer: That’s a problem. Did you add the domain to your Trusted Sites list?

Contractor: it may indeed, just be a subtle configuration parameter that requires a ‘check’ enabled
Employer: I would suggest pinging support, now online, to see if he’s seen the pop up issue.

Contractor: sorry, i’m finding A LOT of subtle issues arising as i walk thru this with support…
Contractor: when you look at stuff all the time, you tend to take stuff for granted
Contractor: i think i may have nailed down a subtle issue that’s been overlooked
Contractor: fingers crossed, still testing
Contractor: straight-up, mr. gates makes windows users work too hard 😉 — still testing
Contractor: it’s not going well
Contractor: not sure support can help me anymore

Contractor: i think i ‘overwhelmed’ support with my propensity to trouble-shoot 😉
Contractor: i hope he took my efforts constructively
Contractor: still have the ‘sa’ in my blood, i guess

Contractor: let me step back for ~30 minutes and then retrace my path
Contractor: there’s something subtle i need to do, step-wise
Contractor: i’ll get back at you in ~30 minutes
Employer: I have no one else to do this.

Contractor: it think it’s just a stepwise parameterization matter
Employer: It’s very simple process
Contractor: i kinda noticed some subtle stuff happen and change based on steps i too–there’s a hierarchiacal issue
Employer: I’m lost…
Contractor: when you invoke which step
Contractor: i know, it should not be this difficult
Employer: I’ll leave you to it.
Contractor: it was working before

Nifty Nerd Tool of the Day: LogMeIn – It Rocks!

logo-lmi1.gifLogMeIn is a free web-based application that gives you remote access to your computer. It’s not new but I finally added my media server to my account and I’m newly excited about it. When I log in to my account, I have 3 of my computers available to me (but I could add the rest if I wanted to). That means I can check the files I’m downloading onto my media server from work, or take control of my work computer from my laptop while sitting in a coffee shop.

If you’ve never used a remote desktop application before, here’s what you see. In your Web browser window sits your desktop as you would see it if you were sitting in front of it. You can then manipulate it however you want. It’s simple and oh so handy.

Depending on your connection speed, the lag-time isn’t bad. Right now I’m on a wireless 24Mbps connection at full strength, while my media server has the same connection but at low strength. The lag-time is barely perceptible and is certainly acceptable, particularly for free. I’ve never used GoToMyPC but others I know who have say LogMeIn is a much better deal. They do have added features in their paid Pro version, like remote printing and file transfers but for casual use, the free version is great!

How I Got iTunes Video to Stop Jerking Me Around

I finally got iTunes video working on my laptop. No other video format has ever given me this kind of trouble, and I’ve used all sorts of players, formats,and codecs.

I had to disable DirectX in Quicktime, lower my screen resolution to 1024×768, change my iTunes preferences to play videos in the main window, and then from there click the thumbnail view and widen it to fit the screen. Since I have a wide-screen display, I don’t actually get a full screen experience but at least it’s watchable. It’s also ridiculous. The resolution of the video is pathetic for this day and age. I’ve never been an Apple fan, but this experience makes me actually despise them. The second there’s a legal alternative, I’ll jump ship.

Update: I knocked my screen resolution down to 800×600 and was able to go full screen with only occasional video stutters.  However, the quality of the video was still grainy.  Booooo Apple!

iTunes on My Shiny New Laptop — Friend or Foe?

While waiting for the first episode of BSG season 3 (and when is the 2nd hour going online?!) I downloaded the season premiere of Lost. I’ve watched several DVDs on my laptop and it’s been great. Sadly, watching an iTunes video sucks. The audio is fine but the video is super choppy. Following the advice on the iTunes support site, I disabled DirectX (after installing and testing the latest updates) in Quicktime and it’s better but very subpar. Even when the video isn’t jerky, I’m getting periodic lines scrolling up the screen. It’s not as bad as having a fan nearby, but it’s still pretty annoying. Fortunately, I have a media server jacked into my t.v. and I seem to have better luck there. It’s still stutters occasionally but it’s watchable. It’s pretty sad that the media I’m paying for is of such low resolution and has such crummy compatibility when “free” downloads are so much better. Yes, I’ve googled the heck out this topic to no avail. I don’t have time for this!

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 — iTunes update

bsg.jpgI’ve been spitting nails since Sunday afternoon when I discovered that there was no sign of Battlestar Galactica’s season 3 premiere on iTunes. I scoured the net and could only find other people also freaking out over the same thing. Today, finally posted an update on their bulletin board.

As many of you are already aware, we are experiencing technical difficulties in making the season three premiere (“Occupation”/”Precipice”) available on iTunes. We are working on the matter and hope to resolve it shortly.

Thank you for your continued patience.

So there you have it. At least now I know they’re working on it and they intend to make it available soon. If they’d simply said that on Saturday, when everyone without cable or satellite went into panic-mode, they’d have saved themselves some flames.

On My Shiny New Laptop

acer1.gifOooo — It’s shiny. It’s fast. It has a gig of RAM and a 120 gig hard drive. The screen is wide and clear. It weighs about 2 lbs less than my old Vaio. The battery lasts for 2.5 hours. It has a dual-layer DVD burner. I paid less than a grand for it. <Gush>

Installing all my sh!t on it is going to take a week! I keep remembering programs, codecs, and plug-ins that need to be installed. Soon, I will add my stickers to the cover. I hope I never have to take it apart, but a few years from now I suspect I’ll be writing a sob story about some part of it needing replacement. Until then, it’s shiny, new, and ahhh, very exciting…

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