Blog Archives

Sansa to IPOD conversion

I have been using an 8GB Sandisk Sansa for my mobile media needs…that is up until last night.  I traded a new graphics tablet I bought at a CompUSA closeout for a 4GB IPOD nano with video.  At first I was going to give it to Liz, but after tinkering with it for a while I decided to keep the IPOD and give her the Sansa.  There are several reasons for this..

1. She won’t use the IPOD to its fullest extent (I will)
2. The Sansa has more storage space so she can put more photos on it and use it for client demos for her photography clients
3. I already have accessories she would need such as the carry case with clip so that she can take it with her more easily.
4. I would use the video playback more than she would.

So it worked out great for us both, she got a device she can use to store her favorite music, use in her photography business and its easily portable and easy to use.  Plus the Sansa has a built in FM radio so she can listen out and about. 

So now I have to convert all my WMA files to mp3, since some of them were DRM protected, I have to obtain the non-DRM protected versions so that I can import them into my itunes library.  I use both Rhapsody and Itunes now, I think Rhapsody has a nicer interface, but itunes is definately easier to get podcasts and audiobooks, etc. 

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Mobile Music

I have never been willing to spend a large sum of money to purchase a mobile MP3 player such as the IPOD or similar.  But this past week I found a great deal on TigerDirect for a Sandisk Sansa 8GB player.  My gracious wife made no objections to me getting it, so I happily placed the order.  It arrived on my doorstep on Saturday afternoon in the mail, and I began goign through the options and setup.  I can play video, music, photo slideshows, FM radio and even use it as a voice recorder.  It works with Rhapsody which has recently become my favorite online music source.  I like ITunes too, but I find I use it more for podcast subscriptions than music, only because I don’t have an IPOD so its not as useful for me.  I spent a few hours this weekend searching for and adding new music to my new player.  I know I am years behind and people have been doing this for quite a while, but having a mobile music player and being able to sync playlists and media and take them with me anywhere, is really cool! 

Now where will I eat?

I just found out that the nearest T.G.I. Fridays to my office just closed down.  No warning at all, and I was just there last week and there was no indication that they were closing the store.  This was the last one in close proximity to my office.  Last year we had one right across the street in the mall that we would frequent for special occasions, but alas it closed as well sometime last year.  With this most recent closing, that makes the closest location borderline too far from my office for regular use.  I guess I’ll have to pick out a new favorite preferred restaurant close by for future events or special occasions.  Not that there is any shortage of good restaurants, but Fridays had my favorite sandwich and recently improved it even better than the old version. 

My favorite registry hack

Do you know how annoying it is to try to quickly open a file in Windows that should be all text and naturally you want to open it with a text editor right?  Instead of being an easy process sometimes you have to go through a few steps to pick the program you want to open the file in.  Well here is a quick registry hack that will let you import all the settings necessary to add a context menu (right click menu) item called “open with notepad” when you right click on a file.  I personally like notepad better than wordpad (out of the build-in options in Windows), however, you could substitute your own text editor of choice here and save yourself a lot of trouble.  Just copy the code below into a new notepad document and save the file (to your desktop for example) with a .reg extension.  Then double-click on the resulting .reg file and click “ok” to add the registry information to your computer (NOTE: this only works on Windows operating systems). 

Now when you right click on a file, notice you have a new option in the context menu to open with notepad.  You can customize this as I mentioned to use your own text editor, just replace the name of the menu item and the executable name of your text editor in the code below.  Naturally you need to make sure the .exe is in a set user path so Windows knows where to get it. 

———————— (Copy below this line)————————————

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen with Notepad]
@=""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen with Notepadcommand]
@="notepad.exe %1"

————————-(copy above this line)—————————-——-

Enjoy!

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My Pick for screen recording

I have tried several software packages to do screen recording, and I must say that my favorite by far is Camtasia studio by TechSmith.  Their software is visually appealing with a modern and intuitive interface.  It also outputs your projects in a variety of configurable formats and makes your work look very professional.  Several neat features I enjoy are smart focus and a neat little mouse trick.  With Smart focus, the video can zoom and pan as you move your mouse around while recording, this way the viewers get a close up view of what you are doing and you are not wasting as much viewing space with unused area on your desktop.  I also like the feature of using the hotkeys to pause recording so you can make changes or do other tasks, and when you un-pause, the mouse is returned exactly to where it was when you paused the recording, eliminating the annoying mouse jumps you get in many other packages. 

Its not free, and in fact is one of the most expensive solutions I looked at.  But the user experience is ver good and the output is the best I’ve seen in screen recording packages.  This is a great tool for many professions and specific tasks, but particularly useful in IT as you can record tutorials or how-to videos with ease, and make them very easily viewable and portable!

My Favorite RSS readers

I actually have two favorite RSS readers.  Both are now free!  Check them out and feel free to leave feedback with your opinion. 

1. NewsDemon – Newsdemon was raved about on “The ScreenSavers” TV show and has many loyal users.  I loved the trial I had a while back of a previous version and quit using it because it wasn’t free.  I didn’t want to pay money for an RSS reader when even at the time there were some decent free readers out there.  Now that NewsDemon has been released for free, I’m definately switching back!

 

2. Attensa – this is also a very nice enterprise grade RSS reader.  I have been using this for over a year and love it.  It has some nice features that NewsDemon does not have and integrates very nicely into Outlook.  Definately check this one out as well and compare the two for yourself. 

 

Favorite time of year

This time of year is one of my favorites! Holidays approaching, cooler weather and more outdoor activities. To be honest, it only gets really hot for about 12 weeks out of the year, most of the rest of the time its perfect here in Tampa! It might get a little chilly at night, but 70’s and low 80’s during the day are the norm.

I had a beautiful sunrise to watch this morning during my drive to work. The sky was clear, and the stars still still visible when I left the house and a cool crisp clean feel to the air greeted me as I left the garage. I watched the sky during my commute, which turned into an awesome shade of blue that enveloped the entire sky. Following this was a large orangeish yellow spot as the sun crept over the horizon. All of this viewed behind the relaxing scene of nicely landscaped palm trees touching the blue sky as I drove by. Sometimes I stop and remember the things that made me stop in awe when I first moved to Tampa. This really is a nice place to live.

HTC Home Plugin and random vibrate

Well sadly I discovered today that my beloved HTC Home plugin for my ATT Tilt is the cause of a minor issue. It seems to randomly switch my phone to vibrate. Obviously this is a problem, and the only solution so far is to uninstall the 6 button home plugin and install the more limited 3 button home plugin. I really don’t want to do that downgrade, as I love having the favorite people button and quick ringer type change options. I am going to keep digging for a solution but I’m not sure if it will get fixed anytime soon. So far I have found very few instances of people with the TILT having this issue, I guess most of them found the 3 button plugin easier or happen to find it first. It did take me some time to locate the 6 button plugin, since I had to dig pretty deep in some forums to find it.

New Shows

We watched a few of the new shows on TV for this season, including Chuck and Journeyman. Chuck is kinda silly but entertaining at the same time. Journeyman is more serious, but seems very interesting. I am also interested to see the new Bionic Woman series as well. So far Chuck is my favorite of the new shows. But I’m a bit bias due to my technical background 🙂 (But I’m not a nerd)!

My WordPress wish list

I’ve tried many blog platforms, and am please to say that my favorite by far is WordPress. I really like the WP platform and the abundance of plugins to extend functionality. However there are a few things that can currently only be done with plugins that I would love to see become fully integrated into the core WP platform. Here is my list.

1. Better multimedia support. What if I want to podcast or post streamable mp3 files? Currently I have to use plugins such as this.player or podpress to enable this functionality. I think this should become fully integrated into the core of the WP platform

2. Lightbox – I think WP should integrate lightbox as well. This kinda goes along with the better multimedia support I spoke of above. It would be nice to have better integrated options for posts with images.

3. Gallery integration – I use a plugin for integration with gallery 2, which is great. But it would be awesome if WP could integrate support for various gallery platforms into their code. Having an options page for your gallery integration would be a huge time saver and supporting multiple gallery systems would be ideal.

4. Better uploads management. I think WP could have much better file level security and download tracking built in. It would be great to be able to have a built in downloads tracker, upload management and general file management. Perhaps some security settings, being able to restrict download of some files based on security permissions per user or something.

5. Better customization support. Sometimes its a little hard to place something on my WP site in exactly the spot where I want it. You usually have to have pretty good knowledge of CSS and PHP to be able to get it just right. Its hard for a novice user to make these kinds of changes. It would be great to have enhanced theme management to let you use an editor of some type to place custom content such as images, text, links, etc in exactly the spot you want, not just in the sidebar.

Thats about all I can think of for now, but if you (the reader) have any other ideas, I’d love to see what else people are coming up with in regards to WP suggestions. Feel free to leave your comments.