Category: Annoyances

Fixing iTunes Match on iPhone and iPad

A couple weeks ago, I noticed that iTunes Match wasn’t working properly on my phone. I could play music if I downloaded it, but I couldn’t get most of the songs to stream. It would immediately start going through the list of items pausing for less than half of a second on each one before moving on. Eventually it would hit a song it liked and it would wait long enough to stream the beginning and start playing. The only way I found to fix it was to turn off iTunes Match, delete all the music stored on my device, perform a hard reset, and then turn on iTunes Match again. I did this on two devices without restarting the phone and it did not help anything. Here are the steps in iOS 8.2:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Music.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the list to iTunes Match.
  4. Tap the toggle switch to deactivate iTunes Match.
  5. Navigate back to Settings.
  6. Navigate to General > Usage > Manage Storage and wait for the list of apps to load.
  7. When it appears in the list, tap Music.
  8. Tap Edit and red circles will appear next to the items.
  9. Tap the red circle next to All Music and tap Delete.
  10. Wait for the music to be deleted from your device.
  11. Perform a hard reset by holding the home button and the lock button down simultaneously for about 5 seconds until the screen turns black and the goes to the Apple logo screen.
  12. If the device turns off at this point, hold down the lock button to turn the device back on.
  13. After the device finishes loading, unlock the device and navigate to the Home screen.
  14. Open the Settings app.
  15. Navigate to Music.
  16. Scroll to the bottom of the list to iTunes Match.
  17. Tap the toggle switch to activate iTunes Match.
  18. Press the Home button.
  19. Open the Music app.
  20. Wait for iTunes Match to resynchronize your music.
  21. Play some songs to make sure that it worked.

I hope this helps you if you are having issues with iTunes Match on your iOS device. I will report back here if I find that it’s stopped working again.

Microsoft SQL Server Installation Issue Fix

I was installing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 on a development server and kept getting an annoying error message:

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Install Error Message

The following error has occurred:

An error occurred during the installation of assembly ‘Microsoft.VC80.MFC,version=”8.0.50727.4053″,publicKeyToken=”1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b”,processorArchitecture=”x86″,type=”win32″‘. Please refer to Help and Support for more information. HRESULT: 0x800736CC.

For help, click: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?LinkID=20476&ProdName=Microsoft%20SQL%20Server&EvtSrc=setup.rll&EvtID=50000&ProdVer=11.0.2100.60&EvtType=0xDF039760%25401201%25401

KB Article 2688946 describes a very similar issue. I eventually found a fix in the form of Cumulative Update 2 (KB2703275) Here is what you need to do to fix it:

  1. Completely close the SQL 2012 installer (it might just crash and close itself).
  2. Use Control Panel to uninstall Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x64 Redistributable and Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x86 Redistributable.
  3. Download Cumulative Update 2 from http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2703275&kbln=en-us (449398_intl_x64_zip.exe)
  4. Create C:\Updates
  5. Extract 449398_intl_x64_zip.exe to C:\Updates to get SQLServer2012-KB2703275-x64.exe
  6. Run the Installer again from the command line with the following (all on one line):
    setup.exe /Action=Install /UpdateEnabled=True /UpdateSource="C:\Updates"
  7. Install as usual and the issue goes away.

Let me know if this worked for you by leaving a comment. I’m curious to know how widespread this issue is.

Accessing Mac OS X Leopard Grayed-out Preference Panes

UPDATE: This also works on Snow Leopard if you are having the same problem accsessing any preference panes.

I have a work-issued MacBook Pro with Leopard, specifically Mac OS X 10.5.8, installed. It is a test image that was installed to test ideas about ways to administer systems for users without Administrative rights. At the end of the test, my access was changed to grant my user administrative rights on the laptop, but it still has many problems. I am waiting for the new Snow Leopard image to be completed to have my laptop reimaged. In the mean time, I have been struggling with a few issues.

The system blocks access to certain preference panes in System Preferences. This was probably an oversight or the leftovers of some experiment, because it does not block access to some of the more sensitive preferences. I can add new users to the laptop and do all sorts of things that I should probably not do on the network. The preferences I could not access were not too important for me to change, like Growl, for instance. Then I tried to use Apple’s Magic Mouse. When I installed the system update that enables its advanced features, I could not access the new Mouse preference pane. When I hover over it, the tooltip says “Your access to this preference has been restricted.” If you try to open the pane directly the error says “You cannot open “[name of preference pane]” preferences pane because it is not available to you at this time. You might need to connect a device to your computer to see this preferences pane.” It looks like this:

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open the Applications folder and find the System Preferences.app file.
  2. Right click or Command-click System Preferences.app and choose Create Duplicate.
  3. Right click or Command-click the new System Preferences copy.app and choose Show Package Contents.
  4. Navigate to Contents > Resources and find the NSPrefPaneGroups.xml file.
  5. Move NSPrefPaneGroups.xml to the Trash.
  6. Make sure System Preferences is not running and double click System Preferences copy.app to run it. All the preference panes appear to be gone!
  7. In the System Preferences application click the View menu at the top of the screen. All the preference panes are now accessible from the View menu.
  8. When you have changed the preferences you need to change, close System Preferences.

Any time you need to access the disabled system preferences, just use System Preferences copy.app, otherwise you can still use the original System Preferences.app for changing system preferences normally.

Thanks Google for killing EtherPad

UPDATE: EtherPad will be released as open source software!

I love EtherPad. It’s a collaborative text pad that lets you see what others write in realtime, character by character, and automatically highlights text in a different color based on who typed it. One of the best things about EtherPad was that a free public pad could be created instantly without logging in. Other users could be invited to collaborate with only a link to the pad. Now that has all gone away. When I tried to create a new pad today I got the following message:

Creation of new free pads is permanently disabled as part of EtherPad’s acquisition by Google.

Google Wave is an interesting experiment, but it’s nowhere even close to being a replacement for EtherPad. It doesn’t even highlight text automatically! My hope is that these guys will get put on the Google Docs team to add realtime collaboration there. Having to wait 15-30 seconds for page updates makes the tool practically useless for simultaneous editing.

Read about the EtherPad acquisition by Google and see how many people are disappointed.

Ten Cents in One Day

When I hopped in the truck this morning to drive to work I saw the amber low fuel light staring me in the face. I keep hoping the gas will get cheaper before I have to fill up again, so I tend to wait until the light comes on recently. On my way to work I stopped to fill the tank at $4.059 per gallon. I was just staring at the numbers that seemed to go faster and faster as I watched. For the first time ever I spent over $70 for a single tank of gas.

I thought this was amazing until, on my way home I drove past the same gas station and the gas was now $4.159, a full ten cents more than this morning! I guess I should be happy that I bought gas this morning saving over $1.70, but I can’t bring myself to be happy about 4-dollar/gallon gasoline.

On the way home the news report indicated that crude oil had reached a new high today jumping $11/barrel in only one day! That breaks two records: the highest crude oil price in dollars and the largest increase in oil prices in a single day. At lunch with a coworker I was just saying that I thought the price of gas was contingent not on the current price of crude oil, but rather on the price of crude oil at the time the gasoline refinery bought it. That may still be the case, but now I’m not so sure. My coworker suggested that the price goes up when oil prices rise, but doesn’t fall when the oil prices fall. All I know is that I never really believed that the gasoline would reach $4/gallon this year, but it’s not even summer yet and we’re shattering that. Now I’m afraid to believe that $5/gallon is not going to happen.

FranklinCovey v. GTD

A week ago I got a FranklinCovey planner as part of a course I attended on time management. A week before that I found Toodledo (a friend of mine showed it to me). Now I’ve got this dilemma. I find that Toodledo does a great job of managing my tasks for me. At work we use Outlook for email and meeting planning. I am not terribly mobile. I spend most of the day sitting at my own desk at work. I’m struggling to find a use for the FranklinCovey planner. I tried to use it, but so far it just feels redundant. It duplicates all my electronic planning and to-do lists, but it doesn’t update automatically. I feel like it’s doubled the work it takes for me to stay up to date and on top of my projects.

GTD says I’m supposed to have one bucket, one place to collect my stuff that comes in. I have found that there are way too many buckets as it stands now, and FranklinCovey isn’t making things easier.

If there’s a good way to integrate GTD with FranklinCovey, I’d sure like to find it. For now, I’ll just have to stick with what I’ve got, I suppose.

UPDATE: I took the second half of the FranklinCovey class today, so now I know how I’m supposed to use the planner. I’ll report on my progress integrating this with Toodledo and Outlook.

UPDATE 2: The paper planner just isn’t my thing. I found a coworker to donate my planner to. Now I’m using Remember The Milk and App for the milk with great success.

Too Old for TV

I don’t understand it and I can’t watch it anymore. TV just isn’t what it used to be. Or maybe it’s exactly what it’s always been, but my tolerance is lower. I’m not complaining about the quality of the programs, though. I’m complaining about the TV networks and their feeling like they know best.

Since the primaries started, Tuesdays have become worthless for watching TV shows. Right at the end of The Biggest Loser they broke in with a “special report.” That was all right, I guess, but they still cut off the end of the show for information that was nowhere near earth-shattering. I was pumped for Jericho anyway, so I hopped on over to CBS.

The first thing I noticed was that the CBS HD channel was showing a standard definition broadcast of the beginning of the show. I was disappointed a little bit, but decided that it was still worth watching. After three minutes or so, CBS decided to preempt the show for their “special report.” Now I could understand if they were announcing something important like a tornado headed our way, or if a Godzilla-like monster had eaten the Vice President. I would have even been okay with them announcing a local fire or police chase. But no, they were just telling us that Hillary had won Rhode Island. Then they wasted another thirty seconds talking about McCain having won all 4 states and Huckabee bowing out.

By the time they got back to the show, something important had happened and I didn’t know what was going on. With everything that had upset me so far, I decided to just turn it off. If I want up to the minute election results, I’ll go to the Internet. That’s what it’s for! I don’t want my show to be shrunk or obscured for crawls that repeat the same thing over and over either. If you want to give me election results, then give them to me instead of commercials or add them to the commercial breaks. I don’t care if the show ends up running a little long, but I do care if you are going to interrupt it for things I don’t care about right now.

I didn’t turn on the TV to watch election results. I checked the listings and they said CBS had Jericho on. I turned on CBS to watch Jericho, end of story.

Feeding Ducks & The Signmaker’s Plight

The vast majority of people ignore signs with more than two words on them. Ideally, signs shouldn’t have any words on them. There were no ducks near this sign. At first I thought that maybe the sign was placed improperly where no one would see it. Another possibility is that the ducks were there until they put up this sign and people stopped feeding them. People near the edges of other parts of the lake were unaware of the sign and fed the ducks there, where they can now be found in abundance. In any case, I thought it was common knowledge by now that you’re not supposed to throw bread at the ducks.

Ducks being fed bread and a useless sign forbidding it.

Firefox in a Single Sign-on Intranet Environment

I have been using Firefox for my normal browsing at work, but found it useless for browsing the company intranet because it asked me repeatedly for my network user name and password. There were other annoyances, as well. Many sites using SSL certificates made Firefox flash multiple warning messages because our proxy issues certificates instead of passing them through unchanged. I decided today was the day to fix these annoyances. The Single Sign-on fix only works with the Windows version of Firefox, unfortunately.

To fix the Single Sign-on problem:

  • Type about:config in the Navigation Bar.
  • Type ntlm in the Filter box.
  • Right-click on network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris and choose Modify.
  • Type in the domains you want to have access to without typing in your password over and over again. This could include a list like the following: home,portal,service,hr. The format of this list is each domain is seperated by a comma without a space.
  • Click OK.

These changes take effect immediately, so go ahead and navigate to another web site and test out your intranet. If the site asks for your user name and password enter it and try to keep navigating. If any more pages start asking for your user name and password and they are part of your intranet, note the domains and add them to the list using the directions above.

To fix the SSL certificates problem you need to export the certificate your intranet uses with SSL encrypted traffic. To export the certificate in Internet Explorer:

  • Open IE, go to Tools -> Internet Options.
  • Click the Content tab.
  • Click Certificates.
  • Click the Trusted Root Certification Authorities tab.
  • Select the certificate issued by your intranet (look for your company name).
  • Click Export.
  • Click Next, Next.
  • Save the file somewhere and give it a good name.
  • Click Yes, Next, and OK until you get back to the main IE window.

To import the certificate into Firefox:

  • Open Firefox, go to Tools -> Options.
  • Click the Advanced tab.
  • Click the Encryption tab within the Advanced section.
  • Click View Certificates.
  • Click the Authorities tab.
  • Click Import.
  • Choose the file you exported above.

If all goes well you should be able to use your intranet and browse the Internet using Firefox as long as your intranet doesn’t use ActiveX controls.

The Truth about Net Neutrality

Unfortunately, it seems that political ads don’t have to actually tell the truth or use pesky facts to convince people of who and what to vote for. Most political topics can’t be accurately explained in 30 seconds or less. I wish the following video were possible to get on television during commercial breaks. If you don’t know what Net Neutrality is or why you should want laws in place to guarantee it then please take the two and a half minutes to watch the video below. The cable and telephone companies, who constitute the majority of high-speed internet service providers (ISPs), want to make more money at your expense. You will probably see commercials that try to convince you that Net Neutrality is bad, but they won’t talk about why, except by trying to scare you by threatening to raise cable and internet bills. These ads against Net Neutrality are nothing more or less than that; they are threats. The user oepapel on a discussion about Net Neutrality at digg.com summed it up best.

The ISPs (the gatekeepers) are basically saying “We want more money. If we can’t charge Google extra because of some Net Neutrality law then we are going to charge you, the customer. So don’t vote for the law and we won’t charge you more. Deal?”

It’s not that they lied, it’s that they skipped right to the end of their thinly veiled threat to raise prices if they don’t get their way. It’s a giant temper tantrum. They see the internet and their customers as an asset to be sold to the highest bidder, only nobody is bidding. None of the content producers are taking the bait. God help us if one of them does because then they ALL will have to in order to stay competitive. Sure, your internet [access] might be cheaper (and that’s a big assumption) but you traded your freedom away to get it. Hope you kept the receipt…

The ISPs are threatening to raise your bills unless they can force other companies with popular websites to pay the ISP just to grant you access to the popular websites. This idea just makes me so angry! And this is only one of the possible misuses if Net Neutrality is not passed into law.

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