iTunes 9.1 – Playlist Sort order fix

This solution was posted by Doug Hellmann and worked perfectly for me, even when I reintroduced using “Sort Artist” to more finely control my podcast play order.

To recap the issue check out this posting.

A little more detail on the solution:

Plug your iPod (presumably iPhone and any other iXXXX device) into your computer with iTunes running.

Click on it under “Devices”

Go to the “Podcasts” Tab

Make sure “Sync Podcasts” is checked

Make sure “Automatically Include” is checked

The default here is to include “All Unplayed” podcasts. Change this to “All”

Click “Apply” at the bottom and then check the results on your device.

This worked perfectly for me.

Back on the Grid – Post Bike Accident

PICT6710Sorry to have dropped of the grid like that for a few days.

I took this past Friday off for a “me” day and went cycling along the Silver Comet Trail near Hiram, Georgia.

Around 23 miles into a 31 mile cycle something, I have no idea what, happened and I found myself dazedly staggering around the trail with a couple of very nice ladies offering me antiseptic wipes. I have no idea what exchange occurred between us because when I had finally achieved some degree of coherence, I was alone on the trail. I assume I must have switched to automatic “guy mode” along the lines of “No problem.. I’m fine… Thanks for stopping but I’m OK”..

I got back on the bike to finish the last 8 or so miles of the cycle, fortunately it did not seem damaged at all except for some scrapes on the top of the aero bars. My bike was off to the side of the trail facing as if I was cycling AWAY from Hiram. Somehow I managed to figure out that this was incorrect.

I gave Michelle a call and told her to expect that I would not be looking too great.

After getting cleaned up and bandaged from my newly replenished medical kit (literally I’d refreshed all the old supplies in that kit a month prior) we then sat back for a while to make sure that there were no neurological issues (uneven pupils, slurred speech, that kind of thing).

The next morning I awoke to bed spins so we headed off to the Northside Urgent Care facility to get things checked out.

After a couple of mis-steps with the X-Rays (got a lot more than I wanted) it turned out that my concussion was not neurologically worrying. And my ribs appeared only to be bruised (no punctured lungs or any of that kind of excitement) and nothing broken in my hand (I was thinking that was only a mild sprain anyway).

But I’ve been out of it for several days now, mostly sleeping and staring vacantly at the TV (which is probably the normal way of watching it anyway, so no harm no foul :)).

Just yesterday (3 days after) I started feeling like my old self but I was tiring very easily. Today, very groggy but can still sense improvement and am remoting in to work to try to get back on top of things.

You can see my mildly cracked helmet (thank you helmet!!) and my “battle wounds” here. If you do not like the sight of blood, please don’t click through.

CyberPower Refund Finally Realized.

It took a while but I just wanted to wrap this up.

Yesterday (April 7, 2010) my credit card finally showed the refund! The amount was, as expected, the price I paid minus the shipping costs.

Here is the the final exchange we had in email leading up to the refund.

My follow up on April 2, 2010:


Another week has passed. I’m not sure how you personally regard $2,500. But I regard this as a large sum of money.

It has now been 3 weeks (15 of your business days) since you have received the PC that I returned.

I elected to do business with Cyberpower on the strength of a friend’s recommendation in spite of your B+ rating with the Better Business Bureau ( ).

Please respond to this email with your confirmation that the refund in full has been issued.


With the response being (April 5):

Dear Marc,

According record for RMA under 181144, refund was credited back to your account on 3/31/2010, bank or credit card company will take 2-3 business days to process, if you have any question please email or contact us.

Thank you.

RMA Status

Cyberpower Inc.(888) 900-5180 Ext. 151

I’m pleased that things have finally worked out. It was somewhat disconcerting to have to go around like this to elicit the refund. At the back of my mind I was still holding on to the option to dispute the credit card charge but – looking at the credit card fine print – this option is supposedly one that’s limited to businesses within my physical locale (within about 500 miles). But I imagine in this day of internet purchases, that that anachronism is one that is largely discounted and trotted out by the credit card folks only when they no longer wish to retain a particular customer.

iPAD killing our way of life?


Some friends and I were having a discussion where one was lamenting the passing of local book stores and CD shops among other things. This partly in response to the hype regarding the iPad.

My take on this:

I miss record stores.
I miss having to go to the movies to see.. well movies.
I miss having to go to multiple stores to comparison shop.
I miss them all like I miss having a hole in my head 🙂

Gotta keep moving forward!

I LOVE buying my music a single track at a time! I fantasized about this from early high school.

I LOVE that I can see a movie within a month of its release in the comfort of my own home with absolutely wonderful fidelity.

I LOVE popping onto, browsing a few books and ordering one or two to read either physically or having them magically appear on my kindle within seconds.

I LOVE being able to easily compare dates and costs for different flights and then getting the best possible deal for my circumstances and then booking the flight and rental car immediately.

I LOVE that in less than 20 years, I’ll probably be able to book a sub-orbital flight on a Virgin spaceship and experience weightlessness.

I also disagree with the theme of the iPad sounding the death knell for libraries. Books and normal libraries will have a place in the mainstream for another few decades. The libraries especially will have to adapt as people gain more access to information from other sources but it will be their own fault if they, as an institution, fail.

It is valid to have the discussion regarding whether or not the iPad will usher in a new mode of information consumption but I think we’ll find that this is just another tiny, $600 step on an already lengthy road that began with PCs and has been landmarked by laptops, tablets, netbooks, eReaders and the like.

Nothing really new here folks. Very cool? You bet. New… not so much.

iTunes Auto Delete for Podcasts Gone?

Running iTunes on my new Windows 7 64 bit box I noticed that none of my podcasts were auto deleting any more. So I checked iTunes on my recently replaced 32 bit XP box to see if I was imagining things. The Auto Delete was still on that one. So I upgraded it to as well and, sure enough, auto delete disappeared.

I can only assume that Apple was finding too many people becoming confused by this feature and just did away with it completely. I am a little disappointed because I very much love systems that maintain themselves.

The workaround is simple, I listen to my podcasts using a smart playlist where the play count is less than 1 (yes the very same playlist that won’t sort correctly on the iPod because Apple’s iPod programmer’s don’t understand the concept of “Sort” columns as implemented by their iTunes programmers).

I have always maintained a smart playlist called “Obsolete podcasts” that just looks for podcasts with a play count > 0.  From there I could see when there was an issue with the auto delete or I could resurrect (’tis the season..) podcasts that needed repeating – such as “learning Spanish”.

Now I’ll just go into that “Obsolete Podcasts” playlist from time to time and wholesale delete everything in there. The Smart Playlists will ensure that the older podcasts won’t clutter up my day to day listening experience.

North Georgia Canopy Tours

I’m pretty sure I was put on to this by a link from Mark Denney on Facebook.

The North Georgia Canopy Tour website looks pretty good and I think it will be fun.

We did something similar when we were in Belize this past November (here are some shots of Michelle doing a zipline and rappelling) and the Scenic Caves Nature Adventure North of Toronto in Collingwood (some videos of me on the final zipline here)  I really enjoyed it.

I don’t think the North Georgia offering is available to the general public until April 16. I’d love to hear from anybody when they do it to see what you think.

I’m thinking of waiting a couple of weeks so they can work some of the inevitable kinks out of their system (payments, timing, etc.) .


Making Networked HP LaserJet 1012 available to Windows 7 64 bit

As mentioned before, I absolutely *love* my HP LaserJet 1012. So I was disappointed to find that HP does not offer drivers for it under Windows 7 64 bit.

After some searching I found that HP did create 64 bit Vista drivers and with a little cajoling you could use them under Windows 7.

There really wasn’t much information out there for attaching to it over a network but I stumbled across a post in this thread by “dragoster” that I wanted to highlight and repeat here to help anybody else looking for this information to find it more easily.

I initially found directions for installing the LaserJet 1012 drivers if the printer was directly attached to my machine, so I unplugged it from the back room hooked it up locally and then installed the drivers. My hope was, since the drivers were now installed and recognized by the OS, when I then attempted to install the printer as “network attached” that my machine would say “Oh, I have drivers for this already installed, I’ll just use there.”. Ah well.

The situation is that I have the LaserJet 1012 attached by USB to a Windows XP Home (32 bit) machine. The printer is shared so it is accessible to all other computers in my house (XP and Vista 32-bit).

Paraphrasing the steps here:

1) If this link doesn’t work, Google and download the file . Unzip in a straightforward location.

2) Add a new local printer, create a new Local Port, and at the pop-up window insert \\Computer\Printer where Computer is the desktop the printer is attached to, and Printer is the name of the shared printer.

3) In the driver window choose Browse driver. If asked if you want to keep the current driver say no and proceed to pointing to the folder you unzipped on step 2. (this isn’t exactly what you see but you should be able to figure it out when you get there. I’m not uninstalling and reinstalling my printer to get the exact wording here – I’m just thrilled that it works and am leaving it alone) 🙂

4) Find the only .inf file in the folder and choose the printer you have (1010 hb, 1012 hb or 1015 hb).

5) Print Test Page and Voila!

Again thanks to “dragoster” for putting me on to this!