The iPad “youripadnamehere” cannot be synced. The required disk cannot be found.

My iPad2 (32 GB, WiFi & 3G) is configured to use “iTunes Wi-Fi Sync”.  For the past week, when I get up in the morning I can see on my PC a dialog with the message ‘The iPad “youripadnamehere” cannot be synced. The required disk cannot be found.“. Checking the iPad under Settings > General > iTunes Wi-Fi Sync  confirms that it hasn’t synced in over a week. Initiating a manual sync (pushing the “Sync now” button) yields the “cannot be synced” dialog on my PC.

A quick Google search indicates that this is a fairly common problem for iPhones and the solution seems largely to require you to change USB ports. But I could not see a solution for iPads.

It turns out that the issue arises because I do not recycle my PC regularly – under Windows 7 it simply does not need it anymore and it seems that iTunes becomes somewhat unstable after a few days of running continuously.

The solution? Simply stop iTunes and restart it. Clicking the “Sync Now” button on the iPad now works just fine.

Long term, to ensure that the iPad syncs regularly is presumably to recycle the iTunes app periodically. I’ll likely wait to see the error message again and use that as my cue to perform the recycle.

Resolution to iTunes excessive CPU consumption issue on Alienware Area 51 Computer

Finally resolved this issue (hopefully permanently).

I wrote earlier about this issue where running iTunes consumed an inordinate amount of CPU cycles on my system. This issue pre-dated the iTunes 10.5 release but was certainly exacerbated by it.

Now I have resolved the issue and have iTunes running without my computer cooling fans going crazy. I’m even able to access the iTunes store which I haven’t seen in a LOOOONG time.

The executive summary is that the classic “netsh winsock reset” solution would not work for me because it’s “corrective action” was being overridden. I needed to uninstall Xeno Power Suite and my problems were solved.

Longer version…

I checked out this posting at (iTunes 10.5 for Windows: May see performance issues and blank iTunes Store) which confirmed that the issue stemmed from the existence of a Layered Service Provider (LSP) and how to identify what third party software had inserted this.

In my case the LSP was showing as BFLLR which, after a quick Google search turns out to be a bigfoot product. On my machine (Dell Alienware Area-51 Windows 7 64 Bit) this turned out to have been installed as part of the XENO Power suite which from the looks of my existing configuration, I was using not at all. I did read a review regarding the features of the “Killer Xeno Pro” and I’m sure it’s useful for someone out there (big gamers and torrenters) but I didn’t see that I was getting anything at all from it. Hovering over the system tray for this showed it was “disconnected”. So I downloaded the latest drivers for 64-Bit Windows (in case) performed some network speed tests and then uninstalled the suite.

When the computer came back up the first thing I did was verify network connectivity and speed. If anything, things had improved by a couple of megabits per second (download speed).
Starting iTunes did NOT cause my fans to start ramping up for the first time in ages. Process Explorer showed the Perftune service was back to being the most CPU intensive app on my otherwise idle computer (about 1.3% – anybody know if this is really doing anything for me? The info I’ve read regarding perftune has been really sketchy).

Opening the iTunes Store had me catch my breath as the progress bar paused at its customary point… and then continue on to completion and, amazingly, I have content again!

I’ll be keeping the Xeno drivers in my download folder for a few weeks but I don’t think I’m going to need them. I suspect that if you use them you know already and if you don’t know you need them, you probably don’t.

Warning regarding purchasing golf balls from

*Updated 2011.10.22*

A couple of days ago I received a package from Knetgolf with a dozen replacement balls. They arrived unannounced (except for the note from UPS regarding the impending shipment). So I had no idea what, if anything Knetgolf was going to do regarding my order.  I’m a little surprised they didn’t shoot me a quick email to tell me their intentions but I do give them kudos for making things right.

*End Update*

For myself, I’m fine with plain old white golf balls. Now that I’m a bit older I usually buy my balls new as I do see a difference between those and balls that have been sitting at the bottom of a lake for a month.

Michelle has concerns other than performance in mind for her golf balls and so I was tasked with getting her a some PURPLE golf balls.

I eventually found a place that sold reconditioned purple balls (don’t tell her they’re not new) for a reasonable price from and ordered two dozen.

The balls were delayed in getting to us by a day, UPS noted that this was because the label was unreadable.

When we received the balls the following day, I could see the issue. The label had been destroyed and the box obviously ripped open and taped shut again.

Inside, one dozen of the balls were fine. The other dozen had their little mesh bag ripped open and was actually missing one of the balls. Of those remaining 5 of them look like they had been dragged across some surface hard enough to scrape the shell down so they are smooth in a patch on one side.

Sending a note to Knetgolf’s order confirmation address with a couple of pictures had them respond by asking me to resend the pictures to their help desk. I never heard back.

About a week later they sent me an automated survey email asking how they did. To this I relayed the same story as above and never heard anything back either.

The value of the balls is not enough for me to get worked up about. But the pretense at customer service with absolutely no follow through was irksome.

So I post this warning. I’m sure the fault for this lies in UPS’ court, but it’s up to the vendor to deal with any issues with their carrier. Of course I won’t be patronizing knetgolf again and, if you are thinking of doing so, you should consider this anecdote with respect to their customer service.

Finally moving to clipless pedals

After years of resistance, I finally decided this week to move from platform to clipless bicycle pedals.

After doing some research on the web and asking some friends for opinions, I ended up picking up a Speedplay Zero System which I have mated with some Shimano SPD-SL shoes.

As an added bonus, it turns out my Lifecycle E3600-HRT can accommodate *real* pedals so I’ll be able to practice with the new system a fair amount where I *can’t* fall over before hitting the real world!

I elected to go for a road system (stiffer shoe and exposed cleat) rather than one that would be a bit more forgiving should I need to walk a lot by evaluating how often I’ve ever needed to walk when out for a ride over the past 15 years which has been seldom).

I also had some concerns for whether or not my knees would be happy with the potentially limited range of motion that a clipless system offers. The Speedplay system has tremendous float (0-15 degrees adjustable) and has the added advantage of allowing you to clip in to either side of the pedal.

I’ll be very interested to see if I garner an appreciable performance boost from this upgrade. The last real boost was when I upgraded from my trusty Bianca Alaska commuter bike (awesome for commuting to work on glass-strewn city streets) to an actual racing bike (Giant two TCR composite frame).

I’m not intending to do any racing – but I do want to go as fast as I can for the effort I’m putting out, it’s just so satisfying…

Cancelled my DirecTV service

Hmmm…  Apparently the $99 I paid for my DVR back in 2005 wasn’t to actually *buy* the unit but rather is a lease price and they want it back. No doubt there were too many people who were continuing to watch all of their recorded content long after they had cancelled service and they needed a way to quell that.

Since mine is about as useful as a brick I have no objections to returning it. Looking at my bill I can see that I’ve had a $6 charge for a “leased receiver” (and a corresponding $6 credit) forever so I can’t really say they weren’t telling me that.

Who really pays attention to those line items anyway?

Now, what will life be like using Netflix, Hulu and other Internet resources for entertainment?  We’ll have to see. The adventure begins…

The Magic Smoke Left my HR23-700 DVR today

I’m glad I was home when it happened. I was watching TV with my wife (Netflix – trying to figure out if we liked “Mad Men” or not) when we started smelling something electrical burning.

A quick survey of the house found that the smell was strongest in the TV room and then I noticed smoke coming out of the back of our entertainment unit.

I powered everything off immediately and hauled out the electronic pieces on that side of the unit which made the source of the problem either my Blu-Ray player and our DirecTV DVR.

Once we were sure what we were dealing with, I turned the power back on and then plugged both units back in. The Blu-Ray player seems fine but the DVR is now just a brick. Once that “Magic Smoke” is released, there’s no going back I’m afraid.

It’s just as well, we were trialing not using the DVR anyway (maybe it was miffed that it was being ignored?). I’m going to cancel our DirecTV tonight. This just forced my hand.

Just a warning to any other HR23-700 DirecTV DVR owners… I’m not sure what you can do to prevent this issue or what precipitated the failure of my unit but I won’t replace it. I’ll get a different brand should we go back to Satellite or Cable. I’ve never been particularly fond of the UI anyway – it’s always be slow and clunky compared to a TIVO.

Apple iTunes – AppleMovileDeviceService.exe – excessive CPU consumption

*Updated 2011.11.19*

I have posted a resolution to this issue here.

*End Update*

*Updated 2011.09.05*

I accepted the updater’s offer to upgrade iTunes to and the problem recurred. This time I followed the protocol from this KB article from Apple ( ) and quelled the issue again. Next time I’ll do more experimentation with stopping and restarting the Apple Mobile Device Service (AMDS) first to see if the issue is limited to the service itself…

*End Update*

*Updated 2011.08.22*

I ended up having to uninstall iTunes (and “Apple Mobile Device Support” and “Apple Application Support” and “Apple Software Update”) and reinstall iTunes (the rest came along for the reinstall ride) and the CPU issue went away.

*End Update*

I have Apple’s iTunes for Windows installed on my Windows 7 – 64 bit machine.

I’m not exactly sure when it started but I’m pretty sure it’s with either the most recent iTunes update or the most recent Windows update (monthly patches).

My machine has variable speed fans to cool it based on CPU load so I’m sensitive to when the machine is doing something even modestly taxing. Lately the fans have been kicking up a notch regularly while I’m just reading email or some similarly low impact activity. So I see in my Process Explorer that the AppleMovileDeviceService.exe process is consistently chewing up almost exactly 12.5% of my CPU cycles all the time.

Has anybody else encountered this? Do you know of a fix?

When is the last time you read the Georgia Driver’s License Manual?

Of course, in my opinion, we should have in place a system where folks are re-tested every few years. The laws are *always* changing – those legislators have to justify their existence somehow – and are you really sure you know what the current thinking is on the correct way to handle a driving situation?

Even if your approach *is* the best, if it is unexpected as far as the other drivers are concerned then it is *you* who are the hazard.

I just finished reviewing the 2010 Driver’s license manual and got 100% on this (rather simple) test. I challenge you to do the same.

What do you do when a schoolbus has its amber lights flashing? What about its red lights? On a divided highway? I see people doing the wrong thing all the time, they are endangering EVERYBODY’s lives.

Who do you love to deal with, and who do you not?

When people speak about “corporate culture” it often seems like such an esoteric term.

But there is a certain reality to the way some companies deal with you that appears to be the manifestation of that esotery.

For instance, when I deal with or Sears or Wendy’s I get the sense that I’m getting something of a fair value for what I am paying and that the retailer is legitimately concerned that my experience is a satisfying one. They certainly clear a profit, but their focus seems to be much more on the transaction, satisfaction and their reputation than it is on the “making a buck” aspect of it. Hence, pretty much every time I deal with these businesses I come away satisfied that I have most likely received very good value for my money – at least as far as legitimate retail sales go.
Other business I favor include:
Affordable Electric
Roto Router
…There are many others that don’t come to mind immediately

On the other hand, there are some institutions out there who seem solely focused on separating you from as much money as possible for whatever product or service they provide. Every single transaction with them leaves me feeling … well … a little dirty if not abused. These are the companies that will send you marketing fliers advertising great promotional savings and nowhere can you find what the post-promotional price will be. Their rate increases manage to deftly outpace inflation and you can be sure are driven much more by what the market will bear than value for service. Every mailing I receive from these companies I scrutinize because I know I will find some new charge or limitation on my services that I need to be wary of.

Hence I try to avoid doing business with them as much as possible. If I’m forced to work with them I keep my eyes open for the first opportunity that I can move away to someone I trust more or someone I don’t even know at all since there is a chance they may be better.

The bad boys in this list for me include:
Ticketmaster – Not only can I never get the seats I want, but the final price I pay is always well above the actual seat price.
Comcast – They will eke every red cent they possibly can out of you for any service you have with them.
Bank of America – I briefly held a bank account and credit card with them until I realized that they LIVE to charge service fees for every possible interaction.
AT&T – Caps on internet service. Plus the fact that my worth to them as a customer dissolved when uverse was introduced.
Hooters – Seemed to pioneer the overpriced soft drink. I pay full price for a plate of tenders and fries cost extra? Really?
SprintPCS – I’m paying $10/month/phone for this mythical 4G service that I’ve seen maybe 5 times since I started with them. I have no choice due to the phone I’ve selected.
All Pizza delivery companies that charge “Delivery Fee” yet don’t give it to their delivery people – if any of the ones I deal with would drop that stupid fee, I’d use them excusively.
DirecTV – Have to keep calling them to get the price down to something reasonable, if you sign up for automatic payment, they draft the money immediately upon producing the bill and then tell you that the bill is for zero dollars. Weird.

There are, of course many, many others that hover somewhere in between which is to be expected. They walk that line between being inoffensive and just meeting expectations. I would say it’s a good thing that so many are in this middle ground. Of course there will always be exceptions where folks have bad interactions with a retailer on occasion. Maybe there was a computer glitch or maybe some manager was having a bad day, but if your day in and day out interactions are uneventful, I still score that as a win.

But there is true pleasure to be gained from dealing with a company or even an individual between whom an exchange will happen where both parties feel that they have received real value from their interaction.

Who are the good boys and the bad boys on your list? Who do you deal with where you just feel good and confident that you will get what you paid for?

Conversely, who do you deal with that always leaves you feeling kinda gross?

First World Problems Rap

Definitely a good laugh. The “problems” of the first world, even contrasted with those faced in the first world even 30 years ago, should make you roll your eyes.

When it’s a personal tragedy that your automatic garage door opener isn’t working, you *really* need to reevaluate your priorities. Hell, I still get a little giddy when I play with my power windows in my SAFE, QUIET, DEPENDABLE car. Which car will probably need a tire change in maybe another couple of years and will require me to manually tinker with its engine um.. never.