An Audioscobbler for the Roku Soundbridge

March 8th, 2007

sbPopper is an Audioscrobbler for the Roku Soundbridge. This program monitors the songs that are playing on your Soundbridge and submits them to the Audioscrobbler database. The songs you play will be remembered in your profile. (Updated June 29, 2007.)

Download sbPopper.

Microsoft Virtual CD Control Panel

December 24th, 2006

When you download an ISO image of a CD or DVD, you have a few options. One option is to burn the image to a CD or DVD. Another is to use a virtual drive, which presents the ISO image as a drive, like E:, on Windows. Microsoft’s previous download for virtual drives was very primative.

Download Microsoft Virtual CD Control Panel.

Rhapsody! Yahoo! So far, so good.

February 16th, 2006

Plug and play….

Rhapsody To Go and Yahoo! To Go both use Microsoft’s digital rights management software (WMA-DRM). After about a month, the songs that I download to my iRiver H10 won’t play; the H10 will complain that my licenses have expired. Rhapsody and Yahoo claim that I just need to resync my device & everything will be ok.

Well, yesterday my songs expired. I resynced my device with both services. Everything is ok again.

Rhapsody To Go + Yahoo! Music Unlimited To Go

January 7th, 2006

Plays For Sure!

I’ve been a happy paying customer of Rhapsody for years, starting before they were purchased by Real. The Rhapsody search engine is great and the streaming is very reliable. They have a nice interface for finding newly added music too.

One of the advantages of Rhapsody is that I could stream to any computer, so I never felt the need to buy an MP3 player or iPod. Rhapsody would even log me off of one computer when I signed on to another so I wouldn’t be locked out. Very nice!

Then two things happened. First, the kids started to listen to Rhapsody so I’d be kicked off at random times during the day. Second, I started working in an office with a very slow network and didn’t want to clog it up with music.

Just about this time, Rhapsody offered their To Go server, which is like Napster or any of the other services that let you “rent” music. As long as I continued to pay the monthly fee, I would be able to download new songs and continue to listen to the old songs.

(I don’t mind the rental model. I listen to a lot of things that I’m happy to hear but don’t want to own. If I want to own music, I buy the CD. A CD is good because it doesn’t have DRM and its unlikely to disappear if my disk crashes. A ripped CD plays just about anywhere.)

So I bought an iRiver H10 on UBid and upgraded my Rhapsody account. After a few days and numerous email exchanges with Real technical support aliases, I was up & running.

Everything was running along smoothly until just recently when I tried to listen to Douglas Wolk’s Top Ten albums of 2005. I couldn’t find one — Princess Superstar’s My Machine — so I thought to look at Yahoo! Sure enough, they had it. And Sufjan Stevens. That was good enough for me. I signed up for Yahoo! Music Unlimited To Go.

Yahoo! Music Unlimited To Go is nearly the same as Rhapsody To Go. Yahoo! allows a few more computers and players to hold DRM’d music simultaneously. Now I have both services. I’ve found that Yahoo! and Rhapsody have enough different songs that I’ll probably keep both services.

I’m happy to report that DRM’d songs from Rhapsody and Yahoo! coexist on H10. So far, I’ve been able to attach Rhapsody and the Yahoo! Music engine to my H10. I’ve also used Microsoft’s media player to copy songs from EMusic to the H10.

Now playing Destroy Everything You Touch by Ladytron.

Password XP upgrade

June 15th, 2005

I know daddy’s password! It’s asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, ….

I’ve been using Password XP as my password manager. I bought it because it is capable of working on multiple computer (in a shared database) and its backup option was fast & simple. At the time I bought it, I thought I might use the option to install on a flash disk but I’ve never felt the need.

It recently upgraded. It adds support for FireFox and hot keys to insert passwords. So far, so good.

Maxivista 2.0 upgrade

June 15th, 2005

I stopped using MaxiVista a few weeks after I bought it because I really wanted a virtual KVM, not virtual multi monitor. Since then, I’ve been using Synergy, a free virtual KVM program. It works fine for long periods of time, but occasionally stops working, for reasons that I haven’t cared to explore. I just stopped & restarted the servers or rebooted. Otherwise, it’s been great.

MaxiVista 2.0 adds virtual KVM support, so I figured that I should buy at the upgrade price. I haven’t tried it yet, but I expect it’ll work fine. Then I’ll have the option to go KVM or multi-monitor.

What do you want the server to do?

April 13th, 2005

When you reboot Windows Server, you are prompted with a message box asking what you want Windows to do? I usually say Restart because I’m testing an install or whatever. You are also prompted to say why you want Windows to do whatever it is that you want Windows to do. I usually type sljfaljd; and move on.

You can disable this prompt:

Run GPEDIT.MSC to launch the Group Policy Object Editor.

Open Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | System.

Open “Display Shutdown Event Tracker” policy and set it to Disabled. Click OK.

You can choose to have software errors reported to Microsoft

January 11th, 2005

Tired of saying no when Windows asks to report crashes back to Microsoft?

Disable the feature under My Computer / Properties / System Properties / Advanced / Error Reporting.

Sharing and security model for local accounts

January 2nd, 2005

Be our guest!

I was using the great psservice tool from Sysinternals to execute some test scripts. It was getting ‘access denied’ when connecting to a local box running Windows XP. This behavior was unexpected because both boxes are in the same workgroup and the user accounts have matching names & passwords.

A little sleuthing turned up the problem. Apparently XP ships with heightened security so by default users are logged in over the network as guests.

It’s easy to switch. To change the default so that users get their own credentials when accessing XP over the network, switch the settings to what Microsoft calls Classic.

Start “Help and Support” on your system and search for “Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts” to see how to make the change in Local Security Policies.