Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hey! Leggo my mp3's!!!

Attention Stream Crossers with iPods,

Is your iPod being a bit of a hog with your mp3's? While I know that there are many pieces of software out there that will allow you to transfer your songs back to your PC, they all need to be installed on your PC.

That's why iDump is such a cool tool. It is a simple executable file (ie no installation required, just click and run) that can even be run from your iPod.

Just click on the link above, download the "Executable Only" and save it anywhere you want. If you didn't save it to your iPod, it even has an option in the menu to copy itself to your iPod! What could be easier?

Until next time, keep having fun

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Two Tools for Managing Your Music

Hey Stream Crossers,

Like many music aficionados, collection is quite large. Also, since it is an amalgamation between several collections in my house, there is a significant degree of duplication. Add to that a great deal of missing tags, and poorly structured naming convensions, you have a recipe for a mess.

By this point, manual organization is out of the question. Software, and plenty of it, must be employed to manage this beast.

ID3-TagIT is a great free package for managing tags and file names. It has internet naming look up, but it is still quite rough. It manages bot v1 and v2 tags and lets you scrounge every last bit of information form the music files before having to look it up on the internet.

Media Monkey is a fantastic piece of software that really lets you get up to your elbows in managing you music. It also has an internet look up function. It uses as its source, which is great since you can also get the album art. unfortunately Amazon only has the actual disk's publication date, so you wind up with results stating that the Beatles' White Album was released in 2001. What the *&%^%$% ?

Another cool feature is that Media Monkey will suggest files that appear to be duplicates. It won't actually delete anything automatically, you have to hit the delete button for that to happen. The fact that MM "sees through" the file structure is a very powerful feature.

All in all, both these tools are good to have on your computer, but if you could have only one, Media Monkey is the choice since the last release of ID3-TagIT was in July 2005, rather old in software circles (its not like the software is so perfect that it can halt future releases).

With conventional recordings, where the entire album is released by one band or artist, I will create a directory for the band/artist and a sub folder for the album itself. If the CD is a compilation with various artists, I'll just create a folder for the album itself, unless I want to group the albums together such as with Christmas albums.

As for file naming conventions, my rule is pretty strict: - - . Again, if the CD is multi-artist, I'll go with - - . The track number is mandatory and always double digits (otherwise tracks 10, 11, and 12 show up before 1, 2, and 3). This way tracks order in the way they should appear on the CD, since someoverlap occurs on some tracks.

With these simple rules, you too can have a neatly organized music library.

Until next time, keep having fun!

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"

Monday, December 11, 2006

What's in your Firefox?

Hey Stream Crossers,

One of the best features of Firefox is their Extensions feature (now under the "Add-ons" family). Basically it lets anyone create new, original features for Firefox. Users can then add whatever functionality they want ala-carte.

Most extensions are hosted at Mozilla Extensions, these extensions have been reviewed by Mozilla and are considered trustworthy, but not necessarily bug free. Some extension creators host their own files, and that's great you just have to put that site into you approved list (this prevents unwanted sites from sneaking stuff on your computer). You are prompted the first time you try to install an extension from a new site. Note: Mozilla's site is pre-approved, so you won't get prompted.

Additonally the "xpi" file can be saved to wherever you want and tinkered with. The file itself is simply a ZIP file (as are the "jar" files inside) and pretty much everything inside is a text file or an image file, so no fancy de/compilers or software needed, Notepad is all you need.

Here is a list of my favourite extensions that I commonly use, in order of preference:

Note: (Button) indicates that the extension lets you put a button on the toolbar, just right click on an empty spot in the toolbar and select "Customize".

Down Them All : (Button) Are there a bunch of pictures you want to save but clicking on each one individually is a pain? Are there a bunch of files you need to download, but each individual one has to be saved by hand? Not anymore with this link. Truly a strong showcase to the power of extensions.

text/plain : Ever come across an address that you couldn't click on but had to copy and paste it in your address bar? No more! Now just highlight the address, right click and select how you want to open the address. Simple!

Tab Mix Plus
: Lets you adjust the behaviour of your tabs. I used to use Tabbroswer Extensions, but it became horribly bug filled. Tab Mix Plus, while less featureful, is much more stable and more pleasant to use.

Yahoo and GMail notifiers : (Button) Automated mail checking and login. Pretty self-explanatory.

Four Fark Extensions : Visit the link for a graphic explanation on what these extensions do. Mainly used for viewing and posting onto

Slashdotter : Tweaks the viewing of

IE Tab : (Button) Some pages only look good in Internet Explorer. This extension lets you use IE's rendering engine while still in Mozilla. You need IE installed separately for this to work (Windows only).

User Agent Switcher : (Button) Website only allowing "Particular" web browsers access? Temporarily masquerade as another browser and go anywhere you want.

Chrome Edit Plus : Editing userChrome.css lets you make some customizations. Finding it and editing it is troublesome. This extension makes it easy to edit userChrome.css. Future posts will teach you how to edit this file using Chrome Edit Plus to get some really useful stuff!

And there you have it, my favourite extensions. Mind you, I haven't used all the extensions out there. These are just the ones that fit my needs. Future extensions will be updated in a future posting.

Until then, keep having fun.

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"

Saturday, December 9, 2006

First Post!

Well now,

I am a bit overwhelmed, this being my first post to my new blog and everything. I wish I could think of something profound to say like my pal Gino, or something really catchy like Sal. Unfortunately I don't have any cool war stories like Paul.

So what do I have to offer? Glad you asked.

My advanced technological point of view allows me a highly innovative position to help others with gratuitous technical information and instruction. In otherwords, computers are my game, and from time to time I will try to post some interesting HOWTO's on getting cool stuffdone on you computer.

A little more about me. I am a Chemical Engineer, and I work at Undersriters' Laboratories of Canada. A nice little test lab where I deal with large scale fire testing. Yes, that's right, FULL SCALE FIRE TESTING!!! Need a wall tested for fire resistance and loading? I'm your man. Got some plastic that needs to go into a home? Who you gonna call? Me, that's who. If you've got the cash, I have a furnace for you.

In the mean time, if you have a Samsung a460, a640, or a900, follow the links (below, right) to learn how to add your own ringtones. I've tried all of them, so I know they work.

So, until the next post, keep having fun!

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"