Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trading Yesterday - Music

Trading Yesterday, now known as The Age of Information

My Space

She's The Sunlight
The Beauty & The Tragedy
One Day

Windows Explorer Alternatives

Windows Explorer Dislikes:
1. I can't get it to remember my Column Header Titles (Apply View to All Folders does not work.)
2. I can't set it to display the full file path in the address bar at all the times, not just when I click on it. (Essential for doing backups. I need to see what drive I'm on.)
3. It doesn't refresh and sometimes crashes because of this.
4. I'd like a better search.

I tried portable versions of:
Cube Explorer
Explorer ++

The only one that has good Column Header Titles is Cube Explorer.
I wouldn't even consider using the other ones because of that.

• I like the clean interface.
• Nice Themes. I like the Green one.
• Has Tabbed Window Views.
• I like the No Folders Filter.
• Single Instance Only Setting.
• No 7Zip in right click popup.
• Search: No Date Criteria, no Views (You can search for *.jpg, but you can't view thumbnails.)
• The Sessions is a good idea, but a tad buggie and doesn't offer much except to bookmark a folder. Can't save selected Column Headers or Views or Filters. Make sure Sessions is set to Default on exit. If you have one of your saved sessions checkmarked and exit, whatever you are viewing is saved as that session.

FreeCommander and Explorer ++ have a Wipe File option that might be useful.

Explorer++ - column header titles are a mess, but it does have an Extension header. And Dimension is split into Width and Height Headers.



Since MySpace is kinda dead now, I was wondering what bands/musicians are using now.
Discussion (garagepunk).

I liked reverbnation because I found songs to try right away.

Alexander Cardinale
Traffic Lights
Has a different background sound to it.

Reminds me of?...Sugarcult. Not sure why.

Sugarcult - Memory
Pencil stick figures playing guitar and singing - Fun. It's so amusing what people come up with for videos sometimes. (Way back in Nov 2006.)
Sugarcult - Memory
The band playing.

Other sites mentioned in discussion:

Firefox 4 - Where's The Padlock?

Website address should say https not http.
Click on favicon in address bar and you'll see the padlock if it's a "secure" or encrypted site.

"All the padlock means is that the web page is using HTTPS (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure). It's almost useless, since you can easily see if a website (such as this one) is using HTTPS by looking at the url bar, or checking if the web site's domain is extended into the favicon. If you really want it, the padlock is still there if you click on the favicon/domain button."

Site Identity Button
"If you are sending any sort of sensitive information (bank information, credit card data, Social Security Numbers, etc.) the Site Identity Button should not be gray."

Site Identity Button implemented in Firefox 3. Who knew.

Another thing I've noticed in Firefox 4:
Font rendering is not as good. I'm assuming it's Firefox 4 causing the problem since that's when I noticed it. I use Josefin Slab font on my blog titles and the slanted e does not display very clearly. Addon fix?

Firefox - Java Console

I think this has probably been a problem for a while but I just didn't see it until I started tweaking Firefox 4.
There are multiple Java Console addons listed when I go into Tools, Addons.
(These are not listed in Windows 7 Control Panel Programs.)
Within Firefox, I disabled all but the newest version.
Exited Firefox.
Then went to the Firefox Folders.
In Windows 7 the extensions are stored here:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\extensions
I deleted the relevant extra Java Console folders except for the newest version.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I don't know if this is a deep dark secret or what, but here is the direct link to emusic free daily download. Emusic website wants you to install a toolbar to get these freebies, but I found the direct link when googling.

And while I was there...
Listened to:
The Rural Alberta Advantage.
Song: Barnes' Yard

Best Quality
Live at Beachland Tavern in Cleveland.
Talks about the song.

Canadian indie rock band formed in 2005.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, the band consists of Nils Edenloff (lead vocal & guitar), Amy Cole (vocal & keyboard) and Paul Banwatt (drums)

Ditching Windows Media Player 12

I'm abandoning Windows Media Player 12 (WMP12) for my music player/manager. Besides the other numerous dislikes, what finally sent me over the edge is that I can't get it to correctly sync playlists to my Sansa Clip no matter what I do.

So...what to use instead?
I looked at free software.

WinAmp Features
I tried WinAmp years ago and didn't like it. I'm trying out the current version. Still don't like it. No.

Another software that is popular is MediaMonkey.
MediaMonkey Features
The feature I wondered about is: "File Monitor (automatically updates library)"
Not available in the free version. I think I just have to manually do that. File, Add/Rescan. Not a biggie. It runs pretty fast. And I just might prefer that. WMP12 was always monitoring what I did NOT want it to monitor, even though I set the applicable settings.

Windows Task Manager tells me it takes about the same memory as WMP12. (WinAmp takes twice the memory on startup and then increases significantly the longer I use it.)
I did not associated any file types with either program on install, because I wanted to try them out first. Can do that later via Tools, Options, File Types in MediaMonkey.

MediaMonkey interface is cleaner and easier to read and navigate than WinAmp. MediaMonkey also has offline help that is actually helpful, unlike WinAmp.

First up: Transfer my playlists:
Save WMP12 playlists as type *.m3u.
Play the playlist in WMP12 and in the right pane click on the List Options Icon dropdown and select Save List As, select m3u from Save As Type dropdown.
In MediaMonkey, click File, Add/Rescan Tracks and scan the directory containing the *.m3u Playlist.

Tools, Sync Device, (My plugged in Sansa is listed here.)
Configure Device:
AutoSync Lists, Playlists
AutoSync Options

Then Sync Device
MediaMonkey asked me if I wanted to delete the files that did not belong on the playlists and then it proceeded to resync my playlists correctly.
Thank you, thank you, I'm doing a happy dance.

I have Comments and Lyrics fields. I have text field lists instead of album art sorts. Yay. I'm liking it already.
Script: Dockable Lyrics Panel. Has style sheets for different skins that can be edited. Have to move/copy the *.css file first, then edit, then copy back. Worked with the Glided default skin. I changed to CleanMM skin (link below) and it still worked. There are other Lyric addons that do more, but a display panel is all I wanted.

I noticed the songs play one after the other with no silence in between. I thought maybe it was the Play, Crossfade toggle, but I don't think that changed it. Script maybe? Not necessary. "Disable Crossfading to not have the overlapping and disable silence removal as well (Tools > Options > Output Plug-ins)." Click on the Configure button in that area, uncheck Crossfade, uncheck Remove Silence. That helped considerably.

WARNING: Changed the font display size (Tools, Options, Skin) and then I couldn't access that area of the menu again to change it back because the window display text is cut off rather than scrolls. I had to resort to a Windows System Restore to get the default font size back. There is no restore defaults within MediaMonkey. Well that is a strong negative. Changing the font display size by 1% is a much larger increase than expected and is the lowest amount you can enter. Use px instead.

The Player has a big ugly red button (default Glided skin) so I looked for Skins. Not much out there. I installed CleanMM which is a nice clean easy to read minimalist light gray skin. Player looks better. Download skin, double click on the file to install it, then it shows up within MediaMonkey under Tools, Options, Skin.

At the top right of screen in MediaMonkey is a hard to see icon, click on it and you can switch to Mini or Micro Player.
Choose MicroPlayer and MediaMonkey disappears. lol Right Click on Windows 7 Taskbar, Toolbars, MediaMonkey Player and the MicroPlayer shows up on the Taskbar. Right click, Restore to go back to the usual large viewing window.

There is a volume slider on the player within MediaMonkey that is independent from the computer/sound card volume. Somehow I must have bumped the slider down and suddenly the volume within MediaMonkey was too low. I bumped the slider up all the way and it's okay now.

There is a persistant crash/freeze issue with right menu popups, but so far I haven't been able catch what exactly it is that I'm doing which causes the crash/freeze. I have to exit MediaMonkey via the Windows TaskManager.

Overall, MediaMonkey is a keeper.

The next thing I'm ditching in Windows 7 is Windows Explorer. I'll blog about it if I find a useful alternative/replacement.

Firefox 4 - Another Add-on

I noticed the Address Bar behavior changed. Wah.
Here's the addon to fix that.
Via GroovyPost.
(More tips there.)

Boy, seems like I'm adding more and more add-ons to this version of Firefox, hmmm.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Firefox 4 Orange Button

Hey I want an orange button too!
View, Toolbars, Menu Bar, Uncheck will display the new Orange Button.
Or maybe not...Go back! lol
Click orange button, Options, Menu Bar, checkmark.

I noticed a lot of the how-to commentary on Firefox 4 uses the orange button and I didn't have one so I was curious.
The orange button might be handy if you could drag it where you want, but otherwise it just hogs extra screen real estate because you can't drag anything else up there beside it. I don't get it.
I put my Bookmarks Toolbar up there beside the Menu Bar to get a little extra screen real estate. With this wide screen laptop, I'm always trying to get as much vertical screen area as I can.
View, Toolbars, Bookmarks Toolbar, Uncheck will get rid of the extra space above Tabs if you move the Bookmarks Toolbar up beside the Menu Bar.

I think some have figured out how to move the orange button with userchrome.css tweak? (It says "move menu button and tabs to the same row".) I'll fiddle with that later. I haven't moved my Tabs to the top--yet. A quick move Tabs to top tells me I can move my Tabs beside Orange Button without a userchrome.css tweak, so that would maybe help save screen real estate, except for my Bookmarks Toolbar. I'm undecided about moving my Tabs there.

There is no Reload (Ctrl/R) in the Menu. Only the Reload icon, which can be moved if you right click on the toolbar, Customize and drag the icon where you want it. Not a huge biggie, but I use Ctrl/R instead of the icon and sometimes I can't remember the keyboard shortcut so I look in the Menu. I don't know why you wouldn't just leave it there where it was.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Improve Voice With Audacity - Ha

How to Make Your Voice Sound Better in Audacity
Well, it's funnier if you don't know it's supposed to be funny.
I was looking for Audacity tutorials.

Firefox 4

So let's make those inactive tabs as ugly and as hard to read as possible, shall we.
I just spent hours trying to change that.
The tab color automatically changes with Personas and not in a good way.

Out of desperation, I installed tab-mix plus add-on which is overkill and really should not be necessary. I noticed that I can now control where new tabs display, so I may find this add-on more useful.

change color of tab
"Use the Tab Mix Plus addon, and in Tools, Tab Mix Plus Options, click Display, click Tab and check the box that says Current tab. Now click Customize Styles and under Current Tab select how you want the current tab to be displayed (e.g. background colour of Red). Click OK and OK again."

I tried the old trick of editing userChrome.css to change tab colors, but the reference link is no longer valid and I couldn't get it to work so maybe it just doesn't work in Firefox 4.
(Working reference links: here and here.)

UserChrome location in Windows 7 is here:

Had to get rid of that add new tab button again.
That worked. (Redundant feature.)

How do you bookmark all tabs in FF4?
Right click on a tab and select Bookmark all Tabs.

I tried using Tab Groups and ended up closing all my tabs. grrrrr It is not very clear how to get back to the normal browser window. I assumed it was like the usual popup window, you just close it to get back to normal browsing. NOT. Do not click on the x at top right of popup. Click the plus at bottom left. Resize at bottom right. Name Tab Group Top left. None of those have popup text explaining what they do.

What is up with the Status Bar and Add-on Bar?
I need NoScript icon displayed at all times so I can monitor it.
Right click Add-on Bar, Customize, get rid of Personas icon by dragging it off the Add-on Bar. (It is available in Customize to move elsewhere if desired.)
Drag the NoScript icon to the top and I can now get rid of the Add-on Bar.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nature's Ice Sculptures

Nature's Ice Sculptures (Window ice after snow storm.)


(DSLR XSi and Tele.)

Dog and...Rabbit?:

(Point and Shoot S3. Color depth is not quite as good. Had to add a little blue color to it.)

And this next one? Just cuz it's pretty:

(DSLR XSi and Tele.)

Local Tone Mapping (Clarify) in Paint Shop Pro to increase depth/definition.

Ellie and Lissie

More new artists (to me).

Ellie Goulding
Elena Jane Goulding (b. 30 Dec 1986)
Hereford, England
"She is a keen runner, six miles every day, and has taken part in a number of marathons."

Song: This Music (Believe Me)

Lissie Maurus
Elisabeth Maurus (b. 1982)
Rock Island, Illinois

Song: Everywhere I Go
(Lissie and Ellie sing this song together, which is good, but I like the Lissie only version best.)

The Longest Road is good also.

Lots more of Lissie and Ellie at YouTube. These are my favs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Inkscape String Art

I like the minimalistic look of it.

Used Path, Path Effect Editor in Inkscape 0.48.
Stitch Sub-Path and Hatches.
Could probably do a better job of that left sail with the Pen Tool, but I was trying to use the Live Path Effects to do it. There's a pdf file a person could use for the pattern, if you want to use the Pen Tool.

Idea from here.

Inkscape Manual References:
Stitch Sub-Paths

Previously: Hatches on Heart

Forum Discussion

Also called curve stitching.
Mystic Rose (Manual shows how to do this one.)
Eight Parabola in a square (Use Tiled Clones P4M.)


Doodling In Math Class

These videos are fun to watch. I thought they related to some of the Inkscape stuff I've been doing lately.

Infinity Elephants
Dated 2 Dec 2010

Binary Trees
Sick Number Games

Edward Maya Music

Something new to me.

Edward Maya
b. 29 Jun 1986 in Bucharest, Romania

This Is My Life (2010)
Stereo Love (2009)
Desert Rain (2011)
Another one with his name on it:
Happy For You

Kitchen Floor Mats

Espresso Bean Kitchen Floor Mats

Impulse buy.
The material is like a mouse pad only thicker and the leafy stuff is embossed in to the material. I like them. They give some cushioning and warmth for your feet. Washable.

Magnavox DVD Hard Drive Recorder

I bought a new DVD hard drive recorder for digital antenna TV. I thought that would be difficult to find, because DVR's seem to be what most people use now, so I was happy to find one.

Manual & Images
Click links at left side of webpage. (Product Information link has the large images.)
Magnavox MDR515H/F7
500GB HDD&DVD Recorder with Digital Tuner

Detailed Discussion

I haven't dubbed/copied to disc yet or used all the features. So far I've been able to figure out how to use it just by navigating the on screen menus with the remote. The manual isn't written very well. Our old recorder had an on screen keyboard display for naming titles, but with this recorder I have to use the remote letters/numbers. That is significantly more difficult and time-consuming to use. Another dislike is when I split a recording I can't jump to the place I want to split it, I have to fast forward thru it, which takes a long time. [UPDATE: There is a forward by Chapter on remote, so that's a faster forwarding option.] We can record one channel and watch another at the same time because we use the TV remote to switch viewing modes (Source button on remote). I used an HDMI cable connection.

Even though I researched the transition from analog to digital TV to the best of my ability back in 2009, I never found the pertinent information that I needed, mainly, my recording equipment needed updating because it could not record digital antenna TV. All the information was focused on TV's and converters, not recording equipment.

So here we are, 2 years later, and I'm finally getting around to updating our recording equipment. We decided to drop Satellite TV because it's basically hundreds of channels we do not watch or like at an exorbitant price for long term customers. The business marketing advertising strategy for satellite TV is focused on new customer deals with the long term customers paying penalty for that by being charged high prices.

So for now, it's local programming via antennae with new recording equipment. Fiber optics broadband is finally coming to our area by the end of the year so I'm looking at streaming TV/movies options in the future.

We bought a Philips Network Blu-ray BDP7320/F7 Disc player because it was a hot deal at Menards.

Manual & Images
TopTenReview Comparison
When/if I have comments, I'll add them here.

UPDATE: I got this player set up on our wireless home network now and it is nice. I used the online FAQ instructions (manual link above) which were easier to follow than the printed manual. I like having an SD memory card slot for my jpg photos. It will play videos (avchd) and music (mp3, wma) on the SD card also. I tried a blu-ray dvd movie too. Everything works well so far. I like it.

avchd - HD, some camcorders?, also some cameras? - FZ40 Panasonic superzoom creates avchd lite? videos.

vtuner (Internet Radio)
Blockbuster On Demand
There's some concern about the future of Blockbuster, evidently.

I'm wondering if I can record Netflix streams and if so, how?

Cinemanow Review
"CinemaNow has recently included a 'Burn to DVD' section..."

Interesting read:
How To Quit Cable
Via avsforum

My comments:
It's difficult to make a decision because there are so many different options, everyone has different preferences, and everything is changing. There are unknowns. ISP rates may rise for high-bandwidth users. TV Networks are changing their policies on who gets access to their shows and when. I don't miss Satellite TV at all. I am buying more TV Series DVDs now and I prefer that experience over Satellite TV.

2011 Internet TV Sites Review Comparisons

Old Recorder
RCA 80GB Hard Drive DVD Recorder, DRC8030N
Bought Dec 2006.
It still works fine except it has an analog not digital tuner and I can't record local antenna digital TV with it.

Analog to digital transition was in Feb 2009.
Dropped Satellite and went antenna only Feb 2011.
Updated recording equipment Mar 2011.
Fiber optics coming late 2011.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Finally, some new tunes, yay!

Yeah-3x, by Chris Brown

Give a Little More, Maroon 5 (Their new album, Sep 2010, is good.)

Rhythm of Love, by Plain White T's

Higher, by Taio Cruz ft. Kylie Minogue

Marry Me, by Train

Who I Am, by Nick Jonas (b. 16 Sep 1992)

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants

Inkscape 0.48, Windows 7, L-system Renders
More pattern love.

Another Wallpaper! Minimalistic. I like it.
I embossed a *.gif and that increased the file size by 7 times. Wow. *.jpg is better, about half that file size, but still high for something so simple. *.png is good for gradients, but would be too high file size for emboss. I can see some slight gradient lines in the image.

Here's a close-up clip:

Editing these was really frustrating. I wanted to get rid of extra branches I didn't want.

Path/Break Apart, then drag mouse select a bunch of nodes with the Select/Transform Tool and hit delete key. Cannot select a bunch of Nodes with the Node Tool, however.
If you don't Break Apart, then you can drag mouse select a bunch of nodes with the Node Tool and delete, but it's harder to edit this way because all nodes are showing.

Other Node Editing Notes:
Random tree renderings are, surprisingly, lines looped on top of each other. There are two end nodes/lines at the base of the trunk. Select both end nodes and Path, Union. Pull the lines apart as they go up the tree and you have a widened branch tree.

I cut out part of a spirograph pattern, by selecting the nodes with the Node Tool at each end of the "cut," then Break Path at Selected Nodes Icon on the Tool Control Bar. It still acts as a group. So Path, Break Apart. Then select the group of "cut" lines wanted.

I found tons of formulas for Inkscape's L-system renderer by googling the topic. Lots of math sites have info. Here's a 50 page math analysis, lol. Actually, I just fiddled with the parameters given until they worked in Inkscape. The above branch pattern is in this pdf.

Direct link to pdf
Website to download the entire 240 page book.
L-systems is Chapter 1.
(The cross one I blogged earlier is in here. I think it's a Koch curve.)
Note the L-system java applet on same web page.

Also some formulas at the mathforum.

Inkscape crashes a LOT in L-system, so save, save, save. And I can't export some of the very nice gigantic ones (1400x) I've rendered. I get the eternal hourglass. It takes a very long time to render some of these and I never know if it's working or crashing. My Laptop fan runs the whole time. The branch patterns render fairly quickly, I think.

Just for fun, on one I did Simplify. Yeow! Crazy pattern result and I like it.

Simplifying the Peano-Gosper curve:

Inkscape Stellation

I love coloring and studying patterns. It's meditative.

Video Tut:
(Dated 2008.)
I turned off the volume because it's music only, no vocal instruction, and I didn't like the music.

I didn't realize the person had set snapping until I was finished, so I was diligently zooming in and out trying to align nodes. I need to study Snapping and Alignment more because every time I try to use them, they always do something I don't want, so I end up not using them. On the Object, Align and Distribute, I did noticed default Relative to was set to Page instead of Selection. So that helped when I changed it to Selection, but it still acts weird IMO.

Snapping Preferences popup is different in Inkscape 0.48. I think you have to use View, Show/Hide, Snap Controls Bar to snap the nodes.

Drew the unique diagonals in different colors.

I also noticed the video sets Alpha and I was wondering what the difference is between Alpha vs Opacity.

Alpha vs Opacity Tut

Another thing that happened to me when following the video is that my Objects/Paths were not filling the same way as the video.

I needed to change a setting in the Fill/Stroke area. I think I may have changed that when working on other projects.

Inkscape Sun

Quick and easy sun.

I like its personality.

Object to Path.
Make nodes corner type.
Push the edges in.

Idea here.
(Dated 2008.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Warp Drive Wallpaper

I made this playing around in Paint Shop Pro and really like it as desktop wallpaper.
Click on image for wallpaper size 1366x768.

Screenshot Art

Image Creation Notes:
Sunburst pj3-emerald-city gradient found here (Set 3).
Smeared it around with Warp Brush Expand and Right Twist.
Filter: VM Instant Art Strange Life Form 2, and VM Natural Splash
(Google it. (Imported into Filters Unlimited for random feature.)
Layers: Screen twice (lighten), Soft Light once (Contrast)
Motion Blur 50 at 270 degrees. (This is just to smooth it out, get rid of jaggies.)