December 2007 Posts

Time for a New MP3 Player

Edit: Actually, after doing a little research, I was able to get my Zen Xtra to work. :) So, I guess I won’t need a new one. I was looking at an 80 GB Zune, but I’ll probably just hold off.

I think it’s time for a new .mp3 player. I have a 60 GB Creative Zen Xtra that seems to be lacking Vista compatibility. And I have a 2 GB iPod Nano that’s nice but… as it’s only 2 GB, it can’t handle my full playlist. I haven’t really started looking into it, yet. Price doesn’t really matter as there generally isn’t that much price variance, but I’m thinking I want at least 30 GB. I’m not sure how much I care about the screen. I haven’t really started looking into it, but I think that I’d like to make sure I have it by a week or so from now, so I thought I’d put a post up to see if anyone had any suggestions. Thanks.

The Common Cold

I’ve got it. Where’s the cure? Not too bad… just an annoyance right now. Luckily, I didn’t get it until the 27th. So, after the holidays. With any luck, I’ll be feeling great by New Years Eve.

From the ARGH Files: Laptop Going Back

I just unpacked my beautiful new laptop, yesterday. And it is beautiful. It scared me how pretty it was. lol. The screen is awesome. It’s a beast, but it’s terrific and just what I need. After I had unpacked it, sorted the papers, placed all of the accessories in my new laptop bag, configured all of the initial setup options and got rid of anything on there I didn’t want and got past half way as far as installing my software… I noticed something. A red dot on the screen. Nooooooooooooo.

I called support and while I was talking to the lady, I noticed a light blue dot, too. She directed me to HP Shopping. I was on the phone for an hour and 25 minutes total, but it’s all sorted. Nice people, but they had to go through various processes, etc. That’s fine, I’m a patient guy. This is what will be happening.

1. They have placed a new order for the exact same laptop. I will be charged the full price. The great coupon I had used will not be applied (but, I will get the money, see below). Meanwhile, the original charge will remain on my credit card (again, see below). This order has been confirmed and the laptop is being built and will be shipped as soon as possible.

2. I have packed up the laptop as best as I could, getting all of the papers (including the Vonage ad out of the garbage! :)) and accessories back in the box, sealing it and printing a label that HP sent to me. I’m hoping to get out today to drop it off at a FedEx place.

3. As soon as the laptop arrives at HP, they will refund the initial charge.

4. As soon as the new laptop ships, they will issue a credit to my credit card, refunding the money that I saved using the coupon code.

I had to split the charge over two cards, but it’s all going to work. The end result is that I’ll get my laptop. Hopefully, with no defective pixels.

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a happy holiday season and happy, healthy and successful 2008. Thanks for reading.

Marc Orchant

Through Robert Scoble, I just heard that Marc Orchant has passed away. Sadly, I didn’t know the man. I knew him vaguely through others (blog posts, etc., like my friend Jeremy, who was a very good friend of Mr. Orchant’s).

Mr. Orchant has been in my Skype list for a very long time. I think we may have talked once, but I forget. Right now he is in the online section as offline with call forwarding. I have no idea how he was added to my list. I may have added him – he may have added me. Doesn’t matter. But, I was curious as to what contact we had had, so I searched my e-mail and I found this. I thought I’d share it as it’s the only record I can find of us talking.

Back when he was blogging for Weblogs, Inc. at their Microsoft blog, he linked to one of my sites, I thanked him in comments and received this e-mail:


After all the link love I’ve been getting from you – it was the least I could do ;^)


Knowing of him and knowing that he was podcasting for The Podcast Network, where I was about to start a podcast of my own, I replied with:


No worries. I’m heavy on the vias. lol

Nice to meet you (or get an e-mail from you, anyway). Always seeing your name popup at Jeremy’s blog. (Looking at your signature) I’m going to be doing a podcast for The Podcast Network (I hope, anyway… finishing up the pilot).

Anyway, thanks again,


He replied:

Excellent news – what will your podcast be about?

James and I scored an interview with the founder and CTO of Mindjet for The Tablet PC Show. We’ll be recording it tomorrow.

Jeremy is a great friend. He and I have been collaborating on some course development projects for nearly a year now and are planning on doing a book together next.

Nice to “meet” you as well. Stay in touch.


And I followed:


Thanks. It’ll be about internet community management (forums). Very nichey and not terribly cool, but there you go. Aiming for 30-45 minutes every 2 weeks. I hope for it to eventually consist of 3 things each show: me talking about at least a few community management issues, etc., an interview and listener questions. I’d like the last 2 to be the bulk, but we’ll see if I get any listener questions or not. I wanted to do a podcast (as I felt it’d be a fun thing for me to do) and managing communities is one of the few things that I felt I could really do one on. Now I’m just going through the stage where I hate my voice and am working around that. I talk too fast, so I’m slowing myself down a bit and all that good stuff. Cool on the interview.

Yeah, Jeremy is a good guy. He’s a friend of mine as well, going back to when we were both on the staff at SitePoint years ago. I knew about the course development stuff (from his blog), but the book is new to me (or maybe he mentioned it and I just didn’t associate it… I think he mentioned something about wanting to do a time management book or something). But, cool either way.



And that’s the only distinct conversation that I can recall us having (I actually received a Quechup invite from him in September :)). But, just from the conversation, I could tell he was a cool, nice guy. I’m sorry I didn’t take the opportunity to get to know him better, but that’s how things work out sometimes. At any rate, this is all very sad and my thoughts are definitely with his friends (like Jeremy) and his family.

On the New PC

Last night, I was able to make my conversion from my laptop over to the new PC. It went pretty smoothly and I’ve been using it ever since. I’ve got things to set up, tweak and all of that good stuff, as I come across them (also I have to set up my backup system again), but I’m happy with how it’s going, except for a couple of things (probably the biggest one: Adobe not having a Flash player available for the 64 bit version of IE 7 and the 32 bit IE 7 freezing up on me at various moments and not being compatible with certain sites). But, other than that, it’s going well. :) Back to work…

Working on the New PC

My new PC arrived yesterday and I’ve been working on getting it set up as I want. Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but I’ll get through it. I’m a little worried as to what will be compatible with a 64 bit Windows Vista Ultimate and what will not… but, hopefully, that’s just worrying over nothing. I did have to buy a new video card for my third monitor, though. We’ll see. Wish me luck…


Caps are definitely, definitely needed for this subject. Let me explain.

Today, I go to work, get through my routine and go about my business. I noticed that my desktop had been a bit… slow. So, after I finished the routine, I restarted and then launched all of my programs that I use and it was… really slow. So, I cut power to it and booted and… I get a message saying that Windows was unable to boot (“We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully.”) Uh… great. I’m fairly comfortable at this point because I have a good backup system and everything inside of My Documents (99% of the important stuff) is backed up every night. So, it’s not catastrophic or anything. I restart a few times, try a few different things… nothing changes.

I send a note to my man Jared, who tells me about various options and helps me get through them. After trying all the normal booting stuff, safe mode, etc. etc. and getting no where (it would start to load Windows – the Windows XP screen would come up – but it would always loop back to that first black page saying it couldn’t load). I try running system recovery – no go. I try using a Windows XP disc to boot from – nothing. I try to mount the drive onto another computer – the drive appears, in two partitions (as it normally is – one for the OS, one for my files). But, I can’t access the partition with my files.

So, I got to thinking about what I would lose. I’d lose the files on my desktop (I didn’t realize how much this would have hurt until later… the Awards Top 10 Hack Authors and Top 5 Template/Style Authors results were on my desktop, I’ve put a ton of research into them), which included some things I’d rather not have lost. But, I figured I could live with it. I would lose my e-mails that came after midnight last night, which again, I hate losing e-mails, but I’d live. I would have to e-mail people to get them to send me some in again. My FTP logins in CuteFTP would be lost, but I could just enter them again – no biggie. And then I realized – MY WINAMP PLAYLIST! AAARRGGHHH NOOOOOOOOO! The playlist that I’ve been working on since March. I’m finally about 80% done (I think) and I’m getting sick of listening to music I don’t like in order to get it done – listening to music is like a job when I have to do that. But, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel! But, it wasn’t part of my backup system (it will be when I get the new PC… trust me), so… that was a shot to the gut.

So, in consideration of all of this, Jared suggests SpinRite. I paid the $80 (money well spent) and downloaded it, placed the ISO on a CD and put my hard drive back in my PC and gave it a go. It had to run for about 6 hours or so – spending like 4 hours on one section before deeming it unrecoverable. It finished and I rebooted and – oh my gosh – the computer booted! I was able to get everything. Every single thing. It took the entire day pretty much – this whole day is a wash – but, it ended very, very well. Plus, I was able to make a note of all of the programs I have installed that I want to reinstall when my new PC gets here, which is awesome.

Jared literally talked to me for hours (we talked on and off for like 8 hours), walking me through various things patiently. I can’t say how much I appreciated his help. It was such a relief at about 10:00 PM when it booted and then I just finished backing up everything a few minutes ago. And SpinRite – awesome piece of software. It’s also a relief that my backup system worked exactly as it was designed to work. I had all of my files (well, virtually all) and now, with this experience in mind, I will craft the backup system on the new PC to run a little differently, in a more improved fashion (especially with the power that computer will have). Every time that this sort of thing happens, I learn more and I make it better when it happens again – because it will happen again.