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Ford sync playlists

It seems like almost every time I update my playlists I screw something up and they don’t work in my car. I use a 16GB flash drive and leave it plugged into my car all the time, unless I’m updating it of course. Apparently Ford’s sync system is pretty picky when it comes to the type of playlists it can read. I use MediaMonkey to manage my music and sync with my flash drive. I have a 2010 Ford Escape. I think it accepts a few different playlist types, but I use m3u. I put the playlist in the root of the device, not inside a folder. I leave every box unchecked except for relative paths. I just plugged it in to test it and it works. I was reading some forums and one of them did say that the version of MediaMonkey they were using broke the playlists. So in case that matters the version I’m on right now is 4.0.7.1511.

FordSync

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Sansa e280 and m3u playlists

This has been bugging the hell out of me for awhile. I use MediaMonkey to organize my music and I love it. The only problem I had was that my mp3 player would not read m3u playlists as they were created from it. At some point I had obviously gotten it to work but it’s been so long since I’ve used my mp3 player that I forgot how to get my Sansa to see this type of list. So when I added my new music and tried to sync the playlist the player could not see it at all. I’ve read forum after forum reporting the same issue. Tonight I decided to take another look and within minutes found the solution that has managed to elude me recently. I’m posting it here because I’m sure at some point I’ll go another 6 months without using it and just forget again.

Pretty much all you do is let create your playlist in MediaMonkey, or whatever program you use, let it sync like you want. Then close the program, copy the playlist to your desktop, open it in notepad and add this line to the top of the list #EXTM3U. Then save and move it back over to your player. I had to put mine in the music folder, not on the root of the device. The odd thing is that I have no memory at all of doing this before. Maybe there’s another solution, but at least I made note of it this time.

 

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Facebook likes still showing in my newsfeed

This isn’t really a post like I normally put up. I’m just really annoyed with whatever changes Facebook has made that impact what shows up in your newsfeed. You know how you can click on that little box thing for each individual post and click unsubscribe from the person’s likes or comments? I still want to see people’s posts on my newsfeed, I just don’t care about most of the stuff they “like” or comment on.

For some reason I’ve noticed that in the last 2 or 3 weeks even though I’m not subscribed to people’s “likes” I’m now seeing things in my newsfeed about pages they like. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Now instead of showing up as a like it’s categorizing these as photos. This post happens to be from a family member, so I don’t want to have to unsubscribe from their photos. That doesn’t work anyway, even someone I completely unsubscribed from and put them on the list to never show up in my newsfeed still has posts like these that show up in my newsfeed.

I’m not one to whine every time something on Facebook changes, sure it’s annoying but I’ll get used to it. Nobody is forcing me to use Facebook so really I shouldn’t complain very much. But I would like it if things would work the way they’re supposed to. Maybe I’ll go back to using FacebookFixer, known as ffixer, to see if it will solve this problem. Although it hasn’t been updated since December, so I’m not sure if it will.

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Screen locking through group policy

Somebody here mentioned to me that her screen doesn’t lock like it is supposed to after 15 minutes. I couldn’t figure out why because I thought I had everything in group policy set right. I lock my computer myself every time I get up from it so I never noticed. But come to find out that if a screen saver isn’t selected on the client machine it will not lock unless you set the policy “screen saver executable name.” I guess it is my fault for not completely reading the descriptions for the other three settings that say you have to specify the executable name. I just typed in scrnsave.scr for the black one, that way it looks like the monitor went to sleep. It should ask for a password when it wakes back up.

To find these go to user configuration -> policies -> administrative templates -> control panel -> display.Image

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How to create a bootable USB drive

You would think that you would be able to Google the title of this post and easily find a link that would make this possible. I’ve spent a lot of time the last few days doing that exact same thing and not finding much in the way of things that actually work. I wanted a bootable usb drive so I could throw ghost and ghostwalk on it and whatever image we wanted to use. It would save me from having to burn a new CD every time I wanted to use a different image, this way I just delete and copy/paste.

What you will need:

  • Boot disk files – you can Google boot disk and get what you need. If you still have a floppy drive in your computer and happen to have a disk laying around you can pop it in, go to my computer -> right-click on the floppy -> format -> and check the box that says create an MS-DOS startup disk.
  • HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool – The weird thing is that I couldn’t even find that on their website. But once again Google comes to the rescue, there are plenty of links to it out there.

What to do:

  1. Open the HP format tool.
  2. Make sure you select the correct drive.
  3. Choose either of the FAT file system options.
  4. Under volume label give the USB drive a name.
  5. Check the box for creating a DOS startup disk and select using dos system files located at:. This is where you either point to your floppy drive if you created a boot disk or to the folder where you downloaded the files to. Tell it to start.
  6. You aren’t quite done yet. Go to my computer and open the location of the startup files that you either downloaded or had windows put on the floppy – copy those and paste them onto the flash drive. DO NOT overwrite any files when prompted.
  7. Done. Now you can use it as is or add more files to it like I did with ghost and ghostwalk.

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HOW TO: Play DVDs on your Wii

This isn’t normally something I would blog about since it isn’t computer related, but I figure enough people would want to do this that I would post it and I’m a tech geek in general so it fits.

I do have to warn you that there is a possibility that you can brick your Wii (making it an expensive paper weight), so be aware of that before messing around with this.

This is the way to make DVDs playable on your Wii, system 4.0 or above (mine is 4.1 right now and it works fine), without having to do the Zelda hack that I’m sure you’ve come across if you have found your way here.

I found this video on youtube explaining how to do it, but I had to do it a bit differently to get it to work. You can go there and watch it if you want and come back to see what I had to do differently. I’ll type out a few things here to get you started, but I won’t type everything out since he has a readme file in the download that has it all step by step.

  1. The first thing you want to do is download this zip file that the guy who did the video on youtube put together and save it to your Desktop, or somewhere else easy to get to.
      a) If you don’t have an extracting/unzipping program you can go here to download 7zip.
  2. Put your SD card in your computer and go to My Computer or Computer in Vista and open your SD card.
  3. Open the zip file that you downloaded and open the readme.txt file. You may need to tell the zip file to open with 7zip if you just downloaded that program. Minimize the readme file for now.
  4. Double-click the HackMii Installer folder to open it.
  5. Highlight all of those folders and the boot.elf file and extract them to your SD card.
      a) If you already have a folder called private, you can rename it to privateold. That you way won’t delete anything if it’s important. I didn’t have any issues though.
      b) For version 4.2, if you chose the 2nd option, you need to copy the contents of the hackmii installer zip file onto the SD card as well as the entire apps folder from the mplayer-ce zip file you downloaded.
  6. Go back to the readme file from before and start from step 3.
  7. After you’ve done everything in the readme file open the homebrew channel and go to the homebrew browser.
      a) You now need to download the program that will play the DVDs and not all of them work. It took me a couple hours to figure that out. Go ahead and update the browser if it prompts you.
  8. Go to the Media section and find MPlayer CE (Christmas Edition) and click download.
  9. Once that is done you can either look around and see what else there is to download (there is tons of stuff). Or you can press the home button on your wiimote and either reboot the wii to get back to the wii menu, or return to loader to go back to the homebrew channel. To get to the menu from the homebrew channel, hit the home button again and then exit.

Wii firmware version 4.2
The directions are nearly identical to what is up above, you just need to download different files. If they don’t seem to make sense let me know and I’ll clarify.

  • Here is the youtube video with directions and the link to the package he put together. He has the media player included in the package.
  • I did not use his package, I went straight to bootmii.org so I know for certain that this one works. This one did not include the media player, but I just went to the mplayer-ce website and clicked the link on the right to download it.
  • From here you can go to step 2 up above and those directions should apply to this.

Playing a DVD on your Wii:

  1. Go to the homebrew channel you just installed and click MPlayer CE -> Load.
  2. At the black and white menu arrow down to open and press the right arrow button to select it.
  3. Go down to DVD Video and press the right arrow again to select it.
  4. Use the same controls to go to Play DVD and select it to start the video or go to chapter if you want to select a specific chapter.
      a) If you go down and select Play DVD (libdvdnav) instead of the top option to Play DVD, it will send you to the DVD menu so you can get to any extra stuff on the DVD (gag reel, etc.).

The only annoying thing is that there is a volume control on the wii itself that you need to turn up because it’s pretty quiet and you will probably have to turn the volume up on the TV pretty loud after that. Besides that it works perfectly. To increase/decrease the volume on the wii press the plus or minus buttons during the movie.

For controls on how to work the menu during the movie and skip forward or backward, etc you can go here and look at the little table thing. Press the B button during the movie to bring the menu up and press it multiple times to make it go away.

The SD card must be in your Wii for this to work since the programs are not installed on the Wii.

Enjoy your movie 🙂

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Comcast blog hunters

I recently read an article on msnbc.com called “Comcast customers startled by customer service“.  I thought it was interesting because that actually happened to me back in April.  I will be the first to admit that I have had some pretty bad experiences with Comcast’s customer service people; on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give them probably a 4.  The main reason behind this was because we kept losing our connection on a regular basis and it would go down anywhere from a couple minutes to a couple hours.  I called Comcast probably 3 or 4 times, in the span of a few months, complaining about it but without fail they all told me that it was my gateway because “we haven’t had any outages in your area.”  Well that’s great but my gateway still wasn’t getting a good enough connection.  I even asked them if I could send them the data from the status page that has all the downstream power info and such but they wouldn’t even let me do that.  The thing that bothered me the most is they wouldn’t send someone out to troubleshoot it for me.  I wasn’t about to go fork out 40+ bucks unless I knew with 100% certainty that it was my gateway and they weren’t willing to do that for some reason.

So back in April I wrote a blog about it and posted screen shots of my status page to see if anybody knew what all that info meant since Comcast obviously wasn’t helping me.  The same day I got a comment from someone at Comcast asking for my info so he could help me out.  I couldn’t believe it.  I honestly thought it was some sort of scam because it seemed a little weird to me.  But it turned out to be legitimate.  I really appreciate them doing that and I think it’s a good idea, but at the same time I think it’s pretty sad that they have to hunt blogs for unhappy customers because their phone reps obviously aren’t doing a good enough job.  It’s pretty bad when your own customers are surprised when they actually get GOOD customer service from you.

It turned out that the person I was in contact with was the customer service manager for my area.  He sent a tech out and he had to install an amplifier because the signal wasn’t coming into the house strong enough.  It WAS NOT my gateway like the phone reps kept telling me.  I like the techs a lot.  I’ve had to deal with them for work as well and never had a problem.  It’s only ever been the people on the other end of the phone because they apparently don’t like sending techs out to check out problems.  Silly me, I thought that’s what their jobs were.

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