Thursday, July 31, 2008

Drawing A Circle In Photoshop Elements: PhD Required

Even with these directions, I couldn't make it work. And Barbara Brundage/Dave Pogue/Tim O'Reilly's "Missing Manual" isn't helping either. What a waste of money this program has been.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

iPod weak for podcast listening

Hey iTunes: If I'm halfway through an hourlong podcast, please don't delete it off my iPod because you think I'm done with it. If you're going to monitor what I listen to, at least do it right. Right click/mark as new + resync is getting really old.

One day, Apple will learn to make a reliable MP3 player

My iPod freezes multiple times per week. (Most recently, five minutes ago, as I tried to rest after a night of paperwork.)

I use it strictly to play music.

Some day, Apple will learn to make one of these portable music thingamajigs that doesn't crash. They just need some more time to iron out the kinks. They've only had seven years so far.

The attached image is a Google search showing how common this problem is. The second hit is from 2004, The third hit is an Apple doc on the topic, linked to a movie they made on the topic.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

iTunes sucks at importing burned CDs

I've been cleaning out my physical home office inbox, and importing to my Mac a bunch of mix CDs given to me by other people. Every time, iTunes asks if I'm sure I want to import a CD that's not in CDDB or whatever it's called these days (Gracenote?). Uh, yes.

When I click "Yes," that would be a good time for iTunes to ask me to name the album. Instead, it doesn't, it just starts importing the CD, so I end up with a bunch of tracks named "Track 01" "Track 02" etc. and with blank album names. So I can't tell apart one imported CD from another and the tracks become lost, one mix CD indistinguishable from another.

The workaround, by the way, is to select all the tracks on the CD (don't wait for them to be imported, this works with an import in progress), select File/Get Info, say "Yes" to the scary confirmation dialog, then enter the name of the mix into the album field and hit "OK." Now you'll be able to pull up the mix CD just by typing the name into the iTunes search field while browsing your music library. If you feel like naming the tracks, you can do that later, whenever.

Amazon's feedback loop sucks

Speaking of the ways in which Amazon sucks, I have probably spent upwards of $2,000 on that site so far this year. I wanted to send them feedback (a few months ago) about the ridiculous amount of packaging they use, which not only fells trees but takes up wayyy too much space on trucks and planes thus contributing to global warming.

Same thing tonight, I wanted to bitch about the product "In Stock" lie.

They really don't want to hear feedback from customers. Nothing you can find on the site, no form, no email address, nothing.

Amazon's crappy checkout design

No, the checkout would be the wrong place to tell me your partner store is entirely out of stock of what I ordered, Amazon. Thanks for wasting my time.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Your grocery-store data, shared

Get-rich tip: Be the first grocery store to provide a digital purchase history to customers, for use in household planning.

This would actually convince me to use a frequent-shopper card and provide accurate information for it. Every time I made a purchase, a record (in some open standard format) would be emailed to an address of my choosing. In this fashion, I could build a household food database.

A sufficiently sophisticated grocery chain could even make the purchase history available via Web app, though the email option should still be there so other tools could be used.

An ambitious customer could even use a handheld scanner at home on items as they are thrown away. This would allow you to have an accurate, available-from-anywhere database of what is in your fridge and/or pantry. A scanner would also allow you to scan in purchases from other retailers (i.e. wine from your local wine shop, cheese from the cheese shop, etc).

And of course you could enter data in manually. With the right interface, this wouldn't be such a pain. With one click, for example, you could record the repurchasing of anything you've ever bought before.

If a bar-code scanner were built into an iPhone or Blackberry, one could quickly check whether a particular item is already in the cupboard at home, or even find out if one is being charged a reasonable price.