OSX Clean Install

When you do a clean system restore on a Mac (or really any computer, though the Mac system restore is fairly good already), the first screen that comes up after the clean restart should be the machine specs – “About This Mac” would work, but I’d prefer it all on one screen, including serial number, model name and year, memory and drive size, battery cycles – and access to the “System Information” app, as well as some sort of hardware test app. I’m sure they could make it pretty enough that it would run with brand-new Macs, too.

How to sync two iTunes folders

This assumes you have an “old” music folder at /path/to/old/dir and a “new” folder at /path/to/new/dir.

NOTE: iTunes has two options under preferences/advanced.  Either of these may make these instructions not work properly.  I’m not saying you should turn them off, but these instructions may not work if they’re on.
“Keep iTunes Music Folder organized” renames files and directories
“Copy to iTunes Music Folder” does that.

(optional) Tag your old music
You may also wish to open your existing library and change the grouping to your name.  (this will wipe out existing groupings; it’s not a field that seems to be used much – though you might want to check this first before wiping it out).  Note that some of the track fields (rating) are saved in iTunes Metadata (the library you created); others (name, artist, grouping, comments) are saved in the file itself.  We want to change a field that is in the file.
1. Open iTunes.
2. Select Library/Music.  Select all items (command-a).  Get Info (command-i).
3. Change the Grouping to the name of the new library, for example “old”.

Create a new iTunes library, and add the “new” mp3s to it.
1. Close iTunes.
2. Hold down option key.  Open iTunes.  (This will prompt you to create or choose library.  This works for iPhoto, too!)
3. Create library.  This will be a temporary library for the “new” folder.
4. File/Add to Library.  Choose the “new” folder.  This will take a while.
5. Select Library/Music.  Select all items (command-a).  Get Info (command-i).
6. Change the Grouping to the name of the new library, for example “new”.
7. Click OK.  This will take a while, since it has to save all files.
8. Quit iTunes.

Rsync the files
NOTE: if you use “Keep iTunes Folder Organized” you don’t need to do this step.
1. Open terminal.  The easiest way is to use spotlight – the magnifying glass in the upper right on your menu bar.  Type in Terminal and the first item to show up should be the terminal.
2. Use rysnc to synchronize the two libraries.
rsync -vaz /path/to/new/dir/ /path/to/old/dir/
Note that you MUST use the trailing slash as shown.  This should copy all new files from the new dir to the old dir, leaving existing files there.

Re-import files to your itunes library.
1. Hold down option key.  Open iTunes.  (This will prompt you to create or choose library.)
2. Choose your old library.
3. File/Add to Library.  Choose the “new” folder.  This will take a while.

When you’re happy it worked:
1. Delete the /path/to/new/dir/ directory.
2. Delete the new iTunes library.


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Went to the Del Mar Fair this weekend, and in the hawker’s pavilion there was an AT&T booth.  Good size, well staffed, fairly small amount of product – and no iPhone.

They’re selling the most popular phone on the market – the one everyone wants (yes, I exaggerate), and the one that all the other phone makers want to copy (this one I think is more true).  Why don’t you have it on display?  Why do you treat it like the red-headed stepchild?

And why, if I have my cellphone, internet/cable TV, and home phone are all on their services, can’t I get a single bill, like they promised when I signed up?  In fact, they seem to be unable to get be a Uverse bill online at all.  They’re good at getting the late notices out to me, but the actual invoices not so much.


Learned the hard way: Windows XP restore on netbook (with broken screen, cheap cheap cheap on Craigslist) requires working primary screen for XP registration.  At least I can get a new screen on ebay.  And it appears Windows 7 doesn’t have this problem (will find out soon).  Linux works, but it’s ugly.  Hackintosh would probably work if I could be bothered.

Knew this one already: if you sell a computer on Craigslist, wipe the hard drive first, because you may not sell it to someone as honest as I am.  (If you buy a computer on Craigslist, see if there’s anything interesting there before restoring it.  Like, say, MP3s, or maybe documents with bank logins!)

Any software you get on a purchased computer, that does not include the original disks, is stolen.  And may be virus-infected or configured badly or just plain unnecessary.  So pretty much any computer you buy should be restored to factory settings if possible.  Windows makes this a royal horrible pain in the tuchas.  With OSX it’s simple.

Ranting about ratings

(from a message I posted on Yelp)

 I recently reviewed a place I went to dinner for the first time, and gave it four stars.  Yelp calls this “Yay!  I’m a fan.”  The owner messaged to thank me, and ask me what he could do to get to five stars.

Listen here:  I only award five stars to my all-time very favorite places.  The ones I go back to again and again, that have a fond place in my heart.  Now and then I might even give five stars to someplace where I have an exceptional experience the first time, but that’s very rare.  Most places I go are frankly three stars, but if they do a good job and the food is good I inflate it to four because that seems the norm here.

This is not how many reviewers play the game, though.  I see a few Taco Bell and McDonalds on here with five stars.  The only way that any McDonalds in the world merits five stars is if they find my kidnapped child or donate me a kidney.  Three stars for a Mickey D’s means they were exceptionally good – most of them are a solid two-star experience.  Nearly any chain restaurant – Chili’s, Outback, Macaroni Grill – had better do a truly outstanding job to merit four stars.

On the other hand, I’d like to see zero stars as an option.  A place so nasty I will never go back, and will reccomend that people avoid, deserves zero stars.  Foreign matter in my food, zero stars.  A bathroom where I’m afraid to touch the faucet or doorknob – zero stars.