Weird Psychedelic Graphics with Leopard 10.5.2 update [unsolved]

Um, WTF?

psychedelic graphics error

I installed the Leopard 10.5.2 update today and tonight my computer started wigging out. It happened when I was copying files from a USB thumb drive, but continued after I ejected it and quit all applications. I got a screen shot of it which tells me my graphics card is not on the fritz and my computer is not overheating (because it was software related). Today I installed the newest build of parallels (5584), the newest build of webkit, and the 10.5.2 Leopard update, so it’s hard to tell what caused it.

The apps I had running were:

Finale 2008
MOTU Audio monitor
Google Desktop
Logic Pro

I have no idea what caused it. Anyone else experiencing this?


Immediately after you install the 10.5.2 update, if you run software update again, you get an option to install the Leopard Graphics Update 1.0. Whether or not this fixes this problem time will tell.

Label a mix before import on Itunes [solved]

So your friend makes you a CD mix, and it’s great, but when you want to import the CD it’s a pain in the ass because the mix doesn’t exist in the CDDB database, so Itunes can’t automatically label your songs.

I try and make people make me data MP3 mixes or at least CD mixes with CD text for this reason.

Nonetheless, you probablly still have CD mixes that don’t have the artist, album or song data on them that you want to import.

As far as I know there’s still no automatic way to do track-by-track detection on MP3s.

Here’s a tip though – before you import, click on the CD, select all, get info, and fill out the mix name in the album field. Then hit save and then import. Now at least you can group those tracks by album in your library, and you have half a chance of finding that track later and asking your friend what the heck it is. Better than a million TRACK 01 TRACK 02 files in your library that you don’t know where they came from.

I thought you wouldn’t be able to label the tracks since CDs are read only and won’t save an ID3 tag on the CD, but here’s where Itunes’ use of its library XML file comes in handy. If you know the artist and album info for some of the tracks, go for it, it is possible to label the artist, title, and other fields of the tracks before you import them.

label album before import cd mix

Itunes, Safari, Firefox, others quit with Runtime Error [unsolved]

I’ve been getting this error more and more on my XP machines lately.

Runtime Error!
Program: C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunes.exe

This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way.
Please contact the application's support team for more information.

Apple’s software in particular has been giving me this problem. I found this thread which simply states to update itunes with software update:

That’s good for the constant itunes crash, which was happening every time I opened the application. One thing that sucks is that this FORCES you to upgrade iTunes, and ‘upgrades’ have been generally more and more restrictive downgrades with iTunes lately. (Wonder if this was partly intentional on Apple’s part.)

What this doesn’t solve though is why it keeps happening with other applications. What library is getting corrupted I wonder? Why does it happen sporadically with firefox and safari as well on two of my different XP machines?

Easily control system volume in windows XP [solved]

Switching to a PC for my new job, I miss the volume keys on the mac for when I’m listening to music with headphones. “I bet I can find a utility that assigns a shortcut key to the plus and minus keys on the number pad,” I thought. I tried one utility, but the beep it made was deafening, and editing the wav file that came with the application didn’t help. Time to do more googling.

Enter Volumouse. Holy crap, this thing’s better than a shortcut key. You control the volume with a modifyer key (or click) and the scroll wheel. I have it (default) assigned to control the system volume when I hold down alt and scroll or hold down left click and scroll. This thing is awesome!
via Lifehacker (which is also awesome).

remove broken song links in iTunes

So someone asks you to play some music, and you click on the perfect itunes songs and iTunes says it can’t find the file. It helpfully puts a little exclamation point next to the mp3 and tells you it can’t find the file, but then doesn’t let you do anything else with it. Do you want to search for it? No. You want it to play music. You don’t want to ‘consolidate library’ because you like where your mp3s are and you don’t want apple managing everything you do. You can’t click on the exclamation point column to sort by ghost links, and you can’t find them all and delete them. What do you do?

For mac, you use Super Find Dead Tracks. It’s an applescript that gets rid of those exclamation point files. You put it in home > library > iTunes > Scripts . If Scripts doesn’t exist you create it. Then it appears as a menu item in a new script icon folder:

Super Remove Dead Tracks Menu Item

Then you wait a little bit and it gives you a dialog when it’s finished. Then you give the guy money or link to him on your blog (thanks dude).

If you’re on PC, you use Itunes Library Updater 2.0.

How I found this / Realized it was a Problem
First I talked to Maeve (my g/f) if she knew the best way to do this. She thought about it and would consolidate her library manually by searching for mp3s, dragging them to the itunes folder, deleting the library and rebuilding it from scratch. This is not a bad idea, it’s taking control of your library and not leaving it up to apple to organize your music. That way you know what you have and if you’ve missed any mp3s. I just wondered if this was a slower way to do it; looking online later people have said having apple reimport all your music can take hours.

On a side note, I think Maeve is less lazy than I am–I would have a computer clean my room and navigate me around if it could. She is generally better at organizing files, and rates her music, meaning iTunes is going to reward her for the manual effort she puts into her library. I on the other hand think about iTune’s lack of functionality, and think “this is stupid” and “there has to be a way to do this.” Generally speaking with computers, if you think these things, chances are you’re right, lots of people think this and have come up with ways of fixing it. It’s a competitive market, so if there’s something the program is really lacking, chances are the competing software does what you’re thinking of and you may be using the wrong program.
Anyway, first I googled “itunes consolidate library not found” (without quotes), which are two literal phrases from itunes error messages. I didn’t know what to call this concept (broken links? ghost files? empty references?) so I tried using language found in the errors and features itunes gives you: the menu item “Advanced > Consolidate Library”, and “The Original Song File Could Not Be Found.” My attempt was to tell google I’m looking for an advanced feature of iTunes relating to organizing my library (like “consolidate library”) but that I’m having a problem “not found”. With this phrase, I found a document called “iTunes Problems (Quarter Life Crisis).” This article wasn’t too helpful and neither were my search engine results pages, but on that page I did find someone who referred to these items in my problem as “lost links”. I tried a new google search for “itunes broken links” thinking I’d get better results. I did, the first link was a digg article that linked to a PC app that addressed the problem.

Being on a mac, I wasn’t done yet, though I have a PC so that app will be helpful in the future. The digg comments and the article mention apple scripts that can do the same thing, but don’t link to it. So on the mac I know there’s an apple script out there that will fix this. Going back to the same search engine results page (SERP) I click on the second link which describes my problem. This person calls the broken files “ghosts”. Addendum–for some reason experts exchange now is hiding the solution from me and trying to charge me to view it–but when I went to this page before, I saw the solution and found two scripts pages that both had very helpful looking itunes scripts, one of which had the super find dead tracks app I needed.
Why am I explaining what I googled? While lots of people have already figured this out, and it doesn’t take a genius to know how to use google, I do see people not knowing how to use google well. They’ll ask me computer questions that they could easily google the answer for. This is an explanation of how to do it in a more general sense. I’m also interested in the problem solving process and what it can teach us about solving other problems. I think if we had more people writing about their problems, describing how they thought about them, posting the solutions, and tagging their solution with other keywords people could use to find them, we could evolve and learn faster as a group than we can by ourselves with the whole ‘figure it out for yourself’ mentality. Anyone want to comment or join in? If you have a problem you’d like to write about solving please email me at jordan at

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