Posts Tagged ‘software’

emusic download manager blues and repurchasing

July 24, 2011 5 comments

emusic is really starting to take the piss. Price hikes and monthly song quota cuts has already dented its once proud image as “iTunes’s younger, cooler brother.”

Now we have a site with buggy, sub standard download software and a policy which aims to make you repurchase tracks that have failed to download fully.

OK, so what happened?

I clicked on the download button, and the album started to download. (Much slower than it used to, I might add.) I then paused the download momentarily by accident (clicking the pause button).

When I clicked resume, it resumed from the next song! I now had two 30 second snippets. Nonplussed, I cancelled the download in the hope that I could restart it… Nope

Going back to the website, I found that there was no longer an option to complete your album… I’d have to pay the whole $6 to download the whole album again!

It’s a download site, for fuck’s sake and they’re charging me PER DOWNLOAD, when it’s THEIR SOFTWARE THAT’S BROKEN.

I really think that this time, I’m done with emusic.

For reference, here’s the mail I sent to their customer support… Not my most eloquent prose, I must admit.

"To whom it may concern"
I paused the download.... when I resumed, 
it tried to download the next track... 
I now have four half downloaded tracks....
I thought if I cancelled the downloads,
and reselected them manually I'd be ok...
This is not good enough... You are not iTunes,
the only thing you have going for you is that
your prices are cheap... If you can't make a
system as painless as iTunes you will
go out of business.
Please let me redownload the songs which I paid
for but now don't have.
The album is

It says I have 7 tracks but I don't.
I'm getting sick of music's draconian "REPURCHASE"
policies requiring me to justify my existence
every time you have a bug in your software.
Yours, Disgruntled,

Craig Lloyd.

Indispensable Mac OS X Software : Window Management Utilities

July 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I find myself setting up my home and office’s Macs perhaps a little more often than I would like and when I do, I find, more often than not that I install the following software.

In the first installment of this short series, I will mention a trio of window management utilities.

Note that this is not a list, just software that I am intimately familiar with and have used practically every day for over a year.

I’m running a 27″ iMac with the Awesome IBM T221 3840 x 2400 (yes, that’s right) monitor for photo editing. As such, I really need a bevy of good screen and window management software to keep the huge real estate in order.


$13  /  OS X 10.5+

by Irradiated Software

Used on my smaller iMacs, this allows for a window to be sized automatically by user defined shortcuts into full-screen, top / bottom / left / right halves and quadrants. Has some fine tuning functions, too. For example, to adjust the balance between left and right and top and bottom, such as a 60:40 split or 70:30 split or to enable the screens to avoid edges and the dock, etc.

Simple to set up and effortless to use.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀☀


$7 / OS X 10.5+

by Irradiated Software

Made by the same company that made Sizeup. Best new UI feature stolen from Vista, drag a window to the top of the screen and watch it maximise. Drag it to the left or right edge and have it neatly resized to half the screen width! The only reason it doesn’t get a rating of five is that cinch doesn’t integrate with the custom left/right settings of Sizeup, and as such screens cinched to the sides tend to interfere with screens manipulated using Sizeup.

Takes 10 seconds to install and get working. Simplicity itself.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀


$14 / Mac OS X 10.5+

by Mizage

I consider this the king of window management software. You can divide your screen into a user defined grid and assign shortcut keys to resize windows to an arbitrary shape and size for the ultimate flexibility. Alternatively, if you need a custom size window, you can press a hotkey and rapidly assign a window to anywhere on the grid using the mouse!

As with most powerful utilities, the trade off is time required to set up the software in a personal and meaningful way. Still, if you’re willing to invest a little time in it, the payoff is increased productivity and more efficient screen use.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀☀


Free / Mac OS X 10.5+

by Willmore

A little different to the others here, Isolator allows you to focus on just one task or window and thus reducing distractions on the average, cluttered desktop by darkening or blurring the other windows out with a simple definable keystroke or a click of the mouse on the menubar.

Elegant and simple.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀

Apple Software Bugs Rise to New Heights : OS X iCal Truncating days off the end of month.

February 5, 2009 5 comments

I always thought that February was the shortest month of the year.

After all, ever since I could speak I’ve known the poem:

Thirty days has September, April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty one, except February,
which has 28 days clear and 29 days in a leap year.

If only Apple knew it, because apparently they think that January 2009 had only 24 days!



This is OS X Leopard iCal, the one which dispensed with the the side drawer in favour of a crappy pop-up box for editing calendar entries.

Here Apple are trying to work their way into the enterprise as a viable Outlook alternative with better Exchange support for etc. but I’m sorry, if this is the best they can do, I’m sticking with Outlook/Entourage.

Is there anyone else out there who’s found that their months have been truncated with the last week missing in Leopard’s joke of a calendar application?

Now I’m sorry, but this kind of quality beggars belief! Apple, WTF are you playing at? GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER.

Categories: Mac, Technology Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Installing Japanese Sony SonicStage on English Windows

January 19, 2008 50 comments

Jan 2, 2009 -> Updated links to official Sony Web Site.

Sony Ericsson\'s excellent SO903i

Background: You can skip this and get straight to the installation bit (which is a lot shorter).

I was unfortunate (or stupid) enough to lose the media software that came with my SO903i phone, which left me without a means of getting my music onto it after a sudden OS reinstall. According to the Sony Ericsson site, Sony SonicStage CP 4.3 now has the drivers built in to handle transferring music to the built in memory or to an external CF card. I hastily went to download the Japanese version of the software, only to get an error:

Cannot install with this Windows Language. (20993)

20993? Cool! So, I went to the US site and navigated through to the download page. Clicked on the ‘I accept’ button and got the beautiful:

This Download is only available within the US

US only. Sweet.”Ah-ha!” I thought… I can just proxy the download via a US server. So I did. The required download was only about 300Kb. So proxying didn’t slow anything down.I double clicked on the and after a lengthy 20Mb download…

Please wait while your software installs.

…message at last appeared! It installed perfectly and worked first time at importing the music I’d downloaded from into my library. “At last, I could use my phone again,” I thought…

Or could I?I plugged my gorgeous phone in, set it to memory mode and waited while the three drive letters appeared (one for the Internal memory, one for SD and one for overpriced Memory Stick).

“Right. Now for the music!” I searched for the transcode for mobile device button, but there was no rename/transcode the required format Nor was there any DB management for the CD jackets or other info.

Blast again, tripped at the last hurdle. And so my phone lay, mostly inert for the next three months or so.

Finally, I decided to do something.


How to install Japanese SonicStage on an English version of Windows

NB. This does not magically translate the program into English.

Download the SonicStage installer from Sony. Here’s a link for SonicStage 4.4

Scroll right down to the bottom and click the bright blue button that says 同意する.

Here’s a direct link for those who need it.

Save this file, don’t run it.
Now, you’ll need to install a good Zip program. I like WinRAR. With WinRAR, you can right click on SonicStageInstaller.exe and click “Extract Here”.
Among the files extracted should be a file called “SetupSS.ini”
Open SetupSS.ini in your favourite editor.
Here’s what you should see. (My file  is from SonicStage 4.3)
fontname         =FONT_NAME
applicationname  =APPLICATION_NAME
applicationver   =4.3
supportos        =0xf8
language         =Japanese
supportoslang    =Japanese
nonsupportoslang =
schineseopt      =1
mainsection      =SdWelcome
dlmanager        =1
dlserver         =
noaskopt         =0
instssver        =4.3.04
uninstomgver     =2.2
pacsupport       =
The key is the part which says “supportoslang”
Change that to read
supportoslang    =English

Save the file

Double Cick the extracted “SetupSS.exe” to Install.

During the installer, you may see some blank dialogue boxes. Just click 次へ (next) until you reach the end of the installer.

As I mentioned, this will not translate the program into English, but it will run with full functionality, unlike the English language version of the program which lacks support for Japanese mobile phones like my Sony SO903i.

Aperture 1.5.4 on PPC Mac Mini G4

August 25, 2007 Leave a comment

I have Aperture 1.5 running nicely on a Macbook but wanted to get it working on my Mini for times when the laptop is being used. I had it working before, but recently updated to 1.5.4 which broke it. After fishing around and with a bit of trial and error I found out how to get Aperture 1.5.4 working on a Mac Mini G4 with 64MB Radeon 9200 graphics and 1Gb of RAM.

  1. Install Aperture and Upgrade/Update to 1.5.4.
  2. Download 0xED HEX Editor from Apple (0xED page) and install
  3. Run 0xED and use File | Open menu to Navigate to /Applications/Aperture/Contents/MacOS andd open Aperture
  4. Make sure 0xED is in Overwrite mode by pressing Shift+Command+O
  5. Use the “Go to Offset” field to jump to BFC8
  6. Change the next four bytes from 40 9E 00 88 -> 48 00 00 80
  7. Do the same for C064 and you’re done

This works for my setup. If you are using an older machine or one with less RAM, you may want to edit the Info.plist from /Applications/Aperture/Contents to change AELMinimumRAMSize, RKG4LaptopMinimumCPUSpeedMHz or RKG5DesktopMinimumCPUSpeedMHz parameters.

Thanks tothe site for setting me off in the right direction!

Categories: Mac, Tech Tips, Technology Tags: , ,