Vol. 5 No. 3 October, 2005


iToon on Hip Hop

Crash & Burn

iToon on Wi-Fi Java

Radio Shuffle

Brain Splatter






Crash & Burn

There is nothing worse than a computer crash. The worst kind is when you are attempting to upgrade system software in order to run a new program. You try to upgrade your system software (which is four cycles behind) to find that your web browser will not open the download pages you need to upgrade. You hit the cursing brick wall. So you go straight to the current system software install, and that wipes out all settings and old program configurations making all your applications unusable (on deadline, too.)

I have a history of running my computers into museum showroom quality. Why change if things are working? So upgrading software is not an issue until some outside force (an internet provider, web sites, or security update) requires some action.

So my home iMac, Snow White, is getting a little sluggish. Her workload carries all three web sites, the email bag, graphic creation and minor game play during a rare insomnia event. The side equipment has functioned well under its multi-layers of dust:Afga flatbed scanner, Epson printer, and Zip drive. The main software programs, Appleworks, Pagemaker, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and a couple vintage paint programs, all continued to play well together. Inside that white iMac shell there was a very happy digital playground. The suddenly apparent problem was the operating system. I was still running OS 9.0.4. With a modem connection, downloading operating system megafiles has always been a pain. So the procrastinator's rule number one . . .

But it became apparent over time that the leap to OS X was needed in order to continue to interface with the Internet More and more web pages would not load; it was time to upgrade the browser, which then needed OS X to work. The vicious upgrade animal was upon me. The first problem was lurking under the weeds. Past upgrades were seamless events because the current upgrade installer would figure out what was needed and prompt you to click on the appropriate files, if necessary, in order to complete the process. But now, with so many significant changes per version, one needs to “baby step” up the upgrade ladder to the current version. So I got a version of OS 10.2, Jaguar, to start the upgrade process. It was supposed to meld the best with OS 9 applications in the Classic desktop environment. So without much research, I begin upgrade to Jaguar. I read that I need to upgrade the old OS to make sure the classic programs will work. So I first go to the Apple support site to upgrade the old OS, but the support pages won't load in the current OS! I can't find the upgrade to show me the path before I go to OS X. Well, if I can't read the support site without OS X, then I will do this backward. I load in the Jaguar install disc and run it. Then I upgrade the browser that was causing me trouble. Hey, everything is working okay. Then I attempt to run those tried and true, trusty programs that contain all those valuable files --- I get violently CLAWED by that Jaguar.

None of the Classic programs work. Anger more than panic sets in. It seems that in order for the new operating system to run the old operating system in classic mode, the machine needs 9.1.x version. The install program did not fix that issue. Well, I am a few digits short on that one. So I attempt to go to the support site to find the upgrade, but there is a problem. It still won't load the upgrade pages properly. This upgrade has gotten me to read about half the web pages I couldn't load before, read my email, but it has cost me the ability to access 95 percent of my existing application and files.

There may have been a simple solution, but when you have just hit the Launch button and the rocket BLOWS up on the pad, your mind is not too focused on a solution. The frontal lobe keeps replaying the mistake in slow motion and the devil on your shoulder is laughing at your plight. After a weekend of frustrating end runs and no fix, there was a scramble to find the long lost original discs and manual. Why can't you find these things after SIX years? Don't ask . . .

After a search and rescue mission through the homestead, the discs were found. The next step was to bite the lower lip and do the dreaded REINSTALL. Yes, go backward in time and reload the old operating system on the machine. It was an educated guess that if one got back to square one, I could have the access back to my needed programs like Dreamweaver to update the sites, etc. So I do an install in place, which means that the existing files on the hard disk would not be erased or damaged. The re-install went well. Or so I thought. Yes, the files were still there, now in an Original Items folder. I breathe a sigh of relief. Then I attempt to open Dreamweaver in order to start the September cyberbarf edition. It starts a cascade of error messages and requests for additional installs or passwords. Passwords? I have no stinkin' passwords!!! The machine has turned T-1 Terminator on me; rebelling at the notion of getting me back to square one. The worst was the Dreamweaver log-in screens. It has been years since I been to those screens, let alone remember the settings and host server passwords. Another weekend search and rescue to find a spiral notebook that may contain the original settings. After four or five trial and errors, I get the settings to link to the host server. But this is literally at the end of August; so I take a quip from an email to create a down-and-dirty fable feature, The Techno Garden of Eden, and pray that it will upload properly. After two weeks of pulled sweaty hair, it works.

But there are still glaring problems. All my equipment drivers are missing. How can they be missing?? And where are those install discs?? I put in the scanner disc and attempt to reinstall the software and drivers, but that installation fails. There may be a bug in the OS program, or a patch to this version WHICH I cannot download because the current OS 9 won't load the support pages. I am in the quicksand version of Catch-22. So I am limping along with Snow White for the second month. I can grit through the base versions of the old programs enough to keep updating my sites.

So the next step would be transfer the materials to my PowerBook and use it as the local web site creation and management platform. I know it's OS X is operating the classic environment okay because I have shuffled back and forth to work with it. But I still prefer the larger keyboard and screen of the desktop machine to that of the laptop. Yes, personal preferences need to change with the times like changing the oil in your car every 3000 miles. So that seemed to be the common sense plan going forward until ---

During the autopsy of the self destruction of my desktop machine, Rocky, our Tech Guru sends this email in late September: So I'm surfing along here on the PowerBook and suddenly my eMail program asks for my password. Huh? I've got the keychain going and shouldn't have to. So I enter them in and get my mail. Then my Rush 24/7 asks for my password. I enter it in and then the Keychain asks for my login password. It rejects it. I typed it in correctly, but it still rejects it. I look at the Accounts section of the System Preferences, but it is blanko. Nothing there. Suddenly, all the blood in my head drains straight to my ass. Do I have my OSX disk with me? I think you know the answer. I have everything else but that... At this time, the PowerBook is functional. I can still do everything I need to do, but I fear a restart. Since there is no record of my account, I'll probably need the system disk in order to completely reinstall the OS, followed by a lengthy process of resetting every f*&^ing thing I've done to this bastard in the last 14 months. Thanks, God, for keeping me alive another worthless day just to piss me off. Amen.

Like I said, the machines are beginning to rebel just like in that Arno movie.



Radio Shuffle

The newest weekend radio format is sweeping the airwaves: it is plainly called some kind of Shuffle. The concept is having listeners email their current iPod or Shuffle playlist (5 or 6 songs) to be introduced by the listener during a broadcast. It is like an extended song request, a once staple of the Top 40 bubblegum rock of the 1970s. Radio programmers are trying to cast their shrinking advertising budgets on the latest or greatest buzz fad on the planet to scoop up those teen to young adult demographics for their shrinking advertising clients.

The entire radio industry is backasswards and still survives in spite of itself. On rare occasions when traveling by car, one turns on the local news station in order to get a traffic report, which 9 times out of ten is wrong. But when there is a local breaking news, the station goes directly to its traffic reporter to get the details! With the media consolidation in the past decade, only two or three national chains have a stranglehold on the number of local stations. All sound the same; all play their commercial breaks at the same time; it is plain vanilla programming in a plain vanilla wrapper. Boring would invoke an emotion. There is no emotional attachment to a radio station anymore.

Since February, I rarely listen to the FM dial. If I need a musical fix, I default to going to the computer and playing around with Garageband. Create something new. Experiment with different styles, combine odd instruments; in other words, play with noise. Music is passive entertainment. Music is to entertain but more people are finding out that making their own music is also entertaining in an active sense. If background noise is needed while working on something else, slap in a self-burned CD (like now). Kick up home movies with a simple soundtrack bed will have the kin scratching their heads saying “how'd he do that?”

So radio executives finally woke up to the realization that the public has purchased MILLIONS of personal music players. For each iPod in use, that is one less radio listener. So what can radio give the wayward Shuffle user? The latest releases from globally famous artists? Sometimes, but more artists are releasing new material on the Internet or through iTunes promotions. A professionally engineered hour of popular musical selections? Maybe, but music like politics is all a matter of personal opinion. One disc jockey's musical bias will be factored into the sets. In addition, a station music director (in order to justify his job) has a mandatory playlist (which is getting tighter and tighter) which squeezes the air space into a rotating Top 10 playlist.

When you cannot win, steal the concept. So radio stations will continue to expand their Shuffle programs in order to entice listeners back into the fold. If you listen to the listeners selections, you will find that their mini-programs are more enjoyable than the regular station offerings. Their selections are not necessarily mainstream; they don't fit into a rhyme or reason pattern; an eccentric reprise from normalcy. For the most part, the listeners are better music programmers than the station professionals. That is why the radio industry is in trouble.

Don't forget to check out the


Brain Splatter

INTERNET STAPLE. Or stapler. In previous cyberbarf issue two years ago, we patented the concept that a credit card makes a good staple remover. Now, considering that pez dispensers led to billion dollar e-markets, every single subject matter has its web devotees. Including the office supply staple fans. While wandering through the net searching cyberbarf to see what links have been made, there was one of those micro-sites pegged to the keyword staplers which had a series of small link captions or comments, including a reference to the Ski Staple Remover. The comment was that we believed that a credit card works just as well as a metal staple remover. As this article slowly migrates through the net, maybe there will be huge cult uprising for the credit card as a multi-tasker.

DEATH BLOG. Rocky, our Tech Guru, has decided to kill off the Outlaw Eastern Alumni site, His reason? No time to maintain. He said that WE should take it over if we want to keep it alive. Schiavo that! We have THREE sites to maintain as is (cyberbarf, The Real News and Add a full-time job with double duty hours, rest in peace.

ROCKERS. Motorola and Apple finally announced the least guarded secret, the iTunes cellphone, called the ROCR. While other phone companies have found a growing interest in personal ringtones (and corresponding new revenue stream), the iTunes phone will hold 100 songs. The limit was placed by Apple, who wants to keep its stranglehold on its popular iPod music library mp3 players. The mainstream press is still wondering who would buy this combo-phone since the technophiles already have their favorite mp3 player(s).

IT'S OFFICIAL. A recent survey found that almost half of the bloggers blog as a form of personal “therapy.” I could have told you that. When you read the personal blogs at random, you will find fear, loathing, work angst, political rants, social outcasting and publication of personal emotional expression on various issues or passions. No more medical couches, no more Doctor Cranes.


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