iTunes 7.2 is out!

Apple released iTunes 7.2 this morning.  Why is this important?  Two reasons.  First, Windows Vista is now considered a supported operating system.  Yeah!  Us Vista users are VERY happy about that!  Second, and FAR more important, one can now download Higher quality DRM-free music.  This is a significant milestone, one that I personally hope people don’t abuse.

Why is DRM-free music so important?  Well, first off, DRM-free music isn’t ‘free’, it’s actually MORE expensive than the current DRM music.  DRM-free music is music that is not locked into any one computer or device.  It means that if you buy a track, it’s YOURS.  You can play it on ANY player that supports AAC (Apple’s format).  You can convert it to .mp3 without needing to burn it to a CD and re-rip it to get around the copy protection.  You can make copies.  You can play it on any computer you access.  You generally can do whatever the heck you want with it, including sharing.  Now, the caveat.  IT IS STILL ILLEGAL TO GIVE A COPY TO SOMEONE ELSE.  Please keep that in mind.  It’s one thing to play the music for someone on one of your devices, it is quite another to give them a copy of the track.

Why am I stressing that sharing is illegal?  Because, if the sharing gets out of hand, the record companies will go back to not selling DRM-free music.  Personally, I will be buying tracks and albums from iTunes Plus (the DRM-free service).  I’m voting with my wallet.  This is something that we need to support.  Copy protection usually helps no one, and the quicker that the record companies and movie studios see that, they can spend the money making better music and movies and not freaking out over lost revenue.

My friend Rick has a good summary of iTunes 7.2 up on his blog as well.

Update: Rick pointed out that AAC is NOT Apple’s format.  It is actually an industry standard format.

A Bevy of Betas from Microsoft!

Wow!  Microsoft has been BUSY!!!  New betas for everyone to play with…

First up, and probably least important…  Windows Live Messenger 8.5.  Nothing I’ve seen so far ‘jumps out’ as gotta have features.  Nice upgrade, more Vista visuals, but nothing that is ‘can’t live without’.

Second, and this one is more important to me than the third, but for everyone else is probably least important, is Windows Live Writer.  This one gets a WOW! OMG! upgrade.  MUCH cleaner.  Better organized.  They fixed the annoying bugs in the editing window.  This is one serious piece of software for writing blog entries.  The fact that it’s free makes it even better.  Works with LOTS of different blog engines, not just the Microsoft ones.  Spelling is now inline, just like Word.  You will see me writing more entries just because this is that much more useable.

Finally, and this is a big one, Windows Live Mail.  This is something that EVERYONE who has Windows should download.  I’ve got to get this to my customers who have been BEGGING for a spam filter in Outlook Express.  This is a MAJOR upgrade to Outlook Express / Windows Mail.  Now, not only are newsgroups supported, but a feed reader has been built in.  It supports all types of email services, and best of all, NO GRAPHICAL ADS!  There are text ads if you use the Internet search feature, but one can turn these off by changing the view to disable Active Search.

One little side note about Windows Live Mail.  There is no direct way to import an OPML / XML feed list inside of the program.  There is an INDIRECT way to get it imported, though!  If one has IE 7, all one has to do is import the feed list into IE 7.  The feeds will then automatically show up in WLM… Nice!

Have fun with the new toys!

And… IT’S DONE!!!!

Finally!  What a LONG, STRANGE trip it’s been!  Today @ 1:30, I received the keys to my new house.  Lot’s of begging, borrowing, and scraping have gone into this day.  One one small problem, and that will be fixed soon enough, and that’s that there is no refrigerator in yet.  That should be fixed by Wednesday of next week!

I will post pictures VERY SOON!

Starting to get back to regularly scheduled programming… How to have library settings overriden in the main application

Ok, enough of the house posts!  (Well, until tomorrow!)  Back to the some programming…
One of the ‘new’ features of .NET 2.0 is the new application settings.  This is a really powerful feature for handling application and user-based settings.  Some of the main things that used to drive me crazy in .NET 1.1 were addressed, including making it easier to have settings files associated with libraries as well as applications, having a concrete reference to the setting instead of needing to use a string, and having a default value even if the .config file doesn’t exist.
Now, what I’m going to talk about today is how do you override the darn settings!  In the application I am developing, we have libraries that use these new Settings properties.  That works GREAT, until you need to override the value in another library or the main application.  Then, things seem to crash and burn.  I was always getting the default value that was set in the libraries Settings.cs file.
It turns out that it is VERY easy to set these.  In the main project, or library that you want to override the settings, all one has to do is select the pieces that are in the original app.config file and copy them to the main project or library’s app.config file.  Then just change the value, but LEAVE THE NAME THE SAME.  This will allow it to override correctly! 

Less than 24 hours to go!

Less than 24 hours to go!  My closing is at 1 pm on Friday.  Wow, I can’t believe the house is finally happening.  Talk about being nervous, scared, and excited all in one…  Right after closing, as much as I can stuff into a couple of car trips gets moved.  Saturday, the movers are showing up, and be 5 p.m. Saturday, I should be completely in the new house…

Direct Merchant’s Bank is evil

I don’t usually like to name names, but this company goes up on my list of major dirtbags.  Let me repeat… Direct Merchant’s Bank are major scumbags.  And I can say that with personal knowledge.  Here’s why…

I’ve had an account with this company for a long time (over 7 years).  I’ve run the balance up, then paid it off, then put money back on it.  And, yes, I’ve been late a couple of times.  But, not within the last two years.  And, I’ve been double and triple paying the monthly minimum amount to try to reduce the card.  (My rate is rather high at the moment).

Well, the final straw came when they increased my rate by 2% OUT OF THE BLUE!!!  For no reason!  I called and asked, and they couldn’t give me ANY REASON WHAT-SO-EVER!  I’ve paid on time, and paid more than minimum.  I guess they just want to be greedy. 

Well, I’m transferring my balances and good riddance!

One week and counting…

Wow, what a day…  Final walk through day.

Today was the final walk through on my house.  I can’t believe that it’s done.  It was just over 8 months ago that I put the deposit down for the original purchase.  The amount of stuff one has to go through to get a house is incredible.  Of course, it probably would have been easier if I had a better credit score and hadn’t JUST bought the darned car.

As for the walk itself, the house was *almost* perfect.  The refrigerator will be delivered by Tuesday, and the correct shower in the master bath STILL wasn’t installed.  The pieces for the new shower were there, they just hadn’t put it in yet.

I’ve already seen a couple of changes that I need to do.  One, is to put a programmable A/C controller in.  With Florida being Florida, it would be nice to have the A/C start about 20 minutes before I get home.  The other is to put some fans in and change the light sockets.  Not big work, but stuff that will need to be done.

Back to cleaning and getting ready for the move!

How to fix the Microsoft Vista Weather Gadget when it gets ‘stuck’

This has been bugging me the last two weeks… The Weather Gadgets in Vista got stuck, showing data from some day two weeks ago.  When I switched the display to celcius, it worked fine, so it *wasn’t* the weather service.  It turns out that one must delete following directory:

C:Users<username>AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows LiveServicesCacheweather

After that, everything is cleared up!

House crazy… (latest updates)

6 days and counting until the final walk!  Well, maybe…  I’m not absolutely holding my breath, but… Friday, the 18th is supposed to be the final walk through.  If the original schedule had been followed, I’d be a homeowner now, and busy moving!  I think the 18th is a realistic date.  The carpets are in, the folding doors are up, and everything looks great.  Just waiting for the appliances and the confirmation letter from the mortgage company!

Latest update on the house

Well, Friday, the 4th was supposed to be my final walk through on the house.  Unfortunately, electrical problems have delayed the walk through by 2 weeks.  That did not mean that they stopped!  I took a look today, and the carpet was down and all of the doors were up.  Unfortunately some of them were not painted yet.  And, one set of the closet doors needed to be sanded down a bit, as it wouldn’t close correctly!?!

I only took one picture, and will post it a bit later.  All in all, the house is almost there!

Yesterday was a historic day for me…

Yesterday was a historic day for me…  What was so important, you ask?  Well, yesterday, I dropped my last rent check off.  I don’t know if it is the last rent check I’ll ever write in my life, but I would *hope* it is.  My closing is supposed to happen by the end of this month, and then it is on to mortgage payments.  At least with the house, I can sell it, if need be.  I’ve been paying rent for over 15 years.  It’s going to be a nice change soon!

“Houston, we have a problem…”

Well, my 5 day countdown got sidetracked even before it began.  I received a very nice phone call today about the final walk through and closing.  It turns out that some extra electrical work needs to be done on my building.  So, my walk though has been postponed by two weeks.smile_sad At least I did find out that the shower was definitely the wrong one and a new one has been ordered and should be here shortly.

Oh well.