Things of Beauty

A dear friend said some of these photos were good, so I thought I’d share with everyone. I put the public photos that anyone can look at in my “Art Gallery”:http://tongfamily.com/art. Here is a shot right down Boston. It was taken at 8:30 and had remarkably few cars in Beacon Hill. The three layers of the photos are pretty cool and then a nice shot of Carnegie Hall.

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Finally a few shots of New York

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The really nuvo Art Deco Empire Hotel

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The sunrise over the Brooklyn bridge

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Mail.app Outbox stuck mail

This seems to happen really often with the latest OS X update. I get lots of stuck mail. Just restart Mail.app doesn’t seem to help nor does hitting resend. I have tried deleting the mailbox folder and doesn’t help. macosxhints.com – A fix for messages stuck in Mail.app’s Outbox

also tend to send messages while disconnected, so they stay in my Outbox until I reconnect. Generally, it works. But every once in a while, a message gets stuck; Mail.app flatly refuses to try to redeliver it. Synchronize Accounts does nothing (and never has). It used to be that sending another message via the same server would prod it into sending both messages, but somewhere along the way, Apple fixed that “feature.” Usually quitting and restarting Mail.app (a lame solution to my mind) would cause it to retry. Still, every once in a while, I’d still have messages that defy even that treatment.

Recently, I serendipitously stumbled upon the solution: Drag the offending messages to the Outbox folder in the folders pane (which you’ll only have if you tried to send messages while offline). They’ll be redelivered.

Amazing Day

LA, Boston and NYC were all beautiful this week. LA had clear weather. I’ll post some photos. Found some great hotels as well, the “Nine Zero”:http://ninezero.com is in Beacon Hill hotel that is small and convenient. Better than the mega Marriott.

Also in NYC, the “Empire”:http://empirehotelnyc.com is on the upper west side. Way funner neighborhood than the Upper East. Near Rosas which is an incredible Mexican place. The best part is the 12th story bar that looks over the West Side. So cool looking, I thought I was in Shanghai 🙂 The location is awesome. Across from Lincoln Center and one block from Central Park. The pool looked great but too tired.

Overall tiring, but what an amazingly beautiful day on the east coast. I’ll try to post, but I’m just glad the web site is back. The problem is I had something called autotagger loaded which looked for keywords. When it got to 5000 keywords, it got slow and bluehost disabled my site. So now I’m manually deleting 5000 tags. Will take a long time!

iTunes gadgets

OK, if you want your iTunes to work like your iPhone or iPod touch then there is this application called Cover Art which does it. Does quite work right in that the lyrics don’t scroll but are incredibly tiny, but the cover does shimmer which is cool!

“Simplehelp”:http://www.simplehelp.net/2007/05/22/top-10-itunes-addons-and-plugins/ has a cool list like:

iTunesMyWalkman which lets you take a Blackberry that looks like just a Mac OS X disk and synchronize iTunes playlists to it

iTunes Album Playlist Creator makes every album a custom playlist so it is easy to sync it.

GimmeSomeTune lets you download lyrics and albums. I had trouble actually using it

iTunes-LAME lets you use the higher quality LAME MP3 importer when you are ripping CDs.

Nlyrics also trys to do downloading. It seems to work pretty well. Like Harmonizer which is a dashboard widget.

“Cover Version”:http://www.imagomat.de/coverversion/ is a visualizer that shows album art and then tiny lyrics

MP3s need nice tags, album art and lyrics

After you download an MP3, it is amazing how many don’t come with everything you need. Like file names and tags that are right. Embedded Album Art and lyrics for each song. So here is how to get your MP3s up to snuff so you can give really use them on your iPhone or give them as a gift with art, lyrics and what not. BTW, lyrics are a great place to put messages to people and art doesn’t have to be album, it can be photos or whatever you want. So they make great digital gifts particularly when played back on an iPhone or iPod Touch (it is too bad iTunes doesn’t have a visualizer that shows the album art and also the lyrics):

Here is how to get them in shape. These are all Windows utilities. The Mac is barren because iTunes sucks up all the oxygen. That is too bad because iTunes doesn’t store the album art in the MP3s themselves, doesn’t have any automated way to find lyrics and doesn’t have a way to automatically take tags and create filenames

# MP3Tag. This is the basic utility to read in an MP3 and then fix the tags and filenames. It is much less buggy than the Mac’s Tritag and has great string matching built in. It also has a search amazon function as well. It uses Freedb to find tags and then uses Amazon to find album art. In the section called Tag sources. So lyrics are the only thing missing
# MediaMonkey. Recommended by Lifehacker, has a function that searches Amazon for art and adds it automatically. I didn’t find this worked too well.

Neither of these automatically finds lyrics though. You can insert them, but it is a pain.

Here is what I finally end up using:

# Harmonizer. This is a desktop widget that finds lyrics only. Seems to do a decent job and will also let you go to Google and then just paste in.
# Cover Version. This is visualizer that let’s you see the album art.
# nLyrics. This tool lets you find LRC files. These let you show synchronized lyrics in this .lrc file format that has time stamps so you can get scrolling. It automatically finds the LRC files and then also has a visualizer which let’s you see the lyrics floating in a window. Pretty cool! It puts the .LRC files net to where the .MP3s are which is perfect because the .LRC format is ugly. So you want to put plain text lyrics embedded into the MP3 files which is what harmonizer does and then separately have .LRC files in the same directory
# Album art is the one thing I haven’t completely figure out yet. I mainly do it manually now.

Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs 1958-2008 looking for sad songs

When I’m sad, I do listen to more music. Rihanna’s Take a Bow is my single favorite for runs, but “Billboard”:http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-00.shtml has their top 100 of all time. Thanks to YouTube, you can easily listen to all the hits.

It is kind of cool the songs thye picked. I wouldn’t have thought so here are the “Top 10”:http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-10.shtml. BTW, if you just want the MP3 of the YouTube songs, then “flv2mp3.com”:http://flv2mp3.com lets you do that or try “Freez”:http://www.smallvideosoft.com/download.php FLV to MP3 Converter. Or if you want to their FLV to MP4 converter if you want to put it on your iphone and don’t like searching through YouTube. Or you can use “Vixy.net”:http://vixy.net that does this online FLV to MP4 conversion.

# The Twist. Chubby Checker. Well, I guess I don’t completely understand this one, but it is a good tune. A classic rocking album.
# Smooth. I admit it I’m not a huge fan of Santana, but his riffs are great.
# Mack the Knife. Really?
# “How do I live”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4QkSa2-oX8&eurl=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-10.shtml. I actually don’t remember this song. 1997-98 was a blur I guess. But a great R&B song. LeAnn Rimes was 14 when she recorded it. I love the lyrics. “How do I breath without you?”
# Macarena. Really? That is the top 5 of all time???
# Physical. Bubble gum by Olivia Newton-John (whatever happened to her?)
# You Light Up My Life. I listened to that Debby Boone song about a million times in high school, so I can’t go back.
# Hey Jude. Finally a Beatles song.
# “We Belong Together”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUIG6CT8MuE&eurl=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-10.shtml. I must have been asleep when this was release. Loved the early Mariah Carey]
# “Unbreak my heart”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07U_uKGfv48. A Classic R&B tune, which is just OK to me.
# “Yeah”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiXbRBS5Z58&eurl=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-20.shtml. I wasn’t a hip hop fan in 2004 (that was in 2006 that really started), so missed some really great tunes like this Usher one. Comes from Usher’s Confessions which went 1.1M copies in the first week. Ah the days before iPods 🙂
# Bette Davis Eyes. A 1981 hit. College for me and I listened to it way too much. Kim Carnes is great and I have it vinyl which dates me but still like it.
# Endless Love. Argh. 1981. I heard this one way too much!
# Tonight’s the Night. OK, I feel like I really am a sweaty teenager again
# Foolish Games. I somehow missed Jewel when she released. Too busy working in 1997 I guess.
# I do it for you. OK, I admit it I’m not a soft pop fan.
# I”ll Make Love to You. A classic R&B song.

Anyway more miscellaneous ones now in no particular order:

* The Police Every Breath You Take. Haven’t heard it in a long time. The Police in 1983 were amazing! Off their Synchronicity album.
* “Golddigger”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU13MRtSD7E. A great friend introduced me to this song two years ago and to loving hip hop. I still remember listening with one earphone to the song thinking, wow, how cool. A big hit in 2005.
* “Apologize”:http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-50.shtml is of course recent but I still love it!]
* I Love Rock N Roll. Joan Jett was always so cool.
* “Dilemma”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdcfkZ9jMzQ&eurl=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-70.shtml was Nelly’s big hit in 2002. Pretty great lyrics.
* “Nothing Compares 2 U”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO8JWbG6bVw by Sinead O’Connor captures the way I feel quite a bit 🙂

OK, if you just want to listen to songs, thanks YouTube!

Kit Kittredge

I must be getting sentimental, I just loved this American Girl movie, “Kit Kittredge”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0846308/ which was so sweet. Abigail Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine was great, but actually Julia Ormond, Joan Cusack were really great as well. Anyway, too many things going on in life these days, but this depression story was terrific. I loved the way the family were separated but stayed together 🙂

Mac Mail has stuck messages in Outbox

Apple – Support – Discussions – Mail stuck in OUTBOX …

The problem is a corrupt Outbox. I read about this on
the ATT trouble shooting site. Delete the Outbox and
mail will create a new one. This solved my problem with
email sitting the Outbox forever and never being sent.
To be safe, I dragged my Outbox to a different location,
then started mail. Problem solved!

The Outbox is found: Users/YourName/Library/Mail/Mailboxes/Outbox.mbox