Fix Lightroom's odd Vista incompatibility

If you’re using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 on Vista, it’s likely that you’ve been frustrated by its inability to import anything. (The error message is a not-very-helpful “Could not copy/move a file to the requested location”, along with a list of every file you tried to import.)

Assuming you’re Lightroom’s import defaults, the workaround is to choose By Date: Year-Month-Day instead of By Date: Year/Month-Day in the Import Photos dialog.

It’s a odd issue, given that importing is among the most basic abilities of the app, that decent Vista releases had been available for several months before Lightroom’s release, and that Vista went final before Lightroom did.

Thankfully there don’t appear to be other problems as brain-dead this one, and I’ve now moved to Lightroom full-time for photo management and digital developing.

Make iTunes (mostly) work for multiple users on Windows

Been waiting for most of the decade for iTunes to become multi-user savvy? Yeah, me too. Since iTunes’ Windows support is (and will probably continue to be) a bit weak at the edges, here’s how to fool iTunes into playing nice with multi-user Windows installations.

To do this, we’ll need to do two things:

  • Move iTunes’ library and preferences to a common location
  • Fool iTunes into using the new library/preferences locations

You might think you’d do this using Windows Shortcuts. Unfortunately, Shortcuts are too “lame” (sorry to get so technical) to support this.

The solution is to use NFTS junction points, which are more analogous to Mac aliases and Linux symbolic links, and which you can easily find more about if you’re really interested. Otherwise, just download and install NTFS Link, a Windows shell extension that allows us to easily create NTFS junction points.

(Note: These instructions assume you’re using Vista. Since all of my readers are far-above-average when it comes to looks and intelligence, I’m confident that anyone using XP will be able to adjust system folder names and locations accordingly.)

First, open the Public Music folder, which you’ll find in your Public folder. You’ll want to keep this window around, since you’ll be dragging stuff in and out of it until you’re done.

Next, move the iTunes library folder. Open a new window to your personal Music folder, and move the iTunes folder to your already-open Public Music folder. Rename the moved folder iTunes Library.

Then, move the iTunes preferences folder. Open a new window to Username | AppData | Local | Apple Computer, and move the iTunes folder to your already-open Public Music folder. Rename the moved folder iTunes Preferences. (If you can’t see the AppData folders, open the Folder Options control panel, go to the View tab, and make sure Show hidden files and folders is selected.)

Finally, create NTFS junction points. Right-click the iTunes Library folder in Public Music, drag it to your personal Music folder, and choose Create Junction Here. Rename the junction point you just created iTunes. Now right-click the iTunes Preferences folder in Public Music, drag it to Username | AppData | Local | Apple Computer, and choose Create Junction Here. Rename the junction point you just created iTunes.

You’re done! Launch iTunes to verify that it works normally, then just create NTFS junction points for other users as necessary. Since iTunes isn’t multi-user aware it’s best not to run multiple instances of iTunes on different user sessions simultaneously, but you should find that iPod syncing, etc. will great.

Windows Vista "RC1" release (still) doesn't install on my (ordinary) desktop PC

I was fine when, after several hours of churning away, Windows Vista Beta 2 decided that it couldn’t install itself. I was a bit surprised, since there’s nothing unusual about my system and I’ve never had a problem installing various flavors of XP, but it was nice that the installer didn’t trash my computer.

However, it’s completely unacceptable when Windows Vista RC1 does the same thing. “Release Candidate” my shiny metal ass.

Today, Brian Valentine — Microsoft’s Senior VP in charge of their Core Operating System Division — left Microsoft for At least that saves Microsoft the trouble of firing him.

Gave my PC a heart/spine transplant

Ah, the joy of PCs. Mine had been acting up for awhile, randomly freezing at progressively shorter intervals — days at first, hours by the end.

For the last few months I’d incrementally ruled out everything but the motherboard and/or CPU. Eventually I arrived at the “acceptance” stage of PC death, and took the requisite trip to Mount Olympus Fry’s.

I didn’t want to spend much, so I decided on a $79 Gigabyte motherboard that would work with my current DDR RAM and AGP graphics card, plus an Athlon 64 3200 to go with.

When it comes to my system I’m fairly measure-twice-cut-once, simply because screw-ups are such a pain in the ass. After I removed the organs and cleaned out the chassis with a mini-vacuum and compressed air, I used my beloved $12 combination magnetic screwdriver/flashlight to perform the operation.

Other than a moment of doubt when I wondered if that grey square on the top of the CPU was *really* thermal grease or just the place where said grease was supposed to go, the procedure went as smoothly as I could’ve hoped.

I connected power and I/O, and after a test boot to an almost immediate (and expected) crash, I routed cables and closed up the patient. I booted from my XP CD and I did a Windows Repair so that Windows would stop rejecting its new host, and once again all was right with the world…

…at least until I decided that I wanted to cross-grade to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 from XP Pro. That pain is too fresh, so I’ll save it for another day.

* [Ten Tips for Easy Motherboard Upgrades](,1697,1910093,00.asp) (ExtremeTech)

Sun's Scott McNealy doesn't get .NET

According to, the CEO of Sun Microsystems recently told the Singapore press:

> Sun ONE runs on every system and processor. .NET runs only on Windows. It’s mankind versus Microsoft. .NET is a joke.

Wow, you can practically smell the desperation, can’t you?

First, Sun ONE hardly runs on “every system and processor”. For example, the Sun ONE Application Server runs only on Solaris, Windows, and Red Hat Linux. Sun supports Windows because they have to, but conspicuously **doesn’t** support Mac OS X Server because they’re (justifiably) afraid of Apple’s Xserve eating into their Cobalt server business.

Second, although Microsoft’s first commercial implementations of .NET (not surprisingly) run on Windows on Windows CE, their shared source version of the .NET core also runs on FreeBSD and Mac OS 10.2. As you heard here first, a future version of Virtual PC will inevitably include native support for .NET on Mac OS X. Last but not least, .NET also works on Linux (x86 and PowerPC), StrongARM and SPARC thanks to the work of the fine folks on the open source Mono and DotGNU projects.

Third, the “it’s mankind vs. Microsoft” thing. Well, that part is true.

Fourth, if Scott really thinks .NET is a joke, then he just doesn’t understand it.

> It’s difficult for me to defeat Microsoft. Microsoft has a lot of cash in hand.

Or maybe he does.

* [ story](

Game over, Atari

Asteroids. Centipede. Crystal Castles. Gauntlet. Marble Madness. Missile Command. Pong. Tempest. Robotron: 2084. Star Wars.

Some of the finest arcade games ever made were created by Atari Games Corporation, the arcade division of Atari. In 1996 Midway purchased it and renamed it Midway Games West. Sadly, Midway recently decided to close down Midway Games West. Nolan Bushnell told NY Daily News:

It makes me sad. You get a strong parental feeling toward things you create. And it’s distressing when they fall to earth under somebody else.

The Atari name lives on as part of Infogrames, but the real Atari is dead. A moment of silence for our misspent youths…

Why Microsoft bought Virtual PC

Mac users are a teensy bit concerned about Microsoft acquiring the most interesting assets of one of the last great Mac companies, Connectix. Among other products, Connectix makes Virtual PC — the only thing between many Mac users and a shiny new Wintel box.

Execs from Microsoft’s Macintosh Business unit are being very careful to reassure Mac users that Virtual PC has a future. But Microsoft didn’t buy the Virtual PC line for the Mac product — they bought it for Virtual Server, which will presumably be productized as a feature of some future version of Windows Server.

Virtual Server allows one copy of Windows Server to host many virtual servers. These virtual servers each get their own operating system, including legacy operating systems like Windows NT (30 percent of Windows server customers are still using the 6-year-old OS) and — from Microsoft’s point-of-view — Linux. The important thing about all of this is that Virtual Server allows customers to migrate to the forthcoming Windows XP Server, since Virtual Server essentially makes OS compatibility a non-issue.

This is not good news for VMWare, a business that’s built on what will now be a Windows Server feature. It’s likely that once Microsoft has incorporated Virtual Server, VMWare’s audience will be limited to people who want to run Windows Server on Linux.

As for Apple, Business Week believe that this purchase may push them to productize the open-source Bochs x86 emulator. However, this makes zero sense — an x86 emulator without Windows is pointless, and so Apple would have to sell Windows with each copy of Mac OS X to make this useful.

Instead, Apple should immediately work on .NET compatbility through the open-source Mono project. This would allow the next generation of Windows applications natively on Mac OS without requiring Apple to license a copy of Windows for every machine they sell

Speaking of .NET, this is clearly the future of Virtual PC for Mac OS X. Microsoft already has a Common Language Infrastructure runtime — the standards-based subset of the full .NET runtime — available for Mac OS X, and Virtual PC is the obvious conduit for a commercial version of this. Virtual PC .NET would allow Mac users to run .NET applications at native speeds on Mac OS X.

Anti-TiVo Turner exec "steps down"

Jamie Kellner, the anti-viewer Turner Broadcasting exec famous for saying that skipping through commercials with a TiVo is “stealing” and that a “certain amount” of going to the bathroom during commercials is “tolerated”, is leaving AOL Time Warner. (Thanks, Chris!)

Color management for digital photography

Even if you don’t use a Mac, this Apple-sponsored tutorial on color management for digital photography is interesting for anyone who’s wondered how it’s possible to get consistent color across radically different devices.

The Windows equivalent to ColorSync is ICM (Image Color Management), a barely-realized version of which first appeared in Windows 95. The first serious version of ICM (which could be compared to ColorSync without fear of being laughed at) appeared in Windows 98/Windows 2000. [via VRlog]

First impressions of a second TiVo

Sometimes, TiVo-the-Company pushes low-bitrate advertisements to TiVo-the-DVRs when they make their daily call. (They really need MPEG-4 for this, as low-bitrate MPEG-2 is not pretty.) Recently, a one-minute “Switch-to-Series2” ad was sent to all customers who purchased lifetime (your TiVo’s lifetime, not yours) service rather than paying by the month.

The deal is that TiVo will migrate your lifetime service to your new Series2 if you buy an 80-hour model (really 27-hour, since the 80-hour rating is based on the “You Would Never Actually Use This” quality setting) before March 10.

I have a 32-hour (okay, a 9-hour) Sony SVR-2000, which is a great machine that’s never failed me. I had no intention of upgrading until HD-capable DVRs became available, but I decided to bite the bullet (1) because of the offer, and (2) because the larger hard drive and USB ports meant that I could avoid surgery (and paying for upgrade kits) to get the capacity and 802.11x support that I’ve wanted.

The good My Series2 came on Friday. The unit looks nice — it’s a minimalist black box with the happy TiVo logo standing above an infrared sensor flanked with power and record LEDs — and has the same footprint as my Sony (although it’s a bit shorter). I called Tivo, they transferred my service after a cup o’ coffee length wait on hold, and I was up and running.

The only hitch in the upgrade process is that my lifetime service wasn’t reflected after TiVo’s first phone home. It turns out that TiVo-the-Company’s internal systems are just slow, and so you have to tell the TiVo to call in a couple hours after customer service does the transfer.

TiVo marketing is clearly aware of the viral nature of their product. In the “Switch-to-Series2” informercial, they give suggestions for what to do with your current TiVo.

You could always sell it, or perhaps sell it to a friend. Consider it a gift to someone who’s yet to see the TiVo light.

Of course, it’s a gift that requires giving a gift to TiVo (i.e. more money) before it’ll do anything interesting.

The bad The Series2’s remote is serviceable, but poor compared the SVR-2000’s. Its ergonomics are weak and its balance is egregious — you hold it near the front, but the batteries (and therefore the weight) are in the back, and so to hold it naturally your TiVo would have to be 10 feet in the air. The buttons look/feel cheaper and their layout is bad — believe it or not, it now takes two button presses to see what’s on your TiVo. Silly.

The ugly I was astounded that none of the care and feeding I’d given my original TiVo was migrated to the new one. When you migrate, you’ll have to reprogram all of your Season Passes, and presumably thumbs-up/thumbs-down a Burbank of TV shows before your new TiVo knows you.

The missing There’s no USB-to-802.11x option yet, although there’s a USB-to-Ethernet + Ethernet-to-802.11b kludge that works now. As with most DVRs there’s only one tuner, so you can’t record conflicting shows or watch a different channel while you’re recording another. Everytime there’s a TiVo OS update, you’ll have to reset the Advance buttons to do a 30-second skip (Select-Play-Select-3-0-Select while watching any recorded show) rather than its useless default behavior.

Finally, even with the forthcoming Home Media Option, you won’t be able to move the content you’ve recorded to a computer in order to watch it on a plane, archive to DVD, etc. I like TiVo, but unless TiVo-the-Company enables this last feature without requiring me to buy a 3rd TiVo-the-DVR, this will be my last.

I felt a bit like Dave removing HAL’s processing blades as I reset my Sony to factory condition.

Clearning and deleting everything.
This will take an hour.

My new TiVo works great, and soon I’ll forget that the Sony remote was so much better. I look forward to the Home Media Option (which will enable really remote control via the web), and to a USB-to-802.11b option that will allow me sever TiVo’s dependence on a phone jack (and possibly enable me to rid myself of a landline telephone service completely). I’m hoping for a hack that will allow me to move my shows to my computer and burn them to DVD.

But I can’t help being a little disappointed — and a bit leery about TiVo’s future — that two years later, the best that they could do was “more recording time”.