Tips and Tea

Tip Jar #1

In the interest of not bombarding this blog with thousands of single tip posts, I’m opting to collect a battery of helpful info and then post tips in a block set. So here we go; Tip Jar #1:

The Outlook is Not Good

I’ve been recently forced to use Outlook at my job for certain scenarios. Connecting a Gmail account — especially a Google Apps account — to Outlook and then trying to navigate a Gmail account within Outlook, is on par with eating glass. So, if you envision yourself in my shoes in the near future, here are the account settings standard for connecting Outlook (2007) to your Google Apps Gmail account:

  • Type of account: IMAP
  • Incoming mail server:
  • Outgoing mail server:
  • User:
  • Incoming server port: 993 (Security: ssl)
  • Outgoing server port: 587 (Security: tls)
  • Outgoing Server: My outgoing Server requires Authentication
    (Use same settings as my incoming mail server)

Locked Out

If  you’re a Windows OS user — especially one that installs tons of applications and downloads tons of media, you have at one point or another experienced a pop up dialog that reads something along the lines of: “F*ck off, something’s using this file, you can’t delete it.”


Now the problem is, sometimes no matter how much you dig, nothing short of rebooting your machine will release the hold on the said file. Luckily I found a great app (Unlocker) discussed on that shows exactly what has that file by its neck and can also release that lock.

Windows Hardware Audit

When it’s time for that software or hardware update, it’s good to be able to quickly collect all the information about the system you are using. While the Windows OS does provide this information, it’s not easily obtainable, or if so not granular enough. CPU-Z is a great lightweight app that relatively quickly collects the information you need about your hardware.
Unfortunately it does not give you much information about your graphics environment, for that Windows has a native collector which can be activated by taking the following steps:

  1. Click on the Windows button bottom right of your task bar.
  2. In the Run text box (Start Search) type in: dxdiag and press Enter.

You should get a collector interface similar to this:


Lastly, if you you Windows ratings don’t show up then one of your applications or you yourself removed a specific system user type that needs to be set as an administrator. Here is how to fix this and links to further info on the topic:

  1. Click on the Windows button bottom right of your task bar.
  2. In the Run text box (Start Search) type in: cmd and press Enter.
  3. In the Command Prompt type in the following (without quotes):
    "c:>net localgroup administrators NetworkService /ADD"

Now reload your Windows rating screen, and all should be right with the world. Further info can be found in these threads:

Spotify Facebook Screw Up

If you find yourself logged out of Spotify, and then when you try to log back in through the Facebook interface (button), you may find that your account has been stripped of everything. Don’t have a heart attack; this is a well known issue. When for users who signed up to Spotify originally using the manual method (not through Facebook), but who now have a Facebook account. In order to return your sanity and your original account (with all your carefully curated playlists), just log out of Spotify, and then log back in using your original (pre-Facebook) credentials. You’re welcome.


It is pretty much a fact that currently Google’s Chrome browser is the Ferrari of the internet navigators (fix your damn JavaScript engine and I’ll personally uninstall FF too). The problem however is that regardless of how well a piece of software is written, pushing the prog to it’s limits will halt it’s performance (not to mention your entire system). People — including myself — have recently noticed that Chrome has been taking ‘ridonculous’ amounts of resources, slowing down on it’s own as well as sucking up every last free bit of memory your poor strips have left.

After digging through some threads, I found one obvious reason and one not so obvious one. Here are the reasons and steps to fix your Chrome’s performance:

  • Add-ons: Yes those magical apps you keep adding to your Chrome (that you sometimes barely use is on par with putting bricks into your car’s trunk; after a while you’ll be scraping bottom and not going anywhere fast. I highly recommend checking your plugins list and removing or disabling add-ons that you don’t often use. To do so, take the following steps: Click on Customize » Tools » Extensions  and then do some spring cleaning.
  • Native Add-ons: Chrome has it’s own set of components that you can turn off an on if, well, that screen was easy to get to. Then again turning off vital components can result in your browser not being able to handle files properly, thus I kind of understand why the ‘native components’ menu was hidden. Nevertheless if you want to get your hands dirty and improve your Chrome’s speed, you can reach this menu by typing the following into the URL text box (without quotes): “about://plugins.” Now (carefully) go to town.

iTunes Default Playlist Look

When you create a new list in iTunes, you maybe annoyed to find that certain columns appear that you have have no use for, and so you hav to manually hide them. Digging into a way to somehow make the newly created lists show only columns I want by default, I found a solution in one of the threads. The logic iTunes went with is this; the newly created playlists are — in a way — are instances of your default playlist for iTunes (essentially the look all encompassing music library). So in order to make your newly created playlists inherit (or have visible) only the columns that matter to you and nothing else, make sure your music library list only displays those columns and nothing else.

* I’m currently using iTunes 10 (because 11 is a disaster).

Spotify Shark

So a while back I created a Spotify app that sources the current playing track’s info and creates a search string for that same track within popular media sites (such as Youtube, Grooveshark, and general Goolge Search). I could not publish it to the public since it uses Spotify’s competitors. But this website (Groovylists) is open to the public and works on the entire playlist vs. one song like my app. I just did a test run and out of a 36 track playlist, it was able to port 25 tracks into a GrooveShark playlist. I say AWESOME find!

Super Short Calorie-burning Morning Workouts (Work in Progress)

A) [ High Knees | Burpees w. Push Ups | 180 squats | 30 secs each, no rest ] x 3. Tried out; brutal; was failing at the squats near the end.

B) [ Mountain Climbers | Ski Hops | Push Ups with knee-to-chest with Donkey Kick | 30 seconds each, no rest ] x 3.  Not tested; for Thursday

C) [ Jumping Jack Squats | Burpee no push up | Hydrolics | 30 seconds each, no rest] x 3. Not tested, for Friday

Cardio Battery from which I’m pulling at the moment: 

  • 180 Squats 
  • Jumpnig Jack Squats 
  • Crab Walks 
  • Wall Squats 
  • Lunges
  • Ski Hops
  • Hydrolics
  • Mountain Climbers 
  • Jumping Lunges 
  • High Knees
  • Burpees w. Push Ups 
  • Burpees no Push Ups

* If you have other insane calorie incinerating routines and/or exercises, add them in the comments. 

** Something to add to your shredding workout:

Moscow (radio edit) by W&W on Grooveshark

Two Great Upper and Lower Exercise Batteries

I’ve pulled a lot from the leg set, and am adding them to my warm routine.

Leg Exercises

Ab Exercises


Her submission does not mean you can do anything to her, it means she trusts you enough to allow you to push her boundaries in a safe, comfortable and controlled environment. Her submission does not equate to a loss of power, but rather a transfer and a transformation of it. She submits because she wants to. Provide a surroundings that make her feel comfortable in her skin, and all of what she is — mentally and physically — is at your command.

What’s On Your List?

Just a subset of things:

1. Listening to a playlist of music I carefully picked out a month ago, then forgetting I made that list, and a month later shocked at how that list has the most amazing music. (Tory G)

2. The smell and taste of fresh bread, just out of the oven.

3. Helping a friend through hard times.

4. Dancing.

5. Making someone laugh.

6. Explaining computer/web tech to someone and then watching them light up when they ‘get it.’

7. Going to bed at such a perfect time that the the moon is shining right down on my face.

* What’s on your list?

Is Being Neutral Better Than Doing Wrong?

"…I’ll put it to you this way, if one finds a wallet on the street full of money and an Id in it, the categories of actions can be boiled down to three:

1. Take the money and wallet.
2. Leave the money and wallet.
3. Take the wallet and return it to the owner.

Action 1 is morally wrong (in our modern [mostly conservative] society). The other two actions range from neutral to good. Still, taking the neutral action, in my eyes, is better than taking an immoral one.”

That was my perspective; thoughts?

Retro Tunes

I consider myself a more or less a patient individual; I haven’t perfected that quality in me yet, but I’ve gotten much better at it. Yet there are still situations or environments that make me see red; most recent of which had been my interactions the abomination that is iTunes 11. Look, I get it Mac people, at one point your music management software was top sh*t; it was pretty, and shiny, and it worked, but now, well now your digitally-fashionable asses have been handed to you by Spotify (and similar cloud-based up-and-comers). So, in your frantic attempt to stay in the race with this slick black (La)Ferrari (who’s essentially inherited most of your original concepts and built and even more powerful and robust product on top of them) you’ve attempted to pump out yet another build of your already popular music tool, but this time things went terribly wrong.

Now granted your recent machine gun barrage of updates were a minor annoyance and something I grew accustomed to, the plethora of terrible (read: HORRIBLE) changes made to the usability in v11 however seriously ticked me off! Let’s review a small portion of FAILS:

  • Right-click menus changed.
  • Copying and pasting duplicate tracks in the same list removed; both from the menu as well as the shortcut keys.
  • The ability to open two different instances (playlists) has been removed.
  • This completely retarded (yes I’m being politically incorrect here, but I’m expressing anger so bear with me) workflow by which new playlists are created
  • Slow and resource heavier software.

I will be honest here, I gave v11 a try, an ‘honnnnest’ try, but my patience finally ran out tonight. As I was preparing my music set for this Friday’s Blues dance, I could no longer take the bullsh*t of v11’s new interface, and with fingers crossed I researched and came up with a safe way to downgrade from iTunes 11 (also known in my head as “&$%#&* WTF IS THIS SH*T???”) to version 10.7 (which was the last version before it all went to hell).

* So, without further 
adieu, here are the steps I took to downgrade to v10.7:

1. Download an older version of iTunes.

2. Back up your current playlists by taking the following steps:

  • File»Library»Export Library. This will create an xml file; save it on your desktop, you can delete after the downgrade process is complete.

3. Close iTunes 11 and uninstall it from the ‘Programs and Features’ as you would do with any other software.

  • Start»Control Panel»Programs[Uninstall a program]).

4. Find your iTunes physical folder; I installed my iTunes in my ‘C’ drive and so the path for me was:

  • C:\Users\mywindowsusername\Music\iTunes

 5. Within this folder locate a file called ‘iTunes Library.itl’ and rename the extension to ‘itl_old,’ thus changing the file name to: ‘iTunes Library.itl_old.’

6. Install the older version of iTunes you downloaded in step 1.

7. Once installed start iTunes and import your xml file created in step 2:

  • File»Library»Import Playlist

8. Play a favorite song form an existing playlist, while walking into the kitchen to grab a beer or make a cup of tea.

Oh just 2 important notes:

1. I did this on a Windows machine, if any of you have documented a downgrade process on a Mac, please message me so I can add it here, or comment with a link to your guide.

2. While you can restore your playlists, you cannot restore certain custom column tags (‘Sort Show’). This was always a pain in the ass considering I constantly copied over playlists form one computer to another while traveling. If someone has a solution to this, please follow the same proces I mentioned in item 1.

You Hear It Too, Don’t You?!?!

If you thought you were slowly loosing your mind every time you heard that annoying ‘pie-loup’ sound, well you’re not alone; Facebook is currently testing (within a certain percentage of users) the ‘all-notification’ setting. The control for this feature is not located in the same place as ‘chat sounds.’

In order to turn off this ‘alert sounds’ option, take the following steps:

1. Click on the Gear in the upper right hand corner.
2. Click on Account Settings.
3. Click on Notifications on the middle left list of options.
4. Un-check the first option: “All notifications, sounds.”
5. Keep Calm and Facebook On.

* After almost loosing my marbles, I did a little research and found this article: (

Have a Rainbow Rabbit

I know this morning is wet and it some areas cold, and that sucks, so while you’re waiting for the train, or the bus, or stuck in traffic, or just waking up and wishing that god would sometimes listen to you and would turn this day in to a Friday, just imagine you and your close friend are throwing bunnies back and forth; but these bunnies are special; they change color as you catch and hug them, they also let out gentle ‘MEEP, MEEP, MEEP.’

* I realize that although the above comment is —most likely —a giant run-on sentence that even my well trained army of of commas could not save, you can easily overlook this fact by concentrating on the squeaky rainbow bunnies.

Also, this post was born out of a conversation I had with my friend Red.

Have a Panty Ripper

If you’re a drinker or a nondrinker like myself, you can’t go wrong with a delicious Panty Ripper. It goes down quite smoothly and if you hate the taste of alcohol, well then you’ll barely notice it in this amazing concoction. Have a few of these and you’ll be right as rain.


  • 1 part Malibu,
  • 1 Part Vodka,
  • 3-4 parts *Pineapple juice (depending how strong you want it) 
  • A touch of Grenadine. 

* I’d forgo the Pineapple juice and go with Mango instead.