Saturday, October 27, 2007

Yahoo, Dell and Microsoft, I'm unhappy with you all

In 2004 I purchased a Dell DJ MP3 player. I was able to upload music to it from my Microsoft ME computer using the free Music Match software. That computer died in early 2007 (I believe from some Microsoft patch, but that's a whole other story)

I purchased a new computer from Dell in April 2007 running Windows Vista. Sometime between 2004 and 2007 Music Match was purchased by Yahoo and renamed Yahoo Music Jukebox.

My Dell DJ worked with my new computer and Yahoo Music Jukebox. It allowed me to upload music. Then at the end of September Yahoo forced an upgrade to Music Jukebox. After the upgrade I was no longer able to upload to my player. I tried a system restore to roll back to pre-upgrade. Yahoo Music Match would not work and insisted on the upgrade.

I contacted Yahoo (which in itself was a challenge as their support form is buried and then IE7 had a conniption fit since the form required security settings to be changed to allow Active X controls) Here is their response:

We appreciate you contacting Yahoo! Music regarding this issue and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Unfortunately your portable device is currently no longer supported by Windows MediaPlayer. Since Yahoo! Music Jukebox uses the same application programming interface as Windows Media Player, it will return the error you are seeing returned while attempting to transfer tracks.

I would suggest contacting the manufacturer of your device and request an updated driver. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reply to this email.

Media Player wasn't upgraded, Music Jukebox was, so I was none too pleased with their response. But, following their advice I contacted Dell to see if they would come up with drivers for their not so old device.

Their first response sent me to an article with instructions on how to physically unlock the player (kind of like a keyboard lock on a cell phone) Hey guys, that's not the problem, the player works fine, I'm just asking you to support it under the newest Windows operating system. The device is not all that old and it wasn't cheap.

So, I replied back that their answer did not address the problem. Next guy kind of got it, but his solution was for me to pay for fee based support. Can you imagine how much it would cost for me to pay Dell to write drivers for their device?

I did check out the Dell forums. I'm not alone in my frustration but we all seem to be on a fruitless battle with technology companies' business models. Upgrade the software to require new hardware, all the while leaving slightly older devices orphans and destined for the dump.

Next step is to find an archive of old programs and see if an old version of Music Match will work under Vista and recognize my MP3 player.

The only satisfaction I've had is filling out a Yahoo support feedback survey. I let them have it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Twitter saved my dinner party

Ok, it was really lunch, but all the same...

We have some vegetarian friends. When they come over I try to prepare something new and different. We've known them for years so I've gone through quite a number of recipes. I happened to have had some broccoli on hand so as I was searching my recipe database I also posted on Twitter: "looking for ideas of what to serve vegetarian guests, have lots of broccoli and honeydew melon" I heard quickly back from a librarian I'd recently started following. I've never met her yet liked her simple suggestion:


The link went to the recipe for "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest" by Mollie Katzen.

It was simple to prepare. The only caution I should add is that after 20 minutes of baking the broccoli was still pretty much raw. If I make it again I'll bake it for 30 minutes.