HELP FILE

Help File: A case of mistaken CD identity in iTunes; replying to e-mails in Thunderbird

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Q: My copy of iTunes just labeled a CD in Japanese. What happened?

A: One of my colleagues ran into this issue a few weeks ago -- a rare hiccup in the usually reliable Gracenote Media Database that iTunes uses to identify CDs.

Gracenote, an service originally known as CDDB and now a Sony subsidiary, is a clever solution to the lack of computer-readable title and track info. (The CD-Text standard, which does allow adding that sort of data, has been largely ignored by record labels.) Gracenote matches the length of each track on the CD and the CD's total time with an online database that includes listings submitted by labels and those uploaded by individual users.

My co-worker's CD must fall into the latter group -- and the user in question must have bought a Japanese-market copy of the disc. Fortunately, correcting the mistake is easy enough. Select the entire album, right-click and choose "Get Info," and type the artist and album name into that dialog box. Then select one track at a time and use the same process to change its title.

How do I get Mozilla Thunderbird to start a reply at the top of the message, not the bottom?

This setting doesn't live in the Options dialog box, where you'd expect. Instead, go to Thunderbird's Tools menu and select "Account Settings." Then choose your account, click "Composition & Addressing" and choose "Start my reply above the quote" from the drop-down menu below "Automatically quote the original message when replying."

Note that this choice can be somewhat controversial; some users prefer to see replies follow the message, while others like to answer each paragraph of a message inline.

But just about every e-mail user should agree on this: If you're answering a long message, delete everything but the parts you're directly addressing in your response.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or robp@washpost.com. Visit http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforwardfor his Faster Forward blog.


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