Strange characters in FeedBurner

This is a problem that I have seen in a number of feeds and e-newsletters that I receive: the “” instead of extra space and “’” instead of slanted quote. I believe it has something to do with character set encoding (UTF and the like), but I have not found a clear answer.

Here is an example.  A WordPress post that has a text line that appears on the web site like:post-webview

I received the html-formatted email from Feedburner as follows:post-feedview

When I look at the html source, I see:post-source

The code is in a <p> with a couple of <div> tags – nothing unusual.  The document type is XHTML 1.0 Transitional, and the meta tags are:

<html xmlns=”” dir=”ltr” lang=”en-US”>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=UTF-8″ />
<meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=EmulateIE7″ />

The obvious work-around that suggests itelf:

  • avoid having 2 spaces in a row after a period between sentences
  • replace slanted quotes (left and right) with straight quotes
  • replace slanted apostrophes with straight apostrophes

If the article is being composed on Word (for example) this means that the auto-format option to “replace straight quotes with smart quotes” should be disabled.  In fact most of the auto-format options should be disabled, but that’s a question for another post.

In the meantime, I will investigate this issue to see if there is a better solution.

iTunes on your home stereo (part 2)

Here are the details for connecting the AirPort Express to the existing network.  It is assumed that that the AirPort Extreme is already configured, and that its network is up and running (ie, Internet access is available on the computers on the network).

1. Plug the AirPort Express into the wall, and connect the audio cable to the stereo system.

2. The light on the AirPort Express should turn to a steady yellow, then a flashing yellow after about a minute.

3. From any Mac connnected to the network, open the AirPort Utility program.  This is located in the hard drive within the Applications / Utilities folder.

4. The initial screen should show the AirPort Extreme base station. Select Edit / Rescan until both devices appear on this list as shown below.  Make sure the AirPort Express image is highlighted (in blue).  Click the Continue button to proceed.

Step 1: list of devices

5. Enter a name for the AirPort Express, and also a password.

Step 2: assign a name

6. Select “I want Airport Express to join my existing network”.

Step 3: join the existing network

7. Enter the wireless network name and password.  These should already have been set up in the AirPort Extreme base station.

Step 4: enter the wireless network name

8. Confirm the settings, then press Continue.

Step 5: confirm the settings

9. The following warning will appear while the devices are updated.  This step can last a few minutes.

Updating status

9. You should then see a confirmation screen like the one that follows.  Click Continue to proceed.

Step 7: confirmation

10. With the settings complete, click the Continue button to set up the music connection.  Note that the light on the AirPort Express should be green, matching the light colour on the screen.

Step 8: continue with settings

11. Select the “Music” icon along the top, put a checkmark in the “Enable AirTunes” box, then enter a name for the speakers that you will be using, along with a password.  Click the Update button to save the settings.  There will be a warning s

Step 9: enter a speaker name

12. The following warning will appear while the settings are saved. This step can last a few minutes.

Updating status

13. In older versions of iTunes, it was necessary to “activate” the AirTunes feature by going to the Devices section of the Preferences.

Old iTunes settings

14.  In newer versions of iTunes, the speakers configured in the AirPort Express are recognized automatically, and show up near the bottom right of the iTunes window, as shown below.  Select the speaker named in step 11 above, enter the speaker password.

iTunes speaker selection

15.  You should now be hearing your iTunes selection on your stereo system!

iTunes on your home stereo

Yes, you can connect iTunes to your home stereo system. Now I know it is easy to connect an iPod, using a headphone connector on one end, and RCA connectors on the other, but I wanted to connect my entire 200 Gb music library and have it available on the stereo, with good speakers.

I am providing a description below of a configuration that works. This is not to say that this is the only way to do it – but after some trial and error, this is what works for me.

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Hourly Google Installer

After installing the latest Google Earth update, I noticed that “Google Installer” was running about every hour.  While I like and use Google products, I don’t know that they need to be updated every hour.

I went in to Windows Tasks and found:

  • GoogleUpdateTaskMachineCore
  • GoogleUpdateTaskMachineUA

and changed them to run once a month and once a week respectively.

Why clutter up the background with all these update tasks?

Thanks very much to the WinMatrix forum for the suggestion.

Firefly Cell Phone and Safety

I just received a flyer from Unicel offering the new Firefly phone targeted specifically to pre-teens. It looks like it has the right mix of features for basic use, with preprogrammed numbers only, and access controlled by a PIN set by parents. However, a GPS would seem to be a likely kind of thing that parents would want to have, and the phone does not have that. Also, what is the SAR rating? This is the Specific Absorption Rate, or the amount of radiation emitted by the phone.

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