Curtis Johnstone Curtis Johnstone's Personal Blog

July 28, 2011

iTunes – The Library Files and Adding to the Library

The iTunes “Library” is really and index into all your media and applications; not really a library of content per se.

It consists of two files:

  1. iTunes Library.itl
  2. iTunes Library.xml

On Windows 7, the “Library” (these 2 files) are located in the path “\Users\<username>\My Music\iTunes\“.

For more information see this link: iTunes: What are the iTunes library files?

To add media to your iTunes Library that resides in a folder other than the default iTunes library folder, Import them in iTunes. That adds those files to the Library index, but keeps the actual media (e.g. mp4 file) in the original folder.

On the Windows version of iTunes use the “Add File to Library” or “Add Folder to Library” functionality.

For more information see this link: iTunes: About the Add to Library, Import, and Convert functions

This will add those files or folders to the iTunes index (Library) so that you can access them from iTunes and synchronize the content with other devices.

July 21, 2011

Microsoft Office 365 Plans–Summary

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , — admin @ 4:41 pm

Microsoft Office 365 is available for purchase is different “Plans” and in different combinations of features.

There are standalone plans for Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint Online, or they can be purchased together in an Office 365 Suite Plan.

There are primarily two types of Office 365 Suite Plans:

  1. P Plans = Professional / Small Business
  2. E Plans = Enterprise / Midsize

These are also referred to as “plan families”.  There are also a Kiosk Worker component that can be added to a plan.

Office 365 for Professionals and Small Businesses (Plan P1)
– typically targeted for < 25 users, but can accommodate up to 50 users.
– includes Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint
– Exchange mailboxes have a limit of 25 Gb
– includes Office Web Apps
– currently $6 per month
– Microsoft Office Professional Plus is optional, but recommended. It can be purchased through the the admin portal
– The Office 365 Trial Guide for Plan P is an excellent resource:
– This version can be trialed free for 30 days

Office 365 Enterprise and Midsize Business (Plans E1, E2, E3, E4)
– gives you rights to on-premise versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync
– E2 gives users Office Web Apps
– E3 gives access to all Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint features.
– E3 and E4 comes with Office Professional Plus (the software + licenses) for your desktops
– Since there is no specific Office 365 for education trial, the Plan E3 30-day trial experience is similar to Office 365 for education. The Plan E3 trial experience for education customers is only for evaluation purposes. This trial does not convert to a production version of Office 365 for education. For more information, contact your Microsoft account representative or partner.
– provides uptime guarantee
– pay-as-you-go pricing options is available for $24 per month
– existing BPOS customers pay $10 per month

Kiosk Worker Plans.

– K1 and K2
– K2 gives users read and write capabilities for Office Web Apps


Office 365 can be bought with individualized Component Plans or Suite Plans.

Office 365 Component Plans
Components plans are individualized plans that are available for purchase both as a standalone or part of a suite (the only exception is Exchange Online Archiving which is only sold standalone).  The following is the catalog of Office 365 component plans.

Office Professional Plus           Office Web Apps with SharePoint Plan 1
Exchange Online (Plan 1)        Office Web Apps with SharePoint Plan 2
Exchange Online (Plan 2)        SharePoint Online (Plan 1)
Exchange Online (Plan 2)        SharePoint Online (Plan 2)
Exchange Online Archiving     Lync Online (Plan 1)
Exchange Online Kiosk            Lync Online (Plan 2)

Office 365 Suite Plans
A suite plan consists of a set of component plans.  A suite is always sold at a discount relative to the sum of the prices of its components.  The following is the catalog of Office 365 Suite Plans:
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E1)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E2)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E3)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E4)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan K1)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan K2)

Key References

  1. Office 365 for Enterprise Service Descriptions
    • individual documents describing functionality of all the services in the Office 365 plans.
  2. The Office 365 Trial Guide for Plan P
  3. Office 365 Trial Guide for Plan E
    • helps walk you through some key onboarding scenarios
  4. Office 365 Customer Purchase and Support Guide for Enterprise and Midsize
    • explains how O365 can be purchased in Components or Suites
  5. The Microsoft Office 365 Community

July 6, 2011

10 Tips to help you Clean Out Your Inbox

A really good article on improving the productivity of your email experience:

10 Tips to help you Clean Out Your Inbox

This post was written by Marsha Egan
Posted Under: Email Best Practices,Email Productivity Tips and Solutions,Productivity,Tips

To inaugurate “Clean Out Your Inbox Week” January 28 – February 1, we offer these 10 tips to help you get to “zero” by the end of this week!
1. Create e-folders to hold action items – avoid using your inbox as a “to do” list
2. Rename received e-mails so that you can search them more effectively
3. Return e-mail requests with phone calls
4. Avoid the tendency to “work” newly received e-mails if they are less important than your current project
5. Open your e-mail with the intention of sorting your new items, rather than “knocking the easy ones off”
6. Sort your e-mail in order from top to bottom or bottom to top – avoid scrolling
7. Copy only the people who REALLY need to see your message
8. Use “if/then” verbiage. e.g. “Please e-mail me if you haven’t received the package” rather than “Did you receive the pkg?”
9. Turn off automatic send/receive and turn off all dings and flashes. Open your e-mail when it is right for YOU
10. Send less e-mail. The more e-mail you send, the more e-mail you’ll get!

For more tips and helpful information, visit

May 17, 2011

An Easy and Fast Way to Update or Install Software

Here is a great service that is easy and fast: Ninite (

If you have every installed a new Microsoft Windows operating system, you know that installing all the additional software is a real pain; just the basic stuff – everything from browsing the web to reading .pdf files.

With Ninite, you visit their web site and pick the software applications you want.  You then get one installer file that will install the latest version of them all, and is automatically configured to install with no add-on toolbars or other junk.

May 12, 2011

Project Gutenberg

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , — admin @ 1:10 pm

Project Gutenberg ( is an amazing resource of over 33,000 free ebooks to download.

Read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.
All our ebooks can be freely downloaded: Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats.
Project Gutenberg Mobile Site:

It supports book format to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.

All of their ebooks can be freely downloaded, and you choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats.

To use on your mobile device, point it at the Project Gutenberg Mobile Site:

Popular Digital e-Readers and Formats

Here is a quick overview of some popular digital formats for publishing content such as eBooks, and digital readers that can be used with them.

Popular Digital Formats

Plan Text

With all of these formats there is DRM and non-DRM.  DRM standard for Digital Rights Management, and it has access controls built into for controlling access to only those who paid for the content. Non-DRM content is just a piece of data (e.g. a file) that can be distributed and accessed by anyone.

There are also proprietary formats used in online books stores such as:

  • Amazon Kindle: AZW
  • Sony Reader BBeB format

Popular Digital Readers

Different readers support different formats. Wikipedia has a good article to compare the differences: “Comparison of e-book readers” (

You can also use non-reader specific devices to read e-books such as the iPad, iPhone, or a PC.  Users just need software on these devices that support the various digital eBook formats.

For example, Apple publishes a free application called iBooks ( that can be used on the iPhone or iPad to read books in PDF or EPub format.

May 2, 2011

How to Find the Domain Controller for a Windows Domain

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , — admin @ 9:49 am

There are many situations where you are logged on to a Microsoft Windows Workstation or Server and need to find the domain controller for the domain that the computer is joined to.

The simplest way that works on all versions of windows is:



> NETCOM QUERY /Domain:<Domain FQDN> DC (note the “DC” is required at the end)

March 29, 2011

Microsoft Outlook 2007 & 2010 Zoom Feature

If you are composing a message in Outlook, and the editor displays the text much larger or smaller than the font settings, you may have altered your Outlook zoom settings.

Microsoft Outlook introduced a Zoom feature starting in Outlook 2007. When viewing or composing any message, you can alter the zoom level using two methods:

1) Hold down the CTRL key while using your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

2) Alter the zoom settings in the zoom group options in the tool bar (see below).

Whatever zoom settings you choose will persist.

Outlook Zoom Option

March 11, 2011

Great Data Visualization Resources

Filed under: Technology — admin @ 3:13 pm

Two amazing resources showing the possibilities of data visualization:

Gmail Email Aliases

Filed under: Technology — admin @ 11:08 am
Gmail doesn’t offer traditional aliases, but you can receive messages sent to For example, messages sent to are delivered to
You can set up filters to automatically direct these messages to Trash, apply a label or star, skip the inbox, or forward to another email account.

A great feature of Gmail is the ability to simply use different email aliases based on your existing email address.

You can receive messages in your Gmail inbox if the message is sent to any address that follows the format:

For example, messages sent to are delivered to

This is really useful for signing of for services.  You can set up filters in Gmail to recognize the +alias tag and do something special with it such as move the message to the Trash, label it, etc…

You can read more about it here:

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