Getting Albums To "Merge" In ITunes

Now that I am using an iPhone, I am kinda forced to use iTunes, which I happen to think is a total piece of junk.

The only redeeming quality of iTunes is that it downloads your album art.  I’m sure it does other stuff nice too, but it does so many things poorly that I try to avoid it at all costs.

But now that I am forced to use it, it was really really really ticking me off that it was not grouping songs from the same album into same album group.

These are not some random collection of MP3s, these are all songs from the same single RIP of a single CD, with all the same information in the ID3, and still iTunes can’t figure it out.

See this picture for a good example of this.  Feel Good Hit of the Summer should be grouped with all the other ones.  Click the image to see a larger view:

So after screwing around with this for a period (way too long), I finally figured a way to get it to work.

Warning: this is dumb.

Edit the song that is not getting merged (the first one).  Change the album title to something stupid like “X”.  Save it, then change it back to what it should be.

Then iTunes will finally merge the songs into 1 album.



Dealing with null data in SSRS

When working with a SSRS report, the report framework will already “Denull” everything.  But in some cases, for example when you are working with numbers, you might want to display a value in lue of the “” that is displayed for nulls.

Now you would THINK, that they would just use the same ISNULL syntax that everyone knows from sql programming.

HAHAHHAHA… of course they didn’t do that.

Instead you have to use a combo of IIF and IsNothing like so:


It isn’t THAT big of a pain, but I wish MS would sometimes just realize how much easier it would be for them to just create an IsNull function in their own codebase than make their users write this out.

Oh well.  I guess when it comes to problems with SSRS, this is waaaaaaayyyyy down my list.

Speaking of “my problems with SSRS”… when are you guys going to support TBLR text??  Drives me nuts.  Everyone does “vertical text” in TBLR format, for pretty much every application, but now in SSRS you are forced to use TBRL.  When you give these reports to engineers that is the very first thing they say “You need to turn this text around the other way”…. yes I know, I got my degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on structure design, so when you come from a background of seeing all vertical text (like on any plans) as ALWAYS, by requirement, aligned in a TBLR manner, and then you are forced to cock your head the other way to read it, it is really a pain.

But I guess I would still like to see MS fix their *terrible* PDF rendering first.  I just LOVE watching my reports take 4x as long as in CR, and end up 100x bigger in file size than they are after being saved in acrobat (15 MB for a 1 page PDF, open in Acrobat, save the file again, down to 150KB, with no visible change in appearance or quality).


404s on ASP.NET AJAX script files in the System.Web.Extensions folder

Recently I ran into a problem where browsing to a newly installed web app produced a bunch of javascript errors.  Stuff like: “‘Type’ is not defined” and “‘Sys’ is not defined”.

After debugging it for a while, I found the problem to be that URLScan had been installed on the server (Windows 2000 Server), which was preventing any requests with dots in the folder name.

URL Scan is a tool that MS suggested everyone install a while back that acts to filter out many malicious attacks.

So, with the default settings any request for a file inside the scriptsSystem.Web.Extensions folder would be denied as a 404 b/c of URL Scan.

To fix this, you need to edit the UrlScan.ini file, located in %WINDIR%System32InetsrvURLscan.  Near the top of the file, change AllowDotInPath from 0 to 1.

The run iisreset to restart IIS and you should be ok!

More info on URLScan is available here:


Chicago Neighborhoods

Edit: It turns out that the areas listed below are the 77 official “Community Areas” of Chicago.  Each of these areas can be made up of multiple neighborhoods.

For example, the “Near West Side” is made up of the West Loop, and Greektown, among others.


This is not really a definitive map, as I see some places that appear to go by different names than are listed on this map, but this is the best one I could find.