Forcing stereo audio to mono on an Apple computer

January 6th, 2015

I recently installed a public address system in a large commercial building and there were two main rooms in which we installed speakers in the ceiling.  These speakers were powered by a rack-mounted stereo power amp in 70V mode.  This was done in order to allow the client to control the volume for each room separately.

Everything seemed fine until the client mentioned that, at times, the overhead music they were playing (originating from their Apple laptop) was…strange.  For some songs, you could only hear the vocals in one of the rooms.  In others, the lead guitar solo couldn’t be heard.

The problem was that the left and right channels of audio were being split between the two rooms.  If the vocals were panned to the right side, you would only hear them in one of the rooms.  I knew the easiest way to solve this would be to send the songs to the stereo power amp in mono.

Fortunately, Apple includes a very simple way to do this to all audio coming out of the laptop:

  • Click the Apple icon at the top-left of the screen
  • Click “System Preferences…”
  • Click the icon labeled “Accessibility”
  • On the right hand side of the window, click the icon labeled “Audio”
  • Check the box labeled “Play stereo as mono”

That’s it!  Now all of your audio will be flattened to mono.  I spent quite some time on this issue, and had a difficult time finding this solution online, so I am sharing it now in hopes that it helps someone else save a little time.

Problems with the Logitech G9x Laser Mouse and Apple’s Mission Control

October 21st, 2014

In my opinion, the Logitech G9x is one of the greatest mice ever made.  Successors to this model were geared towards Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games, with large arrays of buttons placed on the mouse and designed to be accessible by thumb for the purpose of calling up any number of customized macro commands.  For me, those features get in the way, and the simplicity of the G9x shines.

Using the Logitech Gaming Software, I have customized the two thumb buttons on my G9x; one, to close windows and tabs (Cmd + W) and two, to enter Apple’s Mission Control (F3).  For the longest time, these macro commands worked flawlessly.  Then with the release of Apple OS X Mavericks (10.9), my Mission Control button would not work reliably.

Pressing the Mission Control button on the mouse would result in an ever so slight hesitation for the OS to enter Mission Control mode.  The windows would start to spread out for me to view, but only to then exit back to where I had been.  You can simulate the effect by pressing the F3 button on your Apple keyboard and then quickly press Esc.  The F3 key will start to invoke Mission Control, and Esc will cancel that command.

Upon investigating, I discovered that if I held the mouse perfectly still, my Mission Control button worked fine; the mouse movement was acting as the Esc key and canceling my Mission Control command.

After hours of work, I found a resolution:

Do not use the “Automatic Game Detection” mode.  Use the “On-Board Memory” mode.

The Logitech Gaming Software supports these two basic modes of storing your customized mouse settings.  “Automatic Game Detection” presumably stores the mouse profiles on your computer, while “On-Board Memory” stores your customized mouse settings on the memory inside of the mouse.

Once I switched to “On-Board Memory” mode in the Logitech Gaming Software, the problems with Mission Control disappeared.

Just another strange issue I was unable to find assistance for online.  Writing this up to hopefully help others having this issue.


How to fix the error on the Apple iPhone and iPad

October 14th, 2014

I ran into a strange issue recently when a friend brought their iPhone to me because they could not check for new mail on their iPhone.  They had a Gmail account, and had not made any changes to that account (such as a password change or enabling 2-step verification for the account).  When they tried to check their Gmail account’s email with the Mail app, they received the following error:

Cannot Get Mail.  The connection to the server ‘’ failed.

There are many online forums dealing with this issue, and after researching and testing the various solutions, I have discovered the most reliable one; to delete and then “re-add” the Gmail account to the iPhone or iPad.

Step 1 of 2: Delete the “broken” Gmail account:

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Touch “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
  • Under the “ACCOUNTS” header, touch the Gmail account that is experiencing the problem.
  • Scroll to the bottom and touch “Delete Account”
  • Touch “Delete from My iPhone”

Step 2 of 2: “Re-add” the Gmail account

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Touch “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
  • Under the “ACCOUNTS” header, touch “Add Account”
  • Touch the “Google” logo
  • Provide your Name, Email, Password, and a Description
  • Touch “Next”
  • Choose the services (Email, Calendar, Contacts, Notes) that you wish to synchronize
  • Touch “Done”

At this point, your Gmail account will be able to check email without producing the “Cannot Get Mail. The connection to the server ‘’ failed.” error.

I hope this information saves you some time if you are experiencing this issue.  If not, please leave a comment and I will try to help!


May 23rd, 2014

I love you.



Quick fix for the Netflix Digital Rights Management (DRM) Error (Error Code: n8156-6013) on an Apple Mac

April 6th, 2011

For one reason or another, I find myself occasionally restoring a MacBook from a Time Machine backup, or transferring my account from one Mac to another.  Afterwards, I inevitably receive the following error when attempting to watch an instant play movie:

Digital Rights Management (DRM) Error

Error Code: n8156-6013

We’re sorry, but there is a problem playing protected (DRM) content.

This usually occurs after migrating your settings to a new computer.  Please call Netflix at 1-866-579-7113.

The solution is to delete the following file and then try to play the movie again:

/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Playready/mspr.hds

Good luck and enjoy those movies!

Rhodes Mark 7 endorsement from Jeff Lorber?

September 28th, 2007

The site, the official website for the Rhodes Mark 7, has a “Latest News” headline that reads:

Jeff Lorber Review of the New Rhodes Mark 7 in June Keyboard Magazine

They then print his quote from an article:

“If I could bring a Rhodes like that everywhere I go, that would be incredible.”

However, after reading the article in question, this quote has been taken out of context. Here is what Jeff Lorber /actually/ said about the Rhodes Mark 7 (

“I had the feeling that — given my experience with the prototypes —they’ve got a little ways to go to make them perfect. The feel might have been a little bit spongy, but basically, they’re great. Hopefully this will be a way we can play Rhodes pianos that aren’t as beat-up [as heavily-used rental instruments] and get new ones that are much more fun to play. If I could bring a Rhodes like that everywhere I go, that would be incredible.”

When he said he would take a “Rhodes like that everywhere [he went]”, he was referring to “new ones that are much more fun to play.” In fact, he specifically said the Rhodes Mark 7 had spongy action and had a way to go to be perfect.

Seems like the Rhodes Music Corporation (RMC) are misrepresenting what Jeff Lorber was quoted as saying in the article.

Also, RMC quotes Stevie Wonder as saying “You got it better than right, its unbelievable!” However, the “full article” they link to is only a blogger’s post about the Rhodes Mark 7 which seems to be regurgitated information, verbatim, from the RMC website. A cyclical citation? Tsk-tsk. Where is the citation showing that Mr. Wonder actually said this??

If they have such an amazing instrument, why are they resorting to taking quotes out of context, and using unacceptable citations, in order to produce favorable quotes about their piano? If it is indeed a good product, you would think there would be plenty of quotes that /clearly/ praise the piano.

List of all known Hammond Organ and Leslie Speaker models

September 17th, 2007

I found this web page that lists all of the Hammond Organ and Leslie Speaker models. Even better, it contains details about each one. Wanting to know if that L-100 organ has percussion? Or, does the Leslie 21H have one or two speeds? All of that information is here:

The weight of the Rhodes Mark 7 electric piano

September 16th, 2007

If/When the Rhodes Mark 7 hits the street, one should carefully review the consequences of its light-weight design. Rhodes design engineer Mike Peterson designed the prototype Rhodes Mark IV, which weighed significantly less than previous models. Unfortunately, the reduction in weight had some unintended, and possibly undesirable, side effects:

The weight reduction program succeeded at reducing weight, but introduced a serious side effect. The various non-musical noises made by the piano mechanism increased dramatically. The traditional design made noise too, but the massive wood box kept it contained. The new, thin, lightweight case seemed to amplify the noise, almost like an acoustic guitar body. Of course, none of the noise got into the amplified sound, but when the piano was directly connected to a mixer in a studio, a nearby open microphone could easily pick it up.

The Mark V weighs in at 100lbs for the 73 key model. The Rhodes Mark 7 73 key model weighs in at approximately 85lbs ( I am at a loss as to how the Rhodes Mark 7 engineers were able to shave off 15lbs from the Rhodes Mark V design, which weighed 100lbs with lid and sustain pedal. Perhaps they don’t include the sustain pedal in the Mark 7 weight calculations. Perhaps they don’t have a lid for the Rhodes Mark 7….I have yet to see a picture or illustration of a lid for the thing.

It must be one of these two possibilities, because the Rhodes Mark 7’s pictured have the same harp assembly, wooden keys, and aluminum and wood structures as the Mark V. In other words the “guts” appear to be identical between the Mark V and Mark 7. So, if the weight reduction didn’t take place in the “guts”, they had to reduce weight somewhere else. You can’t significantly improve on the weight of the Mark V case….it is thin plastic. So, the only things I think are left are the lid and sustain pedal. Maybe that is how they arrive at the 85lb weight for the 73 key Rhodes Mark 7.

If they did, /somehow/, manage to shave the pounds from the guts or case, I think we will see the same problems Mike Peterson ran into with the Mark IV due to its reduced weight. So…I will hope that they just aren’t including the lid and sustain pedal in the weight. Right?

Anyone else care to take a guess?

Mark V action technology mysteriously vanishes from the Rhodes Mark 7

September 16th, 2007

I noticed a few months ago, after my post on the Rhodes Mark 7, that RMC removed any reference to the Rhodes Mark 7 containing Mark V action technology. Perhaps it was because I raised a concerning question as to how they produced an 88 key Rhodes Mark 7 prototype with such action.

Doubting that they are yet manufacturing new Mark V plastic hammers, which gave the Mark V its improved action, I suggested that they would have had to cannibalize two 73 key Mark V’s and an 88 key Mark I or II in order to build an 88 key Rhodes Mark 7 prototype with Mark V action.

Other Mark V owners were anxiously discussing the arrival of these plastic hammers, as their vintage ones were needing replacing, and there were none to be found. We all looked forward (and still do) to the supply of Mark V style hammers that would be available with the production of the Rhodes Mark 7.

Well we may have celebrated too soon. Either the Rhodes Mark 7 will use the “old” action design, or the RMC has stopped referring to it as Mark V action technology. For now, they say that the Rhodes Mark 7 has an improved action that is “an extremely responsive mechanical action with the most professional touch.” As a Mark V owner needing replacement hammers, I will keep hoping for the best.

Rhodes Music Corporation benefiting from vintage Rhodes forum

September 16th, 2007

As I’ve said before, let’s hope the new Rhodes Music Corporation (RMS) pays more attention to detail with the Rhodes Mark 7 than they do to their website. Multiple grammatical errors on the RMC website have been reported in forums at These forums consist of folks who are fans of the vintage Rhodes pianos….and because of that, there is also interest in the new Rhodes Mark 7.

Mysteriously, soon after these errors are reported on this fan-administered website, they are corrected on the RMC website. And this is not only happening with their website. When the Rhodes Mark 7 was unveiled at NAMM 2007, many folks questioned the placement of two USB ports on the face of the Rhodes Mark 7. To most, it seemed like the worst possible place to put such a thing, offering no benefit over a USB port place somewhere else on the piano….say with the other ports (1/4″, MIDI, etc) on the side of the piano.

Again, this feedback was placed on the fan site ( and soon after, RMC had photoshopped those USB ports out of all of their images of the Rhodes Mark 7. To my knowledge, no thanks or acknowledgment was given to the fan community for their, what amount to, free consulting services. But I think I speak for many vintage Rhodes fans when I say that no thanks were ever expected. We all want the Rhodes Mark 7 to become a mass-produced reality for one reason or another.

And if we can help make that final product better, we will ultimately benefit….thanks or no thanks.