I had this problem forever, and I finally fixed it, so I’m going to tell you how I did it. If you haven’t ever had a problem with TweetDeck, you won’t find this very interesting. Feel free to skip along if that’s the case. ;} The next time some poor crusader searches Google for “TweetDeck URLs do not open in browser” or “Adobe AIR URLs broken” or “Why is TweetDeck / Adobe AIR opening all URLs in TextMate?” or “OH GOD WHY WON’T ANYONE HELP ME FIX TWEETDECK!?” their sad and lonesome prayers will (hopefully, possibly) be answered.

Here’s what was going on…

Every time I clicked a URL in TweetDeck, it brought up an error message in TextMate. I tried everything I could think of—reinstalling TweetDeck, Adobe AIR, and both, wiping out the preferences, fiddling with browser settings, trying to find a utility that could tell my computer that ALL web addresses should point to Firefox. I had no idea what was going on, and therefore, nothing worked.

I even tried emailing the TweetDeck folks and the Adobe AIR folks, but nobody could help me. I was completely confused, and finally, pathetically, I gave up.

And here’s what I did that fixed it…

But this week, full of chutzpah from my uber-exciting hard drive failure and the consequent series of miracles that ended in my complete recovery of all files and a very successful backup restoration (yes, I’m posting from that computer now—and because Apple no longer makes 100gb drives, I got a 250gb space upgrade. NICE, right?), I decided to try a few more things. Bringing over the Application Support & Preferences from a computer with a functioning TweetDeck didn’t work…

But here’s what did:

With the knowledge that I had it backed up in several different places, I deleted TextMate. Poof!

Then I clicked a URL in TweetDeck. Incredibly, it went to Safari (not my default browser). But it was a start!

Then I went into Safari’s preferences and made sure my default browser was, in fact, set to Firefox. Then I closed Safari, closed TweetDeck, reopened TweetDeck, and clicked another link.

It went to Firefox, new tab and everything. SUCCESS!

When I restored TextMate to its former happily-installed glory, the URLs continued to go straight to Firefox. And I was fixed!

That’s all I have to say. I have information, and I shall disseminate it. What’s the internet for, after all? ;}


(This was originally posted at Social Work prn, where I write on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you get a chance, check them out. They’re nice folks!)

I’m starting to build a Rules of the Road document (in my head, at least) while reading a book by the excellent Clay Shirky called Here Comes Everybody. Some of these things I knew, but some of them are recently-cemented concepts for me and that’s very exciting. I am madly obsessed with people projects—where many people come together over the internet and accomplish something previously unlikely or impossible. Shirky is talking about this very thing in his book, and it’s making my whole life awesome. Downright thrilling, I should say.

My Rules of the Road so far:

  1. The relationship between you and the people you lead is a bargain. You give them what they want (assistance, entertainment, meaning) and they give you what you want (they spread your ideas, give you authority, help your project succeed). If you forget about the bargain—or strike the wrong bargain—you lose that essential relationship. It’s imperative that you find out what the bargain really is before you assume, crash and burn.
  2. There will always be a cost to the organization of a large number of people. If you lead, you know that a B.I.G. part of that cost for you is time and energy—not necessarily money. But anyone who has been in a leadership position knows that time and energy is often a bigger, more interesting challenge than money. Thinking you can organize a big group of people without dealing with some cost in these terms is unrealistic, but if you can walk into it knowing what effort will be necessary to expend, you’re a step up.
  3. Our circumstances have changed on a spectacular scale (one word: internet) and they’re not going to stop changing. Get with the change game now and start to expect things to shift—you’ll be ahead of everyone who’s still fighting it. Things may look the same in a lot of ways… but they are not.
  4. We can have anything we want, if we are only willing to reach out and create it. This is truer now than it has ever been in the past. Our limits, as suspected, are in our heads—not on our capabilities.
  5. It is less efficient to try to build something you want, and more efficient to wait and watch, keep your eyes and brain open, and seize an opportunity when you see it. A great book I talked about awhile back, Made to Stick, made this point often. A struggle to make something out of nothing is often not as efficient as an ability to see opportunities and leap on them.
  6. Give them tools instead of instructions. If you can give a group of people the means to self-organize their passion, it’s more effective than trying to tell them how to do it. Self-organized efforts on the internet are often more effective and successful than similar initiatives by large companies with many resources (and many managers). Don’t worry so much about oversight. Give them systems. Give them tools. And then let them do their thing.

We’re capable of self-assembling now in ways we never were before, and it’s changing the entire landscape of “people projects”—or PR, or business, or community initiatives, or anything else you can name that has to do with how groups of people interact and make things happen.

I can’t wait to finish this book. Wow.


Music has been taking a back seat for a very, very long time.

See, music doesn’t really pay the bills. Even if you “do it right”, you are in school and in young artist programs for a long time before you make very much money. For a gal who ran out of money to finish college and spent the ensuing years building businesses to make money to help her family keep the bills paid, of course music was going to take a back seat. Fifty bucks for a handful of rehearsals and a local concert doesn’t buy very many groceries.

The trick is to get innovative, but I admit I’ve been distracted. I have a lot of interests and passions and I’m pulled in a hell of a lot of different directions. People in college who thought I should pursue one thing were not big fans of me. Opera, art classes, musical theater. Not to mention the drawing and writing and business-building I did in my notebook while I was supposed to be paying attention. I was so enamored with my multitasking, I never got in my required courses (math, science, ha!). Not before the money ran dry, at least.

While I am passionate about music, music has taken a back seat because I am passionate about other things that do pay the bills. Those things have always had my first attention, not because they’re particularly more interesting than music (and not just because they make money) but because I liked them and it made sense at the time.

But I’ll tell you, music taking a back seat has always bothered the hell out of me.

“If I just had a little more money,” I’d say, and be frustrated, and stare dolefully at the expanse of red Schirmer opera scores on the bottom shelf. “Someday, huh?”



The part that (maybe) makes it complicated is that I’m not all that interested in giving up anything else. I will still gleefully run my business, Marty’s business, and help anyone who seems helpable. I’m still going to write and go media crazy (overdue for a videoblog, wouldn’t you say?). I’m still going to take on design projects. Because I love these things. They make me happy.

But music makes me happy, too.

Really, really happy.

There is nothing in the whole world like getting up in front of an appreciative audience and pouring out your soul. Nothing like spending weeks learning one annoying aria and finally hitting the sweet spot where you know all the words and all the notes and it just gels, it’s a part of you, it’s natural and has no taste, like saliva, it matches you perfectly and flows right through you. You’re it. It’s you.

When I see shows, I get jealous. I try to figure out what I did wrong that meant I wasn’t up there with them. I try to understand how this happened. But I know how it happened. The money wasn’t there.

John—my Welsh cousin and my voice teacher, too—tells me that he sees it happen a lot. People stop singing because they don’t have the money. Any music takes time and resources, but classical music takes more than most. Studying and rehearsing and performing all take a lot of time, especially if you’re driving two hours to your lessons the way I am (and back, oh god, the traffic from San Antonio to Austin!). Music costs money, of course. Lessons and rehearsals cost money. Let’s not even discuss concert gowns, or makeup, or, for that matter, traveling across the country to compete.

Right. Money.

So you can see how this all came about. I was working hard for money, and the money I made pretty much just barely covered my music study if I didn’t schedule lessons too often, or competitions almost ever. Taking more time off paying work in order to study more often wasn’t something I was going to do. There were still bills after moving to Austin and ditching my safety net. (Oh, who needs safety nets anyway?) So I drove down to see John and Kim (his lovely wife who plays brilliant piano!) once a month, maybe once every few months. Sometimes less. That was the way it was. It could change later, when more funds were available.

The problem is, “later” doesn’t cut it. “Later” never happens. Waiting for something nebulous to just occur is a lot like making peace with never getting it at all. Which is why I’ve had a bit of a plan up my sleeve.

You see, I left a lot of wonderful supportive music-lovers in Ohio. There were many lovely, lovely people in the Welsh community who looked after me and supported me and wanted to be kept in the loop. They wanted to see me succeed. Many of them came to support me when I had my fund raising concert in Pittsburgh, before I headed off to Wales for the first time. I’ve always been really bummed that moving to Austin meant leaving them behind, not just because their existence made me feel good (and boy, did it ever!) but because they were such kind people. They were the kind of people I wanted to stay connected to.

So a few months ago, I decided I could stay connected to them. I doubt you’ve missed my Social Connection Via Internet rants. Yes, that’s exactly where I’m going with this.

I’m setting up a site.

It’s going to be called Megan Makes Music. (Because she does. Even more now than ever!)

What Megan Makes Music is going to allow me to do is something I’ve been mulling over for a long time. The questions were these: How can I let my supporters support me the same way they would if we were local? How can they feel like a part of my progress? How can they keep track of my career? How can they feel how integral and special and important they are to me and to how far I’ve come already?

One big dilemma was how to let them feel involved when it’s impossible for them to travel 2200 miles to sit in on one of my lessons, for instance, or a rehearsal. But I think I’ve solved that problem, because by God, I have a video camera. And a (passable) internet connection. (Time Warner, do you realize they have eighty-billion megabyte net connections in Canada? WTF!?) And some very reasonable business know-how. And a hell of a lot of motivation.

So I’m going to build a membership site. And I’m going to let my supporters pay whatever they want to help me out on an ongoing basis, and I am going to start sending private blog entries and new audio recordings and even the occasional rehearsal video down the pike, so they can actually be involved. It won’t be perfect when we start, but we’ll refine it as we go—and it will mean regular, wonderful music under circumstances that greatly improve my ability to schedule regular lessons and rehearsals—and increase my chances of creating music-related income and getting me safely to Wales in 2010. We’re not aiming for second place this time, folks. We’re aiming higher.

And you can help me do it.

Right now, Megan Makes Music is one sign-up page for more information. I’m moving as quickly as I can to get everything figured out and running, so depending on the number of people who turn out to be interested, I may have it settled and ready to go in the next few weeks. I’m really, really hoping that everyone gets a lot out of it, and I’m very excited to have a good excuse to make music again. This is going to be really freaking fun. ;}

If it makes you as happy as it makes me, drop on by and let me know.

Thank you for listening, guys. :}

PS. I was not kidding about cool people talking about me on BBC Radio Wales yesterday morning. Here’s a link to the recording that looks like it will only be up until Monday October 12th—works great in Safari, not so great in Firefox. (Meh!) Alan Upshall is one of the nicest Welshmen I know, and he’s the one talking to Roy Noble on the air. Alan’s bit starts at 36-and-a-half minutes in and goes for about a half hour. If everything works out, there will be another BBC Radio Wales recording for you to listen to in the next week or two. ;}


Megan Flirts With Content, Copyright and Culture

by Megan M. on October 3, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

While I was in Youngstown last month I discovered—completely by accident—an incredible documentary called RiP! A Remix Manifesto by Brett Gaylor. It was the joy of my Saturday night. Watching it heralded a revived obsession with Cory Doctorow’s Content, a book I began to dog-ear and mark up as if studying the new bible. I started That Idea Blueprint Girl knowing there was information I needed about copyright. Apparently, it wasn’t going to take me too long to find it.

My hunch has always been that ideas are free—or should be. Brett Gaylor’s documentary explains a lot about how free ideas allow new generations to build on the culture of previous ones. Without the free ideas, everyone who innovates and makes better is a criminal, because they’re all infringing on someone’s copyright. That’s the world we’re living in right now. Ever feel odd that everything from the public domain is trillions of years old? This is why.

I think my urge here has been that even when ideas aren’t free—even when people try to restrict them with laws and fines and general pissiness—they still essentially are free. If someone patents the ground under your feet, you can still stand on it until someone drags you away. A plant used by hundreds or thousands of years to cure disease in some foreign culture might get patented by an enterprising American capitalist, but that doesn’t mean that its foreign practitioners can’t still use it (at least until that same capitalist, in a fit of righteousness greed, figures out how to take the plant away from the practitioners, or the practitioners away from the plant.) And a Doctorow quote from a recent Boing Boing post: A law that no one understands and no one abides by is no law at all.

You can’t really restrict ideas. You can pretend to do it, but it doesn’t really work. You can enforce it unnaturally, but someone else can always have the same idea and the returns on this kind of enforcement are always going to be limited. Someone else can always alter your idea just enough to make it theirs. Our attempts at proving otherwise are a sham. Ideas are free. They were free before civilization and commerce, and they’re free now. We’re just fooling ourselves.

The question, I think, is this: How long are we going to try and enforce an anti-cultural paradigm that absolutely does not function?

Originally, we didn’t have a lot of argument over whether ideas were free. Copyright was created when one day, ideas were suddenly easier to spread—and it gave creators a way to benefit from their creations. Authors had the exclusive rights to their work for 14 years, and then the rights passed to the public domain. Compared to our current system, this seems overwhelmingly reasonable. In this scenario, an artist—any innovator—continues to come up with new ideas and new ways to implement them in order to survive.

But ha ha, us, we got lazy. We didn’t want to have to come up with something new after fourteen years. We wanted to continue to milk that cow as long as we could (until it keeled over useless). Now copyright extends almost two hundred years in the United States, which slows down the conversation. What conversation, you’re wondering? The conversation is cultural; it’s our ability to build new culture, which is always based on culture that went before; a way of learning from the past to create the future. What’s slowing is our ability to move forward and learn and understand and speak out. Our ability to build things we need, or solve problems, or heal diseases (literally!).

It strangles us, as a civilization. Our cultural conversation now must stretch out over hundreds of years in order to be… legal.

We don’t sell ideas. We don’t sell content. We sell the packaging—we sell the format. If I’m doing idea consulting, my clients don’t so much buy my ideas as they buy a person to help them find the right solutions to their problem. The ideas are out there; anyone else might come up with the same one I do. I just have an easier time doing it—or a different personality than some other consultant—or so on and so forth. Anyone can sell that idea; the idea isn’t unique all by itself. But the way we put it together, that’s really something. That’s worthy of note. The paper book you can hold in your hands. The story about the idea, the personal experience. The pretty brocade bag with a bow. The feeling of accomplishment or of appreciation. The knowledge that your money goes somewhere that counts.

People have always asked me about copyright, because I always say that ideas are free. My gut feeling about copyright, these days, is that copyright law as it stands now is utterly bogus and should not be played with. What I want to say is, I’m taking my ball and going home. Fuck you guys.

Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. I do live in this country, for the moment. So I won’t be screwing with your copyright—at least not today. I don’t know how radical my plan of action might really be.

But my god, I’m thinking about it. And you should too.


Time Is Short, and Slippery

by Megan M. on September 29, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

Time moves fast. Have you noticed?

One day you’re thinking about the great things you’re going to do as soon as you get out of this rut, and the next you’re looking back and going, Shit, I’ve been in that rut for eight weeks!

And then maybe a few months, you know? A few months can turn into all kinds of time.

If you don’t do the things that are supremely meaningful for you now, when will you do them?


Next year?



Freak Revolution: Manifesto Launch

by Megan M. on September 28, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

Freak Revolution Desktop Wallpaper

In September I had the pleasure of designing the very exciting, very poignant Freak Revolution Manifesto, which was released today on the Freak Revolution website. You’ll notice that in addition to the manifesto, Pace and Kyeli also have some free desktop wallpaper on that page—a gorgeous digital painting put together by the fantabulous Martin Whitmore for the purpose of adorning world-changing computer screens everywhere. He also illustrated the whole manifesto with adorable ink doodles. I am madly in love with this picture, and now that you’ve seen it, I understand that you (obviously) are too. Stay tuned: There will be posters.

In the meantime, here’s a copy of the brilliant aforementioned Freak Revolution Manifesto. Cop a download and give it a read. It’s highly likely to brighten up your day—and give you some great ideas for the future.

View more documents from pace212.


Conglomeration of Things

by Megan M. on September 24, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

There is so much cool stuff going on here.

Listen First – Sell Later Hits Seth’s Reading List

Bob Poole’s fantastic book, Listen First – Sell Later, is on Seth Godin’s “latest reading” book roundup list at Squidoo. I’m kind of gooshy and happy about it, since I edited the book and feel somewhat proud / proprietary of it for that reason—plus I love it to pieces. This means you have absolutely no excuse not to pick it up, especially since buying it through Seth’s Squidoo page means donating money to charity, probably Acumen Fund if I had to take a wild guess. GO. DO IT.

Megan Makes Music, and Probably an Album

I’ve been having CRAZY conversations with my sister this month. About writing music (oh my, do I have ideas) and recording, and the availability of studios in LA and the possibility of me just flyin’ out there and putting an album together with her keyboardist, who is also a stunning classical pianist. We don’t have any bits and pieces ironed out, but it’s looking like a good bet; paired with the advent of Awesome Music Project No. 0001, which I have yet to detail for you lovely people, it looks like my adventures in Pittsburgh hail a new age of Megans and Musicks. I can’t send you to look at (or listen to) anything yet, but it’s coming. Soooon.

Free Idea Consulting at the Freak Revolution

Early this week I finished up the final version of the really exceedingly excellent Freak Revolution Manifesto, which you don’t get to see until they release it on the 28th. Uh. Sorry. But it’s great. I can’t wait for you to see it! In the meantime, Pace and Kyeli are running a video contest for the best world-changing video and the deadline is just about 24 hours from now—Friday, September 25th:

Submit inspirational and uplifting videos, approximately one minute in length, telling us something about what’s wrong with the world, how you’re making changes, what changes you plan to make in the future, what you want to see more of in the world, or something along those lines.

They are offering ridiculous scads of prizes, including Idea Blueprint Girl free consulting swag, thank you very much. ;} The due date is Friday, so you have a BUNCH of hours left to submit something that will take you two seconds—okay, two minutes—to put together. People, give it a try. We need more world-changers. You might surprise yourself!