thanks for the tips stretch. I worked some of the issues after taking your advice to check permissions.
-tried to change permissons on the USB HDD using chmod only to find that since it is FAT32 I could not change the permissions
-tried to change “runas = nobody” to reflect the owner of the files on the hdd with the music. This caused firefly to freeze.
-reformatted another USB HDD to ext3 and moved some music there. then pointed Firefly to that path. AND *POOF* it worked!
-verified the permissions on the .config file were rwxrwxrwx and discovered that although the web interface returns an error, changes are in fact written to the .config file.
I am still having trouble with iTunes displaying two shares. Same name, same songs. I am able to access the shared music from both a mac and a pc running iTunes so i will live with that bug for now. I’d still like to fix that so help with that would be appreciated.