Mostly about my amusement

Month: January 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Recycling an old printer

Stefan had replaced his old Epson Stylus Photo R300 printer a long time ago and dropped it off at my house.  It’s a USB Epson inkjet printer that has been replaced a couple of times over. I don’t even know what the current model is, but this one was free so who cares?

Naturally, I hooked this up to my Linux server in the basement. I could not get CUPS to agree with me so I’m printing via Samba.

I went to Costco and picked up replacement inks and glossy photo paper.  The Epson inks were $60! The paper was the Kirkland knock off so I’m assuming the price was good. I connected my laptop to the print queue and shot off a test page using plain paper.  That came out okay, so I loaded up the glossy paper and printed a couple of photos.

The photos looked like crap. There was banding all over the place and it looked like the ink had not decided to adhere to the glossy surface. If I looked closely, I am sure that the ink was about to slide off the page. So a few more test prints later and I set the default as premium glossy paper, Photos only, and enhanced photo processing.

The next photos looked stunning. The colors jumped right off of the page and the detail in the photos was just plain amazing.  For my color test, I printed this photo of some fish statues. I had forgotten that some of the fish were actually not blue. I’m printing more and I have lots of paper and ink. The only downside is that the printer often has problems grabbing the glossy paper. It requires a lot of “take out the paper, insert the paper the exact same way”. But the output is really good and as I said, I got the printer for free.

What? No, I did not read any of the printer instructions or documentation. Why would you ask?

On Monday I’ll update the photos in my cubicle with these new printouts. I can look at them and admire the photos I took.

Wow, Skype looks different

I was catching up with a friend and she asked me if I still used Skype. When she and I worked at the same company, instant messaging and Skype were very popular.

I have not used Skype or IM for many months.  With Skype I was getting weird spammy contact requests so I left it off. For IM I just stopped using it. This morning as a “why not?” I installed Skype on my PC. The interface looks more busy but aside from that it’s still Skype.

I was going to post a picture of the Skype GUI but somehow I don’t think my contacts would really appreciate that.

Facebook and keeping a blog journal have ruined the whole instantly contact your friends experience for me.  I have a working phone and e-mail address; it’s much more personal that way.  Even when someone I know joins Facebook, I’m usually on the phone with them the next day.

Instant anything just does not have much appeal for me anymore. Or maybe I’m getting old. I work with lots of mundane technology for a living, so the gee whiz factor rubbed off me a long time ago.

The iPad is announced! I just don’t don’t get it

With some fanfare the iPad was announced today. And if I am reading it right, it’s like an iPhone but big and fat.

I don’t get it.

It’s an iPhone without the phone. It does not multitask.  So while you are using it as a ebook reader, you can’t keep any instant messenger sessions in the background.  You can probably play music, but no streaming music via the wifi.  You can probably still cut and paste, but no switching ssh sessions ’cause that will make the ssh app to exit.

What’s the appeal again? Seriously, who will step up with a really useful little tablet? I’m hoping ASUS or MSI will deliver something that I actually want. I already have an iPhone.

What a fun week it’s been

This past week some interesting events occurred. First, there was a special election in Massachusetts and then there was the SCOTUS ruling that says corporate entities (and unions) can’t be limited in advertising bombing the electorate.

That Scott Brown got elected is really a non-issue. People vote and get elected all the time and I don’t really feel sympathy for a party that has a 19 seat lead in the Senate. It’s the pundits and political hacks that are making hay out of this.

The Democrats lack the stomach to make changes to health care; this is not news. They are the mewling party of the self-inflicted gunshot wound and always have been. Scott Brown and the tea party birther nuts are not the problem for the Dems, they do it to themselves.

The SCOTUS ruling is different. There should be a level playing field for John Q. Public candidate in an election. Many corporate friendly pols are hailing this as an affirmation that rights are protected. But corporations are not people and they don’t have the same rights and privileges as a human being. For a better look at what I mean, check out this analysis on the SCOTUSblog, they pose a fun hypothetical.

Look at the recent New York City mayor election:

Mr. Thompson, who participated in the campaign finance system, was outspent by 14 to 1, and he struggled to attract experienced staff members and raise money.

How can anyone win when one side spends over $100 million and the little guy can only spend $7.2 million? Voters are not dumb and people who make the effort to vote are being good citizens. But anyone is susceptible to a bombardment of advertising.

Put it another way: when George Soros openly spends on candidates who reflect his values, what will these corporate friendly pols say then? When raises millions and goes after that conservative, woman hating, give to the rich not to the poor, faux christian candidate (you know who you are!), will people complain?

It’s not like candidates will place a Nike or other corporate logo on their hat. They should, if only so people really know who’s paying them to vote on bills. This ruling only illustrates that the Roberts court is openly partisan and will disregard precedent when it fits their world view.

President Obama ran for MA senate seat?

Martha Coakley lost the election in Massachusetts. She ran a poor campaign and was a bad choice for political office, that’s all.

So even without me checking, I know that many people will start touting this as “GOP begins takeover of the Senate! Obama’s going down as a FAILURE!!” None of which is a surprise, that’s just how it goes.  In the midterm election, the Democrats are guaranteed to lose seats. Now that they still have a majority of 59-41 in the Senate will they pass their health care reform?

If they don’t then it will only be because the Democrats value getting re-elected more than they do their agenda.

MSN Toolbar and Firefox

My current PC is a HP i7 workstation and I’ve tried to keep the software it came with in place. For example, it comes with a 15 month subscription to Norton Internet Security. Even though I have a valid license for Norton 360, I can now save that license for another PC.

The HP PC also came with the MSN toolbar and today it prompted me to install an update. Keeping your software versions up to date is important especially with Microsoft. So I ran the update.

It installed the MSN Toolbar into Internet Explorer and Firefox. I can safely say “I DO NOT WANT” so I figured I would uninstall it in Firefox.  No luck there, you can disable it but not uninstall it. To do so you need to remove the toolbar from your PC via the control panel, which I am about to do shortly.

I’m not a fan of toolbars and any extraneous gadgetry I want to see I install via my desktop. The browser is for browsing websites and so far I have not seen a single toolbar that adds any value for me.

Best Pat Robertson response

This is few days old but the best response to Pat Robertson’s Haiti-devil nonsense. Although The Daily Show has a good response too around 1 minute in.

Giving to the earthquake relief is a good thing and the poor people of Haiti need all the help that can be provided.  But why do we suddenly care about the poor of Haiti? They’ve been in dire straights for decades. It’s just that with the instantly on news aspect that the world enjoys today, it makes this problem tangible and real.

After the earthquake is old news and people settle down to letting Haiti go back to the way it was/is someone should set up a prime time reality TV show and follow around a family in Port Au Prince. Not a well off family but some family that lives in a shanty, just to keep this all alive and well.

Village Idiot wants to punish the Newark Scare guy

Here we go.

“He’s really an unwelcome guest,” Lautenberg told The Record of Bergen County. “He should be returned to his homeland.”

via Controversy swirls over graduate student who breached security at Newark Airport | New Jersey Real-Time News – –

This translates into

“I’m 85 years old but may want to get re-elected anyway. So I’m going to speak pointlessly and try to make the government looks less-than-idiotic. Hey, did I mention how important a Senator is?”

Later on the Senator toned down the rhetoric but honestly.

A little proportion here. This Great Security Threat walked around an unguarded exit. The big security control was a fabric fence meant for guiding a line. Why doesn’t the airport just install one way revolving doors like you have in the New York subway system? People with wheelchairs can use a locked door that only opens from a security operator, and in case of a fire the doors would open automatically. This is not new technology, the answer has been around for years. It would be inconvenient but what is the TSA trying to accomplish anyway?

The argument against that is probably “that costs too much money” but how much did it cost to shut down the airport for all of those hours? And does anyone actually believe that the bad guys are not aware of this before all the commotion?

I am positive that the Great Government Security Theater will get this poor guy deported just to cover themselves. That really would be a shame but that is just how the system works. Don’t solve any problems just go after anyone who reveals them.