Friday, April 20, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04, Feisty Fawn!

Got Ubuntu 7.04, but only on the third attempt. The first download attempt died at 200Mb. The second at 300Mb, and probably because my PC went to sleep after one hour. The third and finally successful was via torrent, where I figured that the download was better managed than a simple browser download for such a large file (640Mb).

Anyway, it's all go now. Installed it onto my thumbdrive as before. Uninstalled, Evolution, and a handful of other apps. Installed Skype, Flash, VLC, Abi, gNumeric, and Audacity immediately after.

A small bonus surprise in the settings was the wobbly windows and 3D cube, Beryl style, that I was anticipating since videos of it showed up on youtube last year. It is easy now: menu, preferences, desktop effects, with the options being enable, wobbly windows, and cube. It does have a warning before you enable this feature that it is experimental. I can see the desktop working less than perfectly but I am willing to live with it for the novelty of it all.

F-spot finally uploads to Picasa Web Albums. In the previous version this feature was crashing. Now that it works it is very useful for uploading multiple photos from your desktop to the web. If uploading without F-spot and just using the web interface, one must browse for each file to upload. Now I can just select the thumbnails I want and export.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Brother MFC215C RIP

Experimented with my combo printer again. Found out that the cartridges are pressurized when in use, and the leaking was because the hole for re-inking should have been made at the top where it would have been above ink level. Found out that to trick the printer into thinking that it has a cartridge installed and should print, a wad of paper needs to be inserted into a slot at the spine end of the cartridge dock to interrupt a light disruptor channel.

After all of that, today I decided to discard the printer. The design of the product proved to be a great liability for me in terms of hours wasted and performance disappointments; Linux driver problems, ink leaking after re-inking, poor scanning quality, slow printing and with mediocre print quality. It is relatively complicated compared to other value printers, and it performs poorly. It definitely did not live up to my expectation. From now on I am better off doing pseudo scanning with my 7Mp camera, continue to snob faxing and the old analog phone line, and printing on a favor from friends basis on the odd occasion. For printing photos there is always the local Kmart or something equally useful and of good value. Now I will have less stuff that bothers me, and in the printer category I will not be creating any more e-waste for the time being at least.
Brother MFC215C
20060616 to 20070416


Ink Anger

A few weeks ago I reinked my Brother printer with a refill kit, all colors. The kind of cartridges that I have require that a hole be drilled with the tool provided, ink be injected with a syringe and needle via the hole, and the hole be taped shut. Did all that, but not before wasting an hour trying to work around that simple instruction, because I thought that I could do better. Anyway, some time later I peeked to see how the tape was holding up and discovered that some ink was leaking. My hack job was the likely culprit, but I left it as is because the printer was printing regardless, also I hate getting dirty with the dam ink.

Today the printer stopped printing and demanded that I attend to an empty cartridge. I was disappointed because I doubt that I had printed all that much since the last inking. The first ink lasted some 6 months, while the second some 4 weeks. I suspected that the fall in performance must have been due to the leaking mess that was slowly going on inside the printer.

An idea struck me. Just add water. It's that simple. I spent the next hour messing with the thing again, ink all over my fingers. All 4 cartridges were either low or empty, so I filled them up with a half water and half mentholated spirits solution hoping that the remaining pigment would diffuse well enough for at least text printing. Printed a test page, expectations set low, but was pleasantly surprised that the print still came out fine. Good result. Saved a trip to the store. Saved about $30 on another refill kit too.

Also this time, I think that I did a better job of sealing the hacked ink port (hole) with better tape. I hate hat printer but maintaining it is the least undesirable choice at this point.


I am sick of printers, scanners, and paper

Note to self in the future: Brother printer scanner MFC210C forum thread. Note to self in the past: I should have purchased a common HP multi function center printer like the ones that sell at the super market for under under $80. My grievance towards the Brother device will stop when I dispose of it, which is not yet because it got some of the functionality to work, albeit with poor use of time and much anger and frustration. There is not a snow flake's chance in hell that a normal person can get this device to work at all on Ubuntu. [Ubuntu works out of the box; it is quite amazing; you don't even need to install it and it works from a live CD, getting you online without you needing to set up anything.] Advice to others, use your contemporary digital camera for "document scanning", and avoid printing at all costs. [If you are a student attending a backward education institution then you are screwed in any number of ways, the need to print your assignments for submission is just one of them.]

I'm so pissed off at this whole printer thing. Not that I need it right now, but no doubt I will need to print something in the future, and I already paid for this device so I consider myself rather stuck. My laptop is an amazing piece of highly developed technology. The software that runs it is also amazing. The Internet is amazing. These are amazing times that we live in. Any yet I find myself fucking around with sheets of paper. I'm sure that the real source of my anger is some corporate type who did a two bit hack job of developing driver software, and the weakest link in this case. Considering how much time in all the episodes put together I had spent on this fucker, and multiplied that by the vast number of idiots who also purchased this printer many of whom would be Linux people, I tell you, never again!

If you find yourself having had purchased this device then take it back or throw it. Unfortunately this junk, like other junk out there in this consumer society, is feed stock that adds to the mountains of landfills. Choose your devices wisely people, or it will cost you your money as well as some alotment of your finite sanity.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Flickr user cameras

Don't know if this was always available, but Flickr has a page listing user cameras, which is good if you want to see sample photos from any specific digital camera out there. BTW, I currently use a basic/value Kodak C743.

-sayit- Excuse me. Your story is amazing, but can you remind me to also not make a point.

I like taking photos as much as anyone, but come on, ... Ooooh, this non gender specific photographer is an amazing artist; he or she pointed a camera and pushed a button, ooooH ...

Monday, April 02, 2007

No Impact Man, toothpaste, and baking soda

Today is the second time this week that my attention is drawn to NoImpactMan (via TH), a blog of a Manhattan family going for one year without typical carbon producing luxuries of contemporary living. They say that it is an experiment, but naturally enough with the husband wife team being writers there will be a book and lots of publicity from their project.

I resolved to keep an eye on their adventure. One of the first posts that I read was about switching from toothpaste to baking soda. Hmm? Turning away from commercial products in favor of less extraordinary substances like baking soda, vinegar, and spirits for household chores I have come across before but it never registered as something that I would integrate into my lifestyle (I lie, I already use spirits for dealing with windows, mirrors, and disinfecting surfaces). So I went on to read my tube of paste, which BTW is already vegan (no animal product, no animal testing).

Ingredients: Sorbitol, Water, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, PEG-8, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Flavour, Carum Petroselinium Seed Oil, Tatanium Dioxide, Sodium Saccharin, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA.

Wow! It sounds like a shelf in the chemistry lab.

Guess who just switched to baking soda.

[Revision 20070529: BTW, here is a link to the pictured McKenzie bi-carb soda product for usage ideas]

[Revision 20071206: Well 8 months down the track and I can say that this idea is working out just fine for me. I would recommend it to a friend. Simply poor about half a teaspoon of powder into the palm of your hand, dip the bristles into it so they fill up and enjoy a good clean tooth brushing. ]