Category Archives: Tech

Reeder

I’ve been using the OS version of the RSS feed reader Reeder for a long time. I probably would have used the iOS version more if I could have easily synced the feeds between devices, but I would have had to set up another account to do that and I just couldn’t be bothered to figure that out.

The latest version of both apps now support iCloud syncing, and it works perfectly. Reeder was stuck at version 3 for a long time and it looked like it might just fade away, but there have been two updates in the past year or so. A lovely simple app.

Greetings from Halifax Parish

As our home internet is through a Bell Aliant wired connection, location services on websites can be either scarily accurate (right over our house) or humourously wonky (Kensington, Summerside, Tignish, all dozens of kilometres away).

Today the weather widget on my iPad shows me as being in Halifax Parish, which is true, but I would guess 99% of Halifax Parish residents would not know that’s where they live. Samuel Holland divided Epekwitk into counties and parishes on his 1765 map, and Lots 8-12 were Halifax Parish.

My guess is you would have to go back to the 1800s to find this term being commonly used for this area, so how did the bots grab onto it and thrust it into today?

What A Fiddle

I printed some meeting minutes on our HP LaserJet 1200 printer last evening. This faithful 16-year-old workhorse sits in Steven’s office and has printed 39,592 pages, with only 110 mispicks or jams. l gave it more RAM a couple of years ago, clean and dust it, sing it lullabies.

This morning I had to print a poster for a bake sale. Same MacBook Pro, same network, same printer, same same same…but no printing. The print job would go to the queue, show it was printing, the job would disappear as if it had printed, and nothing would happen, no lights, no movement, nada. I plugged the printer directly into my MBP and still no luck. Meanwhile, Steven’s older MacBook connected as normal. Well.

I opened every setting I could find and fiddled in dark corners of my computer I had no business being in. An online search leads me to believe that no one in the history of the online world seems to have ever had this exact thing happen, or perhaps they expired with frustration before they could write about it. Given how many different types of printer/computer configurations are out there, and that this is ancient tech connected to current tech, it’s not a surprise I had to find the answer on my own.

I finally found a pretty simple solution: in System Preferences>Printers and Scanners, I just added the 1200 as a new printer and chose something called “Generic PostScript Printer” settings instead of “HP LaserJet 1200” (“Generic PCL Printer” seemed to work just as well). Hey presto, printing resumed.

I bought my first computer in 1992, along with a 14.4k modem. In those 28 years, I’ve had two desktop computers (a Compaq with a huge 100MB hard drive and a G4 iMac in Bondi Blue) and four laptops (my first computer, a Sanyo without a graphics card, two iBooks and my current MacBook Pro). I have had only two printers: one ink-guzzling Canon inkjet, and now our dear 1200, who has been with me for more than half my computing life. Now that 1200 is a teenager, I guess it’s allowed a tantrum!

The best camera is not a camera

I knew my new iPad would take better photos than my ancient iPad 2, but the ease of taking an excellent, well-balanced photo every single time makes using my Canon 6D now seem cumbersome and pointless. Wide angle, portrait, 4K video, it does it all equally well and effortlessly.

No filter.

The low-down on the upload

I took over the volunteer webmaster position for our community website when the previous person moved back to the US a few years ago. He was a coder and I am not, but he assured me I could learn all the PHP and HTML and ABCs easily enough. He was overly optimistic!

I managed to update the website he created a few times by copying and editing bits of code but, to be honest, the site changed so infrequently I had to relearn each time I made changes, and I wasn’t enjoying the experience.

Last year I figured out how to make a basic WordPress site and built a new community site. Today I messed something up and now need to restore the site using a backup I thankfully downloaded. Unfortunately this is my Internet connection speed right now:

By the way, the answer to the question is that I’m getting exactly what I expect to get.

The file is 575 MB, so I think a trip to Summerside (45 kilometres away) to grab some wifi will be in order next week, and fingers and toes crossed the backup works.

MiniDisc

Just found this promotional MiniDisc fridge magnet in the bottom of a box of historic detritus. It claims to be a non-functional sample, but perhaps it contains a secret code? Never got a MiniDisc player (not many did!), so I’ll never know. Can’t imagine where I got it or why. I have a vague memory of going to a theatre tech trade show in Toronto in the early 1990s, so I could have snapped it up there, or maybe Sony sponsored something at Roy Thomson Hall when I worked there around the same time. Rest in peace, MiniDisc, we hardly knew ye.

Higher and Higher Speed

Buried in the early shock of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown was the exciting announcement on March 13 that areas of PEI with poor internet access would be getting proper high speed service by the end of June 2021.

We’ve been down this road a couple of times before and have been disappointed that it never came our way, but this time there are maps and lists and even talk of fibre op! We moved from dialup to 1.5 Mbps “high speed” at the end of December 2009 and that seemed like a miracle; 10 years later, it doesn’t seem as shiny and lovely. Here’s a speed test tonight:

That’s Mbps, folks!

For this “unlimited high speed internet” plus our home landline and my ancient phone plan (from 1999!) that doesn’t have any data OR texting, we pay $212.

Plan for our area.

If this promise of internet Nirvana wasn’t exciting enough, along comes Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink service, a plan to place thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit to make broadband internet available to the whole world by the end of 2021. Some of the satellites have been launched and are visible at night as a line of lights moving across the sky. They will be swinging by PEI tonight at 9:25 p.m., so I’ll be out having a peek at the future.