Tag Archives: Nerding

Ogham

David Sparks points out that the Mac special character and emoji list can be customized in some very cool ways. You can add dozens of sets, including divination symbols, Egyptian hieroglyphs, cuneiform, and the mysterious Glagolitic and Ugaritic. I added the ancient Celtic Ogham set, which I first learned about from Diana Beresford-Kroeger. An alphabet based on trees is thrilling to me.

Trees speak to each other through chemical and electrical impulses, and they speak to humans, too, but we are often in too much of a rush and too loud to hear them. Find the tallest tree in a forest some moderately windy day (don’t try this in a hurricane!), something that is waving gently back and forth like a birch or poplar, and press your ear to it. You might hear the wind through the branches, the creaks and crackles of the vascular system, the roots and leaves, all of it. Trees exist at a different speed than we do, rooted in one place, reaching high, making the best of where they have landed, providing shelter, feeding and drinking, sleeping and dreaming.

We live with hundreds of tall teachers.

Funize

Had an email from Google feedburner (or FeedBurner, as it once was) that outlined their plans to do something or other that won’t make any difference to me as I had forgotten I had used it for anything or that it still existed. They encouraged me to check out my feeds, and I found feeds for two blogs I had set up for others a decade ago, still ready and able to burn if they hadn’t been abandoned.

I was tickled to find that, in this mostly forgotten corner of the online world, someone is having mucho fun with tabs.

Troubleshootize
What web developers do when they know there are no ize watching them!

Newsy Nerdy Notes

I had a calendar subscription for moon phases that disappeared, so I went looking for a new one and found this lovely astronomy calendar from Canton Becker. He’s a website developer and electronic musician, and also includes his personal projects on his website. I love his Peace Channel dedicated to his father and inspired by his father’s Electric Sheep screensaver usage.

Not sure where I stumbled upon Justine Haupt, but probably from reading about her rotary cellphone while I was searching for a new flip phone. She is an astronomy instrumentation engineer and seems just plain brilliant. I especially love that she has a YouTube channel but doesn’t want anyone to subscribe to it! The rotary cellphone is so tempting, but I don’t need it…if you do, though, buy it and tell me about it!

Wifi QR code

With the new Bell Fibe system comes a new wifi network and password. I could set up a guest network for visitors, but opted again to follow Matt Haughey’s instructions to make a wifi QR code.

Thanks to Peter for first sharing this tip. His advice to get your own domain for your email prompted me to do just that, and start this website. Then I started blogging after his 2019 unconference. My advice is to follow Peter!

Nota bene

While looking for the postal abbreviation for the US state of Maine (it’s ME, so you don’t have to look!), I came across this chart from the United States Postal Service Historian that shows the different state abbreviations they’ve used since 1831. It wasn’t until 1963 that the USPS settled on the two letter system still in use today, and which we also use in Canada.

One interesting tidbit from that chart is this note about the abbreviation NB:

…in 1969, at the request of the Canadian postal administration, the abbreviation for Nebraska, originally NB, was changed to NE, to avoid confusion with New Brunswick in Canada.

My knowledge of Canada-US relations is not deep enough to know how often the United States has bent to our will (I suspect not often at all), but this certainly was a nice gesture.

“Lets you tape like a rock star!”

While searching on a big box retailer’s website for a binder that comes with preprinted tabs for corporate records, everything but the desired binder popped up, including, for some strange reason only known to the algorithmic gnomes, this pleasing bit of plastic:

The description assures me it is well weighted for easy dispensing, and it sure looks like a fun bit of kit, but as I’ve decided I’ve contributed far more than my lifetime’s allotment to the non-biodegradable burden on Mother Earth, I will just appreciate that someone thought of it, and also chose the perfect catalogue number to boot.

Don’t Smash That Button

I’ve used this Instructable a few times to revive temperamental remote control buttons, and it is a very satisfying and easy job. Getting the plastic case apart is usually the most difficult part and just takes a bit of patience.

A bit of tinfoil from my hat.
Bonus tip: single use super glues can be used more than once, just stick some Blu Tack on the end and hack off when you want a little dab.

I fixed our DVD player remote yesterday and was surprised to see the original batteries from 2006 were still installed. They feel very light (7 grams less than a Duracell), and look like cheapies, but must be the best batteries ever made.

0% mercury, 100% magic.

Printer Fix

Mac OS Catalina 10.15.7 screwed up my ability to use our HP LaserJet 1200 printer last fall. Using it as a generic printer was fine until yesterday, when I wanted to print envelopes and no amount of reformatting worked.

Seems Apple revoked certificates at HP’s request (whatever that means, other than trouble), thereby screwing up lots of other printers. Thankfully a solution was found.

New printer drivers are available here, but make sure you run the HP Uninstaller first or scary popups will continue to haunt you.

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!