Tag Archives: Nerding

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!

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.

Force Favicons to Refresh

Having the wrong favicon on a Safari bookmark isn’t a big deal when facing an almost-pandemic and climate emergency, but a couple of websites I visit frequently both ended up with the YouTube favicon for some reason and it was driving me a bit squirrelly – I wanted to at least fix this one tiny thing!

I tried deleting a bunch of files that I probably shouldn’t have in my library and it didn’t make a bit of difference. A helpful thread on an Apple community forum lead me to this trick of visiting a website in private mode to force its favicon to refresh. I don’t understand why this magic spell works, but all the wonky little favicons are back to normal and I can now worry about stocking up for a pandemic in peace. I hope this helps some other distracted soul.

Keynote Magic

One of the MacOS updates knocked out Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 a couple of years ago. Instead of paying for another MS product, and seeing as I seem to live in Apple world, I decided to try to figure out how to use Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

Except for never having figured out the keyboard shortcut to centre text in Pages (I don’t think there is one), these apps do all I need to do. It’s an MS world for most people, and I collaborate on a lot of documents by times, but “translating” to MS versions mostly goes pretty smoothly.

I gave a presentation at the Inspire Learning Centre in Summerside on Tuesday at the invitation of EPSI and wanted to up my game to match the neat A/V equipment they have in their Key Family Room. My last MacBook Pro had an IR function that allowed me to pair the remote from our AppleTV to use as a presentation remote, but my newer 2015 MacBook Pro does not have IR, so I’ve just always used the keyboard/trackpad.

I started to look for a third-party solution, but of course Apple makes it simple. I downloaded Keynote onto my husband’s iPad (my Gen 2 iPad won’t play this game!) and easily paired it through Bluetooth with Keynote on my MacBook so I didn’t have to worry about wifi passwords. I could preview the next slide, read the notes and prompts, click to the next slide, and it worked perfectly.

p.s. The Inspire Learning Centre has what looks like a self-serve online booking system if you are ever looking for a room to do something in Summerside. Library staff say high school students will book some of the smaller rooms for group study, and craft and community groups use them as well. The library staff are patient and helpful, and they even have a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI dongle!