So I signed up to beta test Spark Mail App for Mac. I like the app for iOS. Really can’t say much about it since it is not installed.
Tag: Home PC
Over the last 2 months or so, I’ve noticed my color print outs did look as good as they use to. For example, I was working on a new idea for Cub Scouts, designing a new pit pass for the scouts to wear for Pinewood Derby in Spring 2014. The pass included a red, blue and yellow car, but the colors were off. The red car car looked yellow-orange with yellow flames.
So I ran the color calibration from the printer, and afterwards, the pit pass looked the same. I prided the supplies status page to verified there is toner, but it looks faded. So I stared searching for a reason why this was happening, and I came across the following page.
The problem is the mirrors in the optical box on the HP Color LaserJet 2605, the box is not sealed. The mirror for the magenta cartridge collects a lot of dust. This dust keeps the laser from reflecting off the mirror correctly, and preventing toner from being picked up and placed on the paper.
The process took me about 2 hours 45 minutes to complete, but it was well worth it. My printer works great. Except for this one issue, the output is fantastic. Also, I didn’t have to spend $300 plus on a new printer. Below are pictures of the status supply pages.
Finder Background Color Button Locked
Over the last 18 months, I’ve been using my iMac as my main computer. I configured multiple Desktops (spaces) changed the screensaver, installed programs, games (Diablo 3 and Steam for Team Fortress 2). Basically making it my own, just like I do with Windows and Linux.
So one day I was looking at other features of Finder, and decided to change the window color from white to green for the Documents folder. You can do this by clicking the gear icon and Show View Options. After I goofed with the colors, I reset it back to white. then I noticed I can add a picture to the background. I copied over a jack-o-lanter picture I found last year and there was the small picture I copied. Then I decided to change the Arrange by from None to Name and clicked the Use as Defaults. I closed the window and didn’t think anything of it for a week.
When I came back a week later, I noticed some of my Finder windows had the jack-o-lanter as the wallpaper. I went through the process to remove the wallpaper, but noticed I could not change the wallpaper. It was stuck with the jack-o-lantern. After some searching on Google, I found a post by Pigstick on mac-forums.com which explained how undo what I did.
Change the Arrange by to None, then you can reset the background to any color or change the picture. Don’t forget to click the Use as Defaults button.
Goodbye Dell Dimension 8200
I would like to take a moment to say goodbye to my Dell Dimension 8200 system. 😦 I’ve slayed many monsters and demons on the Diablo series, and fragged many friends playing the Quake series, and destroying the the AI players in HOMM3 (plus actual work stuff).
When it’s time to decommission your home PC, think about the following:
Do you have a current backup?
- Your first answer should be, “Let me double check.” There are a lot of options available such as; portable USB hard drive, DVD, CD, NAS, and cloud storage. I use a portable USB hard drive on my main computer, cloud storage to keep data synced between devices, and DVDs for long term storage.
Do you really need to recycle that PC?
- Sometimes you can format the hard drive, reinstall the OS and start with a “factory build” image (make sure you have all your serial numbers and installation media or programs). You could also install Linux which requires far less system resources. My Dell 8200 ran Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and TurnKey Linux over the last few years.
- Check with family and friends or nonprofits in your area. Some nonprofits will supply a tax receipt for your donation. Take the time during the hard drive wipe to double check the federal tax laws, and be honest when it comes to the value of your PC.
Wipe the hard drive!
- Besides finding websites that will install malicious software to kill your PC, you can download free hard drive wipe programs, purchase wipe programs on-line or at a retail store, or use a bootable Linux OS from a USB or CD to wipe the drives. The wipe process will take hours to complete. My PC took 6 hours to complete.
- Over the last 10+ years, many of the companies I worked for required the hard drive be physically destroyed in addition to wiping. Some might call this excessive, I call it standard procedure. You need to remember, that hard drive once stored every bit of information about you.
- About a year ago I purchased a new paper shredder which can shred credit cards, CDs, and DVDs. I’ll go on record stating how much fun it is shredding DVDs.
Now that your ready, take the PC, glass tube monitor, and other accessories to the recycle event in your community. My community holds regular events for disposal of electronics, household hazardous waste, and other recycling programs.
After 2 years of shopping around for tablets, I finally purchased an iPad 3 aka The New iPad.
I was going to mention what took me so long to purchase the iPad, but it is a boring story about saving money, looking at tablets at least once a month, reading blogs about with everyone’s opinion, and just waiting for the tablet that had all the right features. For a few months, I thought the Asus Transformer 201 was the right device. Nvidia quad core processor, Ice-cream sandwich for the OS, and the optional keyboard to “transform” into a netbook.
But when I compared the iPad 3 to the Transformer 201, I felt the iPad was a better tablet. Yes, the iPad was more expensive, but over the last year I was becoming more use to the IOS interface, providing support for iPhones and iPads at work, and I really like my iPod. I have also noticed when I need to check my personal email away from home, or look at the calendar, I usually went to the iPod over my Android phone. Plus my Android phone needs to be replaced. Too many lock ups with apps, and I have to reboot it once a day.
I love my new iPad! I have used it every day for the last week for work and home. I take it to work and use Evernote to take notes of computers that I’m working on, use AIM app to keep in touch with colleagues and friends, listen to music, and attend web meetings with AT&T Connect. Plus several customers at work have made suggestions on apps and other accessories. I purchased a case at Amazon.com called the Bear Motion, in black. The case props up the iPad at a good angle for typing (writing this post on the iPad now), and for video calls using FaceTime.
I don’t have any major issues or complaints about the iPad. I do want to find a good office suite for the iPad, and it would be nice if Microsoft would realse a version of Office for the iPad. I know Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are available. I had several colleagues recommend Documents To Go as an option. However, after all these years of trying different office suites, nothing compares to Microsoft Office. It is a standard, and I’m familiar with the programs.
I would recommend the iPad to anyone, but i also tell people to look at all the options. They might like an Android or Windows tablet over the iPad. Maybe picking up the iPad 2 would be a better option for someone instead.
Now, let’s see if I can figure out how to upload a few screenshots I made last week using the WordPress app.
A few weeks ago I purchased a Western Digital 500GB Scorpio Black SATA 7200 RPM for my Sager Np8690. I also purchased from
CompUSA a Vantec USB 2.0 to SATA (Serial ATA)/IDE Adapter.
I removed the old 320GB HDD and installed the new 500GB drive, installed Windows 7 x64 Ultimate (came with my PC) and then installed Ubuntu 11.04 x64 onto a second partition. This time I made the Ubuntu partition larger for all the VMs I had on the old system. I used the Vantec device and copied all my data files for all my account in Ubuntu and Windows 7 to the new HDD. I’ve used the Vantec device at work many times, and to me it was worth $20.00.
The old 320 HDD is locked away in-case I ever need it again. Maybe I will install it into a external eSATA device for quick backups or recovery for PCs that I work on in my spare time.
I am please with the performance of the drive, but happier that I don’t receive messages from the OS telling me I’m out of space again.
Just over 4 years ago I purchased a Linksys WRT54GS router from Best Buy. The main reason was to use my work notebook PC because I was not able to go downstairs due to a foot injury. The Linksys WRT54GS worked great. I never had a problem with firmware updates, the radio signal was strong, and everything I connected through Wi-Fi (including the Wii) worked. But lately I’ve had a desire to replace the unit to take advantage of wireless N which is on my Sager notebook and my work notebook (Dell Latitude E6400).
I am happy with Linksys products, I’ve recommend them to family, friends, and clients. So when I heard the Linksys E4200 was available, I had to get it. But yikes, look at that price!! Way too expensive, besides the WRT54GS is working fine, no need to upgrade. However, almost every week, Best Buy or some other company would have ads in the Sunday paper showing me the router I wanted to get, but could not justify the price point.
Then this past Sunday, Best Buy had the router on sale, save $30.00. Then I remembered I had a Reward Zone $5.00 coupon that was going to expire within 2 weeks, and a $10.00 Best Buy gift card that was waiting for me to use. My inner voice now said, “How do you feel about saving $45.00 on the router you want? It has wireless N with a max speed of 450Mbps, guest wireless access, USB drive hookup, and GB wired connections.” Let’s go shopping!!
So on Tuesday I purchased the Linksys E4200 and installed it inplace of the WRT54GS. The design looks business class. The Cisco logo lights up. When the light it solid, everything is good, it blinks during power on or if something is wrong. The port lights on the back light up, but you can turn them off via the internal web page for whatever reason. The power supply looks like something your would expect to see in a notebook. I like this design over the large block which seems to always take 1.5 – 2 spaces on most power strips and surge protectors. However, the cord from the AC outlet to the transformer could be a little longer.
You can setup the router with the Cisco software or via your Internet browser at address http://192.168.1.1. The default password is admin. I prefer to use the web browser because I have better control of the features I want to enable. Plus I’ve installed the Linksys software once before on my old Dell PC. the software brought the PC to an unbearable performance level.
Fist thing, CHANGE THE ROUTER PASSWORD. Everyone who has a Linksys router has the same password. If you want to help keep people out of your network, pick a nice complex password, or better a pass-phrase. Now that’s done, time to setup the wireless. In my opinion, setting your router not to broadcast your SSID is false security. Anyone can use Wireshark or other applications to scan the wireless spectrum and will see your SSID anyways. I like themes, and the last 10 years has been a Star Trek theme for just about everything. So with my new router, I am going with a new theme. Now the SSID has a name which reflects the theme I am going with on my PCs.
I left both 5.0 and 2.4GHz on the same SSID with the default channel settings and signal strengths. Time to start the Sager notebook and experience all the goodness of wireless N… and nothing. What?? I know the Intel 5300 AGN is a wireless N card like the name states. Checking Ubuntu Forums, I found an answer from user scarey9. After modifying the config file, I rebooted the notebook and was ready to experience wireless N… and now what?? Why is my speed fluctuating from 420 Mbps to 1Mbps?
Accessing my e-mail, Internet, playing videos from Youtube was painful. So let me try booting into Windows 7 x64. I made the connection to my new router, and I was having the same speed issues. Playing Battlefied Heroes was terrible. Something is not right because my old router at a solid 54Mbps can play my on-line games just fine. Time to do some research again. Everything I could fine regarding this router stated how great and fantastic it was. Even after installing the first firmware from Linksys did nothing for me.
I ended up going to Linksys and using WebEx on-line chat. The technician started helping me by supplying directions on how to configure the router. After about 45 minutes and looking at the clock (yikes, it is 1:00AM) he said I should take it back to Best Buy an get another one. Something was wrong with the Wi-Fi. So I printed the chat history and took it with me when I wen back to Best Buy.
The second router works much better. The best consistent speed I received is 270 Mbps. I did see it jump to 450 Mbps, but it does not stay there. Now I kept some of the suggestions the Linksys tech gave me such as:
- Setting both 5 and 2.4GHz Network Mode to Mixed.
- Setting the Channel Width to 40MHz on the 5GHz and moving to Channel 48 – 5.240GHz.
- Setting the Channel Width to Auto on the 2.4GHz and moving to Channel 9 – 2.452GHz.
- Enabling SSID Brodcast on both radio frequencies.
What I don’t like about the E4200
Two things that I am very disappointed with this router: USB interface and lack of Parent Controls as in the Linksys Valet.
First, the USB port is 1.1 and 2.0 compliant. Why not USB 3.0? It’s been out for a little while, and from what i gathered, the pin connection has not changed for at least 6 months, if not longer. Plus the performance of the USB port is terrible. All of my FTP clients and smb connections (Windows shares) timed out.
The Parental Controls via the web interface and the Cisco software are terrible. With the Valet router I saw, you can select one of the radio buttons for Parent, Teen, Child. Why would they not include this in the E series? To my knowledge this is not a business class router. I can only block a total of 8 URLs on the router. This is a poor design and should be addressed for the next firmware update.
On last thing which I am confused about is the guest access. Basically you grant someone access to your wireless connection, they get a 192.168.133.x address and open their web browser. they enter the password and off they go. But from what I gathered is they will always have access to you guest network as long as you don’t change the SSID or the password. This would be OK if the lease expired in a week. But you can only have a maximum of 10 devices connected. So if grandma visits for the week with her notebook and does not come back for three months, does that mean I am down to 9 available device connections? This should be addressed too. Let me kick off the guest device without having to reset passwords.
I would still recommend this router to anyone who is looking for a high performance unit. The design is pleasing, the speed is there, the guest access is cool, but I am not impressed with the USB port.
On my Ubuntu PCs I use the Pictures Folder screensaver. It’s a nice screensaver that cycles through all your pictures. At work I run dual monitors and the screensaver displays different pictures.
What I don’t like about this screensaver, no way to configure which pictures I want to use. My Pictures folder contains a bunch of sub-folders like misc, Whos Who (which hold different avatars I use on different social media sites), Camera (pictures of the kids), funnies (stuff i find to be very funny but appropriate for work), Wallpaper, and so on. So I started searching Google and found a quick solution on page 2 of the following link:
The post wiredsoul submitted works great! Open gedit and modify file /home/.config/user-dirs.dir. I wanted just my Wallpaper folder for the screensaver. Below is the test from my file:# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update# If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you’re# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run# Format is XDG_xxx_DIR=”$HOME/yyy”, where yyy is a shell-escaped# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR=”/yyy”, where /yyy is an# absolute path. No other format is supported. # XDG_DESKTOP_DIR=”$HOME/Desktop” XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR=”$HOME/Downloads” XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR=”$HOME/Templates” XDG_PUBLICSHARE_DIR=”$HOME/Public” XDG_DOCUMENTS_DIR=”$HOME/Documents” XDG_MUSIC_DIR=”$HOME/Music” XDG_PICTURES_DIR=”$HOME/Pictures/Wallpaper” XDG_VIDEOS_DIR=”$HOME/Videos” The next to the last line I added Wallpaper. Now the screensaver only displays all the files and files in sub-folder of Wallpaper. Thanks wiredsoul!
Bootchart Maverick Meerkat
However, here is my latest bootchart (located on the right under Box.net plug-in titled Orinoco-maverick-20101025-.png) from my Sager notebook.
Ubuntu 10.10 on my PC
On October 10th at 10:10:10 AM, I took a screenshot of the date/time of my PC running Ubuntu 10.04 using Shutter before installing Ubuntu 10.10. I used Vuze to download the BT files for x32 and x64 versions within 15 minutes. Since I’ve had problems in the past with running Update to install the new OS over the old, I chose to backup my home directory with the rsync command to my external USB HDD. I’ve read, some people had problems installing Ubuntu 10.10 over 10.04. So I was glad I backed up and installed from scratch.
My installation went smooth. I liked the check box to install third party apps (multimedia codeces except for the DVD player). Because of this one feature, I can no longer tell people to install Linux Mint to get all the multimedia stuff running right after install. Please don’t misunderstand, I like Linux Mint a lot. I installed Linux Mint 10 RC1 as a VM on my Ubuntu system. But that’s a post for another time.
I like the purple color theme better than the orange/brown theme of the past, but I still customized my desktop. Using Crebs (Create Background Slideshow) I created a nice 15+ Star Trek rotating wallpaper theme. I also created a Halloween theme too. Plus with Ubuntu Tweak I changed the GDM wallpaper to a nice artist rendition nebula and changed the Ubuntu logo to a Star Fleet one. I didn’t bother to change the window colors, icons and sound effects yet, I’m still looking for something that will work well and easy to install or customize. I also found one thing that has helped me out over the years for reinstalling Ubuntu and Windows, keep a text document of favorite apps and other commands that make installation easy. For me this includes anything that I need to run at the CLI. After all was said and done, I had everything installed, configured and data files restored within 4 hours. No need to go back and install an application or look for a special command that enabled the Ubuntu Menu when pressing the Super key. Its all right there. Plus I add to this text file if i make a change or find a new application that is a must have for me.
Is this a perfect 10 for Ubuntu 10.10? No, but it feel like 9.95. My only grip is the mouse pad stays enabled no matter if I use a USB wired or wireless mouse. I search several posts about this issue. And although some people had some terrific answers, none worked for me. I can’t disable the touchpad in the BIOS either. With Windows 7, the touchpad can be disabled using Logitech’s application. Kind of wish Logitech would develop their software apps for Linux. But I can’t fault Ubuntu for this.
If you haven’t tried Ubuntu 10.10, download a Live CD and try it on your PC. I think you will be surprised with this OS. Now if only Battlefield Heroes would work on Ubuntu.