Archive for May, 2014

Clogged printhead coaxed back to life

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Went to use my Canon Photosmart Plus printer the other day - a device that admittedly gets little use these days - only to find that it wouldn't print black. I tried the self cleaning utility but with no success.

Ho hum, so off I went in search of new cartridges.

Installed new cartridges (man, what are those things filled with? Unicorn tears?). Same problem.


Several options went through my head, ranging from swear at printer, to junk the printer, to trying to repair the printer. Since I was for once wearing a white shirt I decided to try to repair the printer. On removing the printhead I found that it was caked in black ink and concluded that it was clogged. Since this thing has been properly taken care of and only fed genuine Canon cartridges, I'm kinda annoyed that this has happened since this is the sort of thing they warn you that fake inks will do to a printer.

I decide to take drastic action and wash the print head under the tap with warm water. Not a recommended procedure, but there's not much that can go wrong as long as you allow it to dry before reinstalling it. I used warm water and nothing else ... no detergent, no brushes, no poking it with a stick. I also took care not to bang the head against anything.

I washed it and allowed it to dry and reinstalled it.

Nope. Still no success.

Since I wasn't ready to give up and buy a new printhead, I decided to try a cleaning kit. A quick search on Amazon unearthed this, which sounded good and was cheap enough that if it didn't work I wouldn't feel too bad. I paid my money and waited for it to arrive.

Last night I gave it a go. I unpacked the kit, removed the printhead, and followed the instructions. About half an hour later I had a fully working printhead.


Now what was it that I wanted to print again?


Time to change that eBay password

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Cyberattack results in password leak.

eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) said beginning later today it will be asking eBay users to change their passwords because of a cyberattack that compromised a database containing encrypted passwords and other non-financial data. After conducting extensive tests on its networks, the company said it has no evidence of the compromise resulting in unauthorized activity for eBay users, and no evidence of any unauthorized access to financial or credit card information, which is stored separately in encrypted formats. However, changing passwords is a best practice and will help enhance security for eBay users.

This bit from the release caused me to raise an eyebrow:

The database, which was compromised between late February and early March...

Isn't it May now?

*Check calendar*

Yup, it's May now.

Dymo tape woes

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Sometimes I'm overtaken with the urge to be tidy. One such example of this wildly errant behavior is when I decided to label the USB cables coming from my storage and input devices with my Dymo tape labeller.

A while ago I switched from the paper tape to the plastic variety, the idea being that this stuff would be more durable. It is. But then I hit a snag.

I like to roll the tape against itself for cables, and create a tie of sorts. This works well with the paper tape, but the plastic variety doesn't seem to want to stick to itself. It slowly unsticks and I once again find my cables unlabeled.

The solution: Add a drop of superglue/crazy glue/cyanoacrylate to the tape. After unsticking myself from a USB 3.0 cable following a slight 'incident' I was pretty pleased with the job.

The two best Surface Pro 3 features, and one big worry

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Here's what I think are the two best Surface Pro 3 features:

  • It's only 9.1 mm thick, the thinnest Intel Core product on the market today.
Surface Pro 3

(Source: Microsoft)

  • The full-friction kickstand. It apparently too Microsoft three year to develop this hinge.
Surface Pro 3

(Source: Microsoft)

My worry is heat.

The top-end Surface Pro 3 features a Core i7 processor, and even at the lower end Microsoft felt it necessary to not go with a fanless design and pop a fan into the Surface Pro 3. I worry that this tablet is going to run warm. OK, not warm, but hot. Too hot.

Consumers aren't used to a sizzling tablet belching out  fiery air from vents. Microsoft demoed Photoshop running on this, but I know how hot my Mac gets running that app, and that's certainly too hot to hold comfortably.

I hope Microsoft has got the thermals worked out on this.

Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 tablet PC

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Today Microsoft unveiled the latest in the Surface tablet lineup, the Surface Pro 3.

This, according to Microsoft, is the tablet that can replace your PC.

The Surface Pro 3 replaces the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets that were released 8 months ago.

Here's a rundown of the basics:

  • 12-inch display
  • 4:3 aspect ratio (just like the iPad)
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • A choice of processor and storage options, ranging from Core i3/4GB RAM/64GB storage to Core i7/8GB RAM/512GB storage
  • Prices start at $799
  • Optional keyboard and pen
  • 9 hour battery life

For more information check out here and here.