bovil: (Default)
We've got two old printers taking up space. If you want them, and you can pick them up, they're yours.

Canon S450


This is a standard inkjet printer, probably about 8 years old. We printed a bunch of the Costume-Con 26 fliers on it before we got the Phaser 560 (now dead). It includes a BCI-32e photo print head (that can be swapped for the black print head). The standard color print head is borked and color output is way off, but the print head is user-replaceable. If you buy a BCI-31e print head cartridge and swap it in, it will be just fine. Print heads can be cleaned with windex, of all things (and they probably need cleaning).

Canon i9900


This is a 13" carriage medium-format dye-ink photo printer. We printed the 11x17" Evil Genius Hall of Fame posters on it. It needs some TLC to get it back up and running, but is salvageable. It includes an extra print head, a set of nearly-full cleaning cartridges, a bulk ink system and a bunch of Lyson Photonic ink for the bulk ink system. There are three paths to get it back in operation: I liked the i9900, I liked the color range and colorfastness of the Photonic inks (and had no problems dealing with ICC profiles), but the bulk ink system was more maintenance-intensive than I really wanted to deal with. It's one of the last printers to use the BCI-6 ink cartridge (no chips in the cartridge), so it's very refill-friendly.

I wants...

Apr. 16th, 2010 04:04 pm
bovil: (Default)
I want a new pocket-sized camera. But I'm not spending my tax refund on that. The pocketable camera I have is good enough.

I want a new wide-carriage printer. But I'm not spending my tax refund on that. The current printer works just fine for now (even if I have to fight with the ink system from time to time).

I did spend a little money on an Eye-Fi Pro X2 wi-fi SDHC storage card. It's pretty cool. If the card is connected to a network and your computer is connected to a network, it can transfer pictures to your computer while you're shooting. Sound like a waste of money? Well, paired with "auto-import" in Adobe Lightroom, it's a really easy way to simulate "tethered" shooting where you can view your pictures on the computer immediately after you shoot them, without cables. Best of all, it works the same regardless of what camera the card is inserted into.

I haven't got "ad-hoc" network support working yet (because I haven't been able to test it out away from my home network), but that's a big bonus in the "Pro" model card. The others require you connect to an access point that doesn't require a web-based login, and that knocks out a bunch of hotel networks. Ad-Hoc networking lets the Eye-Fi and my laptop directly connect without an access point in the middle.
bovil: (Default)
Assuming it doesn't crash and burn because nobody gets it (and I barely get it), it's going to be a hell of a service once it matures. It has some real potential to be a serious productivity and collaboration aid (and/or a total time-sink like Facebook).

At the moment it's seriously lacking in a lot of areas.

It needs better contact management and categorization, and perhaps a method for blocking undesirable contacts. Right now things are manageable, but that will change over time.

It needs an update notification system. Scheduled email summaries, IM integration, something.

It needs output services. I built a trip using "trippy" (which is a pretty cool and useful extension, by the way) but I've got no way to output it (other than a screen print).
bovil: (Default)
The car is fixed. It no longer makes hmmmmmm and thummm-thummm-thummm sounds.

I need to go out shopping for jeans. The jeans I have now are too big and too bulky to just belt comfortably.

I plugged a new power supply into the dead Dell. It's alive again, and is my new living room computer. It's got a few issues (Ubuntu linux doesn't really like the audio chipset, and the wireless keyboard is useless until it's booted into an operating system) but it's turning out to be a pretty good little media station (particularly since it's not powered up and overheating 7x24).

I am playing with free VOIP services. I've got a Gizmo5 (sipphone.com) account set up using Ekiga client (yes, I've tried Gizmo, Qutecom and linphone, this is the combo that works nicely with my hardware and Windows). I haven't set up Skype yet, but I may...

My spare work computer is going back to work, to do worky things. I've actually got need for it there again.
bovil: (Default)
It looks like the Dimension 5100c has finally crapped out. It's bad timing, but it could be worse.

Rather than buying another refurbished machine from the Dell factory outlet, I'm seriously considering a build-to-order box from Central Computers. Here's the specs I'm thinking about:

Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 2.8Ghz
ASUS P5QL Motherboard
4gb RAM


Sanity check?
bovil: (Default)
We've had ups and downs with medium-format printing.

The Epson R2200 that we got used we were only able to get a few dozen prints out of before it clogged to the point of no return. We gave it to [livejournal.com profile] didjiman (who already owned another R2200), figuring that he might be able to get it to work.

I ordered a Canon i9900 to replace it. It has a user-replaceable print head, so clogging is a repairable issue (and can often be repaired by pulling the head and soaking it). It's been a real workhorse, but ink costs are a bit high. Costco is a help with that, but only to a degree.

Since I've started taking more photographs, I started looking into the printer a bit more thoroughly. I discovered that the colorfastness of the Canon inks isn't that great.

I finally decided to start looking for a bulk feed system and alternate inks. The only problem is that the i9900 has been out of production for a few years and everybody who used to sell conversion kits for them was out of stock. Well, almost everybody.

It turns out Absolute Inkjet (part of Ink2Image) was listing a bulk feed system for the i9900, and archival (by dye ink standards) ink. I ordered it.

I waited.

And waited.

About 6 weeks later I got an invoice and a tracking number. It came in a week or so after Labor Day.

It's actually a pretty sophisticated system, with really cool substitute cartridge for the default "sponge" style cartridges. There was only one problem: one cartridge had the retaining tab snapped off.

It took about a week to get through to ink2image (my first email was lost, but using the web contact form worked) and they sent me two spare cartridges. The cartridge swap was dirt-simple.

Because of the ink change, the whole printer needed to be flushed. One of the other things ink2image sells is "refillable" ink cartridge sets; one set and a bottle of head cleaner (that they charmingly refer to as "Dead Head Recovery Fluid") is a suggested purchase along with the bulk feed kit.

I'm glad I went with the bulk system rather than just using refillable cartridges. They're easy enough to fill, but a bit messy to reseal. Still, 8 cartridges filled with cleaner (and over 2/3 of my cleaner left) and the printer was flushed.

Priming the bulk system and installing it wasn't a piece of cake, but it wasn't too difficult. I only made a mess of the red ink, because it was more difficult to monitor while priming than the other cartridges.

The ink I went with is the Lyson Photonic ink for Canon printers.

If you consider doing this, it's very important that you know something: These inks do not match the colors of the OEM Canon inks. You can't run these inks unless you can print using custom ICC color profiles. If you do, everything is going to look washed out and brown.

ink2image provides sample ICC profiles for a few paper types, but for really good results you're going to need to use a print calibration system to match your screen output. On the cool side, Lyson claims that, properly calibrated, the Fotonic inks will produce a color range similar to that of traditional photo chemistry (much better than that of most ink-jet printers).

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday doing calibration runs, and I've learned a few things:
  1. After adding ink to the external tanks, it's possible to end up with streaky output. I think this is a side-effect of letting the ink level run too low before refilling. Running a few prints solves this problem.
  2. The wide-gamut inks look better on photo paper, even properly calibrated they lack brightness on plain paper.
  3. A photo that looks good on the screen isn't necessarily going to look good in a print. The exposure has to be much better to produce a good print than it has to be to look OK on the screen. Rodeo prints are looking good, pics from Saturday night are blah.
  4. Bulk ink is crazy-cheap, even the archival ink costs about 1/5 the cost of ink cartridges. The "AbsoluteMatch" ink for Canon costs less for a 4oz (120ml) bottle than a single cartridge of Canon ink (15ml) costs.
bovil: (Default)
K and I are both ready to give our personal websites a redesign.

His is just a pretty straight HTML site. I've got old HTML pages, but the main site is Joomla 1.0.x and Gallery 2.

I'm not wedded to the tools I'm using right now. That said, my first path option is:
  • Joomla 1.5
  • Gallery 2.3
It's less than optimal, though. The Joomla/Gallery bridge module is pretty much abandoned.

So here's what I want, in order of importance:
  1. Easy web-based content administration
  2. Support for direct HTML formatting of content (rich-text editing not required)
  3. Structured navigation
  4. Easily managed user and group security
  5. Easy template management and design customization
  6. Fully embedded photo gallery with an upload client option (for photos I don't want to put on Flickr)
  7. LiveJournal Integration
  8. Twitter integration
  9. Flickr integration
  10. Delicious.com bookmark integration
  11. Librarything integration
  12. LinkedIn integration
Anybody got any tools or combination of tools they're willing to suggest?
bovil: (Default)
...with Adobe Senior Systems Engineer Rick Miller (scroll down the page a bit).

At work.

So not all of this is Rick's fault. A lot of it isn't.

So the downside: The class description wasn't that great. It suggested much more Lightroom focus than Photoshop focus. It was also populated by folks with a wide range of skill levels, and a 6-hour class was already stretching things. We spent a lot of time working through things that were difficult to see on the low-ish resolution projector (Adobe software is nothing if not a screen-landscape hog). We spent a lot of time on basics that people had to be led through. I think Rick would have done better with more time or with a more advanced class.

The upside: I came out with some work-related knowledge (alas, the most important parts had more to do with the classroom than the subject of the class). I got two big answers covered. One of them isn't well (if at all, for that matter) documented. It turns out that, in the Library Module of Lightroom, keywording behaves very differently in the Grid and Loupe views. I haven't seen that explained before.

More time would have been good, mostly because there would have been time to show how so many of the neat features in Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw that Rick covered are so much easier and more flexible in Lightroom. If nothing else, this class is a good introduction so people can go buy Kelby Training books and DVDs and have a head start.

So my brain is kind of trashed, but it was worth it.
bovil: (Default)
So I wrote this up because of a specific incident, but I'm filing off the serial numbers because it something that other organizations could and should take advantage of.

Twitter is still new to everybody. It's still evolving. Most twitter users don't see it as anything other than another over-sharing tool. A few months ago I would have classified it as a stupid novelty, but I've seen what it can do, particularly for conferences. Peter Anghelides and Paul Cornell made great use of it at Gallifrey. Eastercon attendees this year were very active on twitter.

A twitter account for the organization is a great way to get reminders and updates out to members. That's something Anticipation is doing well.

A defined "hashtag" (like #amazonfail) allows both attendees and staff keep tabs on public discussion (much like a google alert; y'all do have a google alert on "XYZXYZ," don't you?). There's no formal process to create a hashtag, just pick one (preferrably one that's not going to be used for other stuff by other people) and start using it.

At-con I would put up posters publicizing the hashtag. I would also put a workstation in ops and/or security offices with a client that could monitor the account for replies and direct messages and also monitor member posts that have the XYZXYZ hashtag. Maybe program ops too, there is likely to be a fair amount of chatter about how program items are going. Twitter makes for a very effective back-channel without needing extensive internal IT support or even wi-fi in the conference facilities.

It's not something to really depend on (don't even suggest that it's an emergency contact system in any pubs), but it's a great supporting tool.

Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and search on #gally and #eastercon for examples.
bovil: (Default)
OK, I'm not going to rant about the Facebook interface redesign, I just don't care. It's not anywhere near the biggest bit of suck in Facebook.

The biggest bit of suck in Facebook is apps. Useless apps. Stupid apps. Spam apps. Deceptive apps. All without any real oversight from Facebook.

(Yes, I was stupid once, I clicked on a spam app. Never again.)

There's also all the app "status updates." Think about it. Do you really want to share your game status with everyone?

I don't give a damn about your hatchlings, your flair, any of that crap. It's just a virtual version of Let me tell you about my character, it's a half-elf ranger with a plus-twelve longsword and a magic bow and...

You've all been in that discussion at a convention, gnawing your leg off to escape. I suppose I could have updated that for WoW characters instead of D&D. It would have been more appropriately virtual.

That change your perspective on apps posting on your wall and profile?

So if you're a Facebook user, and you're my friend, please consider the following:

Clean up your apps.Your friends will thank you, and your Facebook will start working better.

Avoid new apps
  1. Visit your "notifications" page. Un-check other applications besides "feed comments" and "likes." After you un-check an app, a panel appears above your notifications, and you can mark the application notifications as spam.
  2. If you get an invite to an app, there's a little "block application" link below the invite. Use this link, and you will stop getting invites on that app.
  3. If you know the name of an app, use the "search" bar at the top to find the application's page. You can block applications you haven't been invited to on their pages.
  4. If you do find yourself on an "authorization page" for an app, find the name of the app in the description. Don't click on the big authorize button. Click on the application name link to go to the app's page, and block it.


Block apps. It's the right thing to do.

ETA: Wow... Authorization pages are really your friend. I just went through my newsfeed, clicking on apps that are posting to it, and used the auth page's link to the app pages to block a bunch. I also just found out that if I block apps they stop posting to my newsfeed (in spite of the warnings that suggest otherwise). I'm now rid of Hatchlings and a bunch of others.
bovil: (Default)
I know I'm going to get crucified for saying this, but it's not as bad as it looks.

The "Highlights" section? That's as bad as it looks, perhaps worse. Hate it. Wish I could switch it off. On the other hand, it's just annoying clutter.

Other stuff?

The "Publisher" (which replaces/modifies the status update section) is pretty nice, and provides some uniformity that was missing in all the different "update" panels. It's pretty slick.

"Highlights" wiped out all the application bookmarks that used to reside at the left of "home" but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If it hadn't I might have continued to fail to notice the "Applications" section of the floating status bar at the bottom of the page (floating! it's always there, regardless of how much you scroll!). Now it's the only (and completely consistent across all pages) way to access your applications. I guess I was just being stupid going back to "home" to find my apps if this has been there the whole time.
bovil: (Default)
Not in simple social networking and tech terms, but actually using MySpace to promote a performer?
bovil: (Default)
Does anyone know of a good online conference/meeting tool? Qualifications are:
  • voice out for presenter
  • text chat in for other participants
  • slide/presentation support
  • screen sharing
  • doesn't require a big client
  • doesn't require a dial-in conference call
  • cross-platform
  • low-ish bandwidth
  • free


  • I know about Second Life, but I believe it violates the "doesn't require a big client" and "low-ish bandwidth" requirements. I'm looking for something that is easy for attendees of the meeting to use, preferably without needing to install software on their machine.
bovil: (Default)
...but you never know, this might get me some hits.

There's an interesting little bug in Notes mail 8.0/8.5.

On some clients, whenever you open mail, the following error dialog pops up: "Notes Error: Specified command is not available from the workspace"

This is a nuisance error; it doesn't appear to have any impact on the client.

There are precisely 2 related threads in the Notes/Domino 8.0 forums. There are none in the Notes/Domino 8.5 forums. There are no solutions.

I think I've found one, though.

The error seems to be related to a database launch property, "Restore as last viewed by user." Switch this off, the dialog goes away. Of course, I've only been able to test this on my computer, I need to repeat the test on other machines that have this problem.
bovil: (Default)
Flickr uploads suck from work. I think our packetshaper is throttling me. Flickr uploads from home, even while BitTorrent and Mozy are running, are more reliable and faster.
bovil: (Default)
LCD displays are pretty cheap these days. Yeah, some of the "pro" color LCD displays are still expensive (as in $1k for a 22" unit), but there are some under $500 and a normal 22" display will come in under $200.

Now I've got an old (probably 6 years at least) LCD monitor in the studio that has seen better days. I could have replaced it for around $350 with a high-gamut display. Still, I went out and spent $500 (well, $450, and in the end $400) for a monitor & printer profiling and calibration tool.

ColorMunki Photo is a simple spectrophotometer. It comes with simple software to profile and calibrate displays (including projectors) and profile printers. How simple?

Display calibration is practically magic. Just hang the device in front of the monitor and run the automated profiling routine. At the end it shows you "before" and "after." Chances are the difference will be drastic. A background task on your computer uses this profile to adjust your display colors.

Print profiling is almost as easy. Print a sample page, wait for it to dry and scan it. Print a second sample page wait for it to dry and scan it. It generates and installs an ICM profile from the collected data. There's an "AppSet" tool that will even automatically set up CS4 apps to use the profiles automatically.

Mind you, the software isn't perfect. There can be a bit of twitchiness involved in getting the spectrophotometer drivers to load (they're in the program directory, if your machine can't find them to install). There's a bunch of additional crap (like .NET 3.5 and some other SDK pieces) that are poky to install.

Still, $400 to calibrate displays on 3 computers (the license is good for 3 computers, Mac, Windows or a mix) is a pretty good deal, particularly if some of them have integrated displays that you can't switch out for something better.
bovil: (Default)
...only it's not, really.

LJ sacked about 25% of the San Francisco office staff. Not the 30-60% (and higher) that's been floating around in the rumorsphere. What's particularly ironic is that this was being reported by Gawker Media's ValleyWag, the victim of huge layoffs (60%, well, 3 of 5 people) back in October.

Gawker has since revised down their original numbers (20 of 28 staffers fired!) after Livejournal, Inc. released a statement to cnet.
bovil: (Default)
I just ran the numbers on Comcast vs. AT&T. We're looking at a significant cost savings with AT&T.

That said...

How is the VoIP service? How is the voice mail? There's nothing I hate more than voice mail, and I've got to say I like the digital voice mail on the iPhone.

We actually use the Comcast "On Demand" feature a bit. How is the video-on-demand on uVerse?

Crankiness

Dec. 16th, 2008 11:02 pm
bovil: (Default)
It is, of course, the time for annoying things to go wrong.

My wardrobe cabinet tipped over the other night. Granted, it was badly unbalanced with everything in it and stacked on it. It's done this a few times before. This time, though, it's wonked up enough that it doesn't want to stand very well anymore, and the drawers are sticking badly. I see a trip to Ikea in our future.

We've got a ground fault interrupter that keeps tripping when it rains. Trips immediately after resetting when it's raining. Resets fine after the rains let up. I'm expecting a leak tripping it.

It does look like one of the drives in the ReadyNAS is failing. It's a soft fail rather than a hard fail, which the system just doesn't deal with gracefully. I've got a support request in with the ReadyNAS team to identify the failing drive, and then I'll send the bad drive back to Hitachi for warranty replacement. At least that's only going to cost a few bucks to ship the drive out to the RMA depot.
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