Print ’til you drop!

Inspired by something I read this morning, here’s my own anecdotal experience.

Epson inkjet printers: when it says “Ink Low!” (implying “your dog will DIE if you don’t replace the offending cartridge RIGHT NOW!”

…ignore it.

Modern Epsons (at least – I have no experience with other inkjets) will print merrily along for many more pages before they will finally say “OK: enough is enough – I simply refuse to print any more!” at which point, you replace the cartridge.

Again, YMMV, but with mine, even if it’s half way thru printing an image, it will pause, and present you with the cartridge tray, and let you replace the empty cart with a new one…and then happily resume printing right from where it left off. You’ll never see the difference.

However: the key to this is to NOT go into “replace-the-cartridge-mode” (meaning don’t hit cancel; don’t hit pause; don’t do a thing except replace the cartridge. If you do otherwise, you’ll lose what’s been printed so far, and will have to start over.)

And, as to laser printers, at least with my HP color one: it will start whining early on about how low the toners are. There’s two things to that:

1) there’s a menu selection (buried, of course) that you can use to tell it to quit complaining and just keep printing; and

2) once it starts complaining, (or you see the “low supplies” in the print dialog box) you probably have a ways to go.

I’m at that point now, and I printed out a report on the “remaining consumables” – and it turns out it, each of those “dangerously low” cartridges were fully capable of printing…

…wait for it..

345 -more- pages!


Users and computers on a network: a basic introduction

Unix (which is what Mac OSX is) was designed for colleges and businesses. There are, in those institutions, dozens of different computers, and thousands of different users.

So the first thing to get straight is that users (human beings) are separate and distinct from computers (boxes of electronics.)

All the users want access to all the computers.

To do this, all the computers have to be on the same network.

To avoid confusion then, the COMPUTER NAMES are all different.

By using different COMPUTER NAMES, the USERS can mount any or all of them, and tell which is which.

So, for example, let’s say there are 9 computers on the network, and they are named “one” “two” “three” “four” “five” “six” “seven” “eight” and “nine”.

You could be running on computer “three” and have “one” and “eight” mounted on your desktop.

Everything is still clear and understandable, eh? No confusion about which computer is which?

Next, let’s assume you have 26 USERS (human beings) who want access to all 9 COMPUTERS. Let’s say their 26 names are “Alpha Name” “Beta Name” “Charlie Name”… and so on thru to “Zero Name”.

The USER creates his own account on each of the nine COMPUTERS.

Why? Because with all those people (26 of them) on the computer, we don’t want private information, or individually purchased applications; or passwords etc, to be discoverable by the other 25 people; because some are administrators of the entire computer, and some cannot do administration things. So each can have is own desktop, and settings… etc.

So Alpha Name creates his user account on COMPUTER “one” and then goes to COMPUTER “two” and does the >exact same thing<... and so on down the line to computer "nine". On each of these computers, he creates an account named exactly "Alpha Name". The COMPUTERS automatically supplies a "short (user) name" for the account, which is the USER's first name, in lower case. So the "short name" of USER "Alpha Name" is "alpha." >AT THE TIME OF ACCOUNT CREATION< the USER can select a different "short name" from the computer-suggested lower-case first name. So "Alpha Name" may decide she likes "honeybear" as a short name instead of "alpha"... she can make that change when the account is established. Just like the full USER name, the "short name" is tied and permanently fixed to that account. Neither can be changed. Why? Because that would allow the defeat the privacy of each user. Still with me? So: COMPUTER "one" has accounts with USER  short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". COMPUTER "two" has accounts with USER  short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". COMPUTER "three" has accounts with USER  short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". COMPUTER "four" has accounts with USER  short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". Now: USER  "honeybear" can choose any one of the COMPUTERS named "one" "two" "three" "four" "five" "six" "seven" "eight" and "nine" and always sign into any or all of them as "honeybear." So: when you choose "go" from the finder to mount a new drive * you are telling it which computer to try to mount, either by name (if you choose "browse")  or IP address. Right there, you have specified the computer you want. Next it pops up a dialog with a list of users. That's because you could be any one of the 26 users on that computer, and it has no way of know which one you are unless you choose a user name and supply the password. Once you do that, you are signed into that chosen computer, as that particular user, just was if you were sitting in front of it, and using its own keyboard. Tracy * I almost never do this with my local network, except for the first time. Once I have a remote computer mounted on my desktop, I just create an alias to it, and leave that alias on the desktop. Then when I restart, and want to re-mount that computer, I just click on the alias. Much simpler.

My millions

Here’s an email I just received. I particularly like the last line.


You were made the beneficiary of Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars

(3.5M USD) which is to be remitted to you.

I want to assure you that the transaction is absolutely legal and 100% risk free as the

entire process of the transaction will be done in accordance with the law so as to prove

that the fund is free from drugs or terrorism.

The fund have been bonded, sealed and approved for remittance to you, no one has the

authority to deduct any amount from the fund until it is remitted to you.

In order to facilitate the remittance of your fund to you you have the option to choose

whether your fund should be delivered to you or transferred into your bank.

You are hereby advised to acknowledge the receipt of this email, so that we can proceed with

the transaction.


Henchard Cole.

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Formatting your drive

On using Disk Utility (DU) for changing the formatting type:

First: the obvious – changing the formatting type will totally erase the target disk, causing you to permanently lose everything on it (unless you have a backup, of course.)

Next: there are drives (the physical hard disk) upon which reside one or more volumes. When you see an icon on your desktop, you’re looking at the volume. The finder does not have a way of working directly with drives. That’s what Disk Utility (DU) is for.

When you open DU, you’ll see two panels. On the left is the listing of the drives and volumes that DU can recognize.

You’ll see something like:

465.8 GB ST3500630AS

The uppermost one begins with the size of the hard disk, and its model number. This one is the drive itself
Underneath that, and indented slightly, is usually one or more volume names. If you do not see anything underneath a disk, then it is not formatted yet (and you need to format it.)

You select a drive or a volume to work on in the larger right hand panel, by highlighting it in the left hand panel.

If you select a volume, then above the right hand panel you’ll see: First Aid / Erase / RAID / Restore

If you select a drive, then above the right hand panel you’ll see: First Aid / Erase / Partition/ RAID / Restore (note the addition of “partition”)

To select the formatting of a drive, first select a drive in the left hand column.

Next, click the “partition” button above the right hand column

Now in the right hand column, you’ll see

Volume Scheme: Volume Information:

Beneath Volume scheme, you’ll see a popup menu, probably saying “current” and beneath that, a diagrammatic representation of all the space on the drive.

Below that, you’ll see + – Options…

These are likely grayed out.

click on the popup menu directly underneath the words “Volume Scheme”, and select the number of partitions, (volumes) you want on the drive. “1 Partition” is the most common, although you may choose more.

Once you do that (choosing anything other than “Current”) the “Options…” button at the bottom of the diagram will become active.

Click on it, and select the format you want for the drive: GUID Partition Table; Apple Partition Map; Master Boot Record.

Then Click OK.

Click to confirm that you want to go ahead, and the drive will be reformatted in the selection method.


And… only so it’s all in one place, here the bit from my previous post about those different formats:

And in that vein, here’s a bit about GUID (aka GPT) vs APM.

[GPT = GUID Partition Table = Globally Unique IDentifier Partition Table]
[APM = Apple Partition Map]

When you buy a bare drive, it’s formatted as… none of the above: it’s MBR – Master Boot Record – which is what PC’s use, and why you need to format it with one of the others. (MBR is recognized by the Mac OS, but its structure imposes limits on what can be stored on the disk.)

You need APM to boot a PPC Mac, or use on a PPC Mac that isn’t running at least 10.4.8.

If you’re on an Intel mac, there is no reason at all to use APM (unless, of course, you’re planning on using the drive on a machine that meets the above criteria.)

And… if you’re on a PPC machine, and are running 10.4.8 or later, then the only drive you need formatted as APM is the boot drive (&, of course, any drives you’re cloning to with the intent of doing a drop in replacement.) The rest of your drives can be GUID, which offers some advantages.

Entirely anecdotally, the seem a smidgen faster to me… although it seems it’s somewhere in the 8-10% range (and I could simple be delerious, too.)

That said, they employ checksums on the partition map and header, as well as duplicates of each of those and the partition maps are larger. There are other tidbits which, like those I just mentioned, are not anything you’d ever notice in use… but make geeks like me really happy.

(OK… it makes your drive a bit more resistant to some kinds of corruption.)

But (since block copy was mentioned here recently) one needs to be sure that you’re using a block-copy program which is written for the GUID formatting, since programs only “familiar” with APM may yield a problematic copy (depending on its intended use). See Apple TN2166.


Intel: GUID all the way.
PPC: OS less than 10.4.8 – APM all the way
PPC: OS 10.4.8 > : APM for boot; GUID for everything else.

Want a home stereo to go with your iPod?

Just in case you want to put together a little system to go with your iPod, and perhaps impress your friends… here’s what the editors of Stereophile magazine think would do nicely:

Turntable : Goldman Reference II turntable: $300,000

ToneArm: Continuum Audio Labs Cobra is $15,595

Cartridge: Clearaudio Goldfinger : $8000

Phone PreAmp: Boulder 2008: $33,250

DAD-A playback: Meridian Reference 800: $22,540

or, you could go with a separate transport and digital processor:
dCS Verdi Encore: $15,499 and dCS Elgar Plus: $15,499

PreAmp (surround): Meridian Reference 861 is $19,000

or, if you prefer stereo only: McIntosh C1000 : $26,000

Next, if you like a solid-stat amp, it’s hard to beat the Chord SPM 14000 MonoBlocks: $79,000

or for you tubie-types: Lamm Industries 2.1 MonoBlocks: $29,900

(I hate to bring it up, but some folks like to slum, and get an integrated amp: Ars Emitter II Exclusive: $24,900… very crass…)

Speakers: the Peak Consult El Diablo is only $74, 995 the pair.

Sub-woofer: the REL Studio III: $8995

Headphones: Stax SRS-007II Omega II system: $3895

Equalizer: Meridian 861with MRC room correction: $19,000

Power Isolator: Arcolink 6N-NCT: $10,950

AC cables: JPS labs Alluminata power Cable: $3499 each (you’ll need 8 for all this gear) $27,992

Interconnect cables: JPS labs Alluminata: $2999 per meter. (you’ll need about 4 of these as well.) $11,996

Speaker cables: JPS labs Alluminata: $8499 / pair (you’ll need 5 pair for surround sound) $42,249

Hey! Less than a million! : $700,705. (That’s the stereo price; if you want 5:1 surround, you probably ought to stick in another $250,000…)

Drat… that takes it right up to a million bucks… sigh

and, like computers, this will all be obsolete in a year or so, and you can start over!



And, oh yes: this stuff actually sells!