Exploring The Microsoft Surface

I’ve had a Surface for several months now. Only recently have I explored this thing in greater depth.

Just discovered the hand writing input option. which I’m using right now. It’s pretty good, in my opinion.There are some things it’s taking me a bit to get used to. One: the way it processes when I get to the end of entry line. Sometimes it takes a few seconds to catch up. On the other side, every so often it will start to process my entry mid-word.  Things often get weird. Every so often it will let me keep adding letters. Other times it just stops and gets funky. Probably my learning curve.

Have you spent any time on one of these? What did you think? I actually rather like it. We’ll see. I plan to explore it more.

And a new printer acquired…

As I lamented earlier this afternoon, my Canon Pixma bit the proverbial big one and has now migrated to the decaying pile of electronics in my garage. Soon the man in the cart will come by crying “bring out your dead” and out it will go.

So, after a bit of research, I opted for an Epson XP-640.

With good reviews (4.5ish on both BestBuy & Amazon), decent print times and decent cartridge replacement prices, seemed the best best for our needs. Mostly what we do at home is print out the occasional homework assignment, Amazon return label…stuff like that. Don’t need anything grandiose.

I must say that the installation process was straightforward and remarkably uncomplicated. And connecting it to my wifi was easy as well.

Feeling good about the choice. My old Canon, and considerably more moolah, connected to our wifi network without too much aggravation. But after “a bit” (a couple of months…not too sure), it wouldn’t connect to the network. Sneakerneting it with my PC direct connected to it via USB worked tolerably well. It was something I “was going to get to”…and, well, you know…life.

Anyway, we’ll see how this plays out with the networked printing. I’ll probably explore printing from my phone on this. But now, as I’ve been fighting a cold and am feeling dreadful, I’m going to take a nap. If I don’t lay down, I’ll be napping at my desk.

Cheers!

Cheers!

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Canon Pixma MG6620 Error Code 5011

A few days ago, my Canon Pixma MG6620 failed. I wasn’t able to get around to fixing this until today.

The ink cartridge carriage was stuck on the far right side. Looking closely, there was a white plastic piece that was pushed out from the back that blocked the feed path.

After looking around the device, stopping and restarting it several times, I finally consulted Google. There I came upon this:

I received Error Code 5011 code on my PIXMA MX922.  This is what worked for me:

  1. Press the ON button once to turn OFF the printer
  2. Press and hold the STOP button for two seconds
  3. While holding the STOP button, press and hold the ON button again.  Release the STOP button.
  4. Press the STOP button four times.  The yellow warning light will flash off and on.
  5. Release the ON button

At first read I thought “this is stupid”. Looking around the web some more, and trying a few other random things, I finally came back to this and figured “whatever, let’s try it. Worst case scenario I just wasted a minute or so”. Anyway, it worked. It looks like it resets the device.

Just to add to the fun, my computer wouldn’t connect to the printer. Uninstalled from my computer, powered the printer off, and now it won’t turn on. I’m about done with this blasted thing.

UPDATE: So, the thing is intermittently failing to power on, the error code comes back, then clears, and is not coming online. I’d say it’s time for a new printer. Not sure I’ll opt for a Canon right now. grump

UPDATE 2: A new printer has been acquired

 

Oh, YouTube Red, so close, yet so far

I’ve been hoping for YouTube to make upgrading to Red family plans easier for a few months. Imagine my delight to read this, then:

 

So I scurried over and clicked the “Upgrade Now” button, and…well…nope:

I thought myself so clever, setting up my family on a Google Apps “Standard Edition” (ancient predecessor for G Suite) back in the stone age (they stopped supporting it in 2012). It’s been nice having the family email accounts all together and under my administration (“Dad…I forgot my password…again…”). So, no Red Family plan for us…for now, at least. I suppose I can use an independent gmail account to do this. I wonder if I can share with a G Suite account from a personal account? Hmmm…

Anyway, I’m annoyed. Not angry, not going to abandon the Googleverse just yet. But, well, “harumph”!

Harumph
Harumph

That time I tried to get a job in Antarctica

Back in the mid-80s I came across a job opportunity in Antarctica. An expedition was looking for database managers. I’d just finished up a technical program for Information Processing. I’d built dBase databases, and pushed the information through Lotus, then used Word Perfect and (I think) Pagemaker to build presentations. I note some additional skills, like I’d converted an electronic typewriter so that it was a printer. I could print letter quality docs straight from my PC. In 1986 that was a unique thing.

I had a vision of the whole journey. Very wrong, of course. Laden with naivete. If I’d pulled that off, though…so much would’ve been different. 
I was certain I was a great fit for the job, and that I would get it.

I didn’t get the job. 

Back then, I was lucky to received a typed postcard (perhaps a simple 3 x 5 card) acknowledging receipt. Though I received the “No Thanks” letter a few weeks later, it was still pretty cool. The disappointment strong, yet without bitterness.

Looking back, it’s striking how much job hunting has changed. Starting with research. Now, with Google, I could’ve learned about the lead scientists, the focus of their research; I didn’t even know their names! 

The typed responses tell me they probably processed a handful of applications. I read about this in an article somewhere. There were no online job boards. A job board was, literally, a bulletin board with job postings on it. They evolved to binders in college placement offices, (and other spots, too). Nowadays, with the online job-search eco-system they’d have hundreds, if not thousands of applicants. An upside: the acknowledgement and decline processes should be fully automated. And the larger recruit pool gives them a better chance at finding a more specific skill set. But, still, thousands of applicants…

It’s striking how different life is now. But it doesn’t FEEL that different. Well, not until I look back. Not that much simpler, though, as opposed to the adage air “simpler times”. The complexities were different. I’m happy, for the most part, with the path of our evolution.

And now, Google Music

I value knowing what’s going on in the tech world. Yet, there is so much change, coming so fast, that sometimes I miss the obvious.

I subscribed to YouTube Red some time ago. My focus: ad elimination. So much of my family’s video time is spent on YouTube, so it was a prudent investment.

I didn’t realize that the subscription includes Google Music. I discovered this today, so used it as my music delivery mechanism. Music is such a core part of my being, that the way I access it has value.

I like the interface. So far, the selection has been solid. Spotify, of late, has been quite a resource hog. Accessing via a web browser seems to use resources better, or at least more gently.

Anyway, I’m exploring shifting over fully, and cancelling my Spotify account. I’ll be diving deeper into Google Music and share what I learn.

My weird brain, sci-fi and technology 

My love of things geek manifests in strange ways at times. A huge fan of Ghost in the Shell, I wonder about Wi-Fi protocols and data throughput when people “think” at each other. 

Or how many servers are on the Death Star? RAID drives? How much email gets sent daily? What kind of data connection is needed for holographic communications? 

What about the Rebel Alliance’s security chief? I’d be wondering, loudly, why you’d throw someone with as much critical detail regarding the Alliance as Leia into operations with a high likelihood of capture and exposure to, um, enhanced techniques. 

Imagining Rebel IT. I’m picturing Hoth. When we see Vader enter the base, all the equipment looks rather operational. I would’ve, at least run some kind of worm that destroys everything. I’d rather pull the hard drives, and bring them with us on the evacuation craft. Or manually destroy them. 

So, that’s how my brain works…at night, when I’m weary. 

Poor Microsoft Publisher

A few days ago I disparaged poor Microsoft Publisher. Now, I really meant nothing by it. Publisher is a fine desktop publishing software package…for what it is. Far lower prices than InDesign for one. Also, if you’re familiar with Microsoft Office’s structures and navigation, the user interface will be rather intuitive. I’ve created posters, flyers, newsletters and postcards with it. Again, it’s fine for what it is. 

My history with desktop publishing goes back into the 80s and Pagemaker. For DOS. Iterated through a few programs to Quark. It was fantastic to do paste up work digitally. Everything in one file, delivered directly to a printer. Back then, it was mostly on Zip drives. 

I’m remembering the launch of InDesign. It was nice to have photo editing in the same ecosystem, essentially the same program. And very quickly, or so it seems, InDesign took Quarks’ lunch. (Ok, you can still order Quark)  so that’s the atate of the, as the cool kids call it, industry. 

So, Publisher is great, I’ve used it a lot. But I’m glad I have access to InDesign. And that’s all I got. 

Dropbox Supports Multiple Editors In The Same Document

This won’t be news for many of you, and I’ve known about it for some time. However, I received a question about this so I thought it was time to dive in a bit deeper.

Multiple users can edit Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, etc. They both need to access the document through the Dropbox website, though. And they’ll be editing via the Microsoft Office online tool. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to link Dropbox and Office Online.
To re-link a Dropbox account to an Office Mobile app:
  1. Open the Office Mobile app.
  2. Tap the folder icon.
  3. Tap Add a place.
  4. Tap Dropbox.
  5. Tap Allow next to the Dropbox account listed (if you’re already signed in to the Dropbox app). Or, to link a new Dropbox account, tap Use a different account.