Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Parallel Port Card for the Dimension 5100

This is more for my future reference than for you, my dear readers. Henry is now using my old desktop. This presented a problem as the old Deskjet 722C was hooked to his old computer that had a parallel port. My Dimension 5100 lacked such a port. So I ordered a Startech parallel port PCI cardfrom Amazon. The instructions on the manufacturer’s site worked perfectly and the printer is hooked up again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Leaky Hose Nozzle

Our old Italian hose nozzle was leaking and was clogged.


The nozzle. I like writing “nozzle”. It’s a funny word.


The barrel unscrews from the nut that retains it.


Full of rust and the two rubber seals/o-rings were hard.


The 2/3 steel clip was malleable and easily removed. The metal (not sure what alloy, didn’t look at it closely) washer is important. I wire brushed the corrosion and minerals off of the stem.


I scavenged in my o-ring collection for suitable replacements.


Everything back in place, lubed with petroleum jelly. The barrel was screwed back on and it works 99% as good as new. The tension on the nut is important, too tight and you can’t easily adjust the flow by hand. You can tighten it up to the point where it binds then back it off just to the point where it adjusts easily.

Printing from Windows 7 (64 bit) to a 722C Networked Printer.

I know, all this computer stuff is boring, but it’s my blog. I’m mostly writing this entry so I have the info collected for future use.

We have an old workhorse HP 722C printer hooked up to Henry’s PC. While I usually print to the printer on my desk, for larger runs, such as a PDF manual, I print to the 722C which is more economical. Unfortunately Windows 7 64 bit has some issues setting up to do this. Windows 7 32 bit does not have this problem, apparently.

Here’s what I had to do.

From this thread on the HP forums (2nd post on the page):

“Install the printer as if it were connected to LPT1:, then  go to the Devices and Printers folder, right click on the Deskjet 722, Printer Settings, Ports, Add Port, Local Port, \\XPname\Printershare name (with the proper XP computer and printer share names), Next.   Do not print the test page.  Before printing to the shared printer from the Win 7 machine apply the patch.”

722C did not appear on the menu of printers so I selected 720C instead.Once installed I downloaded, unzipped and copied the patched DLL files as noted in this thread and referenced in the above thread:

“The attached file contains a patch for this issue.  Apply the patch as follows: First make sure the driver for the printer is installed.   Log into the computer with an administrative account.  Download the patch by clicking on this link or on the paper clip at the end of this post.  Save the patch file to your computer, then unzip it.  Next copy the three DLL files to the following directory:  
This can be done from a DOS prompt if DOS is opened with the "run as administrator" command, or from explorer with a copy and paste.  Depending on your UAC settings you may need to provide confirmation.  Also allow the current files to be overwritten if prompted. This patch is not required and should not applied to a 32 bit version of Vista or Windows 7.”

The printer share name was not “\\Henry\DeskJet 722C Printer” as appeared on my other machines, instead it was “\\Henry\Printer”.

Anyway, it works fine now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Computer

Well I finally gave in and bought a new PC. The old Dell 8100 still works fine but was definitely old technology, with a 3Ghz Pentium 4 and only 2 Gb of RAM.

So I spent several weeks looking at various models online from a variety of manufacturers. I had many decisions to make and there were a variety of unknowns. Would all my old programs work on a 64 bit machine? Would I hate Windows 7? What type of system would last the 5 to 7 years before an upgrade without driving me nuts?

In the end I settled on a Dell Studio XPS 8100.  Then I started looking at the various options and each time I added them up I got well North of $1000…sigh.

So I looked at the Dell Outlet. They offer “scratch and dent” and refurbished models at a not insignificant discount. I found a system that was pretty much what I wanted. It has a Core i5 750 processor, 8 Gb of RAM and a 512Mb GeForce 310 graphics card, running Windows 7, 64 bit. Not the most powerful system, but plenty for the sort of stuff I do. I also ordered a 23” monitor from the Outlet at the same time.

The delivery date was the next Friday. So I waited, and checked the status daily. I noticed that the monitor had shipped but that the computer was still “In Production”. That seemed odd as the systems are sold as-is, off the shelf. So I went to their Facebook page and asked what that meant.

The extremely helpful woman who manages their Facebook presence got right back to me and said that it means they lost the system and were finding a comparable system to send out. Not a problem, these things happen. That Friday I received the monitor and shoved the box in the corner. Then on Sunday I decided to open up the Monitor and hook it up to my old computer to see how it looked. When I opened the box I found that it was not a monitor but was the computer that they had lost!

So I contacted them again to let them know what had happened as I didn’t want them to ship two computers. What happened next was quite unexpected. They told me to keep that system for the price of the monitor, $159! They cancelled the rest of the order. So I zipped over to Staples and bought a 24” Acer monitor.

I just want to say thanks to the Dell Outlet for providing customer service that was personal, timely and above and beyond what I expected.

As for the system…well it took me a couple of days to set the new PC up with all my old programs, passwords, etc. Windows 7 was pretty easy to tweak although many features such as the Quick Launch bar are hidden. I found out how to enable it here.

The dreaded UAC doesn’t annoy me at all but I have to say that I hate the Library file system. I can see how it’s great for people with large amounts of homogenous media types, but most of my folders consist of mixed file types. It’s easy enough to ignore the libraries and directly use the old file system. I’d love to hear how wrong I am about the libraries.

I though the Aero Snap was gimmicky when I saw it touted in ads, but it’s quite handy for my workflow.

So overall I’m just having tons of fun with the new, exceedingly fast by comparison, machine. Now to get back to work and do all the things I put off while learning the new system.

One last note, I’m composing this on Windows Live Writer. Seems like a much easier way of posting to my blogs than the tiny little interface that Blogger uses. Microsoft isn’t allowed to include the Windows Live software with PCs for some complex reason but it’s a free download.

Here’s a picture that I’ll use to test that functionality:


Well that worked.