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Wed, 26 Sep 2007

Staples, OfficeMax, the Brother 7820N and Linux

A tale of two online stores. Act One. Find nice multifunction laser printer. Find good price on multifunction laser printer at OfficeMax (~$199). Place order. Wait a week. Call OfficeMax phone-line (which answered to a real-live person in approximately 3 rings). Backordered.

Receive assurances that “BACKORDERED” means that it’ll be coming in another 1-3 days. Wait another week. No printer. Call again (again, answers in 3 rings). Oops, didn’t you get the email? (no) We couldn’t find that printer, so sorry, order cancelled.

Act Two. Find same printer at better price at ($199 w/ $50 rebate, rebate pending). Place order. Call phone support (to make sure they actually have it). End up waiting a minute or two on hold, but they assure me they’ve got plenty.

Act Three. Printer comes, right when they said it would. Plug printer in to Ubuntu (via USB), find-printer dialog finds it right away. Brother has a linux-driver page (woot!), instructions are sane and have downloads for both RedHat and Debian flavors. Sane/Scanning support is slightly PITA because it requires those binary drivers, and because of permissions issues (scanning as root works, but not as normal users).

Google to the rescue, and some unix-fu later gets me the following line I need to put into udev rules, and everything magically works right:

# Brother MFC 7820n
SYSFS{idVendor}=="04f9", SYSFS{idProduct}=="0181", MODE="664", GROUP="scanner"

…with the caveat that UDEV APPEARS TO BE CASE-SENSITIVE IN ITS HEX STRINGS. ZOMG. This is about the only thing that prevents all this from being granny-compatible. Marvel at how far we have come.

22:24 CST | category / entries
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Fri, 21 Sep 2007

One Semester of Spanish

Updates, get your updates. To the left you will find imported RSS feeds from and The stuff is basically stuff that I either want to find again, or looks interesting but I don’t have time to read. You’ll have to subscribe to them individually until I can figure out awesome RSS aggregation or similar. I try to push at least one blog entry a month (and two if I skip a month :^) - if you visit my page at least once a month, you’ll find that the links on the left get little asterisks if they’ve been recently added.

I’ve got more guitar recordings going, I’m getting geometrically better at recording good “takes” of the songs… the first time took 10, the next time took ~5, the most recent ones took between 1 and 3 (yes, one take!!!). I will post them as bandwidth and time allows.

For now, you should check out this spanish love song… I must learn it so I can sing to Bety.


17:44 CST | category / entries / links
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Fri, 07 Sep 2007

Boned By Apple

Phatpod iPod Nano - Like your sleek device for workouts? Too bad, go get a Shuffle - BONED

$.99 ringtone on top of $.99 to buy the song (certain songs only) - BONED

Starbucks “integration” - now my iPhone will spend a few extra seconds every time I hook up to a Wifi access point looking for coffee music - BONED

We managed to fit really nice HDs in iPods, but not the new Touch iPod - but you get a few millimeters back - BONED

$599 to $399 price drop in 2 months → EXTREMELY BONED


Great comment on slashdot, pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter. Actually there was another one that I can’t be bothered to find now:

“Big Storage (iPod-classic) == Small Screen. Big Screen (iPod-touch) == Small Storage (iPod-touch).”

Plus I can’t imagine myself pulling out my iPod-touchtm while on the couch at home to check what the weather is. Serious WTF-age.

Anyway, most likely my home network changes will be as follows:

  1. Drop old printer, old scanner, old desktop
    Printer is inkjet and starting to go bad and scanner keeps flaking out. The hard-drives on my big burly desktop linux box (AMD 1.5ghz - lol) keep trying to die, and it is time to move on. Plus everything takes up too much space and I hardly ever even turn on the desktop anymore, using the 1.33ghz PowerBook for 90% of my at-home stuff.
  2. Buy laser-multifunction device (print/scan/copy/fax)
    For less than $200 I can get an all-in one laser MFD that works with Mac, Linux. It’s those standard office things, larger than the nice small inkjet ones, but it’s a laser!
  3. Replace Big Linux Desktop with Litle Linux Laptop
    It plays music. It has access to the network. It’s battery does not work but it was free.
  4. Buy Airport Express (for use with 160gb USB2.0 HD)
    It is a wireless router. It shares a USB2.0 Hard Drive over wireless(!), and/or printers, as well as supports wired connection. It is only a bit more expensive and does a bunch more than the old NSLUG which died a mysterious death once upon a time.
  5. Connect XBox to Airport
    Airport + HD becomes the new home for my iTunes Library, which the XBox can access over the network (fingers crossed!).
  6. Buy new iPod-classic
    I’ll have to spool all songs over to MP3 instead of OGG in order to listen to them on the iPod (damn you de-facto standards!), but if all my music now ‘lives’ on the shared hard-drive I can afford to keep two copies of it, in both MP3 and original OGG’s. I probably won’t even use all of the 80gb, but $249 v. $349 … the extra 80gb tempts me even if I just dedicate that portion to mobile/portable backup.
  7. iPod → TV + Remote
    It can also play music, shows photos, plays music videos, etc, etc.
  8. Ideally this will let me:

    • Make copies w/ the MFD, no computer necessary(tm)
    • Play my music on my TV and in my Car and at Work (yay!)
    • Take up a less space and be more convenient

    Here’s to progress and finally giving in to the AAPL machine.

    00:21 CST | category / entries
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