Wednesday, April 27, 2011

HP LaserJet 1012 on Windows 7

As I sit here typing a brief guide to installing outdated software on low-end hardware, I'm also struggling to install outdated hardware using unsupported drivers. This time I'm justifying the waste of time with the assertion that I'm actually saving myself time from researching the purchase of a new printer.

So here's the dilemma. I have an HP LaserJet 1012 black & white printer, a stalwart of the Cold War, which in the transition to Windows 7 has been lost from HP's blessing. The drivers are still available from HP, but alas, only for Vista. Fortunately, those drivers do include a 64-bit version, which just may be compatible with my Windows 7 64-bit laptop.

Through numerous forums, I wandererd through alternative LaserJet drivers with subsequent "Unsupported Personality" errors but eventually landed on a solution that has at least printed the 18 papers required for my upcoming small group session. Here is the solution, in the off chance that you too might find the need to print some papers in a hurry using a venerable LaserJet:
  1. Download the HP LaserJet 1012 drivers. In my case, I chose the Vista 64-bit version, even though I actually have Windows 7 64-bit, as there are no Win7 drivers available. I extracted these files to a folder.
  2. Install Windows USB Printing Support. When I first plugged in the printer, it tried to install itself as a DOT4 device, but apparently I needed it as a USB device. Since the USB driver was not initially available, I had to manually add it by selecting it through this very short trail: Control Panel > System and Security > System > Device Manager > IEEE 1284 (eg "IEEE 1284.4 devices") > DOT4 USB printing support > Driver > Update driver > Browse my computer for driver software > Let me pick... > USB Printing Support.
  3. Add the printer. Back in the Control Panel, I went to View Devices and Printers > Add a printer > Add a local printer, and I chose USB001 (Virtual printer port for USB). At the driver selection page, I chose Have Disk and navigated to the drivers previously downloaded. Thus hp LaserJet 1012 HB drivers appeared in the printer list, ready for installation.
Looking back, the solution is simpler than I had anticipated. But reading through the all the articles that I've finally been able to print...not such a simple task!

XScreenSaver on Ubuntu

The screensavers on my Ubuntu desktop and laptop installs silently ceased launching power management over the past few months. As an eco-frienly aspirator, I realized that this simply cannot be, and decided to fish out an alternate screensaver source.

Fortunately, a screensaver with working power management that could be installed with only a few steps proved readily available. If you find yourself in this situations, feel free to follow the template outlined below. And if it saves you a few cents on electricity costs, don't forget to re-invest that in a Prius.

  1. Install xscreensaver and uninstall gnome-screensaver. The Synaptic Package Manager will do just fine for the job.
  2. Launch xscreensaver. The easiest way is to open a terminal and simply launch, "xscreensaver".
  3. Changes settings to your delight. For me, I used the Advanced > Display Power Management tool to enable power management controls so that my display went to standby in a timely manner. Note that "standby", "suspend", and "off" here refer to the display, even though those names are so acutely reminiscent of the entire computer.
  4. To ensure that xscreensaver launches automatically, open a terminal and run the command, "sudo ln -sf /usr/bin/xscreensaver-command /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command".
And voila, your brand-new 2009 software is ready to take your monitor into the next decade!

Monday, April 18, 2011

To Hell With Hell?

Yesterday the pastor at my church preached on the reality and eternality of hell in light of the recent popular controversy surrounding its existence. I agree that hell is a very frightening place, yet a place whose existence we must embrace just as we must with any other inconvenient truth. But the paradox that remains in many of our minds is this: how can God allow, let alone send people to, a place of such tortuous proportions as hell?

One might argue that even a loving God must send people to hell because he is also a just God. He is a God who must exact payment for sin just as a judge, no matter how much mercy he might have on a sinner, must sentence him to punishment for what he has done. But I think that with hell, there might also be a simpler answer: if hell is by definition a place apart from Christ, then ending up in hell is simply the natural result of choosing not to follow Christ. In other words, we might say that those who have chosen to reject Christ, to turn away from rather than follow him, are getting in hell exactly what they want--to never ever have to be with Christ. In fact, we might wonder whether for them, to be in heaven would be a hellish experience, for they would have to be with Christ, the very one whom they wish not to be with, for all eternity.

If so, God is not being malicious or cruel by sending people to hell. On the contrary, we might argue that he is being merciful and gracious by giving people what they want. So what then about the fire and brimstone of hell portrayed in the Bible? Does he not appear to actively and excessively punish people in hell, rather than merely allowing them to go where they please? I wonder if the fire and brimstone of hell may not be so much a depiction of God's active punishment. Instead, it may be describing what it sees as the end result of being apart from God--a feeling akin to what we may feel on earth when distant from someone we should be with, a feeling of emptiness and loneliness and dissatisfaction, something we might almost describe as a burning longing. Multiply this feeling by eternity, and the product is a gnawing and agonizing sense of discord, what we might even call a fiery feeling, a hellish experience.

As Christ himself tells us, "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:17). He did not come to punish, to send us to torture, but the very opposite--to provide for us a new relationship with him, a way out of this eternal loneliness. Instead of judging those who choose not to be with him, he simply asserts, "This is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light" (v.19) Rather than coming to condemn or to judge, he allows us ultimately to choose our paths for ourselves, and if we could not stand to be with him--even then he gives us what we love.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Blogger dynamic views

Today I noticed that Blogger offers new "Dynamic Views" for visualizing blog content in alternative layouts. All I had to do was add "/view" to the end of the blog URL, and voilĂ , I could view the blog in layouts reminiscent of Picassa collages, Gmail on the iPad, or a slightly confusing but innovate view called Timescale. The layouts seem like a nice way to get an overview of the entire blog from different angles, like sorting files by name vs. filetype vs. date modified timestamp. The Picassa-style collages (Flipcard, Mosaic, Snapshot), for example, have tiled and mosaic modes as well as a way to look at all the pictures in posts.

I personally liked using Gmail-on-tablet-style mode (Sidebar), which makes it easier to see each posting at length while separately scrolling around to see other articles. To get to additional articles, I had to use the mouse scrollwheel over the sidebar, or just clicking on an article lower in the list scrolled the bar.

Timescale also seemed like a useful organizing scheme by organizing articles in three columns, each with decreasing level of granularity, sorta like looking under a microscope at different magnifications. Somehow, Timescale seemed to figure out which of the articles were the more "interesting" ones on Voice of Text Flex, although many of the articles with images on this blog didn't seem to "make the cut" to the first column.

But the most ironic thing was viewing the dynamic layouts on Android. On Android's stock browser, I received the following message:

which would almost seem to imply that the mobile browser isn't quite "modern" enough and up to snuff for the technology, whereas on Firefox for Android, it works just fine:

Good to see Firefox is still alive and kicking. Well, enough about lay-outs for it's time for me to lay-down to bed!