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Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices?

sanermind It depends, but I've owned a lot of printers... (381 comments)

I'm not old enough for a daisy-wheel (although my dad had one, and I remember it from when I was tiny) ...but I've owned a lot of printers over the years, and I tend to be the go-to guy to set up and configure those of family and friends.

First off, the only reason to have an inkjet is for photo printing. But the consumables are rediculous, so only get one if you can get third party ink at reasonable prices. Also plan on printing something at least once or twice a month, or the heads will clog, necessitating wasting even more ink! I'll just print out a cute picture or webcomic to put up the fridge if I have nothing else. And I may not bother buying a new one in the future... but I have an old epson 6-color (CMYKcm) printer that's almost 10 years old and still works great (as long as you don't let the heads dry out)... which also takes super-cheap generic ink. Newer ones can have issues with DRM chips in the ink cartridges which can make it harder to get generics sometimes. YMMV. But it costs me less to print a full page photo on cheap glossy-photo or matte paper, then it would to order it online, so I've stuck with it. ;)

But for any normal printing (i.e. NON-PHOTO), you're going to want to use laser printers exclusively. Their more durable, much much much faster (a 8x11 photo in hi quality on the ink jet takes something akin to 12 minutes to print)... on a laser, everything is blindingly fast.

You also definitely want to find a laser printer with cheap non-OEM toner that's readily available. I have two laser printers for day-to-day printing, a cheap ass low-end 600dpi brother (which is perfect for text buisness documents, word processing, printing the ocassional groupon or amazon return lable, etc) and generic replacement toner is dirt cheap. Even the drums are very reasonably priced. Use this for standard monochrome documents (comes out to under $0.01 a page (not including paper, and assuming %5 coverage, standard text documents, not solid black, etc))

I also have a nice office color laser (full duplex is a bonus in these larger higher-capacity office printers). There a lot of options here, look for a refurbished one online. (Also verify you can get generic toner) Mine was $300 and comes to about ~$0.06 a page.

Are you getting a theme here? ;) Bottom line, whatever printer you get, make sure you can buy non-OEM consumables readily.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?

sanermind Just be sure to own your platform! (290 comments)

http://blog.hansenpartnership.com/
(Scroll down, it's the third blog post down)

Has instructions on how to own your platform. It's not that hard. You first install KeyTool.efi to backup your original shipped keys, then you generate and install your own, and sign an authorization to delete it... then you can toggle between tpm setup mode and user mode at will, and add or remove whatever keys you want. Should take you maybe 20 minutes (and a few reboots) or so if you know your way around a command line.

Personally, when I got a new windows 8 laptop, this was the second thing I did. (The first one being to install the non-crapware oem version of windows 8 onto an external bootable usb3.0 drive so it's there if I ever really need it for something, but doesn't waste space on my primary drive for the ocassional dual boot)... ((PS: to do the latter you need to get your registration key from the last string of /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM))

about a year ago
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Energy Production Causes Big US Earthquakes

sanermind But isn't this a good thing? (211 comments)

But isn't the advantage... that by lubricating faults what's happening is that built up tension is being released sooner, rather than later when it's built up even more?

Honestly, this ought to be seen as an advantage. More frequent smaller earthquakes are most likely very prefereable to infrequent but much larger earthquakes.

about a year ago
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Gmail Takes Largest Webmail Service Crown

sanermind I -still- run my own mailserver (383 comments)

I still run my own mail server... Don't forget that under the stored communications act the government can get any emails stored by a third party for more than 6 months with no need for a warrant.

more than 2 years ago
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Where Are All the High-Resolution Desktop Displays?

sanermind 2048x1536 @120hz here. RIP CRT's :( (565 comments)

You're not the only one, brother. I'm still running on an old 23" CRT that does 2048x1536 @ 120hz ...it also has kelvin color temperature controls (and sRGB and a few other) color profiles built in. The color detail for editing photographs is vastly better than you can get on LCD's.

Also, since it does 120hz, I also can use it for stereo3D (yes, this is a 12-14 yr. old monitor!) at 2048x1536... (which is BLOODY AWESOME for nvidia 3D-vision gaming, especially since I can turn the brightness -way- up to 100 and solve all the issues with shutter-glasses dimness you see with LCDs)

..unfortunately, I suspect it might finally be starting to die. When I first turn it on, the color brightness and darkens intermittently for a minute or two until it's fully warmed up (it didn't ever use to do that before)

The worst thing, is that when CRT's were on there way out 4-5 years ago, I looked up the price of a new one (I was thinking of getting another one for my girlfriends computer, but she insisted on a 'flat panel') ...and they were still for sale, and marked down ridiculously... I could have gotten a spare for under $300 (-including shipping-!!!) ...I figured "well, thats nice! CRT's are so cheap now, cause everone want's LCDs, silly people! Good to know!" Of course, now, that I likely need to get a new one soonish, they're no longer available anywhere at any price.

*cries*

more than 2 years ago
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How Does a Self-Taught Computer Geek Get Hired?

sanermind The only way, regardless of eductatopm (523 comments)

You have to show you skills. Make a name for yourself. Contribute validly to some projects.

If you're skills ultimately are matter of 'gimp' playing-around? Than you're probably screwed and haven't learned anything real yet.

(Well, unless you want to specialize in photo-editing or graphic-design or some-such... in which case, community college might be your best bet) If you want to be hired as a coder, without the often-times nonsense of formal education, than you have to prove yourself. Contribute to a meaningful opensource project. Be noticed for contributing some code that actually does something (vs. confused bug reports). Real skill is rare enough, and a resume that shows an active participation and contribution to a notable project is probably a better thing that a formal accreditation (from many schools, at least).

more than 2 years ago
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HADOPI To Disconnect 60 People In France

sanermind It just begs for civil disobedience. (255 comments)

Myself, I generally don't bother to pirate things much... but if anyone pulled that sort of nonsense, I'd be seriously tempted to start downloading crap left and right, and encourage all of my friends to do so as well.

Let's see them kick -everybody- off the internet, and see how that works, hmmm?

more than 2 years ago
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Returning Power From Electric Cars To the Grid

sanermind Finite cycles of Li batteries make this rediculous (247 comments)

The real problem with electric cars is the limited lifetime of the battery. Modern lithium-ion batteries degrade, and are good for maybe 700 charge/discharge cycles. (The initial Hybrids extend this somewhat, IIRC, by avoiding charging above %70 or so (and beneath %30 or so) of design capacity), but the electrodes only have so much 'flux' of absorption/dissipation they can handle, before they begin degrading significantly in performance.

This is one of the real issues with electric cars that's going to bite people in their shiny-metal a**ses sooner than most of them expect. Especially the people who hardhack their hybrids to run fully electric. Replacing those batteries after 4 or 5 years of normal driving is going to be extremely expensive.

Heck, I have the replace the Li batteries in my phone every two years years or so because of this. I'm sure you've noticed it with laptops too... when it was brand new it'd run for four hours on battery, now you're lucky to get two and a half or three. These cars have a -lot- more battery.

more than 2 years ago
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Reason Seen More As a Weapon Than a Path To Truth

sanermind subjectivist nonsense (289 comments)

Success in propagating a meme isn't necessarily related to it's truth-value, merely to it's value in engendering behavior in others. But the mechanisms of intelligence are involved even there. Appeals to emotion or other assorted well documented fallacies have been well described (by reason). The problem, perhaps, is in some philosophical jig where the word 'reason' (traditionally the most gloried phenomenon of human thought) somehow takes on multiple meanings. ...So what is reason? Is it logic? The claims (referred to in) this article, would seem to negate a pure aristotelian glory of A implies not B and the like. Thus it would seem to cheapen the idea of those who bother to think logically. It leans towards suggesting that 'reason' is merely a sociological, nay, anthropological phenomenon. A matter of primates beating their chests, albeit with their brains instead of hairy arms. And this is utter nonsense. First of all, it denies the fact that fallacy is -necessary- in order to convince another thinking being of a false truth, and then turns around to imply that reason has no truth outside of a group phenomenon. Obviously, pre-and-up-to-humans evolved language to share ideas. (It's audible telepathy, afterall!) And that was adaptive ..why? Because a meme, a social construct, a compellingly successful narrative could coordinate collective group behavior in an adaptive manner? Of course. But however does any argument manage to do such a thing? By presenting a compelling explanation to other individuals that they fail to refute the truth of. It all comes down to the personal analysis of truth of the part of the recipient of an argument, though. To be crass, we all have personal bullshit detectors. ;) And some worse than others, of course. But to decry the the fact that false but compelling arguments can be accepted too-readily negelects the very fact that they succeed BECAUSE THEY ARE COMPELLING. That they make a logical and self-consistent sense to the recipient. To the recipients own personal sentience, thought, and reason (however mistaken). Many people may be ill-educated, worse; evilly-educated into a false set of hot-button moral certitudes (due to the social-darwinisticly-adaptive usefulness of such levers, perhaps, so as to facilitate obedience to certain top-down social hierarchy command structures)... But it's still the reasoning of their own minds that reaches either accepts or rejects any such rhetorical exercise. Reason is beautiful. Were it not for man's ability to reason, we'd still be living in caves, at best! Nowadays we use ion-beam lithography to carve out features thousands of times smaller than a single hair on our bodies. Nowadays we know the chemical composition of the outer atmostphere of stars billions of light years away. And how? From reasoning.

more than 3 years ago
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Motorola CEO Blames Open Android Store For Phone Performance Ills

sanermind android already has (and always had) just this! (384 comments)

under: "Settings" -> "About phone" -> "Battery use". Perhaps more akin to 'powertop' than 'top', but it shows what share of battery power is being consumed by what applications. It's incredibly easy to spot a resource hog and choose to uninstall or not run it!

In my experience, usually at least %60 of drain is from the display alone (well, %50-ish if you're running an instant messenger in the background). ;)

Why the heck do people complain about the lack of something... that IS ALREADY BUILT IN?!?

more than 3 years ago
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Swiped Tokens Expose Android Devices To Data Theft

sanermind What Android users can do: B: (162 comments)

Never turn on account sync in the first place. If you -do- have a gmail address, create a separate one just for your phone (since google makes it mandatory to have a gmail/google account to use android, for -some- reason I can't imagine...)

Disable all 'back up my data to google' options in the sub-sub menus.
Problem solved. Your phone won't have any account credentials worth worrying about, outside of through the browser (standard cross-site-scripting exploits, etc) or reasonable apps that ask for no permissions beyond internet (connectbot for ssh, etc)

more than 3 years ago
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Plastic Made From Fruit Rivals Kevlar In Strength

sanermind Oh, great! (181 comments)

Biodegradable cellulosic based car parts? I can't wait until I leave my new car out in the rain for two weeks, and fungus starts growing on my bumpers, the same as it grows on the fallen trees next to where I park.

more than 3 years ago
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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

sanermind Re:Burning WAAAY too much CPU (2254 comments)

Yikes, you're right! Taking close to %50 on a 3.2Ghz 6-way AMD!

more than 3 years ago
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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

sanermind BUG: Lookback no longer working. Major issue! (2254 comments)

Serious usability issue Regarding the new live code:

I often only have a chance to read slashdot on the weekends (such as during periods of crunch-time at work, etc). And I'd made the habit of always visiting it in the daily view mode to read where I'd left off due to being otherwise busy: i.e.

http://slashdot.org/index.pl?issue=20110125

(To view the stories of jan 25 2011, for example)

Or, say, I missed the first week of december.. and now want to finally get around to skimming back over what I'd missed... It used to be I could immediately jump to the relevant pages of daily postings with ease. This increasingly common trend on so many sites towards nothing more than a linear "Many More" button, with no other option for directly jumping forwards and backwards to some specific point in the past, is so -indescribably- annoying. (Reddit did this 4-5 months or so ago, and I spend far less time there as a result). It's a major loss of power-user functionality to only be able to access the most recent stories (or n-1, n-2, n-...) without being able to jump around arbitrarily in the timeline of previous posts.

PLEASE FIX THIS, or provide similar functionality!!! I'm begging you. Seriously.

Don't take away my previously-missed-slashdot-goodness.

Yours truly, a long and devoted slashdot user, from the days when karma was a number, and not merely excellent ;)

more than 3 years ago
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WikiLeaks Set To Release Unpublished Iraq War Docs

sanermind Show the worst. Our country and world need it. (411 comments)

PLEASE let them involve the ever-redacted-in-all-ways torture photos. Something to make people wake up to the (you would think.. so obvious!) war crimes of the current administrative branch. I say 'current', for it hasn't changed between nominal figureheads.

about 4 years ago
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Australia To Fight iPod Use By Pedestrians

sanermind Distracted driving? Ban car radios! (450 comments)

Personally, I have a bluetooth A2DP (or whatever it is) adapter, that allows my smartphone to play music out to my car stereo. (Newer cars have a direct jack.. in my case, lacking one, I bought a device that listens to bluetooth and transmits FM stereo).. Anyway, 'texting' is illegal in my personal jurisdiction. I've often wondered if someone will try to arrest or fine me for changing the song I'm playing, (as it's coming from my smartphone), compared to the EXACT SAME DISTRACTION I'd experience (if not more) if I were putting a new CD in my stereo. Distraction is surely there. One must merely be careful.

about 4 years ago
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Recycling an Android Phone As a Handheld GPS?

sanermind Re:Battery life might be a concern. (328 comments)

I can verify that GPS works in airplane mode on the N1. I use google earth on flights to see my progress. (Earth pre-caches a low-res globe, enough to tell what part of what state you are in just fine)

more than 4 years ago

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