Archive for the 'tech' Category

Refilling Ink Cartridges

July 29th, 2015

Back in 2009, I got lucky and found a Canon ip90 on Craigslist for $25. If you’re not familiar with the model, it’s a small (12.3 x 2.1 x 6.9 in), portable inkjet printer that’s precise enough to print photos. At the time, they were near $300. The one I got looked brand new and came with a case, so I got a screaming deal.

thinkpad and ip90


Not mine but here to show the ip90’s size

It’s been a great travel printer except for one thing, the ink. It was always dried out. I don’t print every day or even every month. When I did try to use it, I’d have to get out a new cartridge ($5-10 each) and then use half of it cleaning the print head. Then, I would have a binge printing session where I printed everything I could think of that needed printing. The rest of the cartridge would eventually dry up and go to waste.

Tired of throwing money away, I decided to give refilling my own cartridges a try. It was so easy and just a little bit messy. They ones for the ip90 are refilled with a syringe. All you do is fill it from the ink well and dispense the ink into the pad on the bottom of an old cartridge.

The kit that I bought came with a bottle of cyan, magenta, yellow, and three bottles of black ink. The bottles are so big that I think they will last me a lifetime. It came with a syringe for each color. There were some loose ball bearings in the package. I imagine that they are to put into the ink and aid in mixing it. Unfortunately, they were stuck in some of the syringes instead, rendering them unusable. I ended up using the same one and rinsing it between colors. No big deal

Ink Refill Kit

I was totally afraid to actually go the whole refill route. I had been filled with FUD and stories of giant messes, hands being stained for weeks, the inside of the printer being flooded in ink and colors that were horribly wrong. In reality, it was easy and cheap without any of the foremetioned issues. The colors are good, the cartridges aren’t drying out in two weeks like the canons ones,and I have lifetime supply of ink. I feel like a fool for spending so much on cartridges and listening to anti-DIY rhetoric.

co_printerfill01 Printer Test Page

 

We Are Not Powerless.

October 14th, 2012

A week or two ago, Johnny installed the solar panel on top of the van. The 205watt panel had already proven itself to be all the power we need as long as it’s sunny at least 50% of the time.

Because our old batteries weren’t holding the charge that they once did and we wanted to house our batteries inside of the van without worrying about ventilation, we bought AGMs this time around.

Weather APIs

October 8th, 2012

Which weather? Here’s a comparison.

http://www.hamweather.com/products/aeris-api/
750 requests/day
3 requests/second
15-day forecast
15+ endpoints
Aeris Web – JavaScript/PHP
Standard support

http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/d/pricing.html
Calls 500/day 10/min
10-day forecast summary
Hourly 1-day forecast
Satellite thumbnail
Dynamic Radar image
Severe alerts
Tides and Currents
Tides and Currents Raw

Weather.com
$19.99/mo
TruPointTM Current Weather Conditions
3-Day Data Forecast
3,000 Monthly Data Requests
English Language

http://www.worldweatheronline.com/free-weather-feed.aspx
Upto 5 day weather
Current conditions
Weather by date
City and Town
UK Postcode
US Zipcode
Latitude/Longitude (decimal)
Airport (IATA code)
IP Address
XML/JSON/CSV weather
99.9% uptime
Advert free
Email/Forum support
Commercial/Non-commercial Use
500 request per hour

Boondocking Computer

November 7th, 2011

My beast held up long enough for me to finally decide on a new laptop computer.  I have to admit, I could have picked one out sooner, but I was holding out for AMD to put a Llano A6 processor into a 11-13′ LCD laptop. It didn’t happen within the allotted time, so I ordered an ASUS Eee PC 1215B-PU17-BK. After much research, I believe it delivers the best ROI out of the laptops I compared.

1215B Pros:
8hrs+ battery life
40w power supply
Uses 6-11 Watt hours when idle (my current laptop is closer to 43w)
Uses 16-19 watt hours under load. (current one is closer to 70w)
Priced as low as $300

1215B Cons:
ASUS!
no spill proof keyboard
glossy screen

Johnny’s laptop, an ASUS EEE1005pe is a boondockers dream, but I cannot quite deal with a 10″ screen. If you can, you will be rewarded with up 14hrs (no joke!) of battery life with a 1hr recharge time at 40watts. It’s about as energy efficient as you can get. It’s perfect if you don’t do many CPU intensive tasks.

Anyway. My new laptop should be here this week. For some reason my $14.00 worth of “Amazon Standard Shipping” AKA SmartPost (bleh) is getting it from Kentucky to Colorado in nine days. Not exactly what I thought I was paying for, but it is what it is.

Once it gets here I get to experiment with operating systems. FreeBSD is what I prefer but there are still a lot of hoops to jump through to get it “mostly working” on a Eee PC. It appears that Linux has all the correct drivers, but I haven’t really used Linux since Slackware 7 and prefer FreeBSD. Hopefully, all will go well!

Not Ready To Let Go.

September 3rd, 2011

I seriously need a new laptop. Mine is almost on its last leg, literally. It is missing two of the the four rubber feet that it came with.

The keyboard is toast. About 8 months ago I spilled a beer on it. A deliciously thick, extra sticky porter. I instantly pulled the battery. I then opened it up, entirely, and cleaned everything pretty well. I rinsed the keyboard out in the kitchen sink. Then, I let it all sit around for about two weeks to dry out. It mostly worked after that. There was a 1.5″ blemish on the screen and about 3 keys didn’t function. But hell, I am not picky. It still worked…. until about two months ago. That’s when I, but lets blame the dog, spilled the glass of water on it. Now only three keys work.

The USB ports are flaky.
It’s like my computer is an old Nintendo and my USB device is a Legend of Zelda game cartridge. Sometimes I have to wiggle it, push it in and pull it out until I hear the music. Also, the ports may or may not be active when returning from hibernation which then requires a reboot since de/reactivating them doesn’t do the trick.

My hard drive is failing. I am very surprised it hasn’t, yet. It must be quality. I mean it did survive a ten foot drop off of a balcony and onto the side of a rocky hill. Quality. Darn thing didn’t even blink. I guess the other couple of falls off of the table in front of the sofa, again I totally blame the pets ;), finally did it in. For about the last five months, I have been loosing sectors randomly. Every one in a while, I get to cringe at the *ker-plink* sound my hard drive makes as it reminds me that the end is near.

In addition to all of the poor laptop’s plights, the damned thing causes us to run the generator if we have a couple of cloudy days. It’s a pig. Our inverter says that it pulls up to 160watts when it is charging.

All that and I still haven’t purchased a replacement.

I don’t really want to. My current laptop is what I wanted. Once upon a time(OK more like all my life), I used to game…A LOT A WHOLE LOT. Back then, I got excited about my next video card or processor. Things like the bus speed of the north bridge were really important to me. I researched hardware deeply and knew exactly what the best bang for the buck was going to be. I did the same thing with my current laptop. Now, that gaming isn’t really part of my life anymore, I don’t need a separate video card with decent cache and a ton of memory. I need a hmmm… I guess that’s the problem. I don’t know what I need. Well, I do know one thing. I need a laptop with a smaller screen and a huge battery that is very low voltage and wont be too much of a bugger to get UNIX running on. (OK that’s four things. Sue me) I just don’t know how to research and buy something that’s not an enterprise server or wintendo.

I am going to have to figure it out, though. This computer’s days are numbered and as much as it pains me, it isn’t worth fixing.

Anyone want to buy a used laptop?

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