Troubleshooting a New Dell Laser (LED) Printer Wireless Connection

I noticed that, even if a wireless printer shows as connected with it’s wifi light on steady, sometimes you just have to press the WPS button on both the printer and router to re-add it, if you cannot print. Then just re-add the printer over wifi.

An easy way to check whether your printer really is on your wifi network, just connect to the router (usually at 192.168.0.1, or, address written on the bottom of router), and look at the list of devices connected to it. Mine just showed that the DELLC printer wasn’t connected through the router web interface, even when the laser printer thought it was, kind of odd. Probably just wireless interference.

Automatic discovery failed today, so I had to use the IP address reported by the D-Link wireless router, and manually enter the IP address into the find network printer wizard in Windows.

Going Paperless

Here is the 2012 General Election Sample Ballot (full booklet) for anyone who cares to read on their e-book reader of choice (PDF). I “scanned” this all on my iPhone with just a few snaps of the camera using My Scans PRO — I am really surprised how quick and easy it was, it really looks like I scanned it. This is pretty exciting as a note taking and annotation tool. DropBox allowed me to post online, all from my mobile 🙂 A paperless life is now within easy reach, I am totally in love with this “flow”.

View 2012 General Election Sample Ballot (full booklet)

How Ditching My Alarm Clock Took 1 Inch Off My Waist in Only 1 Week

So my sleep experiment was very successful — nearly no change in my diet or my physical activity, yet, ditching the alarm clock, yielded 1 inch off my waist, 3 pounds lighter, and a body fat reduction of 1.35%, all in just 1 week. This finally allowed me to break through my 2 week plateau. I was surprised since my carb intake on average has been a bit high, around 247g a day, with a few meals containing bread, pasta, and a couple of nights of very rich desserts. I will definitely no longer be using the alarm clock now, only as a last minute wake up call for really long sleep, which should be rare. I say rare since I changed my schedule to assume 10.5 hours of sleep a night, 7 days a week, so I can awaken without alarm and be fully rested every 24 hour period. When I only need 9 hours, my average so far, I get time in the morning before work to read, study, or work on personally meaningful projects — it feels nice to not ever feel rushed in the morning, or groggy. On my really demanding / exhausting workout days, I easily use the full 10-10.5 hours of sleep.

Seagate Drives Not What They Used To Be

Well, one of the hard drives in my desktop computer just died finally. Taking it out sped up and stabilized my desktop system. Thankfully with Acronis True Image home, all of my data and files were backed up on schedule last week so I lost nothing; didn’t even miss a beat 🙂 Now my computer just runs faster, now that only stable drives are inside of it. All of the intermittent lock ups are also resolved.

Just goes to show, a good backup scheme keeps things convenient, and you never have to worry about losing anything, let alone be inconvenienced.

For you Mac users out there, that means make sure to enable and use Time Machine. No excuses, it comes free with your mac, and allows you to undo any major mistake on your mac with a couple clicks 🙂

This is the third or fourth Seagate drive I have had die on me in the last 3 years — Seagate totally sucks now. Kind of sad, in the old days, Seagates outlasted every computer I had ever owned as a kid. Looks like now we should look to Western Digital for reliable mass storage. I have purchased 2 new western digitals, and 2 new intel solid state drives in the last two years, and they have run silently, quickly, and are very stable. Looks like I’ll be sticking with them for the foreseeable future 🙂

 

Backup software for data backup and recovery | Acronis

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Get all your data back with a complete PC-backup solution. True Image 2013 by Acronis is an easy-to-use data backup and hard drive recovery software.

My New 48V/1000 Watt E-Bike

Check out my new sweet ride upgrade that is coming before next week — an e-bike upgrade kit for my bike!!! Now my bike will go 30 miles per hour on a flat grade, sustained up to 28 miles of travel, or, up to 44 miles on a single charge with pedal assist (I bike while motor is engaged). Now I can make frivolous / fun trips in addition to my daily 24 mile commute, all on my new e-bike!! Now my total cost of ownership drops from below $500 for my old corolla, to well under $50 / month for the e-bike!! Oh yeah!! The best part? An e-bike does not require insurance or a class M license — a class C is all you need in Nevada for e-bikes under 1,500 watts — mine is only 1,000 watts!! Oh yeah!! Savin money and traveling in style 🙂

Papamotor 48V/1000 watt e-bike demonstration

Centering an HTML Element on the Web Page

Using Firefox and Firebug, you can inspect a part of a web page that you are having trouble centering horizontally, and, in this demonstration, see how to do that using cascading style sheets. Despite this demonstration using this for an image (IMG HTML tag), this strategy works for any kind of web page content HTML that you’d like to center as you can stuff a DIV with anything you would like displayed.

6 minutes, 25 seconds

My Experience With Amazon EC2 Hosting With WordPress

With the new year comes new realizations for me in my Amazon EC2 hosting which I wanted to share so others could learn from my experience. It wasn’t as cheap as I thought, but still I am enjoying well over 50 – 70% cost savings in hosting. This is as compared to any other hosting company I could find in getting a dedicated server. I am not really into VPS or shared hosting whose performance varies and is often oversold, in my experience. I want performance I can count on in the long run for my projects and don’t want my performance to vary over time. Unfortunately this has been my experience with VPS and shared hosting in the last few years not only for my sites, but my clients and friends as well.

 

The one time payment for an EC2 reserved instance is NOT the total cost of that instance as I had mistakenly overlooked previously. I almost had a total cow when I looked at my Account Activity going up for the month of January 2012 by about 30 bucks.

 

The real cost of your own Amazon EC2 instance, which is similar to a dedicated server, is broken down by ( reserve cost ) / ( paid for term in months ) + ( hourly usage fee ) * 744 hours (a full month of usage) + storage fees (EBS) = $(actual monthly cost). If we look at my situation I paid $850 for a 36 month term to get the best savings I could as I plan on experimenting with many web projects in the coming years; a good investment I thought. I plan on having my high cpu medium instance from Amazon running 24/7/365 for my various websites and projects going forward. Using my new formula, my monthly cost is not $23.61 as I had originally hoped, but turned out to be $850 / 36 + $0.04 * 744 + $0.00 (my storage utiliziation is half a gig for web server storage, which is free) = $53.37 per month, on average.

 

When I calmed down, I realized, hell, I am still getting a sweet deal! How did I come to that? Well, at my old host, Arvixe, a cheap dedicated server, is $105 a month, and, was only for a single core processor with mediocre hardware. Look at my stats below and you can still see why I am smiling and enjoying great performance, Amazon’s specs seem to be holding and running as fast as they have promised. Even though the monthly cost is considerably higher than I originally intended I still feel very happy in that I am getting incredible performance per dollar that I couldn’t really get for the same price anywhere else I’ve shopped; I’ve recently left LunarPages and Arvixe. What I really enjoy so far about this is that my performance should not (I only have a few months experience) degrade over time as more customers join the service or other sites hosted by others receive far more traffic. In my experience VPS and shared hosting is hit and miss, if you are on a under utilized VPS or shared hosting account, the performance is great, but others can steal performance as the total load among all customers increase. A simple way to think of this is DSL vs Cable, with DSL you get private bandwidth whereas with Cable you have to share total bandwidth with all other customers in your area. This is why cable is often slower in large cities as compared to a private DSL line with lower specs in the same city; here in Reno cable is amazing because we are comparatively small at half a million people. I also like that my account won’t be suspended for using too much CPU as I have purchased all 2.5 cores for my 100% utilization as I see fit; no management problems there and I won’t find my site down or have urgent emails from my host to deal with lest I risk having all my sites go offline unless I comply.

 

My Amazon EC2 High CPU Medium Reserved Instance – Heavy Utilization Plan – Hosts Four WordPress Websites:

 

1. 2.5 ECUs = Two and a half cores, assuming each core is equivalent in performance to a 1.7 Ghz Intel Xeon processor produced in 2007.

2. 1.7 GB of RAM

* Between all four WordPress sites, I still have a full gig left over that I can use for other projects, awesome!

 

Hopefully this paints a useful real life example of WordPress on Amazon’s EC2 platform. Compared to dedicated hosting, it’s easily half the cost as long as you don’t mind managing the server yourself; I find backups the easiest way to rollback to a known good state to instantly undo viruses, hacker attacks, etc. I’ve been able to restore images of my web server in minutes with Amazon’s awesome web interface.

 

Happy new year everyone!!

 

Intermittently Disappearing Hard Drives

I noticed that, no matter what I did, that one of the spinning hard drives in my HP Pavilion Elite e9220y would intermittently disappear, usually after having the machine running for more than a day or so. As the computer became heavily taxed with video encoding or backup in Acronis TrueImage I’d lose a hard drive almost immediately and I’d hear the windows device ejected sound in Windows 7. I went to Best Buy to buy a new 2 TB hard drive so that I could backup all my data since I feared the drives that were disappearing were going bad and my data might be lost; seemed logical as I had just recently lost two new 1TB Seagate drives which became unresponsive in less than a few months of operation. I decided to get another Western Digital, the 2TB WD Caviar Black
.

So I get home, install the new drive, power on the PC, and everything seems okay. Within the next couple hours I start encoding video using all four cores of my AMD Phenom II when I suddenly hear the device ejected again. I click Start > Computer and what do I find? My 2 TB drive just disappeared! DAMN! So I think for a moment, and then I realize, I have had the 10,000 RPM Velociraptor that kept on disappearing, the 1TB Western Digital I’ve had for the past year disappearing, and now, a brand new 2 TB drive from Best Buy disappearing as well, all intermittently? WTF? At this point, I am wondering if my SATA controller and/or ports are bad on the motherboard and am getting ready to shell out $50 – $100 for a high quality, stable board, since reliability is very important to me for this machine. After some googling I realize that others are reporting the exact same intermittent drive ejection issue. Turns out an inadequate power supply is known to cause similar symptoms.

Based upon my Google findings I installed a brand new 600 watt power supply from Best Buy; a ThermalTake TR2-600W. My HP Pavilion Elite e9220y only came with a 300 watt power supply which I purchased late 2009. So I’ve been taxing the power supply for well over a year. Ever since I made this change, not only has every single hard drive remained online and more stable than ever after running 24/7 for the past week, but a BurnIn test fails to cause them to power down and become unavailable to windows; something I’ve never been able to get this machine to do ever since I purchased BurnInTest a couple of months ago until the power supply was replaced. The lesson here? Make sure your power supply is adequate, even if you got it pre-built from HP like I had. In my case, all I had to do was add a hard drive to push the PC well over the 300 watt limit which de-stabilized the machine. Furthermore I’ve learned that after a year of usage, especially 24/7 usage like I usually demand of my PC, that the wattage capacity of the power supply can be reduced by as much as 20 – 30%! No wonder my power supply couldn’t handle the demand and resulted in a PC that seemed to lock up or have drives disappear sporadically; in my case not only was the wattage insufficient for the additional drives, but the power supply had aged, effectively becoming a 240 watt power supply, or less from it’s rated 300 watts.

My takeaway? Three things: Backup often, BurnIn weekly, and calculate your present power supply wattage needs after every internal hardware change. Do these things every week or two and you should have a computer that is rock solid and never need to worry about losing documents you’ve spent weeks on or photos that may not be easily replaced. Plus being able to restore an entire computer configuration from backup due to failed computer hardware with just a couple strokes of a button in less than 10 minutes is always nice; a feature of Acronis TrueImage.