Archive for January, 2010

USB printing on Ubuntu 9.10

January 31st, 2010

Last year a purchased an Aspire Revo R3600 with a 160GB HDD that I installed Ubuntu on. It has been a great little machine and I am very pleased with it.

Somewhere down the line my old LaserJet printer (from Freegle/Freecycle) that is connected using a cheep USB to Parallel adapter (off ebay) stopped working. It is a problem that many people appear to have had when they upgraded Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala). After a bit (okay, a lot) of debugging I have figured out that you need to treat the USB device as a parallel printer and not the default USB printer. To do this change the URL prefix from “usb:” to “parallel:”, or if that is nonsense to you use the following instructions.

  • Go to the printing devices by selecting “System”, “Administration”, and then “Printing”.
  • Right click on the old printer (if one is there) and select delete.
  • Click the “New” button.
  • Select “Other” and enter the device URI as”parallel:/dev/usblp0″.
  • Select your printer as you would normally and it should then work (a reboot may be required).

Remember this is only for if you are using a parallel printer with a USB converter. I hope this helps you, and if it does and you have posted for help elsewhere, please help someone else by going back and posting the answer (or link back to here). Finally, before you smug Windows users start having a go, it took me longer to get the converter running on my XP machine. :-P

If things were a little different

January 31st, 2010

Today I was looking through some fonts for a project and came across some familiar ones. Just for a giggle I wondered what they would look like if things had worked out a little different.

Mr Duck's Amazing Web Site

January 15th, 2010

So, at long last Mr Duck has his web site. I have been taking pictures for Duck 365 for the last year, and stupidly have agreed to continue by popular demand. What I never quite got round to was making a web site for it. Eventually I managed to find some time by using the good old excuse of it being a learning exercise.

The site is a little tong in cheek fitting in with the Mr Duck back story. It is the web site that a small yellow plastic duck would have asked for. :-) It has a lot of new CSS layout in it that I have used as an experiment, but it does degrade gracefully. The thing that most amazed me is that the CSS font-face actually works, although there are bugs that I needed to work around. Also I accidentally I created a new simple templating system using an error document to catch the requests and build the web page. I shall probably build on this for other projects.

I have also found a new way to work on IE computability. It appears that IE6 and IE7 have very close layout problems. The markup for IE6 also fixes the problems for IE7. So what I have done is built the site using Chrome and Firefox, and then fixed the layout in IE6 for IE7 and below in a separate conditional CSS file. Then all I needed to do was work around the PNG transparency issues for IE6 and below in a second conditional CSS file. Everything else just works then, and I only needed one version of IE installed for development.

The best thing about the site from my point of view is that it should be zero maintenance. It automatically pulls the pictures from flickr and even uses flicker to manage the comments. I decided not to display the comments on the site at the tims as there a security implications of allowing users to add content to your site, but I do display a comment count and link back to flickr. I even dynamically generate the site map and RSS feed.

There are a few more things I would like to do. I plan to add some slow cloud animation, improve navigation, and intermittently add a few more random Mr Duck images to the background. For now though I will leave it or I will just not get anything else done.

So please check out “Mr Duck’s Amazing Web Site”, and you can also follow his antics on Twitter. Also please let me know if it works well or not on your browser and if there is anything else you would like to see.