â€œI made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms …â€
â€” Alan Greenspan, quoted in The New York Times.
I spy …
Why is there so much writing about a US $700 billion plan, and almost nothing about a $634 billion one?
All the printers I’ve ever owned …
- An ancient (even in 1985) Centronics serial dot-matrix printer that we never got working with the CPC464. The print head was driven along a rack, and when it hit the right margin, an idler gear was wedged in place, forcing the carriage to return. Crude, noisy but effective.
- Amstrad DMP-2000. Plasticky but remarkably good 9-pin printer. Had an open-loop ribbon that we used to re-ink with thick oily endorsing ink until the ribbons wore through.
- NEC Pinwriter P20. A potentially lovely 24-pin printer ruined by a design flaw. Print head pins would get caught in the ribbon, and snap off. It didn’t help that the dealer that sold it to me wouldn’t refund my money, and required gentle persuasion from a lawyer to do so.
- Kodak-Diconix 300 inkjet printer. I got this to review for Amiga Computing, and the dealer never wanted it back. It used HP ThinkJet print gear which used tiny cartridges that sucked ink like no tomorrow; you could hear the droplets hit the page.
- HP DeskJet 500. I got this for my MSc thesis. Approximately the shape of Torness nuclear power station (and only slightly smaller), last I heard it was still running.
- Canon BJ 200. A little mono inkjet printer that ran to 360dpi, or 720 if you had all the time in the world and an unlimited ink budget.
- Epson Stylus Colour. My first colour printer. It definitely couldn’t print photos very well.
- HP LaserJet II. Big, heavy, slow, and crackling with ozone, this was retired from Glasgow University. Made the lights dim when it started to print. Came with a clone PostScript cartridge that turned it into the world’s second-slowest PS printer. We did all our Canadian visa paperwork on it.
- Epson Stylus C80. This one could print photos tolerably well, but the cartridges dried out quickly, runing the quality and making it expensive to run.
- Okidata OL-410e PS. The world’s slowest PostScript printer. Sold by someone on tortech who should’ve known better (and bought by someone who also should’ve known better), this printer jams on every sheet fed into it due to a damaged paper path. Unusually, it uses an LED imaging system instead of laser xerography, and has a weird open-hopper toner system that makes transporting a part-used print cartridge a hazard.
- HP LaserJet 4M Plus. With its duplexer and extra paper tray it’s huge and heavy, but it still produces crisp pages after nearly 1,000,000 page impressions. I actually have two of these; one was bought for $99 refurbished, and the other (which doesn’t print nearly so well) was got on eBay for $45, including duplexer and 500-sheet tray. Combining the two (and judiciously adding a bunch of RAM) has given me a monster network printer which lets you know it’s running by dimming the lights from here to Etobicoke.
- IBM Wheelwriter typewriter/ daisywheel printer. I’ve only ever produced a couple of pages on this, but this is the ultimate letter-quality printer. It also sounds like someone slowly machine-gunning the neighbourhood, so mostly lives under wraps.
- HP PhotoSmart C5180. It’s a network photo printer/scanner that I bought yesterday. Really does print indistinguishably from photos, and prints direct from memory cards. When first installed, makes an amusing array of howls, boinks, squeals, beeps and sproings as it primes the print heads.
We went to a house concert last night to hear Chris Coole & Erynn Marshall play some Kentucky duets. Erynn’s back from BC to record with Chris; today’s a long day in the studio.
Great music, nice venue, excellent evening. Maybe we’ll eventually get enough money to buy Chris a new banjo head; his current one looks stricken with some dread skin disease …
big boy’s book of big things
Christmas came early. With money from Carlyle, I bought a reproduction of Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, a three-tome work from the 1870s which catalogued mechanisms, devices and machinery known at the time. It’s the ultimate nerd read.
You can browse two electronic versions online:
- at UMich; large page images.
- at Princeton Imaging; in DjVu format, this is a little easier to read if you have the right plugin.
I have to say, though, that the dead tree version is a splendid read.
mail from the city
The only downside about being part of the Billboard Battalion is that you get a lot of mail from the city. I get a separate letter for each variance contested, and sometimes duplicates, so I get between four and twelve letters after each community council meeting.
You would have thought they could have stuck them all in one envelope, or used e-mail, to save money and paper. But no; we’re a world class city, after all.
the monopoly on free money
It’s a licence to print money! Well, MonopolyÂ® money, that is. But you can’t have everything; it doesn’t stop people from trying, though.
The above image is copyrighted, trademarked, service-marked and intellectually-propertized 15-ways-to-Sunday by Hasbro. I hereby acknowledge that I’m a very naughty person to have nicked it for my website, and have felt good and contrite for at least the last 5 (five) seconds. But then, since Hasbro own the rights to my earliest published writings (long story: they bought Database Publications, for whom I used to write) and are sitting on the goldmine that is the film rights to Stardodger (my first, and only, game), I think they’ve done okay from me.
ex dexit, or trying to be
Coo, was I really all fired up about Dexit, like I appear to have been in January 2004? ‘Cos, basically, Dexit sucks.
The coffee place I get my morning fix got rid of its unreliable Dexit machine when it changed hands. So I’ve got nearly $70 sitting on the useless Dexit tag, doing nothing.
Today I called for a refund, and discovered that Dexit won’t refund your balance. I wouldn’t have signed up for it if I’d known there’d be this in the ultra-sneaky Dexit user agreement (PDF):
Only in the event of your death (and upon receipt of such documents as Dexit reasonably requires in such circumstances as to whom is entitled to your estate funds), or Dexit closing your Dexit Account without cause, will the remaining funds in your Dexit Account be repaid to you. “Cause” will include any violation of this Agreement, any fraud or attempted fraud, any other operation of the Dexit Account or use of a Dexit Tag in an unsatisfactory manner, or non-use of your Dexit Account for over three (3) years.
So, do I hafta kill myself to get my money back?
Oh, and Dexit’s phone support staff are untruthful. I needed to speak to a supervisor. They promised one would call before 8pm this evening. It’s 9:55 now, and I’ve heard nothing.