ABS Podcast – Episode 5: Planned Obsolescence

Did you think I wasn’t going to publish the podcast anymore? WRONG!

I’m back, and with a mammoth episode for good measure: a whopping 57 minutes that will guide you through the intricacies and nuances of how everything man-made gets old, and how we can learn to avoid the frustration caused by being unable to update a phone we bought just a few years before.

I focus mostly on technological devices, but I also compare them with cars, fridges, and even a Boeing 787 aircraft just because I love planes and I actively look for any random excuse to talk about them.

Don’t forget to “like” the new Facebook page for Avian Bone Syndrome!

Links of interest mentioned in the episode:

Printing in grayscale with AirPrint

Did you all think I was dead? Unfortunately for you, I am not. I’ve just been fairly busy with work and with my renewed interest in photography. Speaking of which, all of you should follow my Flickr photostream, which I update daily.

So, you’ve got the shiny new iOS 4.2 on your iPhone 4 and you have enabled AirPrint sharing on your Mac, using either the free Hacktivator or one of the commercial packages. You are very satisfied (albeit a bit doubtful about actually using it in the future), except for one thing: it prints in color, and you really wish it could print in grayscale, because toner is not cheap.

Continue reading “Printing in grayscale with AirPrint”

Manual duplex printing on a laser printer

My laser printer, a Samsung CLX-3175, does not have any tool for automatic duplex printing. Achieving such result manually is not difficult, but may take some trial and error in order to get the settings right. That’s exactly what I’ve done, and I’m writing this post as a note to myself. Should it be useful to anybody else, however, by all means let me know with a comment.

Keep in mind that this is for my own printer, and that I use OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard.” Results may vary with different printers and/or operating systems, so make your own tests. If your printer outputs pages “face down,” this will probably work as it is. Most ink-jet printers on the other hand output prints “face up,” so some adjustments will be necessary.

In any case the steps for my own printer are very, very easy (once you’ve figured them out correctly):

  1. Print all odd pages in normal order
  2. If the total number of pages is an odd number, take the last sheet and put it away for the time being
  3. Take the (remaining) sheets and put them back into the tray after rotating them 180°. Do not flip them in any way!
  4. Print all even pages in reverse order
  5. If you put the last sheet away in step 2, put it back at the end of the stack
  6. There is no step 6

Enjoy. 🙂

Headless virtual machines with Oracle VirtualBox

Like any other well-respected geek, I would love to have many computers all around me. However, money constraints make that hard, yet it’s still possible to have extra machines around… if they are virtual.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, virtualization is exactly what it sounds like: an entire computer is created in software, possibly with some help from the hardware. In practice, what this means is that you are able to have a “computer in a window,” as if it were any other program. The actual physical computer is called the host, and the virtual machine is called the guest. Note that virtualization is radically different from emulation; the former takes place when the host and the guest share their architecture (e.g. x86/amd64), the latter implies that they are different (e.g. a PowerPC host with an x86 guest.)

A very retro-futuristic word to describe the virtualization software on the host is hypervisor. Go figure.

Continue reading “Headless virtual machines with Oracle VirtualBox”

Apple MacOS X 10.7: code name Cougar?

Since the times of version 10.2, the internal code name of OS X major releases has become public knowledge and Apple has started using it in marketing. While there is a whole series of arguments for and against the usage of a non-sequential version numbering, I would say that in the case of operating systems it works just fine. After all, people only have to remember what the current release’s name is, and maybe the names of the two that came before it. Not a big deal.

Continue reading “Apple MacOS X 10.7: code name Cougar?”

Installing the MySQLdb Python module on Snow Leopard

Needing to access a MySQL database through Python, I was faced by the inability to easily install the MySQLdb module. I do use MacPorts, but after running the obvious
sudo port install py26-mysql
I realized that I would be downloading, compiling and installing a new instance of Python, a new instance of MySQL (I prefer the simplicity of MAMP), and who knows what else.

Installing the module alone doesn’t work, because MAMP installs no headers; and copying the headers from the vanilla MySQL distribution doesn’t help either, because a few of the required files are generated on the fly during the installation of MySQL itself.

The solution, it turns out, is relatively simple. Follow along. Continue reading “Installing the MySQLdb Python module on Snow Leopard”