Saturday, September 19, 2015

Print once a week automatically so ink wont dry?*

I know people who have inkjet printers that last for years with normal use, yet they don't last long at all in our household before the print quality goes bad. We've had at least 4 inkjet printers over the years and I doubt any of them broke due to normal wear and tear. The most likely difference is lack of use. If that is the case, maybe printing one test page per week will be enough to keep the color cartridges clean and the ink flowing. The command needed to print a test page from Windows 7 (and probably later versions of Windows as well) is

cscript prnqctl.vbs -e [-s ServerName] -p PrinterName [-u UserName -w Password]

In this case, you need to know how to schedule the test print via Task Scheduler. Here are the critical pieces of info.

Action: Start a program
Program/script: cscript
Add arguments: %WINDIR%\System32\Printing_Admin_Scripts\en-US\prnqctl.vbs -e -p "My Printer Name"

Set the task to run however often you'd like and under whatever condition you prefer. Those may vary based on whether your PC is set to sleep/hibernate and other factors.

If at first you don't succeed, fear not. Google is your friend. Now that you know "prnqctl.vbs" exists, the finish line is within sight.

*To those who have answered such queries with snarky comments about buying a laser printer, "go suck a lemon." - Barry Kripke from Big Bang Theory.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Amazon's Happy Prime Day

The sale was nice, but I did notice some items that were more expensive on the day of the sale. Good Morning America mentioned a site which is useful for tracking prices over time.

See and search for an item. Click the item to see a graph of pricing over time, the lowest price, and the current price. Pretty cool stuff.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Raspberry Pi Backup (geeking out, part 1)

"The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse."

 At $30 or so, the RPi is especially useful for many, many purposes. It makes a great teaching/learning tool. Anyway, setting the thing up from scratch is normally done on a full-sized computer. Almost all of the references I could find for backups and such also use another computer. And then I ran across exactly what I have been looking for. A script to clone the live, working, SD card to another SD card attached via a card reader.

 Installation works like this:
git clone
cd rpi-clone
cp rpi-clone /usr/local/sbin
 To use the script attach a reader with an SD card inserted.
"fdisk -l" will tell you the name of the card. Mine was /dev/sdb.
So to run the script...
rpi-clone (to learn about options, etc)
Then in my case
rpi-clone sdb -v -f

 It takes an hour or two the first time. After the process completes once it will do an incremental backup and only takes a few minutes.

 Perfection. Thanks BillW!

 Now that I've got a valid backup I can move on to more useful work with the thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I haven't posted in way too long. First step to fixing that is getting my iPad reconnected to the 'blog. Time to work on that...