Looked Under Your Couch Lately?

Or in between the keys of your keyboard? If you have a desktop computer, turn your keyboard upside down. Hold it on either end and gently shake it up and down, for about a minute.

Disclaimer: I assume NO responsibility for what falls out. And DO NOT do this with your laptop.

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Fix Your Own Printer!

Since my ewaste post, I’m strutin’ with pride over my latest accomplishment. I fixed my 7 year old home inkjet printer. I’d taken it out of commission when I bought a new computer for the pack, which included a printer. It was in fine working order then, ’bout 3 years ago. I decided to revive it in the den where I have my all-paws-off computer.

After setting it up and printing a few tests, the ink cartridges weren’t makin’ it, so I installed a couple new ones. (I’ve tried ink cartridge triage, and it ain’t pretty). But then I also noticed small chunks of rubber coming out on the paper. A quick sniff revealed the belt which drives the print heads was deteriorating. A simple little piece breaks in what is a rather complex electro-mechanical device and you’ve EWASTE!

Now, printers are one the banes of IT support. When they start acting fussy and uncooperative, there really isn’t much a techdog can do. Maintenance kits on lasers are one thing, but fixing an inkjet? I mean, have you ever looked deep inside a printer? Some of these beasts are on par with the space shuttle.

But I couldn’t stand to see my little inkjet become ewaste for want of a little rubber belt. To my good fortune, a quick search brought up these guys. Evidently my problem was not unusual. They had the part with instructions AND pictures (I like pictures). Within an hour or so that puppy was spitting ink once again, and not leakin’ it in some remote part of the globe.

… and pulled out a print and said “What a good puppy am I!”

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E-Waste: ‘sGood, ‘sBad

Pile 'o ewasteThis is kinda what it looked like… , no this IS what it looked like next to ma main Dog’s desk before e-waste day (e-waste doesn’t stack well, how rude). We recently had a pick-up and, well, that’s always bright spot in our year. After a few months, our school tends to build up a pile of obsolete electronics. And if it’s a wire, has a wire attached to it, or is even a desk accessory associated with a wired device, it tends to end up in the IT suite (why is that???).

But Techdog can’t help but also feel a little sad over the accumulation of all this equipment. I love ma toys, but it’s bittersweet. Current regulations are trying to deal with the problem, but we’re far from saving the planet of it. Most of our waste ends up exported to countries where there is NO regulation.

In my purrfect world every county would have Wal-mart sized warehouses full of cats disassembling and properly recycling the recovered materials. Proceeds could benefit local animal shelters, with special attention paid to feline spay and neuter programs. Of course, there are recyclers in the US, but who can you trust? And this place just has to be honest.

We try though. Some equipment was adopted by a local tech, to be refurbished for his son’s school. That felt good. Supporting these guys might also be a good start.

Chicken a la Dell

Chicken a la Dell

To the right is a picture of a do-it-yourself project.
(I sure hope they removed the components before they started that fire.)

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Does It Ever End?

We were musing about a support call the other day, as we are wont to do. It was from one of our more senior members of the community, who was calling yet again over an issue we get all the time… from everybody: passwords. We pondered how this poor old soul who, after all these years, is still struggling with the same ol’ thang. Oh well, one day their number will be up and their earthly concerns will be over… Or will they?

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When Is Your Password Like Your Underwear?

ALL THE TIME! I don’t want see it, I don’t want know it, and worst of all, I don’t want to hear you showed it to somebody.

phishingA few weeks we got notice from the Alpha dogs that two MIIS email accounts had an unusually high amount of activity and had been blocked by the outgoing spam firewall. Following procedure they deactivated the accounts and advised us to check the computers of those users, believing their computers had been turned into ZOMBIES!

After contacting them, the two individuals graciously came in (they had no email access) and proffered their computers. No zombies. But in talking with them, they both admitted they had responded to a phishing message, and obediently sent in their passwords.

Please folks learn to sniff out phishing messages. It’s a basic skill all email users should have. Then when you think you’re hot, try this for fun.

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I Voted, Did You?

ibarkedAs I was standing there, performing my civic duty, connecting the dots, I thought, “What on earth is this?!” “Is this a pen? and this, exceedingly large sheet of . . . PAPER!?” In a new world where SOME of us trust ¬†financial account aggregators like Yodlee with all our vitals, I still gotta vote with paper!? Errrrrrrr.

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Howdy and welcome to my newwwwww BLOG! Aren’t I Cool! I’m in the information clouds (I thought they were tubes?). I’ll be musin bout all the crazy IT things hap’n with my pack, the ITS guys and gal. Don’t know how this thing’ll pan out. I’ll try anything, once (and in some cases, more times than is good for me). So let’s see if I can educate, informate, humorate and procrastinate. But let’s all keep it in persepective though…


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