Archive for January, 2015

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Photoshop Elements: Process Multiple Files is grayed out

January 30, 2015

I’m new to Photoshop Elements (PSE) 13. I’ve been using PaintShop Pro and SnagIt for years, but never Photoshop or Photoshop Elements until now. I have to use it in a 5-day workshop I’m doing in a month or so, so I need to get up to speed with it a little, even though they said they’d teach the basics in the workshop.

I’ve been watching some video tutorials and have learnt quite a bit. Today was time to tackle batch editing of many photos at once. I found a good tutorial (http://www.thecluelessgirl.com/2012/07/learning-how-to-batch-edit-using.html) and started to follow her instructions. But I was thwarted almost immediately as what she said should happen didn’t happen for me. Instead of being able to choose File > Process Multiple Files in PSE 13 Editor, that option was grayed out and unavailable. I tried PSE 13 Organizer, but there’s no such option. I also tried adding photos to PSE 13 Editor, but that made no difference either. I Googled and checked the Adobe Help, but got no information that helped me solve the problem.

Then I clicked ONE button and suddenly the option was available to me!

It looks as though the PSE 13 Editor interface is different to earlier interfaces, and when the program opens, it defaults to the Quick settings. When I click Expert, suddenly everything was available. So simple. So hard to find out the reason. Hopefully this will help someone else avoid the frustration of trying to figure out why the option isn’t available.

PSE_batch01

PSE_batch02

 

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How big?

January 29, 2015

In computer terms, what we think of as ‘big’ has changed a lot over time. Things that were unimaginably big only a few years ago are now considered tiny.

For example, when I bought my first computer system in 1994 (with the printer, modem monitor etc., it cost more than $7000 at the time!), I had a ‘top of the wozza, future-proof’ system. I recall that the hard drive was a massive 384 MB, and I think it had 512 KB of RAM — really fast for the day.  Now, I can buy an external 3 TB hard drive for around $100, and laptops that are more powerful than those used to get us to the moon and back cost less than $1000.

But it’s data size I want to talk about. Specifically, what Microsoft Outlook 2010 considers ‘big’.

I was cleaning out some of my sent items, and decided to sort by size. And this is when I found out that Outlook 2010 considers anything over 5 MB to be ‘enormous’; between 1 and 5 MB ‘huge’, and between 500 KB and 1 MB ‘very large’. These seem such an antiquated descriptions in 2015, and I wonder if this aspect of the interface just hasn’t been looked at in a long time.

outlook_size01

outlook_size02

Note: I checked the same sent items in Outlook 2013, and it seems Microsoft have changed what they consider big — 5 to 10 MB is now considered ‘very large’, and 1 to 5 MB is ‘large’.

 

 

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Stop Brother laser printer ‘Replace Toner’ message

January 23, 2015

Printer companies want you to buy their toner, and they want you to replace that toner long before it runs out. They do this by various means; typically beeps, popup screens, warning messages on the display panel of the printer etc. How they gauge when the toner needs replacing varies by manufacturer too — some alert you based on number of pages printed (assuming that you are printing an entire page of solid toner every time), others use a laser beam through a hole in the printer cartridge (true! — see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK9qUeH1AVU), and still others by means I’m not aware of.

My Brother MFC 9210CN (and more recently, my MFC 9330CDW) multifunction laser printer warns me when it decides the toner is running low, and if I don’t replace the toner (either black only or all FOUR colour cartridges at once) within a time/usage frame it considers acceptable, it locks me out from printing by beeping a lot, displaying a ‘Replace toner now’ message on the printer and my computer screen, AND by physically NOT printing my print jobs.

Well, I’m sick of it. There’s plenty of toner left in the cartridges (since when do I fully print a page as I would if I was printing photos every time?). And at more than $100 each (I have five in the machine), replacing cartridges every few months is not cheap.

Off to Google…. where I found out how to reset my printer so that it thinks my cartridges are still fine. I found the answer here: http://blog.tonerboss.com/how-to-reset-brother-mfc-9320-mfc-9120cn-and-mfc-9010cn/, and it worked. I decided to take photos of the controls and write full instructions for anyone else trying to do this. Maybe I can get another 500+ pages out of my toners this way.

The instructions for the MFC 9330CDW come after the instructions for the MFC 9120CN.

How to reset the toner cartridge settings on a Brother MFC 9120CN

  1. Make sure the printer is turned on.
  2. Open the cover using the blue ‘handle’ at the front of the machine. You don’t need to open it much — you’re not getting into the cartridge area and you’ll need to access the control panel.
  3. Press the Clear/Back button on the control panel.
    P1020468
  4. Press the up or down arrow key to scroll through the list of toners. Note: K = Black, M = Magenta (pink), C = Cyan (blue), and Y = Yellow; each has an option for STD and STR.
  5. When you get to the toner you want to reset, press the OK button. I chose K. TNR-STD to reset the message about my black toner cartridge and allow me to print again.
    P1020469
  6. You get two options for your selected toner — 1 to reset and 2 to exit. Press 1 on the numeric keypad of the control panel to reset the toner.
    P1020471
  7. Close the cover. The printer will go through its warm up cycle again and your beeps, messages, etc. should be gone AND you should be able to print again using your existing cartridge.

Of course, at some point your cartridge(s) will really run out of toner and will need to be replaced. But if you can get another 50 to 500 pages out of your existing toner, you will have saved yourself some money on a replacement you didn’t need at the time the printer told you you needed it.

How to reset the toner cartridge settings on Brother MFC-9330CDW and MFC-9340CDW printers

Some Googling found me this information on how to reset the toner on more recent Brother laser printers: http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R21X5O6QYB4IFQ/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_viewpnt

In case that URL ever goes missing, here’s this information copied from it on 20 March 2016:

  1. Get to the home screen. If you are stuck at the “Toner Low” or “Replace Toner” message, just press the red X.
  2. Press the FAX button on the touch screen (you may also need to press the Sending Faxes icon). This is ONLY to light up the numbers so you can LOCATE and only locate, don’t press, the * (asterisk) button. You know where it is now, somewhere to the right of the red X button. I put a sticky ‘sign here’ note tab to point to the *.
  3. Press the glowing Home button to get home.
  4. Open the top as if you were going to change the toner, but don’t remove any toner.
  5. With the top open, press and hold the now UNLIT * (asterisk) button for at least 5 seconds.
  6. Keep the lid open — the Toner Reset menu will show on the screen.
  7. Reset your ‘low’ or ’empty’ toner by pressing the color and type to reset, all with the lid open. (e.g. cstd or C.TNR.STD = cyan standard, cstr or C.TNR.STR = cyan starter, and one other for high yield [e.g. C.TNR.HC], etc. Just reset to whatever type you have installed. Note: C = cyan [blue], M = magenta [red], Y = yellow, and K= black)
  8. Close the lid and wait about 40 seconds per toner that was reset (i.e. 80 seconds if you reset two toners, 120 seconds if you reset three).
  9. Once the normal touchscreen controls are displayed again, the Toner Low message should be gone. Eventually you will have to replace toner, but you’ll be able to tell by the quality of the print.

NOTE: As at 20 March 2016, I have not tried these instructions, but next time I get a low toner message I will and will report back here.

Update 14 Jul 2016: I got my first toner low message for my three color toners, and have now reset as per the instructions above. So far, so good. Now to see how long before the toner REALLY runs out.

There’s also a YouTube video on resetting the MFC-9330CDW toner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIIdHbM2OX0

 

 

 

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Installing Microsoft Office

January 7, 2015

Prior to Christmas I decided to upgrade my old clunker of a laptop from Vista to Windows 7. I’d put it off for more than a year as my experience with previous upgrades hasn’t been pleasant. Surprisingly, it all went very well. Yes, it took some time but Microsoft’s friendly upgrade/installation screens warned me about that. In fact, the whole experience was a good one.

However, I also decided to upgrade from Office 2007 to Office 2013. That failed. So I decided to install Office 2010 instead. That also failed after several hours and attempts. Then I tried to uninstall all the Office components and start again. But I couldn’t uninstall either. Off to Google… where I found a ‘FixIt’ program from Microsoft to uninstall all Office components. After several hours of waiting, I realised that wasn’t working either. It was getting to the stage where I was thinking about totally wiping the hard drive and starting again with a clean installation of Windows 7 and Office (and everything else…).

In desperation, I did a couple more Google searches and found a likely reason for the failures to install and then uninstall. It was hidden in with a whole heap of other information, so I’m surprised I found it. It was simple and worth a try… And it worked! I could uninstall all old Office components correctly (and quickly) and install Office 2013 with no issues (and in a short time too).

So what was this magic I read about? PUT THE INSTALLATION/UNINSTALL FILES ONTO THE LOCAL DRIVE and run them from there. I’d been trying to install and uninstall from EXEs that were on my server (as you normally can do for other software installations).

Once I shifted the files over to the laptop’s desktop and uninstalled/installed from there, everything worked fine. (I later deleted those installation files to free up some hard drive space, though this isn’t essential if you have plenty of free space.)

 

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Children suck

January 6, 2015

Or at least, that’s what this sign says. Spotted in my local medical surgery near the children’s play area.

children_suck

I think they meant to tell parents to put any toys into the bin that their children have put into their mouths or that they have dirtied.

It might have been better to avoid ‘dirty’ and ‘suck’ (especially the unfortunately worded ‘children suck’) and instead used wording similar to this: ‘For used play area toys. Please put play area toys used by your children into this bin.’

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Very helpful, Australia Post… NOT!

January 5, 2015

A few weeks ago, I received an email about a parcel that had been sent. The email included an Australia Post tracking number, with a link to Australia Post’s tracking website.

I clicked the link and got this message: ‘Product not trackable’. Nothing else. So I went to Australia Post’s support section on their website and typed in those words, expecting to get an article about why some parcels are not trackable even if they have a tracking number. But I got this instead:

aust_post_not_trackable

Not one of those answers addressed the question. And the first and third answers didn’t relate in to my query (especially the first one). I expanded the ‘missing parcel’ option, but that had nothing either.

Good one, Australia Post. You have words on your website about products not being trackable but your support area doesn’t have ANYTHING for those words. #fail

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2014 blog statistics

January 1, 2015

In March 2014, this blog broke through the four million views mark since I started blogging in 2008. And around August 2014, it broke through five million views — and I didn’t even notice until now! By 31 December 2014, it had had more than 5.4 million views. Some 1.58 million views (more than one-third) occurred just in 2014. These figures don’t include any visits I made to my own blog (yes, I use my own blog for stuff I can’t remember!).

I wrote far fewer blog posts in 2014, so many of these visits were to posts I’ve written in previous years. I’ve written just under 1700 blog posts since 2008, of which about 85 were written in 2014.

Surprisingly, I only have 385 subscribers (you can subscribe by clicking the button on the right sidebar and entering your email address) who have signed up to receive email alerts each time I post a new article (and 644 Twitter followers for @cybertext), so I have to assume most readers are ‘hit and run’ readers — those who have a problem with Word or whatever, find one of my posts via Google etc., read the post, get what they came for (or not), and leave without checking out anything else.

Here are some graphs and tables for the 2014 statistics for this blog, as well as some comparative ones for ‘all time’ (‘all time’ is actually 2008 to 2014 — I started this blog very late in 2007, but didn’t really start posting until January 2008, so the 2007 statistics are so low as to be insignificant).

Total views by month/year

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2014_stats_02_total_views_by_year

Average daily views

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The average views per day have increased quite a bit since the dip in 2013. The graphs above and below are for the full seven days per week, though most views occur during the five business days of the working week, probably reflecting the need to find answers to Word questions and the like when people are stuck with a problem at work. The weekends and major public holidays (particularly in the US and especially in November and December) see a notable drop in views.

2014_stats_04_avg_daily_views_by_yr

Top 20 posts

2014_stats_05_top_20_posts

Some posts are just more popular than others! Those highlighted in blue appear in both lists — the top 20 posts of all time (2008-2014) on the left, and 2014 only on the right. Those without highlighting only appear in one of the top 20 lists. The numbers to the right of each title are the number of total views for that post in the time period.

Long tail

As expected, there’s a significant ‘long tail’ for this blog’s views. The top 20 posts (17,390 views each or more) garnered the most views. Everything else was a poor cousin to these top posts.

When I extracted out the views just for the top 110 posts for 2008-2014 (i.e. >10,000 views each) and the top 20 (>17,390 each) for 2014 only (both below), the long tail was very evident. Again, the top 15 posts for all time garnered the most views, with posts 15 through to 110 tailing off and flattening out. And for the 2014 view, the top six posts garnered the most views, then tapered off significantly after that.

2014_stats_06_top_110_posts_long_tail

 

2014_stats_07_top_20_posts_long_tail

So, there you have it. Seven years of blogging, 1685 blog posts published, and 5.4 million views (with more than one-third in the past 12 months).

I guess I must be doing something right, even though the monetary return is close to zero. I pay an annual fee to WordPress to NOT show their advertisements on this blog (I wouldn’t get any return from these even if I allowed them), and I refuse to try to ‘monetize’ my blog posts by hosting them elsewhere and running ads — I don’t like ads cluttering up and getting in the way of good content and potentially trapping readers into clicking on them, and I suspect my readers don’t like them either. Instead of ads, I have an option for readers to donate to this blog’s expenses if anything I’ve written has got them out of a bind, saved them time (and therefore money), or helped them be more efficient. In 2012 I removed all the individual links to the donate option from each ‘how to’ post and put a ‘donate’ link at the top of the right sidebar. I did this as a result of a bizarre mix-up with my PayPal Donate button code being used by someone else. In 2014 I received perhaps the equivalent of one hour’s paid work in donations… I use that money to pay my annual bill to WordPress to keep this blog free of ads and to have the convenience of adjusting the style (CSS) of this blog.

As in 2014, I’ll be writing posts sporadically in 2015, and NOT ‘almost every day’ as I did in 2008-2011. I still have a day job that I’m committed to, and paid work always comes before unpaid work.

See also:

[Links last checked January 2015]