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There's no justice

23rd September, 2014. 1:10 pm. Using the Brother P-touch PT-2730 with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

The Brother P-touch PT-2730 PC-Connectable Labeling System isn't supported on Linux. There's a CUPS driver for some P-touch models (via the printer-driver-ptouch package), but this isn't one of them, and trying to substitute a "similar" driver won't actually work — it will simply feed blank tape and frustrate you.

So, I looked at what their Windoze software generates, and it turns out to be incredibly simple, and quite easy to replicate.

Basically, the PT-2730 is a 180dpi monochrome raster printer that can output rows up to 128 pixels wide. It also has a cutting mechanism. That's all there is to it. None of the built-in fonts, label templates, etc. are accessible. You have to render your own bitmaps.

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15th August, 2013. 9:53 pm. This is just begging for someone to do this.

Imagine an online store, which displays the following message at checkout:

You may have been selected for a special offer! If you see a discount code below, type it in the "Have a coupon? Enter it here:" box to save 20% off today's order.

█████████████████████████████████████████████
███████████████████████████████████
███████████████████████████████████████
████████████████████████████████████████████
███████████████████████████████████████
████████████████████████████████████
██████████████████████████████████████████

(If no code is visible, sorry, you are not a winner.)

The actual code would be randomly generated, expire after 20 minutes, and only be accepted if submitted from the same IP address (so it can't be shared with anyone else). However, everyone gets a valid code. It's just hidden behind a <blink> tag, which you can't see in Firefox 23 and later (and some other browsers). People who use those would be tricked into paying more for the same stuff. ;-)

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4th July, 2013. 9:31 am. Stupid Question of the Day

Sutro Tower is now forty years old. Does that mean it's over the hill?

Current mood: silly.

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1st May, 2013. 4:33 am. Enough good men (and women) to do something

As the World Wide Web enters its third decade, it's under attack like never before. I had my suspicions when Google offered a somewhat dubious explanation for forking Apple's WebKit. When Opera announced they'd be replacing Presto with Blink, that was a huge victory for The Dark Side. Now, the Forces of Evil are proceeding with a plan to bend Firefox to their will; if they're successful, it's only a matter of time before we'll all be forced into submission, and you're not going to like it. There's still a chance (albeit a slim one) they can be stopped. Go here before May 3rd. Be sure to read the EFF article, because it offers a much better explanation of the issue.

This one's important. Seriously.

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4th April, 2013. 12:14 am. Breaking My Silence

I generally refrain from posting about TV shows I enjoy, because they always seem to get canceled shortly thereafter.

I've been watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno ever since he took over from Johnny Carson. I'd always hoped that one day I'd get to sit in the studio audience, but that's probably not going to happen now. Too bad; it's currently the best show NBC has.

One thing that's certain: I'll be gone once Jimmy Fallon takes over. My tolerance for him lasts about half as long as a Capital One commercial.

Thanks, Jay. You'll be missed.

Current mood: sad.

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6th April, 2012. 6:06 pm. No Kosher Coke this year in California?!?

The Associated Press explains why. Sounds mighty fishy...

Current mood: disappointed.

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31st March, 2012. 11:13 pm. You don't have to be a marketing genius, but it helps

Google Racing misses the mark. It's a nice display of technological prowess, but most NASCAR fans would rather see Danica Patrick naked.

Score: Bob Parsons 1, Sergey Brin 0.

It's not a total write-off; who wouldn't want Google Street View cars zipping through their neighborhoods at 212 mph?

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29th February, 2012. 3:31 am. Failure to Launch

Five and a half hours ago, the Raspberry Pi folks made their Big Announcement: they were shifting to licensed manufacture. Two companies, Premier Farnell and RS Components, were supposedly taking preorders. If you'd been camping out on www.raspberrypi.com, too bad — that was just a decoy.

RS published a press release claiming worldwide availability. Unfortunately, it seems no one told Allied Electronics, leaving the U.S./Canada market empty-handed. Similarly, Farnell's U.S. distributor, Newark, didn't seem to know anything about it either. That's since been rectified — except they claim to be shipping directly from the U.K., negating their usefulness, and contradicting RasPi's announcement. Because of this, there's a $20 handling fee on a $35 product. Ouch.

Unlike Farnell, RS isn't taking preorders, but they'll let you "express interest," which interested people didn't do because @Raspberry_Pi tweeted that if you saw that page, you were in the wrong place. They later retracted that, but now it's looking like they sort of got it right the first time. Yes, you're still stuck "expressing interest," but not on the U.K. site if you're in the U.S. Confused yet? Good!

Here's where things stand right now:

If you want Farnell, don't look for Farnell; go here instead:
http://www.newark.com/raspberry-pi/raspbrry-pcba/dp/83T1943

If you want RS, don't look for RS; go here instead:
http://www.designspark.com/content/raspberry-pi-registration-page

Someone tweeted that RS wants $15 above the advertised price, but that's still better than $20.

I believe the product is real, but today it sure looks like the Brits are perpetrating a massive hoax on the New World. :-(

Update: Searches on Allied now return a static page:
http://www.alliedelec.com/images/products/mkt/lp/1203/raspberry_pi.aspx

Current mood: annoyed.

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28th January, 2012. 11:57 am. Oh, the irony

A message titled "Changes to Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service" turned up in my mailbox the other day. Gmail dutifully accompanied it with ads for securities fraud attorneys, product liability law firms, and class action lawsuits.

Current mood: amused.

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8th January, 2012. 2:49 pm. Gone Postal

It's the first non-holiday Sunday of the new year, and it brings an unpleasant surprise: the Post Office is closed. Not just one location, but all of them (within a reasonable distance). Even the airport mail facility. According to the USPS website, there's now only one remaining Post Office with Sunday hours within a 100-mile radius — and it's nearly 45 miles away!

First they came for the stamp machines...

Current mood: unhappy.

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