Melty printer

A visit by family members usually coincides with embarrassing failures of computing in our household. This is embarrassing because I try to be fairly tech savvy. However, any cred is immediately wiped away by events such as those which occurred during this most recent Thanksgiving:

  1. While my sister and I were trading  the latest  internet videos, my home-brew PVR stopped playing flash video correctly. To be specific, flash stole control of the desktop and prevented control of the browser. A quick update of system packages fixed the problem. Nonetheless, my sister was left with the impression that my PVR is crap. Thanks, Adobe.
  2. While trying to make tee-shirts to commemorate our celebration of Turkenfunken (don’t ask), I made the dumb (and desperate) move of using an inkjet tee-shirt transfer in our new laser printer. This resulted in melting the transfer to the silicone rollers in the toner fuser unit and nearly setting the printer on fire. Several hours and YouTube instructional videos later, I managed to open the side of the printer, extract the fuser, remove the transfer from the unit, and reinstall all the parts. The printer now works fine again. Thanks, stores that don’t sell transfers for laser printers (you know who you are, Staples, Target, Fry’s, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby).
  3. When trying to print my sister’s boarding passes, my laptop stopped displaying javascript-enabled pages correctly. This forced us to print from the only other computer in the house with printing enabled: my Windows gaming machine. The inability to get things printed quickly led my sister to make a snide quip about a house full of degrees and not a single working computer. Thanks, Windows printing.

I’ve observed that my PVR only seems to fail when family is around. Similarly, printing, wifi, Time-Warner internet service, and X10. Since the only common factor is family, I wonder if computers are really the problem . . . ?

Unreasonable Search and Seizure

As we going into this Thanksgiving travel season, I would remind all Americans that, according to the Constitution of the United States,

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Just because I  want to get on a plane is not sufficient cause to search my person. Get a warrant, or keep your eyes off my naked body and keep your hands off my crotch.