Category Archives: Technology

SOLVED: why HP printer takes minutes to connect to smtp.gmail.com

So you’ve got an HP multifunction printer with scan-to-email functionality, and you’ve followed all of HP’s instructions for configuring Gmail SMTP in your printer, but every time you go to scan-to-email, it gets stuck for minutes at a time on the “connecting to smtp.gmail.com” message?

There seems to be a problem with the IPV6 autoconfiguration on HP printers.

My suspicion is that the HP printer tries to negotiate via IPV6 first if it sees that your router has assigned an IPV6 IP to the printer. However, since many residential grade ISPs have only partially implemented IPV6 (e.g. Telstra has some IPV6 services visible to residential customers but does not actually have globally routable IPV6 traffic except for business customers…) I think the printer is tripping up on this, and then trying for a few minutes before giving up and falling back to IPV4.

If all of this sounds like gobbledigook to you, don’t worry. All you have to do is go to the printer’s admin web page and disable the IPv6 functionality. Networking Tab, then the Advanced submenu on the left side. Untick the IPv6 option and click apply.

Your scan-to-email connection to gmail should now just take a few seconds, not the extended period it took before while the printer presumably tried in vain to establish an IPv6 connection.

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HOW TO: Fix slow scan-to-email connection with Gmail on HP multifunction printer

Why Malcolm Turnbull is wrong about the NBN being unnecessary

malcolmturnbull
The always-interesting tech journo Renai LeMay has posted a controversial article on Delimiter, In defence of Turnbulls’ NBN speed claims. The crux of Malcolm Turnbull’s argument, that Renai supports, is that current broadband technologies, while not as fast as the limitless potential of fibre, are fast enough for what people need to do on broadband today, and therefore spending $40 billion on the NBN is a waste of money.
I strongly feel that looking backwards in technology terms is not the right way to evaluate whether an investment in new technology is worthwhile.

Here’s why:

– In the first few years of broadband availability, the vast majority of people couldn’t see why they’d need it, because dial-up was perfectly fast enough for their emails and web use of the day (which probably meant internet banking once a week and a few Alta Vista searches a week).

– Before home VoIP became possible (adequate broadband speeds and provider availability) people were happy enough paying 40c a minute to call from Sydney to Melbourne.

– Before ADSL2+ became commonplace, most people were perfectly happy to traipse down to the video store to rent a video and pay the associated late fees.

– Before the iPad came out, there was negligible demand for tablet competing. (See how spectacularly unsuccessful all Windows tablets had been, for example.)

– Before the iPhone came out, the vast majority of people loved their Nokias and couldn’t imagine anything better.

– Back when I started at APC in 2003, there was a prevailing view that PC CPU’s were ‘fast enough’ — you could run Microsoft Office at a good clip on them, and if you had a decent graphics card you could run the latest games.

– Before HSPA+ Telstra Next G, people had no idea you could really work effectively from a wireless connection at speeds close to home broadband. (Yes I realise the irony of that example, in the context… but no wireless network is a competitor for the rock-solid reliability of a modern wired network.)

My point is… when it comes to technology, the general public, outside of the tiny technology enthusiast field, do not cry out for new enabling technology. But they sure do appreciate it when it arrives, and when it is done right.

It’s the “done right” part that I think is the key thing about the NBN. It’s what the iPad is to Windows tablets.

I don’t pretend to be able to predict the future of technology (and I do think many of the examples given in the NBN promotional video are a bit absurd), but my personal hopes for the impact of the NBN are:

– That given it is a government project, there will be an impetus for the government to make all government services available online, including face-to-face consultations with government workers.

– That population stress will be eased on major cities because it will be easy to telework from any remote location using a reliable, non-fluctuating connection. (Wireless _does_ fluctuate, and ADSL speeds are a crapshoot on a premise-by-premise basis.)

– That more two-way internet applications will become available, taking advantage of consistently low-latency, high upstream speeds. (I am personally disappointed that the basic NBN connection is limited to 1Mbit/s upstream.) Currently, the internet is by necessity architected around one-way download applications due to the highly asymmetrical nature of connections to end users.

I also don’t agree that any current broadband technologies are capable of providing adequate performance when it comes to upstream speed. Optus’ 100Mbit/s cable, for example, can only provide 2Mbit/s upstream to each user.

My biggest hope, really, is that the NBN will provide consistent broadband speeds right across Australia. Without that, it’s prohibitive for “IP workers” to move to country areas where their broadband options will be limited and variable. As a result, we’re all forced to live in city areas and pay ridiculous house prices, or live in dowdy regional areas like Geelong or Bendigo where decent ADSL2+ is likely to be available, but you’re living in a ‘mini-CBD’ anyway.

How to backup your iPhoto library to Dropbox – and resize images to save space

how-to-backup-iphoto-to-dropbox

iphoto-library-finder-infoIf, like me, you took Steve Jobs at his word when he said iPhoto 6 onwards could support up to 250,000 images, and you’ve been piling them in ever since, you’ve probably got a very large iPhoto library.

Mine is currently sitting at 66,431 images and is 220GB on disk. It’s so big that it convinced me to part with $1800 (Australian) to get the 512GB SSD Apple is making an option with the latest MacBook Pros. Obviously, at that price, it’s a ludicrously overpriced option at $3.50/GB compared to smaller, cheaper SSDs, typically around $2.50/GB, or mechanical hard drives at about $0.14/GB, but I wanted to have a boot drive on which I could have my full iPhoto library so I could work with pictures much more quickly (and boy, does it make a big difference.)

However, one problem I’ve been seeking an answer to for years now is how to backup my photos off-site, in case a house fire takes out both my MacBook Pro and my Time Capsule backup. (Or, if my house was burgled and both the MacBook Pro and Time Capsule were stolen — which actually happened to a family member of mine.)

Simply dropping the iPhoto library into an online backup program like Carbonite or Mozy isn’t viable, because uploading 200GB of data takes so long that it basically never completes — or the backup system gets so far behind that you’d be losing a lot of new photos if your house burned down.

The ‘ideal’ solution I had in mind was to do Time Machine backups constantly to my Time Capsule, as well as a fallback backup of downscaled resolution photos to an online backup location. I like Dropbox (my referral link included in that link) because it works so quietly and reliably in the background, but you could use any online backup service. Although some people might say that backing up the full resolution photos is important to them, to me, the most important thing is making sure those frozen memories don’t get lost — and if I downscale them to fit within 1920x1920px, then I still have a high definition, albeit not camera-resolution, version of the photo.

I’ve now figured out how to do it! Full details after the jump.

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Dual TomTom & iPhone charger – the options

TomToms are tricky little suckers to get third-party USB chargers for, because they use an unusually high amount of power. While most USB car chargers put out a maximum of 0.5A, TomToms need 1.2A – 2A depending on the model.

If you want to charge your iPhone and TomTom at once, the choices are slim; you can:

– buy one of these dual cigarette lighter adaptors from Dick Smith and plug in two chargers at once…

P1691LGE

– install a car stereo that has an iPod cord and charge your iPhone off that, and use your cigarette lighter jack for the TomTom charger
– manually swap between the chargers…!

Now Scosche in the US has released a $US24.99 dual USB car charger with one port that puts out 2.1A and another port that puts out 1A. The former is perfect for TomTom and the latter for iPhones or most other USB devices.

Its marketing name is Scosche ReVIVE II, but confusingly there is another product called ReVIVE II that only puts out 2 x 1A — so you are better off searching for it using the product code Scosche USBC3.

scosche-usbc3-revive-II

Only trouble is that they’re currently out of stock on Scosche’s website. Scosche reckons they were in stock as recently as 10th August — so they must have sold out quickly. They are, however, in stock at Amazon.com, if you use a US buying agent such as PriceUSA.com.au.

The WORST argument in support of internet filtering

There are many arguments that Senator Conroy has pulled out in support of implementing nationwide internet censorship on every Australian’s internet connection — all of them bad. But the WORST, in my opinion, is that the previous government’s “NetAlert” program, which provided government-funded PC software which filtered a home internet connection, was an abject failure due to low take-up.

In the last week or so I’ve noticed active participation in online forums with clearly pro-Conroy comments (such as one from “BTDT“, who I assume works for DBCDE in some capacity, but doesn’t declare it.) He makes the argument above.

The thing is, NetAlert was only an abject failure if your measure of success is widespread implementation of filtering onto people’s internet connections.

Why assume this is what the public wants? The NetAlert program was extensively marketed at a cost of millions of dollars to the government, with mailouts to every household in Australia, and so on. The fact that takeup was low doesn’t mean the program was a failure — it simply indicates that only a very tiny minority of people want their home internet connections filtered. Which is still the case now, given opposition to the government’s planned mandatory internet filter by literally everyone except christian lobby groups. I’m yet to hear from anyone who’s not affiliated with a christian lobby group who is in favour of the plan.

HOW TO: set disk spindown time for hard drives in a Mac

I’ve recently installed an MCE Optibay with 750GB WD HDD into my new MacBook Pro, alongside the 512GB SSD I got from Apple, providing me with a beautiful 1.25TB of total storage in a slim MacBook Pro. (The MCE Optibay replaces the optical drive in the MacBook Pro, allowing you to install a second 2.5″ hard drive of your choice securely in its place.)

I’m planning to use the 750GB Optibay drive for storing music and video files, since they don’t need high performance, and the drive can be allowed to spin down when I’m not listening to music or watching videos, which seems like an ideal arrangement from a power efficiency perspective.

However, by default OS X seems to take about 10 minutes to spin down the drive after it was last accessed. I found a great tip on MacOSXHints.com which describes how to set the system spindown time — you just open up a Terminal shell and type:

sudo pmset -a spindown 1

(where 1 is 1 minute; 0 disables entirely).

So now, my Optibay drive spins down one minute after it was last used — perfect! (Especially good since my MBP is near-silent with the SSD just in use, thanks to Apple’s really quiet fans when running at their default 2000rpm, and the WD hard drive in the Optibay is actually quite noisy — it’s an audial relief when it spins down!)

The same tip above can be used to disable spindown if you don’t want it to happen.

The only thing I’m wondering is what effect a spindown has on an SSD, if any. The value set using this tip is system-wide, affecting all hard drives, so if a spindown did happen to put the SSD into some sort of powersaving mode that might not be ideal, however, I haven’t noticed anything yet.