Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Solve Mac Printing Problems

Folks, rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll simply tell you the first thing to do is clear the Printer’s “queue” —

1) Open Apple menu and go to “System Preferences” and choose Printers. (You can also use Finder.)
2) Select the active printer and choose “Open Print Queue” button.
3) Select and cancel the print job(s) as desired, canceling them and removing them from the printing queue.

And point you to this article for the more advanced steps:

* How to resolve Mac printing issues

Printing on a Mac is typically reliable. Occasionally trouble arises, however. Here are a few recommended resolutions for returning printing to proper operation.Read more..

* * *

Today’s quote:Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~ Dalai Lama

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 28, 2016 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, consumer electronics, hardware, how to, printers, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Printers (review)

I am often asked by clients for my shopping recommendations. In the last couple of months, both for personal reasons, as well as professional, printers have been a subject of these requests. (For one thing, color lasers have come down enough in price to be a reasonable option for us consumers.) As I have mentioned here before, I start my research by looking to the lab results of product testing done at PC World magazine.

Latest PC World magazine reviews:

* Top 10 Inkjet Multifunction Printers

We test and review the latest multifunction inkjets. Models start at around $100 and combine a printer, scanner, copier and (sometimes) a fax machine.

(My current pick, the Canon MX870, ranks number 5 here.. To me, it’s the best ‘bang for my buck’. And it has fax and auto-duplexing.)

* Top 10 Color Laser Multifunction Printers

These efficient workhorses combine color laser printing, scanning, copying, and, frequently, faxing. Ratings and rankings can change due to pricing and technology changes, so check back frequently for the latest info.

Brands Technicians Love & Hate: Folks, Bryce over at Technibble conducted an informal survey of repair technicians of which brand names they prefer (and which they shun) – broken down by category. I was not terribly surprised to see the results turn out to be nearly identical with my own ‘drothers’. To see the winners and losers, click here. (Printers are down the page a bit.)

Related (sorta): Highlights of upcoming 2011 tablets (photos).

Unrelated: For those of you who would like help with relief efforts after the earthquake and waves in Japan, and want to donate to either the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army (which are two of the larger BBB accredited charities assisting in the relief efforts):

You can text “Japan” to 80888 from your cell phone to donate $10 to Salvation Army efforts.  (Visit mobilecause.com for terms and conditions) Respond “Yes” to a “Thank you” message you receive.

And/or you can text “Redcross” from your cell phones to 90999 to donate the same amount to that organization.

Larger donations can always be made online via the Red Cross website or Salvation Army website. (Source: Japan quake and tsunami puts Apple iPad in perspective.)

Attention: I need to ask my readers a favor.. I seem to have misplaced an hour. Does any one know where it went? I would like to get it back, please.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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March 14, 2011 Posted by | advice, printers, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TGIF Revisited + Brands Techs Love/Hate

Folks, I may not get today’s article finished and posted today.. so I am quickly re-posting an article from March 2008 (with a new reco) so that you’ll have something to read, and a pretty picture to look at. Just in case.

There’s just something about Fridays that you gotta love.

We humans simply must have some light at the end of the tunnel, or we will flag, sag, and eventually quit trying. Friday (for most of us) is that light — the end of the work week is not only in sight, it’s mere hours away!
And Friday for a lot of us (me too… when I was younger) means that we will “go out”; we will “celebrate”; we will eat, drink, and (maybe) dance with friends, co-workers, and complete strangers. We will make merry. A joyous break in the routine.

Friday means the weekend is here. Isn’t that a magical word? “Weekend”. (I smile just thinking it.)
Sure, the weekend isn’t all fun-and-games.. there’s lawns to mow, and cars to wash-and-vacuum, and a “Honey-Do list” a mile long, and grocery shopping.. there’s church, weddings to attend, children’s birthday parties, friends-who-need-help-moving-to-a-new-apartment and,.. have you cleaned out your gutters yet?
Weekends are never long enough.

So today is Friday and it feels like Spring is here.
19_10_11-spring_web.jpg

Here, where I live, we’ve had several warm sunny days in a row. So.. the other day I gave my car its first bath of the year. Washed all the Winter grime away. Guess what? It rained hours later.
Is that cliche, or what?

I like the Spring. Springtime alleviates a sad mental condition I have. Psychologists and Psychiatrists with nothing better to do have decided to name/label a rather common human condition, and they’ve called it “SAD”– that’s short for “Seasonal Affective Disorder“. And I guess I have it. “SAD” basically says that bitter cold, long periods without sunshine (as in shorter days/lots of clouds), extended indoor confinement (as in lots of rain/snow), brings us down (“Depresses” us).
Duh.

I much prefer sunshine, air the doesn’t bite you, and green leaves and flowers everywhere to gray skys, mud, and bare, skeletal branches. Those (former) things cheer me up considerably.

OK, this is a “tech” site..
Tip of the day: Springtime means Spring Cleaning (and pruning.. and planting.. and gutter-cleaning..) and so I am going to remind you that your computer needs an occasional cleaning too. (Nice transition, eh?)

1) Get rid of the dust and lint: Dust and lint can reduce your computer’s performance, cooling efficiency, and even cause fatal short-circuits.
* For desktop PCs, unplug your computer’s power cord from the wall and open your computer’s case so you can see all the neato circuitry inside. How, exactly your case opens will vary with make/model, but it is usually a side panel, and the side panel is held in place with two thumb-screws (the manufacturer’s website will have instructions, also).

Once the case is open, use the techniques I described in my recent printer maintenance article to remove the built-up dust bunnies. Pay special attention to air venting areas (and screens), such as by the power supply. (And, be careful and be gentle.)

* For notebooks, your cleaning is going to be a little different: you will want to get all the debris from out from under your keyboard keys, as I describe in this article. And you’ll want to wipe down your screen with an anti-static cloth (which may may require the slightest [just a drop or two.. in one corner..] moistening with plain water.

2) Get rid of disk clutter: Empty the trash that accumulates on your hard drive for a leaner, meaner file system. Fortunately there’s a one-button tool for that in Windows, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/11/07/more-than-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-disk-cleanup-tool/

So let’s get busy and do some Spring Cleaning.. and don’t forget to notice the flowers.

Brands Technicians Love & Hate: Folks, Bryce over at Technibble conducted an informal survey of repair technicians of which brand names they prefer (and which they shun) – broken down by category. I was not terribly surprised to see the results turn out to be nearly identical with my own ‘drothers’. To see the winners and losers, click here.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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March 11, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, tech | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ink. Nozzles. Cartridges.

Razors and razor blades..

Today I want to talk about printers. I have some recent experiences to share, and.. a question to ask.

ink I have said for a long time the tech industry’s business model for printers is the old “razors and razor blades” game. They practically give away the printer, and make their money selling ink (cartridges) refills.

Because ink refills are um.. well, not cheap, a whole industry has developed, and workaround techniques used, to try to undercut the manufacturer’s ink price, and earn your business.

There are ‘kits’ you can buy which contain a syringe and a bottle of ink. There are “generic” cartridges. There are “ink recycling/refill” services offered by retail Doodad & Gizmo stores. There are online “discount ink” websites and “wholesalers”. Etc., etc. (Enter “ink refills” into your favorite search engine, and take a quick look at the millions of results.) I think you know what I am talking about.

My reco for ink refill: (Mind you, I am not talking about laser printers here.)
Unless your printer is old, basic, and you are thinking about replacing it anyway, buy the manufacturer’s recommended replacement cartridge. If money is a real factor, keep an eye out for sales and specials (the manufacturer’s themselves often offer sale prices for online orders) and stock up when you find them. I further suggest, that if your printer accepts both normal and “extended” (larger) cartridges, and you print pretty much everyday, get the larger. If you print only occasionally, don’t. Ink can dry up.

Pretty simple, right? And, also, probably not what you wanted to hear.

But the truth is – and have have witnessed scores of examples of this (3 already this January) – sooner or later, a syringed/generic/recycled ink cartridge will either:
* not print worth a *darn*
* clog your “print head” ‘nozzles’ (aka “jets”)

When it’s the latter, you can try to clean the ‘nozzles’/print head. Which sometimes works (let the print head soak overnight in a bowl of Windex, rinse and let dry thoroughly (overnight is good), and then run the printer’s “deep clean” utility a few times). But more often then not, in my experience, a clog means a new printer.
(Or a new print head.. which often costs as much as a new printer.)

If you spent good money to get a good printer, and you like it and want to keep it around for a while, play it safe — don’t gum it up by trying to save $10 — buy a manufacturer’s replacement cartridge. There are solid, sound, technical [physical] reasons for this, which I won’t bother you with. But think about it.. don’t you think using exactly what the printer’s designer designed it to use would produce the best results?

There is my 2¢.

My question for you, Dear Reader, is: have you ever had to replace a printer because you used cheap ink?

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 14, 2011 Posted by | advice, hardware, printers, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Help for Updates, “Stuck” Printer Jobs

This week included the second Tuesday of the month; or, as we here at T4E Headquarters call it, “Patch Tuesday” – the day Microsoft releases the majority of its new Updates and “hotfixes”. This time around there were “critical” patches released, and a known attack was “plugged” (“patched”.. “fixed”). Folks, I repeat: you want updates, and having to reboot to apply them really is a trivial inconvenience. Please read, What’s With All These Updates?!

If you experienced trouble (or, ever do) after installing an Update, click the link below and scroll down to the bottom answer. See IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*


I came across a small, free utility which can help clear ‘stuck’ print jobs from your printer que. This tool is for when you have tried the proper method (see, The print job won’t stop printing) and you still cannot “delete” the file from the list. (Or, cannot “Cancel all documents”.)

The tool is called Stalled Printer Repair. It is “portable”, meaning it does not need to be installed, only “run”. You can get it here.

[note: If you should for some reason prefer (or need) the “manual method”, see How To Deal With Stuck Print Jobs]


If you like tech websites: Bookmark4Techs
Bookmarks4Techs is the largest repository of listed tech sites currently available on the internet. If you have the desire to learn about computers and information technology, then Bookmarks4Techs is your place to start!“

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 13, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Patch Tuesday, Stuck Printers, etc.

Yesterday was the second Tuesday of the month, aka “Patch Tuesday” – the day Microsoft releases the majority of its new Updates and “hotfixes”. This time around there was three “critical” patches released, and a known attack was “plugged” (“patched”.. “fixed”). Folks, I repeat: you want updates, and having to reboot to apply them is a trivial inconvenience. Please read, What’s With All These Updates?!

For a review of yesterday’s Updates (and to see what they are and what they fix) click here.


I came across a small, free utility which can help clear ‘stuck’ print jobs from your printer que. This for when you have tried the proper method (see, The print job won’t stop printing) and you cannot “delete” the file from the list. (Or, cannot “Cancel all documents”.)

The tool is called Stalled Printer Repair. It is “portable”, meaning it does not need to be installed, only “run”. You can get it here.


There is a new website in town: Bookmark4Techs
Bookmarks4Techs is the largest repository of listed tech sites currently available on the internet. If you have the desire to learn about computers and information technology, then Bookmarks4Techs is your place to start!“


** My Latest Software License Giveaway Drawing **


Sandboxie’s creator, Ronen Tzur, has graciously and generously donated five licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank him for that. So I am going to do a random drawing contest from folks who “enter” my drawing. The contest will end midnight Thursday, July 15th, and the winners announced Friday the 16th.
A “registration” license is “lifetime” and can be used on as many computers as you own.

Put plain and simply, Sandboxie gives me a secure feeling when traveling around the Web, and I feel ‘naked’ without it. For the details (such as how to enter), click here.

Act now! Deadline nears…

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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July 14, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, free software, Internet, Microsoft, printers, security, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Mac Printer Problem

The other day I received a phone call (at Aplus Computer Aid) from a man whose printer had suddenly stopped working. All the lights were on. The cable was plugged in. He hadn’t moved the printer or computer, changed any settings, or installed/uninstalled any software.
So he was puzzled.

So I had him try the usual Printer Troubleshooting Steps
* Was the printer getting power (plugged in)? Yes.
* Turn the printer off, and then turn it again. Resolved? No.
* Is the USB cable plugged in securely? Yes.
* Delete old print jobs. Resolved? No.
* Is the printer showing in System Profiler? No.
* Restart the computer. Resolved? No.

Hmmm… Now I was puzzled.
The fact that the printer wasn’t showing up at all in the Profiler meant that it was almost certainly not a software (driver) issue.. And all the lights on meant it (probably) wasn’t a power issue. So I kept coming back to the USB cable, and he kept telling me it was plugged in just fine, and that he hadn’t touched it.
So I told him to “humor me” and plug it in to a different USB port.

This resolved his problem.
It turns out that he had made a change recently. He had replaced his keyboard with a new wireless mouse and keyboard set.
Keyboard? What’s that got to do with a printer???Keyboard-USB

His printer’s USB cable had been firmly and securely plugged in — to the old keyboard. The one that he had unplugged to make room for the new wireless one. Apple likes to put convenient USB ports on their keyboards, and..
Normally, I run into this “it IS plugged in” with powerstrips. Is the powerstrip plugged in?

Today’s free link: Apple’s Support page for troubleshooting printer issues provides the step-by-step methods for resolving most printing errors. Those with driver issues (software) should look here.

Today’s free download: In sticking with my Mac theme today.. http://www.opensourcemac.org/ is a website dedicated to listing the best in free (Open Source) programs for your Mac. All kinds of categories, so whether you’re looking for an anonymizer or image editor, you’ll find something here.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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May 21, 2009 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, hardware, how to, printers, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments