Workgroup Printer TCO research project

 Posted by at 8:54 pm  Uncategorized  Comments Off on Workgroup Printer TCO research project
Apr 052013

Q4’2012 and Q1’2013 have been hectic with the completion of the imlememtation of VoIP and the kickoff of a Server room remodel. As the later project approaches completion a backlogged project has made it to the top of the queue: finding several decent multifunction workgroup printers. Requirements boil down to cost, cost of consumables, digital sending (scan to folder, scan to email), performnce, durability / dependability, remote managability, and and encrypted-HDD.

Budget ceiling is $3000 per department, and two departments have expressed interest. Recently procured and deployed an HP CM3530fs, and discoverd the nasty reality of expremely pricy toner cost, and some truly odd issues which have degraded my previously steadfast confidence in the brand. Also have experience with an aging Xerox Phaser solid ink color printer, which needs replacing.

One department has photo quality printing needs based on video snapshot printing use cases. That same department also needs a multi-function printer to participate in the division wide paper reduction effort: digital sending in the form of scan to network and scan to email. These needs might be best served by two printers. The other department can get by with a dedicated printer, but additional requirement are likely forthcoming.

Brands under consideration are essentially all that are available, with a need to whittle the selection group from many to five, and them from there create a matirx to help me match requirements to features, capabilties, and reviews. Base group so far includes Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Xerox. Have received quotes from three vendors for Dell, HP, and Lexmark. One vendor is pushing Dell printers, but research says that Dell rebrands Lexmark and Samsumg printers, and then ties clients to a single source of consumables.

The QuadShot

 Posted by at 10:06 am  Ethical Hacking  Comments Off on The QuadShot
Sep 102011

I heard about (on the the HAK5 podcast) a trick new platform for aerial autonomy called the quadshot, from a group of developers out of Santa Cruz, CA. It has four propellers and takes off vertically, but uses a mono wing design, so flying under a pitch-yaw-roll scenario is second nature. I even contributed to their fund raising cause over at If I had time I would get busy playing with one, but I need to devote myself to my new job, which means constant techno-lust

HP Pavillion m9000t will not power on after moving

 Posted by at 7:20 pm  Hardware & Facilities  Comments Off on HP Pavillion m9000t will not power on after moving
Aug 202011

I found a job in a different part of the state, a really good job, I call it a dream job, but that is another story. To do the job I moved, powered off the HP Pavilion (model m9000t) and then went to set it up at the new home, and nothing! No fan pulses upon connecting the power cable, only a green light in the back. I Checked the power cable for proper amps, plugged in different power outlets, no change. Power on switch simply is unresponsive. Then I went out and did some research, other Pavilion owners have had this same nightmare. Some blog replies suggested it might be a bad power supply, some complainants said that Geek Squad (I would never contact them, I always solve it myself or build-or-buy something else) wanted $120+ or so the run diags (diagnostics) and then replace the PSU (Power Supply Unit), and then someone mentioned removing the RAM (Random Access Memory), and trying the power up process. Sounded just odd enough to be feasible.

I unplugged the power cable, and removed all four 2x2GB Corsair RAM chips (laying then carefully on a piece of paper in the order and orientation in which they were removed) and plugged in the power cable, and clicked the power button five times… no reason for the five clicks and probably not significant, waited 30 seconds and the fans came on! Then the beeps, which also really good news, because it means that the PSU was supplying power to the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) and BIOS was sensing a lack of RAM and complaining about it, the system was functioning.

Now I’ll need to hook up the video, keyboard and mouse, and discover why it did not rejoin my wireless home network, but the power is on and that is REALLY good!

Originally this was a Vista box that came with Windows Vista Ultimate, but I retasked it with 8GB RAM and ESXi (community version) then an instance of OpenSolaris, an instance of Small Business Server 2008, and and instance of Windows 2008 R2 Standrad, running SQL server 2008 R2.  A far, far better utilization of the resource.  Whatsmore, the EXSi unit attaches wirelessly to my Mac baseed Airpot Extreme home network, where my MacBookPro runs MacFusion and an instance of Windows 7 Pro and from there I manage the EXSi instances using the VMware VSpere client.  But still I have the superior OS X environment for my day to day activities.

I am one of those Mac enthusiasts who uses Mac at home, but earns a living supporting Windows environments: Techgoat grazes in many pastures, and the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

OmniPlan for Mac–Setting a tasks’s default effort

 Posted by at 4:18 pm  Applications, Mac Applications, OmniPlan  Comments Off on OmniPlan for Mac–Setting a tasks’s default effort
Jan 022011

OmniPlan version 1.7 (for Mac) by the OmniGroup, is an aesthetically pleasing application for project management, with an ardent base of dedicated users. Recently I had the inclination to evaluate OmniPlan for my purposes, and I stumbled upon something that I couldn’t find in the help information. As soon as I installed OmniPlan and started a new project I noticed that the default task duration (effort) was set to one day (e.g., 1d).

About screen for OmniPlan 1.7

I changed the duration for that first task to 30 minutes, but as soon as I created another task the duration was again defaulting to one day. Searching the OmniPlan help showed that “default” was not in their vocabulary. How ubiquitous is the notion of default values? Every programmer and computer user knows what a default value is, don’t they? If you use a computer for a period longer than a month, you are likely to be introduced to the notion of what a default value is, so I should be able to find some reference to it in the Help, shouldn’t I?

OmniPlan Help has no reference to "default"

Some searching on the Internet revealed that task duration is a function of “Effort Conversion Factors” on the Project Formatting Inspector; and the confusing part is that it is a “function of.”

There is no simple label like “default task effort,” instead the interface seems to have been designed by OmniPlan programmers or technicians from their perspective, rather than from a project manager’s perspective. With repetition I am sure I would be accustomed to looking in the Project Formatting inspector to adjust the default task effort (or duration) but being new to OmniPlan, it was not readily apparent where to look.  Some experimentation fiddling with the interface allowed me to enter the correct fraction of “hours per work day” that result in a default task duration of 30 minutes.


The other bit is that this change only pertains to this project, and new projects continue to use one day as the default task effort.  What happens if a 30 minute task duration is the default you want applied to all subsequent projects? For this you’ll need to find and alter the “Empty Plan” template, called “Empty Plan.omniplan”. The Empty Plan template is buried within the contents of package, which means you cannot open the “Empty Plan” template from within OmniPlan. Why not? Because OmniPlan looks for OmniPlan files within your existing folders, and the finder utility within OmniPlan doesn’t allow inspecting files or folders, which is expected. Very few applications permit right-clicking on files when performing a file-open function.

You will need to use Finder to navigate to the contents of the application package and then open the template with OmniPlan (two-finder-tap the track-pad or right-click, with empty plan.omniplan selected, and select Open With OmniPlan from the context menu). Then use the Project Formatting inspector to adjust the “Effort Conversion Factors” as shown above and save the Empty Plan template (the following videos shows how to do this; there are two videos in order to keep video size below 10 MB in size).



My evaluation of OmniPlan is ongoing, and I haven’t yet made a decision what to buy, but I thought coverage of this pesky bit was not well covered so I blogged about it.  Hope some finds it helpful.

Mozilla Labs: Open Web Apps Ecosystem

 Posted by at 2:53 pm  Applications, Development, HTML & XHTML, News, Newsflash  Comments Off on Mozilla Labs: Open Web Apps Ecosystem
Dec 312010

Mozilla Labs is underwriting an effort to create a new paradigm for web applications that can be installed on a mobile or local device, and run in any browser. It seems to be a prototype of an App Store for everyone. Like iTunes gives my iPhone an App Store, the Open Web App concept hopes to be an App Store everywhere, on all platforms, in all browsers.  It is better to visit the website, and read the comments, and understand what they are proselytizing about the Open Web Apps Ecosystem.