01/03/2001

Mailbag:

Dual Celerons; Chap. 9

Dead ATX power supplies. Yesterday was my first day back at work in a while (I was burning up vacation time most of last week). I “fixed” an ATX power supply first thing that morning by unplugging it and plugging it back in after waiting 10 seconds. I see that problem somewhat frequently on Micron desktop PCs for some reason. If it gets to be a regular occurrance on a particular PC, we get Micron to RMA the power supply.

Mac-PC font conversion madness. We also ran into some problems migrating some documents from Macs to PCs, so the resident Unix guru, who’s also the other resident Mac guru, and I spent all afternoon struggling with it. Finally, we just started converting a couple of the crucial Type 1 (PostScript) fonts manually to get around the problem. He had his Linux laptop with Netatalk configured, so I dumped the fonts to his Linux box, which he then converted and I grabbed on a PC via FTP.

There is no good free way to move fonts between the Mac and Windows, alas. From the Mac to Unix is no big deal. But all the freebie converters have major drawbacks. I went and got the $45 shareware CrossFont from www.asy.com and tried it out. It gave satisfactory results on two of the fonts, but totally mangled the line spacing on the third. We suspect that font has problems, so it may not be CrossFont’s fault, but it would be nice to know for sure.

Speaking of Type 1, Adobe Type Manager Light is now a free download for both Windows and the Mac. Get your copy at www.adobe.com. There aren’t a huge number of free PostScript fonts out there, but there are some.

The Epson Stylus 1520. Today was a Mac problem day mostly. I ended the day by troubleshooting an Epson Stylus Color 1520 that didn’t want to print pure colors. Pushing the clean button didn’t help. I finally just switched over to the printer’s local port (we usually print via the Epson Stylus RIP to get PostScript Level 3 support), opened an application, loaded a file, chose to print, then hit the Utility button from the print dialog box. I do wish there were an easier way to get to the utility function. I cleaned the nozzles and aligned the print heads, and voila, we once again had nice prints.

Too bad Epson hides that utility so deeply, because I spend a lot of time cleaning those stupid printers and that’s really something an end user could do, if they could remember how. (I have a hard time remembering how, which is part of the reason why I’m putting it here. Running a Web site has its advantages…)

The other problem I have with this printer is that because it cost $500, people seem to think it’s a high-volume printer, capable of printing thousands of pages a month. It’s not. It really is a consumer-grade printer. While the print quality is very good as long as you have the right paper, that’s this printer’s appeal, and that’s why it costs so much. Printing thousands of sheets a month is a great way to burn through printheads, and that’s not something that’s user-replaceable. It’s not even something I can do–it has to go into the shop. And no, when you pay $500 for a printer, you don’t get onsite service.

Mailbag:

Dual Celerons; Chap. 9

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