Monday, August 18, 2014

My new Brother Wireless Printer (MCP-J470DW)

This post is unrelated to anything, just bantering.

This is my second wireless network printer. The setup was fairly easy, that is, easy if you DON'T follow the "quick setup guide" which is ridiculously confusing. After everything was working, I was having the occasional problem that almost every home network printer user knows about: the printer periodically goes off line. You could turn the printer off and on, or re-install the printer software, and it would go online, but the problem would still recur. I had this problem with the last printer, too, but at that point I was unaware that the solution is so blindingly simple. It is also stunning that the guidance that comes with these printers does not give you this information as standard instructions. And, evidently, almost every IT professional knows about this.
The solution?

Use a static IP address for the printer.

The technical explanation:
Usually, by default, your home network is set up to automatically assign IP addresses  to different devices on the network-- like computers, tablets, and network-enabled printers. This address is a unique identifier for all of the devices so that the router can communicate with each one separately. These "dynamic" addresses are assigned and reassigned periodically, as the devices come on and off the network. This process is called DHCP. The problem begins if the IP address for the printer changes, and is different than the one which was assigned when the printer software was installed on the computer. For whatever reason the printer software is "dumb" and the computer cannot track the printer at its new, changed IP address. When this happens the computer cannot see the printer and therefore thinks its disconnected. Restarting the printer or re-installing the software on the computer allows them to find each other again but the same problem will inevitably recur.

To prevent this from happening, you can use a static (permanent) IP address for the printer rather than a dynamic one. There are several ways of doing this, but the simplest way to accomplish this is the set it from the printer itself. Depending on your make and model this is done from the front panel of the machine or from the printer web interface which you access from a browser. You have to pick an IP outside the range of the DHCP which you router uses. You don't need to make any changes to the router, but you may need to check the router settings (via the web interface) to see what your DHCP range is. Make sure that the subnet (the first 3 parts of the IP address) are the same as the IPs assigned by DHCP, but the last part (after the 3rd dot) can be any number above the range up to 254. You enter this IP into the printer settings, and set "static" as the method for IP assignment. In Brother printers, this is found under the "network-->TCP/IP" menu.
After doing this, restart the printer and the computers, and you should be good to go.
The printer will remain online, because the computer always knows where to find the printer.

Why don't manufacturers include this basic information in the instructions? I am sure the countless hours of frustration and technical support calls are made because of offline printers.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

An Open Letter to the People of Gaza (and to their supporters)

What has already not been said about our conflict? We accuse you of terrorism and wanting to throw us into the sea, and you have endless grievances against the Zionist "occupation" and the blockade of Gaza.

In 2005, Israel left the Gaza strip, down to the very last soldier and settler. True, this did not include the West Bank, but this was a perfect experiment for us to see what your intentions were and what direction your society and leadership would take you when you were free of "occupation" . Would it be towards economic prosperity, development, trade and peace? As you know, until 2005, Gaza was never "free", so for the first time you could have shown us, and the whole world, what you were capable of when left to yourselves. No settlers or settlements, no soldiers, no roadblocks, no Israeli military law. Sadly, you chose an extremist, incompetent, and corrupt leadership that holds you ransom to its militant and religious agenda. You turned towards terrorism. Rather than building infrastructure, businesses, agriculture and open trade, under Hamas leadership you spent your resources on tunnels and rockets (which have no military value other than for terrorizing civilians).

Which "occupation" are you blaming now? The only occupation of Gaza now is Hamas.

As for the Israeli blockade, there would obviously be no need for it if you weren't attempting to smuggle weaponry which threatens Israeli citizens. You also have a border with Egypt with whom you can pursue your own agreements. The minute that you would commit to disarming, the boycott would be lifted and Israel would have no reason to attack Gaza.

In Gaza there are about 1.2 million people who are considered "refugees" by the UN. Yet Gaza is under Palestinian rule, so why are they being kept as refugees in territory ruled by their own nation? Can you imagine Jews escaping persecution coming to Israel and being kept permanently in refugee camps in Israel? Why have you not settled and absorbed them? Why do they, and their descendants,  remain refugees?
The answer is glaringly obvious:  they are intentionally being kept that way by your leaders and by other Arab countries, enabled by a misguided UN, to be used as political weapons against Israel, with the false promise that one day they will "go back" to their homes in Israel.  They and their suffering are being used as pawns in a cruel political game.

So, the only conclusion that an Israel citizen could make from your behavior, is that you have an unwavering long-term commitment to the destruction of Israel. You have done nothing to dispel this impression.

As such you cannot expect us to commit suicide, by either agreeing to your absurd demands or allowing you to defeat us militarily.

This means that any complaints about your continued suffering, be it from "occupation", blockades, or and other grievances, should be directed at your own leadership--and your own dysfunctional society, which goes from one disaster to the next.

Ask yourselves the following questions:

1. Since Hamas has taken over Gaza, are your lives better or worse than they were before?
2. Do you honestly believe the twisted logic of your government's propaganda that Hamas rockets are "defending" Palestinians? Do you feel defended? Do you see any contradiction between your cries of Israeli attacks against defenseless civilians, and your claim that Hamas is defending you with their rockets?
3. Does the cost in Palestinian lives and property justify the emotional satisfaction that you get by firing rockets towards Israel?
4. Finally, are you prepared for endless suffering and hardship, holding out for some unseen "victory" over Israel, rather than settling for something less then everything you want?