The catch in my love affair with the Brother 2170W Black & White Wireless Laser Printer

September 28, 2009

image I adore my Brother HL-2140W Wireless Personal Laser Printer. 

For years I used a slow HP Laserjet 4M that would jam on me or chew up toner cartridges.  Then one day, I went hunting for a black & white WIRELESS laser printer.  Something not too extravagant but anything that WASN’T inkjet because inkjet is the quickest way to make documents that look like a 6th grader produced them.  Heaven forbid you get them damp or drop a bead of water on them.

I discovered the wonderful Brother HL-2140W.  It cranks out 23 pages per minute and it’s cheap as dirt at $109.  It’s never jammed or failed on me and it’s got both wired and wireless interfaces on it making it super easy use for laptop users and it’s fidelity is perfect for customer printouts or just the quick “map & address” printout before you hit the road.

Even better, Windows 7 will autodetect it on the network if you search for wireless printers and it’ll autoinstall the correct driver on your system.  So cool, it’s disgusting. 

So what’s the problem?

Well, it turns out that the device will tend to report that “toner is low” early.  It does this by shining a light through holes in the toner cartridge.  Normally this isn’t a problem however when it declares that the toner is “empty”, the printer STOPS WORKING unlike most other printers.

What’s worse is that we all know, there’s usually a little toner left in the cartridge but in the case of the 2170W, there’s usually a LOT.  People online report being ‘stopped’ at 1000 pages printed despite having enough toner in the cartridge to be able to go another 500 pages.

HOWTO:  Use the remaining toner in a supposed “empty” Brother toner cartridge

It turns out that according to some online reports I found, there is a clear plastic circle at each end of the toner cartridge. The printer shines a light through to see how full the toner is. Simply cover one of them with a piece of opaque tape, and the printer will think that the toner is full. I’ve already gotten 1500+ pages out of the starter toner that was "empty" at 983, with no difference in printed quality.

So yeah – that sucks.  But still, if you can get 50% more printed pages out of a toner cartridge that reads “empty” that’s pretty f’ing good.

Digg This

Kurt stumbles upon the ‘Trifecta’ in Pasadena

September 27, 2009

A few weeks ago, I encountered the Trifecta.  As I sat attending a UCLA Football game with my guacamole-laden “Macho Nachos”, I noticed something unusual on the scoreboard sponsorship:

UCLA Bruins Football… brought to you by Xbox 360!

Yeah!  The Nachos, Bruin football, and Xbox… the trifecta!

Digg This

And it looks like Kurt’s secret society is…

September 12, 2009

Apparently, I am fated to be a member of the Knights Templar. 

image(Hmm.  And all this time, I thought I was more Illuminati-ish.)

Find out what secret society you belong to:

Digg This

Jamba Juice: Buy 1, get 1 16oz for $1

September 11, 2009

Digg This

REVIEW: Teknocreation’s InCharge for Xbox 360

September 8, 2009

image I’m really surprised that more hoopla isn’t made of these things.  One day had a sale on InCharge Xbox 360 controller battery chargers, each with 2 batteries, so I bought 3 units, not expecting much.  I figured, “Everyone needs extra batteries, right?”

What I got was a big surprise.

Okay, forget for a moment that these are simply batteries for your Xbox 360 controllers.  These have been nothing short of a godsend over the past couple days.  I’m really surprised that no one else is talking about how glorious these batteries & chargers are.  There are so many benefits to InCharge that make it completely worth picking up relative to normal Xbox 360 batteries & chargers.

    These batteries are half the weight of the official Xbox 360 controller batteries.  This really does make a difference in hand/game fatigue and I was pleasantly surprised and how nice and light the Xbox 360 controllers are with the InCharge batteries on them.
    This is a biggest difference:  The batteries are not made of the same Nickel Metal Hydride material that the official Xbox 360 batteries are made of.  They’re made up of Lithium Polymer which, if you know your battery technology, is the current state of the art in battery technology today.  In fact, the much older Nickel Metal Hydride is ancient and rarely used in anything other than the most basic consumer electronics whereas Lithium Polymer (and it’s predecessor, Lithium Ion) is what is used in laptops and PDAs today because of two properties:
    1. LACK OF MEMORY EFFECT:  LiPoly has relatively little memory effect i.e. loss of energy retention capability.  Unlike Nickel Metal Hydride, you do not need to fully drain and fully recharge the battery to keep it from losing energy capacity.  Because of their predisposition to capacity loss, NiMH batteries always live dramatically shorter lives compared to LiPoly because of this memory effect issue.
    2. ENERGY CAPACITY:  LiPoly retains greater amounts of energy per weight than NiMH.  This is the reason why InCharge batteries can weigh substantially less (50% less!) than the NiMH batteries and still maintain 25 hour charges on them.
    This is really cool.  There’s no cords or connectors to plug into the batteries or the controllers to charge these batteries.  You simply place them on the charger and through magnetic induction, the InCharge batteries begin to charge.  This also mean that the batteries can still be connected to the controller and you can place the entire controller on the charger and the battery will begin charging without connecting anything to it.

I gotta say, I have virtually no complaints about these things.  The only thing that has bugged me is that when a battery is charged, there is a green LED light that constantly blinks incessantly.  I literally put tape over the LED, it got so annoying to look at.

Other than that, I got them at a steal for $14.99 on Woot, so it’s REALLY hard to complain about the price for certain, considering they normally retail for $34.99 and a couple extra batteries typically cost more than that alone without the charger.  However despite the fact that they aren’t “officially approved & licensed” Xbox 360 products, if you ever want new batteries for your Xbox 360 controllers, I’d encourage you to consider the InCharge.  These things are really convenient compared to the official Xbox 360 batteries and charging accessories.

Here’s one place where you can find these batteries & chargers:

Digg This

The glass is half full… on the Internet!

September 1, 2009

image I ain’t gonna lie to you:  Last year was a one of the worst year’s of my life professionally.  When all your customers are either being acquired or going bankrupt, it just f-ckin’ sucks.  Sure you aren’t making a dime, and your management looks at you understandingly yet you still feel like someone’s drawing a target on your back.

Meanwhile, all the friends you’ve made at these customers – the folks that trust that your technology is going to help them stay afloat, the folks who’ve you’ve had drinks with and umpteen hundreds of meals with, the folks who you’ve met their spouses and kids – find themselves without jobs all because some jackass in the SEC couldn’t figure out the nation’s biggest financial scam.

And then right on cue, just as things look like they couldn’t get any worse:  The company has layoffs – the first of it’s kind.  You get a new manager with whom you’re totally unproven.  You have a newborn baby and an aging dog all of whom need attention.  And you’re still not making quota.

Now as part of my job, I scour the net for news and information to stay abreast of what’s important in the industry.  But if you read enough of what’s published, you begin to think the world, your job, and everything you’ve built your career around is going to hell in a handbasket.  And it’s not surprising being that the media drives fear to sell advertising but even with this knowledge you can’t escape the sense of doom that they’ve created.

I won’t even go into the degenerates that actually comment on these sites.  I long for the days of accountability where if someone says something that’s patently false, you can hunt them down and ‘correct’ them.  The only reason there’s as much vitriol and lack of civility on the Internet these days is because these putzes have no fear of retribution.  If they had any belief that some day, someone was gonna knock on their door and personally “educate” them, they’d think twice about their libelous ways.

So that’s why I started collecting a list of sites that make me laugh uncontrollably.  Something to laugh at – after all, why not harness the Internet for ‘good’?  Or at least a ‘good laugh’?

REVIEW: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

September 1, 2009

image(This is a review of a past trip that I never posted)

I used to like this place but my last trip was an industrial strength colon cleansing.

Let’s start with how the casino has effectively become the United Federation of Douchebaggery on the strip.  Many years ago, Caesar’s was the sh-t & it only took $10k to be treated right.  Then one day, all the hosts up & left, taking their high rollers to Mandalay Bay & Caesar’s Palace was effectively f-cked.  Caesar’s had always been pretty dependent on its VIPs & this exodus rocked the place to its core.  With few whales available to sustain the revenue column on the balance sheets, the joint was forced to re-jigger its image.  That’s when you started to see all that advertising on Los Angeles billboards for the milquetoast Venus Pool Party & that ridiculous TV show, "Caesars 24/7", positioning the resort as a purported "hip & cool" place to stay & play.

Apparently this appeal to the young & infinitely stupid worked:  The tables are packed with guys that have that "I’m a Maxim magazine subscriber" look, playing 6-5 Blackjack on $10/$1000 tables packed ass-cheek to ass-cheek.  One Federline-lookalike got so excited over his $10 double down win I thought he was gonna up & cash his chips in for a Red Lobster gift card right then & there.  Don’t be surprised to see at least one dipsh-t thinking he’s the shizz & splitting tens:  This always has me in stitches because when the dealer bellows "SPLITTING TENS", all eyes lock onto that table for a brief second as if f-cking TeddyKGB himself just opened a package of Oreos.  Then everyone realizes that there’s no way this alcoholic asshat with a tribal arm tattoo is doing anything other than being a Grade-A chode.

And then there’s the gold diggers crawling all over black chip players like a fart in a spacesuit. Yes, the ghetto ‘Paris Hilton’ skank parade here is quite possibly at the root of why Caesar’s has degenerated from a once proud denizen of upper class well-dressed high rollers to wife-beater-wearing lowlifes that adorn their Ford F150’s trailer hitches with "truck balls".  The soulless atmosphere of Caesar’s casino is a side effect of all the 21-year-old-lip-gloss-laden brats trouncing about half-naked in this biohazard of a casino.  You can sense these self-important harpies leeching the joy out of everyone else in the pit as they shout intoxicated epithets at each other & spill Red Bull & Vodka drinks all over on their "You say bitch like it’s a bad thing" tank tops.  If they breathe on you, look into getting treated for gonorrhea.

Take my advice:  Even if you completely disregard the horrendous atmosphere, anyone that plays Blackjack here is a masochist.  Putting aside the obnoxious number of 6:5 tables here, the table rules that Caesars has on their 6-deck shoes are possibly the worst on the strip.  It’s indicative of how they’re clearly targeting dumb & dumber.  Check… for ongoing playing conditions but in general, I’ve never seen a good game at Caesars outside of the high limit tables.

What’s there to say about this Roman bastion of commerce?  The walkways are loaded with f-cktards that wear faded clothing labeled "Hollister", "Affliction", & "USC Football".  Oh, by the way, in case it wasn’t clear, buying anything here is about as enjoyable as a prostate exam from Rosie O’Donnell but what were you expecting?  Going to a 4-star hotel’s shopping mall & being surprised at the craptacular markup at "Brookstone" is like buying hot wings at a nudie bar:  Wrong place, wrong agenda, dumbass.

But let’s face it:  No one you know is really buying anything dangerous here.  While you drink yourself silly at Fat Tuesdays & hurl insults at Pete Rose who’s usually signing autographs at the sports memorabilia joint, your girl’s gonna get moist over the leather in Salvatore Ferragamo’s, ogle the red soles of Christian Louboutin which she once saw on "Housewives", then get self-conscious & head on over to Banana Republic to buy something cotton that her self-esteem will actually allow her to buy.  The big ticket purchase isn’t likely going to happen here so you can holster that Amex, Tonto.

And you know what else isn’t going to happen here at Caesars?  You getting laid.  At least not with anyone that doesn’t work for Benjamins & hangs out at Cleopatra’s Barge.  For those of you looking for that kind of play-for-play action, those ta-tas hanging from the barge aren’t just a coincidence:  It’s an "open for business" sign.  Yes, this place is tacky enough that anything with double-X chromosomes & even a few brain cells that can recognize what a classy Vegas experience is isn’t going to be bend-me-over-the-mini-bar impressed… which of course only reinforces the explanation as to why there are so many Vegas virgins here.

Seriously, this was tough to take after being used to the Caligulan hedonism of the Palazzo & the Wynn. Check in was done with all the delicacy of a gang rape – front desk tip or not. Either the desk clerk wasn’t interested in meeting Mr. Andrew Jackson or someone was on the heavy rag that day because based on the tone of little Miss Sunshine, I was somewhat certain I was halfway to getting shivved from across the registration desk had I uttered one more word. The Augustus Tower beds are large & approaching cardboard texture relative to premium hotels, the Internet access maxes out at 400kbps, supported by P.o.S. Nortel routers – a company with networking equipment so phenomenally lousy they went bankrupt which leads me to wonder if Caesar’s getting spare Nortel parts off of eBay, & the furniture & décor can be described as garish at best. Plan on bringing your own power strip if you’re a business traveler because with the lack of outlets near the desk, you’re otherwise going to be charging your cell phone next to your razor & toothbrush in the bathroom.

It’s possible that the Roman empire might have defeated by their Achille’s Heel: Their restaurants. Every time I find out someone in our party has made reservations to eat on the property, I know they’re not reserving anything at the 5-star “mortgage your house” joints so I instinctively feel like shouting, “Tonight… we dine in HELL!” Yeah, I know… Guy Savoy & Bradley Ogden FTW true, but other than that… what’s left? Everything else is consistently resort-level mediocre. I give a pass to “Joe’s Steak Seafood & Stone Crab” & “Raos” but the rest of the restaurants is a drop in the MEH bucket. Not to mention that it’s home to some of the most overrated cuisine I’ve ever had: MESA Grill from Bobby Flay? Overpriced, underwhelming, with a side of ROFLtastically bad service. Hyakumi? Anyone that eats here deserves any symptoms they contract later in the evening, & being Japanese, I’m going to ask you this only once: “You’re in Vegas… WHY ARE YOU EATING HERE?” Nero’s? Zeros. There. I’m spent.

The Casino gets -1. The rooms are a 1. The Forum Shops are a 2. The restaurants are a 3. The “Qua” baths & spa, which I didn’t go over was the one bright spot in the joint so they get a 4 but I don’t have the time to write about it.

2-stars.  (out of 5)

Digg This