MY NOTORIOUSLY NEW PRINTER

I hate printers. I also hate copiers, scanners, and fax machines.

Nowadays, you get one, you get the batch, but I still hate all of them, whether in one package or many. I got my new printer a few days ago and finally got around to installing it yesterday. Maybe I should have waited.

When you are setting up a new printer, what can you do if your WiFi simply won’t “see” it?

It turns out, the most popular technique is highly technical denial. This means you turn everything off and go shopping. Really, any outside-the-house activity will do the job. We went to Garry’s hearing place to see if they have a significantly better hearing aid for him. Not quite. Yet. Maybe it would be a little better, but not $4000 better.

When we came back from the hearing place and having briefly stopped at the grocery store, I realized I had to confront the printer again. Another one of the small aggravations of modern times: new computers — like this one — don’t have DVD players. I bought an external one, but first I tried downloading the setup instructions from the website. This is supposed to work just like the disc, but surprisingly, didn’t.

Probably, because the WiFi did not find the printer. Or maybe there was some other inexplicable reason.

When your WiFi won’t find a device, there isn’t much you can do about it. You can wave your hands in the air like a fan. Maybe that will blow the WiFi in the right direction. You can shake your devices — but this may work to your disadvantage. Then, there’s cursing. For many people, that works well, but for me, it’s a distraction from getting on with the job.

Turning everything off, then turning every back on is one of the most effective ways of convincing something that should be working to really work, but this time, it didn’t. I should have figured if going shopping didn’t fix it, I needed a new approach.

So, after we came home and I quickly realized it hadn’t magically fixed itself (damn), I hauled my laptop and DVD player into the office. There are — as it turns out — alternate instructions which only appear when you click “NO, that didn’t work either”  for the third time. At which point alternate instructions pop into your browser. These are apparently dangerous weapons of mass destruction and can only be used if your WiFi absolutely can not find the printer, even after you wave your arms and plead with the manufacturer.

It turns out, you have to press the WiFi button until the ALERT button flashes twice. Not three times. If it flashes three times, you have to start over. Next, you have to push the start button again, at which time the WiFi button should start to flash very quickly (not slowly … slowly won’t do the job). They also don’t warn you there’s a pause before it starts rapidly flashing — but if you push it again, you have to start over from the top.

If all goes well, at this point, unless your WiFi is actually out, you should have a connection.

Then you push another button while pressing a third button. Which prints a sheet which you will attempt to scan. Which inevitably produces an error message. If you try to do it again, all it will do is keep printing the same page.

I said screw it and gave up. Then, I decided to register the printer. It turns out, I can’t. Because I am a Canon user — but have no idea what my password used to be. I’m exhausted from carrying the laptop around and having to follow all those instructions.

Since the printer was been found by the WiFi, it would surely print if asked. If the WiFi had found the printer all by itself like it should have, I wouldn’t have had to do any of this. Windows would have taken over and installed everything. Immediately.

Good news? The printer says it works. I’m trusting this to be true. I’m not at all sure about the scanner, but I’ll save that for another day.

Have I mentioned how much I really hate printers? I used to hate fax machines and copy machines too, but now they’re all one thing. So I have just one big thing to hate instead of three.

Is this a good or bad thing?

Snowy Woods and Stream

Late winter snow in a Connecticut woods. The frozen stream waits for a bit of sunshine. 

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melting snow

Melting snow runs down from high peaks, into creeks,
over flowing waters, carry off layers of the forest floor,
nutrients, twigs, leafs and insects are all swept clean,
little creeks bulge into violent streams, and mighty rivers
churning, tumbling, and roaring down waves, into the ocean’s mouth.

Melting snow on the forest floor uncovers chains of small islands,
spreading under pines and oaks and elms, low lands and high lands,
contrasting, the dark colored ground against the white melting snow,
the season of change calls to awaken the forest floor,
with a splash of melting snow, and a degree of heat,
natures cycle is complete.

michael andrew
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A few hours later, the stream is flowing. Sluggishly, still a bit icy but moving, the little waterfall flows down the rocks between still snowy banks.

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Glowering Sky

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The weather is changing. The rain is ending and tomorrow will be a bright day, but colder. You can see bits of blue sky showing through the clouds. About half the snow has washed away, but there is so much more remaining.

Still testing the Canon Powershot S100 and very much liking my results. Finally, a good camera small enough to tote anywhere I go without loading me down.

Deep White: Shooting Snow With the Canon Powershot S100

A snow as deep and heavy as Captain Nemo does not quickly vanish. Here are photos from the Northland. I’m not thrilled by the inconvenience, poor footing, or mud to come, but you can’t beat the beauty of a snowy rural New England landscape.

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This is the first outing for my Canon Powershot S100. The extreme brightness of sun on snow made RAW a better choice. Unfortunately, Photoshop doesn’t recognize Canon’s RAW format or at least CS5 doesn’t. I used Canon’s native software, but it’s a pain to use, klutzy, awkward, non-intuitive. It does the job, but its interface needs to go into rehab. It’s essentially unchanged since I first used it more than a decade ago. Software has come a long way; Canon needs to get with it.

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For shooting snow, RAW is better and it also helps to take your light reading on snow and not on the darker trees or sky. This lets you capture the brightness and still retain shadow and detail amidst the whiteness. RAW adds a lot of extra processing, time and labor. Whether or not you find it worthwhile is subjective. For me, it will depend on circumstance and subject matter. I often don’t use it because I’m posting online and not printing … but for snow, the difference is significant. Sunlight on snow is tricky.

I like this little camera. It produces quality pictures. It’s small, truly pocket-sized, exactly what I wanted. It does not have a super zoom, but the combined optical and digital zoom get me as close I need.

This is a convenient, quality go-anywhere all-in-one camera.

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I prefer the pictures from my Olympus PEN E-P3, probably because I prefer the color the PEN gives me and because I have some great lenses for it. You can’t match that with any all-in-one camera, even a very good one

But for convenience and general purpose shooting, the Canon Powershot S100 is great.

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I have a question for camera manufacturers: why not offer a “weather-proof” option for cameras? Every time take my camera into the rain or snow, it gets soaked. I worry about damaging the electronics. If I’m near salt water, I worry about damaging the lens. Since the technology exists, why not offer it as an option? I’d pay for it. So would a lot of other photographers.

 

Young Photographer At Work

This is the off-season for pictures in the northeastern states. The bright gold of early sprint has long passed. The flowers and lush foliage of summer is just a memory. Golden autumn is past and winter, with its white icing, has not arrived. It is not a photogenic time of year. It’s a challenge to find things to shoot. Nonetheless, Kaity and I hit the road.

Kaity

She has her learner’s permit now, so now she drives and I sit. Neither of us has any sense of direction. We are lost most of the time, only to discover that when we next turn, we are really just around the corner from home. Still, we always find someplace we’ve never been before. Today we discovered Skull Rock Locks, another piece of the ubiquitous Blackstone River. We didn’t see the locks, but found the river. It’s never far away.

Pensive

When a grandchild shares a passion for photography with you, it is a wonderful gift. It can be very hard to connect with teenagers unless you are one. When they hit their teenage years, as often as not they want nothing to do with you. You are just one of the old people and vaguely embarrassing as they try their wings and discover independence. Eventually, most of them get past that stage and ultimately realize you aren’t a total loser after all, Maybe you even have something to say. It doesn’t mean they’ll listen, but there’s hope.

If your teenage child or grandchild genuinely enjoys doing something with you, that’s special. In sharing an activity, you get to meet as equals. In this case, the meeting ground is photography. She has stuff to learn … most of the technical aspects of photography are still mysterious to her, one of the big disadvantages of the easy availability of fully automatic modes on all cameras, but also because she shows a definite lack of enthusiasm for technical stuff. She will have to learn it and she does know it. She’s just delaying it as long as possible.

Still, she loves taking pictures, has a good eye and a unique viewpoint. When granny suggests going out and doing some shooting, if our schedules can be synched up, we’re out there, getting lost on back roads, discovering new areas of the Blackstone River as it winds through our valley.

At work

I think we are both surprised at how many little parks and boat launch sites can be found throughout the valley. Today we found the Skull Rock Locks, a piece of the Blackstone we’d never heard of and may well never find again.

We took pictures. Since this was the first outing for my new portrait lens, I took pictures of Kaity as photographer. Usually she declines being photographed, but I did point out that I had a portrait lens and she was the only person to be found, so she gave in.

More shooting

This is the first time in a quite a while I’ve had a portrait lens, and the first time in years I’ve worked with a fixed focal length (prime) lens. I kept trying to get it to zoom, which of course, it won’t do. Fixed focal length mean that your zoom are your feet. You want to get closer? Walk or run, but the lens won’t do it for you.

The lens also turns out lovely landscapes. Good lens, glad I bought it.

You can see Kaity’s pictures from today on Kaity Michelle’s Photo Page on Facebook.