Epson Workforce 610 and “Printer Error Has Occurred”

2013 April 26
by Colin

Had an Epson Workforce 610. Started getting error “A printer error has occurred. Turn power off and then on again. For details, see your documentation or” Decided to get a Brother 2270-DW (I’ve always wanted a duplex laser) but thought it might still be useful to use the scanner feature on the Workforce (especially since it was networked). If you are still getting error messages call tech support, for help.

Unfortunately, the above error locks you out of any of the all-in-one features, even ones that don’t involve the actual printer. However, this little trick appears to have given new life to the Workforce.

  1. Open printer such that the cartridge housing is accessible (flip the scanner housing up).
  2. Turn printer off.
  3. While printer is off, gently slide cartridge housing to the left about halfway.
  4. Turn printer on.
  5. After cartridge housing moves all the way to the right (which it will do on startup), gently push up and back on the housing and continue pressing/gently jiggling as the housing tries to free itself.
  6. Eventually, the housing will snap back to the left which will stop tripping the error message, and free you to use the scanner, copy, fax, etc.
  7. This may even allow you to keep using the actual printer, although I haven’t tested!

This took me a few tries, but eventually fiddling around with the cartridge housing while it was over on the right edge of the printer freed it enough for it to become “functional” again. No clue how long it will last, but prevents me from having a useless paperweight sitting on my home office shelf!
Source: 1daybanner

How to use sed to insert a block of lines from an external file into the second-to-last line of file

2012 October 2
by Colin

Let’s say you have file #1 that says…

Line 1
Line 2
Line 3


You have file #2 that is:

Line 4
Line 5
Line 6

Using this sed command first goes through file1 and sets a MARKER by replacing the line right before the ENDFILEFLAG. The second pass (after the pipe) adds the contents of file2 into file1 at the MARKER, deletes the MARKER and outputs it as a newfile.txt

sed '/ENDFILEFLAG/i MARKER' file1 | sed -e '/MARKER/r file2' -e '/MARKER/d' > newfile.txt

Understanding odds and climate statistics

2012 July 11
by Colin

The NCDC and Jeff Masters have gotten a lot of press in both major media and the blogosphere with this Washington Post snippet from earlier this week:

The National Climatic Data Center has just released its “State of the Climate” report for June 2012. The last 12-month period on the mainland United States, it notes, were the warmest on record. What’s notable, however, is that every single one of the last 13 months were in the top third for their historical distribution–i.e., April 2012 was in the top third for warmest Aprils, etc.

“The odds of this occurring randomly,” notes NCDC, “is 1 in 1,594,323.”

Meteorologist Jeff Masters puts it this way: “These are ridiculously long odds, and it is highly unlikely that the extremity of the heat during the past 13 months could have occurred without a warming climate.”

Sounds like a pretty long bet; anyone want to take it? Apparently Steven Goddard does…

Now I am going to apply the same math to the ice age scare of the 1970s. In 1974, the CIA reported that Eastern Canada had been below normal for 19 months in a row.

The odds of being below normal are one out of two. So if we raise two to the nineteenth power, we can conclude that the global cooling of the 1970s was a one in 524,288 event, colder than the last three or four ice ages! No wonder Hansen had to erase it!

This is incorrect. The odds of 19 statistically independent 50/50 events (such as a coinflip) coming up in a row is 524,288 ( 1 / 2^(19) ).

However, like an elite baseball player such as Albert Pujols performing above league average, a train of XX months in an integrated system like the climate is not statistically independent. Having multiple warm (or cold) months in a row implies an atmospheric setup conducive to warm or cold. This shows that months are correlated with their neighbors (being mostly strongly tied to those months immediately preceding and following them) and therefore the odds aren’t 50/50.

In addition, the NCDC argued that it was a 13 month period that was “this warm,” which meant that it was a 13 month running period which had temperatures YY degrees above some baseline. This is fundamentally different from saying “it was 13 months above average” which, it also was, but it’s obviously more likely to get 13 months above-average from a statistical standpoint because not every string of 13 months of above-average temperatures can be the warmest string of 13 months in a row (example, not every 20+ game hitting streak can be DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak).

This also raises issues with the NCDC/Masters number as well. The 1-in-1.6 million figure appears to have arisen from estimating the odds of piling 13 month chunks in a row with this degree of heat (assuming each month has a 1-in-3 shot of reaching that benchmark, which seems arbitrary), and then extrapolating forward ( (1.6 million / 13 months) -~ 2012 AD ) to get the projected 124,652 AD date that Masters uses. This also suffers from the same fundamental flaw the Goddard analysis did (although not as significant because of the magnitude vs. sign effect noted above).

The recent heat wave likely remains unprecedented in the North American historical record, however, bad statistics have certainly not endeared those on either side of the AGW debate to educated readers.

Tropical cyclone in Mediterranean

2011 November 7
by Colin

Coming across the SSD wire is news of a tropical storm (01M) spinning around in the Mediterranean Sea. Tropical cyclones are not actually unheard of there, however, they are extremely rare.

How to disable Twitter e-mail alerts for replies, mentions, and RTs

2011 June 27
by Colin

Earlier this month my e-mail inbox became incredible crowded with messages from Twitter– every single reply, mention, favorite, retweet, etc. was causing Twitter to send me an individual message. Turns out Twitter added these notifications (which had previously been reserved for direct messages– DMs), but then opted all their users in by default (semi-obnoxious).

Luckily, they can be easily turned off by logging into Twitter, going to your Twitter profile page and clicking on the “profile edit” (your username with a picture) link (top right). On the dropdown, click settings, then click on the notifications tag, where you’ll be presented with the image below. Uncheck/check as you see fit. You can also just click here which will bring you to this page (will probably prompt for credentials) until Twitter changes their site structure.

Notifications pane

Paint equivalent for OS X

2011 June 3
by Colin

Now that I have essentially become a fully-converted Mac user, I’ve pretty much smoothed out all the “transitional” kinks going from Windows to OS X. This involved making sure my computer could do everything that I had asked of it before.

One thing that was a hinderance for the longest time was being unable to find a simple graphics editor to approximate Microsoft Paint (which ships with the OS). While OS X ships with basic utilities (e.g., TextEdit), it shocked me that there was this “hole” in the provided base apps. I need to emphasize, that I was not looking for a Photoshop equivalent, but merely needed something that would allow me to edit images quickly, typically before uploading them online.

Enter Paintbrush. Now I can quickly take a screenshot, use Paintbrush to circle/underline material for emphasis, resize, and save a file ready for rapid upload to my server. I can open, use, and be done with Paintbrush in the same time it takes Gimp or Photoshop to boot up.

For those that need quick edits for use in the fast-paced world of media like Twitter, you’re welcome. For future Colin who might have forgotten this software exists, shame on you.

Sync any folder with Dropbox, now with Win/Mac GUIs!

2011 February 9
by Colin

One of my most visited posts is the discussion of using Dropbox to sync things across multiple computers and multiple platforms like Keepass. For some software, I also wrote that in many cases it is easier to create symbolic links to the original data structure rather than trying to convince the software to look in your Dropbox folder. Unfortunately, this requires a bit of terminal hacking, which, let’s be honest, some people just don’t want to mess with.

Never fear! Two pieces of software– MacDropAny for OS X and DropboxFolderSync for Windows– can link up any directory on your computer to your Dropbox account!

The dirty little secret is that both of these programs are just graphical interfaces which perform the command line hacks discussed previously. However, they can be a much-needed asset to the the not-terminally inclined or those prone to frequent, frequent typos.

Hattip, Lifehacker.

Even vortmaxes have having fun this winter…

2011 January 31

Kind of a cool feature on the 12Z run of the GFS (actually has persisted for the last few runs– figured I’d post the most recent one).

We can see our midweek storm system beginning to take shape. In this first picture we see the strong northern and southern vortmaxes (vorticity maxima) that will phase to amplify the upper level trough and spin up the low pressure center.

Vort 1

In this next slide, we see the phasing beginning to occur (cyan trough — “U” shape). The southern vortmax is being drawn northward on the front side of the trough while the northern vortmax is being dragged southward on the backside. Follow the northern vortmax.

Vort 2

We can see the trough become elongated, with the former northern vortmax drifting SW into Arizona. The vorticity signatures in the northeast are correlated with the storm system moving through on Wednesday (this forecast slide is for ~ 8 PM Wednesday night).

Vort 3

The former northern vortmax tracks a bit east and shows signs of spinning itself off from the now extremely elongated trough. We also begin to see another piece of energy diving south through Canada.

Vort 4

The former northern vortmax has now separated from the initial trough and is becoming the southern vortmax in another series of phasing. A new northern stream has dove down from Alberta to take it’s place.

Vort 5

The GFS takes this setup and spins up yet another coastal storm for the Mid-Atlantic and New England on Saturday into Sunday.

Vort 6

In other words, this piece of energy has meandered from SW Canada on Saturday down through the central US to spawn storm #1. It then slowly drifted SW away from the action into Arizona and Mexico, before moving back east to join up with one of it’s Canadian brothers to potentially spawn storm #2 a week later for the east coast of the US.

Dropbox Dropquest! 1GB of bonus space!

2011 January 17
by Colin

Dropbox is doing a special promotion called “Dropquest,” which is essentially a puzzle game created by some of the employees of the companies which is really popular since many people is into gaming and love video games as well, even following a guide for cheap 4k monitors to play at the best quality at home. It consists of ~25 clues and for each challenge you successfully complete you get a parcel of bonus space on their server– it totals 1 GB in the end. The challenge is rather difficult, so if you get stuck, feel free to Google “Dropquest hints” or something to that effect– there are loads of forum posts around the web that should help you move on.

If you don’t have Dropbox, you can sign up for free here. Dropbox is a web-based system that uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders with others across the Internet using file synchronization.

I use it for doing clever things like syncing my Keepass database, sharing presentation files after I give a seminar, and other miscellaneous tasks that require file use between my three computers and iPhone (and it allows me to access these files in a pinch through a web browser somewhere else), but other individuals also use it purely for off-site backup in the event something goes horribly, horribly wrong inside her laptop (since Dropbox syncs with the cloud it preserves a copy of your files on their servers– these files can be restored in the event of a hard drive failure).

New or existing Dropbox users can also increase their space here and here.

Symbolic links (symlinks) in Windows 7 or Vista

2011 January 14

One feature that was notoriously absent from Windows until recently was the ability to create symbolic links. A symbolic link is merely a small piece of code that is put in some physical location (DIR1) which tells the operating system to move somewhere else (DIR2) when software attempts to access DIR1. I use this feature regularly in OS X or other Linux distributions, mainly as a way to sync files through Dropbox without having to messily move where my software stores my files, although I also like shortening the absolute path to various directories that look like they were named by a scientist having too much fun with alphabet magnets on the fridge.

In Unix speak, this is quite easy– open up a terminal window and type:


This has finally been added in Windows Vista and Windows 7, but remains somewhat sloppy and confusing. Here is a very brief reference for those trying to do a similar thing in Windows, with emphasis on the flags.

mklink \PATHTO\DIR1\file.txt \PATHTO\DIR2\file.txt

You will be returned with:

symbolic link created for \PATHTO\DIR1\file.txt <<===>> /PATHTO\DIR2\file.txt

This is the most basic entry for creating a symlink between files. The one issues? This creates a soft link (essentially the same as creating a shortcut in Windows Explorer). If I am doing something like syncing my Keepass database, I will actually break this symlink because the software will not be forwarded to the file on a basic level– it will merely sit in the folder and go “where the hell is my database?” and either create a blank one or give some other error message.

To solve this problem we need to use the /H flag which tells Windows to create a hard link. A hard link physically points to the secondary location. You’ll want to use this option if you are trying to trick an application into looking for a different directory. For me, most of the time.

mklink /H \PATHTO\DIR1\file.txt \PATHTO\DIR2\file.txt

Now that’s how to symlink files– you need additional flags for directories. /D tells Windows that you are creating directory links, not file links. If you only use /D you will create a soft link. /J instructs the OS to create a “junction” which is (functionally) the equivalent of the hard links discussed above. In most cases I find myself using /D and /J before the link and target.

mklink /D /J \PATHTO\DIR1\ \PATHTO\DIR2\

Also remember, if you type “mklnk” at the command prompt, you will be returned with basic instructions for using the functions described above:

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

/D Creates a directory symbolic link. Default is a file
symbolic link.
/H Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link.
/J Creates a Directory Junction.
Link specifies the new symbolic link name.
Target specifies the path (relative or absolute) that the new link
refers to.

Hopefully the above helps demystify the procedure a bit, however.