TCP B22/BC 10 Watt LED 60 Watt Light Bulb

TCP LED 10w BC GLS Light Bulb

OK, this is an odd subject for my blog. A lightbulb. The TCP B22/BC 10 Watt LED bulb is the first LED bulb I’ve bought and there’s not much to say about it except that it’s wonderfully bright and only uses 10 watts of energy but is the equivalent of (or brighter than) an old 60w bulb. I replaced several bulbs in my home with them and I’m really impressed with how bright they are. As they’re LED bulbs there’s no warm up, they’re instantly bright as soon as you switch them on.

All the CFL bulbs that were replaced like this Solus model used more energy, from 15w for that Solus one to 20w for a cheap Tesco model. The TCP bulb is rated for 25,000 hours too, much more than the Solus one (10,000) and a gigantic step up from the Tesco one of only 3,000 hours.

The bulb isn’t cheap. You can buy them for €9.99 in Woodies, and they’re even more expensive on Amazon UK. A quick Google search shows Homebase have them cheap however.

In the course of researching this post I also found out that the bayonet mount so familiar to everyone in Ireland and the UK isn’t used everywhere.

The bayonet mount is the standard light bulb fitting in the United Kingdom and in many countries which were members of the British Empire including Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Ireland, and New Zealand, parts of the Middle East and Africa and, historically, France and Greece.

The real advantage of LED bulbs is their longevity which is difficult to review, but I’ll update this post or leave a comment here when I have to replace any of them. Leave a comment and subscribe to the comment notifications if you’re curious how long they last.

Yes, finally fixed the SSD freezing my computer!

TL;DR If your computer is freezing after installing an SSD change from AHCI to IDE mode in the BIOS.

Argh! This has been driving me slightly mad for a while. I bought a Samsung 840 SSD a few weeks ago to make things a bit faster. It does too, mostly to the boot up (which I rarely do, this machine is on 24×7) but it feels smoother in day to day tasks too.

SSD

I keep the Lightroom catalogue on the SSD, Windows 7 is on there too but most apps, all games and all photos are on other drives.

It worked fine for a while but then it started freezing and stuttering without warning. It was usually when I had a few dozen Chrome tabs open, Firefox running, Skype, xchat, and various services going. The mouse cursor would disappear and the keyboard would stop working for about 5 seconds. Then the problem would go away for a while.

It came back this morning with a vengeance. If I reloaded a browser tab I was guaranteed to freeze my PC.

I had gone searching for solutions before. I’m not the only one with this problem but forum threads were usually:

  • Filled up with replies from people saying, “me too”.
  • A few brave souls asking for log files
  • Suggestions to update firmware and BIOS
  • Solitary pleas for help.

I made sure my SSD firmware was updated (it was) and updated the BIOS of my ASUS P8Z77-M motherboard for the first time to no avail. No change. I was getting ready to put Windows back on the original disk.

Finally, one last desperate search later, I came across this thread and in the same search this page suggesting two methods I hadn’t tried. I did not try disabling LPM (some sort of power saving mod) but I did change the SATA mode from AHCI to IDE. Supposedly the SSD won’t work as well, but it fixed the stuttering and freezes, probably because it apparently disables power saving mode too, or so I’ve read.

Phew. No more stutters! If I hit any performance problems I’ll try the LPM trick with the registry.

Ubuntu Linux and the Canon MP492 printer

I bought a shiny new combination scanner/printer/copier last weekend. It’s the Canon MP492 and I expected it would work just fine in Linux. I mean, it’s just a printer, right?

Nope. The printer was detected as a Canon MP490 but unfortunately the CUPS system used by Ubuntu Linux didn’t support that particular version. It supported the 520 and others but no sign of my new purchase. To be honest, I was dumb founded. I even configured it on my Macbook and thought about sharing it over the network but the Macbook is on the wireless network while everything else is wired, and I didn’t feel like making things more complicated.

So I went searching again and eventually found this helpful thread (it didn’t show up on my first searches, Google refresh?). Drivers are available for the printer here on the Canon Thailand website. Thankfully the instructions were all in English, and the .deb package installed and configured correctly. Drivers for the scanner are listed on that forum post too but I don’t have an immediate need for that so I didn’t test them out.

Phew.

The printer itself is an average photocopying machine that does the job. Here’s the back cover of the December 1954 issue of the National Geographic. The copy is pretty good except for banding on big blocks of colour like that in the Coca Cola logo.

No more wireless, I've gone wirefull!

Everyone else goes wireless with radio waves buzzing through the air and I return to good old ethernet cables and a switch. Today a package came from Amazon containing the D-Link DHP-303/B Powerline 200Mbps and a 5 port switch (and an internal drive to replace the tiny one in my Dell laptop but that’s another story).

The D-Link Powerline product is actually two plugs that are inserted into your wall sockets and use the wires in your house to communicate. I was a little dubious about it working well but it’s been fine. One plug is downstairs by the DSL router, and the other is upstairs here in my office. They apparently talk at 200Mbps but I’d take that with a grain of salt. My computers talk at 100Mbps, as does the switch so I presume that’s the limiting speed. It’s plenty fast enough for my DSL but I’ll have to try a file transfer later.

For the last few years I used WiFi to bridge the gap between downstairs and upstairs but this works just as well, and file transfers between computers aren’t as dog slow as they were using wireless networking. Wifi was never as fast as it should have been, probably because the signal was weakened by:

  1. Travelling through a wooden telephone desk in the hall
  2. Travelling diagonally up the stairs
  3. Going through an internal wall with a CD shelf behind it
  4. and finally finding the antenna of my Linux laptop buried inside my desk

No chance eh? I once tried to force the connection to be 54Mbps but it failed half the time, the Xbox wouldn’t connect. It just didn’t work well. Oh, and sometimes, the cordless phone ringing downstairs knocked me offline! Didn’t matter what channel I was on.

Sheesh, I’m getting very old school. I changed back to Apache from Nginx last weekend, changed from P2 to a more traditional WordPress theme this morning, and then dumped wireless networking this afternoon. I hear vinyl records are making a come back.

I will plug in the wifi router again, for those moments when I want to work from the kitchen. Unless I get another D-Link powerline adaptor..

Slowly learning Dvorak

At the recent Automattic meetup in Quebec Matt gave a passionate talk about how great the Dvorak keyboard layout was and handed out paper copies of The Dvorak Zine.

The meetup was hectic and the first chance I had to try it out was on the plane home. Just over 5 hours from Montreal to Heathrow, London. Here’s what I typed in about 2 hours:

Mad! Typing this on the flight back to London using the dvorak keyboard layout. It’s slow going but I have plenty of time to practice, it’s a long flight! My finger memory says QWERTY but they’re very slowly mapping to the new layout. Vowels come first followed by s, m, l, n and d.

It’s definitely a better layout but right now I am so slow! I’m glad that I have power on this flight. No need for the extra battery! I love how th are next to each other.

Gotta get me a layout I can stick to the keys of the macbook.
Watched the Hurt Locker while typing this.

I always type i instead of d.

Gonna watch Night at the museum 2 again, just so I can watch the ending, finally.

I’ve got three seats to myself. Maybe I should sleep? Seems that would be the most sensible thing to do, now wouldn’t it? Looks like we’re about half way across the Atlantic! The film is fast forwarding nice and fast!

Time for a break from Dvorak!

Wow! Layer Cake is a great film! A bit violent but good ending! Only 156 miles to go! Then at least an hour in Heathrow! Can’t believe I didn’t Sleep!

Yes, I didn’t sleep. That was a long day, and Layer Cake was on my laptop (freshly ripped from the DVD I bought before leaving). I can heartily recommend Air Canada. Best experience I’ve had in economy on a trans-Atlantic flight.

Anyway, changing the Mac OS X keyboard to the Dvorak layout is easy, as it is in Linux too. Trying to login using the Dvorak layout is a right pain though.

I didn’t try to rip out the keys of my Macbook but I did rearrange the keys on a wireless keyboard. It actually didn’t help, mainly because the keyboard itself isn’t that comfortable.

dvorak

The next step was to run through a few Dvorak keyboard training tutorials. They went well and I repeated the first tutorial several times, improving the times and accuracy each time. I’m not doing quite as well as Nick is doing though. I’m impressed.

I’ll persevere. My hands are retraining themselves. The Dvorak Zine is a great help, but if I tried using Dvorak for work I’d be 90% less productive right now. Matt, that ok then? 😉

How to win an Apple Mac Air

  1. Join Twitter.
  2. Follow @wubud.
  3. Tell your friends.

@wubud (pronounced woo-bud) is where Paul Walsh will reveal his next venture. You may remember Paul from a previous post here about his qik adventures when he missed his flight home because he was talking to people on the Internet. He landed a bed in a penthouse suite so don’t be too sorry for him!

Anyway, he explains on his blog why he’s going down the Twitter route and it’s an interesting experiment. It certainly caught the imagination of several people we both follow and I know others are blogging it too. Nice way to spread the word, eh? I think the incentive to win a Mac Air helps too, don’t you think?

So far only 203 people are following @wubud so it may take a while to get to the 5,000 followers Paul wants.

Paul’s in San Francisco next weekend, so you never know, he might reveal the master plan to you if you ask nicely if he hasn’t done it before then!

What about me? Do I want to win a Mac Air? ‘Course I do! My Macbook died this evening. A cup of tea spilled on it while I was feeding the baby. I quickly dried it off as best I could with paper towels but the screen was black and the thing is dead. Luckily backuppc had done a backup 6 days ago so I doubt I lost much stuff.

I made my Macbook cry

If Macs are so perfect why do they keep crashing and dying and need to be rebooted seeminly after every update? I’m just back from another reboot when Flock brought the system down. Yes, yes, must switch to another browser but after Mark’s ranting about the slowness and general bloatedness of OS X Firefox I’m wondering what I’ll use.

For all the fans of Microsoft Windows out there, here’s a sort of BSOD from the Mac. This happened at the last BarCamp in Waterford. I have witnesses!

2007-01-20__mg_8276.jpg

In the interests of fairness, I should also say that Linux died horribly on me when Firefox, Flock, GIMP and Bibblepro were all loaded and swap went haywire. It was quicker to put it out of it’s misery and reboot than wait for the kernel to kill one of the above apps. But why spoil a good anti-Mac rant by injecting some perspective?