My last visit to the ophthalmology clinic

That's a scan of my eyes on the computer screen.
That’s a scan of my eyes on the computer screen.

This morning my father-in-law kindly drove me to Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy for what turned out to be my last ophthalmology clinic appointment.

I started going there last August after an episode of suspected vital meningitis took a side-swipe at my eyesight. Nine months later and my eyesight has recovered remarkably well, with only a little ‘wobble’ in my right eye to show for it.

I went through the usual eye clinic rigmarole: which letters can you see on the eye chart? what’s the smallest writing you can read in this book? eye pressure test (where they flick a tiny piece of paper onto your eyeball); eye drops to dilate my pupils; then scan and photographs of my eyes, before I returned to the waiting room to… well, wait.

Having found the waiting room a rather tiresome experience the last few visits this time I brought a book. Completely forgetting that by the time I get back to the waiting room everything is about three times brighter than normal and completely blurred. Still, I persevered, removing my glasses and holding my book (The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kalistos Ware) about 10 cm from my face and got through about 10 pages before I was called by the eye doctor.

One of them: an ophthalmologist's machine thing.
One of them: an ophthalmologist’s machine thing.

He was a doctor I’d never met before. He looked middle-eastern, spoke quietly and calmly and examined my eyes using that thing above.

There was nothing obvious from either the earlier scan or his examination, and not much change at all since my previous visit six months ago. So the doctor disappeared to another room for a few minutes to double-check with the consultant that it was okay to discharge me.

Before I left the nice doctor told me that they still had no real idea why this had all happened, but he did assure me that one of two things might happen: my eyesight may simply continue to improve. Or it might not.

I’m hoping that it will. Or do I?

My HP LaserJet P1606dn stopped printing duplex—here’s how I fixed it

HP LaserJet Professional P1606dn
HP LaserJet Professional P1606dn

I have an HP LaserJet Professional P1606dn, which has been great. It prints double-sided (duplex) — that’s the ‘d’ in P1606dn — and it connects to the network — that’s the ‘n’ allowing Jane to print wirelessly from her laptop.

The problem

But today… for some reason my P1606dn stopped printing double-sided. The option was still there in the printer properties—on the Device Settings tab, under Duplex Mode both “Allow Automatic Duplexing” and “Allow Manual Duplexing” were both ticked.

Hmm…

I tried changing various settings but nothing seemed to fix it. I checked if the driver had been updated. I rebooted the PC. Again, no improvement.

How I fixed it

I was actually in the process of trying to downloading the HP Smart Install software when I stumbled upon the answer.

If you have this printer, you’ll know that you can also connect to a configuration screen via the network. All you need is the printer’s IP address. Mine is at 192.168.1.73 on my local area network.

Well, lo and behold, under the Settings tab there is a section called Paper Handling, and the Duplex option was set to Off. Changing it back to On fixed things for me.

HP P1606dn network settings
HP P1606dn network settings

At least, it did for the first document. I then discovered that (again for another mysterious reason) the next document’s paper settings were blank. Setting it to A4 restored the option to print double-sided.

So, in summary:

  • Check settings (Control Panel > Devices and Printers > Right-click the printer and select Printer Properties > Device Settings tab).
  • Connect to the printer settings via the network.
  • Make sure the print dialog shows the correct paper size.

At least, that’s what fixed it for me.

Four more years…

As I said on Twitter this morning:

Honestly UK, you just had one job: get the Tories out of Downing St. Five more years of punishing the most vulnerable in our society.

As the result trickles in this morning and the political map of the UK begins to look like Maggie Simpson and that the Conservatives are likely to remain in government, I have had this song from Warrior Soul’s debut album Last Decade Dead Century (1990) going around my head.

Can you believe how little you care?
The friendly face of the empire leader
Conquest of style, ego hate
Walk amongst the dogs
While the violence kills the declined state

Have you eaten today?
Iam glad
Your digestion is the sorrow of the hungry
So tired of rejection and stupidity

[…]

I want the world to heal
I want the world to love
But it cannot

4 more years
4 more years
4 more years
4 more years

What colour is it? Hex clock

Who knew that 7.06 PM looked dark blue?
Who knew that 7.06 PM looked dark blue?

There have been a few occasions over the last few months when I’ve been standing at one end of my office and needed to keep an eye on the time. Each time I’ve pulled up What colour is it? on my browser. Because it’s fun.

What colour is it? is one of those really simple why didn’t I think of it ideas: use the time to specify RGB values.

How does it work?

RGB is a system for representing colours on a computer display. Red, green, and blue can be mixed in different proportions (on a scale of 0 to 255) to display any color in the visible spectrum.

A few examples:

  • rgb (0, 0, 0) represents black: no red, no green, no blue.
  • rgb (255, 0, 0) represents bright red.
  • rgb (0, 83, 155) represents the dark blue used on the University of St Andrews website.

As well as decimal values, CSS also accepts hexadecimal values. Hex is useful for computers because you can count up to 255 using only two characters. Decimal 255 equals hex FF.

The same examples, but in hex:

  • #000000 black
  • #FF0000 red
  • #00539b St Andrews blue

Which brings us back to the clock.

Take the time in 24 hour format, HH:MM:SS and map hours to red, minutes to green, and seconds to blue.

  • 19:06:46 = #190646 = rgb (25, 06, 70) = dark blue/violet
  • 23:58:00 = #235800 = rgb (35, 88, 00) = dark green

Another example of a hex clock can be found on Luke James Taylor’s website: THE HEX CLOCK.

Metallica—St Anger… the way it could have sounded #STANGER2015

I have a confession to make: I like Metallica’s 2003 album St Anger.

It seems that I’m not the only one. This week Metal Injection reported that Jimmy Page and Jack White apparently really like Metallica’s St Anger.

The YouTube video above shows a project from Daryl Gardner (guitar and bass) and Chris Dando (vocal) from Grace The Skies, and Dave Cox (drums) of Adust who re-recorded the entire album.

But this version is 15 minutes shorter, and the snare drum doesn’t sound like a dustbin.

It’s even been given permission by Q-Prime Management, Metallica’s managers.

Check it out! It rocks!

Have you been pwned?

Check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach
Check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach

With so much personal data stored online, keeping your password secure is really important.

Troy Hunt, a Microsoft MVP for Developer Security has created a website that allows you to check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach.

Have I Been Pwned checks against 41 known data breaches, including 152,445,165 Adobe accounts, 4,789,599 Gmail accounts, 453,427 Yahoo! accounts.

Secure

The site is secure, and doesn’t ask for your password: just the username or email address that you’ve used to sign up for an online account. The site then checks it against a lists of compromised accounts.

As Troy Hunt says, “all the data on this site comes from publicly leaked ‘breaches’ or in other words, personal account data that has been illegally accessed then released into the public domain.”

The who what &  why and FAQ pages provide a lot of detail about what’s going on behind the scenes, and answer a lot of questions about the security of this site.

Good news

I only use a couple of email addresses. Against one of them I’ve had no breached accounts—hoorah!

Good news — no pwnage found! No breached accounts and no pastes
Good news — no pwnage found! No breached accounts and no pastes

Bad news

Against the other, though…

Breaches you were pwned in
Bad news — breaches you were pwned in

My main email address was involved in the big one: in October 2013 the data for nearly 153 million Adobe accounts was leaked. Adobe made it public pretty quickly and all users were encouraged to change their password, which I did.

I’m really impressed with this website: using leaked data for good, rather than ill. Check it out and find out if you’ve been pwned: Have I Been Pwned?

Note: the word ‘pwn‘ is geek-speak for ‘own’, implying that you’ve been dominated. It came about probably due to a typo as ‘o’ and ‘p’ sit next to one another on a QWERTY keyboard.