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Archive for the ‘The Tool Box’ Category

Another clever fellow was recently added to my hero list. He wrote some code to fix the annoying “Print Cartridge Error” that HP printers display whenever the ink cartridges have met their expiration date. This happens to those individuals who prefer to use the same ink cartridge to refill their ink supply for pennies rather than drop a bundle of cash on new cartridges, and it also happens to those individuals who use their printer infrequently and/or buys a lot of cartridges on eBay and stockpiles them.

I spent days Googling and trying all the convoluted attempts to “fake” the printer into thinking it’s an earlier point in time to no avail. I was ready to tear the darn box apart to find that elusive battery when I stumbled upon said hero on some now-forgotten forum. I emailed the chap and he promptly mailed me his fix. It literally took 2 minutes to install and he graciously provided much needed comic relief with his installation commentary during the process. It worked like a charm on my HP Officejet 5510!

So if you are as fed up as I and countless others have been, drop a line to said hero and ask him to email you his fix.   Thanks a million, Dan!

UPDATE 2/26/2011:  Please don’t ask me to send you this fix.  It’s not mine to give out.  Contact the developer of the fix instead.

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Suddenly and without warning I was unable to connect to the iTunes Store from my Vista home computer. It just hung there in the “Loading…” phase. I could access the iTunes Store from each of the other computers in my house but that didn’t help me any. How utterly annoying to lose access to the iTunes Store, podcasts, album artwork, etc. from the only computer in my house on which I keep my iTunes library…and for no apparent reason.

For DAYS I tried every conceivable internet suggestion to resolve the problem including: modifying router settings, anti-virus settings, firewall settings, iTunes settings, browser settings, uninstalling, re-installing, rebooting, doing a system restore…to no avail. And Apple’s website was pathetically useless.

Then some tech-head, aka “My Hero”, offered this 60-second solution from an online forum: delete the iTunes preferences file in two places. Here’s how:

1. Close iTunes.

2. Delete the iTunesPrefs.xml file from C:\Users\+user name+\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes.

3. Delete the iTunesPrefs.xml file from C:\Users\+user name+\AppData\Local\Apple Computer\iTunes.

4. Launch iTunes & follow the setup prompts.

Voilà! I be iTunes happy again!

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Apple’s MobileMe service is a beautiful thing.  For $100/year, all my contacts, emails, calendars and browser bookmarks are completely and instantly synchronized on any PC I happen to be running Microsoft Outlook on, as well as on my iPhone.  And it’s worked splendidly for almost the past year that I’ve been using it.  That is, until most recently when suddenly and inexplicably I started to receive the following error message during the automatic sync process:

“Calendars could not be synced due to inconsistent data.”

This was annoying when it first happened to my Vista desktop but I soon learned that the problem does not discriminate operating systems as it also spread to my XP desktop and then finally to my Vista laptop.  Now all 3 of my PCs could no longer sync Calendars with MobileMe (it’s my understanding that this problem could also happen with Contacts). 

Forget any help from Apple.  Unless you own a Mac, you can’t speak to anyone or even chat with anyone that could help.  The various technical forums offered no viable solutions as each one of the suggestions I tried failed miserably including blowing away my Outlook Calendar completely and trying to sync down from the MobileMe cloud.  I spent countless hours trying to troubleshoot this now intensely aggravating problem. 

Here’s the solution that finally worked for me:

  1. I unregistered all my PCs from MobileMe via the MobileMe Control Panel installed on my PCs.
  2. Before blowing away any of my PC’s Outlook calendars, I determined which one was the most current and exported it to a file on my hard drive.  Then I exited Outlook, renamed the exported calendar file (because sometimes Outlook automatically grabs it and opens it) and re-launched Outlook.
  3. Since I had previously ascertained during my troubleshooting trials that starting with a completely blank calendar in Outlook and syncing down from the MobileMe cloud proved unsuccessful, I reasoned that there was some sort of corrupt data in the calendar in the MobileMe cloud.  I wasn’t able to figure out how to delete the calendar from the cloud except to overwrite it from my blank Outlook calendar so that’s exactly what I did.   I deleted the entire contents of my Outlook calendar.  I did this by changing the view: View->Arrange by->Current view->By category then selected all the events and hit delete.
  4. I re-registered the PC I was working on back with MobileMe (via the MobileMe Control Panel) and only selected Calendars to sync and selected Sync with MobileMe Manually.
  5. I clicked on the Advance button and selected Reset Sync Data.  From here, I selected Replace Calendars “on MobileMe with sync info from this computer” then hit the Replace button.  This cleared out my MobileMe calendar.
  6. Now that I had a blank calendar in the MobileMe cloud and in Outlook, I then imported my Outlook calendar file that I had previously exported.   Once it was imported, I then repeated steps 4 & 5 thereby populating my calendar data up to the MobileMe cloud.
  7. From my other PCs, I re-registered them back with MobileMe (again via the MobileMe Control Panel) and resumed the normal syncing options.

And thus ended my syncing problems with MobileMe.  I still would like to know how the data became corrupted up in the cloud to begin with but for now I am content just to be able to sync again.

Doing the Snoopy Happy-Sync-Dance,

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