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Month: July 2010

Solution: Very slow printer dialog boxes in Windows (network printers)

Solution: Very slow printer dialog boxes in Windows (network printers)

UPDATED 13th July 2010: This works for Windows 7 as well..

For sometime now I’ve had a problem printing over our small network, every time I would bring up the printer dialog box it would take an eternity to load up.   It became so bad I had almost given up on printing!

So after some looking around I came across the following solution, I know this works in Windows Vista 64bit and 32bit as well as XP (UPDATED: This works for Windows 7 64bit as well).   Apparently Windows doesn’t like it if you setup your printer by connecting to the printer and installing the driver whilst browsing your network…. (I don’t know why).   Anyway the solution is to add the printer as a local printer.

  1. Load up your printer browser in the control panel, in Vista
  2. I recommend deleting all your network printers and restarting your PC, it seems that windows holds on to some information until you restart.
  3. Click “Add a Printer”.
  4. Now select add local printer.
  5. Create new port.
  6. When it asks for Enter a port name use the following format “\\networklocation\yourprinter”, essentially it’s address on the network.
  7. Follow the steps to install the printer driver again, if you have installed the printer before windows should still retain that printer driver you used.
  8. Now repeat for any of the other printers you have.

This technique worked for me and my computer is now a dream to print from!  If you have any trouble with these instructions just let me know.

Off Topic: Nature@Office – A hare!

Off Topic: Nature@Office – A hare!

We saw this hare outside our office today, ahh the joys of the countryside!

Posted by Picasa
PhotoShop: Unknown or invalid JPEG marker type…

PhotoShop: Unknown or invalid JPEG marker type…

Okay I’ve just come across this curious message when trying to open what should be a perfect JPEG image in Photoshop :

“Could not complete your request because an unknown or invalid JPEG marher type is found.”

I checked the file again by using Windows Paint to open the same image and got no error message it just works…

So how did I get there and how is it resolved?  Well it starts in Adobe Acrobat with me saving one of the pages as a JPEG…. but I noticed when looking at this problem that instead of the progress bar saying “Saving as JPG” it says “Saving as PNG”! 

 Ah ha, but the file extension is still saying it is a jpg…..

To open your images you need to rename the files extension* as a PNG file, then PhotoShop can open it without complaint.   I guess ‘Paint’ is not as picky about its file extensions as a big professional photo editor such as adobe… Still this is a potentially very annoying bug…

If anyone else has any insight into this issue or more suggestions please leave a comment on this article!

*you may need to change some settings in the Folder Options dialog found in the Control Panel, Click the view tab and then uncheck the tick box “Hide extensions for known file types” now you can rename your files extension type easily.

Off Topic: Flying with a baby, car seats and airplanes

Off Topic: Flying with a baby, car seats and airplanes

Okay this is very off topic but my recent trip to Canada with my young family taught me something.   I never thought about it before but travelling with a baby (mine being one year old) is a bit tricky.  In fact it seems like she has more luggage than me!

Source: Britax

Anyway lets get to the real issue and that is car seats.  If you are travelling with a child and you have booked a seat it seems that many airlines require you to have a car seat…. aha this is where it gets tricky because very few will let you know what is acceptable.  Add to that the fact that north american airlines have different rules and you have some issues!    North America and Europe have different standards so its important you know what type of car seat to bring….

I haven’t got all the answers but here is what I know from my recent trip

Our car seat: Britax Eclipse
Out to Canada flight:

  1. Check-in at BMI desk, a staff member called a supervisor to check our car seat.  We were told it needed to be a five point harness and be able to secured with a lap belt.
  2. The hostess on the BMI domestic flight came and checked we knew how to install it and to ensure it was secure.
  3. Connecting in Heathrow was a nightmare try carrying a large car seat at speed through Heathrow (come to think of it try going at speed through Heathrow normally!).
  4. On the Air Canada flight again we were asked if we knew how to install it and someone then came to check it was secure…

Return to UK flight:


  1. Check in at Air Canada desk car seat wasn’t questioned…
  2. On the Air Canada flight an air hostess asked to see a red sticker, apparently North American car seats have some kind of sticker indicating compliance with a sticker.  This being a UK one it has an orange sticker saying it complies with ECE R44/04 certification.  I did say that this seat complied with Air Canada’s own rules (as stated by their sales team) we had enough trouble just getting them to tell us this… anyway we were allowed on after her supervisor (I think) looked at it and checked how it was secured.
  3. The BMI flight a member staff (ground crew)took our car seat and said they would get someone to install it for us, which was very nice until we got to our seat and they had left the strap that secured it twisted and very loose!  (Make sure it is tight as turbulence might be an issue!).  When we started to put our daughter in the seat the Air attendant said that he thought we should have her on our lap during take off and landing…. argh!  Fortunately he said he would check and then never returned.

One more thing: I bought a device to drag our car seat around airports I can’t say how much this saved my back!   It seems to fit most car seats (including our Britax Eclipse), this is it, I purchased it in Canada (at BabyDepot in Kitchener, Ontario as I haven’t found it in the UK (anyone any ideas??). It’s called the GoGo Kidz Travelmate.   Only thing I would say about it is that we had to take it off to fit through airport scanners and it has the worlds longest screw on it when people are tsk tsk ing behind you….

Before this trip I got the following emails first from Air Canada:

Thank you for your email.

For your forthcoming flight with your daughter, you will require a car seat.  The car seat must ensure that item displays an ECE R44/04 certificate label which indicates that it complies with Standards Safety Regulations and requirements.

From April 2008, all child car seats that were manufactured before 1995 and approved to ECE R Standard Regulations 44/01 and 44/02 are no longer legal and must not be used.

You may not use a booster seat or cushion as it is not desgined for aircraft use.

I trust this is the information you require, and should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours Sincerely

Customer Relations

Next from Britax:

Thank you for your email.

The CAA accept a child seat that is approved to the European Standard and suitable for use with a lap belt. However, as the ultimate responsibility for using the seat on the aircraft lies with the airline, we always recommend that you contact them for confirmation and check that the seat in question will fit (dimensionally) on their airline seat.

We have had positive feedback from users concerning use of the Freeway, Prince (or Fisher Price Forward facing Child Seat) on BA flights. Although the Eclipse and Renaissance technically comply with the above rules we have not had similar feedback from customers concerning these models.

Please note that FAA airlines are likely to have different regulations.

The dimensions of the seats are as follows:

Freeway, Prince
Width = 43cm
Height = 72cm
Length = 47cm

Width = 43 cm
Height = 65 cm
Length = 47 cm

In regards to regulations this is a legal requirement that we have to comply to and not a general decision, there is no worldwide regulation.

We do hope that this is of assistance to you.

Apologies for absence…

Apologies for absence…

I’ve just come back from an extended vacation/holiday in Canada, please accept my apologies for non-postings and tweets.  Normal (ish) service will resume as soon as I’ve figured out what time it is….