Canon LBP5050n “Network Board Error”

This has been a continuing problem since I got this printer: our Canon LBP5050n network printer only works occasionally, throwing up “network board error” messages when used under Windows 7. All documents, web pages etc. first have to be opened in our Windows Server 2008 (or my netbook, with Windows 7 Starter edition and Wifi connection), where printing goes fine. I have been changing router settings, putting the printer into different configurations, but nothing seems to be helping. It might be that this is caused by the complex network topology (there are several routers in our home network), but it is still curious that sometimes I manage to print a page from even these Windows 7 workstations, but then, quickly, the damn error message comes up again and the network connection to the printer is apparently lost again. Most annoying.

Internet in television

Sony-40NX700Television has its limitations, but it still remains unsurpassable as the big screen, social media for the living room. Television is also changing. It is perfectly possible to use your computer (even mobile phone) to sample video content from the internet, and the variety and quality of internet video is evolving all the time. Yet, combining lean-forward interactivity and lean-backward broadcast media experiences is not completely without its problems. It was interesting to notice that the first televisions with integrated internet video services have started to enter the market. Our choice was Sony KDL-40NX700 model. It is not one of the latest 3D models (Sony brought also some of those out during the summer), but it has rather decent image quality and I really like the way Sony has implemented the user interface. The best improvement to older televisions has proved to be Bravia Internet Video, which is Sony’s implementation of internet video into television. It provides Youtube and a load of other video sources (even one key Finnish one, YLE Areena) in an easily browsable, unified interface. Even HD video works fine, but a full HD video stream might lag and stutter for a moment if not paused for a moment for buffering the download. (We have a 8/2MB DSL connection, and television is connected using Wi-Fi, n+ standard modem.) Otherwise, with lower quality bitstreams, the video works surprisingly well.

Sony BDP-S470The television was bundled with a blu-ray player, BDP-S470 model. These things have improved as well. Unsurprisingly, KDL-40NX700 and BDP-S470 work together excellently. Also, the player upscales DVD disks so fine that the difference to blu-ray is not so great. Happy for that. Shame though that it was impossible to get all key features in one device. For example, Sony has omitted a “presence sensor” system from NX line, even while you can find it from the EX models. Weird choice.

FINFAR 2010 fantasy researcher meeting program

In connection of Finncon 2010 science fiction and fantasy event, there will be again a speculative fiction researcher meeting. This year it will take place in 15–16 July in Jyväskylä (university library building, room B338). Here is the programme/papers presented:

Thursday 15 July

12-14    Ulla Viertola, Riikka Mahlamäki, Laura Piippo
14-15    Lunch
15-16:30 Aino-Kaisa Koistinen,  Mika Loponen, Päivi Väätänen

Friday 16 July

9:30-11 Sanna Lehtonen, Katja Kontturi, Jyrki Korpua
11-12   Lunch
12-13   Christos Angelis, Jenni Tyynelä

On reception and playlists

iPhone, RadioBox, Philips
Originally uploaded by FransBadger

Working today in our cellar I developed a theory that people generally fall into two categories in their attitudes towards music: the playlist people and the radio people. While the former take care to build their own playlists and choose music to match the mood, situation and company, the latter just open the radio. I mostly belong to the latter category, but it is sometimes surprisingly difficult to get the exact radio station where you want and need it. For example, I often work with media (or do house maintenance work) in our cellar, where the earth and concrete walls block the reception. In the picture you can see one work-around: take iPhone and purchase a RadioBox app (or just use a free flash player if you have a Nokia or some open device like that), then tune up those favorite Finnish YLE radio channels, and plug it into your Philips brightlight-radio-combo-device. It works!

Fantasy, horror and games panel in Tracon V

The fifth fantasy and anime (visibly also cosplay) convention of Tampere, Tracon, took place last weekend in Tampere Hall. I took part as the chair to the “Fantasy, Horror and Games panel”, and even while we ended up having half the time we had been originally promised by organisers, at least we managed to evoke some essential questions on the subject matter, like:

  • Is fantastic focused on the ‘sense of wonder’, whether the art form is literature, cinema, games, or something else?
  • If we are talking about horror, is the key in the management of moods, or emotions: on the careful evocation of suspense, thrill, terror, horror, revulsion (to adapt Stephen King here)?
  • As contrasted to narratively controlled horror and fantasy, is the player freedom in games more likely to lead into instrumental, problem-solving style of player attitudes, rather than to emotional involvement with the fiction?
  • In contrast, there is the alternative: that player involvement while acting within the game’s reality is likely to lead in deeper — or different kind of — involvement or immersion than narrative fiction?

There were many more interesting topics that our panelists discussed, many only briefly, before the panel was closed. Thanks to: Jaakko Koivula, Nestori Lehtonen, Mixu Lauronen, Markku Soikkeli, and Jukka Särkijärvi.

Going MeeGo

MeeGo rocks
Originally uploaded by FransBadger

Today I experimented by replacing Ubuntu with MeeGo 1.0 in my older netbook. The result was an immediate boost in speed and the overall quality of user experience. The old Acer Aspire One has only half a gig of memory, and Ubuntu was choking. MeeGo is running speedily with this kind of older, more limited system. The tabbed interface also makes sensible use of the small screen, and transfer from task to task is snappy. Unfortunately heavier software still runs slow, e.g. Evolution mail has trouble accessing my Gmail inbox with its thousands of messages. But using the web interface makes more sense in Gmail, as in many other services today. — It should be noted that MeeGo is still a developer/tester oriented release, and there are several rough edges here and there.

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