Network Scan with Mac OS 10.8

Having already set up network scanning with little fuss on my Windows machine, I was expecting a simple task on Mac OS, but nooooo.

The shared folder method over Samba fails with a login error. Some googling suggests that it’s due to a change in the port number from NetBIOS (139) to TCP/IP (445). Naturally I couldn’t find an easy way to change that on the Mac.

Neither does the address book on the printer’s configuration page allow port 445. Only 139 and a range of 4 digit numbers are allowed.

Thus the alternative is FTP. To enable that, it is necessary to open a Terminal window and use the following command.

sudo -s launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ftp.plist

That enables FTP with authentication. Logging in with an FTP client with a user account will bring you to the user’s home folder. I created a subfolder there to keep scan output and configured that through the printer’s web interface.

Now it works 🙂

Setting up the Fuji Xerox DocuPrint M255z in Ubuntu 12

Open the Dash and type ‘print’. Click on ‘Printing’ and Add a printer.

Under Network Printer, the printer should show up after a while. It probably can’t find a suitable driver, and the one on the CD doesn’t seem to do anything. Let it search for a while then choose a driver from the database.

Just select a generic postscript driver and it should work, including duplex printing.

Don’t use the PCL drivers. While they will install just fine and you can send print jobs to the printer, it’ll just hang there and never get out of the processing stage. Cancelling doesn’t work either as it will forever stay in the cancelling stage until the printer is restarted by switching it off with the main switch.

Mass Delete Kindle Items

I have Instapaper setup to email my Kindle every week with the articles on my list. Over the year, I’ve gathered a huge number in the Kindle library.

While wondering how to clear them out today, I found a bookmarklet to mass destroy kindle items. This works very nicely. I can now mass delete all 15 items on a page at once instead of trying to do them one by one, which is ridiculous.

Ubuntu Wallpaper Slideshow

When you right click on Ubuntu 12.10’s desktop and select “Change Desktop Background”, there is one special entry in the list of wallpapers with a clock logo. When that entry is selected, your desktop wallpaper changes automatically throughout the day, showing you all the Ubuntu Community Wallpapers. This is really neat, but what if you want to use your own pictures?

The slideshow and its appearance in the dialog box is controlled by text files in 2 locations. One XML file defines the slideshow, and other tells Ubuntu where the slideshow file is. Let’s start with the slideshow file.

Slideshow XML File

The slideshow XML file is in /usr/share/backgrounds/contest

There’s a file named quantal.xml inside. If you upgraded from Ubuntu 12.04, precise.xml should be in there too. Copy this file and give it a meaningful name. Now open it in a text editor.

The interesting bits are the <static> and <transition> sections. The example below was taken from the precise.xml file.

  <static>
    <duration>1795.0</duration>
    <file>/usr/share/backgrounds/Twilight_Frost_by_Phil_Jackson.jpg</file>
  </static>
  <transition>
    <duration>5.0</duration>
    <from>/usr/share/backgrounds/Twilight_Frost_by_Phil_Jackson.jpg</from>
    <to>/usr/share/backgrounds/Precise_Pangolin_by_Vlad_Gerasimov.jpg</to>
  </transition>
  <static>
    <duration>1795.0</duration>
    <file>/usr/share/backgrounds/Precise_Pangolin_by_Vlad_Gerasimov.jpg</file>
  </static>
  <transition>
    <duration>5.0</duration>
    <from>/usr/share/backgrounds/Precise_Pangolin_by_Vlad_Gerasimov.jpg</from>
    <to>/usr/share/backgrounds/Twilight_Frost_by_Phil_Jackson.jpg</to>
   </transition>

The code is pretty self explanatory. Replace the file paths with full paths to pictures of your choice. At the transitions, put the file paths of the previous file and the next file. You can play with the duration values if you wish, but I haven’t tried them.

For the final transition, loop back to the first picture in the sequence.

Wallpaper XML File

Now you need to tell the Desktop Appearance dialog box where your slideshow file is. Navigate to /usr/share/gnome-background-properties

Create a new XML file in this directory and copy the code below into it.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE wallpapers SYSTEM "gnome-wp-list.dtd">
<wallpapers>
  <wallpaper deleted="false">
    <name>My Custom Slideshow</name>
    <filename>/usr/share/backgrounds/contest/my_slideshow.xml</filename>
    <options>zoom</options>
  </wallpaper>
</wallpapers>

Save the file and open the “Change Desktop Background” dialog. Your custom slideshow should appear in the selection pane. Select it and enjoy your own set of desktop wallpapers.