May 26, 2014

My smoky memories

My parents worked in a homeless shelter in Germany, and me and my family lived in one of the rooms in the homeless shelter. When people ask where I come from I can't say "I grew up in a homeless shelter", they'll imagine a boy born in poverty and struggle, my childhood was good. I went to a semi-private Christian school (I don't recommend it) and where I lived was anything but a slum.

To get in and out of the building people would have to walk through the central open-air area, which usually included about a dozen people standing and smoking cigarettes. Many of the men would say a word or two as I tried to sneak between the groups and the cigarette smoke, I'm pretty sure many of them had a mental illness or two.

I now work as a drive-through cashier in a fast-food store, and this includes meeting people, many of which who are smoking. So every time I can smell the smoke, it reminds me of growing up, strange thing to be nostalgic for.

Feb 20, 2013

Where does the German ä, ö, ü, and ß come from?

German has four unique characters, Ä/äÖ/öÜ/ü, and ß (called long s, or sz) which doesn't have an uppercase. None of these are considered part of the alphabet (unlike the Danish Ø), so if you're in school in Germany you say the alphabet from A to Z, then you say these at the end "äöü und ß". In a library however you'll find book titles starting with Ä mixed in with book titles starting with A.

The umlaut characters (äöü) indicate a change in sound, and shouldn't be confused with the diaeresis which indicate a break in a syllable (usually in French and Spanish). In German, these characters began in the 16th century began using using the vowel paired with an E (ae, oe, ue, like seen in some old German last names), but over the centuries the e shifted above the letter, then slowly faded into the two dots we see today.

The ß is a symbols formed by mixing "ſ" (the long s) with a cursive "z". This pair of symbols were mixed together until it became a symbol of it's own.

Oct 6, 2012

Hacking a Brother printer - Response

We have Tommy over here forcing a Brother printer with only black ink to print in greyscale. He puts electric tape on the cartridge "window", but I didn't even have the empty colour cartridges any more, so I put duct tape directly onto the light sensor. 

Just one cartridge needs to work
1 - Full Black Cartridge
2 - Yellow Cartridge
3 - Cyan
4 - Magenta
5 - you can see the right side of the light sensor. It appears only one side needs to blocked out, the tape underside works fine

This is what I call a $41 fix.