check tags

Possible Dark Linen Kludge on OS X Lion

When I use my MacBook in my home office, I run my display on an external monitor and use Apple’s bluetooth and Magic Trackpad to work. Since updating to OS X Lion, I’ve notice a couple of quirks in regard to the desktop background.
Without some fiddling, the background on the external display defaults to Apple’s dark linen background on the desktop. If I try to change it I can see the changes reflected through the translucent menubar, but the desktop background stubbornly hangs on to that dark linen pattern.
After the obligatory 30 to 120 seconds of research on Google, it’s easy to learn this is a common problem. I discovered a fix of sorts.
The linen pattern is associated with fullscreen apps. I went through my apps and pulled them out of fullscreen mode. I put them back in fullscreen mode and my preferred desktop background remained.
Interesting point of note: I “minimized” the fullscreen apps Safari, iTunes, and third-party email client Sparrow to uncover the correct desktop image; however, remained in fullscreen mode as my background returned to normal. Maybe it’s a display bug with Safari or iTunes? “So…”1 I exclude Sparrow because, as a third-party app, I assume the widespread reports of display weirdness are associated with stock applications.

  1. a la Karl van Hœt

N.B.: Learn how to type weirdo characters like “œ” at How to

check tags

A New Printer: Brother HL-5370DW

We upgraded from a color to a black & white printer, replacing an HP Color Laserjet 2600n with a Brother HL–5370DW.
Upgrade? Yeah, I think so. I paid about $400 for the color printer years ago and it served me well until I had to replace the toner, which retails for about $400.
We paid less than $300 yesterday, and that included an additional high-capacity toner replacement. Rumor has it that “compatible” toner replacements can be found out online for about $30.

WiFi printing on OS X Lion

Figuring out how to get the printer and computers in the house to talk to each other on the network was a little tricky. Networking prompted the only negative comments I remember from reading several reviews, but wasn’t an impossible challenge with a little nerdery and forethought.
The biggest installation hiccup for me was the Flash-based installer on the CD that came with the printer. I hate Flash and didn’t have it installed on my system. With much fear and loathing in my soul, I installed Flash and Shockwave. You know what? It still didn’t work. I finally got everything running smoothly using the printer’s web server and ended with the additional task of chasing down and flushing Flash detritus from my system.
I didn’t take notes so I’m doing this from memory, but here’s how I remember piecing things together:

  1. Connected the printer to my MacBook via USB to trigger automatic installation of all necessary driver updates.
  2. Connected the printer to my [Airport Extreme Base Station (fifth generation)][5] via Ethernet to introduce it to the network (which I think turned out to be unnecessary).
  3. Logged into the printer’s webserver to change passwords and visit the Wireless settings.
  4. Entered my wireless network information allowing the printer access to my secure network.
  5. Unplugged the Ethernet cable.
  6. Enjoyed high-quality printing joy!

After I finished the first installation, it was just a matter of visiting other Macs in the house and installing the printer from the Print & Scan pane in Apple’s System Preferences. Works like a charm.

Brother HL–5370DW Specs

So how does this printer roll? The Brother website tells us it includes:

  • Flexible networking. Built-in wireless 802.11b/g and Ethernet network interfaces‡ allow you to share this printer with multiple users on your network. Eliminate extra cables and conveniently place your printer with wireless networking.
  • Easily print two-sided documents. Produce professional looking documents, brochures, and booklets using the built-in duplex feature. This feature can help save money and reduce your paper use.
  • Fast results. Operating at print speeds of up to 32 pages per minute, this printer is ideal for busy offices.
  • Outstanding print quality. Delivering up to 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution, all of your printed materials will look their best.
  • Versatile paper handling. An adjustable 250-sheet capacity paper tray easily handles letter or legal size paper and a 50-sheet capacity multi-purpose tray is for printing letterhead and custom paper sizes. Add up to two optional paper trays‡ for additional capacity.
  • Straight-Through Paper Path. A convenient fold-down, 50-sheet capacity multi-purpose tray and rear paper exit provide a straight-through paper path for printing envelopes, thicker media and custom paper sizes.
  • Easy to set up and use. For users with wireless access points that support SecureEasySetup™, Wi-Fi Protected Setup™, or AOSS™, you can automatically configure your wireless settings by simply pressing a button on your router.

A bonus is the nifty free app for printing directly our iPhones to the networked printer. The same Brother website says the Brother™ iPrint&Scan is a free app download for wireless printing (JPEG & PDF) from your Apple®, Android™ or Windows® Phone 7 mobile device (scanning not available).