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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Search Engines

Younger son finished the course work for his bachelor's degree (Yay!), so last weekend we drug his stuff back home. One of the items that came back was a laser printer that had become jammed during his last week at school. As my ink jet printer was on the fritz, I thought maybe I could unjam this one and easily get a new printer to use.
    It was thoroughly jammed. I took a screwdriver to it and took pieces off until I could get the black plastic do-ma-flach-er out of the center of the machine and turn the gear until the six inch strip of accordion folded paper that was gumming up the works backed out.
    Now I start putting it back together. It goes pretty well. I had to take the gearbox off and on a couple of times before I got the toner drive clutch sorted, but it's all looking pretty good. Except for this one small metal bracket. It's U-shaped with two screw holes and a dimple in the bottom of the U. Where does it go? I look and look but cannot figure it out. I sleep on it. For a couple of days, but nothing appears. Finally I go to Google, but I don't have much hope. I mean it's very rare to find actual, good, technical information on the web about any kind of device. Mostly you get a lot of "my gadget is broke, somebody help me!", and "I really love/hate this widget", none of which is really helpful. Might make you feel better, but it doesn't help solve the problem. Regardless. I found an actual service manual, with screw by screw instructions on how to take this thing apart and put it back together. Of course it's a four meg PDF file, and I don't have Adobe Reader installed. Then I remember Stu recommended Foxit, so I download and install it and with a little fooling I am able to find the page I want.

    And there it is! The culprit! Gear 21 pressure plate! It is only held on by one screw, the other hole fits over a little nubbin of plastic. No word on whether the printer lives yet, we have other apples on our plate.
    This morning I fire up the browser (Chrome) and there's a new toolbar across the top of the page. Where the devil did that come from? More importantly, how do we get rid of it? Click on the three bar icon near the upper right corner, and then from the displayed menu, click Settings. (How did they come up with that three bar icon? Does it mean anything to anybody? I think I only figured it out because there was nothing else to click on.) Now we get a whole new tab of stuff including a place to deal with Extensions, which is what this toolbar is. Don't ask me how I know. I just do. I'm a professional, after all. Disable the Foxit toolbar. Go back to what I was doing, which was reading today's posts from my peeps. Tam says "derp" and I say what? And double click (to highlight) and then right click to search for "derp" on - hey, wait a minute, that doesn't say Google, it says Ask.
    Back to Settings, where I notice Manage search engines... So I click and I find a laundry list of search engines. This was one feature I liked on my last setup. I could choose from three or four different search engines any time I wanted to look up something that Tam wrote. I just hadn't bothered to set it up on this machine. Part of my new policy. Don't install anything, or configure anything you don't really want and need. You can spend hours making everything smooth and conforming to your slightest whim, but if you don't actually use any of that stuff, you're wasting time. Well, it's your time. Suit yourself. Some people find it calming, and I'm all in favor of that.

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