Printer feed

People often approach me about IT problems (either at work, or friends/relatives outside work). However, sometimes I find out about these problems by chance: I’ll see something odd, and the person will say “Oh, yeah, that always happens”.

I was chatting to someone recently, and while I was there I saw that they had a problem with their printer. Whenever they printed something it said “Insert paper and press GO” before every page. (The printer tray had plenty of paper in it.) On this particular occasion, they were printing out a 62 page document, so they were stuck standing next to the printer so that they could keep jabbing this button. I enquired further, and they said that it had been like this for months. I admire their patience – I would have been tempted to throw the thing out of a window after a week of that! Anyway, I went away to do some digging through the manual, and discovered that the printer settings include “Manual feed = ON”. I changed this to “OFF”, and they can now send documents through which print out all the pages without any button pressing required.

HP printer drivers

Here’s an obscure problem that had me banging my head against the wall until I figured out the solution.

If you add a printer to Windows XP/2003 (and possibly other versions too), and choose to share it, there’s an option to install additional drivers. That way, someone running NT4 can connect to it, and automatically get the drivers from your machine. That’s the theory.

In practice, it goes like this:
1. Tick the box for “NT4 support”.
2. Get prompted for the necessary driver files.
3. Go to HP website, find/download relevant files.
4. Tell Windows where to find the files, by browsing to the relevant .inf file.
5. Get the error message “Windows cannot locate a suitable printer driver”.

The issue is that the device name inside the .inf file has to exactly match the device name in Windows XP.

Taking the HP 895Cxi as an example, the original line in the HPDJ.INF file says:
DEVICENAME=”HP DeskJet 895C Series Printer”

I then had to modify this to say:
DEVICENAME=”HP DeskJet 895Cxi”
at which point everything worked fine.

N.B. You can comment out a line in a .inf file by putting a semi-colon at the start, so that’s a useful approach in case you’re worried about breaking anything.

That’s the second time I’ve come across this problem, but there was enough of a time-lag in between that I only remembered “I have to hack around inside the .inf file”. So, now I have a permanent entry to remind me, and hopefully this is useful to someone else too.

LaTeX formatting

I’m currently doing an MSc; this includes a project, and there are regulations about how to write up the final report. In particular:

“The project report must also contain listings of all source code. The source code listings must be contained in an appendix, and do not count towards the 40 page limit for the project report. The code listings must be presented in a compact format (printed double-sided, and with two pages to a side).”
[..]
“It is strongly recommended that the document typesetting system TEX or LATEX is used.”

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