Category Archives: Hardware

Printer Won’t Feed Paper

I have a Canon printer and it starting having trouble feeding the paper in. I found this really odd thread (please follow the link, as you won’t believe me otherwise) that suggested, amongst other things, the following:

  • turn the printer upside down and shake it
  • shove a slightly thick piece of paper (or cardboard) through it
  • clean various parts with alcohol

Almost all of the people who posted found something stuck inside their printer and shaking it or shoving thin cardboard or thick cardstock (e.g. a thick Christmas card) was enough to dislodge the thing that was stopping the feeder from working properly. Examples of things that were stuck in there include: pens, insects, needles, paper clips, food, SD cards, parts of Christmas trees, coins, paper, pills, toys, etc. Many people who tried out this solution said they were convinced nothing was stuck back there… until they tried this.

Even if you don’t have a printer problem you may find the thread interesting to read just for the number and variety of things that people get stuck in their printers. (Some of the posts are obviously just making fun of the idea. I’m pretty sure a moose wouldn’t fit back there, for example.)

Shaking and pushing through cardstock has made my printer “attempt to print” which it was refusing to do before, but it is still not completely fixed. It looks a bit dusty in there, but nothing came out after the shaking/pushing episodes. (Note, I tried both more than once.) I don’t print very often, so I shall have to wait and see if this fix sticks.

Blank Screen on Dell Vostro After Windows 10 Upgrade

This is a problem with the graphics driver and the BIOS.

1. The problem is caused by the computer selecting an external monitor (which may or may not be present) as the main monitor for the laptop. If you have an extra monitor, attach it to the Vostro and the screen will probably show up there.

2. Update the BIOS to A12. You can find the update on the Dell site. You might need to go looking for it specifically. When I used the Dell site to search for updates (of any kind), it led me to update the BIOS, but only to A09. I had to go back to the site and search for further BIOS updates in order to find A12.

3. You can try upgrading the graphics driver, but I don’t think that helped in my case. Disabling the graphics driver will force the screen back to the laptop monitor, but you will be using a very basic, generic graphics driver in that case, so you will have limited functionality. The above BIOS update is the only thing that worked for me.

How to Get a Jawbone Jambox to Connect to a Windows 8 Computer

When I tried to connect my Jambox to my Windows 8 machine, at first it didn’t recognize it at all. Then it recognized it as a phone device and asked for a passcode (but wouldn’t let me enter the passcode that Jambox suggests, which is “0000”). I tried connecting the device again and again, in various ways, but had no luck. I looked up some solutions online, but they were fairly complicated and I am of the opinion that there is usually a simple solution out there if you look hard enough. I decided to go back to first principles and shut everything off, and then turn everything back on, one by one. This is what finally worked.

First, make sure nothing else is connected to your Jambox, such as your phone or mp3 player. If anything else is connected, first disconnect it, then continue with these instructions.

Turn your Jambox off. Then, turn your computer’s bluetooth connection off. Then turn your computer’s bluetooth connection back on again. Turn your Jambox back on and set it to search for devices to pair with. Then search for new bluetooth devices.

By doing this, I was finally able to connect the Jambox without resorting to any complicated fiddling. I think that this is one of those problems that is not actually a problem. It just requires both devices (the computer and the Jambox) to be both ready and “clean” before the connection will work. If you are having trouble connecting your Jambox to your computer, I recommend trying this first before seeking out more complicated solutions.

If the above doesn’t work, maybe try turning your computer’s bluetooth off, then turning your computer off, then turning your Jambox off. Then restart your computer, turn your bluetooth back on, and turn the Jambox on. My guess is that should work in most cases.

Please report back on your success or lack thereof in the comments.


Note also that if you pause what you are listening to for a certain amount of time, you may lose your connection with your Jambox. In that case, just turn the Jambox off and on again and it should sort itself out.

Japanese Keyboard Doesn’t Work on English Windows 7 Laptop

I bought a new laptop that was custom made. It had Windows 7 in English, but the keyboard was Japanese (i.e. quotation marks [“], rather than the at sign [@], above the 2). However, the keyboard mapping wasn’t correct. When I pressed shift+2, I got an at sign instead of a quotation mark.

I looked around for ways to fix this problem, but couldn’t find anything useful. Almost everyone said to change the keyboard settings, but that didn’t work. Some also said to change the registry, but that didn’t work either.

What did work was using a different driver for the keyboard:

  1. Go to device manager and find the keyboard driver. Double click on it.
  2. Update the driver. Driver tab –> Update Driver.
  3. Click on “Browse My Computer…” and then “Let me pick…”.
  4. Deselect “Show compatible hardware” so you will see more options.
  5. Scroll up or down until you see “Japanese PS/2 keyboard (106/109 key)”. Click on it, then click “Next”.
  6. You will probably receive a driver warning. Click on “Yes” to ignore it.
  7. Follow any other necessary steps and then restart the computer.

Hope this fixes the problem for you too!

No Sound *Sometimes* on Windows 7

My Windows 7 (64 bit, Dell) computer seems to randomly pick when it wants to play sound and when it has better things to do. I upgraded the soundcard’s firmware and tried all sorts of things but could never make the problem go away without having to reboot. Tonight I found a way to get the sound back immediately.

  1. Right click the speaker icon.
  2. Click “playback devices”.
  3. Double click “S/PDIF”.
  4. Click “Supported formats” tab.
  5. Click on the word “44.1 kHz” to select it (not the checkbox, the word itself).
  6. Click “Test”.
  7. You then get a warning box.
  8. Click “Yes”.

Source: memolipd on m-audio forums.

I tried it tonight and my sound came back right away. I’m not sure if this will end up being a permanent solution or not. I will update this post if I find that it doesn’t have a lasting effect.

Not a permanent solution, it seems. Sound disappeared again the next time I turned the computer on. The good news, I guess, is that this trick worked to bring the sound back again.

Update: September 1, 2011

That solution worked for a while and then stopped working. Next solution:

  • control panel
  • sounds
  • click on speakers
  • properties
  • disable all enhancements

That seems to be working for now. I turned the computer off and on again and the sound still seems to work. I’ll update again if it stops working.

By the way, downloading the RealTek drivers — something that is suggested on many sites — didn’t work.