Archive for May, 2014


Many people ask me about my recommendations for printers. So, this blog post will help save time from now on. This is a guide to printers and with only one exception you will have to decide what printer to buy.

When it comes to printers you must always factor in the consumables: ink, toner, drums, and so on. As a general rule, cheap printer have more expensive consumables so that the manufacturer can recoup the cost of the printer. Not too long ago HP, Epson, and Lexmark were called an ink cartel because their high priced ink. Competition has forced them to lower costs.

Below are some guides to help you choose a printer. It is based on my opinion.

Continue reading

Updated 8/18/2014: Adobe had a cloud outage which left users unable to use their program for 27 hours. I also updated some other information. Microsoft Azure also had a major outage.

I know I do not update this blog very often. The purpose of this blog is to catalog my repair notes to help me and my customers. I tell my customers all the time that I do not like the cloud. But it seems like the cloud is a new buzzword that companies are jumping to make money on. Especially annoying is Microsoft’s tight integration of their cloud service called OneDrive (because they lost a legal battle over the name SkyDrive in the UK).

It may surprise people that the cloud is just a fancy way of saying something that has existed since the internet began. All the cloud is data on another server.

Below are my reasons for wanting to stay away from the cloud.

Continue reading

Now here is a dilly of a pickle (in the words of Ned Flanders). I happened upon a hard drive whose partition structure was damaged. Since this was a NTFS formatted partition, it gave Windows fits but not Linux. Try as I might, because of what was corrupted there simply was no to repair the NTFS partition. But all is not lost because the files themselves are undamaged. Here are the steps to recover the data.

  • First, use a program such as Clonezilla to make a copy of the hard drive. Always work with the copy. Clonezilla will also copy the corruption to the NTFS partition data. But since it ignores the errors to the partition data and only cares about file data, the copy will be quick unless the hard drive has bad sectors.
  • Next, use a program such as GParted to delete the damaged NTFS partition.
  • You can also use GParted to create a new NTFS partition, but you might be better off using Windows. In any event, make sure a new NTFS partition is created. It cannot be FAT32 or exFAT or any other file system. (Side point, these steps would apply to the Mac HFS+ file system as well.)
  • Whatever you do from now on, do not use the copied hard drive for anything until the files are recovered. Any action may cause old files to overwritten.
  • Now, use a good undelete program to recover the files. Not a free undelete program. Save all the files to a 3rd hard drive. Once all the files are off, then you may safely move them to the copied hard drive.

You will have to reinstall Windows (or OS X). But at least the majority of the files, if not all of the files, are available. What I  did was to put a copy of pictures into a separate folder, a copy of documents into another, and so on. This allowed the customer to more easily sort through recovered files to find the ones most important to him.