Buying a new Printer?

I just bought a new Printer last night.

I have been using 2 HP printers all this time but I found them to be not so user-friendly. Moreover, each time I updated the driver and/or its associated programs, some other programs on my PC will act funny. It’s that sensitive and finicky. So when both of them finally broke down, I  went shopping for a new printer. I used the HP printers at home, but my experience with the Canon printer at my Office was a pleasant one….easy to use and no fuss at all. So I pretty much knew what I wanted.

At the Canon outlet, I was debating between the MG510 which boasts economical volume prints (not to mention it’s cheap) and the MG3170 which has AirPrint/WiFi print capability. However, one very crucial feature surfaced: both the 510 and the 3170 both use the tri-colour (3-in-1) ink cartridge + 1 black cartridge. Now this is critical but it’s so obvious that I hesitated writing about this. However, if this can help a newbie to avoid a mistake, why not? Here’s the point: if you have ever printed lots of colour images, you will quickly learn that the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow (need not mention Black) do not finish at the same rate. So if you have a 3-in-1 C-M-Y ink cartridge, chances are your heart will bleed (as well as your purse/wallet) when you have to throw away the cartridge when 1 colour has finished even if the other 2 are still quite full. In the long run, you will spend more money on the replacement 3-in-1 ink compared to replacing individual ink colour cartridges. I ended up buying the MG5370 instead, which uses separate individual C, M, Y and Black cartridges. By the way the 5370 uses 2 different black cartridges, a pigment and a dye. Plus, the 5370 has AirPrint/WiFi capability.

One more thing….how often do you need to send a fax from your printer? If you don’t need the fax capability, then you save up to about 50% of your printer price by deciding on the non-fax version. But if you need to Fax occasionally, then look out for my future article on this topic.

For comparison: MG510 (approx. USD90.00), MG3170 (approx. USD100), MG5370 (approx. USD130.00). The cheapest Canon printer with fax function starts from about USD190.00 up.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Canon in any way other than as a normal customer.






Updating Firmware For Samsung Galaxy S3 ( and a bit on iPhone 5 )

So you have the gee whiz smartphone GT-I9300 aka Galaxy S3 from Samsung. Have you tried to update the firmware recently? Read on to see if you have a similar infuriating experience. 

First you need to install the Samsung Kies application on your PC. Then you can choose to update your S3 via Wi-Fi or via USB. So far, that’s routine and straight-forward enough. 

Then comes the frustrating part. As the new update is being downloaded, you suddenly get an error message that says the connection is broken. It also suggests removing the phone and running a diagnostic for Kies to check the USB connection.

After doing that and re-trying and still getting the same error message, I observed that the download was actually 100% except for the error message and the installation did not proceed. I couldn’t see how to proceed in the S3, so I rebooted the phone.

Lo and behold! Upon re-starting, the S3 displayed a message to say that the update has been downloaded to the phone. But to install it, I have to accept a revised set of Terms and Conditions from Samsung. After that the installation of the new firmware proceeded without a hitch. But why did the Kies application display an error message instead of giving information on how to proceed with the installation? Ah well….

Footnote: I am personally an iPhone 5 believer and user. But my better half prefers the Samsung S3 and the above describes my experience when she tasked me to update her S3 firmware. Having said that, I am now about to say something that will surely get me a lot of flak from Apple iPhone aficionados. Here goes: I am able to compare (my) iPhone 5 with (wife’s) S3 close-up and begrudgingly I have to admit that the S3 camera and audio pack more wallop than the iPhone 5. No scientific nor lab tests here…just my eyes and ears. So don’t shoot the messenger!



Useful Tip 130216 – Snipping Tool (Updated)


There is a free utility app, Snipping Tool, bundled by Microsoft in their Windows Accessories folder. This is such an unbelievably useful tool which you must check out if you have not used it yet.

What does it do? It allows you to capture anything you see on the PC screen as an image. So what makes it different from Print Screen (PrtSc)? Print Screen takes a “snapshot” of your whole screen but Snipping Tool allows you to position and re-size the capture space anyway on the screen.

You can imagine how useful this is; the ability to pick and choose exactly what you what to capture off the screen. Go ahead and try it and let us have your comments.

Where to get it?

For W Vista, go to All Programs (the round Windows icon at the bottom right) , Accessories, Snipping Tool. Create a shortcut to your desktop…you’ll be glad you did.

(The Snipping tool is not available in Windows Vista Home Basic Edition. It comes with Vista Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate Editions.)

For W7, read this article.

For W8, read this article.





How To Print Your Photos With Photoshop

Surely this must be so basic that it doesn’t warrant talking about? 

Let’s see. Have you ever tried printing your photo with Photoshop but no matter what you do, the image size just will not quite fit your photo paper? For example, you check and re-check your image size setting and your canvas size setting to see that you have set that right to match your glossy premium paper 4″ x 6″ (100mm x 150mm). Still the output is not quite right and after a few futile attempts, you have blown 6 pieces of expensive paper. Sounds familiar? If yes, read on; if not, go and chill out elsewhere.

OK, so if you’re still here,  you know what I’m talking about. So, let’s get out of the rut first. Let me give you the short of it quickly, then we can spend some time on the long part to refine the technique.

Here it is: Assuming you are re-sizing the image, make sure that you do NOT select Resample Image (when you re-size the image size setting) but DO select Constraint Proportions. When you are ready to print, make sure you do NOT select Scale to Fit Media (when you open the Print command page) but DO select Scale 100%. There you have it, maybe that’s just the silly hurdle which can be cleared easily now.

Now that we can get the image to fit the paper size all the time, here’s a tip to improve on the technique.

By way of example, take a typical photo from a digital camera (DSLR, compact or smartphone) W4752 x H3168 pixels, 66″ x 44″ image size (and canvas size) at 72 pixels/inch. You can use the Photoshop image size setting to re-size to 6″ x 4″ and then print. But it will be better if you crop the large image first to a smaller size still keeping to the 6″ x 4″ proportions (eg. 33 x 22, 12 x 8 etc..). When you have cropped sufficiently (say 18″ x 12″ for example) to include the image area of interest, then finally use the software’s image size setting to get to 6″ x 4″ for printing. 

Footnote: You will see the that the initial resolution is 72 pixels/inch (depending on your PC resolution) when you first opened your image. That’s the displayed resolution on your PC screen. However, for photo-quality prints, you should see the final print resolution will be something like 400-700 pixels/inch when you re-sized your photo as described above, provided you started with a high-enough resolution photo to begin with. 

Happy printing!


Google Analytics and Multiple Websites

If you’re like me, with a number of different websites and you wish to monitor your websites’ statistics from a single Google Analytics account, you may be utterly confounded as to how to add the multiple websites to the single analytics account.

After many hours of utter frustration and searching for an answer, I have found the way. You won’t understand what the problem is until you are faced with the same situation. And if you are here now, reading this, because your search for an answer has somehow led you here, follow my suggested procedure below to end your frustration:

1.  If you have a Google Analytics account, chances are you will also have many other Google products and services. I suggest you login through this common gateway, . Yes, I know…it looks like the Gmail login page but it is different. Login here and you will immediately get access to all your Google products and services.

2. OK, stop admiring your own picture, and click on “Products” on the left menu.

3. Now click on the Analytics icon and you will be in the Analytics Account Home page. Now click “Admin” in the top menu bar, and you should see the Account Administration page. There should be a Tab for ” + New Account ” and that’s where you can add your additional websites.  This is straightforward enough.

4. The crazy thing comes when you are elsewhere in the Analytics pages, then you will realise that clicking on the Admin no longer gives you the ” + New Account “ option. If you find yourself lost at this stage, click ” All Accounts ” in the top menu bar, then click “Accounts List”.

Now when you click on Admin, you will get back the ” + New Account “ tab.

That’s it. I hope this helps someone out there who may be as frustrated as I was a few hours ago.