Epson’s evil firmware upgrade for the XP-430 printer to break 3rd party ink cartridges

I was having some issues with my Epson XP-430’s scanner and thought I’d try upgrading to the latest firmware.

Very. Bad. Idea.

After the upgrade, it identified that I had installed 3rd party ink cartridges — as I have a legal right to do — and refused to print unless I replaced them with genuine, vastly overpriced, rip-off Epson cartridges.

So I decided to downgrade the software to restore the previous behavior. Here’s how I did that. (I’m on a Mac running High Sierra, if that matters).

First, I downloaded an older firmware image with installer. I got it from this page:

Next, I plugged into the printer with a USB cable to the back connector.

Then, I turned on the printer in Firmware load mode: I held down the stop (circle with triangle), left arrow, home buttons all at once and, without releasing them, pressed the power button. A very sparse white type on black screen came up.

I then ran the installer, which identified the printer and the firmware that I downloaded. I let it load the firmware into the printer.

At some point the printer screen fills with a completion message, and I pressed OK. The printer restarted.

That’s it.

Before I started this, I had removed all the print cartridges and turned the printer on, so it thought the problem was no cartridges, not non-Epson cartridges, but I’m not sure that’s needed.

Hope that helps someone!

Fixing Chrome Crashes, Glitches, and Lockups in High Sierra

I recently upgraded my iMac to High Sierra, and all of a sudden once or twice a day it would lock up.  The mouse would work, and if I had audio playing it kept working.  But no matter what I clicked or what I typed, the screen was otherwise frozen.  Eventually I’d give up and power the computer off and on.

At other times, the computer would keep working but the rendering would be glitchy, like this:

I found lots of vague, similar sounding complaints on the web, but in the end I determined that the problem was due to a driver problem with my NVIDIA GPU.  Here’s how I fixed it.

First, do you really have an NVIDIA GPU?

Go to the Apple menu, and select About This Mac:

That brings up a window like this:

Do you have an NVIDIA GPU? If not, then I probably can’t help you.  If you do, then you have two things you can do to try to fix this.

Disable Chrome’s use of the GPU

If you enter chrome://flags/#enable-gpu-rasterization into Chrome’s URL field, you’ll see something like this:

Change GPU Rasterization to Disabled.  That seems to fix the problem, at the cost of a bit of lost performance.  But it’s also a good first test — if this fixes it, then you know you’ve found the right cause.

Install NVIDIA’s own Drivers

Instead of using the drivers Apple supplies with High Sierra, you can use NVIDIA’s own drivers.

For High Sierra version 10.13.1, the driver is here (last checked 12/6/17):

Note that if you read this after this is written (November 1, 2017 December 6, 2017), there may well be newer and better drivers.

Installing this driver fixed the problem for me, and so I turned Chrome’s GPU rasterization setting back to Default. And then the problem crept back, so I’ve turned the GPU rasterization off again until NVidia reports that the drivers are no longer beta for my machine.

Final Notes

There are a bunch of applications that have their own, embedded version of Chrome — Slack, Atom, etc.  I’m not sure if you change the flags in Chrome whether it affects them or not, but I think it does not.  So if you have one of them open too, you may still get a lockup even if you’ve changed Chrome’s settings.  Updating the driver seems to fix them all.

Fingers crossed.

Upgrading WordPress to PHP 7 and broken permalinks

I recently upgraded this server from PHP 5 and Debian 7 “Wheezy”  to PHP 7 and Debian 9″Stretch”, and everything seemed fine.  Except that all my permalinks stopped working.  I’m running Apache (2) as my web server, and it had been working fine with PHP 5, so at first I assumed it was something with PHP 7.  There were some places where my config files needed to be updated for PHP 7, but that wasn’t the problem.

Turns out that in apache2.conf there was a configuration that read:

<Directory /home/www>
 Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
 AllowOverride None
 Require all granted

That needed to be changed to:

<Directory /home/www>
 Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
 AllowOverride All
 Require all granted

And after restarting apache2, it all worked (bolding just to show the change).

No, 71% of Doctors are not concerned about Hillary Clinton’s health

It’s a shocker of a headline:


And it’s a lie.

First, it’s conducted by a group known as “American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)”. Here’s part of their Wikipedia entry:

The association is generally recognized as politically conservative or ultra-conservative, and its publication advocates a range of scientifically discredited theories, including the belief that HIV does not cause AIDS, that being gay reduces life expectancy, that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, and that there are links between autism and vaccinations.

In other words, charlatans.

And, their polling is just as specious.  Even they describe it as “an informal internet survey” — not scientific at all. Are the respondents really doctors? Did people submit multiple entries? All we know is that only people who are attracted to this nutball organization were the ones venting their spleen.  Assuming they know what a spleen is…