Ancient Hardware

I have to get a funding proposal in by tomorrow (well, okay, it's after midnight, so by today). They have an online form and a strange RTF financial form that is formatted with some strange Japanese font, no problem, we'll just fill this out and.... oops! "Please print out the form, sign it, and send it in."

Okay, it is just for in-house funding, but still. I filled out the form, made PDFs, sent them off by email, and then set about trying to print them. I would normally have just driven about 10 km to a friend I know who has a printer, but they are on vacation and won't be back until next week.

We have an old, cast-off printer here that uses a parallel port (remember those?). They seem to have left a parallel port off of the MacPro, but not to worry, we have an ancient Windoof box here that has music on it, sort of an old-style iPod. And it has a parallel port, yeah!

Got that installed then went to get the PDF files. The new MacBookPro has both USB ports next to each other on the left side. But Internet connection + mouse + stick is one too many, but luckily we can live without the mouse. Except that the Internet tail and the USB stick don't fit side by side. So I dug around for a USB extension (we have more cables and power cords here than you can shake a stick at) and managed to get the files onto the stick.

I tranferred the extension to the ancient box (that luckily has both a DVD reader and USB ports) and clicked on the first PDF. There was, however, no Acrobat Reader installed. Acrobat Photoshop Elements felt responsible for the file, and opened it up. But it had trouble and asked me if it could please raster the PDF. Okay, I smelled trouble, but let it have it's way.

It looked fishy on the screen, so I just had it print one page, as we didn't really have a lot of paper in a decent color that doesn't have printing on one side. For some reason I have red and green and blue and yellow and orange here, but no white or eco.

It came out green and with anti-aliased text. It looked like sh*t.

But not to fear, WiseMan had wisely lugged a box of c't DVDs with him that had tons of free software on them. Except they don't put Acrobat Reader on them anymore because everyone has it. Digging back I find an oldish one with the reader - hurrah! I set about installing it, man this takes forever. Finally all is clicked and clacked, and I start it up. It wants to go online. No, sweetheart, this guy doesn't do online. And WTF do you need to go online for? I click "stay offline" and it barks at me that I have rejected the terms of service so I can't use the system. Bang. End.

I can't believe they are so stupid, so I try it again, same song, second verse. You can't use their free reader if you can't go online to say yes to some EULA.

I dig back through the DVD and find the PDF Action Reader Free. I install it, and it does just what I want it to. Reads the PDF. Prints on the asthmatic printer. In black. With crisp edges. Waits patiently while I go find more paper for the last page. Recognizes when the printer is happy again and continues.

I blasted the Adobe reader from the disk, their Adobe Updater (which regularly crashes Adobe products on my Mac) has made me hate Adobe, and this incident does not help improve things.

So, the proposal is now signed, and I even found an unused envelope! Tomorrow morning I head for the county seat where they have a store that sells stamps (the post office closed years ago) and a mailbox. The letter will go from here to Malmö to Stockholm to Copenhagen to Frankfurt to Berlin and will take 4 days, although Malmö and Copenhagen are within spitting distance, things have to follow the hub and spoke design so popular these days. A friend recently biked the distance in 1 1/2 days...

Wish me luck on getting the funding, it will make a great project!

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