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Canon Printer Error 6C10

I nearly had to wave goodbye  to my trust Canon ip4700 this week.  Every time I tried to print I got an error 6C10 and every time I looked that up, printer boffs and forums told me the ink pads were saturated and they needed replacement.

Just to put that into context, a set of pads is £65, or a replacement printer (which would also upgrade me to wifi and a built in scanner) is £40.

Hmmm.

Not to be deterred, and in recognition of the literally hundreds of printable CDs, sheets of A4 photo paper and the reams of invoices and bills that come out each year when I run my accounts, I  searched again.  This time I found someone who had looked elsewhere and cleared his 6C10 by cleaning the print head.  Not only that, he cleaned it with warm water, not one of the cleaning fluids advertised on ebay.

Suffice it to say, after a trimmed down process which took all of 15 minutes, I now have a working printer again.  Long may that continue!

You can see the process in action here:

Moving Your Website Forward

There are lots of ways to move your website forward. For many small businesses it’s a question of writing short articles to let the adoring public (ok, the Googlebot) know that you’re not on an extended sabbatical in Nassau. For others it may be a facelift and for many it is a foray into social media.

If you branch out into Twitter, Facebook or Flickr, these things can be easily integrated so that what you do in one place doesn’t need replicating elsewhere.

But I digress. The reason for this article was a terrifying piece I stumbled across on Twitter. Actually I didn’t find it terrifying. As a seasoned WordPress author I loved it, but there are many out there who would sweep it away as gibberish and technobabble, but it needn’t be.

If you love the techie side of WordPress, here’s the article: WordPress Plugins

If your website has been crafted for your needs then everything you do within your comfort zone can pay dividends.  What you do may be creative, rather than technical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your digital (international) audience without leaving your comfort zone.

Everything that I’ve touched on relates to problems that I have personally dealt with recently, so if you’re feeling a little out of touch with your internet audience, do drop us a line at 11December.  There is an easier way forward with your digital shopfront and it needn’t cost you the earth.

Fujitsu Bargains

While stocks last, we’re pleased to offer the fantastic range of business class Fujitsu Siemens PCs to all of our customers.fujitsu_esprimo_e420_vfye0420p7321nl

If you know what you want to achieve with your computer, but the details of a Windows PC leave you cold, stop reading now and drop us a line on the Contact page!  We offer a full service to undercut the high street prices on the PC that is right for you and to get you back into your comfort zone asap.

The special offers for this month are the quietly confident E420 small form factor desktop and its sibling, the P420 mini tower.

Both come with a 4th generation Core i3 processor and an incredible 3 year on-site warranty.   The base models in our range, they have 4GB memory as standard and can be upgraded to 16GB to keep you working for years to come.  The storage is a modest 500GB but if you need more, please get in touch.

The price includes delivery and setup in your home or office (including a brief tour of the new look Windows), plus we have some fantastic deals on the little extras to help you settle in, including transferring your programs and data.

fujitsu_esprimo_p420

Fujitsu E420/P420 Core i3 with 3 year warranty

Just £399

Optional extras

    • Wifi adapter – £10
    • All-in-1 mini USB card reader – £5
    • Full data and software migration* – from £120

If you need a PC with more than a Core i3 processor, please get in touch and we’ll create a bespoke order to suit you.

* You will need to provide serial numbers and installation media for any software to be installed on the new computer

Why Cleanliness is Next to Godliness for Your Laptop

Laptop, server, much maligned aging desktop.  All computers can suffer when the dust builds up inside the case.

Electronic equipment doesn’t deal well with extremes of temperature, tiny components expand and contract or their innards react.  Capacitors are like little batteries that take on an electrical charge and release it to sensitive modules and processors at a controlled rate, but they have the same issues with extremes of temperature that their bigger cousins have.

The symptoms are likely to include:

  • Increased fan noise
  • Reduced performance as the computer slows down the processor to try and reduce the heat build up
  • In laptops you may feel hotspots on the keyboard and surrounding plastic
  • In extreme cases the computer may shut down suddenly to prevent damage to the internal workings
  • If the failsafes aren’t enough, irreversible damage can be caused to the hard drive or the processor, resulting in expensive repair bills and possible loss of data

What can be done about it?  Well, there’s no way of avoiding a dust build up.  Bizarrely, the cleanest houses and offices turn out some of the fluffiest computers (I am personally convinced that’s because the inhabitants keep cleaning, disturbing the dust in the process).  Tumble driers put out a quantity of fibres, which are easily pulled into a computer case and cigarette smoke will coat any particles with a sticky tar-like residue which will cause them to adhere to each other and accumulate even faster.

Computers almost seemed designed to catch dust.  The cases are engineered to draw air in through small gaps and pass it over nooks, crannies and ledges.  The surface area inside your average computer must be immense.

So as long as a cleanroom is beyond our budgets, we’ve ruled out prevention; so what’s the cure?  I’ll tell you what I do and then you can decide whether you are confident (and competent) enough to try it for yourself.  And if not, drop me a line and I’ll book you in for an annual service and make the problem disappear for a while.

Desktops and servers.

Remove the mains power cable and hold down the power button for a minimum of 10 seconds.  This discharges the capacitors and although most are no risk to you, causing a short while there is still power inside the computer could cause damage.

Open the case and using a vacuum cleaner and a bristle brush – not nylon – carefully dislodge all the built up dust and suction it off.  Watch out for knocking delicate parts with the nozzle of the cleaner, whether it’s plastic or metal, although obviously metal has it’s own complications.  You may want to invest in a can of compressed air to make life easier, but clean out the loose stuff first; it can fly for metres!

Remove the front bezel as this is usually the in-flow for the air, and dust will build up in and around the holes behind the plastic panel.

Press the vacuum nozzle up against the vent in the rear of the power supply.  You will only remove some of the build up but I would never advocate taking it apart.  The coils inside carry dangerous voltages and should only ever be inspected by trained personnel.  You can use your compressed air through any vent holes here and then vacuum again.

While you’re in the case, inspect any cables to make sure they’re secure and not dangling near a fan.

Look at the capacitors.  If any of them appear to be swelling or leaking, now is a good time to get professional advice.  They are easily replaced and could save an expensive repair in the near future.

Laptops.

More difficult.  There are an awful lot of screws holding a laptop together and it’s not always clear as to what the order of play should be.  If you’re determined to have a go, YouTube is an excellent resource.

For a quick DIY attempt, I would suggest the compressed air here.  Turn off your laptop, unplug the mains cable and remove the battery, then press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to discharge the capacitors.

Along the edge of the laptop will be an exhaust vent.  This is often on the left towards the back and if you blow compressed air through it you will usually send the dust into the fan area where you can pick it out through the tiny grille with a pair of tweezers.  The dust collects just inside the exhaust vent, often in a thick layer of felt, so it’s quite easy to work with and you’ll get good results.

Another problem that can crop up with any type of computer is the failure of the thermal paste between the processor and the heat sink and for this you should consult a professional.  Although the processor has a highly polished pad for transferring heat away, and the heat sink has a similarly smooth contact pad, a metal paste is used between the two to eradicate any air pockets which could slow the flow of heat.  Over time this paste becomes dry and shrinks and should be cleaned off and replaced with fresh.

Prices for an annual service are from £50 for a clean out, or £80 to include a health check of the operating system.  Everything is looked over for out of date files, from drivers to Java, Adobe, Skype and antivirus to name a few.  Advice will be given on future upgrade paths and current specification.

We are pleased to offer SSD (solid state drive) upgrades for £60 plus parts.  Solid state drives represent the single biggest performance boost that you can give your computer (desktop or laptop).  Please get in touch via the Contact form for more information.

 

Is this a new marketing squeeze?

Every now and again I get an enquiry from someone who is looking to upgrade their PC.  They might find the performance of their current computer isn’t what it once was, or maybe there’s been a coffee incident across the keyboard and replacement would make more sense than repair.

My advice has always been simple.  Don’t go out and buy the cheapest computer on the basis that you don’t do anything heavy.  Look below the surface a little and make sure you have an upgrade path two or three years down the line.

12 to 18 months ago I started unearthing badly behaved laptops (mainly) and desktops that were bought with Vista on them but had a maximum memory capacity of 2GB.  I run my own Vista laptop on 3GB today, but if I were looking for a new machine I would consider 4GB to be entry level for Windows 7.

Looking back historically, XP used to run on 128MB RAM in the very early days, although 256MB was far the better option.  Today I get calls from people with 1GB in an XP machine who are suffering from a shortage of memory (that’s eight times the 128MB/four times the 256MB for you normal people).  In that context, to sell Vista computers which couldn’t go past 2GB was nothing short of a marketing exercise.  And I’m seeing it again.

6 months ago I shopped for three people and found very reasonably priced HP towers with decent Intel processors and a maximum capacity of 16GB.  They were priced at circa £350 and I would expect them to run comfortably through the next five years.  Today I shopped for another client with the same goals and didn’t find a tower with a 16GB capacity until I reached the £599 budget.

I do understand the logic behind this.  Money is tight for everyone and the manufacturers have to plan for the future.  I mentioned HP and this is no reflection on them – all the suppliers are the same or worse, in fact HP were the first to come up with a 16GB machine through the high street outlets that I was polling.  The bottom line is, if your 8 year old computer is dragging its heels, please don’t rush out and pick up a bargain in the sales.  The chances are that you may be in exactly the same position in another 3 years.

Step away from the hard drive!

I had a text message from a friend of a friend over the holidays.  Her hard drive had failed and she didn’t have a backup of all her photos and please would I take a look.  I love these jobs.  There is a certain amount of stress (I’ve lost data of my own in the past and I know how much it hurts), but there is no better feeling than picking up the phone or clicking Send to say ‘I’ve got your data’.

When the lady arrived on the doorstep, she handed me the offending drive and the first thing that jumped at me was the tear in the label.  The small, circular tear which exposed one of the securing screws for the top cover.  “Yes,” she said, a well-meaning family member had taken the top off in an attempt to get the motor to kick in.  I had to be honest and tell her that there was every possibility that the resulting contamination could be the final nail in the coffin.

She took it extremely well considering my bedside manner is far better suited to computers than to human beings – one of my many faults….  But, I assured her, I would give it my best shot.  A couple of hours later, after sorting out the contacts between the motor and PCB, her data was backing up to my server.

At the moment, it looks like the whole lot came back and the biggest hurdle (time-wise) was the NT ownership and file permissions.  I’m astounded and if the well-meaning family member is smug, then so be it.  I do love a happy ending.

If you have been affected by any of the issues…..  no, sorry, scratch that, but if you do suffer a hard drive failure, please don’t take the lid off to see what you can see.  If you approach a data recovery company, make sure they are reputable and similarly won’t feel the need to whip the top off.  There are good firms out there who operate on a no-fix, no fee basis.  In the last 7 days I have heard two quotes ranging from £80 to £600 to recover data from a failed hard drive and I’m not sure how much faith I have in either of them.

If you’re lucky enough to have a personal recommendation it’s a good place to start, so tell everyone you know if you’ve had a disaster – there may be a solution on your doorstep.