Meaningful name for network printers in Windows XP

Corporate environments often name network printers with labels that don't help much to identify the printer's location (names like IMPLOC134). Its properties may indicate the location, but this may involve looking through more submenus.

When Windows XP connects to such printers, the local name of the printer stays as IMPLOC134, and cannot be renamed. This can be a problem if your machine is configured with more than one printer, and you'd like to choose a printer from the list by simply looking at its name.

There's a workaround for installing the printer with a personalized name. When adding a printer, don't connect to a network printer. Instead, create a local one:

  1. Add printer
  2. Type "Local"
  3. Create new port, type "Local Port"
  4. The port name must be "\\printservloc\IMPLOC134" which is the network address of that printer
  5. Then select the driver for the printer (most likely you can find it on the manufacturer's website)
  6. Then assign a meaningful name for the printer, like "3rdFloorPrinter"

This will create a local printer that in reality connects to the network printer, but the local name will have a personalized label recognizable just by looking at the list of printers, without the need to look at the properties and details of the printer.


DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL blue screen of death...

Over the past few weeks, my windows machine gave me this blue surprise four or five times:

STOP: 0x000000D1 (DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL) is the error that greeted me, in relation to tcpip.sys, and it happened apparently randomly (I could not assign blame on particular actions or events)

It’s strange that this would happen alter two years using the machine without any such problems. After some research on the net, I found that some people relate this problem to network card drivers, others blame a bad memory chip, while others point to newly installed buggy software.

This is a 2.5 year old Dell Latitude D410, and while hardware failures are always a possibility, I think this machine is not that old to start showing hardware problems.

I upgraded the network drivers and removed some new software I had installed, but the blue screen of death came up again twice after that.

So then I searched a little further and found a Microsoft fix for the problem. They claim in their KB article 906882 that this problem is related to a program tries to connect to a loopback adaptor other than I don’t know if this was the source of the problem in my machine, since I cannot think why would my machine be attempting connections on or other loopback addresses (I guess it could be a virus… but I am fairly certain to have a virus-free system).

Despite this, I went ahead and installed hotfix http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906882. It’s been some 7 days already since then, and the BSOD has not appeared again. It seems this hotfix worked. If the problem comes back, I will report it here.


wqy font problem on Fedora 9 and Nvidia card

Today I upgraded my system from Fedora 8 to the new Fedora 9. The process went fine... but I ran into a small problem with the bitmap font I use in Gnome.

One of the things I dislike about current Linux desktops (in comparison to 1998-2001 linux) is the use of anti-aliased fonts. If you try to disable antialiasing, fonts look dead ugly. Long lost are the simple looking helvetica or arial fonts on Linux. (if anyone knows how to get them back, please do let me know).

The only bitmap font I've found on Fedora distributions is "wqy-bitmap-fonts", which is actually a Chinese font, but which works fine for latin characterset as well.

However, after upgrading to Fedora 9, this font began to display funny (artifacts showing on top of the text, making it unreadable). I thought it to be a problem with Fedora 9... but after posting the issue on redhat's bugzilla, I found out it is an issue with the video driver I am using.

My system has a nVidia Corporation NV44A [GeForce 6200] rev a1. On Fedora 9 I installed driver version NVIDIA-Linux-x86-173.14.05, and this causes a problem. If I use the "nv" driver that comes with Fedora, the problem goes away.

Here's a picture showing the font problem I had:

So one solution is to use the "nv" driver instead of the "nvidia" one on X11.
In the mean time I will continue to use "nvidia", however... and then I will try new nVidia drivers when they come out.

Here's the bugzilla page covering this issue.

So this concludes the first post of this blog... (I hope it helps others who run into the same problem).