Tuesday 15 September 2015

My 2014 10Q answers

I've been doing this exercise in personal reflection every September since 2010 (see also my 2011, 2012 and 2013 answers). I was starting to sound like a broken record, complaining about the same problems year after year, but over the past 12 months I've made a number of breakthroughs and this time last year you can see I was starting to sense that things were changing for the better.

Day 1:

Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My answer:

I've fallen in love twice this year. Both times I told the girl how I felt about her and both times my feelings were unrequited. I'm getting used to this, sadly.

The first time, I kinda knew the response I'd get. She doesn't really do boys. But I thought I had to tell her all the same. I figured it would help us both out: it would stop me living in doubt and it might be nice for her confidence to know how lovely she is.

I'm grateful that I had the courage to do it instead of stewing on it in painful doubt for months. I'm relieved to have an answer. I'm saddened that it was a "no", but at least I know.

I dealt with it by talking about it with two close friends. One of them challenged me to ask another person out. So I did.

I asked out this other girl that I'd met through work at the beginning of the year. I liked her immediately, but I figured she was so lovely she was bound to have a boyfriend, so I didn't do anything about it at the time.

The challenge from my friend helped me. It gave me a reason just to take the plunge. I asked her out and she said yes. We had 5 lovely dates together and after the fifth, I told her how I felt about her. She wanted some time to think about it, but the signs weren't good.

Indeed they weren't. She was quite upset when she told me that she wasn't in the right place at the moment and couldn't give me what I want. This was harder for me to accept because I'd got my hopes up, but I do accept it - even if I don't agree with it.

To be honest, I still have (very) faint hopes it's not over, but I know that's not fair on her. We've agreed not to talk to each other, but we still have occasional contact on social media and email.

I was saddened by this and it made me grumpy for a few days after we'd agreed not to talk to each other. I'm mourning the loss of the future I'd imagined together. Again, I worry that I take things too far and fantasize about a future in my head instead of living in the real world.

I'm trying to smile because it happened rather than cry because it's over. It certainly was a lovely way to spend the spring and early summer and I'm grateful for the wonderful time we had together.

Day 2:

Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you're especially proud of from this past year?

My answer:

I tend not to have regrets, but I do wish I'd acted on my urge to kiss a girl. Once when I gave her a hug to keep warm after we'd been swimming in the sea. And once when we were lying side by side in a forest glade of bluebells. I had the thought in both situations, but it didn't feel right at the time. I respect her a lot and sensed it might not have been welcomed.

I'm proud of the fact that I have more courage when it comes to telling a girl how I feel about her. I've done it sooner this year when I have less to lose. The rejection doesn't hurt as much and it allows you to move on to the next person. I feel like I've been collecting rejections this year. They still hurt, but I'm getting used to dealing with them.

Day 3:

Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?

My answer:

I'm not sure if all of this happened within the past year, but my sister broke up with the father of her three children and got together within another man who is now the father-to-be of her fourth.

I'm not sure if I've seen her at all this year. I feel a bit estranged. It's partly my fault, of course. I make occasional attempts to Skype but don't follow through with it if she's not available. I also haven't been to visit her in Ireland since (I think) 2010 or maybe 2011.

My niece, her eldest, is now at the age (9 years old) I was when I was a proper human being and able to interact with adults on what was starting to feel like a more level playing field (my uncles, my rugby coach).

I haven't made that effort to know what's going on in their lives and to be a part of it.

It's a pretty big deal: your sister having her fourth child. Why don't I care more?

I think I'm a bit jealous of the intimacy my sister and I used to share. She has changed quite a lot and I'm sure I have as well. I guess I want to talk to her about our lives, not about the kids all the time; but the kids are a huge part of her life (but not all of it, of course).

Day 4:

Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My answer:

I always find this question difficult to answer. I'm not that much affected by world events. Well, that's not totally true. I actually listen to the news less now than I used to. And I don't watch TV news or read the newspaper. The news has a negative impact on my mood, so I prefer to listen to podcasts while I'm driving alone. To and from work I sometimes listen to Radio 4, but we sometimes talk over it. I'd rather stretch my mind with new facts and thoughts than pollute it with more of the same depressing stories of war, rape, abuse and political corruption.

Day 5:

Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? "Spiritual" can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.

My answer:

When I was in Rio de Janeiro in February, I had an afternoon out with the girls. They wanted to go shopping for carnival accessories. We then went for posh afternoon tea. I then persuaded them to visit the local cathedral. It looks like an upturned bucket from outside. Inside, I found myself looking up. It's like a giant wonderbox, tapering up to a crucifix in the apex of the roof. The atmosphere was so peaceful in there. A sanctuary of cool quiet. It definitely had an effect on me. I let it.

Someone once said you should visit other people's places of worship, even if you're not religious yourself. I like this idea. I can still share their sense of wonder, even if I don't share their belief.

I've also started communing more with nature. I have been awed by seeing the sunrise three times. I found my happy place in a glade of bluebells. I saw the girl I was with get flowerdrunk. Maybe I'm being a bit loose with the meaning of "spiritual" here. But then maybe I'm not. My spirit was moved by each of these things. I was inspired. My heart expanded. I wondered at the world and the people in it and the things they do to express themselves.

Day 6:

Describe one thing you'd like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?

My answer:

I'd like to be able to pay my parents back the £3,000 (+3% interest) I borrowed from them to buy my car in June 2013. I'm nearly there.

It's important to me because it will free me up to save for something else and I'll take a certain sense of pride in paying off the loan a year earlier than planned.

Day 7:

How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?

My answer:

I think the usual thing of getting more sleep, snoozing less in the mornings. I got 9 hours' sleep last night and snoozed for another hour this morning and still felt tired during the day. Same stuff every year, right?

I think my eating has improved slightly. I've had slightly smaller portions. I've lost a bit of weight and I've kept up the regular exercise even though the microgym has closed at work.

Day 8:

Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2015?

My answer:

I would love to get to know Bethany Crowe better - if she'll let me. I met her this year but then we stopped seeing each other for a while after I told her how I feel about her. But we've recently got in touch again and she wants to share her ideas with me about #CitiesForPeople, digital placemaking and the playable city. I read her notes about it last week and it made me so excited: it set my brain on fire - not just the prospect of spending time with her again but also exploring her ideas about this stuff with her and being a sounding board. I love spending time with people who are really enthusiastic about something. It rubs off on me.

Day 9:

What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?

My answer:

I'm sometimes afraid of talking to people. My big brother, Gregory, for example. I find it hard to respond when he gives the impression of wanting to be left alone with his monosyllabic answers. He seems really shy these days.

I'm also afraid of my housemates, sometimes - particularly after they seemed cross with me when the cats brought fleas into the house. I tried to be open and honest with them and tried to repair the damage and do the bulk of the cleaning. There were a few awkward moments where we were both in the kitchen doing our own thing and not talking to each other.

To overcome that, I should probably just make the first move and say something and then keep the conversation up - even if it's difficult. Confront it.

Day 10:

When September 2015 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you'll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you're at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?

My answer:

I might be proud of the fact that I seem to have realized how to do life well. I feel really happy at the moment. I've learned to be comfortable in my own skin most of the time.

On the other hand, this time next year I may be in a really dark mood and feel a million miles from the state of bliss I feel today.

I sense there might be a lot of life circumstances changing over the next year. I'm open to change.

I very much hope I'm in a loving relationship. If it is with Bethany I'd be dreaming. I'm stupidly optimistic right now. I might be due for a big fall. But at least I'm mindful of that now.

I usually moan that nothing has changed. This year, I feel like something is different for the better.

Day 11:

What are your predictions for 2015?

My answer:

She will love me back, finally.


Record your own answers this year at www.doyou10q.com.

Friday 6 March 2015

How to install an HP LaserJet 1000 series printer on a Mac

This post will explain how I managed to install my 13-year-old HP LaserJet 1000 series printer on my MacBook Pro running OS X Yosemite version 10.10.2.

HP LaserJet 1000 series printer

I feel like I'm on familiar territory here with HP's lack of legacy support for peripherals such as scanners and printers. See my popular post on How to install an HP ScanJet 2200c scanner on Windows Vista.

That was 7 years ago.

I still have the same printer and scanner and I'm determined to make them work. And stick it to the man. Even though my dad works for HP. Especially because my dad works for HP.

It's worth the rigmarole, not just for the money you will save by not having to buy a new printer, not just because you will be defeating HP's selfish and wasteful (but understandable for business reasons) built-in obsolescence, but because it will make you feel like this:

Success Kid: Just got my 13-year-old printer to work on a Mac: I am the fucking boss

I am hugely indebted to donthomaso's post on the HP Support Forum thread download driver on mac 10.7.4 for HP Laserjet 1000, which linked to this set of instructions by The Daily Chu / chuck: HP Laserjet 1000/1005/1018/1020 on OS X Lion/Mountain Lion/Mavericks. Although I didn't use them, these instructions for HP Laserjet 1000 on Mavericks also look pretty good and are a bit shorter than mine.

The main purpose of this post is not to take any credit but to make it easier for other users like me to find instructions that will work for them.

Here goes:

1) Install XCode from the App Store.
2) Open Terminal (by typing cmd + space and typing Terminal and pressing return - the first few letters are usually enough). Type xcode-select --install in the Terminal window to install the required command line developer tools.
3) Install MacPorts by installing the package file for OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Packages for other versions of OS X are available on the MacPorts installation page.
4) To confirm the installation is working as expected, open a new terminal window and type port version and press return. (I'm assuming you know that you need to press return after typing a command in Terminal, so I'll stop saying that from now on…maybe.)
5) Run the following commands in Terminal to ensure MacPorts is up-to-date and install a few applications:
  1. sudo port selfupdate (you may need to type in your Mac password)
  2. sudo port install coreutils
  3. sudo port install wget
  4. sudo port install gsed
6) Install Foomatic-RIP. I used version 4.0.6 for for Mac OS X 10.3.x (Panther) - Mac OS X 10.9.x (Mavericks). At this point you may encounter a security warning message if your security preferences prevent you from installing apps from unidentified developers.

Mac security preferences warning screenshot

To fix this, open your Security & Privacy settings in System Preferences (by typing cmd + space and typing Security & Privacy and pressing return). Click the lock icon to make changes.

Click the lock to make changes

Type your Mac password if prompted. Click the radio button to allow apps to be downloaded from Anywhere.

Mac Security & Privacy settings screenshot

Leave this open for now because you will need it to allow other apps to be installed during this process. However, I recommend resetting it to Mac App Store and identified developers and re-closing the lock icon when you're finished to keep your Mac more secure.
7) Install Ghostscript. I used version 8.71 for Mac OS X 10.3.x (Panther) - Mac OS X 10.9.x (Mavericks). You can also download the package file from Richard Koch from the Mathematics Department at the University of Oregon. (Thank you, Richard!)
8) Install foo2zjs.

When I went through this installation process, I had missed out the step to install wget (see 5.3 above), so when I ran the wget http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/foo2zjs.tar.gz command in step 8.2 below, it didn't work. As with most things on computers, there's more than one way to do it. Here's how I did it:

I downloaded foo2zjs in my Chrome web browser from http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/foo2zjs.tar.gz (which by default put it in my Downloads folder). I opened the zip file there by double clicking on it. I then typed cd in Terminal, added a space, and dragged the unzipped foo2zjs directory into the Terminal window to save me typing out the full path i.e. /Users/christopherwhalen/Downloads/foo2zjs where christopherwhalen is my Mac's Home directory. Yours will be different, unless you're also called Christopher Whalen (in which case, hi!). If you did it this way, you should now be in the foo2zjs directory, so skip to step 8.5 below.

Update (19 May 2023): An anonymous comment pointed out that they can't find foo2zjs. And indeed the website that I downloaded it from (http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/foo2zjs.tar.gz) is now offline. I suggest you download it instead from https://github.com/koenkooi/foo2zjs. The direct link to the file is https://github.com/koenkooi/foo2zjs/archive/refs/heads/master.zip.

But you can also download foo2zjs from the Terminal by typing the following commands:
  1. cd Desktop (to change to your Desktop directory)
  2. wget https://github.com/koenkooi/foo2zjs/archive/refs/heads/master.zip (to download the compressed file) - NB I haven't tried this step since I change the download URL from http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/foo2zjs.tar.gz, which is now offline. Please let me know if it works!
  3. tar -xzvpf foo2zjs.tar.gz (to extract it)
  4. cd foo2zjs (to change into the newly extracted foo2zjs directory)
  5. make (to compile foo2zjs)
  6. ./getweb 1000 (to download the HP LaserJet 1000 firmware file)
  7. sudo make install (to install foo2zjs)
  8. sudo make install-hotplug (to configure hotplug)
  9. sudo make cups (to restart the spooler if you use CUPS - nope, I have no idea what that does either, but I did it anyway, even though it appears to be optional).
9) Add the printer via Printers & Scanners in System Preferences (type cmd + space and start typing Printers & Scanners), but do not close Terminal just yet. Click on the + then choose HP LaserJet 1000 and it should automatically load the HP Laserjet 1000 Footmatic/foo2zjs in the Use field.

Add a printer on your Mac screenshot

Click on Add to add the printer.

Mac printer settings for HP LaserJet 1000 screenshot

I think after that, my printer worked. Good ole chuck also suggests you run sudo lp -oraw /usr/share/foo2zjs/firmware/sihp1000.dl in Terminal to upload the firmware to the printer.

10) Finally, reset your app download security settings to Mac App Store and identified developers and re-closing the lock icon as described at the end of step 6 above.

You can now print out those Taylor Swift "Shake It Off" ukulele chords that were your primary motivation for installing your printer in the first place. (Oh. That was just me then.)

Give me a shout in the comments if this did or didn't work for you. It was a kinda long and complicated process. I made some mistakes along the way, but I eventually got there. Please let me know if you think I've missed anything in the instructions above or if anything is not clear.

And good luck!

Update on 24 March 2015: I found that when trying to use the printer a second time, it didn't work. I repeated some of the steps of the installation process, but I think the important part is running sudo make cups (step 8.9 above) to restart the spooler.

Update on 1 June 2017: Repeat steps 8.4 to 8.9 to get the printer to work again if you've already installed it.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

New year's resolutions for 2015

I don't believe in setting new year's resolutions that you don't want to do. Why make life a struggle?

On Christmas Day I watched the first episode of Grayson Perry: Who Are You? at bedtime. It set my brain on fire. In my insomnia, I jotted down the following things I want to do this year:

  • Go to Man Choir on Thursday at 19:00
  • Pass the AdWords display and video exams
  • Host an a capella sea shanty night
  • Dance?
  • Get in touch with the Navigator guy
  • Write to the Gentlemen's Club
  • Visit my friends Paul and Kate Ylioja in Norfolk
  • Visit my cousin Joe Kennedy and maybe go to the football at Dulwich Hamlet with him
  • Reach my target weight by Bloomsday
  • Give at least 2% of my income to charity
  • Launch Sol Samba WordPress site
  • Purge my possessions
  • Change my job title
  • Do a proper A/B testing project
  • Go to a conference: SMX London? Link Love?
  • Visit my sister Laura in Ireland
  • Write about my lack of girlfriends
  • Live alone: move out of 25 Walton Well Road
  • Cycle with my friends Mélanie and Sam (not necessarily together)
  • Go to the Coburg samba festival in Germany
  • Play at Notting Hill Carnival with the London School of Samba
  • Watch Shakespeare at The Globe Theatre
  • Join Zappi's cycling club
  • Go swimming with Paul Vetch at Charlton lido
  • Cycle to work for a whole week
  • Go swimming at work
  • Meet Becca Peters @orange_lava
  • Swim in a Snowdonian llyn (tarn)
  • Learn how to dive
  • Learn long-distance open water front crawl
  • Get in touch with my former rugby coach Andy Balshe
  • Meet up with @piehands