Laser Printers

When I started grad school this fall, all us students were talking about how much we had to print out for class… so many journal articles and class readers! Some folks complained at how expensive their inkjet printers were to run and I went into my laser printer rant. Here is the latest incarnation of that rant.

Short form:
laser printers = fast, inexpensive ($0.05/sheet), reliable, high quality
inkjet printers = cheap to buy but expensive to operate ($0.20/sheet), almost as high quality as laser, almost
print shop = expensive ($0.20/sheet), inconvenient

Long form:
First I have to admit that I killed my awesome HP Laserjet P1606dn by running cheap sticky labels through it the wrong way. I’ll tell you exactly how at the end, suffice to say that a normal person wouldn’t make such mistakes.

So I needed a new printer. I’ve now had the Brother HL-2270DW for about 3 months.

  • prints double sided
  • prints fast
  • wireless
  • inexpensive (about $0.05/page fully amortized with paper and everything)
  • consistently excellent quality


  • It can’t print on 3-holed paper, it jams, so I bought a 3-hole punch

Throw away your ink jet printer. It’s the old “give away the razor sell the blades” scam all over again. Buy a laser printer instead.

Here’s the one I bought on Amazon
Brother HL-2270DW Compact Laser Printer with Wireless Networking and Duplex

Be sure to buy the TN450 High Yield Black Toner for $50 as well. The toner cartridge that comes with the printer is only a “demo” with like 500 pages worth of toner in it

printer $100 amortized over 5000 pages (a conservative guess) $0.02 per page
toner: $45/ 2600 pages = $0.017 per page
paper: $0.016 per page
final cost $0.05 per page

Now the dumb story of how I killed my printer with sticky labels. I bought these cheap sticky labels that used wax paper to hold the sticky sheets in place (better ones use some wonderfully slippery plastic. The sticky label has 2 giant 5″x8″ labels on it. I printed 1 of the labels and then put the sheet through the printer again. I told the printer to print on the wax paper. Oops! After that moment, the ink refused to be fixed to the paper. I assume I wrecked the drum on the printer, gumming it up with wax. Maybe I could have fixed it but who has time for such things? I just bought a new printer.

How I get from Kensington to San Jose State every morning

Here’s my current commute:

  • Drive to North Berkeley Bart 11 minutes and park. $2.50/day
  • Train BART to Fremont, 50 minute ride, $8 round trip
  • Bus VTA 181 express to downtown San Jose, 40 minute ride, $0.00 with my SJSU pass ($8 round trip w/o)
  • Walk 10 minute to class

It usually takes 2 hours, 30 minutes door to door.

The train/bus runs every 15 minutes like clockwork all day.
I always get a seat on the train, almost always a seat on the bus (the folks coming on the train from San Francisco sometimes have to stand)
I usually get about an hour of work done on the train with my laptop tethered to the internet on my phone. And I usually get just a bit carsick on the bus. :-(

Reminder to Self: Cancel Account

Reminder to self: cancel my account. Their long history of misogynistic ads belittle women.

My Godaddy account is paid up through most of 2015. I’ll be switching in a few months.

I made this decision in 2012 and will follow through with it. You might want to do the same.

LED Lighting That Drives You Crazy

Here’s something you won’t be able to unsee: The next time you are driving at night behind a car, flit your eyes left and right. The brake lights of the car in front of you might cast long streaks of flickering on your retinas. Many of the new LED lights are more like strobe lights, flicker in an insanely distracting way… on the highway and in people’s homes.

LED string lights are the worst. In shopping centers and restaurants and on Christmas trees. Just move your eyes around a little and ZOWIE, you’re in a disco with streaks of strobe lights all around you! I’ve heard that it actually causes epileptic seizures in a small percentage of people. For me, it just makes me hate you and your incessant strobe lights in my face. I’ll admit that the effect isn’t too bad as long as I keep my head and eyes perfectly still. :-(

Can’t tell if your light is flickering? Try this: close one eye and wiggle your finger in front of the bulb. You’ll see the strobe effect very clearly.

Oh Lee, you’re exaggerating / crazy / over-sensitive!

Actually, I’m not. Try googling “LED flicker“. Let me point out to some sources

Here’s an IEEE workgroup formed to work on the problem of high-brightness flickering LED bulbs and their 2010 work-in-progress document whose purpose is “…to describe health implications of flicker”

This article in LEDs Magazine promotes good techniques for manufacturers to use in making good LED lighting because “…people are beginning to pay more attention to long-term exposure under higher-frequency flicker in the 70–160-Hz range. Such flicker can cause malaise, headaches, and visual impairment.”
(LEDs Magazine April/May 2014, Proper driver design eliminates LED light strobe flicker)

Here’s a guy on Youtube that tests LED bulbs on his own time. One of his tests is to check whether bulbs flicker. Some of the big brands flicker, some of the no-name brands don’t. Ugh, there are no standards.

Here’s a snippet from a US Department of Energy publication “Low-frequency flicker can induce seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy, and the flicker in magnetically-ballasted fluorescent lamps used for office lighting has been linked to headaches, fatigue, blurred vision, eyestrain, and reduced visual task performance for certain populations. Flicker can also produce hazardous phantom array effects—which may lead to distraction when driving at night, for example—or stroboscopic effects, which may result in the apparent slowing or stopping of moving machinery in an industrial setting.”

etc etc etc…

Inexpensive Nail Fungus Treatment

For the last 3 years I have been keeping my toenail fungus at bay with Selsun Blue anti-dandruff shampoo. It works as well as all the other topical antifungals but it is far less expensive and easier to apply. Actually, I have been using the CVS brand generic anti-dandruff shampoo. Once or twice a week when I am in the shower I rub a little bit on my whole foot. It works very well.

I’ve written a lot on my blog about nail fungus over the years. I’ve pointed out many scams like Fungavir, Zetaclear, and Claripro. Actually, pretty much if you can’t buy it at a local pharmacy, it’s almost definitely a scam.

Praise the Effort

Saul Khan of Khan Academy wrote this great article about encouraging learning. The big point I got out of it was Process Praise.

He writes, “For instance, praising someone’s process (“I really like how you struggled with that problem”) versus praising an innate trait or talent (“You’re so clever!”) is one way to reinforce a growth ­mindset with someone. Process­ praise acknowledges the effort; talent­ praise reinforces the notion that one only succeeds (or doesn’t) based on a fixed trait.”