Archive for the Misc Category

Fixing Mac + HP “Expired Ink” Error

Posted in Misc with tags , , , , , , , , on 30 September 2012 by Richard Hornbaker

Or, “Why won’t my Mac print to my HP 8500 network printer any more?”

So, you’ve had a continuous ink supply system (CISS) running for a while, and you’ve pushed past the HP printer warnings that the ink was low.  Or maybe that new cartridge sat on the shelf for too long.  Either way, you got the dreaded “Ink is Expired” error.  You’ve seen HP’s page about why this happens, but you want to press forward.

You got the printer to ignore the warning, but now there’s an odd problem… Windows PCs can print just fine over the network, but Macs can’t.  You get an error that looks like this:

It reads: The following cartridges are past their expiration dates: Black. You should remove or replace the expired cartridges or click OK to continue with the expired cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of expired cartridges. Printer service or repairs required as a result of using expired cartridges will not be covered under warranty.

What the heck is going on?  There’s no “OK” button to click, and your print job never prints.  Well, actually it will – if you’re patient enough to wait 85 minutes!  You’re stuck.  Of course, you could throw in the towel and pay HP about $90 for a fresh set of ink cartridges, but I’m more stubborn than that.

What I Discovered…

HP’s printer driver for MacOS checks the status of the ink supplies before it’ll release the print job.  If it sees the inks are expired, it displays this warning and waits for your OK – but they brilliantly didn’t code in an OK button, either here or in the Supply Levels dialog.

In fact, the driver sends the printer 18 “SNMP” queries every second to read different status values, waiting for you to clear the condition.  After 85 minutes of doing this, it’ll finally give up and forward your print job from the computer’s queue to the printer.

However… I discovered that if the Mac never receives a reply to its queries, the HP printer driver gives up after 8 seconds, assumes the printer is healthy, and releases the print job.  Eureka!  Now, how to make that happen?

An Easy Fix!

I’ll spare you the seriously nerdy machinations behind this discovery.  And the equally intense original workaround involving command-line firewall filter rules in MacOS.  In the end, the fix is painfully simple: go to the printer and turn off the SNMP management protocol.  This is done through the web GUI.

First, find your printer’s IP address.  You won’t find this in your Mac easily – go to the printer and navigate its menu to Setup | Network | Network Settings to find an address like  Then enter that address in your web browser, like – your printer’s web page should load.

Go to the Networking tab and select SNMP in the left pane.  This page will load:

Check the button that says Disable SNMPv1 and click Apply.  Problem solved!

(If you’re the techie type that wants SNMP support for other purposes, just change the “community string” to something other than the default value of “public” and the printer will still ignore the Mac’s queries.)

We’ve been coping with issue this for months, shuttling Mac files to a PC for printing; I finally spent hours hacking up a crafty fix before I realized it could just be disabled at the printer.  Hopefully this post saves other folks a ton of frustration!

Do You Have a Different HP Printer?

This fix might work for other HP printers too, since HP’s Mac printer drivers probably share a lot of common code.  If you have a different model of printer that this fixes (or doesn’t), please comment below with the model number so others will find this fix!


Pimp your Mac Mini!

Posted in Misc with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 09 August 2010 by Richard Hornbaker

I think the Mac Mini is the unsung hero of Apple’s computers – it offers the power of a nice laptop for a fraction of the price; however, like a laptop, its compact size makes it trickier to upgrade.

Below is my photo journey through upgrading the guts of a 2008-era Mac Mini (also known as a “MacMini2,1” in System Profiler – 1.83GHz Core2Duo, 1GB RAM, 80GB disk).  This is my second venture under the hood of this compact little gem – the first was for a RAM upgrade; this time it’s for a new hard disk.  Hopefully this post will give others the confidence to beef up their own Mini!

Continue reading

“Print is cheap”… adventures with Continuous Ink

Posted in Misc, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 09 December 2009 by Richard Hornbaker

I’ve been curious about CIS systems for a while, but they always seemed like overkill. I finally decided to give one a try after looking at the cost of refills for an HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 – the CISS is 15% cheaper, refills cost 90% less, and it only takes about 30 minutes for the one-time setup. For your amusement, here’s a blog of my experience; I’ll update it over time.

What’s a CISS?

CISS is continuous ink supply system – a third-party inking scheme for inkjet printers. Rather than installing replacement ink cartridges, a dummy cartridge goes in the printer with a siphon hose that connects to a large ink reservoir outside the printer – often 4-5 times larger than a typical cartridge capacity. Continue reading

Cheap software – legit!

Posted in Misc, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 21 August 2009 by Richard Hornbaker

If you aren’t buying “academic licenses”, you’re probably paying too much for popular packages like Photoshop CS4, Lightroom, and even MS Office.  A lot of folks qualify for these deals but don’t realize it. Continue reading

OpenID with Hosting

Posted in Misc on 14 August 2009 by Richard Hornbaker

It’s a neat concept: with all these blogging sites, why not have a cross-site login capability, so a user can “authenticate” themselves to another site (say, and post a reply – all without having an account there.  And their posting hyperlinks back to their main blog.  Excellent idea… too bad it doesn’t work better. Continue reading

Hello! Anybody home?

Posted in Misc on 13 August 2009 by Richard Hornbaker

It’s like moving day.  You know… you’re the new kid on the block, a moving truck pulls into the driveway, neighbors stop by to introduce themselves – but the house is so empty that the conversation echoes off the walls.  And it’s awkward having visitors when you can’t invite them to sit down.

So, welcome!  This place will be echoing for a while.  Don’t expect to see any lavish artwork, expensive furniture, or deep philosophy here.  More like a mad scientist’s lab of loosely-related experiments, and they’ll be slow in coming.  Odds are, they’ll have something to do with photography, electronics, or woodworking.