Friday, January 11, 2013

Communication Error when Printing PDFs from Windows 8 Reader

The Problem
I recently installed Windows 8 and did an upgrade from Windows 8. This worked great and I have been enjoying it for the last couple of days. Today I ran into an issue though. I was trying to print out a PDF using Microsoft's Reader.

With Windows 8 you do this by bringing up the charm bar on the right of the screen in the app you want to print and clicking on devices.

To bring up the charm bar for a device with keyboard/mouse press "Windows Key + C" or take your mouse to the very upper-right or lower-right of the screen and it will appear

After clicking on Devices it should display your printer as well as some other devices. You then click on your printer. After doing this you should get a Print Preview as well as some options that allow you to print out the document.

In my case though instead of getting the preview as you see to the left I got an error, which I wish I had print screened but sadly didn't. It stated something along the lines of not being able to communicate with the printer. This was odd for me and I guessed it had some issue with the driver. The odd thing though was that when I was in the "Desktop" mode than the printer printed fine. I guessed then that the driver from Windows 7 was not compatible with the Metro section of Windows 8.

This was odd to me since the print drivers for Windows 8 are awesome in that they are supposed to provide basic print functionality for pretty much every printer. Meaning that unlike what many people did when they upgraded to Vista or 7 you don't need to purchase a new printer. You can read more about this here: MSDN Blog Article:

The Solution
I went into the printer properties for my printer and it showed the right driver. I then deleted my printer. I then went to re-added my printer. I noticed one of the other ways didn't work so the way that worked for me to find my printer was to open "Devices and Printers" and click on "Add a Printer"

My printer was then discovered and I added it. It then used one of the class drivers which provide compatibility with printers that are not compatible with Windows 8, called "Brother Laser Leg Type2 Class Driver". This was for a Brother HL2070N.

I thought that the fact that Windows 8 had picked this driver I was probably in a better place. Sure enough opening my PDF, bringing up the charm bar then devices and clicking on my printer brought up the print preview and allowed me to successfully print out my PDF.

So my recommendation for people having printer problems would be to delete them and then re-add them. Windows 8 will select the best driver and you should be good to go.

Hope this helps everyone using the Microsoft Reader, athough I am guessing this would have been a problem with Adobe Reader too if it is metro compatible.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Windows Phone Time and Battery Status

I am a Windows Phone user of which previously I owned the LG Quantum, Nokia Lumia 900, Samsung Focus Flash, and currently a Nokia Lumia 920. I really enjoy the OS. It allows me to quickly move from one task to the next while staying productive. Additionally full versions of Office are a must for a Business professional or a user desiring to be productive.

There is an issue that I have seen many people claim is a problem, although I think they have just been trained this way, which is the inability to know what time it is, or the current battery level at all times. IOS(iPhone/iPad) and android have a static status bar that shows these things and people have grown accustom to this. Windows Phone does not use a always on status bar instead freeing it up for the user. Change is a rough thing for us people, but it can be for the better.

There are a couple of ways to see the time and battery status of a Windows Phone device at any time. First when you wake up your phone it will show you the time and battery status on your phone, on the lock-screen as well as the date and your next appointment and various other tidbits.

This is great for when you use your phone in spurts but what about if you are using it in length and want to know your current batter status there are three other quick ways to determine this. On the home screen as well as in some other applications just touch above the top of screen and swipe down just slightly onto the top portion of the screen and the status icons appear, although they only stay about 10 seconds or so. Some applications do not support this though.

Another application that I use a lot that allows for a quick way to determine the time and battery status is Internet Explorer. IF you are browsing in IE. while holding you phone vertically instead of horizontally.Click in the address bar or swipe up on the three dots that are in the bottom right corner. This will cause the status bar to appear at the top of the screen. This is probably the one I use most besides the other three methods.

The last method can be used anywhere and at anytime is probably the one I haven't seen shared before, although it might have been, so I will display the whole picture so you can see it more clearly. No matter where you are, just click and hold the back button until the app swapping screen pops up. Touching right above the top of the screen and swipe down onto the screen at which point the status bar appears. I see this as the most powerful method since it can be done anywhere and anytime.

It can also be done in horizontal mode swipe the same way and from the same spot above the screen or on the speaker swipe your finger onto the screen. and the status appears.

I favor Windows Phones for numerous reasons particularly Nokia due to the amount of software they provide for free for their phone owners. Windows Phone can do what is wanted by most users, its just a method of thinking differently. Hope this helps.