Brain on fire.

I’m posting this in the hope that it will somehow greatly simplify somebody’s day. I did this the hard way, over and over, until I made it work for me; hopefully this all goes much easier for you!
The issue at hand is making the Brother QL-570 thermal label printer work as advertised on a system running Ubuntu Linux. This guide is written with the complete newbie in mind; skip over any bits that seem too obvious. The driver installation instructions provided on the Brother website can be daunting to a beginner, and contain a few subtle errors that may trip you up. I performed these steps in Ubuntu 10.04, but they should work in any version newer than 8.04. Ubuntu made a fine go of installing the required drivers all on its own, but I finally had to go through it the long way to get things working well.

First off, it’s a great help to have the nautilus-terminal application installed. Basically, it adds a command-line terminal window to the standard Nautilus file browser. This lets you navigate folders and do common tasks with the simple GUI interface, then seamlessly switch to the command line interface (already in the proper directory!) with a point and click. To install nautilus-terminal, open a standard terminal and enter the following lines, being sure to enter your administrative password when prompted:

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:flozz/flozz
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install nautilus-terminal

Now restart nautilus by pressing ALT+F2 and entering:

  • nautilus -q

Re-open Nautilus and notice the terminal window at the top.

Now open a browser window and go to the Brother driver download page. For a typical Ubuntu install, you only need to download the .deb format drivers, in particular the LPR driver and the cupswrapper (inch) driver. While you won’t need it quite yet, you might as well grab the template file download while you’re here. Go ahead and download these (you’ll need to click through some licencing screens).

Create a new folder on your desktop, named something obvious like “Brother Drivers”. Open your Downloads folder, then drag the driver files over into the new folder you just created. This will make them simple and easy to open. Now open the new folder in Nautilus (which is the default file browser; just double-click the folder). Notice that the command-line has you already in the correct directory. Click into the terminal, and enter:

  • sudo gedit /var/lib/dpkg/info/ql570cupswrapperinch.list

This will open a text-editor. Copy the following text into the text editor window, then save and exit:


Nothing spectacular should happen here; you’ve just added a file that will prevent an error message from pestering you a few steps later. Now, back at the command line, double-check that you are still in the same directory/folder as the drivers: the two drivers and the tar.gz will be shown in the GUI portion of the window, and the command prompt in the terminal portion of the window should say “~/Desktop/Brother Drivers$”. At the command line, enter the following:

  • sudo aa-complain cupsd
  • sudo mkdir /usr/share/cups/ql570
  • sudo dpkg  -i  –force-all ql570lpr-1.0.0-1.i386.deb
  • sudo dpkg  -i  –force-all ql570cupswrapperinch-1.0.0-1.debian.i386.deb

You may have seen an error message flash past during that step. As long as nothing hangs on you, it is safe to ignore. Now, check that the drivers installed correctly. Close the file browser window, and open a straight terminal window. Enter the following:

  • sudo dpkg  -l  |  grep  Brother

You should get some confirmation of the two drivers. Now open a web browser and go to  http://localhost:631/printers to find the CUPS web-panel. Choose the QL-570 from the list. Under the Administative pull-down menu, select “Set Default Options”. Here, you may need to fiddle with the paper sizes to get best results. The recommended default for me was “62mmx4”, but this ended up printing 3 blank labels after every job. “62mmx100mm” Seems to be working well for me right now… After making any changes, return to the printer page and select “Print Test Page” from the Maintenance pull-down.

Those templates you downloaded earlier? Unzip the qt570l110.tar.gz to find a selection of template printing files for Open Office and others.

We are each, in our day, both consumers and creators. These two phases of our selves live in both flux and harmony; it is a curious interdependence.

In days past, my proudest moments have been as a creator. I have created objects, experiences, adventures, friendships, and follies. I have made music, made friends, made enemies (though not many), made money, and made love.

Still, of all the created things to have passed out of my self and into the world, the most remarkable -to me at least- have been the Monuments and the Relics. Some such creations have, in time, become both.

I was reminded of this on a recent trip back to BC. There, out back, across the field, in early-morning half-light, one of the finest monuments/relics ever devised lay waiting for my visitation. My father’s old housetruck, slowly becoming one with the landscape. It is so familiar to me and my past, and yet being just one step removed from me, allows me to breathe and move around it, observe it, and cherish the conflagration of emotion that bubbles up inside me at the sight, the smell, the sheer presence of it.

Of course, the similarity to my own abandoned housebus resonates mightily. In that, the difference between Monument and Relic is strictly a matter of perspective. My silently passionate father feels the same push and pull of history.

At our best, we each put something intangible and eternal into our creations. Only time and perspective will show them to be Monument, Relic, or anything worth remembering at all. Sometimes it is only some pervasive and phenomenal application of passionate energy that shifts the inevitable Relic towards Monumental status.

My bus is a Relic, for sure, but not so my boat. Yes, we were forced to abandon her mid-Atlantic, but she’s not a Relic for all that. Wherever she now sails or rests, she is undoubtedly a Monument.

Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing some aspect of sailing, and I contributed some anecdote about some feature of my boat something that I had long-labored upon.

He slowly smiled, and said, “You lost a lot…”.

I smiled back. “Yeah, I guess. But I learned a lot too.” It was a fair trade, a Monumental one.

Back at the housetruck, my sailing-companion and friend Cory and I shared a moment. Without much else to say on the matter, it is quickly agreed that friendships are greatest Monuments of all.

And so too, without much else to say on the matter, I agree with myself that many of the Relics of my past were once Monuments I had erected, and can be so once again. They should be.

In the meantime, I shall keep on creating.

In college, I knew a woman named Wendy Martin who owned a local business, Rooftop Futons. In her high-ceilinged 2nd-floor south-facing office, she had a magnificent pot of giant papyrus growing, at least 6′ tall, the image of which has stuck in my head ever since. I can’t be certain, but I’m reasonably sure her plant was an “Umbrella palm”, Cyperus alternifolius. Now that I have my own ridiculously-high ceilings (16′!), I’ve bought a few papyrus plants to try my own hand at.

After an afternoon spent trolling garden centers and nurseries with my amazing gardening friend Kent Russell,  actually ended up with five plants. In addition to a pair of great Cyperus papyrus “Giganteus”, I now have three smaller varieties: Cyperus involucratus “Baby Tut”, Cyperus albostriatus “Variegatus”, and Cyperus isocladus.

Being late in the season, I bought them all root-bound in 4″ pots. I re-potted into 6″ clay pots with a good gunky potting soil, with a little fish meal worked in for good measure. I aggressively cut back any stressed stems. All five pots were then placed in a large plastic tote, which was filled with water up to within an inch of the tops of the clay pots. I top up the water every three days or so, dosing once with a teaspoon of 15-30-15 fertilizer.

Growth in just the last two weeks has been fantastic! The C.  papyrus and C. involucratus have been putting new stems up at about 1″/day. The C. papyrus is showing crazy root development, already snaking little white rootlets around and over the edges of the pot. The C. isocladus isn’t so much growing up as it is growing out. The poorest of the bunch is the C. albostriatus; It was well into seed when I bought it, so it may just be a phase. The existing growth seems stagnant, but there are quite a few new shoots starting out!

I had at first envisioned an indoor water garden, in a large tub or ideally a small cast-iron slipper-style bathtub. Researching more thoroughly, I see that these plants would do best with summers outside, so I’m trying out more portable ideas. Also, the small varietals really seem to want to spread out; they might share space with the very vertical C. papyrus, but don’t play as well with companions of their own stature. I think I’ll leave them in standard clay pots, which I will in turn submerge inside sealed larger pots, preferably something nicely-glazed. The bathtub idea might still happen, but probably as a strictly outdoor feature.

I’m not exactly sure why I find these so fascinating. There is something neat about these primitive old-world sedges, that can look like both grasses and palms, with leaf-like flowers and flower-like leaves. And of course, the attraction of a plant that is practically impossible to over-water!

Equal Rights

Name a fundamental human right, whichever one you can think of. Don’t worry for now whether it’s a legal or constitutional right; just shoot from the hip and name something broad and basic.

Now ask: does this right apply to you? Do you feel that have this right? Do you feel that this right is protected? If you’re reading this, the answer you’ll probably reach is “yes”.

Now think: Does every other human being in existence also have and share this same fundamental human right? The likely answer is “no”.

Realize: Unless a “right” is universally recognized, upheld, and applied to all, then for those who do enjoy that right, it is not a right right at all, but only a privilege.

Of course, many people would prefer to limit the application of human rights to some particular jurisdiction, such as the citizens of a country. While these rights might be lofty, they are not fundamental; they are legal and constitutional. In a democracy, it is the citizens themselves who (in theory) define their own human rights and the protections thereof. These definitions and protections are subject to change upon the will of the people. Far too frequently, some group will assert a moral prerogative, and move to exclude another group from some legal or constitutional right. Not only does this discriminate against the excluded, but it by extension diminishes the rights of the included. Unless the guarantee applies to all, there is no guarantee!

Privileges may be earned, but they can also be bought and sold. The same cannot -and should not- ever be said of basic fundamental human rights and equalities.

« Older entries