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  1. #1
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    How to hack Wow computer to use printer other than HP Inkjet?

    My mother (90 years old) purchased a "Wow all in one computer" from the people associated with the AARP about a year ago. This computer runs on a version of Linux. Unfortunately they have crippled the system to such an extent that it can only use an HP Inkjet printer.

    How can I get the piece of junk to use a Brother back and white laser?

    I have worked with the command line on Windows with the help of people telling me what to do

    I have VERY LIMITED tech skills, however I can follow very detailed step by step instructions if everything is put in the proper order as if you were instructing a first time computer user. I would also have to be told how to even get to the command prompt on this computer.

    My mother and I would be most appreciative if you could help us.
    Last edited by ruirib; 2015-04-25 at 10:00. Reason: Post edited to comply with Lounge rules

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Sorry to be a wet flannel but it doesn't look possible to change from an HP to a Brother printer. Reading up on the Wow! in different forums (including Linux forums) it appears that, although the Wow!/Telikin Elite is based on an open source version of Linux (Tiny Core Linux), the closed-source custom UI is designed to prevent any access "under the bonnet" whatsoever. There's no way to bring up a terminal nor are you able to add programs yourself (even if a package manager was available, which it isn't).

    From the Wow! tech specs, it looks like the only thing you can do is get a better HP printer - "Most recent HP printers will work with your WOW! Computer – just plug the USB cable from your printer into the WOW! Computer."

    Sorry but if people in the Linux community aren't exchanging tips about how to customise these Wow! PC's then I doubt that anyone on WSL is suddenly going to come up with a solution.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2015-04-20 at 08:01.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    Sorry to be a wet flannel but it doesn't look possible to change from an HP to a Brother printer. Reading up on the Wow! in different forums (including Linux forums) it appears that, although the Wow!/Telikin Elite is based on an open source version of Linux (Tiny Core Linux), the closed-source custom UI is designed to prevent any access "under the bonnet" whatsoever. There's no way to bring up a terminal nor are you able to add programs yourself (even if a package manager was available, which it isn't).

    From the Wow! tech specs, it looks like the only thing you can do is get a better HP printer - "Most recent HP printers will work with your WOW! Computer – just plug the USB cable from your printer into the WOW! Computer."

    Sorry but if people in the Linux community aren't exchanging tips about how to customise these Wow! PC's then I doubt that anyone on WSL is suddenly going to come up with a solution.
    Rick,

    Thank you very much for your research and answer.
    You confirmed my worst fear that my mother is stuck with the HP InkJet. I just called AARP and they confirmed that I can't even use an HP Laser printer.

    If I can't find someone that someone to hack this thing and get a laser printer to work I will buy her a Mothers Day present of a LG Chromebase 22CV241-W All-in-One Desktop Computer

    Again thanks
    Last edited by ruirib; 2015-04-25 at 10:01. Reason: Post edited to comply with Lounge rules

  4. #4
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    Looks to me like the WOw! was designed to prevent hacking---elderly people are especially vulnerable. You even go through their servers if I read the AV protection correctly.

    I suspect you may find your 90 yo mother will not be receptive to learning a new system...and possibly not capable, just stresses her and you out. Cheaper to buy an updated HP if that is the issue IMNSHbut experiencedO. If she uses it to print photos an inkjet will work better than a laser printer, even if the cartridges are outrageously expensive.

    I can understand being frustrated but making alterations in her life may be more detrimental than going along. That is for you to evaluate.

    It is open source.
    http://www.mywowcomputer.com/opensource.html
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2015-04-20 at 16:20.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fascist Nation View Post
    Looks to me like the WOw! was designed to prevent hacking---elderly people are especially vulnerable. You even go through their servers if I read the AV protection correctly.

    I suspect you may find your 90 yo mother will not be receptive to learning a new system...and possibly not capable, just stresses her and you out. Cheaper to buy an updated HP if that is the issue IMNSHbut experiencedO. If she uses it to print photos an inkjet will work better than a laser printer, even if the cartridges are outrageously expensive.

    I can understand being frustrated but making alterations in her life may be more detrimental than going along. That is for you to evaluate.

    It is open source.
    http://www.mywowcomputer.com/opensource.html
    Based upon my use of Chrome and my 90 year old mothers skill level, I believe she will pick it up with some time spent with me teaching her

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Tap View Post
    My mother (90 years old) purchased a "Wow all in one computer" from the people associated with the AARP about a year ago. This computer runs on a version of Linux. Unfortunately they have crippled the system to such an extent that it can only use an HP Inkjet printer.

    How can I get the piece of junk to use a Brother back and white laser?

    I have worked with the command line on Windows with the help of people telling me what to do

    I have VERY LIMITED tech skills, however I can follow very detailed step by step instructions if everything is put in the proper order as if you were instructing a first time computer user. I would also have to be told how to even get to the command prompt on this computer.

    My mother and I would be most appreciative if you could help us.

    Looking over the packages for Tiny Core Linux, I see that it's using CUPS (https://cups.org) for printing services. Given how popular CUPS is (Apple also uses it for OS X and eventually bought the rights to the code), it's not likely that the folks at WOW! Computer would replace it with something else.

    One of the neat features of CUPS is that it has both a command-line and web interface. There's a chance that the web interface hasn't been disabled so start the web browser and paste/type the following web address:


    If for some weird reason there's an error that says "host not found" or something similar, try it like this:


    CUPS is usuallly paired up with Foomatic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foomatic). There are thousands of printer models in the database (http://openprinting.org/printers) and Brother printers are particularly well supported given their popularity with Linux users so you most likely don't need to install any additional drivers or system packages.

    The web interface is pretty easy to navigate. There are wizards for adding, modifying and deleting printers. The unknown is whether the default login has enough permissions to make the necessary changes.

    Based on the screenshots on the WOW! Computer website, I doubt there's a menu/shortcut to get to a terminal window for a command prompt. The virtual consoles in Linux are also likely to have been disabled, but it's worth trying if the web interface for CUPS isn't an option.

    Chung

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  9. #7
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    If your Mother chose the WOW computer for herself, then your best choice is to support what she did and just get her a simple new HP Inkjet.

    I'm a 75 year old computer tutor who works with seniors, and no matter how smart and capable you own 90 year old is, people at that age simply do not learn computers easily. I've worked with hugely intelligent people (even IBMers) who just find it harder than they would have even 5 years before. And you're not going to be there to help her 24/7.

    But there's another thing here to consider. When you override the decisions of an elder by telling them that you know what's better for them than they do, then you are disrespecting them. Being 90 isn't easy. Everyone is always telling you how to live your life, what to eat, whether to drive, where to live, how to get around. So any decision that they get to make for themselves is an important piece of self-respect.

    She bought a WOW for herself. That's huge. It will let her communicate with the world. Just cheer her on!

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  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by anntms View Post
    If your Mother chose the WOW computer for herself, then your best choice is to support what she did and just get her a simple new HP Inkjet.

    I'm a 75 year old computer tutor who works with seniors, and no matter how smart and capable you own 90 year old is, people at that age simply do not learn computers easily. I've worked with hugely intelligent people (even IBMers) who just find it harder than they would have even 5 years before. And you're not going to be there to help her 24/7.

    But there's another thing here to consider. When you override the decisions of an elder by telling them that you know what's better for them than they do, then you are disrespecting them. Being 90 isn't easy. Everyone is always telling you how to live your life, what to eat, whether to drive, where to live, how to get around. So any decision that they get to make for themselves is an important piece of self-respect.

    She bought a WOW for herself. That's huge. It will let her communicate with the world. Just cheer her on!
    I understand this and respect your view of this but by her letting AARP decide instead of collaborating with her family members to get what works best is not the right way to go.
    I'm not in the "elderly" class yet but it won't be long and I see nothing that AARP is doing that is in my best interest. For this reason alone I would encourage her to find an alternative.
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  12. #9
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    what does your mom want?
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  13. #10
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    I've been around some seniors and their computers. Have you considered just going with a tablet?

    Tablets have a simplified user interface that can be appealing. The keyboard itself can be a barrier and a tablet removes the pressure to learn to type. And tablet controls are sized for fingers which is basically means "always larger than a traditional desktop UI". For anyone with vision problems this starts to look pretty good.

    This doesn't address the printing issue directly I realize. However if the entire user experience is a better fit for the senior then it's worth considering.

  14. #11
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    Did anyone try this? Interesting idea.
    Looking at the specs. on the WOW, there must be a huge profit to
    the manufacturer.

  15. #12
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    Sorry, this is my first time in the Lounge. Did anyone try the CUPS
    web interface approach? Interesting idea.

    My first post didn't specify what I was asking.

  16. #13
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    We'll need to wait for Double Tap to respond - probably has to go and visit.

    cheers, Paul

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    First time here and didn't read all the replies for this. In my Linux experience, I've downloaded drivers for printer brands from the Linux site for the Linux distro on the computer.

    Best,
    Frank

  18. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fdariano@woh.rr.com View Post
    First time here and didn't read all the replies for this. In my Linux experience, I've downloaded drivers for printer brands from the Linux site for the Linux distro on the computer.

    Best,
    Frank
    You couldn't make it as far as #2?

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