Set PC clock back to fool software scheme



January 23, 2003|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

My Hewlett Packard DeskJet 2000C stopped printing, giving this error message: "Your black ink cartridge has expired."

I installed a spare ink cartridge, but got the same message and could not print.

HP software apparently reads a date code on cartridges and blocks their use after a set length of time. HP support said I could not bypass this.

The best way to defeat such a software scheme that uses a computer's internal clock to enforce software copy protection or check expiration dates is to set the computer to a past year when the days of the week for every month fall on the same dates as this year.

Do this and your calendar continues to be accurate, and you fool the enforcers. The pattern of dates associated with specific days usually rotates every six or 11 years and always every 28 years. So, the 1997 calendar is exactly like the 2003 calendar, and so is the 1975 one. Set your clock/calendar to either year to fool the printer cartridge expiration-date check.

This trick also tells you when antique calendars can be used again. A perpetual calendar is available at www.greenheart .com/billh/index.html.

I receive e-mail messages with many addressees other than mine. Sometimes I like to write to these additional addressees but not the sender's. Is there a simple way to copy the addresses into the "To" box or into my address book?

The address fields in e-mail respond to the same cutting and pasting as do any other place where computers store text.

To move names between the To: and CC: lines, define them and press Control-C to copy them. Move the cursor to where you want them and press Control-V to paste them there.

You can copy a long list of names, then define individual ones and use Control-X to delete them, sending to everybody except the original sender.

Another way is to go to any line in your e-mail software, click at the end of the text, hold down the Shift key and use the cursor left/right and up/down keys to highlight the text for copying, cutting and pasting.

James Coates is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached via e-mail at

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