The $99 network printer

I scored a refurbed LaserJet 4M+ from Centennial Computer Solutions for $99. Plug it in, connect the ethernet cable, set some things on the front panel — and I’m printing from anywhere in the house. I like.

brr brr bddr brr weew brr brr

Apologies to our neighbours for my testing the Wheelwriter this morning. This is what I found out about it (after having to compile in parallel printer support to the kernel, grr):

Do we need CRs? : yes
Does it talk ASCII? : yes, subset
Bidirectional? : yes

I chickened out and installed the Courier 10 printwheel just so I could use spaces to line things up. I don’t like Courier at all, but at least it’s easy to manage.

It’s strange that, in this age that we are creating information at an unparalleled rate, we’re also losing it just as fast. While IBM Wheelwriter codes from the late 1980s do not represent the lost wisdom of the ancients, it is something of our knowledge, and once lost, diminishes us all.

Therefore, send not for whom the (carriage return) bell tolls; it tolls for thee …

the CMYK inkjet scam

I have an Epson C80 inkjet printer. I bought it because it takes separate cyan, magenta, yellow and black cartridges. That way — I thought — if one of the colours went out, I would only have to change the colour in question.

I installed my fourth set of colour cartridges today. Every time I have replaced them, all the colours have run out at once. Don’t you find that strange? Am I the perfectly average printer user who uses exactly the colour balance that Epson came up with in the lab to ensure identical cartridge life? I don’t think so.

Rather, it wouldn’t surprise me that the printer was set to ask for all the colour cartridges to be replaced when one of them was empty. A couple of them did seem quite heavy, as if there was still some ink in them. Hmm.

But since the cartridges died printing out my Canadian Business Number registration, I can expense future consumables against my tax …

they don’t make ’em like they used to

I heard today that my old HP DeskJet 500 printer is still going strong. This thing must be about 13 years old (I bought it to go with an Amiga 500), and it had some pretty heavy use in the four years I had it. This included printing Catherine’s and my theses — long nights with a spare cartridge and a brutally expensive ream of Mellotex paper.

I’ll bet that no manufacturer makes printers with that kind of staying power these days.