Thursday, August 24, 2006

Monday Rant (Delayed): Printers

Printers have not advanced at the same rate as other computer peripherals, which is very strange, considering how many people insist on printing every Gould-Damned thing out.

It took us weeks to purchase a new printer for the lab - and we didn't even want colour! For some reason, finding a printer that will work almost right out of the box for less than $1000 is nearly impossible. Our Brother HL-2070N still doesn't work properly, months after we gave up trying to reconfigure it, again. It's current quirk is to put white dots down one column of the page, at random intervals. Of course, it never does this when I actually try to fix the damn problem.

Every printer I've ever met had some sort of annoying problem - toner issues, paper feed jam issues, extremely long warm-up times (to the point of saving all print jobs for the end of the day, and picking up your printouts the next morning), etc. ad nauseum. Why?

Why does my inkjet at home insist on having a functional colour cartridge installed when I'm just printing a black-and-white document? Why does every printer need it's own unique driver, which is invariably no longer available on the relevant website?

If you think about it, modern home-and-office printers are pretty amazing technology. Inkjet printers spray micro-meter scale droplets of ink onto a moving page in a pattern too precise for most people to resolve. Laser printers (they contain frickin' lasers!) modify the molecular structure of the surface of a moving sheet of paper in an even more precise pattern.

Given these Sci-Fi heights of sophistication, why the fuck does my printer's ink dry up if I don't use it for a week? A wet paper towel in a bag?!? WTF? This thing is as sophisticated as a cell-cell adhesion protein, and I'm supposed to look after it with a wet paper towel in a bag?

** The above picture is a still-frame from the movie Office Space. PC-Load-Letter my ass!


Anonymous said...

Ha ha! Great rant I can relate to.

You'd think they'd just ship them with this permanently attached.

Carlo said...

You know, our lab recently had to buy a new printer as well. Because of the RIDICULOUS printing volume of our students, we had to shell out $2,500 on a model with a toner-drum rated for > 2000 pages per month (Our cartriges have 10,000 pages worth of toner in them and we used on up in under 5 months).

Anyways, the last printer we had here literally melted from overuse, and chunks of the heat shield (under the laser) came spewing out of every orifice... Stop printing out every fucking revision of your essay at full size Forddammit!!!