PC World did an investigation of how much ink is left in an inkjet cartridge when the printer claims it's empty. In the case of the Canon MP610 (the same printer I have) the printer stopped when there was still 24% of the ink remaining. (via Lifehacker)
Happily there apparently is an override for this, at least with many recent Canon printers:
1. Turn off the printer
2. Hold the Resume Button (red circle in the triangle), add a printer (click “Power”) an indicator light green.
3. Hold the Power Button, release the Resume Button.
4. Not releasing the Power Button, double click “Resume” and release Both Buttons.
5. Click “Resume” for Four times
6. Once you click “Power”, to confirm the selected action (reset counter absorber). To disable the printer “Power” button to click again.
A quick Google should hopefully find workarounds for other brands of printer too.
That’s why I like my good ol Canon S9000. A little bit older, so none of the auto-stop stuff, and the cartridges are clear so you can actually see how much is left in them, and the sponge. Then, If I decide to, I can hit the resume button on the printer, and away it goes again, merrily printing.
This might be worth a read first. Note 3rd comment. Not me btw.
I do volunteer work for a community organisation and one of my tasks is to prepare volunteer roster sheets and fax them to the workplace. The preparation is done on my computer. The sheets are then “printed” via our home network to my flatmate’s Lexmark printer/fax/scanner/copier thingy which faxes them to their destination. *Unless* the Lexmark thinks its ink cartridges are empty. Then, despite the fact that my faxing requires no actual printing (and therefore, no actual ink) the Lexmark refuses to function. Now you tell me the cartridges are a quarter *full* and I can’t fax!! Strewth!!!