Category Archives: Printers

Printer review turns into commentary on content farming

My old Canon MP610 is something like 17 years old, and does the job I need it to – sits in the corner out of the way, occasionally used for printing and scanning.

I even got it to work in Windows 10, though I don’t know what’ll happen with my next OS once Win10 falls out of support. (It may be possible as a consumer user to pay for updates, but it won’t be cheap.)

Anyway, I sometimes ponder a new printer. Not that I need one, but if I did, this review caught my eye:

The Verge: After a full year of not thinking about printers, the best printer is still whatever random Brother laser printer that’s on sale.

It’s not just a printer review; it’s a commentary on the new world of AI, content farming, and hopeless Google search results, and it’s well worth a read.

Printer prices still haven’t changed?

Christmas Eve, and following through on an idea I had six months earlier for fantastic presents, Fridge magnets and customized T-Shirts featuring smiling images of the whole family. Gifts like these would be well received by anyone blessed by them.

I’m not a big fan of inkjets, but several years ago we needed a scanner and the cheapest way of acquiring one was by buying one of those scanners with a free, built in inkjet printer. For some reason they’re sold in the printer section of the store. Knowing that inkjet cartridges don’t like sitting unused for extended periods, I didn’t install the cartridges. Until Christmas Eve 2009.

Things were going swimmingly well, with print-head alignment and test pages coming out, looking a little odd but they were very speedy drafts. A final print of a sheet of photos (well over 15 minutes to produce) didn’t come out so good. It was obvious yellow was missing. A few attempts to clean and clear the cartridge were attempted. One Christmas Eve, I decided to go shopping for a replacement colour cartridge. We’ve seen the movies. I knew what to expect.

From personal experience I can tell you that the afternoon of Christmas Eve isn’t all that crowded. Parking was bad, but not Boxing-Day-terrible. I picked the easy, undercover park that’s a substantial walk to the shopping centre, and all was good.

The plan was to check out cartridge prices, compare to new printers, and decide what to do. Turns out the inkjet pricing tactics haven’t changed since I bought the scanner. A replacement cartridge, just one of two required cartridges, was $45. A new printer, $48 (different brand). Given I didn’t know when the black was going to fail on me, I went with a new printer and fresh cartridges.

The new printer is much faster than the old one. And it came with same photo paper too. The T-Shirts could have gone down better, but the fridge magnets went down a treat.

How much ink is really left?

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.

Paper and the metric system

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about ISO paper sizes (such as A4), which is used worldwide. Well, except in North America. Maybe one day they’ll catch up. Maybe not. The article talks about the resultant difficulties of exchanging documents between North America and The Rest Of The World, and also notes the different hole punch standards.

It’s related to the uptake of metric, of course. So how many countries are resisting going to metric? According to this FAQ a survey some time ago concluded not many: Liberia, Burma, and the USA.

Mind you others, like the UK, haven’t totally switched, and still use imperial for things like distances.

Printer problems

About two metres from my desk at work, is one of those new multi-function polisprinter things. It’s been churning away all week, page upon page upon page. Most of the time the noise isn’t unbearable, but sometimes it does get difficult to concentrate. Whiz, whirr, ka-chunk, all week.

So yesterday morning, for the first time this week, I needed to print something – two measly pages. Do you think it would do it for me? Hell no! Some kinda of network printer server outage.

And what’s particularly annoying is Word didn’t just come back and say “hey, I can’t do it”. No, it sat there for about two minutes with the print dialogue hung, Word disabled, while it worked out that it couldn’t do it. Somewhere, there’s a timeout setting that’s set way too high. I reckon if it’s not working in 30 seconds, it’s not working period. I’ll go rummaging around in the settings.