Alas poor printer, I

September 10, 2003


Alas poor printer, I used you well.

My old Laserjet IIIP died last week. The paper path borked again (the intake was already flaky, now it jams farther along) and it started printing great black lines across the top fifth of the paper. Rather than repair it, it made more sense to replace it.

I miss that printer, I bought it in 1991 the week before starting graduate school to get me through my dissertation. I have worked too slowly, and all the things I bought to get me through graduate school are wearing out before I finish.

I replaced it with a new laserjet 1300. I like the speed, I like the memory, but I do not like the controls. Controls? What controls? There is a go button on the front and everything else is handled through the special printer control software. This would not be so terrible, although I miss the little menu screens, but the printer control software can NOT see the blasted printer. It took me perhaps 20 minutes to plug in the printer and have it print properly, working off the printer port on my Barricade router. I then spent about 6 HOURS installing, uninstalling, trying alternate connections, and all the time trying to get to the control menus. Nothing worked - not upgrading firmware on the router, not using a direct parallel connection between printer and pc, not using a direct USB connection between printer and PC, not setting up a TCP/IP port (that one did not print at all). It was most frustrating and FAR from the best possible use of my time.

I will be writing a nastygram to HP, and I might very well return the printer which I otherwise like. Am I so old fashioned, to want to be able to change the settings on a printer?

And so to think about my work - will probably blog the current construction problem as a think piece.

EDIT - HP sent me an email a day or so later explaining what had never been mentioned in the documentation. Apparantly their printer control software only works through a DOT port, that port only works through a Universal Serial Bus connection. So, I now have two cables running to the printer - a parallel cable from the router to carry the print jobs and a USB cable from my machine to keep track of the settings.

The problem had been in the documentation, not the hardware. I will keep the printer.

Posted by Red Ted at September 10, 2003 11:15 AM | TrackBack