PRINTERS AND WHY I HATE THEM

This is not new. I hated copy machines first because we had copy machines before we had personal printers. Once we “advanced” from dot-matrix to laser and/or inkjet printers, I really started to hate them. If you are a child from the 80s or later, a dot matrix printer is like a gigantic typewriter. Back in the day, they were big enough to need a room of their own and were the province of specialized printer experts. They didn’t produce great looking products, nor did anyone expect them to.

I didn’t have to hate them because I didn’t have to deal with them. They were “Somebody Else’s Problem” or what Douglas Adams called an SEP. An SEP is invisible to most people because we can’t see anything with which we aren’t on some level involved. Things we don’t want to know about are always SEPs. Climate damage has been like then until recently when it became difficult to not notice. They still make dot matrix printers for businesses that do a lot of printing. But, I digress.

At some point in the early 90s, early inkjet printers arrived. I hadn’t stopped hating copy machines, but now, I had a personal printer to hate. I could never get the cartridges in correctly. Paper jams were my bane.

I kept my first Epson inkjet printer for more than 10-years, sparing me the necessity of learning anything new. Our previous (and as of today, ex) printer was installed early in 2017 and it was working fine, as long as Owen changed the cartridges. I refused to do anything except send documents to it and collect the copies.

Owen felt we needed a new printer. I said why? The Canon inkjet we had was was working fine. It just needed more black ink. That, Owen pointed out, is a big part of the problem. Inkjet printers use tons of ink. Companies sell the printers for short money because you are going to repurchase that printer every other time you buy cartridges. You have to keep a color cartridge in it even if you never print anything in color. The printer won’t work unless both cartridges are installed and have some ink. It’s designed to keep you buying.

Ink-jet printers are worthless for printing photographs. The ink isn’t good enough and will fade. Not slowly, but in less than a year, your full color photograph will be a pastel version of the original. You’d have to buy special ink. This assumes your printer will accept special ink. You’d really need photo printer and it still wouldn’t be as good as any print you can buy from my online vendor for around $4 for an 8X10. It’s not much more for a bigger print. You can also get your photograph (or whatever you are printing) put on wood, aluminum, various kind of textured paper, glass, and canvas. And framed. Or you could add it to a set of t-shirts or coffee mugs. Whatever you want, they will print it and drop ship it to you in just a few days.

I don’t actually think I ever printed in color on the Canon Pixma MG2922. I had to replace the color cartridge every couple of years because they dried out, but I only printed in black and white, usually in draft print mode to save ink.

Owen wanted a printer that would work with his iPhone and iPad. I wanted something that would print a good, clean black and white page. A laser printer. I would have bought one the last time when our printer died back in 2017, but they were still too pricey. This time, if I was going to buy a printer, I wanted a laser printer. We split the price and bought a Canon laser printer. Why Canon you ask? Because they are the optical people.

It is a Canon imageCLASS MF242dw All-in-One Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer. It prints and copies in black and white only, but scans in color. Prints at 28 pages per minute with a 12-second start up time. It will also print (automatically) on both sides of the page. It can hold half a ream of paper in its paper holder. 600×600 dpi, 512MB memory and it has 5-Line LCD that lights up so you can see what you are doing even in dim lighting.

It does everything it is supposed to do and does it well. Now, the bad news.

What’s included — and what’s not.

They include a DVD in the setup kit. Does any computer still have an included DVD? I have a standalone for those occasional older software items that need to be installed from a disc, but seriously? Skip the DVD and include real instructions and a USB cord.

When I was reading the reviews, all the negative reviews focused on the absence of installation instructions. As a former tech writer whose skills were determined to be obsolete around 2009, I was not surprised. I’ve bought wildly expensive cameras that came with no instructions — and they really need instructions. My Kindle had no instructions. And to be fair, all the Kindle needed was a diagram showing where the plugs go and which buttons do what. If only the cameras were that simple.

But this was a complicated installation with quite a few steps that many people would never figure out on their own — and many might not figure it out even with instructions, but at least they’d have a fighting chance.

The included instructions were all pictograms. I’m all for visual information, but there are times when you really need an explanation and this was one of them. The manual, which I downloaded (virtually) to my hard drive from Canon, also has no installation instructions. Seriously Canon?

The only place you can find complete — adequate — instructions are on a YouTube video. It’s made by Canon and it has all the information including the fact that to find the router, you have to plug the printer into the router, find the router, click it, then hit “Next.” Until you do that, it won’t know there’s a router in the room.

This information is omitted in the manual and in the installation pictograms which are a waste of your eyeballs. It really took about half an hour to install it, minus the time it took to remove the dozens of pieces of tape and protective coverings — and then, after realizing it isn’t working, find the video. Then run around and hope you have the right USB plug. For the few cents it might have cost to include a cord, there’s no sensible reason to NOT include it with the printer.

I still hate printers, but I’m encouraged knowing I’ll probably never need to install a cartridge. Because I doubt I’ll ever print 2400 pages.



Categories: #Photography, Computers, documentation, Optics, Reviews, Software, Technology

Tags: , , , , ,

30 replies

  1. Printers used reduced significantly.

    Like

  2. Now days printers used mostly in banks and accounts related departments. While mostly trying to reduce it to Go Green option.

    Like

    • If we had a copy shop in driving distance, I might not bother with a printer. But there is no way to print even the simplest documents in this town. If you don’t have a printer, you are out of luck. Most importantly (for me), it scans. I use that function because I draw plus we have a lot of old photos that need to be scanned and “retouched.” Funny. I remember learning to retouch old photos with ink and a brush!

      Like

      • I’m glad that’s exactly my case, there are several copy shops in the city I live so I don’t need to have a printer. And when it comes to scan, my phone does a pretty good job with simple documents, not sure about drawing and photos though.

        Like

        • If I didn’t need a printer, I’d probably have just a scanner. For my drawings, I have lights and I photograph them. But I’m beginning to wonder if maybe scanning them might give me better results. Now that the new printer is installed, I’ll have to see what kind of results I get from the scanner.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to work in IT and when our central computer was updated, the biggest nightmare was getting the attached printers to work correctly. This was before the days of YouTube videos.

    It involved working through all the possible combination of settings on the central computer and the printer to find the one that worked. Pieces of paper would have rough tables quickly drawn out with all the combinations and then we’d work through them, starting with the best ones and working down until we either had a working system or a problem.

    Why didn’t we ring the helplines? We did. This was always their recommendation.

    To make it slower, the printer settings were a row of tiny switches requiring flicking with a pen nib or paperclip end, then turning the printer off and on again.

    Like

    • Oh I remember all those little settings! We had sheets and sheets of setting for different functions. But it was definitely an IT issue. Unless we were engineering and/or IT, we were encouraged to leave those machines alone and I was VERY happy to do exactly that!

      Like

  4. My first printer was an Okidata dot matrix printer and it was loud. Since then I’ve had HP (laser), Canon (inkjet), and my current printer is a Brother inkjet. I hardly ever print on it anymore, but I occasionally use it to scan documents or to copy a document. Because I so seldom us it, I don’t give it much thought, neither hating nor loving it.

    Like

    • The last time I really needed a printer was when I was writing a book and needed hard copies to edit. It turns out I have an easier time editing on paper than on the computer. But I do print recipes and occasionally documents — and I do use the scanner. I should use it more. But I am not overly fond of fixing old photographs. One way or the other, we need a printer when we need a printer. We may not need one for months at a time, but then need it for a critical document. No Kinkos in town or in any nearby town, so if you don’t have a copy-scanner function, you can be very out of luck.

      Like

  5. Thank god for YouTubers and Tech Geeks, many of whom do not work for the company involved, for making instruction videos. I have had to turn to YouTube a number of times to fix or install something. I had two Kodak printers but ultimately had print head problems with both. If you don’t use them for a while the ink cartridge dries out a bit and screws up the print head. They can be cleaned but it is difficult. I replaced the print head on my first Kodak twice, until that trick no longer worked. The next printer was cheaper and did not last as long. It printed nice pictures, but you had to buy special photo paper from Kodak, not the stuff developers use, and of course, it soaked up expensive ink.
    Now I have an HP printer. It prints photos too, but not on that Kodak photo paper. The ink scam there is to have an “Ink Subscription.” They will send you ink after you print X amount of pages. Yes, Big Brother is watching your ink usage. I can go to the store and buy these same cartridges for a LOT more money.
    You will be happy to know all the smart college students in Bad Buddy use Canon printers and they are so easy to use. OK, Canon is a sponsor of the series and the product placement is shameless.

    I will not start on instructions that are nothing but pictures that do not explain the sequence of anything.

    Like

    • I have a really great online print company that does excellent work and it’s a LOT cheaper (and better) than doing it yourself. Let me know if you need the address!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have used Vistaprint before but for a copy or two I print at home. I have used Vistaprint and Snapfish for photos.

        Like

        • It’s NOT Vistaprint. They are great for business cards, but the place I use specializes in photography and posters plus other graphic arts. I’m sure they do business cards too, but Vista does cards for very short money. CustomInk does everything else and it will do it on all kinds of surfaces. Canvas photo prints look like paintings. You have to look very closely to know it isn’t a painting.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Funny you should mention this. I’ve been getting this nagging message from Epson for a few days. They want to update their software it claims. They do this all toooo often so I decided to ignore it for a while. As far as I know it’s been working fine. But they relented. So I gave in. And here comes this big download. Gonna take over half an hour it looks like? THEN half way through it gets stuck. Stops. Claims I have to do something with the printer. Restart it? I don’t know. So it sits there doing nothing. Blinking sorta. I call up Task Manager and get rid of them.
    Might try again today sometime. Maybe.

    Like

    • At some point, I swear companies intentionally sabotage you old printer to make you buy a new one — just like they do with phones. In this case, though, the printer was working fine and my granddaughter INSTANTLY adopted it because there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with it — except it wouldn’t print anything from an iPad or iPhone, both of which Owen and Garry have. I said if we were getting anything, it had to be a laser printer because I’m tired of smeary pages text. I won’t print photographs on the printer. It cost three times more to do it yourself than to send it out and you get MUCH better results sending it out.

      I didn’t want a printer, but Owen really wanted one. I figured if I was going to pay, I wanted what I wanted, not something that’s just like the thing we’re replacing!

      Like

  7. Am i the only one who loves printers, of every kind? 😉 I have collected them over 30 years, and also have one of the first daisy wheel printers from Xerox, the Diablo 630. No more functionable, and about 50 kilogramm of weight, but a great deco. Lol The only problem with printers is for me, not having enough ink or paper, when i am in need. xx Michael

    Like

    • I used to have a super heavy duty ancient Royal typewriter that had glass sides. We finally sold it because we needed the space, but it was a fine decoration. We have a full-sized antique tractor outside in the garden that many people regard as trash, but I think is beautiful.

      One of the things I like about the laser printer is that you have to do a LOT of printing before you need more ink! And my granddaughter just hauled away our other inkjet printer. There’s nothing wrong with it other than it needing a black ink cartridge. I had a new unopened color cartridge I gave her with it. It’s a very dependable printer and if it were up to me, I would not have bought a printer right now. But the good news is that you can really get a good quality black and white page with laser so just in case I ever start writing longer pieces again and want to print them, I’ve got the machine to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great, so we are on a similar line. Lol Care for the old, and save the new, because the new things are not made forever. 😉 Best wishes, Michael
        Thanks for the reminder, i only have to buy a laser printer too. The only kind of printers i am not owning by myself. 😉

        Like

        • If you are writing a book and want to print it so that it really looks like a book, laser is the way to go. And considering that it’s now about $10 for a cartridge that yields 2400 pages, that’s a LOT cheaper than inkjet. I don’t think I’ve printed that many pages in the past five years.

          Like

  8. I hate printers, they are a pain in the neck. My current one which more or less worked in Geeveston has never really worked properly here. I can’t plug it in to the computer anyway because I don’t have the room to keep it nearby so I tried to connect it wirelessly. It won’t talk to my computer and I can’t plug it in to the router because that is downstairs. If I need to print something I send it to Naomi’s email and she, does it on hers. I don’t print photos. The cost of ink, it’s cheaper to get it done online or go to a store and use their machine and the quality is better. Like you I mostly print a few recipes and any documents I need. Naomi is printing a lot of stuff for her upcoming holiday. She wants hard copies of everything in case of any problems even though it’s all done with apps these days.

    Like

    • Printers are very glitchy, or at least that is my experience. The cartridges are hard to install, paper gets jammed, and a lot of the time, the quality isn’t very good. That being said, sometimes you just need one. And they turn themselves off or decide they don’t remember your computer from day to day. I hate them. Unfortunately sometimes, I need one.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ag! Thats a nightmarish situation! I don’t own a printer now. I used to, but again, I rarely used it so it seemed rather pointless to keep it. Xx

    Like

    • We don’t need it often, but I print out recipes (I don’t want my computer in the kitchen with all the water and grease!) and occasionally other information (like certificates I needed when I was getting my new “official” driver’s license), information for insurance or some other agency. It’s inevitably just a couple of pages. Garry occasionally prints out a script for something he’s doing or directions or other address information and/or invitations. I think we probably print maybe a two dozen pages a year. Mostly recipes. I print them, they get wet, so the next time, I print a new one. But that’s pretty much it. And I do make copies of driver’s licenses which for some reason are required for any number of reasons, though lately, I keep copies on my computer so I don’t have to keep copying them.

      And I used the scanner for old photographs. I have a heap of them I need to scan and then fix. It’s just quite a bit of work because they aren’t in good condition. After I scan them, I have to filter them and clean them up. I have a special filter designed to do exactly that job. I just keep putting it off. Of course since I use the scanner so rarely, between uses I forget how the scanner works.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I threw out my personal printer. Freedom! There are so few things I need to print I can do them at work or Kinko’s. God, I hated that thing!

    Like

    • If we had a Kinkos (or someone worked where there is a copy machine — no one does), I’d do that. That’s what I used to do when I worked, though I had a printer at home because I worked at home as often as I worked on site. But now, we’re at home all the time, so when someone, usually some insurance company, wants a copy of a driver’s licence — or I want a print a recipe (I won’t bring a computer into the kitchen — too wet), I can. It’s not a LOT of printing. The last time I really needed a printer was when I was writing a book, but I don’t write books now. Still, Garry writes scripts for little movies he makes with a friend or sometimes when he has to make a speech (he still makes quite a few of them, these days mostly at funerals or memorials), so it comes up once in a while.

      We NEVER need color. If I have a photo that needs printing, I have a great online company tp whom I send electronic copies. They will print them however I want on whatever surface I want AND frame them for short money. The quality they can produce — acid free and museum quality — and NOT expensive, makes them the best game in town. I’ve been thinking of making tee shirts from drawings. I think they’d make fantastic tee shirts. I don’t know what else to do with the drawing — except now I’m trying to design Christmas cards and birthday cards. Garry still likes sending cards (I don’t, really) but if we are going to send them, Hallmarks is crazy expensive, so even making my own and having them printed can’t cost as much as they cost in any store. I won’t print them myself but I will need the scanner for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. HP printers are better.

    Like

    • I disagree. I’ve had a LOT more problems with HP. I’ve had problems with their computers too. They were good, but now they pile all kinds of junk on their technology and you spend a lot of time just trying to clean them up. And I think Canon really has the best optical quality of ANY printers. They are an optical company. Cameras, lenses, printer, eyeglass lenses, binoculars — Canon makes all of them.

      Yes, I know many people swear by HP, but my personal experience has not been good. I actually bought a computer from them (okay, it was more than 20 years ago) and wound up give it away because it had so much garbage embedded in the hard drive, it was useless. I never forgave them for that. On the other hand, I’ve had quite a few Canon cameras and lenses and they were fantastic and I’ve had two Canon printers in a row that were flawless, aside from the cost of the ink.

      But you know? The wonderful thing about competition is it makes EVERYONE’s products better and usually less expensive. Not counting Leica or Hasselblad, of course. They are always the price of a house!

      Liked by 1 person

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: