Saturday, August 11, 2012

Printer Madness

Printer troubles are not very exciting until they stop you dead in your tracks when you just want to finish up something.

Usually they fall into two categories: job stuck in buffer so that nothing happens, or the print cartridge is shot, but the printed copy looks awful..

The former is fixed by going to Control Panel in Windows and deleting jobs.  Sometimes I find dozens of attempts to print out of sheer desperation of a user.  Tap or click for Microsoft's solution for XP.

The other problem is harder for users to accept.    “It can’t be!”   But it is—happens a lot when a printer is infrequently used and the jets get clogged with dry ink.   We all know that new cartridges are EXPENSIVE, although Amazon often lists a non-oem source which has good comments and is fulfilled by Amazon itself.  I actually use a source at 20% of oem for one printer, but do not trust all such sources.

You can try to save the cartridge by cleaning the head.   This is usually hopeless with either water or alcohol.    I have dunked cartridges in a glass of water with head down with rarely any improvement.

So, then, go out and buy a new cartridge?   Maybe not.    Printers do not get outdated like computers, but the new ones are faster and better.   More than that, if you realize that you can get a new better and cheaper one for not much more than the cost of ink, why not ditch the old one?

New printers have all sorts of new capabilities, such as wireless printing if you have WiFi.    Some also work directly with a tablet computer like the iPad, though there are (Google Cloud) ways to print to any printer from tablets.

I often suggest TWO printers, one laser and one color ink-jet, to which I get unbelieving stares.    The idea is that the laser cartridge lasts a very long time for a very low cost per printed sheet.    Also, the cheapest print at $50-100 IS FINE, and you get two cartridges plus emergency backup! The laser cartridge does not dry up.

It does not really cost anymore in the long run.  You are mainly paying for cartridges.