Printer pain

This is getting frankly ridiculous.  I’ve used inkjet printers for probably a decade now.  Some were good, some were bad, some were downright expensive to run.  And I’ve oscillated between two brands – only once, in Spain two years ago, jumping ship to a third.  This third was Canon.  I managed to get it working with a Linux netbook.  “Hallelujah!” you might exclaim.  Yes indeed, you might.

I’ve really nothing against the Canon I bought – perfectly happy as far as that goes.  On the other hand, there is the fact that I’ve hardly used it.  Which is just as well, considering the price of the ink …

*

If you know Spanish, you know what HP really stands for.  My most recent purchase comes from that manufacturer.  The sneakiest purchase of all, I think.  But more on that subject in a minute.

I’ve generally had good results with Epson and its multiple colour-cartridge system.  This it did way before the other manufacturers, and I think it did help to save a little bit of money.  However, although the last model I bought is still perfectly functional – you can see it sitting next to my computer as I write, dormant and utterly unused – whether it has original cartridges or not seems to make not a blind bit of difference: the printer always believes they are empty, even when they’re still half-full.

I spent about a year throwing away half-full cartridges before I decided it was time to invest in something cheaper to maintain.

Which is when we returned to HP.

It was supposed to be a wireless web-connected printer which could wirelessly connect up to the web, computers and router at the same time.  I documented my trials and tribulations with this promise on a blogpost which’ll almost certainly come up on any Google search for the printer in question.  To be honest, I claimed to have succeeded in my aim to make it work – but, in reality, it didn’t happen consistently.

To an extent it works perfectly now, mind.  But only because we decided to cable it directly to the router which runs the intranet and acts as a gateway to the Internet.

So it can’t really be connected wirelessly to three functions at once.  Two out of three (where one is not the router), yes.  But not all three.

Where am I at the moment then?  I’ve managed to make it work so that it’s possible to print from both a Windows and a Linux computer; and from laptops, desktops and netbooks.  No sweat.  I’ve even managed to make the “mobile-phone to web” facility function, so in theory you can print to it from anywhere in the world.  I tested this feature by printing to it from my sitting-room.

It’s the only time I’ve used it.

Recently, however, a problem has arisen.  It can’t print colour properly.  It doesn’t matter whether you use originals or not, the colours simply don’t render.  On using some refilled originals I’d purchased from a third-party supplier on Amazon, there did appear a rather ominous error message.  Something along the lines of: “If you proceed with these cartridges, the printer will explode.”

Not exactly.

But you get my drift.

Since then, whether originals or not, the printer won’t print colours properly.  And as we get to the end of a cartridge’s life, we get a friendly email from HP itself, suggesting we buy some more originals that – now – won’t work.

Sometimes I’m willing to accept that this web-based printer idea really was to empower users and enable worldwide “mobile-phone to printer” access.

And sometimes I wonder if it wasn’t rather more obviously designed to allow its manufacturer to track and disable printers whose users dared to buy third-party cartridges.

Remember HP’s jocular Spanish translation – and then you might wish to wonder yourself.

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