Goodbye old PITA printer, hello new PITA printer

Over the weekend my workhorse Epson printer decided it had had enough with life, emitted a tiny puff of magic smoke, and was no more.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Over the weekend my workhorse Epson printer decided it had had enough with life, emitted a tiny puff of magic smoke, and was no more.

Hardware death at the PC Doc HQ is quite a common occurrence. Stuff gets used and abused so much that the gear has a life expectancy of a drunk test pilot. The truth is though that I'm not upset to see the back of that printer. Within a week of owning that Epson Stylus D120 I'd started to hate it with a passion. I hated how slow it was, hated how noisy it was, hated the fact that it needed a head cleaning more often my I had to change my socks, and hated how rapidly all the ink colors were consumed despite mostly printing out black text.

The only real consolation was that I don't print out that much stuff nowadays, so my exposure to it was limited.

Well, now it's dead. Goodbye old PITA printer.

I wish I could live without a printer, but try as I might to pull that off, I just can't do it. If my handwriting were actually legible, I might stand a chance of being able to live my life printer-free, but it isn't.

So out I went printer shopping. I won't bore you with the actual details, suffice to say that I set a price limit and went searching for the unit that seemed the least hassle. I went for an HP Photosmart Plus all-in-one printer. As a rule I used to steer clear of all-in-one devices because the multiple components each introduce a possible failure point. I've gone this time for a printer/scanner combo not because I believe that the devices are more reliable, but from an acceptance that if it outlives its warranty, it's done well. I didn't go with a printer/scanner/fax combo because I hardly use a fax and feel that adding the devil's spawn of office equipment to a printer/scanner combo would probably make the whole thing unbearably annoying. Printers are already perfectly capable of stinking worse than Satan's sulfurous armpit, that I really don't relish the idea of throwing in my all-time least favorite device into the mix.

Hello new PITA printer.

I've got the printer out of the box and got it working, but I have to admit that there are certain aspects that bother me. First, all the cartridges that were supplied with the new printer are labeled "SETUP" which leads me to believe that these are some cheapo half-filled variation of the cartridges that will end up costing me big bucks down the line. I've weighed them compared to retail versions and the weights don't seem all that difference, but since we're only dealing with a few milliliters of ink here, and the majority of the weight of the cartridge will be the plastic housing, I'm still convinced there I'm being ripped off here.

Then I find out that my printer has an email address that I can send documents to my printer over the web. By extension, this means that anyone could send junk to my printer. No thanks.

Then there's an ambiguous "cartridge chip info" feature which happily informs me that it will "collect anonymous information about printer usage." This is on by default and offers no more information on what information is being collected. No thanks.

Oh, and one printer seems to have managed to create its own mini landfill of waste to get rid of. Most of this waste is cardboard and easily dealt with, but some of it is disguised as value-added stuff that I might want to keep but not do so. The power supply came in a little tote bag and the printer in a shopping bag. No thanks.

I'm off to print something ... because I can.

Obligatory printer-related Oatmeal cartoon ... enjoy!

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