On day one of NaBloPoMo
, the_lucky_duck got a free bike
. I thought that was pretty amazing. But I had no idea I would be the next winner! Leaving the office on Friday, I espied a laser printer sitting atop a trash can at the northwest corner of 2nd and Bryant. A sheet of paper in the output tray conveyed the handwritten message “Free (works fine).” (Lesson: Blog daily, get free stuff! Who’s next?)
I have wanted a laser printer for some time. Inkjet printers — well, modern
inkjet printers* — suck all kinds of ass, unless you print regularly. If you don’t, the ink doesn’t flow right when you fire it up after three months, and you print eighteen hideous pages before you get a clean one. I have had this problem with Epsons and Canons, and I’ve been told that Lexmarks and HPs are no better. You either print a minimum of a couple times each week, keeping that expensive ink a-flowin’, or you curse whenever you use your printer. I’ve been struggling with an Epson Stylus Color 860 for several years now. I’ve wanted to heave it out the window with nearly every use.
Well, eff all that. I have a laser printer now.
It was filthy as all hell when I encountered it. I mean, it looked like it had been printing documents in someone’s garden
for several years. (Or perhaps it had been stationed deep in the depths of a parking garage.) But after a thorough cleaning and the addition of a toner cartridge (not carried at Best Buy; thanks, Office Max!), everything’s right as rain. The machine — an HP LaserJet 6P — provides an odometer reading of sorts in its printed self-test, reporting a firmware revision date of 1996 and a total number of pages printed: 72,670. I don’t think the printer is quite as old as its firmware, but is probably at least eight years old. That makes it a product of the old
Hewlett-Packard (we stop to pour some malt liquor on the ground here in remembrance and respect), the company that existed before Carly Fiorina and the sorry Compaq merger — a company where product development was driven more by engineers than by marketroids, and where machines were built like tanks. There are LaserJet printers in offices all over this country that have been cranking out pages for ten years and more. The things will just run forever.
Given that I print an average of about fifty pages a year, I imagine my new printer will stand me in good stead for quite some time. It can’t print in color, but when I fire it up, it prints beautiful pages every time, and while doing so, it makes very pleasing, very substantial-sounding noises. Where my old printer, even new, had the feel of a secondhand moped, my new printer, which is quite old, rumbles to life with the vitality of a diesel truck. It makes me wish I had more things to print.
(*Inkjet printers must have gone to hell when they got cheap. When I young, our first inkjet printer cost around $500. It only printed in grayscale, but it was state of the art, it kicked the crap out of the 9-pin color dot matrix beast it replaced, and it never had any problem with ink flow or dirty pages. When inkjets became commodity items in the $100 price range (and the price of ink shot through the roof), did all hope for a decent product go out the window?)