[sf-lug] (forw) Re: new Epson printer. whee.

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Sat Mar 27 09:28:21 PDT 2010

Rick Moen writes:
> but what if I want to scan in a bunch of old photos and print them in
> colour?" I said "When and if you do, then you can go shop for a suitable
> colour printer as a secondary device that you carefully do _not_ use
> everyday."

The only problem with that is that if you let an inkjet sit around
unused for longer than a couple of weeks, the print heads dry up and
clog, and with many printers (*cough* Epson *cough) there's no cheap
way to replace or clean the head, so the printer's useless.

> [ ... ] avoiding using colour printing except when she really
> needed it.  Except, oops, you can't:  If you're printing out a Web page,
> for example, there's no way to say "I don't care about the colours;
> print this in greyscale."  So, you chew through ink from the colour
> cartridge even when you don't want to print in colour at all.

In Firefox, my Print dialog has an Advanced tab that offers several
black-only options. I believe that tab is displaying options it gets
from the CUPS driver (I'm currently using an HP F4280, but my Epson
C88 had black-only options too).  It might be worth checking whether
there's a different driver for her printer with more options -- CUPS
had about 7 different confusing combinations of C88 drivers.

But again, with an inkjet she should try to print in color at least
once every couple of weeks, so the nozzles don't dry up. A web page
with a color banner or a few blue and purple links doesn't use much
colored ink (vs. a photograph).

> So, now, my mother complains frequently about the cost of inkjet
> cartridges, and the fact that they don't last very long (especially the
> colour ones).  I always reply "Get a cheap laser or LED printer for
> everyday."

I had the same conversation with my mom, and the lure color was
too seductive -- she got another inkjet even though she very seldom
prints in color.

I like inkjets, because I like being able to print photos or
business cards when I get the urge. And I don't print reams of
documents, so the ink cost isn't really that big a deal.  But they're
unquestionably more hassle and more expensive to run.  All you can
do is make sure people know the trade-offs, and let them make their
own decision. (And then they'll go buy an inkjet anyway. :-)


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