Over the time, we expect that technology will improve. The general notion is that gadgets become cheaper, with richer feature sets, and finely tuned reliability as they mature. We see this throughout tech, in computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. Everywhere, except printers. Let’s face it, home printing technology has become harder to use, less reliable and has generally been on a downward spiral since the invention of the ink jet printer.
Back in the 80’s, I could run thousands of sheets through my tractor feed dot matrix printer (I think it was an Epson LQ 590 or similar) a day. The thing might as well have had a hopper into which whole trees could be fed, it was that good at processing paper into printed material. Ribbons for the thing lasted forever, but at $5-10 you could keep a few extras in your desk drawer, just in case.
Then in the 90’s the laser jet became the thing. My experience with these was that you either got a good one or a bad one. I had one I liked a lot, an HP Laserjet 5L, that was capable of printing large manuscripts without jamming, so long as I kept feeding it paper. I bought the same model for a friend, and it was nothing but problems.
Now we’ve got a Lexmark Pro 205 wireless printer, which is mostly used for the kids homework, and it honestly couldn’t be a bigger piece of crap. Literally, every time one of the kids needs to print a report, I end up spending a minimum of 2 hours doing tech support trying to get the damned thing to produce a handful of pages. Fun stuff like:
- The thing loses it’s ip, and doesn’t get a new one. So you can’t connect to it via wireless. Negating that whole “wireless printer” thing…
- If you don’t use it for a couple weeks, you can count on a trip to the store to replace a cartridge.
- If you need to replace one cartridge, you’re going to end up replacing them all. You just don’t know it yet.
- The cartridges cost something like $25 for the black one, and $50-70 total for the colored ones. If you need them late at night, because SOMEONE didn’t tell you they needed to print a doc early in the evening, Walmart carries them.
- I am now replacing cartridges monthly. Or more…
- It has an annoying habit of burning through print heads.
- A bad print head will turn your daughter’s science experiment write up into a Jackson Pollock-like presentation, as if the printer barfed random colors all over the document.