I'm experiencing the same issue with aging SW applications as what we're discussing with aging HW printers. On my 10 year old home computer, (still used for photos and email by the family) suddenly last month MS-Outlook-2003 no longer can send email, due to a network configuration upgrade by AT&T (our service provider).
Even when the computer, the OS, the Apps, the even the printer are holding up just fine, obsolescence creeps in as the world upgrades all around us. Thanks, AT&T. (Grrrrr!)
I'm driving a Konica Minolta laser printer again. I had bought one a number of years ago and used it until the rollers wore out, which was easy between two home businesses and two kids in school. I decided I didn't need anything that industrial now that the kids moved out and bought a Samsung color laser. The print quality was terrible, and after a year the drum wore out on the Samsung. I'm back to the huge Konica Minolta again, but it's nice to have a machine you can rely upon. Yes, the OEM cartridges are expensive, but reliability and quality are worth paying for, otherwise you get monkeys.
Maybe NOT selling the ink cartridges at a premium price point, AND NOT recognizing the coming ubiquitousness of digital photography IS the reason that KODAK went from a FORTUNE 10 company to a OTC company overnight!
I'm constantly amazed at their downfall. HOW could a company that almost single-handedly created the digital camera phenomenon by virtue of all their research & patents in digital sensor capture technology, fall so far from that pinnacle? Is there something about the word mismanagement that I don't understand?
When the printhead of my Epson all-in-one failed, I thought oh well, at least I can use it as a scanner. WRONG! The $(?/@-!<# thing won't even scan unless it's loaded with functional and non-empty ink cartridges! Some years back they settled a class-action lawsuit over cartridges that reported they were empty when they weren't. IMO Epson is the worst of a bad bunch. Too bad Kodak went bust: their inkjets had much cheaper ink.
I have read in a trde journal just a few years back that the intention with consumer electronics products is for them to be obsolete in six months and then for them to fail in less than a year. I believe that this is indeed a large part of the business plan for many organizations. It goes right along with younger people being trained to have a very short attention span.
Unfortunately way to many folks now are completely willing to accept really poor quality and short product life as "just the way things are." Even worse, I don't see any way to change that.
When my monochrome HP5L laser finally gave up the ghost, I bought an HP CP2025 color laser, being told it was most economical. My first agravation was going back to HP 4 times until the warranty expired and it still won't print on both sides without jamming.
But the real killer is the toner cartridge costs. When I got it they were $180 each and it took 4 of them after the demo cartridges that came with it ran out quickly. The $100 third party cartridges I tried dribbled toner specs all over the page. But worst of all, either version ran out in no time. Then I realized that when the printer was left on, it cleaned itself every five minutes using up about 15 pages worth of all the toners. Ouch!
I investigated the family of a Brother model that showed the lowest per page cost in Consumer Reports. I ended up with a reasonably priced black & white Brother MFC-8480DN Laser which included a legal sized scanner, self feeding copy function and good old fashioned FAX function. While the Brother cartridge sells for about $100 it does 20,000 pages or about 4 of those big paper boxes. A $25 toner cartridge from Amazon works as well. Toner cost is now a tiny fraction of the cheapest copier paper cost. On top of that, it hasn't jammed yet, printing on both sides. It doesn't waste toner cleaning itself either. Most of your normal computer stores do not sell this "office" model. They prefer to make their money on toner for the consumer models. Don't be misled by the salesmen - they like their toner cash cows. Before buying, fully investigate the per page toner costs.
I keep my HP color laser in the corner and only power it up to do the occasional color print on one side of the page and immediately unplug it. Doing only about 100 pages a year is much easier on the wallet. Toner cartridges don't dry up and plug like ink jets.
HP used to make printers built like tanks that would go on and on and on with little maintenance. They don't make them like they used to, but we've had a HP LaserJet 6P for years that I picked up for $200 when it was practically new. The cartridges are much less expensive than ink and last far longer. This printer works great for black-and-white or grayscale and I've never had problems finding a driver for it because it was such a mainstream printer. From the beginning we hooked it up to a Netgear PS110 parallel port print server and had it readily available to any computer on our network. It was a little different to set up for Windows Vista and Win7, but it still works like a champ (I might cycle the power on it about every 6 months).
I don't want to "beat a dead horse" on this issue of reclamation, etc., because we could turn this into a philosophical debate lasting an eternity, but I will conclude w/ one thought. IF you look for the "genesis" seed for the modern throw-away mindset, look no further than to MOTOROLA! IF you remember, and I'm sure many of you who read this, will, it was MOTOROLA who advertised their TVs had "the works in a drawer". WHY? Because essentially they were the first mass marketer of TV sets to adopt the concept of a printed circuit board design, as opposed to the old-fashioned method of point to point wiring. Even though these TVs were a mixture of vacuum tubes and semiconductors, the advertising focus implied that the service technician would be in & out of your house in minutes, since he could replace complete modules in the blink of an eye. Other manufacturers soon followed suit, and as the semiconductor designs proliferated in all electronics products, the throw-away concept grew & grew, and spread to a lot of other distribution industries ..... throw-away milk containers, soda & beer bottles, etc.
Absolutely right on "Old Curmudgeon"!! We used to save the landfills by building stuff that would last 20 years. But it appears that the lunatics (spell that money-hungry corporations that have learned to use planned obsolescense to advantage) are in charge of the asylum. You and I are in complete resonance I think ...
There are all sorts of patents and mechanisms in printers to keep you buying their ink, after all, they practically give the printer away. I've defeated mechanisms with hardware and software and bought after market ink, but I have to say that most of the after market ink is pretty awful.
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This is part one of an article discussing the University of Washington’s nationally ranked FSAE electric car (eCar) and combustible car (cCar). Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow, which will discuss the four unique PCBs used in both the eCar and cCars.
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