Printer was and will be always a hot product to sell all along. Now as for the question of who emerges as the king wholeheartedly depends upon the user and its requirements. Still, if laser printers can be cheap then nothing will be able to beat it. http://www.surfschool.net
It is officially an anti-counterfitting measure, and a real life example of steganography. They use a pattern of single yellow (usually) dots scattered across the page, to encode the printers serial number. The idea is that if you run off your own batch of $20's, they will be able to prove that they were made by the specific printer they siezed from your spare bedroom.
I don't know if this is a requirement for sale these days, or voluntary action by the printer makers.
Oh yea, about that ancient printer -- don't forget hardware obsolescence - I haven't had a native parallel port for more than a decade, and of the last three, none have had a native serial port (one did provide one on its docking station). Yea, I know about USB adapters, but they don't work with things like a proprietary machine control system, that wants actual bits to twiddle.
I have an old printer that worked beautifully for many years. But when I changed from a Windows XP machine to Windows 7, a new printer driver available on the web didn't work. When that happens, it seems like there's not much you can do. I went to user forums and found that many users had the same problem, but no one seemed to have a solution.
Similar thing happened to me when I upgraded to Windows Vista. Our perfectly good Lexmark printer did not have a Vista driver at the time and I had to buy a completely new laseret printer. Word to the wise... when upgrading your operating system, check on driver compatibility for your existing printer.
I first experienced a variant of the problem years ago. My first laser printer was a NEC SuperScript 1260 that printed at 600x600 resolution, at a much better price point than anything else out there at that time. But, when Windows XP came out, NEC wouldn't release a driver for the printer, and you had to use the default windows driver, which limited the printer to 300x300. Somehow the old Win 9x driver did some magic to get the 600x600 resolution.
I also got bit again a few years ago for not doing my homework. I bought a new USB 2.0 flatbed scanner from Canon (CanoScan 4400F) and didn't check if it was compatitable with Linux. I hadn't had a problem with anything else not being supported under Linux but you guessed it; the chipset on the 4400F had no support (and still doesn't) under Linux. Oh well, the machine is still dual-boot, so I could use the scanner, but I primarily run Linux, so that was annoying.
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!)
Magazines and Web Sites that review printers should make special note of which brands supply updated drivers. It's a terrible waste to have to chuck a perfectly functional printer just because you have updated your operatign system. Manufacturers who cause this should lose business.
You can run almost all the old equipment like printers and scanners with current Linux operating systems. (Some old webcams, maybe not.) Of course you need to have the right port on your computer; parallel ports are extinct now. But if it fits, plug it in and Linux runs the driver automatically.
The timid can download a nice Linux distro like Mint and burn it to a DVD or flash drive, and boot off that to test this. The less timid can install and dual-boot Linux along with Windows, or use a Virtual Machine or Wubi.
I was using an Epson scanner several years ago, and when upgrading the OS, I discovered that Epson had no driver (and no plans to develop one) for Windows 7. I already had a virtual machine installed with Linux (SuSE), so my solution was to open a Linux window, scan my material, and save it in a common drive shared between the virtual Linux machine and Windows. This worked quite well, and as vandamme mentioned, Linux is pretty good at supporting the older hardware.
Since the end of dot matrix age, after several Epson machines, I've been a loyal HP inkjetter. Until this year, when I bought my first Brother. Not only was this a change in brand but also my first all-in-1 unit. Traditionally the all-in-1 offerings received worst all-around ratings (do all/master none). But Brother's recent offerings seemed to have a growing cult of HP converts, and I was curious. When I learned the machine* printed 11" x 17" -- for well under $200 -- I was hooked.
I've only had it for 3-mos., not nearly long enough for durability statements, but the ease of use, friendly product support**, print quality and ink cost/longevity are positively remarkable.
So while the original post teased (but never directly answered) "See Who emerged Victorious" I can say that, thanks to Brother, HP may not continue to be as victorious as they once were around this office.
* MFCJ4410DW Business Smart Multi-Function Inkjet and Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax.
** I wirelessly network the Brother to WIN7, OS-X and iOS and have had two occassions to contact Brother tech support (Tennessee-based call center, BTW). Wonderful experiences.
I had a similar problem with my Epson. I couldn't even use it if one of the inks was out, even if I wasn't using that ink color. And even when all the inks were full they still would malfunction and not print correctly on paper. Needless to say, I am not an Epson fan!
We have an Epson All-In-One device, and it has run well for us. We seem to have better luck with ours than you. I will say that the Epson seems to use a lot of ink, and the cartridges are VERY expensive. The older HP printer cartridges were not quite as painful to replace.
Have a H-P IIIp, which still runs well (over 20 years old!) Use it with the DELL Tower w/ XP- S/P3, and on my DELL 486/33 w/ MS-DOS 5.0. Have NO problem w/ drivers, etc. BIGGEST problem is getting cartridges for it. Only place I found is in CA. No one even reloads them.... too bad, it's a good printer.
Oh, yeah, and also have an OKI 393 wide carriage..... that's over 20 years old also, and continues to pump out reports, when needed, ESPECIALLY now at tax time. Just use this one connected to the 486 though....
Have had a bunch of H-P inkjets in the office. They seem to breakdown about a week after the new supply of cartridges arrives, so now we have a storeroom full of new cartridges which are incompatible with the newer model printers. Have switched some workstations to BROTHER also..... they seem to be MORE stable. Maybe this is why H-P is in the financial doldrums....... What they should have done is made AGILENT the PC company, and kept H-P as the test equipment company, since it has a 70 year track record of producing very well designed bench test items.
OOPS!, almost forgot the EPSON inkjet that I used to design P.C. boards. Nozzles froze up after a bit of un-use. Good thing we had the "insurance" through OFFICE DEPOT.... got all the money back!
I couldn't agree more about the corporate stupidity of changing the HP name for instruments! If, in their infinite wisdom, they wanted to enter a "commodity" market like printers, that product should have been given a new name.
I continue to buy Agilent instruments because they're extremely well-designed and have unmatched performance ... pricey yes, but you get what you pay for.
I've used their printers for many years (currently an "all-in-one") but I'm tiring of some characteristics they all seem to share. First is the noise, made worse by the seemingly endless "monkey motion" that goes on before printing starts. Second is their software ... some of the lamest, most un-intuitive, and overly complicated I've ever used. Using the scanner is just plain counter-intuitive! But, as is typical for anything computer-related, the emphasis seems to be adding more features than a competitor ... rather than making the "core" features intuitive and easy-to-use. Ahh, "what's a mother to do?"
Maybe it's my "oldness" creeping in, and why I label myself as OLD_CURMUDGEON as my onscreen persona, BUT I have a philosophical problem w/ two sides of the coin. On one side, I'm tired of listening to the progressive mantra about "saving the Earth", filling the garbage dumps, etc., while the other side proclaims, "WOW, look what we designed yesterday morning. Now, let's change it for tomorrow morning!"
I know this may sound VERY anti-progress, but I can't help think about the music record industry. For decades, practically since the invention of the phonograph, 78 rpm was the standard, then came the 45, and the 33 1/3. While the 78 gave way to the longplaying capability of the 33, they too lasted for decades, peacefully coexisting w/ some modern media, tape, specifically. Then, all of a sudden we had an explosion! The music CD burst onto the scene, completely displacing ALL previous recording media. But, in effect, how long did the CD reign? And, then we had DVD, etc. All these are now measured in years, NOT decades! And, what's the result...... this "new" technology forces people to keep buying new stuff, even IF it's old stuff, for the sake of the medium that it is recorded on. And, so the landfills, the "environmental impact" expands!
I love the e-mail that I've seen several times about "How we recycled" decades ago. YES! We recycled..... we brought back soda & beer bottles for a cash reward, we washed diapers & reused them, and the list goes on and on. And, NOW we talk about recycling! That's a concept that dates to the Middle Ages in many respects.
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 ...
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.
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.
My theory, William K, is that a lot of electronics consumers are willing to put up with poor quality because they can't wait to get their hands on the next version of their product. If it fails, it means they can run out and buy a new one, which they wanted to do anyway. I have no proof or user surveys to support this opinion. It's just something I've seen with my own kids.
Charles, your explanation is probably correct for a large portion of consumers. But I have noticed a very disturbing trend of incredibly short attention spans among a lot of people, mostly the younger ones, and so it would seem that another bunch is simply not able to realize that their product has failed after a fairly short time period. Of course, wanting the very newest toy goes right along with that.
We bought a Brother laser printer a couple of years ago and have had good experiences with it as well. My only complaint is that it has a counter on the toner cartriges and when you reach 3000 pages the printer stops working until you get a replacement, whether that color of toner is out or not. I was eventually able to find a key combination on the internet that lets you re-set the counter, so that problem is now solved. The up-front cost is a bit higher with this printer, but the per-page cost can't be beat.
My previous printer was an Epson Stylus Color 600 which worked quite well until the print head needed replacing. That was easy, the big problem was a program that was required to "realign" a new print head. Epson does not sell that to customers, you're supposed to send the printer to a repair facility to have that done at no small expense! I went ahead and replaced the printhead myself which worked well but couldn't print high resolution, it was a bit fuzzy.
That one was replaced with a HP V40 Officejet, which has bloated software, plenty of quirks (like the ones mentioned above), very limited updates and does not directly interface to my e-mail program. It is not particularly easy on ink, even on low settings and the cartridge cost....ridiculous! It also does not recognize DOS programs, of which I still use a number of, totally does not even recognize them. HP suggested emulating another HP printer for DOS, unfortunately that didn't work. It is an okay printer but I'm not sure I will go for another HP when the time comes.
I quite agree, HP should have kept the instrument division under HP and used another name for the printer division...which isn't doing all that well these days.... can't imagine why.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?
Chunka Mui's recent articles for Forbes online about Google's driverless cars have a great post-mortem on Kodak. Basically it comes down to trying to take an incremental approach to digital photography to avoid disrupting current business. Kind of like the big car companies are doing right now.
CANON & NIKON and now SONY through the defunct MINOLTA have taken the same approach. Look at their product line for the past 5 years. Each manufacturer has incrementally changed a few design elements in an existing product, yet for the most part, given it a completely new model designation.
For example, in CANON.... the dSLR 10D was the first in a series of xoD models. It had a 6.3 Megapixel sensor. It was followed by the 20D a few months later. The change? An 8.2 Megapixel sensor. Practically all other parts were the same. Then, in a short time hence, the 30D appeared. Same 8.2 Megapixel sensor, BUT a larger LCD & a better menu system. MOST other features remained the same. Then, the 40D, which increased the sensor to 10 Megapixel level, AND a larger LCD, AND the first self-cleaning sensor mechanics. I could go on, but it's not necessary. Now, CANON is poised to release the 70D, an incremental change from the 60D.
What KODAK's problem was that they didn't have a base family of cameras to transition to, like CANON & NIKON did. The ONLY dSLR cameras that KODAK had were very expensive, fringe units based on a NIKON film camera body, and later, a CANON film camera body. It was destined for the press photographers market..... NOT exactly the way to penetrate or saturate the photo market in general.
The other thing Kodak did wrong was assume all users took photos solely for the purpose of uploading to social media like Facebook. Their cameras aren't (easily) recognized as another USB external drive. Instead bloated software loads (and loads and loads) and you have to answer No to about four social media prompts before you can simply copy the images to your hard drive.
Much easier to simply remove the SD memory card and put it into a reader, but many users don't know how to do that.
We have a Kodak ESP-7 all-in-one that is now a doorstop. We had repeated problems with the ink cartridges not being recognized. The solutions provided by Kodak were, in chronological order over a period of several weeks, reseat the cartridges, remove and reseat the printhead, replace the printhead, and finally update the software. This last rendered our XP PC inoperable requiring us to boot into safe mode and remove all things Kodak. Oh, and like others have mentioned, the ESP-7 wouldn't scan without a properly operating printer.
As far as drivers, we've been using a Brother HL-1850 monochrome laser printer for over 12 years now. It's reasonably fast, doesn't jam, will do double-sided printing and envelopes, and the toner cartridge lasts a long time. The problem? No driver nor any plans for a driver (according to the Brother website) for Win 7. So, I can't use it with my laptop connected via Wi-Fi.
So far, I haven't had any problems with my HP DesignJet 430 D-size plotter, mainly since it's connected to my main desktop running XP Pro. It scares me to think that some day in the future I might be forced into replacing this plotter, not because it wore out, but because Microsoft comes out with the next touch/gesture/brainwave/whatever -operated OS that's just so much FUN to use. (MS is a perfect example of 'just because you can do something, doesn't always mean that you should do that thing.)
I was reading Wirebenders comments on the Kodak printers and had a similar experience. I purchased an ESP-3 printer shortly after they came out with the hope of saving on the cost of ink. I immediately ran into several problems. The printer sucked down ink when calibrating and cleaning the print head. That was minor compared to the issues with the print head. I started getting "print head not found" issues. I called Kodak who had to mail out a new one. It lasted about 2 days and then failed. They sent me another one along with more ink which it ran through while calibrating the new head. I then called them to complain about the printer. I had to give them my credit cart # and they sent me another printer which failed in the same manner. They then sent me an ESP 7 which printed jagged lines right out of the box. That was the last straw. I contacted a Kodak executive and demanded my money back. They resisted at first but then finally mailed a check. I had to fill out a tax form to get that. I took my money and bought an Epson Artison 700 which has given me no trouble over 3 years.
Ink is the "razor blade" of the printer industry. They get their money out of you thay way. The problem with the Kodak printers is that all of the colors are in one cartridge - you run out of one color and it's useless and the cartridges were small. My Epson printer has 6 cartridges which are expensive but they last much longer and I can limp along if one runs out.
It's no wonder Kodak went down so quickly. I believe the print head on their printers has a serious design flaw. That along with over promising savings on the ink as well as other major corporate blunders put them on a disasterous path.
I'm almost embarassed to admit this, but I have a H-P IIIP laser printer for close to TWENTY FIVE years. Admittedly, I don't use it much anymore, but it went from being attached to an EVEREX 386/25 PC to a DELL 486/33 PC to a DELL TOWER, running WINDOWS XP PRO. The BIGGEST problem I've had with it in all this time was that I had to replace the laser motor driver board. About $60, which came with a VCR tape and complete step-by-step instructions for disasembly & reassembly. Now, the problem is replacement cartridges. The last one I purchases a few years ago came from a source in CA. I doubt I'll be able to buy another one in the future, and the couple of TONER/PRINTER cartridge refurbishers claim they can't renew them...... But, 25 years ain't bad either!
p.s. Also have an OKIDATRA ML 393 dot-matrix printer, still going strong, and it too was purchased in that same time frame......
Now I see the disadvantage of having outdated printers... it will be difficult for you to find drivers online and search for compatible models. Good thing brother laser printers like TN2000 is updated.
In case it benefits someone, I still use an Epson CX6400 for its scanner only; however, I could not have done this without using free S/W out there called the SSC Service Utility. ANYONE who still owns an Epson inkjet supported by this utility should get it, since it will enable you to only clean the specific color currently clogged (instead of all colors which is what Epson only permits from their driver/panel).
But the reason it ultimately saved me is due to how the printer stopped working at some point, because the ink reservoir is presumed full (perhaps pessimistically, from all that wasted ink for colors not really clogged!) and thus unsafe to print anymore - apparently they expect you to pay for service to empty the reservoir? (the unit was only $100!)
The punch-line is that this situation also prevented SCANNING - how evil! Anyway, the SSC Utility also can reset this "protection counter", albeit with the caveat that you now run a risk of an ink-stain under the printer. But, I've never printed from it again, just keep cartidges in it to appease use as a scanner (and Win-7 drivers are available, which is more than I can say for my HP ScanJet 3300C).
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.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.