Laser Printer Follies

I went to print something today on my Samsung ML-1210 laser printer. This little economy model has been a faithful friend for a few years.

Years ago, I thought color was the way to go, but ink jet printouts never looked quiet right. After a few weeks with the Samsung, I never questioned the purchase.

Fast forward to 2005.

A week or so ago, I went to print something and the paper wouldn’t move. I took it out, riffled it, put it back in the printer and after a little coaxing, it printed. I didn’t think anything of it until today when, again, I went to print only to see the paper become a still life.

I took off the back of the printer (as if I’d actually be able to see a problem), and pushed a few movable parts. I knew right away this thing was too disposal to fix. If it was gone, it was gone.

I looked around on the Internet and found a few decent replacement candidates.

Not every printer will work in my house. We print to a port on my router. In other words, the printer is not directly connected to the computer. That means no USB printers and, as I unfortunately found out, not every parallel port printer either.

Staples had a great deal on a Konica-Minolta PagePro 1250W. I drove up to Cheshire, popped into the store and brought it home.

This printer is a “Windows only” model, and that was my undoing. It needed to be directly connected to a Windows computer to get its instructions. In fact, much of what most printers do is pawned off to the computer when you’re using this particular printer. It just didn’t know how to send data over a network cable to my router.

It only took a few minutes of fooling with it, and then a few more researching the problem on Usenet, before I realized I was sunk.

Back to Staples.

Their computer guru said taking it back was no problem, but I know thats not so. By my opening it, I have reduced its value to them. And, even though that cost is built into everything they sell, I felt bad about it.

He asked if I’d be interested in something else. I’m not sure whether it was guilt or just a desire to get this over with, but I went back to the printer aisle to take another look.

I ended up with a Brother HL-2040. It’s pretty close to the same footprint as my original Samsung, though it prints faster. I spent $30 or so more than I wanted to, but it’s done.

Hooking up the Brother was easy. It immediately adapted to my somewhat non-conventional setup and printed very nicely on the first try.

Now I’ve got to change the drivers on all the PCs around the house.

Problem solved.

The Geek In Me Speaks – VI

Here’s the status as I get ready for bed. Mandrake Linux is up and running. The laptop has no sound. There is neither Java or Flash with the browser. The wireless LAN is perfect, though I have no idea where I administer it from. I haven’t tried a wired NIC card yet. Printing over the network to my laser printer works.

I have lost both my taskbar and icons. The icons were part of a bug that I may have fixed. I followed info on Mandrake’s knowledge base. I have no idea why the taskbar disappeared, but not having it makes it difficult to do anything… including reboot. Once I did that, the taskbar was back.

I have installed OpenOffice, Gaim and Mozilla – none of which seemed to come with the distribution natively.

I hope this isn’t too boring.