Rant: It is 2020. Why Do Printers Nonetheless Suck?

I hate printers. Simply after we want them probably the most, with print outlets locked down, on-line education in session, and everybody working from residence, they fail to step up.

Printers have been my enemy ever since I can bear in mind. My first workplace job concerned an evil printer that suffered each day paper jams. Tasked with fixing it, I suffered frequent burns and paper cuts. It had a door you needed to shut simply so, or it will instantly break once more with the dreaded phantom paper jam. It tormented me for months, utterly detached to my cries. There isn’t even any paper in it!

Enemy Quantity One

Greater than twenty years later, printers haven’t improved in any respect. It looks like printer corporations stopped innovating someday within the ’90s when gross sales stopped climbing. In actual fact, it is nearly as in the event that they’ve regressed. Producers tempt with unbelievably low-cost offers on printers after which nail you on costly ink. To verify they get their pound of flesh, they focus an inordinate effort on ensuring printers solely work with proprietary ink cartridges.

My residence printer historical past has at all times (roughly) adopted the identical sample:

  • Purchase a printer.
  • Use the printer.
  • Take pleasure in this transient honeymoon interval when the printer truly works as supposed.
  • Overlook concerning the printer for weeks till I want it once more.
  • Run an pressing print job I want instantly.
  • The printer doesn’t work.
  • Waste a day making an attempt to get the printer working.
  • Go to a print store.
  • Eliminate the printer.
  • Rinse and repeat.

This 10-step printer plan is an efficient recipe for hypertension. The ultimate straw got here after I frantically tried to print a ticket for a last-minute flight and my printer accomplished half the job, then mangled the paper and made a surprisingly loud grinding noise earlier than giving up the ghost amid a puff of smoke. To be honest, that point it turned out my toddler dropped some cash into it after I wasn’t wanting. Nonetheless, I chalked it as much as the printer curse and vowed by no means to personal one once more.

For a few years, I went to a neighborhood print store, or despatched issues to my brother and requested him to print them. Ultimately, sick of printing my tickets and kinds and contracts, he referred to as me out on this, mentioning that I’m a tech journalist.

That is true. I’m often technically proficient. I understand how to seek out the proper enter on the TV. I can carry your apparently lifeless cellphone again to life. I can construct a pc, configure a router, and efficiently take away malware from a laptop computer. I can learn manuals, and once they don’t work, I’m not afraid of Googling deep into boards to seek out the repair I want.

And but … I can not bend a printer to my will.

The Inevitable Return

Three years and a few printers later, sick of being gouged for ink cartridges that at all times appear to expire on the worst second, I optimistically signed up for a printing subscription plan. The thought is you’re charged a flat payment based mostly on what number of pages you print every month, and the printer routinely orders ink refills when it’s operating low. Studying this again, I can solely cringe at my naivety.

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