Microsoft beat them to it
Finally we get to know why each iteration of MS Patch Tuesday breaks printing.
Got to hand it to those Redmond guys; years ahead of Epson when it comes to getting us to give up dead trees!
Long-term dot matrix printer maker Epson has just announced it is ending its 35 year long experiment in selling laser-powered printer hardware. From 2026, the company says it'll be inkjet only – although it will probably still sell you a new dot-matrix if you ask nicely. Epson just means printers to most people, so …
As somebody whose early career was spent as much troubleshooting printers as any actual coding or systems configuration, I welcome the demise of the damned things.
The only consolation of myriad printer problems is it took me into the reception office, where Christine - who had finished Uni the same year as me - distracted one from the unremitting hell of the HP Laserjet and WordPerfect 5.2
One reason that we switched to Windows was finding software/printer combinations that worked with DOS.
If you stuck with Lotus 123, WordPerfect, and dBase you were OK, as most common printers had drivers. I had colleagues who had to buy additional printers to use an obscure but vital program. The promise made to printer manufacturers by MS was "write a single driver for Windows" and it will just work. I wonder how that went?
Saying we're still in waiting for the "paperless office" is a bit like someone in the 1950s saying they were still waiting for the "horseless road". And nowadays you hardly see any horse and carriages, because they are just damned inconvenient and expensive. Technology has improved to the point where it's better than the old solution (although some of the British cars in the 70s were probably a bit less reliable than a horse)
I used to send off 500 page Red Books to be printed out and bound in the print shop, because 20 years ago it was just a way more convenient way of reading something useful about the latest IBM FastT/600 (or whatever it was), but I would not dream of doing that now, except for a very specialised use-case. For a start, those manuals were bloody heavy.
So, my point is that although we're not yet in what you would call a truly paperless office, we're pretty close. I still print out the odd thing like the agenda for a charity meeting that I'm chairing, because 1/2 the people don't even have a laptop and just rely on their phone. It's also convenient to scribble on. As the technology improves and gets cheaper, these edge cases become fewer and fewer, and often it's just out of habit. Those latest Kindles allow you to scribble quite easily and they are pretty cheap compared to a laptop or iPad.
As the technology improves and gets cheaper, and people are born with these things around them, the need for paper will become less.
Unless we start having power blackouts, in which case I take it all back.
Oh, and I still prefer a paper book.
Epson have simply worked out that they can make more money from inkjet ink, rather than laser consumables.
When I was young, and grunting slowly up a steep hill on my bike, it was SOP for the everyday comedian to yell: " Get a Horse!" as they motored past.
A few years ago I realised it had been years since I heard it, and that horses as transport had faded from the collective memory. Of course it might just be that old english cars that also had to crawl up hills in first gear, with the heater on full, and the windows down might have been an enabling technology.
"So, my point is that although we're not yet in what you would call a truly paperless office, we're pretty close."
Part of the problem is standards. How do you get your agenda to all the meeting attendees when they all have disparate devices, connections and email systems? It'd be great if you could walk into the room and announce you want to share the agenda and everyone's device just gets a message asking if they want to download/open it. Sort of like the now defunct IRDA or current Bluetooth/NFC always promises but never delivers because each manufacturer wants to be THE (patented) standard.
I just did that as well. Proofreading, or actually any in-depth reading, works best (for me) on dead trees. Plus the haptics are great. It is also way easier to have several pages of the same document visible at the same time, say the first half of chaper 3.1 plus the figure (on the next page) and the table in the appendix. I do not print a lot, neither at work nor at home, but I prefer a print out for certain tasks.
As long as page layout is forced to be paper-print-out like, reading stuff on the screen is... less convenient than I would like it to be. The concept of a "page" does not make any sense, a page is a construct of the "physical copy" world, and while breaking a text into sections makes sense, the page breaks scarcely do line up with logical separations in the text.
I agree that items that need to stay digital and not be printed can part with the "page" visual model. However, too many works start like that but eventually need to be printed anyway, and there is no good way to do so. (I especially dislike the way various mapping apps/sites try to print.)
Creatives need to either make two versions, or we need a better way to re-format on the fly. (And I fully expect someone to say "TeX" as one solution, leaving the hard work to the renderer.)
PDF should be able to do it. The documents I deal with already have clickable indexes and contents pages so would it really be all that hard for the screen render to simply skip the page boundaries, headers, footers, displayed page numbers, top and bottom margins etc? Even in a two to three thousand page service manual, I almost never even look at the page numbers. They hold little to no relevance. Less so when the document has many preamble pages that aren't numbered so the page number on the document page is out of step with the "physical" page number displayed in the PDF viewer.
PDF has its purpose, and that is closely tied to printed copy.
Using PDF as anything other than a digital representation of a document _to be printed_ is, well, wrong.
The "P" should really stand for "printable" these days. It was "portable" as in "useable on Windows as well as whatever else". Not "Portable" as in useful for handheld devices (which incidentally is where PDF really sucks hairy donkey balls).
"the page breaks scarcely do line up with logical separations in the text."
Service manuals, in my case. The instructions on how to remove or install an item, with a "convenient" page break, including top and bottom margins, separating the illustration so there's constant scrolling up and down while I try to match the parts and screws layout of last years model with the current model in front of me that has one more screw, hidden of course, than the manual states either in the text or the illustration :-)
A few weeks ago I was working on a 1553 test device library. I had to print its manual, or at least a good part of it, to be able to quick switch from a function description to another and to some global data. Paper may not be searchable, but it's more random-access than most files and file readers.
It also true that paper data can't change, but sometimes it's also exactly what you need. Not everything has the lifetime of an influencer tiktok post.
And anyway, how much power a digital display uses to display the same data? After you print something, that consumption is exactly zero everytime you access the data.
Not all is worth to be printed - but not everything doesn't need to be printed.
"Not all is worth to be printed - but not everything doesn't need to be printed."
Agree. About 10 years ago, when chairing meetings for my professional body, I would print out all the papers (double-sided) and bind them (using a comb binder); I had a bookcase shelf full of previous minutes for reference. Nowadays, with fewer meetings and no longer chairing, I have all the documents on my iPad (and annotate with an Apple Pencil); papers are then zipped and archived.
I also used to conduct capability audits on suppliers and the checklist often ran to 100 pages - printing and binding gave easy and quick access when on site (colleagues who tried to use an online version, something the client encouraged) spent more time on their computer searching for sections and making notes, than actually interviewing and verifying evidence. OK, I'd spend an extra half-day in my office converting my handwritten notes to the report, but I subsequently spent less (if any) time with post visit queries.
Most documents don't need to be printed, but some still do. I have a laser printer and an ink-jet printer at home - the laser is still used (albeit toner and paper need replenishing a lot less frequently); the ink-jet is rarely used (just for the occasional photo, and to the extent that I usually need to replace the ink cartridges each time it's used). Except for printing photos, give me a laser any time - as others have said, they are far less hassle and almost no waste.
"And just last night I fired up my laser to run off a dozen pages from a PDF guide so I could read it comfortably and make annotations with a regular pencil..."
And there are so many "not in the office" use cases for having a hand almost indestructible copy of something that doesn't rely on power ot connectivity to access.
My own job as a field engineer is one of them. It's far far quicker to refer to the job sheets than to fire up the laptop, hope the battery isn't dying and there is a mobile or wifi signal just so I can check where and what the next job is. There will be many, many similar use cases that simply are not catered for currently. It'd be relatively simple to have an app on the phone that downloads that data for me, maybe even as a simple PDF file so I can just open the app and see the details. but getting someone to see that as a viable solution and actually doing it is met with the sort of look you might get on asking the Lucifer if he owns a pair ice skates.
 Yeah, I can do that on site when updating the just completed job, but then I need to either write down or remember the address of the next customer when I get back to the car and set the satnav, because the satnav doesn't take to the call management system either.
I'll add my comments in. Being a boring old fart I learned to read manuals on paper. My approach was generally have a read through once and then use for reference - at least I knew it was in the manual and could, generally, find it.
I'm using Kodi at home and still in the process of switching from RPi3 to RPi4. I had to ask a question on the forum and the reply was a link to the wiki. OK it gave me the answer but I started to think. Anyone here ever managed to follow a technical wiki for a product. I have and a) it gives me a headache and b) I get lost jumping around following links and never actually manage to read the entire thing. Big fat lump of paper or if pushed epub or pdf, but only if pushed hard.
Similar problem here: I rarely print but when I do, it's for a document that needs to be sent to a client (yes, there are still some who want paper copies of some key documents) so it has to look reasonable. Using an inkjet, I'd spend half an hour getting the damn thing to clean its heads - or find the ink had dried up and needed changing - before I could run off one or two sheets for the client. Total pain in the arse. Replaced that with a cheap laser, fire it up to print the two pages and then don't worry about it for the next six months. End result: far lower actual print costs, less waste and less stress.
I'd argue if you're going to encourage people to print less often then having them use a laser will work out cheaper and less environmentally damaging.
In my home office I have 2 printers one is Xerox Phaser 6180 Which still works with little or no problems. the other is an HP AIO inkjet which we only use the scanner because we kept needing to replace the barely used cartridges that had dried out. We finally were able to get the scanner to work with out having to replace the ink cart.
When the Phaser bites the dust or we can no longer get replacement cartridges we will get a color laser AIO. It is cheaper to run in the long run unless you are constantly printing color.
i bought a £300 laser- read some reviews and chose a "small office.." one that has low operating cost because we do sometimes print lots (missus is a teacher...)
Now for "small office" well that's relative: a huge box arrived that had a "takes 2 people to handle" warning.
It's fast and efficient and relatively trouble-free, but boy it's big, had I checked the "physical dimensions" bit of the specs I would have chosen a different model
HP Laserjet 1300 here - 18 years old, 3rd toner cartridge, still printing good quality prints now.
Conversely, my mum has to keep replacing inkjet printers because they keep stopping working.
Hard to see how the planned/enforced obsolescence of inkjets is more climate friendly than laser. I can only assume they make more money off inkjet than laser because of their shady business practices.
My strategy, after years of trying to make consumer-grade stuff work for me, is to purchase off-lease or refurb commercial-quality gear.
The consumer stuff, with some exceptions, is guaranteed to fall short of expectations. The commercial gear is built to last (usually) and, while it may not have all the bells and whistles, it's not as likely to let you down when you need it.
So...commercial quality printer, network switch, UPS at my place. All on their second life, after having batteries replaced, innards cleaned and adjusted, etc. And though I have wireless at home (for the convenience of my Apple-using family), all my gear is hardwired to the switch.
Much of my commercial gear was obtained as discards from the IT folks at work when they upgraded. Nothing wrong with it, just missing some functions they needed or wanted, perfectly usable by me. And my laptops are all Dell Latitudes or Precisions. I tried one of Dell's consumer grade Inspirons once...never again. Off lease refurbs are the way to go.
They can prise my Brother colour laser printer out of my cold, dead hands.
Sure, photo print quality isn't as good as an inkjet (but I can just order prints for a few quid if I really want). But the one thing it is really good at is consistently printing whatever I want. During the pandemic I hadn't printed anything for 3 months, sent a document to it and it fired up right away. I'm still using the starter toner (I don't print much!), but can buy new toner for the machine for under £50 for all four colours and that'll probably run me another decade.
I can't ever see myself going back to the land of inkjet.
"During the pandemic I hadn't printed anything for 3 months, sent a document to it and it fired up right away."
During the lockdown we (in France) needed dumb self-certified forms giving the reason for being out and the time departed. I fired up the laser, didn't even consider the inkjet, and ran off a dozen, then did another dozen to drop into a brown envelope and post to a friend who didn't have a printer (she was closer then the supermarket, but over a regional boundary).
That was 2020. It's coming to the end of 2022. My laser's toner is around 80% and it's the same one that I fitted in 2019. It started up just fine yesterday, and if not used for the next six months, no worries.
Epson is using some greenwashing bullshit to ditch laser because it doesn't make them enough profit. They need to be called hard on this, as domestic inkjets need regular use or they become landfill and the average toner cartridge has miniscule amounts of ink (more landfill). They're claiming "because environment" while making a cynical commercial move that will surely have the opposite effect for the environment.
"They need to be called hard on this, as domestic inkjets need regular use or they become landfill and the average toner cartridge has miniscule amounts of ink (more landfill)."
I suspect they don't see the consumer market as a market for their laser printers anyway. They were never big in that market. It looks like it's the big, heavy duty kit used in business they are talking about here. Interestingly, HP seem to have backtracked on their business grade PageWide inkjets now and have moved back to only laser models. The PageWide inkjets are actually quite nice on the whole. Very few moving parts, the print head is the full width of the page and has redundant nozzles so a certain number of failed nozzles can be accounted for before a new head is needed. Not all that cheap to run, and if you use crap paper, the ink may not dry properly, especially if using lots of coverage and double sided, but easier to maintain than a laser. It seems Epson are more sure of themselves in this market than HP and possibly having seen HP exit this market, are doubling down on it hoping to sew it up for themselves. I've not had any experience with the Epson business MFP kit, so it'll be interesting to see how it pans out for them.
I totally agree with all the comments regarding consumer grade inkjets though, especially the bottom end kit where it's cheaper to buy a new printer than a set of ink carts :-)
I hadn't printed anything for 3 months, sent a document to it and it fired up right away
Do you keep it on standby?
One thing I do appreciate about my HP Officejet Pro (other than being A3, which is why I don't have a laser) is the ability to program it so it switches itself off in the evening (something I think most printers are now capable of), and by that I mean fully powered off. This means that the heads get properly capped, and it doesn't sit there occasionally cleaning and listening to the network for a new printjob - it's off. When I need it, I print and then give the power button a poke while the print job is held in the print queue of my computer until the printer has woken up enough to pick up the job.
It's now on its second set of cartridges, so its page count is probably still too low to start showing any problems.
That said, as soon as A3 colour lasers come at a sensible price I may swap anyway as inky prints are moist sensitive, but for the moment it will do for the occasional A3 layout draft.
When lockdown started (I'm also based in France) and I needed to print stuff at home, I had a vague recollection of having purchased, years previously, a cheapo Samsung colour laser. I'd subsequently moved house, so if the memory was true then it was highly likely to be boxed up and in the cellar. And so it turned out to be.
I plugged it in, found drivers online, and printed out a test sheet. Absolutely no problem whatsoever, after at least six years of inactivity. And still on the original toner.
By contrast in another location I made the mistake of purchasing a Lexmark inkjet all-in-one. Every single time I attempt to print anything I have to run the deep-clean routine several times to clear the nozzles. This uses up all the remaining ink.
Now on my 3rd/4th  mono laser printer at home, and if I had to choose between getting shot of that or the colour inkjet then it's the latter that would finally  be earning itself a spot in my "big pile of retired electronics stuff that I can't bring myself to dispose of just in case.." collection. As for doing away with *any* sort of printer at home, that's a big nope from me - not only do we still do enough printing to justify having a mono laser, we do enough to have justified the incremental expense of upgrading our setup last time around to one with a proper enclosed paper tray and auto-duplex output.
Not surprised at Epson's perspective though - the last time I gave them any serious consideration as a printer manufacturer was back in the days of dotmatrix, and whilst I did know that they'd made a successful transition into the world of inkjets, they were never the first name that came to mind when I was in the market for a new inkjet. As for lasers, nope, I genuinely had no idea they'd also dipped their toes into the water there, so if my experiences are representative across a wider range of users then maybe the problem isn't that lasers in general are old hat, but simply that not enough people considered buying *Epson* lasers...
 The one I'm using right now is a warranty replacement (and kudos to Brother - our original one failed in the midst of the first UK lockdown when everyone and their dog were hoovering SOHO IT gear off supplier shelves as fast as they got restocked, yet their customer service was top-notch and a brand new replacement turned up within a week of first contacting them), so technically I've only bought 3 of them...
 Canon BJC4200 - still does a cracking job of churning out good looking photo prints, but when it finally decides to call it a day and break, I won't be rushing out to buy a replacement with any level of urgency.
LasterJet 4050 here...had it since 1998...it's fallen down stairs a few times during moves and it's still absolutely fine.
Sometimes I swing a bat at it to warm myself up to save on heating costs.
Fuck Inkjets. Unless they make refillable cartridges that someone at home can refill, they're landfill.
Laserjet 5 here. Got it for free (stripped gears and busted fuser) from a legal office, repaired and upgraded it myself at the beginning of COVID.
As we only print once or twice a week, it's ideal. Draws 7W on standby, wakes up when a print job is sent over the network, then goes back to sleep. Still on my first cartridge, have two more genuine HP NOS which I got off Goodwill, which should see me to EOL (mine).
my dad still has a perfectly fine epson EPL-5500, and would still be using it once or twice a year if it wasn't for its parallel port, and the fact that the 2 or 3 parallel to usb converters we tried all sucked big time...
Last year he finally got a samsung (hp) cheap-ass ML-something, and it does great....
I have to say that also my epson inkjet that i use maybe once more a year than he does works great as well, every time i turn it on i fear the dreaded "cartridge not recognized" message, but it just whirrs away and spits pages....
" I also have an old HP LasterJet 6 monochrome laser for almost 25 years now and it is still going on and only 3rd toner cartridge..."
The same here, I bought my HP 1020 Laser Jet in 2007, and still has the same toner! Yes, nowadays I don't print too often, but 15 years on a row is quite an achievement. Another thing were the drivers, OMG! HP Printer drivers on Windows and Linux (at least for this model) were pure garbage (printer/driver crashes all the time) when I bought it (and for several years after that).
I'll summarise for you in short: No, in a more complete way NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo.
Considering how inkjet printers are the reason why we went to laser in the first place the horrible flimsy, noisey, messy, slow boxes of land fill, with driver packages in the 200mb > 1GB region, then added to that DRM to prevent 3rd party ink no ability to refill and auto cartridge bricking subscriptions. Frankly Epson and HP take one of their printers and shove it (I don't care which orifice)
All of that is before we get to this crap https://www.theregister.com/2022/03/21/epson_payments_issue
Its also staggering that printers are as crap now as they were in the 80's
> Its also staggering that printers are as crap now as they were in the 80's
Sorry, they're way crappier now. I had some inkjets back in the start of the century, they were mostly reliable, with big ink cartridges, and the drivers didn't try to empty them by doing a deep cleaning on power-up, power-down and between each printed page (Canon, I'm looking your way).
Nowadays inkjets are definitely disposable crap you should probably throw away after a week, when the initial ink is spent/dried up. Because if you're stubborn and don't do it they'll brick themselves in a way or another. After all their >1 GB drivers must contain a lot of nasty stuff.
Completely agree and at one point it was almost cheaper to buy a new printer than it was to get replacement ink for some of them.
My inkjet needed a new head a few years ago (not worn out - just unable to be cleaned). A new printer was cheaper (and a full set of OEM replacement ink cartridges cost 2/3 the price of the printer). My laser printer just keeps going (and seems to thrive on non-OEM cartridges, a set of four - colour - costs the same as the aforementioned inks.
"at one point it was almost cheaper to buy a new printer than it was to get replacement ink for some of them"
That's why I have seven of them in the shed. It was cheaper to buy a new one.
The Epson, by the way, was in storage for three years, unpacked, and it failed hard (short circuiting the PSU block) after about five hours of being on, and the scanner had many corrupted pixels. Built to last, obviously.
I now use HP's Instant Ink with a dirt cheap 3630 printer. It's actually not that bad (although for some reason the Android app just won't use it's full potential, maxing out at 300dpi even though the hardware can do twice that), and paying a fiver a month for a hundred pages (with 300 rolled over) is a hell of a lot better than something like fifty euros for a set of inks that might manage half a dozen photo prints if I'm lucky...
But as I mentioned elsewhere, the quick jobs where colour isn't necessary, it's the laser. A little Samsung jobbie that I got second hand for €20! There's just no comparison.
Oh, and the inkjets in the shed? Bloody custom parts, even the LCD screens, which makes it hard to salvage useful parts other than some switches and LEDs. I do have a USB WiFi module, but... It's 3.3V USB, and says so quite clearly on it. Pffft.
I bought my Brother laser printer 6 years ago and it's still going strong. It's had at least 4 sets of cheap non-branded replacement toner and it's printed christ knows how many tens of thousands of pages for my wife, who is a primary school teacher. I just cannot comprehend how anyone would ever consider buying an inkjet. You can leave a laser for a month and it'll just start printing again straight away with nothing getting clogged. It's a standard driver format that works with anything, the ink is waterproof, and the quality is better 90% of the time.
The printer probably cost about £150 more than an inkjet, but I've saved £1,000s in consumables and saved a huge amount of stuff from landfill. Inkjets are just shit and the fact that Epsom wants everyone to use them just shows what a cash cow they are compared to laser.
Look - you can still buy it new, 6 years later - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JGKB5L8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I bought a Brother 3230 Color LED printer. It's was fantastically cheap, quiet, reliable, can do things like double-sided printing, features I didn't expect at that price point.
It failed after a month, it had a column missing, and swapping cartridges didn't fix it. Brother fixed it, under warranty, free, even though I hadn't filled in the guarantee card. Their guy ordered the parts, and replaced the broken LED head the same day the replacement parts arrived.
I like Brother kit a lot (I have 3!)
All I hear about HP and Epson is DRM this, and subscription that, like I'm some sort of ATM for their business guys to use. It's a printer FFS, they use to be able to make competitive printers, and its their greed that stops them being competitive.
They got greedy and they destroyed their printer businesses as a result.
To be fair to HP, some of their subscription services make sense. Like their toner replacement service, they take away the empties for you and deliver a new one pretty quickly.
I've never hit upon a DRM issue with HP Enterprise kit. Consumer stuff, sure...but not enterprise. Their consumer stuff is outsourced though and is a completely different division.
I would never buy a consumer grade printer...EVER. Always buy an enterprise class one, they cost a little more but come with a lot less bullshit and will last you a lot longer.
Best advice I can give to work out which printers to buy...go to a local shipping depot and see what they have knocking around the warehouse. You can rest assured that their printer gets an absolute battering and has been there for years.
Buy one of them, second hand if you have to, because if its still running in a warehouse, there are still parts for it.
The Laserjet 4050 (released in 1997) is still in heavy use today...you can still get parts for it (you can even 3D print parts for it) and toner is still widely available.
"Can we please dump scanners as well?"
Why, I at least scan every purchase receipt if there is a warranty.
And I scan old pictures and texts I want to save and or share.
I once scanned a girl but that was long ago and I wont tell you the details.
And should you go abroad it's a good idea to scan your documents, then you will never lose them.
And look, they use no ink at all unless you want.
I think this is largely to do with Windows' behaviour when plugging an MFD in. The printer is often automatically detected and installed, but with no scanning facilities (I suspect AC has an alternative idea for what the F in MFD stands for). So, many users are completely oblivious of the fact that they can't scan anything until they download and install the appropriate driver.
I'm a caver, and I still need paper. I print out rigging topos and route descriptions from, amongst several other sites, the CNCC, then laminate them and shove them down the front of my oversuit. A laser printer is best, I don't want the ink running when the lamination deteriorates and water seeps in.
Taking any electronic device down a cave is risky enough: mud, water, drops or getting crushed going through a squeeze. Relying on it to keep working so as not to get lost or, once back on the surface, to be able to call 999 to request the Cave Rescue Organisation in an emergency would be very optimistic.
I'm not sure a laser would do any better being taken spelunking than an inkjet
Several people I know have (slightly modified) Leica DISTO X's, used for surveying.They have to be rugged to survive being used in a 50cm high passage with 15cm of muddy water in it. Extremely expensive laser scanners have also been used for measuring large chambers, e.g. Sarawak and Gaping Gill
Now we know we can do without it.
In place of losing it all in a fire we now lose it faster in a virtual fire.
I knew computers and networks were good for some things. We now get to produce more to destroy more and ensure that history is no longer written(*).
(*) Binary is not written, it is generated by AI. Know your overlords well, they don't use printers.
I'm suggesting to replace all our QA people computers with typewriters. They are fixated to produce documents with Word with their specific (and ill-designed) templates when the data are in other tools like Polarion - and can be easily extracted from there, or for manuals for which we use Help & Manual instead to automatically generate online helps and PDFs.
I'm quite sure they also print them all to read them.
This year I abandoned the horrible Google/ Apple / MS online calendars for a good old paper version. It sits on my desk for easy reference, doesn't update or lose things, and it's easy to add notes, addresses etc.
And the battery never runs out
Tucked into the front of it are print outs of my plane ticket, French visa renewal, and a couple of paper-only odds and ends that would surely be lost otherwise.
The problem with paperless is the fundamental assumption that both batteries or the Internet will always be there. That's surely nothing more than pure fanrasy
Yeah, calendars (esp with co-worker's schedules on it) and tickets are my "killer apps" for printing.
I went to a holiday party where they had done up QR tickets so the venue could know who was part of the party and give us free drinks.
I printed my tickets so it took 10 seconds to scan, then I had to wait while a friend faffed about with his Apple thing trying to pull up the email with the tickets then display the tickets, then get the QR code to an acceptable size to scan. That was at least a good minute and a half.
My other need is printing pages from service manuals, which I then take to the hardware. I don't have to worry about getting it greasy and I don't have to worry about a fragile something-with-a-screen around heavy moving parts with nowhere safe to put it. Plus I can crop just the diagram I need and enlarge it as necessary.
While I get what you are saying, I view this particular example as user error:
>then I had to wait while a friend faffed about with his Apple thing trying to pull up the email with the tickets then display the tickets, then get the QR code to an acceptable size to scan
I've used emailed boarding passes for flights before, and while I'm waiting for boarding to start or while standing in the queue, I bring up the email and adjust the zoom level before I've reached the staff doing the scanning. Even if I'm still sitting and waiting for boarding to start, I still have that email open and just switch to something else to occupy myself while waiting, and just have to switch to the email app where the boarding passes is open and waiting. It's no different from digging around in your bag for your paper boarding pass and putting it in a convienient place - clothing pocket or at the top of the bag - while waiting.
But yeah, after using the electronic pass a few times, I did go back to printing it out as on the whole I do find it less faffing about.
Not really, most companies have their printers on a contract, so unless the ticket is "can you connect a printer to my machine" the helpdesk has very little to do with the printers anyway.
Most of my clients since the pandemic have gone completely paperless as well since most folks work from home now. Save for the one or two that for some reason prefer working in an office (for some reason, almost always single women in their 40s or people with no family / life).
Many Moons ago,.. approaching 400, I spent a few weeks working for a Swedish company that had diversified from paper pulping, into making doors and windows, as they'd heard about 'The Paperless office' and it had concerned them. So they commissioned a report into worldwide paper usage, and that conversely, computers meant people were consuming more paper than before.
If 30 odd years later it was finally true, and we have stopped printing so much, that would be great. I hate printers, not least from the environmental perspective, but they are a pain to maintain, and a security risk.
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My use case is heavily tilted towards the laser printing model.
I've just printed out all 350+ pages of my latest novel. I will spend the next two-three days reading it and making copious notes on it before a final edit. Then it will be sent to my publisher (electronically) for their editor to give it a final check. Then it is off to... print. That won't be done on an inkjet. I refuse to pay the Amazon 70% tithe so it won't be on Kindle.
My current Laser printer is around 10 years old and getting supplies is very easy and each toner refill will print at least 3,000 pages. That alone would cost an arm and a leg on an inkjet.
Epson and Canon can go to hell on a one way ticket.
There was nothing wrong with printers and their config until Windows & especially USB based 'Windows Printers' turned up.
These spawn of satan would only work when plugged into a windows pc, with no option other than USB.
At least a decent centroids port printer once you'd set the DIP switches correctly just worked, barring paper jams which were resolved easily IF THEY EVEN HAPPENED!!!!
Glorious fan-fold sprocket fed paper, even came in multipart variety for copies.....
Oh, GET OFF MY LAWN YOUNGLINGS!!!!!!
My "local printer" is a Laserjet 1100 attached to a JetDirect box I got for free. Sure I had to solder a new power plug to the JetDirect box because it had a weird one (thanks HP!) and I needed to install a timer to cycle power once a day because the printer's power save is *too* good and it won't wake up if it's idle too long but hey, total cost of 60€ plus consumables in 15+ years, not complaining.
From my experience there are times when there is no real substitute for paper.
What it seems is that we've become better at using the technology instead of just printing stuff off - a bit like the telephone and email, where they in turn replaced many reasons to send postal letters but not all reasons.
When I upload my photographs to the local printshop or drugstore kiosk, I get prints within 15 minutes against a price that is comparable to what Epson claims for their photo prints. Minus the clogged print heads, the need to keep photo paper and so on. No, a laser is not a photo printer, but, unless you very regularly print, the inkjet is not a serious alternative.
cant see that flying in the aerospace business
We have to have a papertrail for everything we do , from goods inwards to goods delivered..... and then to add insult to injury, its all entered on our computised records system.
And then emailed to the customers if theres a problem....
And then theres the day when the printer takes it into its head to go "f you I'm on strike"
And lo, the 3lb lump hammer was retrieved and verily I sayeth unto you "That thou blessed printer, being possessed by a foul spirit, thou shall be exorcised of said foul spirit in the place of personal convayences.."
All the complaints about tiny tiny overpriced cartridges are misplaced.
Epson will happily sell you an EcoTank printer which has ink tanks, which you refill at home. They seem to clog a lot less than the ones with nasty little cartridges.- one cleaning cycle after 5 months of non use seems to be my average. And the ink costs are way lower.
Getting all wound up because a company claims a reason for ditching a product line is 'Gaia -based' is as stupid as believing in Net Zero as a worthwhile goal. The whole green agenda is dishonest lies, but apparently plays well to the public and politicians; no blame to Epson for playing along.
That's because that refillable inks are much more "liquid" than those previously used, or they would dry directly in the open tanks. In turn, that makes those inks less steadfast than older ink types. For documents with a short life they could be OK - if you need to print documents that need to be store for a long time less so.
Apple fused the Macintosh, PageMaker, a laser engine
Few people remember that was made possible by a "cheap" (relatively speaking) laser engine that Canon developed (the Canon CX) and tons of other people licensed. For a couple years, there was a dozen or so laser printers on the market, but they were all the same Canon engine underneath. I seem to recall a Byte magazine laser printer comparison where they basically threw up their hands and said "it's all the same hardware"
Even HP used it in their LaserJet. So that "reliable HP LaserJet" is a Canon.
The first laser printer I used was a Canon. LBP-II, so slightly more advanced than their first model. Base RAM was only 128k so you had to be careful about how much graphics you tried to print on a page. If it ran out of RAM it would spit out however much of the page it had managed to render so far :-)
On the other hand, in the days of primarily 80x24 text based displays, graphics was less of an issue in documents other maybe a letter heading logo or similar. In most cases, people would still be using pre-printed headed paper.
Yes! Same experience. Our default is delete any queued up jobs after 24 hours. Logs show that quite a number of jobs sent to print never actually get printed. A surprising number of people will print off multiple jobs and by the time they wander over to the printer, actually take the time to select which jobs to release rather than just hitting the "Print All" menu option.
As at least one other said, paper is great for field work.
I have ANSI D-size harness build drawings and diagrams (Visio) for a project. We will be building out the project at a customer facility in 2023. I design with a 32-inch screen, but that is mine and stays at home, and only have the laptop screen to view the PDF design output (which is essentially "dead data" already due to the export). Maybe if the customer can provide a large screen (55-inch or larger) on a wheeled stand, at standing eye height, so that we (the build team) can collaborate while we build and see it clearly enough...
...But they won't. So my solution is to run a whole stack (between 12 and 30+ sheets) off the large-format inkjet (HP) at the office I never go to, roll them into a tube, and take it with me. Then all we need is a table and colo(u)red pens for markups. which is always faster than adding comments/markups to a PDF. Putting the redlines into the next iteration of the Visios can wait until I'm back home.
Ten years later, Apple fused the Macintosh, PageMaker, a laser engine, PDF
Are you sure you don't mean PostScript (PS) ? PDF didn't come around until 1992, with PostScript being what 1985's PageMaker (and the lasers of the time) used. PDF is based on PostScript, but it is a later development.
Most lasers didn't use PostScript by default. That was normally an expensive optional extra, often not even an extra because the printer CPU (and base RAM) couldn't actually cope with processing PS. Until HP more or less created the PCL "standard" and licenced it out cheaper the PS, they all used their own propriety page description languages, often with some cheap to licence emulations, eg Epson FX or LQ. IIRC, the PostScript cartridge on some early HP lasers contained a faster CPU as well more RAM on top of the Postscript ROM. Certainly the early HP, Epson and Canon laser printers all had their own different print languages, just as their dot matrix and daisy wheel printers did, even if they all used the same Canon engines. My current Brother Laser printer still does Brother ML as well as PCL and Postscript. Licencing is much cheaper these days (or the patents expired)
Many many years ago a client gifted me a HP laserjet 1015 A4 printer. I don't really know how long I've had it but I just checked and it could be used on Mac OS9 and I'm now on MacOS 12.6. I don't think I've bothered to install drivers since MacOS X first shipped. It's very fast and economical. I've probably used 4 or 5 toners (which I can buy now at £11).
The bane of my life as an Apple tech was always inkjet printers, I recommended several clients (even domestic ones) to buy colour lasers (Brother have always been particularly good) and bin their inkjets and have never looked back.
p.s. I just saw a for sale advert for a refurbished HP1015 for £145. Way overpriced realistically, you can get the similar but WIFI enabled brand new HP LaserJet M110we for under £90, but the new model uses 'chipped' toner carts at £54 each! Hahahahaha! Way to go HP!
"but the new model uses 'chipped' toner carts at £54 each! Hahahahaha! Way to go HP!"
That's why my current laser is a Brother too. HP used to be the "gold standard" for lasers, but no more, in my eyes. My Brother Laser can emulate PCL (and PS), so all the benefits and none of the drawbacks :-)
I previously posted this in 2015, and although i thankfully haven't been to watch any similar work activities I have no doubt a lot of this still goes on.
I'm not a reactionary but after having spent a few hours in the waiting area of a day surgery unit last week (where patients did have a wrist band with a QR style code) and watching the activity I wonder if the managers have any idea about the non-obvious uses of paper files?
* Attaching a patient's locker key to her file to keep it safe during the op.
* Provision of files to different theatre teams based on where they were on the central circular desk.
* At a glance checking of a patients position in the queue by where there file was in the array.
* Ad-hoc note scribbling (and diagram drawing) in the files.
* The good old fashioned thumb flicking browsing of old notes in a very thick file by an anaesthetist (presumably visually scanning for related info rather than doing a keyword search)
* Detaching forms/pieces of paper to take away to another location (colour coded forms by what I observed)
And then there's the signing of patient consent forms; and the showing them to the patient in theatre and asking "is this your signature". They'll need something better than the things I sign for parcel delivery!
All these things *can* be supported with technology but I suspect it's not as simple as people think.
Reminds me of what I've read* about the way waitresses at US chain Waffle House arrange on-hand items (ketchup packet, sugar packet, etc.) on a customer's plate to communicate things about the customer's order to the cooks. (* I've never been to one to see it for myself.) Yay for improvised information storage/sharing!
OK, it would be nice to be rid of ALL printers, but there's not yet a substitute for paper archives (the format of a printed page doesn't need some particular technology to interpret it), so paper is going to be around for some time yet.
I've had Epson inkjet printers, and, on the whole, good experiences with them. I'd like more permanent colours, and ink that doesn't run, but ... hey!
I like the Irish Times video posted above, and agree with most of what he says.
The only Epson laser printer I ever had (admittedly in the mid '90s) was utter crap. It kept jamming on single sheets of paper, unjamming it was really hard, and the fuser unit failed after about 18 months of moderate use (not 8x5 office workload by any means). It finally died just after I'd printed my thesis.
After than bad experience I settled for OKI and Kyocera and have used nothing else ever since. with very few problems. For example, my OKI colour laser bought in 2005 is still going strong. the only problems are that  OKI no longer remember they made it,  toner is now all non-OEM and  there are no windoze drivers for it beyond Win 7.
While the comments herein are accurate regarding the cheap home inkjet machines (they're all junk regardless of manufacturer!), what's really happening is that Epson is moving up the ladder to true business-class inkjet machines. About 5 years ago they introduced the Epson WorkForce Enterprise MFP devices which are full-blown 400# business copiers running up to 100 pages per minute and arrive from the factory with 100,000 pages of black ink and 50,000 pages of color, no scheduled overhauls for the first 1 million pages, and you can get a 6 million page warranty on the printhead. They are just now introducing their third generation of the Enterprise line. Even their less expensive C579R comes with 50,000 pages of black ink and 20,000 pages of color. You can print for fractions of a penny with these.
When my kids were at school, there were occasions when their homework "had to" have something in colour. Once the younger one left school the inkjet stayed until it ran out of ink.
Ten years later, I am with the same laser printer and the third or fourth cartridge for it. I have replaced every device in the house and they all figure it out themselves including Raspberry Pis and my Chromebook!
Any grandchild that wants to do homework here is welcome but no colour printer - ever again!
The real reason...
The reason that they're dropping laser printers? Corporate profits. They can make more money selling inkjet cartridges - that are frequently running out. If you print only occasionally, don't forget those inkjet cartridges will also dry out.
I have 2 HP lasers that I've had for several years. I can't remember the last time I changed out their cartrides. The newer color model is still on its original "from the factory" toner.
Anyway instead of being innovative and researching a way to make laser printers work more environmentally friendly and lighter, it seems they are taking a step backward with older tech
It is all about colour printing. A Laser requires as many as four toner cartridges to produce bad colour prints. Ink jets produce better colour and make more money for the companies selling the little ink jet cartridges. But but but... now comes INK TANK printers which are the YUGO of our time. These bloody things clog up in mere weeks with a myriad of tubes that carry the life-giving serum to the print head. One manufacturer even recommended buying the Ink Tank an electric blanket and keeping it live on the grid at all times. What in bloody...?
There is nothing colourful about a monochrome laser but it is the most cost-effective printer. Do I need to write my contracts in colour? No. Will writing legal brief's in colour be beneficial? No. Teaching a Judge to read might help but colour won't help.
BTW, I am not exactly green but I stupidly thought that Trees were considered to be some kind of sustainable resource. You know, cut wood, grow more wood... but did I miss something that trees are now pets and should not be executed or ripped in saws which could be quite painful I should imagine?
Paper isn't quite dead yet. It's about thinking how people need to actually work with and access the information.
I do in-person training courses with practical hands-on exercises. Sending everyone the PDF doesn't work very well. Keeping notes on it, and having to keep flipping back and forth on a small laptop screen between the exercise instructions and terminal windows is slow and leads to errors. Only thing for it: print it all out so they have it next to them, easy to follow and scribble notes on. (Yes, I hate having to print out and collate hundreds of sheets and lug it all there every time.)
I wish e-ink devices A4 size were a bit cheaper. Hopefully e-paper devices will become ubiquitous. (And not have ridiculous walled garden/monthly subscription/planned obsolescence BS that paper doesn't have!)
The closest I ever saw to a truly paperless office was when I worked for the mighty Digital Equipment Corporation in the early '90s. They used their own DEC ALL-IN-1 office system (email/calendar/collaboration/documents/databases.. everything) all in one system. Like Teams but on VT320 terminals, and good (well, good for '80s tech.)
There were printers, but departments had to pay by the page for every print job, so very few people had access to print. Even if you could print, you usually had to walk a mile to the printer. (Unless you were a manager of such importance that you could justify your own small printer rather than using the huge departmental ones.)
Most of the applications were so well integrated that for day-to-day work, you almost never needed to print anything anyway. No mobiles, but DEC terminals and PCs were literally everywhere and were quick and easy to login to if you needed to access something.
Then they dumped this 'legacy' setup and went with MS Exchange, Windows etc. No more DEC VT320 terminals. No more quick easy access. Easier to print everything. Paper appeared everywhere.
They considered it a security risk too - sensitive information could be printed and left lying about.
On the old system, the system automatically locked the screen or logged you out if you left it logged in. It knew what hours you should be working, and woe betide you if you were still logged in 30 minutes after that. You would be logged out and greeted by unsmiling security, asking If you were authorised to still be in the building after you should have gone home!
It's too easy to casually print things. I worked for a large engineering firm in the early 90s too. Old IBM mainframe stuff. Yes, you could print. But there were almost no printers connected to the mainframe head-ends. You had to go to the third floor (to our IT dept.) and wait for the operator to appear with your print job. They would be left in a series of pigeon holes outside the computer room. (Some of which were locked, for super secret stuff like payroll etc!)
Bullshit. It's a greenwashing / ecowashing pretext to dump laser printers, because we all know laser printers are cheaper and more reliable in the long run, giving Epson less profits, while with ink printers you are kinda f%&$ed with unreliable printing mechanisms prone to congestion, cartridge chipset nonsense, etc. All because they want to earn more and more often.
Trees are renewable. Lithium batteries are not. The planet is already being carved up, often by slave labor, to step mine for lithium, cobalt and other rare metals to make these batteries that, when depleted, cannot be recycled--and are poisonous to the environment to boot.
Ever see a lithium battery swell as it goes bad? Ever see one birth into flame? I have. But now that they are almost rid of our being able to easily replace those bad batteries because they are being sealed into our devices, so that e can't even check if they are going bad anymore... It's all a recipe for disaster.
The lie that this is all eco-friendly is going to really sting once people finally figure that out and it's too late to do anything about it because the tooling and methods to produce renewable resources no longer exist.
We're all being conned.