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December 10, 2004

Back in the Groove

I've been neglecting the blog ; twas all covered with spammy weeds when I arrived this evening. But now, a quick dose of paraquat has sorted all. If you've commented recently, there's a chance you got torched along with a bunch of people quoting Shakespeare and selling stuff I don't want.

Meanwhile, Tibs writes to tell me that my previous entry is quoted in the pages of MacUser. I don't think this will be sufficient to make me buy the mag or anything, but they did give the URL, so if you're from MacUser then welcome.

Christmas approaches like the bottom of Wile E. Coyote's Acme Cliff. We have fallen into a pattern. Each morning I rise and walk to the post office to queue up with the previous day's batch of 'you weren't in when we tried to deliver a package' cards. Each evening I arrive home and swear at the colour printer while trying to print Christmas cards.

<neepy interlude>
There is so much that is good about this printer (It's a duplex printer that costs less than most duplex units, and it has very cheap consumables). But. The stock, shipped driver from HP appears to simply Not Work Properly in OS X. Symptom is randomly stopping in the middle of prints and abandoning them, and it seems to be quite common. Not just occasionally, but every time it's asked to print a graphics intensive document longer than a page or duplex. So yesterday, having struggled for a good while, I downloaded Ghostscript and HPIJS. This driver works. But it has an odd feature where it autodetects the paper being used. The card stock I'm using for the Christmas cards is slightly shiny, and the autodetect (I think) reckons it's photo stock, tips too much ink onto it, and muds up the picture. Randomly some of the time.

Luckily the ink is so cheap for this printer that I'm reasonably sanguine about it: to give you an indication, about 25% of the card is covered with a monochrome lump of pink. I've printed 50 sheets, and the magenta cartridge (the half-size one that came with the printer) has reduced by about 10% -- in other words, I've used about a pound's worth of pink ink on my cards. (I printed 200 text-and-illustration cards for friends last weekend, with lots of throwaways because of the problem described above -- they'd been quoted �80 by a copy shop, and I used �3 worth of card stock and hardly enough ink to bother with).

If this had happened with my first, grotesquely expensive, inkjet printer I would be beside myself with distraction.

Meanwhile the option to select any number of copies other than 1 is greyed out, and I'm completely baffled.

I want to tell you about all the cute Christmas present ideas we've had, and fine products we've discovered. But I think you'd better wait till after Christmas so as not to spoil anyone's surprise. We have only one present left to buy, and we've designed one card and commissioned a second (thanks, Sue!). We have five separate social engagements this weekend, and more the next. We are seeing nearly all our close relatives, at locations all over England and Wales, in the next month. Not to mention quite a few of our friends.

We have tickets to see The Polar Express in IMAX 3D as a Christmas treat, and a definite plan to get to Aladdin at the Hackney Empire, which surely must be the only theatre in London without online booking of any kind, not even through third parties.

And none of that is what I wanted to write about. What did I want to write about: music. But that will have to wait for another day.

Posted by Alison at December 10, 2004 01:30 AM


It's an HP Business Inkjet 1100d. The D's for duplex, there's also a DTN that has network and a decent sized tray, and it's not very expensive either.

Like my previous colour inkjet (Epson C80), it's a 'business plain paper' inkjet -- although it can do the full range of inkjet stuff, it's really designed for general business printing, text, graphics, the odd photo in a newsletter, web printouts, rather than as a photo printer.

Do not believe the 'ink out' warning -- it gave it at 20% on the black (the only cartridge I've managed to finish so far!) and continued to print many many more pages after that. When I say 'not a photo printer' it's perfectly servicable for just everyday photos, giving to relatives, sticking on the fridge; I don't think you'd use this to print a photo for framing though.

My old HP LaserJet was built like a tank; this feels relatively flimsy by comparison but not flimsy by comparison with other inkjets.

It has eight consumables; 4x CMYK printheads and 4x CMYK ink tanks. The colour are about 25 and the black's slightly cheaper, but because the ink can be changed separately from the printheads it's less expensive that printers that build this in. It ships with half-sized ink tanks but these have still lasted me a good while.

The HP driver clearly doesn't work properly for some people -- I'm now using the CUPS/HPIJS driver and it seems fine.

Posted by: Alison Scott at December 10, 2004 08:05 PM

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