Printing Out Is Hard To Do - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
3/30/2008
02:35 PM
Dave Methvin
Dave Methvin
Commentary
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Printing Out Is Hard To Do

I used to have a wonderful printer. It was an HP Laserjet III, and it lasted me through about eight years and three Windows upgrades. Its black-and-white toner produced beautiful, sharp, smudge-free output. Eventually, though, it wore out and went to that great recycle bin in the sky; I had to face the loss and look for a replacement. That's where the trouble started.

I used to have a wonderful printer. It was an HP Laserjet III, and it lasted me through about eight years and three Windows upgrades. Its black-and-white toner produced beautiful, sharp, smudge-free output. Eventually, though, it wore out and went to that great recycle bin in the sky; I had to face the loss and look for a replacement. That's where the trouble started.Since then, I've been through four printers, all of them ink-jet models, but none of them have been abandoned because they broke. I took the first one out of service because its parallel port interface locked up the computer for about a minute whenever I would print. The next one lost its stripes because I could never get a reliable set of drivers. Then I moved to a multifunction printer, but its feed-through scanner turned out to be poor. Also, that printer constantly generated noise in the speakers, so I had to keep it powered down except when I actually wanted to print. Finally, I recently got a flat-bed multifunction printer that works decently.

I don't do a lot of printing nowadays, but when I do it seems even more destined to fail than when I had that old Laserjet III. This weekend I was finishing up some work on our taxes and needed to print out some forms. I had been editing the PDF forms using Foxit Reader on my Vista notebook PC. The first time I try to print, Foxit Reader just hangs for about a minute without any error message. On a hunch I go up and find that her Mac is sleeping, so I wake it up. The second time, the Mac complains that the print queue software has crashed.

The ability to print from a PC to a Mac was a feat in itself. Several months ago we actually were able to get the Vista notebook printing to the Canon printer connected through a Mac, but I wasn't in the mood to retrace those steps. If you're trying to reproduce this miracle, just be aware, for example, that you may have to re-enable UAC in order to set up new printers.

I decided to copy the files to my desktop XP PC and print from there. My XP desktop computer doesn't have a connection set up for that Mac printer, but that's fine because I had my own printer all ready to go. I happened to have Adobe Reader, not Foxit Reader installed, but they're just PDF files, right? Wrong. When I opened the PDF files with Adobe I got a few warning messages about document features being disabled, but they looked OK on the screen so I printed them. But the printed versions showed the most bizarre thing I'd ever seen. Every digit was one character higher than the value actually in the document. For example, 388 was 499, and 192 was 2:3 (the colon character follows 9 on the ASCII chart).

Finally, I was able to get the documents printed by installing Foxit Reader on the XP desktop and printing from there. Sure, I could have tried to install the printer drivers on the Vista notebook and print from there, but what are the chances of that working? I'm not even sure Vista drivers exist for this printer.

I wish I could say this was an exceptionally bad day for printing, but it was actually better than many days. The puny little paper tray actually held the four sheets of paper I needed, the ink cartridge didn't go dry in the middle of the page, and there was no paper jam. Typically, one of those things seems to happen each time I use a printer around here. That's one reason why I don't tend to do a lot of printing. I should have fixed that Laserjet III, I bet it has Vista drivers.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll