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Christmas shopping, printer inadequacy

2011 December 7

Recently my mother’s inkjet printer crapped out after an impressively long run of service. (So, good job there Epson; far better than the products I bought from you ten years ago before giving up.)

So she asked for a replacement for Christmas. Fair enough. No problem right? All I want is a basic, affordable, quality inkjet printer mainly for, per Mom’s own description, “photos and recipes.” It’s 2011, this doesn’t seem like it should be out of the question.

I don’t want an all-in-one, which device type seems to be muscling out the remaining print-only products. I just got Mom a scanner last year and don’t see any reason to double up with some sort of jack-of-all-trades beast.

I would prefer to go with either Canon (which I know and trust), or Epson (which has performed admirably enough with Mom’s old printer, though I’ve not used an Epson for years). I have zero experience with other inkjets and don’t really feel like experimenting, or see why it should be necessary really, given the simplicity of my technical demands.

The one problem, however, seems to be compatibility with wireless devices. My brother and I pooled in to buy Mom an iPad2 for a milestone birthday last month, and it seems that if she’s now getting a new printer, it would be good to be able to print from the iPad.

“Yeah, sorry, no” seems to be the response of most vendors.

And yes I’ve done my research, and I know about Airprint as well as the many third-party printing apps. I also know that only a select few printers offer wifi connectivity and Airprint compatibility, and so far as I can tell none of these printers fit my other criteria, even considering other brands.

And frankly, the idea that sure, you can print from the iPad, as long as you have a desktop computer up and running and connected to the same wireless network and not in sleep mode at the time you happen to want to print something from your iPad… is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, perspective, this isn’t that big a deal, but… this is really, really one of those “why doesn’t this stuff just flipping work together” moments.

I tend to imagine that within the next six to twelve months, a lot of it probably will. Right now, I suppose, the iPad and is still probably just too new, though other mobile computers (i.e. laptops) that could take advantage of wireless printing have been around for some time now, and wifi is still lacking in a great many printers, so maybe it actually wouldn’t have mattered if the old Epson had kept chugging along for another six months. Whatever.

As is, I suppose I’m just going to buy a regular inkjet and plug it into Mom’s eMac with a USB cable just like the old Epson, and set her up with an app in case she wants to use her Mac as a print server to print from the iPad for some reason, and say good enough.

Still. Pretty unimpressive effort all in all, technology companies, given your boasting of innovation and agility and whatnot. Pretty unimpressive.

One Response
  1. December 8, 2011

    Humans are good at building better mousetraps; not so good at asking if maybe we could find a way to utilize the mice’s inherent characteristics so that they’re not really “pests” in the first place.

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