That old sinking feeling

Yesterday I got that old sinking feeling again. Just when I thought all was running pretty smoothly IT-wise, no response was the stern reply from my printer when I needed to print something urgently.

The ex-printer, an HP Deskjet, was very unhappy and still wasn’t coming to the party, even after all the usual remedies were applied. Even scientifically banging it on my desk, usually a sure-fire way of getting things moving, failed this time around.

The printer was dead and out of guarantee and, although there are service facilities available in town, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go that route. I decided that having it fixed probably wouldn’t be warranted, due to the fact that a new printer would likely be cheaper than the labour and spares for the old one.

There was the temptation to take the opportunity to upgrade to something that can print photos really well, but I decided I didn’t want to get involved in doing that at home. In, fact, I don’t do much printing, and thought that a very basic inkjet model would do me fine.

The computer store I use happened to have a special on HP Deskjet D1360s and one ended up costing me all of R399. Your first thought might be to wonder how they can possibly afford to sell them at that price, but it begins to make sense when you see that a replacement set of black and colour cartridges costs R385 at the same shop.

Just like a drug dealer who gives away free samples to new clients, the printer manufacturers want to ‘hook’ you on expensive ink; inkjet ink is one of the most expensive fluids on the planet. Anyway, what the hell, I don’t do much printing and I’ve had a lot of success with refill kits, especially when refilling black cartridges.

I got the box home and then decided to see how long it would take from picking up a box cutter to producing the first print sample. The machine was neatly packed with the instruction leaflet placed to catch the eye the minute you open the box.

The new printer’s power cable is different to the old one so I had to faff about under the desk finding and changing it. A test sheet came spitting out of the printer 34 minutes after I started, including a break to make a cup of tea.

One improvement in the install process is that it now no longer matters whether you connect the printer before or after installing the software. There was a time when connecting an HP printer to your computer before installing the software, was a very bad mistake to make.

My preliminary verdict on the D1360 is that the print quality is fine for my purposes and that, although flimsier than its predecessor, it compensates by taking up less desk space.

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