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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Print and Be Damn'd

Regular readers will know that when it comes to technology, or as we aficionados say "byte-ware", I'm first out of the blocks. The latest bit of kit, I'm all over it and having it running on my PC - only to spend the next 5 weeks desperately trying to remove  all the ad ware, spy bots and porn pages I've also down loaded - inadvertently. That's the price we early adaptors are prepared to pay so that you - mere mortals - can benefit in due course from the wide horizons and stellar vistas that technology promises.

I, of course, was one of Microsoft's first 100 million to be given access to Windows 10. It's brilliant: at least the bits I understand which luckily are just like Windows 7. I thought it was a great deal being free....I hadn't accounted for Lexmark's sheer laziness.

My printer of 7 years is a Lexmark. It worked well..o.k.except that recently bits have been dropping off. But if you wanted something printed, scanned or copied it would carry out the aforementioned tasks: albeit with some reluctance.

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded Windows 10: brilliant. Everything worked except my printer (foreshadowed in an earlier blog "Walking on Broken Glass"). I spent an age trying to get the bloody thing to acknowledge me. It steadfastly refused to connect with my new uprated, upgraded and universally acclaimed Windows 10. I searched the web for solutions. Lexmark don't support Windows 10 for my printer. I tried the help blogs and I thought I found someone who'd managed to overcome this difficulty. Some daring soul had tried to work around Lexmark's refusal to offer drivers for my printer. She succeeded! I followed her step by step instructions. Un-installed the existing software, removed the printer from the settings, reinstalled the software and the printer - three times - but it was a fruitless exercise.

Anyway, I don't use the printer that often.

A search on the Internet and I discovered the Epson L355 inkjet printer- with print reservoirs which would last 2 years with a moderate user like me! So "Click and Collect" I ordered one from John Lewis and picked it up from our local Waitrose a couple of days later - along with much overpriced groceries.

Yesterday I set about getting the L355 up and printing.

It has this thing called an Ecotank. Unlike common or garden ink jet printers this massive advancement in printing technology doesn't have tiny and extremely short-lived and expensive cartridge refills, but four small tanks which you fill from the ink bottles supplied. Think school ink and messy inkwells.

After an elaborate process one fills the four reservoirs and plugs in the printer. One presses the start button and the machine starts "charging the ink". This mysterious ritual takes about 20 minutes by which time flashing lights have ceased and the ink fill indicator beams continuously. At which point you put the cd into the computer and the screen fires up....And takes you straight away to the Epson website so you can download the latest drivers etc for Windows 10 since when they made my printer and its drivers  Microsoft were still trying to flog Windows  8.

After much huffing and puffing I managed to load the software at least 4 times without finding a way out, my desk top was littered with short cuts which appeared to have some connection with the printer I recently, and so enthusiastically bought. After double clicking on three of them, I gave up , opened a Word document and hit "Print".

The expected dialogue boxes appeared, suitably Windows 10ish and I confidently clicked "Print". Churn, churn away went the software and then "Error" - " Ink charging has not be completed" - go back to jail.

I tried it again and again. I tried different documents suspecting that the printer had taken offence to something I'd written on one of the pages. Nope.

I went on line to Epson, to chat with their helpful people. Except after 20 minutes of watching nothing happening I gave up. I unplugged the printer from the mains. I disconnected it from the PC. I  reconnected them both separately and at the same time.

The printer fired up, the start button flashed away and then shone unerringly. The little ink light shone out proudly - red? I tried another attempt at printing. The same story...

 I logged onto the status page of the printer. It was not registering any ink!

In such moments of deep despair and frustration it is sensible to step back, take a deep breath and kick the shit out of the equipment. I didn't. Instead, I opened up the settings in Windows 10 and wrought my revenge. Deliberately, with malice aforethought, I deleted all the Epson software on my computer. I then deleted the very existence of it from my settings.

No one would have known that only very recently a Epson L355 had existed.

I'm re-building my strength, shepherding my resources. Tomorrow, or the next day, I will reload that software and hope I can do it so it recognises that I have properly filled up the ink tanks and I'm not the incompetent this whole exercise has made me feel.

So there. Bring on the Internet of Things - by John Carpenter.


Steve said...

I'm already sick of the nag screens for Windows 10 that my version of Windows 7 keep throwing at me. But not enough to risk the upgrade. I'll upgrade my machine when I'm ready not when Microsoft tells me too!

Mr and Mrs said...

We still use a typewriter. Very good for producing documents.