Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Computer Irritations

One would think that this topic would have--well, not gone away, as there is always something new on the horizon to irritate the computer user, but perhaps temporarily lost its pertinence. After all, I am sure everyone would rather look at the photos that I haven't yet had time to prepare for the internet.
However, one of my first tasks this morning was going to be to print out my conference paper so that I could do some real cutting and pasting. Mentally, one can only do so much of this on the computer. Even those of us who have grown very accustomed to editing on-screen (remember all those discussions at parties as to how one can really only use the computer for late drafts because a person can't think and type at the same time, or however the argument went? or was that just the kind of party I frequented, with 50-90% writers?), now and then it's still necessary to print and eyeball several pages at once.
Despite jet lag, I did wake up at 7:00. My upstairs neighbors are always helpful in that regard, as that's the hour they jump out of bed (apparently from a great height and with some sort of weights attached to their feet) and begin dashing about.
I'm afraid I did not actually get out of bed at that hour, however. Some interesting dream or other called me back and I did not look up again until 10:30. By the time I had washed, made coffee, and started a load of laundry, it was 11:30.
It was then that I discovered that my landlady's printer, a perfectly normal inkjet, does not connect to the new laptop. For reasons best known to Toshiba, the thing does not have a parallel port, but assumes that all printers are now USB.
While this is resolvable (presumably I can go to Datart and buy a parallel-to-USB connector), it is deeply annoying.
While I daresay that all new printers have a USB connector (or perhaps Firewire or infrared), people do not generally buy a new printer with anything like the frequency that they buy a new computer. One buys a new computer because the old one dies or is hopelessly out of date as regards its capabilities. One buys a new printer primarily because the old one has broken. A good printer will normally work for many years. The only significant obsolescence factor has been that most of us had good reason to abandon dot-matrix (a technology which I am sure still has its uses), and that laser printers are more cost-effective than inkjet.
I do not, for example, plan to replace my own printer anytime in the foreseeable future. It is the only printer I have ever owned, as for a long time I got by using other people's printers (thank you Milt and David!). It is a printer normally found in offices due to its speed and durability, and it cost me all of a rather large tax refund. Its tray holds more than 500 sheets of paper, which I regard as the minimum one can really live with (how do the rest of you tolerate those tiny paper trays?). This printer has such a vast toner cartridge that it took at least five years to exhaust the first one (compare that to your $25-per-week inkjet habit).
No, I will not be replacing that printer any time soon short of natural disaster, probably not even if I bought a color laser printer. I will be glad to see it when I get it out of storage, and I suppose I will just use an adaptor if I need to print from the laptop.
It will, however, take a chunk out of my rather short day to trek over to Datart to get an adaptor. This is assuming, of course, that Datart actually stocks such adaptors. Datart is the best electronics store I have encountered in the Czech Republic (I am not sure it even has competitors), but each branch is different. Some are more focused on hair dryers and washing machines than computers. The one near me is not bad on computer supplies, but it cannot compare to Compusa or Fry's.
It is true that I could be making some sort of edits to my paper at this very moment, even without printing, but I would rather rant while drinking my coffee than re-examine something I already examined quite a bit on the plane (when I should have been sleeping, of course).
So there you have it. When I finish my coffee I will venture to Datart.


Blogger Kristen said...

Oh dear. Brian's got "our" monster laser printer. Before that we used my 12-year-old Apple laser printer (with many adapters), which we finally had to give up because they stopped making toner cartridges for it. I think I purchased four cartridges over its lifetime. I understand your pain! I tried to go paperless in Russia, but sometimes was forced to go to an internet cafe or the library (actually more expensive than the fomer) to print something out because my brain simply wouldn't process the onscreen stuff efficiently.

September 14, 2006 4:57 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

I'm making surprisingly good progress without printing, but it would be a lot easier if I did print. I would have to keep making PDF files and then printing those, however.

It is now a workable draft, one that could be presented without embarrassment but which could probably use some restructuring.

September 14, 2006 11:15 AM  

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