The Printing Obituary

I wrote a piece recently, Through The Keyhole, letting you into the private life of the Mexile. Ok, it was more a limited and selective peek. The focus was ‘the workstation’. But there was a bit I missed. A piece of equipment that sits underneath my laptop. That’ll be the printer. Every workstation has a printer. Mine is an Epson R800. And a fabulous printer it is too. I hinted in that article at workstations I’ve had in days gone by, specifically before I left for Mexico in 2005. They were cutting edge work stations. I bought the latest, fastest and most expensive computers. The Epson R800 is a relic from that time.

I spent a fortune on it. I spent even more on the inks and professional grade paper. This was a serious printer for pro photographers. Borderless A4 prints of archival quality that would last 80 years plus. I used to print out hundreds of photos that were taken on my holidays, and show them to anyone who didn’t have the force of will to say no. They were carefully placed in black bound folders within protective sleeves.

I still have all those photos. They’re safely stored in a big drawer under the bed. Where no one ever sees them. That’s why I stopped printing them. Besides the fact I couldn’t take my printer to Mexico with me. What’s the point? I discovered Flickr, which stores my photos in nice albums. But not under the bed. They’re on the web, for anyone to see, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. They’re even there on Christmas Day. In fact, not even a government shutdown prevents you from going to see them.

The printer is dead. Or so I would have thought, back in 2005 when I started out with Flickr, It turns out that photographic home printing is dead. That was before the days when you’d print out you National Express and train tickets, or concert tickets. I print out quite a few of them. So I went to buy some ink for the old R800, to get some low grade use out of it. Amazon reminded me just how much the 7 or 8 cartridges cost. A whopping £92 for the full set.

Screw that, if you’ll pardon my French. In the photo below, you’ll see a new shiny black printer next the classier looking R800. It’s another Epson. It won’t do much of a job printing photos. But for tickets and documents, it does just fine. It’s WiFi too, so no cables. I have even downloaded an app for my phone and can print from documents on my phone, or even scan images to my phone. What a wondrous device.The price? A measly £49. With a full set of three ink cartridges. Barely more than half the price of ‘inking-up’ the R800.

Replacement cartridges are less than a tenner the set too. Technology moves on. In this case, less is more. Less cost, less cables, less fuss. The new printer hammers the final nail into my life before Mexico. The last relic of that period of my life gone, forever.

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1 Comment

  • My beggar list has a ‘traveling’ printer on it; something that will fit in the computer bag with the computer, a bit of paper and still not weigh as much as a sack of cement. The small printers take thermal paper and the ‘regular’ paper printers are pretty bulky. A quest before we snowbird this year. I missed having a printer the last few trip south.

    On old photos: I have many thousands that are starting to fade; on rainy days I take the good ones out of the albums and scan them to a thumb drive. My facebook friends get a kick out of the old times.

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