Why are printers and drivers so complicated? "I want a set of dots with this shade here, please" shouldn't need 200MB of software
Also protocols exist, but no printer made in the last 10 years seems to use them consistently
Never mind 3D printing, we need 2D printing fixed first
@cypnk Also: When printers malfunction, they should indicate what the problem is, rather than blinking one of two LEDs.
@bstacey Exactly! I don’t need a check engine light in my printer thank-you-very-much
Or some obscure error code to hunt down
@cypnk good luck with that. as far as i can tell, it's been regressing at least since i was in my early teens, and i am about to turn 37.
@brennen Printers shouldn’t be this hard. Even if they’re buried under a mountain of patents, there should be a way to distill the essential components into a workable, minimal unit
@cypnk yeah. i feel like printers are an unusually clear example of all the ways that the market slowly but irresistibly unsolves a class of solved problems.
@brennen @cypnk I miss my old Epson dot-matrix printer. It came with a manual telling you exactly what bytes to send to make it poke out dots in whatever pattern you like - a nice simple system for graphics where each byte maps to one of 8 pins on the print head, then you do a 8/72" line feed and send another lines worth of dots.
@cypnk @brennen ah, cool! Epson has this manual digitized! Go take a look at programming a printer, complete with some examples in BASIC.
https://files.support.epson.com/pdf/ex800_/ex800_u1.pdf (graphics start on Chapter 6, pdf page 58)
@deutrino i lost a laserjet... II? (III? i forget now) to a breakup about a decade ago that i still think of with great fondness. (the printer, not the relationship.)
it weighed as much as a small refrigerator, but it worked every time without fail and the output was super clean.
@brennen yeah dude I would likely think of the printer wistfully a heck of a lot more often in that case too 😂
@cypnk I hear that. 3D printers seem to be easier to setup and operate than regular ones.
One HP printer my mom had decided that the software had to be installed on drive C - which was a read-only volume on her system for other proprietary reasons.
Almost feels like the basis of a Raymond Chen post.
@rook It’s like they’re going out of their way to be terribly designed. It should be easier to actually do this right the first time, but no one seems to want to touch it
@cypnk I remember manually formatting raw documents and throwing them at lpr in DOS. Back then, that was the definition of a printer to me, something you could do that to.
I'm assuming it's the value-add features people keep using to sell printers. I mean, they sure do move a lot of printers.
@rook But at some point, there has to be diminishing returns. I think the drive now is to be able to print clearly from your mobile, but even that shouldn't need this much junk
I think printer manufacturers are building more and more generic computers that are locked down to use their software. Also, that cartridge scam must make some cash
@cypnk thankfully you can buy printers that don't take cartridges. I haven't tried hard-wired connection with mine so I don't know how well it prints with generic drivers.
But then: it is still pretty stupid to need drivers to wifi-print... I remember having a print server that needed no special drivers back in the 90s.
@cypnk OKAY YES THIS
@cypnk I actually think 3d printing is relatively straight forward compared to 2d. Run your model through a slicer of which there are many to choose from and they are all compatible with pretty much any printer. Feed the resulting file to your printer through, USB, SD etc... and it prints.. Very open and the user has control over all variables.
@kelbot There should be a way to port 3D printing tech over to 2D (I can't believe I'm saying this)
I don't know if I can do it, but I'll see if my laser cutter can be adapted into a rudimentary large format printer
@cypnk I mean just replace the hot end with an ink nozzle and you have a printer.
@kelbot I'm sure there's more to it than that :P
Actually, because it's open frame, that does make it easier to adapt it to a reservoir system. No more cartridges!
@cypnk I've seen some 3d printer concepts that double as laser engravers. Can we just engrave the paper instead of using ink? No ink to buy would amazing!
@kelbot The entire frame is designed to accommodate all the electronics so it should be possible to put it on a table and use a low yield setting to "burn" paper instead of cut. It will be very delicate though
@cypnk No smudging or fading. I haven't watched the video yet. Are they using thicker paper or is it just burning lightly enough that it doesn't go through?
@kelbot I think it's done lightly, but it's not just burning, but actual carbonizing. That may explain why smudging isn't a problem apparently
They're using an IR laser and I have no experience with those, but I'm sure that may also explain why they're able to create very specific depths for the effect
@cypnk It helps when you use business-oriented printers, or shop carefully - when I want a cheaper laser, I tend to stick to Brothers where the model number ends in 60 or greater, that basically guarantees you get at least PCL 6 Standard (the good kind of PCL 6), and you might get BR-Script (their PostScript).
@bhtooefr My Brother is about to eat it. I can feel it already, the gears are grinding and sometimes, I have to reboot it a couple of times. I dread going shopping gain when I know there are still lots of issues
Even printing an envelop is a chore because it crumples the edges
There has to be a PCL compatible open source printer somewhere down the line. This route just isn't sustainable
@cypnk I don't see where the business model is for an OSHW printer - most people just don't care about printing enough, so you have to compete on price, and when you're competing against subsidized printers with walls of patents...
@bhtooefr maybe we could crowdfund open source printer hardware with viral videos of people smashing crashed / frozen /recalcitrant / "I've decided I'm out of ink" all-in-one printers into thousands of pieces using an old Laserjet as a hammer, and then plugging the Laserjet in and printing half of Wikipedia on it before it wants toner. You know, as an example of what's doable. @cypnk
in 1992 some folk I knew set up a rave flyer printing business and they had an Apple Mac a device that looked like a big Laserjet but was a full colour offset printer (and could use any stock that wouldn't jam up the feed from low gsm paper to glossy).
Alas they funded it by "less than 100% legal means", so got raided closed down by cops and assets seized (cops got the printer via Court order and used it for crime prevention and anti-drugs flyers!)
@cypnk @calvin @deutrino @vfrmedia Hell may've been raised, but it would've been legal I suspect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_forfeiture_in_the_United_States
That's the other thing too. Even though, we're technically the "United States", we're closer to a federation of very disparate values. I expect these laws to come apart pretty soon in more states
UK cops/criminal law/drugs
they were not exactly angels tbf, quite large amounts of drugs of both class B/A found and one lass involved had also defrauded her current employer (from a position of trust in finance department) to get the startup funds for the busines
From what I recall it was a deal worked out between lawyers and the lower Courts (all within UK law) without which they would have done some years in the can..
UK cops/criminal law/drugs
But that does prove wide format printing in the field with hacked equipment is possible. I don't know if I can hack my laser cutter to do something similar, but plotter + print head could yield something useful. I'll have to do more experiments to figure it out
UK cops/criminal law/drugs
I vaguely remember she might have been expecting so it was a sort of "plea bargain" type thing to avoid having to give birth in handcuffs and then go back to jail (baby then got prison name as place of birth !!)
But indeed if such tech was available decades ago it should be reproducible now, although I'd also compare the running costs of a modern laser MFD as they can't be that much, my work has one at each site ++
printers again this time
and these MFDs are capable of doing full colour and have bulk toner cartridges (they are usually Konica Minolta bizhubs). We used to lease them but I think at least one is owned outright and we just pay for toner (which isn't as expensive per page as with the small printers), or repairs if it acts up (which is less often than the newer ones!) If anyone is really curious I could ask accounts department next week..
and that Konica definitely does at least PCL5, as I was once using it with software hosted in NL and they didn't have a Dutch driver or it would upset the RDP server in some way so I managed to redirect a "Laserjet" to the virtual printer port or whatever RDP uses and that worked...
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