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Printer Woes

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Just talk

I have an HP Photosmart Model C5180 inkjet printer that won't print blacks.

I purchased this printer 3 years ago. Given the quality of current manufacturing (just had a major dishwasher meltdown too), I suppose I should be satisfied with getting 3 years of use out of the thing.

Going on the 'Net for research on this issue with my HP printer shows that this is an ongoing problem with multiple models of HP inkjet printers, and HP (the company) has been aware of this for some time. There are about 7 screen fulls of postings and discussions regarding this issue.

Advice from fellow sufferers of the HP inkjet printer "black ink printing malaise" includes such things as "burping the printer" (unplugging and turning the printer upside down and slapping its underside), sticking a paper clip in the printer's black ink feed tubes, running the "self clean" process multiple times, burping the black ink cartridge, dismantling the printer and cleaning all the parts--and there are more suggestions, but you get the idea.

I've tried all these voodoo tricks except dismantling the printer, and it still won't print black. All the other colors print fine.

People have spent countless hours and dollars on new ink cartridges trying to solve this problem. HP isn't much help.

Curse you HP (both the company and my printer). Maybe its time for a class-action lawsuit.

Then there's my Brother HL-4070CDW color laser printer. I'm getting big magenta blotches when I print purples and blues. Probably just the third-party (non-Brother) magenta toner cartridge I purchased and put in it recently--I'll have to buy another and see if that's the fix.

Anyone want to advise me on what inkjet printer to buy as a replacement? Criteria are:
1. Does a good job of printing photos and as a home/office business printer.
2. Has auto duplex printing capability.
3. Has copier and scanning capabilities too.
4. Is compatible with Linux, of course.
5. Will last more than 3 years.
6. Isn't made by HP.

Well, this post would have been much more scathing had it not been for this wonderful warming winter sun streaming through the window as I type. Curse you sun Smile.

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epson

well, I tend to lean towards epsons myself. I've had real good luck with those in Linux over the years. I don't really have any specific model numbers because my actual experience is a couple of years old.

But if I was in the market for a new printer, I'd look around and see what was current, then google that model number and linux to see what other folks said about it.

I've always read of lots of problems with HP and Lexmark printers. Epson tends to be a bit more Linux friendly.

re: printer woes

Yes, I appreciate the input. I've been looking hard at both Epson and Canon inkjets, and trying to do proper diligence before purchasing a replacement.

Being retired (1.5 years now) and on a more or less fixed income, I can't afford to replace printers every 3 years. (Keeping up with the consumables cost is bad enough.)

And I don't have the zest any more for tearing this kind of gear apart in an effort to fix it myself. (When I was teaching high school computer science with the commensurate limited equipment repair/replacement budget, I got pretty good at maintaining and repairing computer hardware.)

Finally, purchasing short-lived throwaway computer gear is not great for the environment.

cheap inkjets != refrigerators

3 years for a $100ish inkjet printer seems above par.

Just pick up another cheap HP and be happy for the year or two of trouble free work it will provide. Inkjet technology moves along so fast (better, faster, cheaper), why would you want to continue to use something 3+ years old anyways?

I just setup a $125 HP Photosmart 6350 (5 ink colors) for a friend and it works great (and it's wifi).

As to Brother Color Lasers - there's all types of horror stories on the net about non-oem color toner cartridges causing splotches - so go back to Brother toner and it will probably be ok.

Canon

I have a Canon MP640 multifunction and I am happy with it. The drivers are 32bit only and you have to get the installer from Canon Europe or Asia. I have used the printer with Ubuntu and Debian and it prints and scans over my home network. I force installed the 32bit drivers on 64 bit Ubuntu and it worked, with Debian 64 bit it just refused to see the printer. With 32 bit it worked fine on both Ubuntu and Debian. There are RPM versions of the drivers as well, but again 32bit only.

One function I love is using it to photocopy DVD labels. Just put a disk upside down anywhere on the scanner with a blank disk in the printer and press copy and
it creates a duplicate. You can also print a label to a piece of paper (anywhere on the page) and then photocopy it to the disk, it works just as well. Makes printing disk labels with Linux a no-brainer.

Just another option to think about.

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today's howtos

Games: Dying Light - Hellraid, Bridge Constructor, Railway Empire, Making it Home

  • Techland confirm Dying Light Hellraid will see plenty of updates post-release

    Dying Light - Hellraid is the upcoming DLC that swaps Zombies for Skeletons and turns Dying Light into something of a dungeon crawler. It's exciting and it's going to continually get updates after release. Reminder: the DLC is inspired by and using some ideas from Hellraid, which was originally going to be a standalone first-person co-op slasher. Techland appear to have shelved it completely so they're making sure it didn't all go to waste this way. I'm pretty happy about it because if there's one thing I want, it's more Dying Light content.

  • The Bridge Constructor series is now up on GOG with a nice big sale

    A little building for the weekend perhaps? The Bridge Constructor series has appeared on GOG and there's a sweet discount deal going where you could get the first game free. The newly DRM-free released titles on GOG are: Bridge Constructor, Bridge Constructor Medieval and Bridge Constructor Portal. I don't think any of these games really need an introduction do they? The name along pretty much speaks for itself. Each of them has a slightly different take on what you do but the end result is the same. You get to build bridges, and watch as your glorious creations fail repeatedly. [...] I had a huge amount of fun with Bridge Constructor Portal, as the portal system definitely makes it feel different to the previous entries and to other similar such games.

  • Railway Empire gets a Complete Collection out now

    All aboard the DLC train! Kalypso Media and in-house developer Gaming Minds Studios today put the brakes on Railway Empire, with a proper Complete Collection now available. This is because the team has moved onto another game, so Railway Empire should be considered actually finished now, apart from perhaps a few standard patches that may come in future. Since release in early 2018 it's been through 13 free updates, 8 extensive DLCs spanning iconic locations such as the Rocky Mountains, Sweden and Mexico, and brought to life 83 historically authentic locomotives. Kalypso claim this collection which bundles all DLC with the main game offer up "the most comprehensive railway tycoon experience currently available on PC and consoles".

  • Quirky vehicle building game 'Making it Home' is now in Early Access

    Making it Home looks so bizarre that I feel like I just need to give it a go. You're a ladybug building a vehicle to travel from one side of America to the other. Yes, a ladybug. I did say it looks bizarre. Even the developer thinks their idea is weird. They said it's "kinda Oregon Trail meets Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts with a bit of Far Lone Sails - and a smoking crab and bear - with carrots and peas - and honey... and dehumidifiers". Are we any clearer? No but it looks a bit amusing. The point is to build a big Rube Goldberg styled contraption, then platformer all over it to interact with it and collect stuff along the way.

  • Perspective illusion puzzler THE IMPOSSIBLE is out now

    Inspired by designs from MC Escher, THE IMPOSSIBLE is a game about moving a box around crazy shapes. Note: key provided by the developer. Taking the visuals and gameplay, you could compare it directly with hocus from 2015 but Airem have put their own slightly quirky take on it, complete with a GLaDOS-inspired narrator to prod you along. Using simple controls, all you need to do is get the the box across the shape you're given onto the red square. Doing so is not always easy, due to the perspective. It's not impossible of course but it is challenging. This is not your typical shape puzzle game though, this cheeky GLaDOS sounding AI that comments on your progress also messes with you. There's some intentional glitches and errors that flash around on certain levels to interrupt you. Quite funny actually the way it's done and it's not over the top either, you're even told if you "obey the rules, you'll get Steam Achievements" in a glitched-out voice with the audio going from all relaxing to properly mysterious.

  • Len's Island plans to blend together peaceful building with intense dungeon exploration

    Len's Island sounds like quite a peculiar mix. Blending together peaceful building, farming and crafting, mixed with intense combat, dungeon battles and deep questing and exploration. We've got plenty of games that do either side of the coin with building or dungeon crawling but both together? I'm eager to see how that will all work. Even more so because of the setting and the lovely colourful style it provides. "Len's Island brings excitement and progression for many playstyles, all within a vibrant and engaging world. Catering to the hardcore dungeon-crawler fans, home-builders and decorators, explorers and completionists, farming fanatics, collectable hoarders, and people who just want to live the simple life chopping trees as the sun goes down."

  • Google adds Free Weekends to Stadia starting with Borderlands 3

    Google's game streaming service Stadia continues to gradually roll out new features, one of which went up yesterday with Free Weekends now being a thing. Plus, another round-up on recent Stadia info. I'm surprised it actually took this long. Free Weekends are a great way to trial games, and something Steam has been doing for quite a long time now. Partly thanks to demos at some point becoming more of a rarity. The thing is, for a game streaming service like this it makes a whole lot more sense, since there's no lengthy initial downloads. You can jump in practically instantly and see if you like it and play a good few hours. Then perhaps buy it.

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gets fancy new skins, networking improvements

    Valve continue to tweak their classic free to play shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The latest update improves various parts of the game and there's some fancy new weapon skins. Trusted Mode, the newer feature that's just one small part of their fight against cheating now has the "-untrusted" launch argument removed. Trusted Mode on Linux also now appears to be on by default, so you no longer need the quick fix we wrote about recently, so if you missed that you should find your CS:GO games on Linux to be a lot nicer. Valve also fixed several exploits related to VPK tampering. For collectors, a new Fracture Collection weapons case went up so you can gamble away some of your monies on their loot box system. This new case features designs from over 17 different community artists and there's even Shattered Web Knives as rare special items. Looking over the Steam Market, there's already tons on there from it so if you're after something really specific you might just be able to grab it right away there.

  • Core Defense developer 'completely blown away' by first week Steam sales

    After launching on July 31, Core Defense from developer ehmprah appears to have done quite well to the point that they've been 'blown away' by the sales numbers. What is Core Defense? It's a tower defense game, that mixes in a little more randomness than you might expect. You pick towers and upgrades from a set a cards after each wave, and gradually build up a maze to force enemies to travel through. See our previous thoughts here—it's good! This cross-platform release (Linux, macOS, Windows) managed to cut through the noise, with the first week hitting 2,546 units and grossed $20,186 on Steam. Compared with 106 units and grossed $1,144 on itch.io during the Early Access phase it did there. Interestingly, despite Steam Wishlists often being said to be what makes or breaks games, they said only 26% of sales came from wishlist conversions. They also had around 8% refunded, which sounds pretty good so overall the managed to net $17,029 before Steam's own cut.

  • Braid is getting a much upgraded Anniversary Edition releasing in 2021

    Braid, the indie puzzle-platformer from Jonathan Blow is getting a huge overhaul with a new Anniversary Edition that's due out sometime in 2021. It's something of a classic and became quite a big hit, it was also one of the early bigger indie titles to come to Linux. Sounds like it's going to be a massive improvement, which includes David Hellman returning to do the repainting. Extra animations are in, upgraded sound effects and music and so on. They explained the point was to upgrade it and not do a "Star Wars Special Edition" to change how some things were done to the story. There's even going to be a toggle to switch between old and new which is always fun to play with in a game. Developer commentary is also going to be in, with their plan to have it as the "craziest, most-in-depth commentary ever put in a video game".

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