51 thoughts on “The Dark Object Has Arrived

  1. The basement isn’t far enough. Your daughter’s computer presence will undoubtedly find it, and soon you will find her wearing custom printed iron-on t-shirt logos of unicorns dancing with ponies dancing with Obin.

  2. Just imagine Scalzi’s basement for a moment. You know, where he’s banished EVERYTHING HE FEARS.

    Everything.

    Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to get back.

    How’s that sanity score holding up?

  3. Did I miss something? Why the aversion to printers? I need to buy one. A cheap, crappy one that only does black and white.

  4. I’m not sure that casting it into the black prison of the basement where it will surely hatch its dark and sinister plans is the best option. You should get one of those rooms where the light is set up so that no shadows are cast. It’s the only way to contain it.

  5. Hmm..Basement printing…

    Hope your basement is better climate controlled than mine.

    High humidity= sticky paper= printer jam ( unsupervised at that) = Major PITA…

    Good luck.

  6. @Nicole #6.

    the HP 1150 is similar to the HP 1200 that I have. The 1200′s been a workhorse and very cheap to run ($140 in toner over 8 years).

  7. Wireless printing is absolutely more than worth it. The convenience factor is unbelievable. Its a pity that there aren’t many wireless laser printers (that scan too!).

  8. Just wait until it refuses to print, even in black and white, until you’ve replaced the magenta cartridge. There’s a good host…

  9. I feel a little weird calling a printer that plugs into a wall “wireless.” I know what the box *meant*, but it’s not like it sits on a charger for a few hours each day, then goes off around the neighborhood Pinocchio “no strings on me”-style printing things.

  10. Now is as good a time as any to bring up this Oatmeal comic; he sums up a lot of my feelings about printers quite well! Here’s hoping yours wasn’t sent from Hell to make you miserable. ;)

  11. Oh, I get it! It’s an exercise program! Run downstairs to put a page on the scanning glass, then run back upstairs to click “Preview,” then back down to straighten the page, then back upstairs to click “Scan,” then back down to put the next page on the glass…

    You’re going to need a cake a week by my estimate.

  12. Ah, the basement, home of all things dank and dastardly.

    If you only use it for black and white printing, go out of your way at least once a month to print something in color to keep the printheads clear.

  13. HP and wireless? I weep for your soul, which is about to be crushed.

    Just remember, switch it from “evil” before you start using it. Oh, and have fun configuring the wireless!

  14. Ah yes, the combo printer/fax/scanner/copier. The perfect modern representation of the Swiss Army Knife engineering fallacy: the more things you design a device to do, the fewer things it does well.

  15. W: Windows7 Login Username:
    JS: JScalzi
    W: Password:
    JS: ********* (baconcat)
    Start-Control Panel-Printers etc-Add a printer
    W: Welcome! ….
    JS: (click next)
    W: Local printer
    JS: (check)
    W: automatic Plug and play
    JS: (check)
    JS: (click “next”)
    W: Windows is searching….




    W: HP OfficeJet 4500 Wireless detected.
    W: Name: Cthulhu
    W: Location: My Basement
    W: Comment: The more you print, the more you go insane
    W: Click “next” if you want to use defaults above.
    JS: (clicks next)

    W: Print test page?
    JS: Yes.

    W: Someone is about to knock at your door.
    W: Do you wish to answer it?

    JS: uhm….

    W: Do you wish to answer it?
    JS: Sure. Yes. (click yes, click next)

    door: (knock, knock, knock)
    (Scalzi answers door)
    (conversatio ensues)
    (Scalzi returns to keyboard)

    W: How is Inspector Legrasse doing?
    JS: He’s doing fi… hey, how’d you know who it was?

    W: Please enter number of nearby children Inspector Legrasse reported missing:
    W: 1, 2-3, 4-8, 8 or more

    JS: …

    W: Please select a number.
    JS: he said 5, so (clicks 4-8), (clicks next)

    W: There are updates for your printer and drivers.
    W: Do you wish to download them?
    JS: (clicks yes)

    W: Connecting to server at 47° 9′ S, 126° 43′ W…
    W: Searching…

    JS: (yanks power cable from outlet)

    W: Searching….

    JS: (hits control-alt-del)
    W: Server found.
    W: Downloading…

    JS: (Unplugs PC. Takes PC and printer into back yard. Shoots both. Buries them. Goes back in house. Opens a can of beer. Drinks.)

    (Kristine comes down into basement)

    KS: How’s the new printer?
    JS: Uhm. You know, I was thinking. Maybe I could just do all my SFWA work on your iPad.
    KS: Sure, you can have mine.
    JS: Really? (whew) OK.
    KS: Yeah, mine is acting weird, so maybe time for a new one anyway.
    JS: Weird?
    KS: Yeah, it started printing everything in klingon or something.
    JS: Klingon???
    KS: Yeah, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”, or something….

    (zoom in on John’s wide-eyed expression of horror. Cue ominous music)

    dun dun DUUNN <== ominous music is ominous

  16. ben@12 – I just had my Kodak printer do that to me. Not cool.

    I totally agree with John’s aversion to printers. I only bought the one I have to make my daughter happy. Then she used all of the color ink in a month…

  17. it’s a decent printer we have one sans the wifi (we use cups and smb) our version ejects the paper on to the floor.

    The inkjet cartridges can be refilled

  18. It’s wireless nature will gain its revenge upon you for its basement jail, by never working.

  19. Brian@9 is right on. Printer paper and basements don’t go well together.

    As far as that goes, I got a honkin’ Laserjet 5n for free about 5 years ago, and I still haven’t used up the toner cartridge in it yet, so I’m living the good life.

    The wife likes it because it also had the 11×17 tray with it, so she can print sewing patterns and has somewhat less taping together to do than with 8×11.

  20. Yes, they are a pain to setup and keep setup. But the 6500 we have with wireless makes a household of laptop users much happy compared to the thumb drives or cable connections to the old printer.

    Ours lives by the router though…No basements on the gulf coast.

  21. Any chance you purchased the printer from Quebec ? (noticed the French writing on the box).

  22. norayr@30 – Nah, it’s just that, after many, many decades, corporations have finally realized that the packaging they use in Canada, with the English and French writing, can be used in the US, too, with only a few small modifications.

  23. I’m so jealous of the WiFi ability. We’ve moved all the computers upstairs but the printer is stall down in the computer room in the basement. Whenever we need to print, I have to drag my laptop down there but I don’t do it often enough to make it worth buying a new printer…which means I have to keep dragging my laptop down there when it does happen….

  24. I just got this exact printer for our household a few weeks back. On whole, I’ve been pretty happy with it — it’s quiet, fast, and looks fantastic. The only glitch I’ve had is that on some of my Windows 7 systems, the printer doesn’t show up in the Printers control panel applet even though I can select it as a printer from the applications.

    That, and the HP Web Print component is intrusive.

  25. I think you can hook a printer to a wireless router and print via wi-fi, IF your laptop is so inclined.

    Pretty sure I could do it with my Macbook and the Airport router I use for my internet connection. I don’t print much so it’s no big deal to just plug the cable in once in a while. But I’d never buy another ink-jet. Laser rules.

  26. An HP printer/copier/scanner/fax machine? You have my sympathies, ours nearly drove us insane and we fear to use it now. First it stopped scanning and then it stopped working. We took it back in and got a new one and we tried for a whole week to install it but no matter what we did we couldn’t. It just wouldn’t read the damn thing. It took long chatting sessions with some poor support guy in India and weird instructions to actually get it working. I hear it’s a common problem, HP printers going crazy.

    I wish you luck. The basement sounds like the proper place for such an instrument of pain.

  27. The basement, huh? What else do you store down there? Anything the printer can use for a hostage – like the Coke Zero ™ cases?

    Hope not.

  28. My HP printer is awesome. I’ve had it for years now and I’ve never, ever had any issues with it at all. It’s worked perfectly. It was cheap and the ink for it was cheap. Had a Lexmark once that was Hell. It only lasted about 2 months and the software was not user-friendly. Also had an Epson once. You had to clean it and reset it about once a week or more. The print quality was fine, but you wasted 10 sheets to get to that one good-quality print. My current one is the 4-in-1 5610xi. I mean, I’ve dropped it, banged into it, gotten it majorly dusty, and it still works like new. I even print photos from it, although it wasn’t made for that, but you can’t even tell they were from an inkjet printer (I’m a professional photog, so I’m really, really, picky–usually take my stuff to a good lab, but have done them from home last-minute). However, I would say that any printer needs to be in a temperature-controlled, humidity-controlled environment. Don’t usually have basements in South Texas, though, so mine is in the bedroom. Good enough place as any, I guess.

  29. Hi,
    People change, both in attitudes and life necessities.

    I *do* recall some flaming blog posts about you NOT owning a printer in the age of internet information.

    You argued forcibly why you dont have one.
    Funny, major SF journals now accept email submission and you own a printer.
    … and that is Irony for you…

  30. I too am a bit puzzled by the hatred towards HP printers. I currently own a 5610 and a 4500 (same as John’s new model, but we decided to save $50 by not getting wifi) and both have been serving our household quite fine. I believe the printer before the 5610 was also an HP and only got replaced because I was rearranging furniture and accidentally crushed it.

  31. Mental Floss @31: I believe it has something to do with NAFTA, too: now it’s more economical for companies to design products and packaging that comply with laws in both US and Canada (and Mexico, too — some packaging is tri-lingual). I noticed that the French labeling started appearing very frequently after NAFTA was passed.

  32. Was wondering why a printer sold in central ohio would come in a box with french text on it, ohio being not notably a french-speaking place, but the canada/quebec comment up-thread sorted that.

    Still wondering though why the printer is “without son”?

  33. “Without wire”. The English “Son” is “fils” in French. The French “fil” means “wire”. Notice the trailing “s”.
    As a bonus, “fil” is approximately pronounced “fill”. As for “fils”, it is pronounced like “fiss”.

  34. Get ready to mortgage your only child to pay for inkjet cartridge refills ;)

    As far as I’m concerned, the whole inkjet printer biz is a giant scam. Laser printers offer a remarkably lower cost-per-page. But of course, unless you spend the big bucks on them, they’re not as good at things like color photos (which may or may not be a concern).

  35. I’m curious about its provenance… Did you buy it in Canada?

    Usually the way we know things at the Bargain Shop here came from the US is because they don’t have any French on them at all.

    Or Spanish instead of French.

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