As the resident operator of the massive printer at work, I was contacted to do a number of posters for our EHS department to promote Earth Day.  They wanted them to be 30″ x 40″ and mounted and it took me some sacrificial rollstock to get the colors right.  I had just spent a day making a large series of posters saying “I promise to not print unless necessary”.

Good to know that irony doesn’t clog the print heads.

Someone from Marketing asked me to print out a large number of Powerpoint slides at 30″ x 40″ scale.

Her: So, do you think you can have this done today?
Me: No, that’s almost physically impossible.
Her: What do you mean?
Me: You’ve asked for 24 slides each of which is 30″ x 40″ for  total of 720 inches that need to be printed and at a little over an inch a minute that’ll take 10 hours.  It’s 5 PM now and I doubt you’ll be here until 3 AM.
Her: Don’t you have anything better than that crappy printer?
Me:  It’s not exactly crappy.  The print head works by electrically charging a few hundred picoliters of ink, a few hundred trillionths of a gallon of ink, and then launching it from a moving target onto a paper surface with an accuracy of more than 1/500th of an inch.  Then it does it repeatedly in every color, all at the same time, continuously for hours at a time.
Her: But it’s so slow.
Me:  How about this, when you both gain the ability to submit work requests with a reasonable heads up time AND gain the ability to take a bullet train from New York to Los Angeles and hit a standard ISAAC bullseye located every 5 feet for the entire journey you can trash talk my printer.

I never thought I’d have to defend that shitty printer.

A house mate returned after some business travel and asked me about my new printer:

Him: How big will it print?
Me: 17″ x 22″
Him: Wow, how many colors does it use?
Me: 11.
Him: Impressive. Will it do business cards?
Me: Like standard 10 up business cards or individual ones?
Him: Individual ones.
Me: The minimum print size for this is 8″x10″.
Him: Well, I’m sure it’s very useful to you.

What printer on the face of the planet besides a business card printer will print onto an individual business card?  Franciscan Monk is the only thing I can think of or maybe a standard impact printer.  Maybe he has a foundry I don’t know about.  I’ve never been in his room.

On my previous printer, I tore through different inks at different rates and was amazed to find that light magenta, AKA pink, was the color I most consumed.  I think it was due to a profile mismatch resulting in a ruddy hue suffusing each print but I’ve had no such problem on my new massive printer which instead is nearly empty of light light gray.  Not light light black, mind you, but light light gray.  I’ve run out of an ink cartridge that most printers simply don’t have.

My standard tactic with my previous printer was to always have a spare of each color on hand and I planned to extend that to my new printer as this often saves on shipping so added 1x of each of the 11 cartridges to my shopping cart and started the check-out process then stopped.

Was it the fact that the purchase totaled over $1100? No.
Was it the fact that it would take two paychecks to pay for ink? No.
Was it the fact that I would then have roughly 1/2 gallon of ink in my house? No.

It was the fact that the purchase was large enough to hit the one year no interest, no payments limit that the site from which I buy ink was offering.  I was going to finance an ink purchase.  It was with a heavy heart but my sense of financial prudence intact that I removed 10 items from cart, swallowed the slightly higher lifetime cost of multiple shipments, and hit the BUY button.  My tub of light light gray ink is on its way, cold and alone, with no friends.  I’m fine with that.

I wanted to do a printer test but found that the printer wasn’t properly registering the light light grey cartridge which seemed odd as the printer was about as new as possible.  I checked the technical documentation, ran through the Nintendo fix of remove, blow on the contacts, and replace and decided to call Epson.  Their technical support line is open from 8 AM to midnight six days a week which seemed exceptional and so I called around 11 PM.

Me: *Dial number, rings three times*
Other end: Epson Professional Technical Support, this is Matt how may I help you?
Me: *silence*
Other end: Hello?
Me: Yes, hi.  I was surprised a… person answered.
Other end: Yeah, we answer the phones ourselves except for periods of very high call volume.
Me: Ok, I’m having a problem with my Epson 4900. A cartridge isn’t being recognized.
Other end: I remember working on developing that printer.  Isn’t she a beaut?

He then walked me through the fix.  So, the phone was answered quickly, by a person, who spoke English, who worked on developing the product.  Assuming that policy doesn’t change and the printer neither stabs me nor burns my house down, I think my next printer will also be an Epson.

My 115 lb printer was scheduled to be delivered sometime before 7 PM and as that hour approached my heart dropped thinking that I had taken a day off from work in vain.  I contacted the shipping firm who said they’d just be late and I nearly heal-clicked when the printer delivery fairy called me to ask for directions.  The printer delivery fairy in this case was large Hispanic name who told me to call him Chico.  When he got to my place, mine was the only item on his truck and I asked if mine was the only delivery.  He indicated that this was the fifth of the day and he was glad I helped him get the box out of his truck and into my house.  I picture him being like a ice cream truck but for massive printers as people run to his truck drawn by the sound of the Espon 4900 going through its self-test cycle.  You could identify where the truck had been by the sound of people shouting in glee that is somewhat muffled by the massive box.

The printer is big.  Here is me hiding behind it:

From 2011-08-18 Giant Printer

I look forward to actually printing something on it.

I’ve very enjoyed the process of printing and have spammed the walls of my workplace with prints:

Recently, I’ve had request for prints, and have also wanted to start printing bigger so I looked into a new printer and found that the Epson 4900 is $1000 off of $2500.  This is the largest coupon I’ve ever seen and after spending hours looking for the strings attached to it and checking to see if there was a newer printer queued to replace it I found a blog post somewhere that said “They do this sometimes to dick with HP”.  Sounds reasonable.

The Epson 4900 is a massive printer with a paper cartridge designed for 17″ x 22″ paper and ink cartridges big enough to store the fluids from exsanguinating a horse.  It has 11 ink catridges including two for colors I think Epson  invented (yurple and bleen).  Best of all, the cost per print was cheaper so I did the math on how many prints I’d have to make to break even.  The answer: 1700 13″ x 19″s.  At my current rate of printing, that’d only take 19 years.

On its way.

The Medical division has had a somewhat cushy existence seemingly in the employ of turning down others’ ideas under the justification of “risk avoidance” .  That padded life has recently come to an end with they lacking the simple skills to operate in an office environment.  I printed something and walked to the printer to find it out of paper.  I checked the drawer marked “paper” and seeing none walked to the central paper storage closet 150 feet away, grabbed four reams, and returned.  Upon filling the paper trays the first of the 29 jobs in queue started with a print time of four hours ago.  The whirring stirred life from the department as I heard someone blurt out “oh good, the help desk people finally sent out someone to add paper.”  Not even our VPs have someone reload the paper for them.

Not knowing how to change toner I can understand.  Failing said task can result in an inadvertent black face performance but not loading your own paper?  I think I may start making my own artisan paper to stay a step of self-empowerment above them should they learn to harness their opposable thumbs for something besides giving people the thumbs down.

The actual printers in our office don’t work yet but we found a somewhat close but hard to find printer.  My first set of directions weren’t clear enough so I provided the following:

Go up the stairs everyone uses to make phone calls because it’s the only place that gets more than two bars that used to empty into the front door of the giant freezer that had a “NO EXPLOSIVES” next to an “EXPLOSIVE-RESISTANT FREEZER” sign.  Exit the loud door and walk past filing cabinets plastered with art from Publisher 95 corresponding to the last time this “precious data” was used.  Make a left before the soul-sucking morass of cubes and then a prompt right at the giant empty koala head.  Make a prompt right before the line of coffee stains and listen for cursing, crying and grinding to find the printer.

The first few printed images came out ok but I found after printing a few portraits, this only applied to greyscale or bright colors.  Skin tones looked a spot odd as done by my quadtych of Kyle Harris ranging from ghoulish to gangrenous.  I also have a few profile pictures of Randy Booz where he looks like he recently became either a vampire or a mime.  I purchased a monitor calibrator to fix what seems to be the excessive warmth of my monitor and was stunned.  I’ve apparently been producing portraiture for some type of emo mausoleum or possibly a image survey appropriate for the color blind. Sometimes the truth hurts.

So I started printing out stuff to adorn my non-cubical walls at work but all my pictures are nature or people in stereotypical poses.  Either they’ll I ripped off issues of National Geographic or failed to remove the placeholder image from the frame.  I’ve compromised by making picture frames out of a pizza box and picking the oddest poses I could muster.