Printo - not so Pronto.
I'd just finished tapping out a letter on my word processor and asked it to print out.
It wouldn't print. I got the message: OUT OF INK!
So I jumped into the car and nipped down to my local computer super-shed to get a replacement cartridge. On reaching the racks of printer cartridges I was confronted by a veritable wall of them.
I knew the make of my printer and so that narrowed the search to a batch of about a hundred or so. So I then searched through that lot for my model number.
Oh what a lot of fun I had. Some of them only cost an arm and a leg. Others are priced at only half that but still more than my printer cost originally.
After about ten minutes of this fun and still cartridge-less, I approached a wandering assistant and gave him the details.
His eyes rolled heavenwards and, with a very deep sigh, he condescended and offered to give me benefit of his valuable assistance.
Together we scanned the racks seeking out the required ink container.
It was a fruitless search. He suggested that maybe my printer was too old and that the supplier had pulled the plug on my particular ink cartridge.
PULLED THE BLOODY PLUG!? My printer isn't that old! OK so I have to sharpen it's little chisels now and again and clean the sand out of the tablet feeder, but it was working perfectly when I penultimately used it.
He suggested that I buy a refill kit and fill the bottles myself. And this I did. The refill cost only half a leg.
Back home I followed the lengthy filling instructions to the letter, which included entering various details such as warranty numbers, date purchased and inside leg measurement etc.
I waited the required length of time before turning on my printer and having another bash at printing out. There was a bit of huffing and puffing from the beast, a bit more whirring and then - along with a crude iconic depiction of a crossed out ink cartridge - the message;
THIS IS NOT A GENUINE PART!!
I clicked on the Eh!? icon and it said something along the lines of;
IF YOU PERSIST IN USING NONE STANDARD INKS, YOU STUPID MORON, I WILL REFUSE TO EVER WORK AGAIN!!!
So I switched off and slunk back to the shop.
The helpful assistant informed me that if the cartridge was "chipped" then the "chip" would have to be re-programmed.
My inbuilt Eh!? icon blinked. Could he do it for me, I asked.
No, he said. And as if to qualify his rebuff he came out with:-
"We only deal with CANONEPSOLEXMARKONHP and they wouldn't take kindly to us doing it."
Now I may be being a little naive here but why can't printer cartridges be standardised somewhat on the same lines as AA batteries?
Is there anything wrong with the notion that printers could then be designed around this Standard?
And why should I be forced into throwing away a perfectly good ink receptacle and thus add more crap to the crap mountain when it could be used again and again with just a few pence worth of refill ink (we used glass inkwells at school with Queen Victoria's image on the bottom. I was an ink monitor. Naaaar!), thus not contributing to the ever growing trash mountain?
Save the planet? Bah!