Thursday, December 1, 2011

Set your Phaser for Stun

When we got the Xerox Phaser 8860 and I installed it I wrote a poem about the device. Like Mr Silas Wegg, I don't dip into poetry much. I'm not posting said poem, because I strongly suspect it was a bad poem.

So why did I write a poem about a network printer? Because it was a thing of beauty! It printed brilliant color and it did duplex. It actually prints from wax--the cartridges are like giant crayons. It could print files from our most difficult applications. It had routines for cleaning itself. You can take the contents of the waste tray out and write with them. It made the Financial Planning staff happy because they got to say "Phaser" a lot. Finally, I installed it myself without calling for help.

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this last bit was such a big deal now. Network printer installation is not exactly Rocket Surgery. But at the time I was just starting to learn that I was, in fact, a competent grown up. That was in 2007.

I love tools. I particularly love beautiful, useful objects. The Phaser, with it's wax printing and self cleaning falls into the category of beautiful and useful, from my point of view.

The Phaser is not doing so well these days. There are some light streaks in large blocks of color. Every time I've noticed this before I just ran it through the basic cleaning program and hoped it would get better. There's an advanced cleaning program---where you put in the number of the ink jet that's not working--but that always seemed alarming to me (what if I screwed it up?). The printer has a test sheet which prints little Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black streaks with numbers next to them. The numbers are the print jet numbers. If there is no Cyan streak next to 134 in the Cyan block, then there is probably something wrong with Cyan jet 134.

Today I tried to clean the printer and wondered why I'd found the idea of using the advanced method so intimidating previously. So I told the printer to clean Cyan jet 134. As it ground away I looked at the rest of the test page and lined up a recently printed document (so that I could see where the light streaks on the page were) If this worked I could go through and get the printer to clean each of the jets that lined up with a light streak and then the printer would work as beautifully as it had the day we bought it!

Alas no. Seeing the light streaks on the test page in after cleaning jets number 8 and 134 saddened me. There's nothing I can do for my old friend.

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