printer karate

Mikasuki-Geri Karate kick being applied to a Photodumb printer.

There are few technical products capable of winding me up quite as much as desk top printers. Firstly, I don’t know why they are even called printers, as their sole purpose for existence appears to be to print money for the makers of ink cartridges.

Then there are those overly unhelpful on-line solution centres for assisting you with your printer problems. They are invariably written in a patronising question and answer format.

Question: What appears to be the problem?

My printer masquerades under the name HP Photosmart. What genius thought that up? A more appropriate name would be The Photodumb or perhaps The Lying Piece of Silicon Junk!  At this point it is worth noting that all printers are essentially drama queens. I recently had the audacity to refill one of the ink cartridges and met with this error message when I tried to use it:

low ink warning

There are risks if you do not use the manufactures ink cartridge, but the good news is that they are excellent value for money.

OMG! You have inserted a very bad bad bad ink cartridge NOT MANUFACTURED BY US! WARNING, this action may cause your machine to explode, cause risk of fire, death or injury or kill your favourite puppy.

On clicking away the various pop-up screens with skull and crossbones headers, the menu asks if I would like to go on-line to purchase the correct type of cartridge, one which has been filled with the tears of vestal virgins born on the night of a full moon. HOW MUCH? No, I don’t want to submit my credit card, apply for a PayPal account or go to Google checkout!

I basically see printers as a symptom of what has gone wrong with the information technology revolution. I have just spent a happy hour trying to get my printer to connect via a wireless router. “Printer is off-line,” is the recurring message.
Question: Is the printer switched on?
Answer: YES!
Question: Have you tried turning it off and on again? However, even if Frankenstein’s assistant Egor himself were to throw the switch, a Photodumb printer would still remain off line.
Question: Have your tried connecting it with a cable?
The on-line help screen having succeeded in driving me beyond the limits of my medication is now flirting with me.
Answer: I didn’t think of that, but after hunting around I find a cable.
Hoooray printer is ready, but needs to print a test page!

Dyson Vac

Another product which sucks

I find my self chanting PRINT, PRINT, PRINT as the machine snatches a piece of A4 paper from the print tray and then tries to perform some kind of cybernetic origami with it. If you have ever tried to clear a print jam from a Photodumb printer, you will be aware that the most effective tool for extracting the now crumpled paper from between the rollers is probably a pitch fork or a hammer.

After much cursing and smearing of the precious fluid known as ink, the printer re-loads and tries to print the test page. In an ideal world, a one inch square colour chart would be perfect, but the Photodumb has other ideas and proceeds to print out a life-size impression of Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel ceiling. After what seems like another 15 minutes of my life I will never be able to relive, the printed masterpiece flops on to the print tray and then continues its downward journey to the floor to land butter-side down.

Igor throw the switch

Special thanks to

It’s OK, it is working, so all I have to do now is print off the document I had attempted to print in the first place!
The printer splutters into action and snatches another piece of paper from the print tray before once again grinding to a halt.
Message: There is a cartridge error! On further investigation I discover that the printing of the test page has exhausted the colour ink cartridge. Of course the document I want to print is only in black and white, but the absence of coloured ink is sufficient to bring the state- of- the- art Photodumb to its knees. Once again I am invited to go on-line to resolve my printing issues, but at this point I have had enough and quit.

Trying to connect any Photodumb printer to a Windows based operating system is like asking Osama Bin Laden to dance the conga with president Obama at a Jewish wedding. The idea is intriguing, but in reality you know that it is unlikely to happen and if it did, it would probably end up in tears.

So if you are thinking of saving the environment by not printing this message and are also the owner of a  Photodumb printer, don’t worry, the environment is in perfectly safe hands, because you are NEVER EVER going to be able to print it!

If you find your experience of printers differs from my own, or are the manufacture of bespoke ink cartridges for the print industry cartel, why not add your comments.

Useful links:

Special thanks to for the image of President Obama

To learn how to do a Mikasuki-Geri Karate kick properly

The help and support survey page for an excellent product HP Webgen

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