Sunday, December 16, 2007

So much for the paperless office

Almost 12 years ago, in January 1996, I bought a then state-of-the-art printer, a Lexmark Optra R+ monochrome laser printer (16 pages per minute; max resolution 1200 dpi). It's been having a few problems of late -- the fan stalls sometimes, and the duplexer stopped working. So, this morning Carolyn and I swapped out the printer for an identical spare I'd picked up on eBay a while ago.

(I've got a ton of accessories not shown in the picture above: extra lower paper tray, the aforementioned duplexer, a dual-tray rear feeder, flash ROM for permanently downloaded fonts -- all of those were working fine, and the duplexing problem was with the main unit, not the duplexer.)

But before retiring the original unit, I checked the page count: it had printed 272,335 pages for us in 12 years. That's over a quarter of a million sheets -- over 500 reams of paper!

(Yeah, I could just give up on the Optra and get a brand-new printer, but I have this terrific print driver for WordStar for DOS that I customized very heavily for use with it, and modern printers really don't have good DOS support (or a decent built-in Courier; Courier New is way too spindly). 'Sides, I did buy a new printer not that long ago: a color laser printer from Dell -- but I much prefer the Optra for printing manuscripts, and that's something, as the above figures attest, I do a lot.)

If anyone out there also uses WordStar 7.0, and would like a copy of the print driver I customized, it's here -- just rename it to OPTRA.PDF (yeah, PDF -- "printer definition file") and put it in your WordStar directory.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At December 16, 2007 7:16 PM , Blogger Jim said...

Hi Rob,
Since I’m not on the “global warming” bandwagon I don’t have an issue with it but wow with your 272,335 pages I'm sure you recycle like most of us (and that doesn’t include the many novels you have entertained us with in print) and all the air miles you’ve loged in over the years, I wonder what your “carbon footprint” score would be? Do you ever think about it? I know your an advocate of sorts for ebooks(ebooks should be sold at the retail level imo) I'm not much of an environmentalist except for maybe over fishing, animal abuse, habitat for humnaity etc.issues like that. My "carbon footprint score" would be off the radar (you should see my paper diary going back to 1980!)LOL :-)

At December 16, 2007 8:02 PM , Blogger Dwight Williams said...

Amazing. Now that is solid workhorse duty!

At December 16, 2007 8:13 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Jim. Carolyn and I have been recycling since long before it was fashionable or convenient to do so. :)

On my carbon footprint, remember that Carolyn and I work out of our home, and often go days on end without using a car at all (our car hasn't gone anywhere since Wednesday). I'm an environmentalist from way back -- worked on a student trash-pickup campaign when I was 12, back in 1972 ...

At December 16, 2007 10:22 PM , Blogger Jim said...

"I'm an environmentalist from way back -- worked on a student trash-pickup campaign when I was 12, back in 1972"

Thanks Rob: now that's the kind of environmentalism I like. I have a real beef with plastic shopping bags littering our community. Birds can get stuck in those things. When I go to Tim's I bring my own cup (freaks out cross contamination freeks) My wife and I pick up empty pop cans all the time (about $15 bucks a week ;-)

I'm not a fan of global warming but I think we as human beings can do a better job where we live. I wouldn't come over to yur place and put my feet up on your coffee table, any more then you'd track muddy shoes into our apartment. (my wife would freak)

At December 16, 2007 11:07 PM , Blogger George (aka Dupa T. Parrot) said...

Hi, Rob,

I bought an HP 4L laser printer in '94 (I think) and had used it until recently (still works).

Staples had put large number of factory reconditioned Brother HL-5250DN laser printers on sale for $150 (USD) that normally cost $250.

This model has built-in networking and a duplexor, plus is pretty fast.

George (aka Da Boid)

At December 16, 2007 11:33 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Thanks, Dupa! Sadly, Brothers have the worst-looking built-in Courier I've ever seen on a brandname printer (they designed their own, rather than licensing one from a decent type foundry); the apostrophe is particularly awful -- and my WordStar has to use the built-in Courier, since it doesn't know about TrueType fonts. :)

At December 17, 2007 9:24 AM , Blogger shimon said...

Your average print is 1900 pages per month just for one printer... wow.. quite a lot.

I think that if you buy a new printer these days it won't last more than two years.. They are manufactured to be good only for liability period.

BTW if you really would like to become paperless I would like to invite you see my appilcation


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