Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

So much for the paperless office

by Rob - December 16th, 2007.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

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

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