Printer shopping. My sister, Di, was in town this weekend, with her printer: a hand-me-down Panasonic KX-P4410 I bought my freshman year of college, which would make it 7-8 years old. It started jamming every time you print not too long ago, and now it doesn’t even respond at all. Looking at it, I couldn’t tell if the printer’s problem was the drum unit or the toner cartridge; a new drum unit costs nearly as much as Panasonic’s current closest equivalent printer today costs. Put a drum and a toner cartridge in it, and you’ve paid as much as you would for a new printer. So while I hate for a possibly good printer to go to waste, it’s just not worth it to spend that much on what was at the time Panasonic’s entry-level laser-class printer.
Panasonic printers aren’t so easy to find these days, so we ended up getting an HP LaserJet 1100. We found one for $285 with a $30 rebate, which isn’t bad for a printer that normally sells for $425 on the street. It’s a low-end printer, but it’s HP, so it’ll last a long time. And at 8 pages per minute, it’s got plenty of speed for what Di does–she’s not going to be printing book manuscripts with this. Driver support isn’t the best from HP these days, but it’ll work with an HP LaserJet 4 PCL5 driver, which means any new OS should support that printer even if HP is slow in supplying official drivers. I’m not in love with HP’s driver policies these days but they still make good iron, and I can keep it working for years to come.
Napster. With Napster on the ropes, the time seems to be right for this. I wrote a piece a month or two ago, without really knowing what I’d do with it. With Napster’s days numbered, it seems pretty obvious: post it now because there is no market for such a piece. It’s long so I think I’ll split it up. What is it? It’s an industry insider’s perspective on Napster. How much of an insider? Well, my interviewee is a musician, producer, and at one time owned an indie record label. His views will be a bit surprising. I’m guessing this’ll be a three-parter by the time I split it up.