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lachoy (1663)

lachoy
  chris.winters@gmail.com
http://www.cwinters.com/

I am actually Chris Winters; I am actually living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; I am actually married and have three cats. (Guess what one of them is named?) I am the "OpenInteract" guy, which could be good or bad.

Journal of lachoy (1663)

Sunday November 20, 2005
11:51 AM

Bonjour is magic!

[ #27665 ]

A while ago we picked up a Brother 5440CN (printer/fax/scanner) for Barb's tutoring business. I didn't do much research beforehand, but it had a $30 rebate! And last week my trusty Okidata laser printer died so it was time to see how difficult it would be to hook up the Brother to the network.

It has both ethernet and USB interfaces, so I plugged it into the router and followed the instructions for Windows. Followed the directions and while there was no autodiscovery it was pretty easy.

Later, Barb wanted to print from my Powerbook and I figured if XP could hook into it, surely OS X could. So I fired up the printer configuration screen and clicked add, figuring I'd have to plugin the IP address.

But it just showed up! I didn't know the printer came with Bonjour (aka Rendezvous, aka Zeroconf). I still had to grab the driver from the Brother website but it just worked.

BTW, why is it that printers need new drivers? Don't we know enough about printing technology by this point to make a handful of driver classes per manufacturer and allow the printer to advertise itself as belonging to one of them?

Posted from cwinters.com; read original

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  • BTW, why is it that printers need new drivers?
    Because the printers are brought out too soon, with still buggy drivers. It's as if the debugging still has to be completed while the printer has already started shipping.

    Am I the only one who gets tired of being a guinea pig for manufacturers? Where al we seem to get are betas?
    • I agree with you about being a guinea pig (although I think people implicitly demand it). But more fundamentally I mean this: has external interface to printers really changed in the last five years such that every new printer needs a new driver at all? Didn't postscript solve this problem a few decades ago?
      • PostScript costs money, not just in licensing an implementation or writing your own, but in shipping enough processor and memory in the printer to support it. If you want to build a printer for $20 or less, you have to put a lot of the smarts on the computer -- in the driver!

        • The Apple LaserWriter that was the first popular Postscript printer used a 68000 processor, running probably around 5 MHz, and perhaps 512 Kbytes of memory. While that huge amount of computational horsepower cost a lot more than $20 in the 80's it can be had nowadays for 2 bottlecaps and a self addressed stamped envelope.
  • Printers have essentially become disposable. People use them like Swiffer WetJets -- they work until they run out, and then they might refill it twice, and then it's ditched for something a little newer, or a little more functional, or they get a new computer with XP, or whatever. The printer company makes money every time that happens, so they make the printers more disposable every year.

    I wouldn't doubt that archetype drivers could be designed and written -- just don't expect the manufacturers to do i

    --

    ------------------------------
    You are what you think.
  • So Postscript/HPGL solved this for a large class of printing problems, the only thing is that there were many settings which those languages simply couldn't control - new features in the printers that you still want control over from the driver, rather than from a separate "printer setup" system.

    This is more prominent with photo printing, which is still a relatively new technology for home printing, where dithering patterns, colour correction, tone enhancement, etc all cannot be controlled by postscript.

    I a
  • I bought the Brother MFC-7820N recently. I did quite a lot of research, and decided to get that exact model. The Brother stuff is not the slickest on the software end, but it all works well. You got lucky!

    (Note that mine didn't work as well as yours though: the Bonjour stuff was not set up in the printer! I had to set it up manually first. Really weird, as it should work out of the box. And lucky that it was me who got this one, not someone else who never would have figured it out.)