Friday, October 19, 2012

aug(de)mented media realities, further adventures

aarrgghh!! and that's not my final word! Let me calm down. You know the artist must do what he/she does. Paint, cut, sew, photog, dance, for me it's draw on the PC then print. Do you think this stuff is easy? Does the machine really do all the work? HA! Then double HA! and aarrgghh to boot!

Ok we got a regular all in one HP printer. Those little ink cartridges go fast and the rubber gripping rollers in the paper feeder do too. The most popular throw away hell you can't fix it either products on the market are microwave ovens and desktop printers. There is not enough wrong with the HP printer to pitch it but it is nearing EOL. My Epson is my workhorse these days, that thing will print on a peanut-butter sandwich (ooh, don't make me clean that!) I've bought a continuous ink supply for it. Because being the artist and printing things with total ink coverage on a page, the little standard ink cartridges just don't cut it.

So what's the beef that's turning me to jerky? Software is the matter and being the Open Source guy that I am, I'm not finding ease. First printer drivers from the printer manufactures are usually MS Windows compatible. If they have a Linux version, it was produced under great pressure from a non-lucrative marketing sector. Yes and thankyou, it is a blessing and a favor. Then the standard Linux developed printer system is modular, complex and pieces are missing to make it a no brainier. Yeah, there is Fooprint and CUPS. Show me one interface to cover over all the various elements that make printing work, let me push the print button.

In MS Windows you have your drivers and the various applications that guide you through printing, mostly desktop photo formats. The arts apps like Adobe this and Adobe that probably do fine. Heck, GIMP and Inkscape do fine in MS XP. I do admit, you have to hammer the MS print app to fool it into printing custom sizes. In Linux the communication is not so clear with the printer. This depends on the printer. My HP did have a Linux driver, but the Epson, eh eh! There is one for some models but not for mine. So if you really need "that printer", do your through homework. The Linux printing system covers many generic printer functions across the board. There are quirks that are brand specific that this general print system can't deal with. The biggest is ink supply monitoring. My Epson has two black ink carts, If one goes down the printer goes down, even if the other cart is full. Refilling and resetting is an arcane science. Your clothes will look like you are painting instead of printing.

My most secret weapon to printing? Write down what you did on a successful print run. Computers are good at repeating processes. Tweaking and adjusting all the time will corrode your memory, so write the good ones down. As usual I didn't divulge any useful or useless information, but if you find some enlightenment, it's probably you. Your humble Linuxville guide is but the paper between the rollers of life and an inkjet squirt (that's so giclee!).

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