jeffv on 17 Jan 2009 08:58:37 -0800

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[PLUG] Happy printing news and a Google appliance

An HP Photosmart 3210aio dropped into my lap recently.
And boy did it *$#@ing hurt.

It's your stardard all in one, plus ethernet, card reader, and cute little 2"x2" display.  The second surprise was that it uses SIX cartridges. (CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta, heaven help us). I installed replacements for everything except light cyan because there was still ink in it.

It fired right up, giving me time to make a few pots of coffee while I waited for whatever it was doing while it told me NOT TO INTERRUPT it.  Usually my wife is the only one who can get away with that.  The next thing it told me was that the light cyan cartridge was out and that I had better replace it pronto, buddy, for the printer's HEALTH.

This is absolutely the first time I have ever been directly threatened by a printer.  Mind you I have been *indirectly* threatened by many a piece of computer gear but none had the juevos to come right out and SAY it.  Especially when I knew it was lying to me.

Somewhat intimidated, I installed the new light cyan cartridge, for fear that the HP Mafia might do something to me or my family.  Or that someone would drop another 3210 into my lap.

After I made a few more pots of coffee, it assured me that all of my cartridges were Genuine HP (phew!) and that it was ready to print.

I plugged the USB interface into my laptop (a fairly bright idea on my part, as I am typing this on my laptop).  Seconds later I saw the hard drive light go nuts and in under a minute, Xubuntu told me the printer was ready.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

When I clicked the print icon in the tray, the little box came up, informing me that my 3200 (same driver as 3210 apparently) was ready to print.

After I got back up, you could have knocked me over with a small breeze.  This stuff just doesn't happen to me.  I checked my clock, wondering if this was a dream but then I remembered that stuff doesn't `just work' for me even in my dreams.

I printed a test page from the laptop, which came out pretty much as I expected, except that the magentas were underrepresented.  Rather than disturbing the printer about this, I figured I'd go online and find a driver or some more info.

I learned that there's something called HPLIP - HP linux Imaging and Printing built into Ubuntu, which is how the printer got configured.  Very cool, HP.  My other printer is a PSC750 (aio), which also installed with very little difficulty, albeit not automatically.

Ignoring the magenta issue for the moment, I decided to see if it would scan.  The only thing handy was the cheat sheet from work's new Google appliance (sounds dirty, doesn't it?), so I put it on the bed, fired up Xsane, and IT WORKED.  AGAIN, IT WORKED!!  I did not have to do anything more than wait while it searched for the scanner and hit SCAN.  

I felt as giddy as a schoolgirl.

Next up, I figured I'd see what OCR looked like, as I haven't even thought about it for years.  Last time I tried it, the accuracy was laughable.  It was almost as bad as speech recognition.  The only impediment was that when I hit the OCR button, the OS complained that it didn't have GOCR in the correct directory.  Continuing my winning streak, I took a guess and asked aptitude to install GOCR, in hopes of making the OCR button considerably more functional.

Once again I was rewarded beyond my wildest dreams.  Check out the output:

Thanks for going wilh Go0gIe.
q It thc GaI m  r  , mu t nmi ng the rId's best  h engi nc  mrk hr ywr comny. ya   
am a 2 d N h i t c a n f i nd.
Sctt up ur gI M n s r!asr.
x  Fm. D sur t mk th cantenb  this DacMg to ensuu GIc mini 3 thc abm n
ta 0qte it h8n arrind in mrki ng ardcr
  men, fo IIo thg instructioM on e u)cX  i.
Be su t0 eesr ywr m  nl on the supn stc  xcgratan rs rur  tht m ca n recein Ggle supn
if y nc it.
Chk wtme nfaatan on hrtp  /IuppDr. . nnm. n . ca/cvrprie/ and I hee to canta us
h any astis or cn usi ng Me prauidN wpn cm4cl tm.
OI! yuur I Min is cantigu,  sue ta give it a tNugh test  cncauraging as m3ny uMrs 
ssi hI ta t it aut. Wete canfim y0u ' Il be v pI Nith ur rcsu ts.

Thc Gc mrni 3Jrn

Yes, OCR has certainly come a long way in the intervening years.  The only way I can think to improve it might be to have the HP Mafia threaten it a bit.  It sure as hell worked on ME.

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