Out with the old…

Well, I finally got around to checking out my new laserjet printer today.  And I didn’t know this… but “LaserJet” is a trademark owned by Hewlett Packard.  Meh.

Well xerox my kleenex!

So far I’ve printed only a test page from Ubuntu and a test page from Windows XP, but they look good.  Now, if it doesn’t break down on me before 5 years is up I’ll be happy.  If it lasts me 10 years, like my HP 722C inkjet, I’ll be ecstatic.  Positively rigid with excitement.

I just parked that venerable printer in the attic.  And I brought down my 11 year old Mustek 1200 III EP flatbed scanner so I could use it again… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s an instance where Linux is vastly superior to Windows.  Here is what installing the printer consisted of in Windows:

  • Inserting software DVD
  • Accepting HP licensing agreement and installing 200MB driver file
  • Connecting USB cord to printer

That was actually the easiest printer installation I’ve ever done under Windows.  No crapware came bundled with the printer, as it did with my last HP printer.  I didn’t have to remove a “registration” reminder from my startup programs or uninstall another useless installation of Adobe reader.

And here, for comparison is what installing the printer consisted of in Linux:

  • Connect USB cord to printer

Yes, that’s where Linux shines.  A coworker of mine told me recently she was given an HP combo printer/scanner/copier/fax machine.  It was supposedly worth over $1000.  She wasn’t able to find the software to install on her Windows PC, so she couldn’t use it and threw it out.

The worst thing about that is that she has a partition with Ubuntu just waiting to sink its teeth into a good combo printer/scanner/copier/fax machine.

Oh well.

So, on to my 11 year old Mustek 1200 III EP flatbed scanner.  It predates USB.  It’s parallel port.

And the driver CD I have is for Windows 95/98 and (helpfully) Windows 3.1.  Mustek did release a Windows XP driver for it, which I know because I had that scanner hooked up to my old music computer for a matter of days just before it died.

So now my old scanner is hooked back up to my old computer… my very first PC.  It missed it, I could tell.

Now here’s an instance where Windows is vastly superior to Linux.  Here is what installing the scanner consisted of in Windows:

  • Connect scanner to PC’s parallel port
  • Boot computer and insert Mustek installation CD
  • Agree to licensing agreement and install drivers and other software
  • Reboot PC (a must with Windows 98)

And here, for comparison is what installing the scanner consisted of in Linux:

I didn’t install the fucking scanner in fucking Linux because there ain’t no fucking Linux driver for my fucking Mustek 1200 III EP flatbed scanner.

Seriously, I’ve heard people claim that Linux supports every piece of hardware out there.  Bullshit.  My scanner is not supported!

And what a majestic machine that old Mustek is.  It’s SLOOOOOOOOOOOW.

How slow?

But it works.  And I only need a scanner rarely.  Not a scanner darkly.

Now… using my scanner in Windows 98 on my first PC brought up an interesting issue.  How do I get the scanner images from that PC to another one?

I have IrfanView installed on that thing, but the computer is too slow to be using it effectively.  And since I’ve disabled the internet connection for security reasons, I can’t network that thing.

Well, I booted up into my Linux drive on that PC and found I could just access the Windows drive and copy the scanned images to the Linux drive, or a connected USB flash drive.  Windows didn’t support USB flash drives until Windows 98 SE, which is not the version of Windows 98 that I have installed.  I actually have Windows 98 SE somewhere in a box of miscellaneous computer stuff.  One of these days I should install it on that PC and give it a whirl.

But I digress.  That method of rebooting and transferring to USB flash drive is a little too slow and cumbersome.  So I thought I’d install the CD writing software I got with my CD writer, the one I paid $700 for when they were brand fucking new.

And I remembered an old feature of that drive that I never actually used.  You can “format” a rewritable CD in such a way with that software as to make it much faster than burning a CD would normally be.  I tried it with the sample scan I made, a 627KB jpeg, and it appeared nearly instantaneously on the disc.  I rebooted it to see if it would be available from Linux, and zoy and zoy again, it was.


So I now have the use of my old scanner, and a printer that has worked flawlessly 100% of the time.  Since I’ve only used it twice, that’s less impressive than it sounds.

Looks like everything is good.

Oh wait, I just learned today that my external slim DVD drive is busted.  FUCK!