First a small rant
(Sorry, but I can't help myself). I found out that some class-less person pretending to be a hacker evidently broke the unlock code of Peter Neilson's neat new PM View 2000 that I was mentioning in the last issue. Now c'mon folks, this is low life -- Peter has really done a neat job on this program, has spent a lot of time on it (obviously, by the results), and is about the last of the developers of native OS/2 graphics programs -- remember the fate of ColorWorks, JView/Embellish, and TrueSpectra? We don't need to lose any more vendors, and I'll wager that no one's getting rich writing OS/2 programs; they are mostly a labor of love We need to support the OS/2 programmers and register the stuff we use. Period. End of rant.
Moving right along
Thanks to SCOUG member Jordan Fox for this tip. Run, don't walk, with your browser, to
http://www.buy.com. They have a closeout special on those Lexmark Color Optra 40 printers that I keep plugging. $98.95! That's right, under a hundred bucks for a PostScript Level 2 color inkjet printer with OS/2 drivers right on the CD that I paid almost $500 for two years ago! Oh yes, and free shipping to boot. Remember, as a postscript printer, this puppy will work right out of the box with any operating system (at least all that I'm aware of), including Mac and Linux. I went home after the SCOUG meeting and ordered another one for me. This makes a total of 3 of these printers (2 for me, one for my daughter) that I personally own, so obviously I think a lot of this printer.
OK, shifting gears slightly
Our friends at VOICE have posted a really cool article in the latest issue of their e-mag on Epson printers and OS/2:
Don Woodall did a good job of comparing all of the various drivers for the Epson printers, from the original Omni drivers from IBM to the two German ones, and the latest Epson2 drivers (available on the SCOUG CD). There is even a table matching the printer models with drivers. Neat!
Also, I'm analyzing paper
I have (finally) been spending some time trying out various types of papers with both the Lexmark Optra Color 40 and my Epson Photo 700. While this isn't a scientific study, I tried to grab up most of the papers available at the Pomona computer show as well as the stuff at Staples and Office Depot. Here are the papers under review so far:
- Hammermill Jet Print
- Xerox Premium Ink Jet
- HP Printing
- think4inc Hi Gloss Photo
- Compu Jet Glossy
- Konica QP Photo
- IBM Matte Coated
- Kodak Inkjet Photo
- various Epson papers
I've also got a sampler set from our very own
Klassic Specialties papers folks, which I will try after running some of these basic tests.
So far there are a couple of fairly interesting results. First, on the Lexmark, it really likes the Hammermill JetPrint inkjet paper, which is available for under $10 per ream of 500 sheets. For 600 dpi color images and mixed pictures and text like newsletters, this is a very cost effective way to go. And for normal printing, the Lexmark is remarkably unfussy about papers -- for normal printing I use the >$4.00/ream Xerox Primary paper available from the usual suspects. One problem with the Lexmark is that it will not feed really heavy stock through -- the angle of its feed mechanism is too great. This is not true of the Epsons, which will feed some really heavy stuff easily.
There is no free lunch with today's high output low cost color inkjet printers, and paper still really does make the difference, including on the Optra 40. A couple of the glossy film types increase the vibrancy of the colors to the point where the differences between the Optra and my reference Epson Photo 700 @ 1440 dpi are not too far off. Don't misunderstand, the Epson Photo and its 6 color brethren are still king of the hill by a visible margin, but the gap is closing.
Also, different software still results in different color settings. With the Lexmark (a postscript printer), ColorWorks V2 still produces better color balance than the rest.
If you've had really good experiences with particular papers, tell me about them! Questions about paper, printers, or scanners - ask me! You'll reach me
at Tony@scoug.com. See you next month!
You might want to read last month's Ink.
By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.