I just discovered the hard way that the ink cartridges for the Xerox C20 DocuPrint are not identical to the Optra 40/45 Lexmark cartridges. You got it, the black cartridge ran out during a print job, so I went to put in a Lexmark refill. No go, and guess why? The plastic top of the Lexmark cartridges has a little innie where the cartridge clicks into the cartridge holder in the printer itself. Well, on the Xerox ones, the little plastic top has an outie instead! Otherwise the cartridges are identical. Thanks a bunch, Xerox, and may the gods rot all sales folks who deliberately make stuff just a little incompatable to eke out a few more bucks.
There are, of course, a few choices to get around this situation. First (and what I had to do), the Lexmark ink refill kits from CaliforniaInkjet.com work just fine. Thank goodness I had a spare. For a longer term solution, the best price I found on factory Xerox cartridges was from
valueemporium.com -- they want $32.99 for the black 8R7881 high capacity cart (list is $50), and $29.99 for the color 8R7880 color cartridge (list $40). Sigh. For reconditioned cartridges, it looked like the best bet was from
inkquik.com. They want $18.95 for the black cartridge (IQX81) and $22.95 for the color one (IQX80). I will be ordering some of these and let you know how they work. Finally, if you are desparate or angry enough, you can rip the plastic top from the Xerox cartridge, and put it on a Lexmark cartridge -- except for the plastic top, the cartridges are identical to my eye.
Ok, enough whining. I know that we have a number of folks out there who use some version of the Lotus SmartSuite, and have been thinking about upgrading to the latest version (currently at Ver. 1.6). Our neighbors over at OS/2 eZine! did a cool set of articles in the April issue of their electornic magizine that you should check out -- go to
www.os2ezine.com, and follow the links to the April issue. There is a detailed overview of what's in the Suite, and then there are separate articles for each of the major components like Word Pro, 1-2-3, and Approach. The Word Pro article (thank you Pete Grubbs) was quite detailed, with a number of screenshots to show off the main features of the work processor, such as the spell checker, MS Word compatibility, DeScribe compatibility, web enabled features, and an honest assessment of some shortcomings. I also liked that there were links directly to the correct Lotus web pages that talk about Word Pro for OS/2 (try navigating the Lotus site on your own and you'll know what I mean).
The good news in all of this is that Lotus Suite's improvements are incremental, not radical version changes. This means that less things are broken in Version 1.6-- wouldn't it be cool if Microsoft took this hint for their buggy word processor. For the rest of us who don't want to shell out the $150 plus for the Suite, there is still my favorite OS/2 combination -- Clearlook and WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows under Win OS2. If you're a touch typist, 6.1 was the best, least buggy, word processor ever made for Windows (ask what I really think). Just when they got it right, unfortunately the company was sold about three times and their market share went down the tubes. Still, if you force Word to save as the old Word6 file format, you can get most stuff in and out between WP6 and Word 97/2000. You can also pick up a copy of WP6 for $5-10 on eBay :-). And just a note for those with Windows envy, I recently discovered that Windows 2000 Pro (our new work standard, sigh) will not even install Corel 16 bit Windows programs like WordPerfect 6 and Paradox 5 -- thanks, MS for 'helping us' to upgrade. And I won't even go into the problems with Office 2000. Suffice it to say that typists loved WordPerfect, Computer System Managers loved Microsoft -- guess who won?
To get stuff back and forth into Clearlook, just save your WP document as text, open the document in Clearlook, and format to your hearts content -- its a major strength of the program, and very fast to boot. Oh yes, for the truly hard core, use a programmers editor or text editor like Pillarsoft's EEE Editor, and keep every text document you can as ASCII. It will last forever. Only use word processors as document formatting tools, which is what they've mostly evolved into anyhow.
Reach me at Tony@scoug.com.
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.
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