June 15, 2010

523 words 3 mins read

Good Bye HP LaserJet 5, I shall miss you

For many, many years, my printer of choice has been an HP LaserJet 5.  It is possibly one of the best printers ever made.

It was manufactured in May 1998, and even at 12 years old, still plugs along.  Unfortunately due to lack of maintenance, poor location placement and age… it is starting to show its age.  That combined with changing needs (color, scanning) means that I’ve decided to retire my HP LaserJet 5.  I’m going to be sad to see it go. It might seem odd to be sentimental about a printer, but this is one faithful machine.  On top of that, it was my father’s (who died about 8 years ago).  He too loved this printer.  He bought one when they first came out and when that one was destroyed by an office flood, he immediately replaced it with another of the exact same make and model — the one I have today.

After I inherited the printer (most literally in this case), one of the first things I did to it was “bring it up to date”.  I dumped a bunch of old ram into it, so it would better handle the big pictures.  It was fortunate I liked to keep old hardware around, because where else would you have found matched pair SIMMs.  The second thing I did was to buy (off eBay) and install a JetDirect card.  Even 7-8 years ago, that was antiquated, coming with 10Base-T Ethernet, BNC and LocalTalk.  Luckily we’ve stuck with Ethernet, because I most certainly haven’t had an LPT port on a machine in the last 10 years.

The HP5 was built like a tank, and it was glorious.  I hauled that printer all over the place during my time in college.  I moved a number of times, and each time the printer migrated without so much as a complaint.  It lived in apartments with groups of college students, even being subjected to the rigors of college parties — never had a problem.  For several years it was the go to printer for a number of my friends to use, especially those in the same house.  Sure they all had their own printers, but why bother?  The HP5 worked every time without fail and always did a fine laser job.  In all those years, in all those moves, in all those college students… not once has any part of that printer physically broken.  It has even spent the last 2 years under foot (under my desk), as a foot rest — still not a single broken piece.

I know this is so cliche, but they don’t make printers like they used to.  The new ones are all light and fluffy and “pretty”.  I don’t need some aesthetic design engineer to make my printer look all Mac’ish… build the thing like a god damn M1A2 Abrams. The beauty is not in the external aesthetics, the beauty is how fast and efficiently it gets the job done.  A printer that looks and works the same way as it did from day 1 to day 4,380… is a thing of beauty.

I’m gonna miss that printer.