I don't think there's much that could be done to reconcile me with printers. Hard copy is nicer to read than electronic (as long as the light is good), but the cost to me of paper and ink are high; the cost in planetary terms (trees, landfills) is less immediate but also important; and I already have enough stacks of paper in the house and office.

HP just announced a new record-fast inkjet, but about the last item on my wish list is faster printing. That's not the pain for me. The pains are ink cost, low reliability, and mediocre software. I cut HP a certain amount of slack on the reliability point, since I got a low-budget model. But honestly in 20 years of use, including models from Canon, Lexmark, Dell, and HP, I've never had an inkjet that didn't suffer mechanical issues with paper feed and blotchy ink. Maybe the business-class ones are better (I'd hope so), but I have nothing but scorn for the consumer models. I only print when I have to -- boarding passes, trade-show passes, forms that need to be mailed. About 90 percent of my all-in-one HP printer/scanner/copier use is scanning paper into PDFs, something that fills me with happiness because I feel in a way that I'm sort of reversing the damage done by printers by turning paper back into bits.

I looked into the color laser printers a few months ago with the expectation that I could print more reliably, paying more up front but getting benefiting from the lower per-page costs I remembered from the days when I had a black-and-white laser printer. I was became disenchanted when I found the ink economics were as bad with color laser printers as they are for inkjets.

Maybe there are some people who find their printers as useful or empowering as their computers are smartphones, but I don't know them aside from some photographers who like to make big prints. Most folks I talk to see home printers as a necessary evil. That's a bad situation for a printer maker. I'm open to any ideas that would make me change my low opinion, though.

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