Welcome To The Printer Museum

Tomorrow we are having a meeting to explain why our department will no longer support line printers. You remember line or so-called “green-bar” printers, don’t you? Those are the printers that printed with perferated forms, that were advanced by little form “tractors” that stuck into the holes on either side of the paper. These printers print mono-type on “green-bar” paper. (You have to understand that secretly, I love those printers, especially the comforting noise they make as the band strikes the paper.)

Today, one of our employees’ — a really smart, hard working world beater — Hewlett Packard Laser Jet IV printer died. This employee uses a defunct DOS-based database called Professional File, and the LaserJet IV is one of, if not the, last printers with the control panel on the printer. DOS has no graphical printer control panel; which users enjoy on Windows, MACs, and Linux (Gnome, KDE, et al) today.

The people needing the explanation about why we are not supporting the line printers say the printing is easier to read. The person using the LaserJet IV is comfortable with the way things are.

Our AMR transfer project was written nearly entirely in Python. I’m a long-term C/C++ programmer, and in seven years had actually gotten used to Informix’s model of 4GL programs that used calls to embedded C code. I’m struggling with a primitive web application for the AMR project written in Django. Why do all this, when I can write perfectly good Perl CGI pages.

The answer is painful and inevitable. Change happens and you cannot hide from it for ever. Also, we don’t have the interest, space, or budget for a printer museum.

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2 Comments

Filed under rants

2 responses to “Welcome To The Printer Museum

  1. Octopusgrabbus

    Thanks for commenting.

    We’ve got a way out of the line printer problem. But, now a whole project has to be set up to handle the data that was input into Professional File — different department and application (putting real-estate into tax/title) — which, being a DOS app, required an HP LJ IV, because of its physical control panel.

    Say hello to your husband. It takes a unique breed to do our work and its variants.

  2. My husband is an IT guy. I’m going to send this to him; he will Completely Understand! :)

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