New Printer Blues

Getting somewhat difficult to find supplies for my indestructible 20-year-old Dell 3100cn laser printer. Just had to replace a drum I last replaced 6 years ago. This thing is a tank that has travelled across continents with me but it’s finally time to look for a replacement.

The Dell was an ancient monster from an earlier age, unbelievably primitive by today’s standards. Nonetheless, it managed to support Linux, Chromebooks, and Win 11 with minor tweaks.

The Dell 3100cn’s strategy of simply accepting a raw data stream “AppSocket” over port 9100 is refreshing and simple. Don’t muck up the format with XML and all this crap. Just send the damn postscript down the wire and let the printer worry about it. I read the current printers’ supported drivers and it’s a alphabet soup of pointlessly duplicative, marketing nonsense.

95% of all printers on sale remain essentially absurdly expensive ink extortion rackets. Even Brother, which used to be dependable, has started trying to lock out cheap ink replacements. You have to freeze to older firmware. What a crock.

I wanted the Brother MFC-L8905CDW, but based on this review, I went for the slower Canon MF656Cdw because it was half the price. I am not hopeful that I will get another 20 years out of any new printer currently available for sale, but I will give it my best shot.

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