My Printing Woes / by Art Zaratsyan

I used to love that moment when the printer comes to life and you hear the head begin to move. I would anticipate the beautiful print coming out of the slit out front, smelling like fresh ink, and would sit there watching the magic happen… Well last night changed that. Last night I wasted 8—eight!—sheets of very expensive paper (Hahnemühle Fine Art Photo Rag, beautiful 308 gsm 100% cotton paper sold at $125+tax in local stores for a pack of 25 sheets).

Print after print, my Epson Stylus Pro 3880 spat out the paper with discoloured stripes running along the image. I tried tweaking all possible settings, sensing panic slowly setting in. Sometimes it would print okay, making me think I found the problem, mocking me, and then it would turn bad again!

Running all the tests on the printer and ruling it out as the source of the problem, I ran a system check on my old trusty 13 inch MacBook Pro. What do you know! Turns out that my hard drive had lots of errors on it. So many that the Disk Utility gave up on it and “recommended” that I reformat it and restore my system from a backup. Always back up your important files, bad things happen, too often if you ask me!

Thinking, well, that must be what it was, I fired up the freshly restored computer and tried to print. Yargh! Again, it is no good! I tried plugging into a different USB port, switching to ethernet instead of USB, restarting the laptop and the printer and printing with a freshly booted system, tweaking all possible performance settings in Photoshop…

I began to get desperate and tired. At around 4:30 am, as my Mac began to glitch like I've never seen before, with even Safari crashing every second and prospects of figuring this out beginning to seem quite grim, I gave up and went to bed.

This morning I woke up, fired up the laptop, plugged in the printer into the ethernet router, disabled the Time Machine backups, started a print job fully expecting it to fail again and—what?!—the Epson spat out a perfect print!

Well, probably a fluke again, I thought, moving on. I scheduled the next print job, perfect again! Then again, and again, all day!

Now, why would I not be happy about that, you ask?

Why would I be?! What was the problem, and how I did I fix it? Did I fix it? Is it mocking me again?!

Was it the Time Machine backup daemon? Was it because my laptop somehow cooled off overnight? Was it voodoo? Or… is it mocking me again?!

—Yaaargh!!!

Other than that things are good. How are you?