Friday, February 10, 2006

Cartridge (Nut) Cases

With all our current adventures the blogging is a bit thin on the ground lately, so here's an opportunity to pop one in a quickie in the form of a cut & paste of the text of a letter to our chums at Materials Recycling World, following their carrying a story about Canon winning a court case against a cartridge reseller in Japan. As you'll gather, I was not best pleased.

What I am trying to get my head around is how such a huge, not to mention worthwhile, industry has developed over such a long period when a threat like this was on the cards. How many people now depend (in so many ways) on it? Were those who decided to get into this taking a gamble, or are we again looking at grey areas being made black retroactively by clever lawyers supported by well-funded lobby groups?

Notwithstanding the legal implications to the firms in question, as a member of the confused consumer world, I am meanwhile still trying to get to grips with all the various issues that surround this topic, from the technical, to the financial to the ecological.

I remember having an interesting debate recently with a representative of Brother, who was doing a fair job of presenting the case for the manufacturer, but I'm afraid he just couldn't sway me. We take our old cartridges to Cartridge World, we get given new ones in exchange that work just fine (if we do high end work we may opt for quality if there is a difference that doesn't require a microscope to judge), is guaranteed anyway (so the clogging thing doesn't seem to apply) and costs a whole lot less. Pretty much a win-win unless I'm missing something, with the obvious exception of the manufacturer.

It's hard to feel too sympathetic when you read stories such as the one we noted in our own info category for this topic with an addendum about a BBC report. We run our printers 'til the streaks show, for sure.

On a personal note I'm still steaming about a new Dell cartridge I put in today that required 'aligning', and printed two 1" full width bars of ink. Was that really necessary?

In the spirit of positivity, if such test pages are a valid function, why not design them to produce a page that could be reused? My starter for one would be as a picture frame. I'm sure others may have better suggestions that would still provide the technical function and find a use around the home or office rather than being binned.