Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CDT: Printing the Ley Maps

I finally completed the printing of the Jonathan Ley 2009 CDT maps. It was easier than I thought.

I ordered the 2009 CD from Jonathan earlier this spring. It promptly arrived, and I promptly sent a donation in return. Thanks, Jonathan Ley!

After reading through Jonathan's instructions and recommendations, as well as insight from the Yogi Guide and the CDT-L, this is what Reason and I decided to do...

Printer: Rather than buying yet another printer that will eventually end up in a landfill, we decided to borrow a relative's HP Officejet J4550 All-in-One.

This printer is on the slow side and does not play well with the iMac. The printer doesn't come with a user manual. After much searching on the HP site, I finally found a 180 page manual to download. It is a nice paperless manual with interactive features, but no trouble-shooting chart. The manual's instructions for Mac OSX don't correspond to reality. I have yet to figure out how to check the printer's ink levels. Nor could my tech-savvy software engineer husband.

At one point, the printer displayed the cryptic message "Print Cartridge Problem: (Tri Color) Refer to Device Documentation." I searched the 180 page user manual to no avail. A Google search yielded frustrating dead-end scenarios, one of which remained unanswered on the HP site. (Amusingly, in the course of researching this problem I came across accounts of this printer switching languages from English to Japanese and Korean and leaving its users perplexed. Hee hee!) Fearing throwing $30 down the drain, off I headed to the store for a replacement cartridge. Lo and behold, this solved the problem! The printer has since more cogently informed me that the tri-color cartridge is running low. Why did it have to be so vague the first time around?

This printer also has a tendency to crimp one corner of each page, depositing a smudge of ink in the process. This happens to almost every page. Occasionally, the paper also jams and has to be wrestled from the printer's grip.

Ink: The HP J4550 uses HP 901 black and tri-color cartridges. I think they are ridiculously expensive. Rumor has it that they are programmed to expire at a certain time regardless of how much ink they contain. I used up the tri-color cartridge that came with the printer, which did not last very long at all. I nearly used up a second tri-color cartridge and the first black cartridge. The ink costs more than the printer itself, which had been purchased on special for about $30.

Format: My logical and scientific Reason tried printing from a variety of formats. These included iMac/preview, Mac Book/preview, Mac Book/non-preview, Mac Book/wireless connection to printer, Mac Book/direct connection to printer, and various iterations of print qualities including normal, best, and photo settings. As I recall, the photo settings resulted in shadows under some of the black text. Reason finally determined that iMac/preview/normal quality delivered the best results. This determination was based on the clarity of the tiny elevation numbers.

Paper: We purchased one pack of 8.5 x 11" HP matte Presentation Paper for inkjets. The pack contains 150 pages, which was just enough. We found the paper in the photo printing section of Staples.

Pagination: We decided to print on both sides of the paper, but in such a way that we could view sequential maps side by side. This meant we printed #1 back to back with #3, and #2 back to back with #4. The drawback to this method is that it takes a bit of thought and attention. It would be easier to print all the evens, then print all the odds.

Other: I did notice that some Colorado maps tended to rotate such that they were diminished in size on the paper. I'm not sure whether this is because I made a mistake or because the formats of these maps were different. Once I realized the problem, I made sure to pay attention to the preview orientation.

Weather proofing: I'm going to look for extra-large zip-locks.

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