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Printer-Check Camera

'print preview' without the 'pre'
  [vote for,

Thanks to the wonders of networked computers, we often find ourselves printing to printers which are not physically next to our computers. This is no problem most of the time, since printers are generally among the more genial members of the office equipment family, but occasionally they misbehave, either through some problem (lack of ink, lack of paper, lack of being switched on) or because whatever we are printing is too complicated (landscape documents, print settings which reduce several pages to one sheet, spreadsheets).

Most programmes have a 'print preview' option which purports to show you exactly what will come out of the printer. Sometimes, however, this turns out not to be correct. The same applies to the 'printer status' information visible over the network. We are faced with the irritating job of pressing 'print', walking to the printer, finding that something is wrong, walking back to the computer, trying again, and potentially repeating this ad infinitem.

What I propose is a camera positioned above the printer such that whatever the printer outputs is clearly visible. This camera's output can be connected to the network, and checking whether your document has printed correctly is as simple as clicking the 'PrinterCam' button. We can thus ensure that when we do walk to the printer we will return with what we wanted.

dbmag9, Oct 28 2010

More accurate Print Preview More_20accurate_20Print_20Preview
[hippo, Oct 28 2010]

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       How about as a document is printed it is sumultaneously run through a scanner and the scanned document sent back to your computer? That way it would all be in one self contained device. There should be a "speed mode" so it doesn't scan all 1000 pages of your aerospace vehicle dynamics report after the first page prints successfully.
DIYMatt, Oct 28 2010

       Some all-in-ones (eugh!) could do this with a change in firmware. I don't know if this is necessarily a good idea though. For most purposes however a simple medium resolution networked webcam positioned over the output tray would suffice.
Spacecoyote, Oct 28 2010

       " printers are generally among the more genial members of the office equipment family "   

       You have got to be kidding me. I wish I had the book at hand, or even the author / title in my mind, but let me sum up.   

       The protagonist is having a conversation with his alarm clock, an intelligent device programmed to follow him wherever he goes and deliver alarms on schedule.   

       Smart refrigerators and washing machines roam the land in small herds, made redundant by later models.   

       Revolution is brewing, with communications flowing among both feral and installed appliances.   

       Our protagonist asks his alarm clock whether the printers are in on the deal. The clock's response?   

       "Are you kidding? Those guys don't get along with anybody."   

       That alone would explain all the printer difficulties we all experience on a daily basis.   

       (+) Oh, and how is the nemesis business going these days?
normzone, Oct 28 2010

       Thanks for all the buns, guys. Haven't posted anything here for far too long.   

       As for the scanner idea, my worry would be that it wouldn't work so well in the extreme cases (wrong paper used, page came out crinkly, not enough ink but scanner automatically compensated), which are the very cases that are the most irritating.   

       And [normzone], I think a more charitable interpretation of "those guys don't get along with anybody" is that they simply keep themselves to themselves. Unless they're networked, of course. The nemesising is going alright; I pop in from time to time to check if my services are required.
dbmag9, Nov 02 2010


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