As with more or less any significant new invention, economies of scale and the relentless advance of technology have transformed home computing from a luxury enjoyed only by a privileged few into a facility that has become an essential way of life for most modern households.
Indeed it was probably only a decade or so ago when the majority of “ordinary” families did not possess even a desktop appliance, and those machines that had found their way into domestic usage were so incredibly small in terms of capacity that one wonders how we ever managed to get online.
Fast forward to 2011 and all but the most stubborn of the yesteryear generation possess not just desktops but also laptops, and usually mobile telephones with Internet technology too.
In my own household, where we have a fridge freezer that has somehow survived fifteen years of intensive use and a television that has not been dusted for at least as long we nonetheless have at least eight pieces of equipment that are capable of accessing the Internet. I do not even know what devices my fourteen-year-old twins possess and probably wouldn’t be able to identify them if I did, but they seem to chat away to the world and if what they do costs anything then they must be paying the bills themselves.
Similarly printers are now extraordinarily cheap. My first produced only black and white copies at a painfully slow pace but that didn’t prevent it being both around the size and the cost of a small car. It had to be fed with Epson ink cartridges and was at the cutting edge of printing technology in its time, but its time, as well as the machine, has long since passed on.
These days one can purchase a multifunction printer that also scans, photocopies and sends faxes for the price of a good meal out. Whether it be Canon, Hewlett Packard or Epson ink cartridges are still the main expense involved, and one has to be sensible and not a little conservative when deciding what to run off from the computer. Compatibles and other options such as top-up ink have reduced outgoings for some on the printing front, but one has to be careful of side-effects such as possible leakages.
Basically you pays your money and you takes your chance. If you can afford them then use the real thing. If your printer is an Epson then use Epson ink cartridges, if it is an HP then use HP, and so on. If not then do keep a regular watch for any possible problems.