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HP It's funny.  Laugh. Printer Hardware

HP Is Advertising Its Real, Modern Printers on This Fake, Awkward '80s Computer Show (adweek.com) 86

T.L. Stanley, writing for AdWeek: It's a fine line between effective '80s homage and clumsy retro spoof, with the latter usually involving a lot of overplayed visual gags like brick-sized cell phones and VHS tapes. Cue pointing and laughing. This new HP video, dubbed "Computer Show," hits the sweet spot perfectly with its recreation of a Reagan-era public access show about technology, but with a fish-out-of-water spin. The host is stuck in time -- stilted stage manner, goofy haircut and all -- but his guests are current-day tech pioneers. Awkward hilarity ensues. The short film, made by Giant Spoon and Sandwich Video for HP, sets up a print-off between HP's PageWide super-fast model and a dot matrix supplied by an employee of the neighborhood "Kwikopy."
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HP Is Advertising Its Real, Modern Printers on This Fake, Awkward '80s Computer Show

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  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2017 @01:09PM (#53912403) Homepage Journal

    Remember when HP could compare their products to the actual competition (from the same era, no less) and come out looking... competitive? They have to compare their printer to a fictional dot matrix (what was that actually, anyway?) in order to make it look like something you'd want to buy?

    I really should have gone into advertising.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      fictional dot matrix (what was that actually, anyway?)

      Not fictional. That's an Apple ImageWriter.

      • Not fictional. That's an Apple ImageWriter.

        I thought it looked familiar. But they didn't call it an ImageWriter, did they? I only skimmed the video.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The brand logos have been removed. The 1983 equipment consists of an ImageWriter attached to an Apple IIe with a Monitor II and a UniDisk 5.25 drive.

          • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

            The brand logos have been removed.

            In one shot, it looks like they didn't obscure the Apple logo on the printer (upper right corner of the front), though it's so small that you wouldn't have been able to tell that's what it was.

            I still have mine from coming up on 32 years ago. It's currently in storage...not sure if it still works, though it did the last time I had it out. It'd almost certainly need a new ribbon, and I think the last of the fanfold paper got chucked a while back. I still have some Apple

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Matrix printers were a huge improvements over other impact printers, as it allowed printing arbitrary characters (or even graphics!), instead of being limited to the few characters in the set physically engraved in the printer's moving head.

      • I had a Panasonic KXP1185, IIRC. Something like that. It would emulate Epson or IBM Proprinter II, and it had very high quality for a dot matrix printer. I used it on my Amiga 500 and handed in many a school paper printed with it. Eventually it died the death of a thousand dogs amen and I binned it.

        • Great printer, those old Panasonics. Fast, clean, quiet, durable. Also loved the Epson MX-80 and the Okidata ML320.

          I had a DEC LA-36 teletype (nb. not a TeleType) attached to my TI-99/4A back in the day... its 7 pin printhead lacked true descenders, so the print matched the text on the TI-99/4A's screen!

          By the time I got to the Amiga 1000 and 500, I had a hand-me-down HP LaserJet I. What a tank. A Canon photocopier with HP's modifications, and doubled as a great ozone generator. The printer was connected to

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      I remember when HP stood for "Built like a tank".

    • and come out looking... competitive?

      As much as that advert deserves to get shit on, that looks competitive from any angle in any light. I'm interested to see if any competitor has an inkjet that could compare, and I'm willing to bet they don't.

      Still wouldn't buy it though (imagine a clogged head on that thing).

    • by havana9 ( 101033 )
      Here we go.
      Real HP LaserJet Presentation [hpmuseum.net] from 1985.
      Same faded videos and odd haircuts of the fake one. I'm not sure why them haven't used an HP '80s laser printer. Maybe because the comparision between a dot matrix printer and al laser wasn't so funny? Or because if you connect a PCL-speaking printer to a machine that acts as a printer server you could print from a cellphone anyway?
  • but when I do, they become fucking memes!

  • What printer from 2017 or even >2000 would not outperform a 1980s dot-matrix... HP fail: compare your product to something that no competitor should be worse than by far.
    • Or, would an HP printer of today outperform theirs from the 90s?

      • Depends on your definition of "perform". When you talk about ink consumption and price, definitely!

        • When you talk about reliability, no.

          I've gone through 3 "post Carly" HP printers and they all had mechanical failures.

          I switched to Canon.

          • by darkain ( 749283 )

            Still using HP LaserJet 2100's in the office I work in, all manufactured in 1998. As of Windows 10, there are STILL official drivers for these things. On top of that, the drivers are the absolute generic "you can print, and nothing more" drivers with no UI what so ever. They just WORK, with zero bullshit. They've all been upgraded with their optional NICs too so now they are network attached, instead of the shitty USB-to-LPT adapters we had ages ago for these. They are simply bullet proof, never failing.

            • by narcc ( 412956 )

              Same here. Our 2100TN is still running like new. I don't know that I'd be able to find a newer model as reliable.

              • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

                Same here. Our 2100TN is still running like new. I don't know that I'd be able to find a newer model as reliable.

                I've had pretty good luck the past 10 or so years with a LaserJet 1320. Quick, built-in duplexer, built-in PostScript, works with everything. A couple years ago, I was given a JetDirect 175x, so it's now on the LAN. (Had some other network-to-USB adapters before the JetDirect that didn't always work as expected.)

        • HP Deskjet 800-series printers will outlast them all.

    • HP fail: compare your product to something that no competitor should be worse than by far.

      This is like how- in the United Kingdom at least- Duracell are still selling their (alkaline) batteries by comparing them against zinc batteries. [youtube.com] (#) I mean, really?

      That might have been valid thirty years ago when alkalines were semi-premium and zinc carbons *were* the competition, but nowadays zincs are relegated to the dirt-cheap-but-underpowered-for-most-real-uses market segment. Alkalines are mainstream and I can get four or six of them for a quid from Poundland.

      How do your batteries compare agains

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        " but nowadays zincs are relegated to the dirt-cheap-but-underpowered-for-most-real-uses"

        Found the electrochemically illiterate! Nickel-Zinc is way freaking useful. 1.6V nominal cell voltage, roughly same Ah capacity as Nickel Metal Hydride in the same form factor.

        Only problem is that it whiskers like mad, making the charge cycle count in the tens. If it were not for that problem, Ni-MH would be DEAD by now.

        • Found the electrochemically illiterate! Nickel-Zinc is way freaking useful.

          Okay, I probably *am* electrochemically illiterate, but in this case I meant zinc as short for "zinc carbon and/or zinc chloride". Smartass! ;-P

      • The sad thing is that carbon-zinc cells are still offered for sale - and people still buy them because they're cheap... >_>

    • by tomxor ( 2379126 )
      Also just noticed they made it about 5 times larger than the dotmatrix... so not such a win win in specs even against a 30 year old machine.
  • HP Thanks You (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2017 @01:15PM (#53912455)

    HP thanks you for helping to propagate their advertisements.

  • When you promote advertisements like this, shouldn't you mention that they're sponsored?
  • Did you watch the video? That is a speedy printer when you can hit the entire width of the page with ink.
  • HP wants to remind us of when they were actually innovative and relevant and hope that we think it's still the case.

  • Isn't a story about an ad still just an ad?

    The only way this could be more sad is if someone isn't getting paid for it.
  • The '80sness is fun and the attention to detail in that regard was pretty good... but the jokes were pretty forced (you can't script awkward).

    Still... I'd take this type of commercial any day over standard television advertising.

  • it will cost something like $100 per ounce and anything from a third party will reliably foul up the entire works.

    PS: I'm assuming this is the MEMJet technology which was touted a while back and then seemed to disappear.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6Z7RqRH3QQ

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Given it's an inkjet with 42k nozzles, I highly doubt the heads would be replaceable therefore any clogging from the ink (whether it's dried out or cheap after-market) would utterly destroy the printer. Actually looking at their website, it seems that the only way to get any repairs is to get a service contract.

      • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

        The low-end ones (they start at $380) have a single long bar of printheads that isn't replaceable, but the higher-end ones use replaceable printhead modules. All of them have both the normal printhead cleaning routines, and they have optical sensors to detect individual clogged nozzles. A clogged nozzle is dealt with in a variety of ways depending on where it's located and which type it is. The individual printheads are staggered and overlap a bit, and a clogged nozzle in the overlap area is just replaced b

      • Tektronix/Xerox already did the fixed nozzle printers in the 1990s with the Phaser series, however they sprayed pigmented wax instead of ink. The heads were about $1000 to replace but the printers were several times that in cost.
  • I actually wish there was a modern dot matrix printer. Being able to print only a few lines, then tear off a short length of paper, would be nice. How about a non-inkjet color printer that doesn't cost an arm and a leg in supplies?
    • Amazon.com -> Electronics -> Printers and Ink -> Dot Matrix

      Prices vary, but $200-500 seems to be the ballpark. This seems typical. [amazon.com].

  • Interesting idea that could have been 1/4 the length. I still don't get the premise, faster and better quality than a dot matrix? Clearly. Wireless? Not new. The print head and speed was impressive. But knowing how printer manufacturers screw you on things like ink, I can only imagine how many different cartridges are in that behemoth. For me, printer manufacturers have a long long way to go to rebuild trust in them and their products.

  • That guy is way too old to have one of those stupid eyebrow piercing things...
  • If you all want a good laugh you can google them on YouTube? Eric Schmidt is on the one about the new 386 saying how Sun is going to switch to that architecture while showing off News

    • Eric Schmidt is on the one about the new 386 saying how Sun is going to switch to that architecture while showing off News

      They tried! But they sucked at making PCs.

  • I have two of the Pagewide printers at work, and one at home (after watching the first one at work for a year, and needing to replace our ~16-year-old LaserJet 4000). They are very fast (although not as fast as some color copier/printers), fairly cheap, and seem to hold up reasonably well (so far; they came out about four years ago). Print quality is also quite good on decent paperâ"I spent quite a while evaluating that before deciding to keep it. And the color was better (truer to onscreen) than our

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