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Dot Matrix Fun
October 1, 2007 12:13 PM   Subscribe

You can print a line on a Epson Printer located in Brugg, Switzerland. There is a live video stream to see what you're printing as well as a light switch so you're not printing in the dark (snapshot).
posted by Blazecock Pileon (26 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh god, that is cool.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 12:16 PM on October 1, 2007


Re: snapshot at 2007.10.01.21.18.01

Hi, Blazecock!
*waves back*
posted by minervous at 12:22 PM on October 1, 2007


Now I'm so buying a dot-matrix printer.
posted by bonaldi at 12:25 PM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


meh. wake me up when i can enter a string of text, see it translated into akkadian and inscribed in cuneiform on a wet clay tablet.
posted by felix betachat at 12:29 PM on October 1, 2007


It's like IRC, but somewhat more reliable.
posted by Partial Law at 12:31 PM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wake me up when I enter a string of text, have it encoded into numbers, which are in turn encoded into electrical signals, which are in turn encoded into pulses of light, then decoded back to electrical signals, decoded back into electrical signals, decoded back into numbers and then back into letters which are THEN encoded into *different* numbers and, *different* electrical signals and then into photons which leave my monitor and impinge onto my retinas.
posted by DU at 12:37 PM on October 1, 2007


there was one that said:

blort: treaty of westphalia anyone?

i lol'd.
posted by shmegegge at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2007


also:

CryDctrw: Steampunk Web2.0 Copylefted Orgasm!!!

You people crack me up.
posted by shmegegge at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2007


oh no, someone borked the printer's camera! it's a jrun error!
posted by shmegegge at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2007


Eric Perlman (my best friend) already did this, although sans camera and light switch, in 1995 with an Imagewriter II.
posted by parmanparman at 1:02 PM on October 1, 2007


WOOHO, somebody likes Pram!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2007


i sent : Hey metafilter! : >

(haven't seen it come up yet tho)

I miss that noise those printers made. It always sounded so productive and busy (laser printer noise is just dull and fan-like)
posted by amberglow at 1:20 PM on October 1, 2007


you can sorta see it here on top
posted by amberglow at 1:22 PM on October 1, 2007


amberglow- enjoy!
(I have the video, but I don't know where I got it.)
Or, for a more basic sound.
posted by MtDewd at 2:15 PM on October 1, 2007


It's like the world's most lo-fi chatroom.
posted by afx237vi at 2:24 PM on October 1, 2007


ah! thanks MtDewd! : >
posted by amberglow at 2:48 PM on October 1, 2007


this one: %%%%%%%%%% $$$$$$$$$ >>>>>>>> >> >> >> @@@@@@@ is perfect....ah, the olden days!
posted by amberglow at 2:50 PM on October 1, 2007


parmanparman: thanks for pointing out eric's printer. I used to love reading through the printouts when i was storing them for him. Too bad he stopped scanning them back in and commenting on them.
posted by twjordan at 3:27 PM on October 1, 2007


But how much coffee is in their coffee pot?
posted by The Deej at 4:21 PM on October 1, 2007


amberglow writes "I miss that noise those printers made. It always sounded so productive and busy (laser printer noise is just dull and fan-like)"

Back in the '70s I got to play a game of golf on our school district's mainframe (which was programmed using punch cards). You saw your position on the course by a full page dot matrix printout of the ball's position, represented by ASCII characters. Every time you made a shot, rrrtttttrtrtrtrtrttttrttrrtttrtrtrtrtrtrtrzzzzzzzzrrrtrtrtrtrttt! the printer would rattle out a page. The directions in which you could hit the ball were very limited. Strategy was almost not a factor. Come to think of it, just playing the game was a huge waste of resources, and I think I played 9 holes. But that printer reacting to what I was doing was exciting. Later, I'd print out my school papers from my Apple IIe to an Epson dot matrix. Most teachers hated reading dot matrix printouts in those days, as the fonts weren't all that great and were limited by the matrix box, but still probably better than my handwriting.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:20 PM on October 1, 2007


It's broken. That's lame. I'll never see my naughty ascii art!
posted by betaray at 9:21 PM on October 1, 2007


When I was young, it was common for teachers to forbid handing in assignments on anything but a 'daisy-wheel' printer; a daisy-wheel was very slow, but it worked just like a typewriter, and made very readable documents. They were called daisy-wheels because the spinning dial with all the letters looked a lot like a daisy if you took it out.

Then someone had the idea of using a batch of pins firing against the paper; if you took a single vertical row of pins, scanned them left to right along a ribbon, and fired them in the right spots, you could make letters. This was much faster than the daisywheels, because the pins didn't need to spin to the right position for each letter... they could just march down the page, at tremendous speed in comparison. (by today's standard, they're still very slow, but they could be rated in pages-per-minute -- cheap daisy-wheels were rated in minutes-per-page.) Early dot matrix printers were terrible in terms of quality, very hard to read. But they were so much faster and so much cheaper that they dominated the market anyway. They were also a lot more flexible; the pins could be controlled directly by the computer, which allowed for graphic printouts. These features made them tremendously more popular, but the text looked so awful that many teachers wouldn't accept their printouts.

Eventually, they went from the early 9-pin printers to advanced 24-pin models. Our family bought an early Panasonic 24-pin printer, which, because of all the new pins, included a new, exciting technology... 'near letter quality', or NLQ. With 24 pins, it had a much finer grid, and could make very readable letters. It still didn't look as good as a daisy wheel, but was much better than 9-pin output, so it ended up labeled as 'near letter quality'.

Think about that for a minute.... the big selling point of this technology was that it was almost as good as the competition. Today's marketers would never be that honest.

I remember handing in papers with some trepidation, since we were explicitly forbidden from using dot-matrix, and felt rather naughtily successful when nobody complained. I'm not sure they even realized it was a dot-matrix; they really did look pretty good.

That Panasonic was fast, cheap to run, and looked pretty good on printouts, and we used it for years and years. It printed untold thousands of pages without ever giving us a lick of trouble. Ink cartridges were very cheap. It lasted longer than probably any other computer purchase I've ever been involved with. (it was my parents'; I didn't pay for it myself. ) Eventually, it was replaced by an much less reliable and tremendously more expensive inkjet, but was still working just fine when retired.

I really like dot-matrix printers, for the simple reason that they are designed primarily to benefit the customer. Inkjets and even lasers, now, are designed to benefit the company, not you, by forcing you to buy vastly overpriced ink.
posted by Malor at 11:56 PM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


The directions in which you could hit the ball were very limited. Strategy was almost not a factor. Come to think of it, just playing the game was a huge waste of resources, and I think I played 9 holes.

That sounds so much like modern international politics.

Dot matrix printers are still awesome though. bzrbrzoott
posted by blacklite at 2:44 AM on October 2, 2007


Previously, on ask.me...
posted by Luddite at 2:56 AM on October 2, 2007


#1 in london! (see bottom line)
posted by patricio at 3:11 AM on October 2, 2007


boo, its completely out of focus now.
posted by JAHxman at 12:36 PM on October 2, 2007


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