HP Colour Laser Printer (CP1518NI) Review

1518niSo school is coming, and that gives me an excuse to buy a new printer. Back in 2005 I was tired of feeding my inkjet printer new printer cartridges at nearly $70 a pop, so I bought a B&W Samsung Laser printer which has served us very well.  So far I’ve only had to refill it once.

Since 2005, colour laser printer prices have fallen steadily.  You can now pick up one around the $150 mark if you do a little shopping.  However, toner cartridges are still very expensive – and it almost makes sense to buy a new printer when you run out.  Of course laser printers are not immune to the same “starter” cartridge trick that is played with inkjet printers – giving you a fraction (1/2 or worse) the toner that a full refill would.

Based on my previous experience with refilling the Samsung, I was keen to get another refill compatible printer.  The Samsung CLP-135 can be found very cheaply, but the toner cartridge has a chip which prevents refills from working (this may change in the future).  The HP CP1518ni can be refilled, but requires reset chips which come as part of 0f the refill kit. (I’ll probably get my refill kit via eBay closer to when I need to refill the printer)

I purchased the CP1518ni from FutureShop.ca (free shipping over $39), unfortunately there are no more left at this price ($230) currently.  They also had the description incorrect, as it indicated that the unit came with only 1 toner (black) cartridge – the printer in fact had all 4 toners installed.  I was comfortable shopping with FS due to their easy return it to the brick and mortar store policy.

If you’re keen to pick one of these up, CostCo.ca has them for $250, and staples.ca has a similar (but not as good) sale on.  I’m a bit surprised that the US prices for the same printer are quite a bit higher (basically $400).  Rarely are Canadian prices for this type of thing better than US prices.  If you want to go cheaper, the HP CP1215 is similar but lacks the network interface and only has drivers for Windows.

Shipping was fast – ordered on Sunday, was here by Wednesday.  The printer itself is quite heavy (40lbs), and quite a bit larger (15.7 x 17.8 x 10.0 inches) than the B&W laser we have.   Setting it up was a breeze, as it is a network printer it just needed power and a net cable.  The software (driver) was Mac OSX compatible, and the printer advertises itself using Bonjour on the network.  I haven’t tried to print from Linux, but searching on the net seems to indicate it can be done without too much pain.

The first colour print was a full page photo onto regular paper.  If you haven’t seen a colour laser print out, then the best description is that it looks like a picture from the newspaper.  Jenn later printed out an activity chart (in colour) and that looked really good – and this is more typical of what I’d expect to print (think business graphics).  I’m sure school projects will end up looking sharp (and colourful).  Alison was very excited that we had a new printer, but we had to explain to her that the colour printer would not do the colouring of a B&W colouring page from the net.

UPS Monitoring

One of the things that I just hadn’t got around to after migrating to the new server was restoring my UPS monitoring.  The first time I set it up, it seemed pretty involved – partly because the version of Ubuntu I was using (Dapper) needed some special USB configuration.  Now that my server is on a more recent level of Ubuntu, it just works like it is supposed to.

The Ubuntu Community Documentation is well done and covers all the details.  Basically I needed to install apcupsd.  Reading through the known Linux USB issues listed on the APCUPSD site made my scratch my head a bit.  It tells you to check the file /proc/bus/usb/devices to see if the USB device is recognized.  My Ubuntu install doesn’t have this, I suspect it is due to usbfs not running.  The lsusb utility seems to find the device just fine:

$ lsusb
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 051d:0002 American Power Conversion Uninterruptible Power Supply
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

So I figured I’d install and see what happened.

sudo apt-get install apcupsd apcupsd-cgi

You’ll note that I installed the CGI package as well so I can check in via the web, this is optional.  You do need to do some minor configuration, this is covered in detail by the Ubuntu Community Documentation on apcupsd.  In my case it was set UPSCABLE usb; UPSTYPE usb; and comment out DEVICE in the file /etc/apcupsd/apcupsd.conf.  Then change ISCONFIGURED to yes in the /etc/default/apcupsd file.

All that was left was to start the service:

sudo /etc/init.d/apcupsd start

and test it using apcaccess.  I’ll leave the cgi-bin setup as an exercise for the reader.

So why bother doing this at all?  Well, the apcupsd service (daemon) will shut down the machine in a controlled manner if there is an extended power failure, configured correctly it will also come back up when the power has been restored.  Logs are also generated to indicate when power failures have happened.   Knowing when, and how long the power was out is comforting.

eXtreme Blue

IBM runs an internship (COOP) program called IBM Extreme Blue.  This is in addition to the regular internship (COOP) program, the difference is that the extreme blue program is the “best of the best”.  There are only a few IBM labs that host these projects, but they select students from a very broad base of students who have worked for IBM in previous work terms.

The teams are composed of 3 students focused on technical work, and 1 MBA who handles the business side of things.  Their goal is to take a concept and create a compelling business case for further investment (by IBM).  Think of this as a Start-Up on steroids – they’ve got less than 4 months to do it all.

This week all of the extreme blue students are gathered in Armonk, N.Y. where they will deliver their finely tuned pitches.  The audience will be composed of their fellow students, IBM mentors and most importantly IBM Executives.  Sam Palmisano is usually able to find time to take a brief tour of the booths that the students have setup, with a special stop at one of them for a deeper dive.

The Ottawa J9 team hosted an extreme blue project this year.  We used this to help take one of our prototype concepts further towards a complete business case.  I have to confess this is a bit of a teaser post – since I can’t disclose very much about the project.  You’ll have to speculate wildly based on the following image:


You may want to check out the video clip from the local news station that talks about the IBM Ottawa Extreme Blue expo.

Our team has a long history of hiring our COOP students, its a great deal both ways.  The students know what they are walking into, and we’re got a better idea of what they are capable of.  Even I was a COOP student for the VM team way back when.  Each of the names involved with this project are top notch students -whoever manages to hire them will be lucky (and yes, we’ll be trying to).

Good luck in N.Y. this week guys!