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Bought a cheap printer

22nd August, 2006

Since I do most of my communications in electronic form, I rarely need a printer. Going to London required printing several documents for reference (hand luggage is not allowed these days) and so it seemed like a good time to purchase a cheap b/w printer.

We found a cheap Canon LBP-1120 for about 700 dkr (roughly $120). I don't know who is in charge for the naming scheme but I don't think they're doing it very well. The package said "Windows dedicated", and appart from wondering what that was supposed to mean, I thought I'd work on a Mac. No such luck.

Turns out the USB connected printer has no hardware postscript engine, which explains the price but also requires the use of special drivers to do the processing of the printed pages on the computer. In other words the standard drivers in Mac OS X does not work, though it is recognized as a printer when connected. A search on Canon's support site, which I've previously found brilliant, turned up nothing but Windows drivers. It did, however, reveal one word of use in my further search: The special driver is known as a CAPT driver, Canon Advanced Printing Technology.

Googling with the extra info gave this hint at Mac OS X Hints, once again proved just how invaluable a resource it is. The author found a link to Canon CAPT drivers for mac osx. Downloading and installing old software in Japanese (just click the default buttons) is quite exciting for the security aware, but appart from requirering a restart, everything worked out fine.

The installer, leaving no log file behind, appears to have installed a 44MB folder "CAPT" in /Library/Printers/Canon, but I haven't verified that this is the only location touched. Printing is very fast on my MacBook Pro starting almost instantaneously after hitting cmd-P. Some of the printer specific features (like setting the paper quality) only works in Carbon applications and printer sharing doesn't seem to work. All in all, I am very satisfied with this new, cheap but effective laser printer. Particularly since it now works with my favorite OS.

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