personal computers; a tiny color printer at a surprisingly low price
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The holidays are full of colors, so, what is a better gift option than a color printer?
Just a few years ago, printers were expensive, noisy, bulky behemoth.
Today, they are relatively cheap and quiet, some as small as cigarettes.
The most amazing innovations in PC printer technology may be laser printers and a wide range of color supplies, which are very low prices.
Consider Okimate 20 ($268 for the I. B. M.
PC and its compatibility, Apple series and Amiga, Okidata from Mount Laurel, USAJ.
Okimate 20, only 6.
2 pounds, smaller than Manhattan\'s telephone directory.
The printer has two basic parts, the printer itself and the plug printing control module, which makes it easy for the same printer to connect to a different computer.
Because I test the printer with I. B. M.
, I turned on the plug printing unit suitable for that machine.
No tools are required for ad printer assembly.
The control module is slightly larger than the deck and slides neatly inside the opening on the side of the printer.
Unlike many other hardware plugins
Its type is not hung outside the machine as it was thought afterwards.
AdvertisementIt did take a bit of time to slide the plug and print unit in place.
But once I find that the board should slide on a pair of tracks, otherwise the fairly clear manual doesn\'t mention this, the installation goes smoothly.
Insert the ribbon box just need to flip the print head, place the cartridge in place, make sure the ribbon follows the correct path shown in the manual, and then reposition the head.
There is no difference between loading ribbons and loading black and white ribbons.
The process itself is simple because the ribbon does not leave dirty fingers using a special thermal transfer process.
Thermal transfer printing technology is a miracle in itself.
A slightly larger micro \"iron\" than the fourth inch square on the top of the plastic print head melts the colored wax coating on the ribbon and then the wax is transferred to the paper.
The final image is clear and smooth, and is almost suitable for photo reproduction.
The print quality is definitely much better than the normal dot matrix printer.
I did notice a slight break in some letters, especially in the characters in the center of the line bar.
Wiping the print head with a typewriter cleaning solution does not completely eliminate this defect, but it helps.
I was wondering if the fault was on the particular machine I was testing in this case, and I called a friend, novelist Robert H.
Abel has just printed a manuscript of a book on Okimate 20.
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He has the same result.
Nevertheless, the machine left a deep impression on him.
\"Printing is very good for the price and I really like the amount of space it takes up on my cluttered table,\" he said . \".
I communicate and draft with printer.
To pass something very clean to my edit, I took the disk to the service bureau and asked them to print it out with a chrysanthemum wheel.
I just wish my computer had the color function.
It looks like it will be fun to play with it.
In fact, as I found out when printing charts and other explanatory materials to test Okimate\'s graphics software.
The first strange thing I noticed about the printer is that its ribbon is not like a horizontal colored cake as one might think.
Instead, it consists of a continuous segment of cyan, magenta, and yellow, 8 inch and a half long, plus a shorter transparent segment.
The color print is made by four-
Color process printing machine, blue color printing yellow to green, blue color printing products Red printing yellow to purple and so on.
Use with standard I. B. M.
The display card, Okimate 20 will print four colors at a time.
Use with plantrooper Colorplus plus
On board, the printer should handle 16 colors even though I haven\'t tried it.
The actual color selection and other features of the printer are controlled by the software included in the package. The three-
Inch clear ribbon with leading black square as key to indicate the beginning of the color bar sequence.
Print start when print head over carriage left.
The strap is then pulled until the head senses a clear strap and stops the flow of the strap where the yellow part starts.
Advertising uses a simplified example, assuming green capital W is to be printed.
The print head melts the yellow wax on the letter ribbon, then slides to the right along the entire length of the carriage, while simultaneously bringing the remaining 8 1/2-
Yellow Ribbon segment in inches.
The next segment is magenta.
This color is not needed to make the green, so the print head slides through the compartment again, bypassing all the magenta.
The color below is cyan.
Once the cyan W is covered in yellow on the paper, a full shipping scan is performed again.
The ribbon then moves to the new clear key segment and the print head is ready to print the next line.
It\'s great to see this printer running in color mode.
The number of ribbons I used up while playing with this device is also amazing.
The problem with Okimate 20 is here.
This printer is very cheap, especially considering its excellent color output.
But the price of the color ribbon is $6. 69 apiece.
This fact seems to place the device completely in the old marketing camp of \"giving away razors to sell razor blades.
Black ribbon, $5.
95, it is much cheaper because every inch is used.
But even here, the company recommends using special smoothing for the best results-
The finished thermal transfer computer paper produced by Hammermill company costs $9.
95 fold pages per 250.
This may increase if you do a lot of printing.
When I asked him
Abel replied to this aspect of cooperation with the printer: \"This is an annoyance.
It wasn\'t until I turned on the printer at home that I knew it needed special paper.
But I am using normal smooth computer paper now and it works very well.
\"So, Okimate 20 is a very cheap color printing technology.
However, the price of actually using it for color reproduction limits its relatively light print load or heavy budget.
A version of this article was printed on page C00004 of the National edition on December 10, 1985, with the title: personal computer;
A small color printer with surprisingly low prices.