The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brother and the Great Printer Con.

Did you know that printers can be dishonest? Or should I say, that printer manufacturers design printers that lie to you?

How often has your printer refused to print by telling you that such and such a cartridge is "out of ink" "Low on ink" etc. etc.? Have you ever thought to check the offending cartridges? I have. In the case of my Brother MFC-240C printer the cartridges are usually fairly full of ink when it decides to reject them: ink sloshes in them and is visible in a little window. These are not empty cartridges, they have the heft and slosh of fairly full ones - yet my printer says they are empty and need changing. Now, who on Earth could have a motive for making a printer that lies? Well, Brother, of course, since they make the replacement cartridges and design those cartridges to make them non-interchangeable with others, so that you are forced to buy from Brother. I wouldn't mind this were it not for two obvious facts: prices of cartridges are inflated by this monopoly situation - and the cartridges are not even remotely empty when I am forced to change them.

What Brother (and I hear, other printer companies, too) are doing is illegal. There are even class law suits relating to this practice working their way through the US courts.

I, personally, will never buy another machine with the label "Brother" on it, after my experiences with this particular printer. Not only does it lie about when it needs new ink (it once asked for a new black ink cartridge the same day that I had just given it a new one - and I had printed nothing!); but it mangles paper as if that is its specific design purpose. On one particularly memorable day, it mangled paper on six consecutive attempts to get it to print one sheet of paper. This necessitated a lot of time pulling fragments of shredded paper out of its innards. As machines go, this printer is a piece of rubbish.

Of the two offences - printing incompetence and ink deception - ink deception is the harder to take, for it implies that the machine has been specifically designed to cheat each and every customer who buys it. That says a lot about the corporation that manufactures it.

So, the next time you are shopping for a printer, I would think of my story about the Brother brand. However, it might be difficult to find a brand that doesn't cheat you in this way for both Epson and Hewlett Packard are being sued, in class action suits, for just the same offence of which I have written. So, that is at least three brands to avoid in the matter of printers, then.

Good luck on your electronic shopping.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:11 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Odd. I've never had any trouble with my Brother printer. Maybe you just got a lemon.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Miao said...

Hmm, you are right, my HP printer does that as well. When I see pop-ups warning me that the cartridges are already low on ink, I just ignore them and continue printing. Most of the time I manage to print around 40 extra pages before I finally start seeing blurred or faded printing. Sometimes it mangles paper as well, and sometimes it sucks in more than one piece of paper at the same time and thus ends up printing one paragraph on the first piece of paper and the rest of the passage on the second piece. But fortunately such incidents don't happen too frequently, though I get really irritated when they do, because it is a complete waste of my time and my printing paper. Basically I still have a fairly good impression of HP printers - the one I'm using right now is really durable - I've been using it for at least 7 years. And compatible non-HP cartridges are sold in my school at the start of every new semester, so I can get them at much lower prices.

I'd never heard of Brother until I read this entry (I'm rather ignorant when it comes to gadgets). This corporation seems to sorely lack business ethics, and their products seem utterly devoid of any commendable quality. From my own experience, even though HP does have several noticeable flaws, it still sounds much better than Brother.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

The thing that gets me about the Brother printers is that they REFUSE to print unless you change the cartridges - even if the cartridges have plenty of ink in them. It just tells me to change a particular cartridge. Often, I am asked to change a colour cartridge that is rarely used and is always almost full. If I don't change it, it won't print in any colour - not even black, even when I am not printing in that particular colour. Now that is REALLY bad and deliberately a pain in the ass design. The machine is simply designed to milk the owner of extra money for cartridges that are not needed.

I hear your mixed praise for HP - but remember they too are being sued presently for doing the same thing.

Thanks for broadening the picture, Miao. Cheers.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Anonymous in praise of you work for the corporation? Just checking...because we have had little but trouble with it since we bought it.


2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I'm a stay-at-home mom. I have a Brother printer/fax/scanner combination device. When the ink is getting low it shows a little yellow icon but it still prints. When it says it's empty the cartridges actually appear empty.

Maybe you can fool your machine by removing the "empty" cartridge and then putting it back in. Would that reset it? If your printer is new, maybe you should return it to the manufacturer.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Dear Stay-at-home Mum,

You certainly seem to have a better machine than the one I have. Perhaps it is a different model. My model seems to have been designed to misbehave, from my viewpoint. Maybe they sell different models in Asia (because they think they can get away with it, here?)

I wish my printer was like yours...but it isn't. I have tried the trick of which you write - but it doesn't work. It wants a new cartridge even when the old one has plenty of ink - and it won't print until I give it one. It is a terrible machine.

Best wishes.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anon2 said...

I recommend Canon's inkjet printers, which I have been using for about 6 years so far. They let you use the ink fully, you can replace colors individually rather than all color inks being combined in one cartridge, and I have had very few paper-feed problems. I once bought a defective ink cartridge, and Canon sent me a free replacement.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for the tip. I will look at Canon, then, for my next printer.

1:14 PM  

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