A printer error has occurred

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
October 8th, 2003 • 9:02 pm

In later versions of the classic Mac OS, it used to be that, when your printer ran out of paper, the system would display a small, unobtrusive windoid saying just that, i.e. that the printer was out of paper. You could just get up, go to the printer, and refill the paper tray. By the time you got back to your desktop, the printer had resumed printing and the little windoid had disappeared all by itself.

Now, when my printer runs out of paper, Mac OS X displays a semi-modal dialog box saying: “A printer error has occurred” and inviting me to bring the Print Center application to the foreground to see what’s going on. Only when I do this does the computer finally tell me that the “printer error” is actually that the printer is out of paper (and that warning is automatically dismissed as soon as the printer is reloaded and resumes printing).

This is just not right. I realize that, in a sense, being out of paper is an “error” for the printer — but it is language that should be avoided with end users. I know too many computer users who have been traumatized by too many (very real) printer errors in the past, be it because of a defective device or faulty printer drivers or obscure “Postscript errors”.

For such users, the very phrase “printer error” is enough to cause a sudden jump in their adrenaline levels. And I bet that they are quite relieved each time it turns out that the “error” is just that the printer is out of paper. There’s simply no need for this additional stress-inducing warning. Apple should bring back the Mac OS 9 behavior.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.