I bought my Epson R200 inkjet printer from MicroCenter for one reason, i.e., its ability to print directly on DVD’s and CD’s. But I haven’t needed it for any projects until last night, almost nine months after I bought it. I used the Epson Print CD application on my G5 PowerMac to build up the DVD template and then tried to print it to DVD. Despite the fact I was following the instructions in my owner’s manual to the letter, whenever I tried to print, the printer would push out the DVD tray a little, move the print cartridges like it was going to print something, pull back, pull the tray in and push it back out, start flashing the ink and paper lights, and then issue an error message that said my “CD/DVD GUIDE IS OPEN”. Several times I tried recycling the guide and pushing in the tray when the red lights would start flashing but nothing helped. I uninstalled the printer drivers and reinstalled all my Epson software from the CD, downloaded new drivers from the Epson website, installed them, and tried again. Nothing worked. I switched to my G5 iMac and tried it all again but got the same result. In desperation, I cranked up my XP powered PC, launch the Windows version of Epson Print CD, rebuilt the DVD template, and commanded it to print. Worked like a champ! For once, my Windows PC pulled through.
Needless to say, I’m a bit distressed. I haven’t troubleshot the Mac setup yet; but from comments I’ve seen on the web, I suspect the problem has something to with Tiger. I’ve seen some reports from folks running Panther who have had no problems using the R200 to print to CD or DVD. Once I finish the project I’m on (and I’ll finish it using Windows), I’ll try using the GIMP printer drivers in Tiger vice the Epson drivers from the CD or the web. I may also try printing directly from one or both of the Macs to see if my problems might be caused by the Mac’s (or Tiger’s) interface with my USB network. But, for now, suffice it to say I’m once again having to think about whether I can ever really move away from keeping a Windows machine around.
At times like that, I’ll momentarily question whether moving to the Mac was really the right thing. I back off and look at it again; and, every time I do, the advantages and what I really like about Macs and OS X come back to me. I remind myself that the real culprit here really isn’t Apple but the minimal support it often receives from third party manufacturers. Not that Epson doesn’t support the Mac; it does. But the support often seems slow and limited. Hopefully, that will change as Macs grab more market share; but, in the meantime, I’m going to encounter this kind of a thing from time to time. Still, it’s better than the day-to-day travails of living with Windows, something I’m reminded of every time I go to fix a friend’s or organization’s PC.