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Why Isn't There Better Support for Printers in the HP Palmtop?

Why did HP support only 3 types of printers? And why did they allow users to change only the baud rate when using the serial interface in the printer setup? It is somewhat awkward to carry a printer with you. Likewise, if you try to borrow a printer on the job, the person you are trying to borrow it from will probably say no when you ask if you can change the printer's configuration. It would be so much easier if the word length, stop bit and parity could be changed in the 200LX printer setup. Have I overlooked something somewhere or is there a routine or patch available that will allow me to change these options when printing from applications such as the Editor, Quicken or Lotus?

C. Goodwin

Editor's Reply: You can change some of the characteristics of the serial port in the Setup program. You can change more of the serial port parameters in the DataComm program (MENU, Connect, Settings). That's where you'll find the options for setting the parity, data bits, and stop bits. The XON/XOFF parameter is in the dialog box accessed via the "Advanced" option.

As to the question "why did HP support only 3 types of printers", realize that the HP 95LX came to market in 1991 and the HP 100LX made it to market a couple of years later. In those days, there were a lot of dot-matrix printers, a couple of LaserJet printers and the popular IBM ProPrinter. The drivers for these printers were burned into ROM and have not been changed since then.

The printer explosion came later. Nowadays it seems that HP reinvents the DeskJet and LaserJet every six months or so. Other printer manufacturers do their best to keep up. All of them require new drivers. When you get a word processing program such as VDE, Word, Word Perfect, etc. you also get the option of installing more printer drivers. If you want, you can load up your RAM disk with a lot of printer drivers. However, most of them will not do you much good if you want to print from 1-2-3 or Quicken. You can, of course, resort to printing Lotus and Quicken files to disk and, from there, importing the files into a word processor for formatting and printing.

Since nowadays most printers use a parallel port, you might consider getting a serial-to-parallel adapter or getting a PC card that will act as a parallel port. Neither option is cheap.

A less expensive route is to try the old trick of hooking a fax/modem to the serial port and sending a fax to someone's fax machine. For fax software, go to www.palmtop.net and search on FAX. You'll find six different programs that will let you send faxes from the Palmtop.

iPhone Life magazine


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