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Upcoming reading in Edinburgh

While I have your attention ...

Next summer sees the publication of the fourth Laundry novel, "The Apocalypse Codex". But it's never too soon to start annoying my readers with samples of stuff they can't buy, so I'm doing my very first proper interview/Q&A and reading from "The Apocalypse Codex" on Saturday December 17th, at 3pm in Pulp Fiction here in Edinburgh's old town (on Bread Street, just off Candlemaker Row). Editor, writer, and sometime co-conspirator Andrew J. Wilson has kindly agreed to give the introductory talk and interview; coffee and refreshments will be available.

Note that this is a free event, but space is limited — you'll need to get a ticket or reserve a seat. (Link to Facebook event.)



begs pitifully any events (even better, any English events) while I'm in the UK, Dec 27-Jan 3? /begs/


OT, responding to your request for comments re: Printers.

Deep six the HP and go with Brother. I just bought a Brother MFC-7860DW with wireless printing and am loving it. It's a monochrome laser which is much cheaper to operate than a colour printer (unless you really, really need colour).


Don't suppose this will be on youtube?


In a word, "no". (I'm going to be grovelling through a pile of steaming copy edits during those dates. Also: England is a long way away.)


We're a 100% Mac shop here. HP work, relatively reliably, with Mac. Also: we specifically need a colour duplexing printer for printing double-sided colour leaflets that don't smear in the rain. This isn't for novels, it's for $SPOUSE's Adobe workstation.


YouTube is a possibility, but not definite yet. (Depends if the camera crew is sober ...)



Festive season, out and about in Edinbrough. sober? I doubt I would be for long. :)


Well, check out Brother's colour printers. My wife's Macbook Pro works flawlessly with the wireless Brother as well as my Thinkpad X201.


Al right, I do appreciate the necessity for the New Laser Printer, but , well , I devoutly hope that my Lady-friend doesn't find out about this Thread because I've being declaiming to all female Persons who will pay attention that I bought a High Capacity cartridge for my Ancient HP Laser-jet 1000 series awhile ago and it will churn out student handouts 'til hell turns over or I'm obliged to convert to windows 7 ,or its successor..albeit that the Ancient of Days Printer does print out on one side of the A4 sheet and wont do mirror printing unless you fiddle about about manually re-stack the printed sheets. And I'm not about to buy a new laser printer until the high capacity cartridge wears out ..Colour or NO sodding Colour!! And anyway Monochrome is Arty - er, artful there

How times do change. It seems that it was only yesterday in the late '80s of the last century that a friend of mine - who is a professional writer - mentioned to me ..on manually type written sheets .. that he'd just received a letter from an Eminent - and Rich - SF writer of the American persuasion and that it was written upon a ... LASER PRINTER ! ....' .. Of Colossal Pretension '


Since the interesting info is speech, not pics, maybe a sound recording and a few stills would suffice?


The printer we're replacing/retiring is an HP Laserjet 4550N -- a monstrous networked business colour laserjet from circa 2001, bought for a business venture and used subsequently for printing pamphlets for public health awareness (and the odd novel manuscript). Takes five minutes to warm up from cold, then shovels out 4-6 pages per minute at 600dpi in colour or B&W; cost £2300 back in the day.

It has done sterling service for a decade and the parts are available cheap from the back of dusty warehouses, but it has lately taken to spewing blank pages -- I suspect a paper feed sensor problem or the paper feed controller board is dying. It is a decade out of warranty and I've taken a look at the 382-page field service manual and decided I do not want to go there -- this thing is substantially more complicated than a car!

So instead we're going for an HP Enterprise colour laserjet M551dn. It's supposedly ready to print from cold in 15 seconds and spew out up to 30 pages/minute at 1200 dpi, with mechanical duplexing as well (not to mention the network print server we rely on). Oh, and it's a third the price of the old one. Spares/supplies are ho-hum price-wise, but then you don't buy a business-grade colour laser printer expecting it to be free; it's cheaper than an inkjet to run, and the colour doesn't smear if you park a pint glass on top of it (which for health education leaflets distributed in pubs and night clubs is kind of important).

NB: We'll probably under-use it, but we need a bunch of the high-end features (Postscript Level 3!) to satisfy the Adobe CS geek, and my TCO calculation for a high-end inkjet made me turn white and shake (we'd be getting through a full set of colour ink cartridges every 3-4 weeks; within the first 4 years the laser would end up coming in cheaper, and I'm talking £800 enterprise colour lasers, not cheapo desktop jobbies). There's clearly a gap in the market for folks who need more than a high-end inkjet or a low-end colour laser printer, but not a 75,000 page per month duty cycle.


Wish I could reschedule my year-end plans but I won't be in Edinburgh until January. On the other hand it is part of a plan that might see me moving back home permanently so I won't bitch about it. Just wish I could be there sooner if only just to be at this reading.


it has lately taken to spewing blank pages -- I suspect a paper feed sensor problem or the paper feed controller board

My first thought is of the pages sticking together so that it's pulling 2 (or even 3) through the entire feed mechanism. I don't think there's a fix as such; you might find that fanning the sheets when loading the paper tray helps. You can recycle the blank sheets, but best practice would require you to use them "other way up" if doing so.


Once the replacement printer is in place (hopefully by the end of the week) I'm going to haul the old one into my office, take apart as much of it as will come apart in the hands of an amateur (using the field service manual as a guide, but not pretending to be a repairman), and clean it to within an inch of its life.

We have a bunch of spare supplies; it's not going on Gum Tree or Freegle until I've had some more use out of it, and it's a much more robust machine than the cheap and flimsy consumer-grade B&W laser in my office.


Heh, prior to my purchase of the Brother (multi-function mono laser) I was using a HP Laserjet IV. It was purchased used for $50USD and lasted a good 7 years after that. It was built like a brick shithouse and was very, very stingy on toner, unlike your modern giveaway printers. The only negative was it's prodigious consumption of power and lack of a "sleep" mode. It wasn't green, folks.

Frankly, while my inner geek wants a shiny new precious every few years, my inner recycler nags that I squeeze the last erg of use from my tech before consigning them to the landfill. You won't believe how virtuous I felt using the Laserjet.


Start with the mechanicals of the feed path, and pay particular attention to any rubber rollers for crud or polish (although those are more usually causes of failing to feed at all).


RE: Printer. Just in case it hasn't been mentioned Check the cost of Cartridges/Toner before you buy as that is the way some manufacturers make there money. RE: Codex Can't wait. "To many pan-dimensional incursions can be bad for your reality"


I should note at this point that refurbished mechanical duplexers (part C4083A) are available for the old printer (we didn't get a duplexer at the time because it was a £600 extra) for around US $150.

I'm wondering if I've got any use for this. As with stoic I'm on board the squeeze-all-the-juice-from-it thing with respect to stuff like printers or cars (as opposed to items that tweak my shiny! reflex, like smartphones or laptops).


Likewise - I've worked in IT (with a side order of reprographics) longer than you have even (presumes you'd no more than hobby interest when you were in pharma), and IME most paper feed problems are caused by muck or polish on rubber rollers and/or using too light or heavy a paper for the machine.

Actually, that's a question in itself; have you recently changed from, say, 80g/sqm paper to 90g?


I'll really try to get along to this.


That's a good question. We're using cheapish HP-branded 80gsm paper. That's what we've used for some years, in fact. So I don't think it's a paper weight change, and it's not throwing multiple pages simultaneously -- more like it's just picking up and throwing one blank page after another. (I suspect a dirty paper sensor somewhere in the feed path. I know there's been a small magenta toner spill at some point in the past few years -- possibly when we moved house.)


With the extra info, I think you may well be right about the dirty sensor. As you might have guessed, it's also more usually the mechanicals than the electricals that give up first, or the fuser unit that goes.

Yes, I have been involved in unplanned but successful lifecycle destruction testing! Well I'd call getting 250_000 sheets out of a machine and replacing it when a new fuser cost more than the printer did a destruction test.


Not sure I can make it on the 17th but I popped into Pulp Fiction yesterday and mentioned you'd sent me, or rather your tweets had - they have a nice set-up and are a very welcome addition. Their sci-fi selection looked to be mostly, perhaps wholly, second hand - which I see as a good thing as I always enjoy the serindipitous discoveries that browsing brings and complementing Transreal also seems like a smart policy as it looks like the best chance of us ending up with two specialist shops on a permanent basis.


The new printer arrived. I am considering a formal letter of complaint to CityLink, the courier firm: why on earth did they load a 50Kg package into a one-man delivery van, when their regs forbid their employees from lifting packages over 25Kg unaided?!?

Yes, I went downstairs to help carry the thing up four floors: I was not willing to leave an expensive and delicate piece of machinery sitting in a public right-of-way. Yes, it triggered an asthma attack. Yes, I am unamused.


Because if you put staff in that situation, 90% of the time they'll cope somehow, and it'll save you a salary. And because they've had H&S training and know the company requires them not to lift heavy items, the company's covered. (This post brought to you by my memories of outfitting a new branch of $BigPurpleElctronics_Retailer, and dealing with 30kg flatpack chairs.)

26: 25 and #26 - Where did "their" 25kg come from anyway? HSE guidelines are that anything over 20kg is a 2-man lift or requires the use of lifting aids.

You can lift that 30kg monitor onto and off a trolley, but should not attempt to carry it from $oldoffice to $newoffice by yourself even if they're adjacent.


I might manage. I'd really like to, I'm off and don't appear to have any commitments. In the meantime although most folk will find Pulp Fiction fairly easily I think "just off Candlemaker Row" is a bit optimistic (like saying Parliament is just off George IV Bridge). On Bread Street just off Lothian Road at the West Port next door to the Blue Blazer pub and opposite the Point Hotel. :P

Nice shop. Worth a visit even without the celebrity appearance.


Good but if we could have the third volume in French ... It would be wonderful! :) From "Jenifer morgue," we have nothing. And many of your books are not translated. Do something, quick.


Third volume of what?


I assume David was referring to the third volume of the laundry - The Fuller Memorandum.


I don't think that's in the hands of the author. You need to write to the French publishers of the translations, I think.


I'm intrigued by the title of this book. Can you tell me anything about it?


Yes, but if he did that, eldritch creatures from another dimension would be forced to kill you and then drive you insane. HTH.


Oh to be in " ENg- land now that .." er, actually, Not , for, as Cold and damp as Edinburgh is at this time of year,at the moment the North East of England is worse and, frankly, as alluring as Our Hosts Voice might be in Public Performance, I prefer to wait until the BOOK appears in full and Hard Cover, and without the ... what Happens NEXT !!! several months?

I'll buy it in Hard Cover with that ..Reasonably GOOD and nicely referential " Modesty Blaise " cover illo ..well Done That Man to the Artist ..which is not to say that I'm not irritated that the BOOK is'nt to appear for the Xmas Market .... yes, YES , Charlie I do appreciate the * DULL * Commercial Reality of it all, but Just saying, and all that sort of thing.


I'd send my daughter to the reading to fill me in but she won't be starting her "semester abroad" at the University of Edinburgh until January.


The event is next door to the Blue Blazer. The odds of camera crew sobriety are low. I will take the tripod so it's not wobbly.


Unbelievable we're actually going to be in the same town at the same time. Just reserved my ticket - see you there


Have a thought for the soldiers patrolling around Afghanistan - their minimum personal load is on the order of 35kg, more likely 40kg. And it applies whether you're the original man-mountain, or the 5'6" female medic attached to the patrol.

...I have unpleasant memories of carrying a 60kg load across half of Salisbury Plain. The School of Infantry seemed to feel it was important for our course to experience (at least once) the full impact of "carry everything, just like during the Falklands War"...



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on November 29, 2011 12:46 PM.

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