In 1998, I signed my first contract. With my first advance (which by the way was not huge; the first one rarely is, so you new authors, don't be disappointed), I made my first "big" purchase-- I bought myself an Epson Stylus Color 900 printer. Yes, I do still remember the name.
Why do I remember the name? Because that printer lasted me from turning in In the Forests of the Night, through Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator, and Hawksong. At least. I think somewhere around then was when it started having a little trouble- randomly skipping pages and the like- but I do know it made it to UMass Amherst and back with me at least once. I think I may have kept it until 2003, when we moved, and as part of my having an actual office in the new house, I decided to upgrade to an all-in-one.
That's five years, one printer. It never needed anything more complicated than a reboot.
It has been six years since, and do you have any idea how many printers I've gone through? I think three in the last year. I know I hated the one I had when I went to Texas in 2006, and the one I bought in Texas, I didn't bother to bring home.
Among other things, I have to complain about the apparently very popular design model these days where the paper input is the same place where the printed pages come out. What idiot invented that design? If you're printing more than a couple pages and/or not watching it like a hawk, it throws paper all over the place and inevitably jams as it tries to suck in a page it just printed.
So, I've just invested in the most basic network printer I could find. I checked multiple stores. I'm installing it at the moment, and I have to comment on that, too -- when did it start taking an hour to install a printer? The last two I've bought (at least) have taken forever to install. What is it doing, beyond tangling itself so deeply into the system that, should I ever choose to remove it, I practically have to reformat?
For the last year I've been doing my printing at Office Depot. For the record, I adore them. Fabulous customer service. I met a reader working at the printing department, too, named Sara. I don't know how serious a reader she was-- for all I know, when she said "I've read your books" she meant "I read one once and hated it"-- but I felt a little guilty for asking her to print Mancer for me.
Which reveals how ethical I apparently am not. I have to say, if an author I knew of and even moderately liked brought in a flash drive with a novel on it and left me to print it, I would be more than a little tempted to make a copy of that file.
Oh, look. The printer's done.
Now to test it...
 Mwahaha! It really does print double-sided! That's awesome! No, I didn't know it did that when I bought it.