Category Review

Canon MP970: Error Number 88

As promised in my short review of the Canon MP970, I’ll follow-up on a quirk in the Canon MP970’s handling of Letter-sized Canon Fine Art Rag paper (FA-PR1) — a matte specialty paper Canon sells for use with the MP970 printer (among others). Perhaps this will save other owners of the MP970 hours of bafflement.

First, please note that the package in which the “Fine Art” paper arrives proudly states each sheet is 8.5″x11″. You might be thinking to yourself, “I can print on this paper if I set the printer to use a US Letter page size!” That is a very silly thing to think.


My intent was to make two 4″x6″ prints on each sheet of 8.5″x11″ paper. As usual, I set the print job up in Omnigraffle on a “US Letter” page.


Here is a snapshot of the default “Page Setup” dialog in which the correct printer and paper appear to be selected. We’ll return to this in a moment. Oh yes.


The only other setting to check is the output quality and media. “Fine Art Photo Rag” is the “Media Type” and “Top-quality Photo” is the “Print Mode”.


Clicking “Print”, however, results in an “Error Number : 88 The media type and paper size are not set correctly. Cancel printing, correct the settings, and print again. To print on Fine Art Paper, you need to set the media type and paper size appropriate to Fine Art.”

Here’s the trick: Canon treats “Fine Art” paper (FA-PR1) differently from “US Letter” paper. To print to “Fine Art” paper, you must dig into the paper sizes in the “Page Setup” dialog and specifically select “Fine Art” paper under the option for “US Letter” paper. Thanks, Canon, you bunch of nimrods.


Note, however, that selecting the “Fine Art” paper size will drastically adjust the printer margins. Compare the following image to the “US Letter” layout above.


In the end, you are left with a diminutive 8.25″x8″ print area — just enough to fit two 4″x6″ prints, but obviously not enough to handle two 5″x7″ prints or one 8″x10″ print. Working around this limitation may involve lying to the printer. I’ll relay any such experiences in a future post.

Canon MP970: Short Review


A few days ago, I purchased a Canon MP970. It arrived yesterday. Is it worth giving up some small green pieces of paper? I believe so — with some caveats.


  • High quality prints!
  • A discounted price due to the recent arrival of its successor — the MP980
  • A built-in scanner and memory card reader
  • Ethernet or USB capable


  • Canon drivers
  • Appearance
  • Canon drivers

Thus far, the Canon drivers are the only major issue I’ve encountered with this printer. They possess a casual malice, being somewhat annoying to install (reboot required) and counter-intuitive to use (did you select the right media type in exactly the right place?). Indeed, the latter aspect is bad enough that one could reasonably claim Canon printer drivers represent an indefensible crime perpetrated against the end user.

(I’ll go into the subject in more detail soon. Believe me. No one with access to Google should ever have to share in the torment.)

To sum up: The MP970 is quiet, fast, and relatively inexpensive for a good photo printer. It’s capable of doing a lot of different things. It’s also ugly as sin. Physically, it resembles a brooding, streamlined brick; digitally, it resembles a maddened hydra or perhaps a writhing nest of poisonous snakes.

Output counts for a lot, though, and the output from this printer — thus far — looks really good.

My Dear… Apple Fritter

I’ve seen a lot of buzz about Twilight on the web lately. Fortunately, Defective Yeti has critiqued the novel… and now I don’t ever, ever have to read it.

I am so totally not making this up. Also, he’s a good vampire, insofar as he doesn’t eat people. But he really, really wants to. Hence the brooding. And to make matters worse, he wants to eat Belle more than anyone, because apparently she has great smelling blood. But he’s also in love with her, you see. Oh my goodness, what a pickle! It’s as if you or I were dating an apple fritter.

Emphasis mine. I am so glad most food doesn’t possess a written language.