"Tiny Printer"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, June 1, 2018

I know I have addressed my disdain regarding the latest electronic marvels and how irritating they are. Almost every day I am confronted with a new aggravation. Today was one of them.

A department store near-by had a great sale on a printer we needed so we bought it and began the chore of hooking it up to our computer. As we read the preamble about all the great things it could do; serve as a copy machine, perform wirelessly, etc., we were sure we had just what we wanted. Because we are living in a small space, the real selling point for the item was its size — it is just a bit larger than a four-slice toaster.

The tiny instruction sheet for installation was lengthy, in small print of course. One statement we found amusing was, “If the first way you attempt does not work, try another.” There actually were several listed. Finally we got it to spit out the first page. As we applauded our efforts and asked for another, we realized we got the first and last copy that the little printer wished to provide.

Just at this time, a knowledgeable assistant stopped by to visit and we asked her to try to get the little printer to deliver. She followed all the directions, none of which resulted in additional printing. Not a page, not a line, or a letter. We reviewed the directions again which stated; “Works with all brand computers, no wires necessary or special connections.” What it did not state was; “No printing,” which resulted in “of no use to the purchaser.”

Time passed and we kept asking the tiny printer to do its job. For some inexplicable reason, it began spitting out page after asked for page. No hesitation or pauses, just cranked them out. We were so happy we did not have to call upon a 10-year old to solve the issue. It’s a well-known fact in this age of electronics; if a youngster cannot get an electronic item to work, it’s junk.

Although my tiny printer came with a tiny instruction pamphlet, most new electronics have a directive saying “go to the internet to download the manual.” This really works well when it’s a new computer you just got (because the three-year old one hit the junk pile). How can you “go to the internet” when you can’t even boot up the machine? Or, let’s say you somehow manage to “go to the internet” on another computer that still lives. Twenty-five pages, many repetitive, are printed out and the search begins. Somewhere in all of that very small print are directions to set up your computer or whatever it is you just bought.

What we are told about why we must chop down the trees in the forest by using all that paper is; “To save the environment, we no longer provide an operations manual.”

The sorry truth about today’s digital wonders is many of them don’t work when you try to set them up, some never will. After trying every way listed in the directions it becomes apparent, what you shelled out your hard-earned cash for was never intended to work well enough to meet satisfactory operation.

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