Sodding technology

Technology frustrates me so much. I’ve no patience. I’ve been known to unplug the printer and threaten to throw it across the room. I haven’t yet followed through on this, but I’ve come close to it. I am aware however that a simple act like this could make me come across as a complete psycho. ‘Charles Dickens didn’t have this sodding problem,’ I mutter.

Let me tell you about the printer, the device I was hoping could produce quality print-outs, so that Mr Big Agent would be really impressed. It’s manufactured by a very well known company and I was impressed with the sales advisor’s pitch when I went in search of a new model.

‘Yes it churns out fifty pages a minute or something like that,’ he said.
‘Wow,’ I replied. ‘I’ll take it.’
‘The print quality’s great too,’ he added.
Better still, I thought. Mr Agent won’t need his glasses as he squints at the botched printing. He’ll be impressed with the quality of the pixels and the glorious sheen, so much so, he’ll e-mail me back and ask me the name of the manufacturer.

(As I drove home, with the printer in the boot, I cast my mind back to the good old days. I got a typewriter from Santa for Christmas 1983, when I was eight. And I loved it. Each night I diligently sat at the breakfast bar and created beautiful asymmetrical lines of:


If I made a mistake, I borrowed my mum’s special rubber and erased the mistake. The page, when complete, was so pleasing to the eye. It was the most beautiful square.)

Once the new printer was rigged up, I tried to print my fifty pages/first three chapters. But the useless lump of a thing kept sucking the pages back in, creating a big blob at the bottom of each page. I ended up with thirty spoiled sheets. I was convinced it did this deliberately.

‘Sorry, trees,’ I whispered as I loaded yet more sheets into the tray.

At that point, I wanted to kick the printer, pull the leads out of the back and hurl it across the study. Deep breath.

I think it’s a problem we all encounter at some point in our writing lives – the inability of technology to co-operate. I am comforted by the fact it’s a universal problem. But it sucks up so much time. If only we could journey back to pen, paper and Tippex.

Not impressed with this printer*

*I could be doing something wrong. In all honesty, it’s probably not a manufacturing fault and more to do with the fact I refuse to read installation and instruction manuals.

It was on special offer though and the cynic in me believes that this is the shop’s way of clearing out what falls short of the mark.


JO said...

Oh how I agree with you!

If 'they' really wanted us to use all this techno stuff, surely they'd make it easier? Or is it a conspiracy, knowing will kick the thing to death eventually and have to buy a new one ...

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

You are not alone! My Epson is loathsome.I detest it.

It prints beautifully, but only if it has a full set of colour ink cartridges installed. I don't tend to submit multicoloured manuscripts or contracts, so black is my thing. I just use black. But the horrid thing won't allow me to just install BLACK.And the colour cartridges seem to 'run out' after a while even if I don't use them!

The ever so helpful man in Staples tells me they're all like this now. I'll have to do something soon, the cost of the ink has outstripped the price of the sodding hardware!

Fionnuala said...

I know this feeling so well. Printers and laptops (especially when they conspire together) turn me into Mr Bean. I have been known to kneel on the floor, head down and thump the carpet. Of course, I too refuse to read instruction manuals...

Helen Black said...

I feel your pain.
My printer is the thing most likely to send me over the edge. At the mo, the kids and I have to email anyhting we want printed to my other half at work.

It is driving us all loopy.
HB x

jimi said...

Recent times when net has so often gossip mongering and clog; your proportion really r iPhone 4 efreshes me.

DT said...

Deja vu, unfortunately. I gave up on my EPSON because of its colour ink gobbling (as a safety feature, with me in mind) and shelled out for a laser printer. True, the toner is expensive, but it does the job.

Gillian McDade said...

Glad I'm not alone with this problem!

Anonymous said...

I know this will sound rude but things occurred to me. I'll say in advance that I too get mad at tech just like you & have thrown stuff out of my pram before now!
So, here it is:
"A poor workman always blames his tools."
You haven't done enough to keep yourself informed - painters know thoroughly their materials...that's not to say some can't be sold 'new fangled' untested colours that distintegrate in 10 years.
These days its not enough just to have the knack of wrangling words - you must know how to get those words into all readable formats - and how to do this most effectively.
Hands up I'm relatively lazy on this point too but then I know there's only one person responsible at the end....

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Hmm, not sure I agree with you, Anonymous. There's a random aspect to technology. My computer, for instance, has twice refused to connect to the internet today and I've had to turn it off, check all the cables and reboot it. And printers? My Canon, whilst very good at printing, is also very good at sucking up money - just the same as the Epsons you've mentioned, it won't work on just a black cartridge. The cost per sheet is probably ridiculous and the size of the ink cartridge means you have to change it often. I think Derek's right - get a laser.

Debs Riccio said...

Ha ha, Gillian, you poor thing! My Epson (I see there are bad things said about them) is apparently a bit of a Faxer on the quiet too, but I've never got round to sending anything through it - I like my sleep. I do love it's scanning capabilities though :)But I am stunned that it shakes and rattles about when it prints something; surely these days they should be... well, smoother,no?