Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ink Blots

Gotta love advancements in technology.

I had a printer long ago (so long, it is still plugged into my Windows 98II computer... don't ask) that was the best ever. I printed hundreds, nay thousands, of pages on tiny little ink cartridges. It would even print on "empty". And when the colors ran out, well you could still print in greyscale. For a long, long, LONG time after the refill light began flashing.

Not so in the modern world.

There came the day when "regulations" ~cough cough~ required manufacturers of technology to no longer provide "updates" for computers created before 2007. This meant that by 2009 I could no longer do ANYTHING on my old workhorse & I was forced to upgrade. And print everything at work. Because I no longer had a printer at home that worked with my new computer.

So, always enamored of new toys, I invested in a copier/printer/scanner/fax machine. Not just any machine... a wireless machine so I could copy/print/scan & fax from anywhere in the house. Not only was it wireless, you could use a chip or flash drive.
Wow. Welcome to the new world.

And inside this grand brand new machine was not one "all your colors" ink cart.
Nope, I now had 5.
3 primary & 2 black.
And you can select between color & greyscale.
And I'm thinkin;, "This baby will print forever!!!"

~cough cough cough~

Oh, I am SO naive.

Because these new little ink carts obviously hold an eye dropper full of ink.
And use twice that each time you engage the printer.

Case in point.
We print a lot of text documents for school, work & other activities.
You know, text.
Black & white.
No fancy pictures, or highlights, or frilly fonts (like the old days).
Just... black letters. On white paper.

How declasse.
I know.

So, I need to print something about 3 weeks ago... and the "alarm" goes off.
Not kidding.
A light flashes & a bell dings & you are warned that the end of the world is coming.
And... the printer will not engage.
The small black cart is "low".
Every other ink is registering fine, I know, because there is a fancy bar graph flashing in front of me.
I have PLENTY of ink, even a FULL large black.
But, no, no dice, not printing if the little black is "low".


So, off I go, to the only place that has ink in a 15 minute drive radius.
Because, I live in the middle of nowhere.
And... they are out of exactly one brand of one color.
Yep... the one I need.
For 3 weeks.
Trust me, I "checked back" frequently.

Finally, I gave up, & drove the extra 30 minutes to one of those "office" stores.
Where a nice lady met me at the door, inquired as to my needs, bent over to get my ink for me off the bottom shelf, walked me to the check out AND gave me the lower price I would have gotten at the other store.

I happily returned home, glad to be back in the Land of the Printable, carefully removed the packaging on my new little ink cart, & inserted it into the machine.
Where... it was not recognized.

I did what any rational person would do.
I removed it & reinserted it.
Five times.
Still... the "Ink cartridge not recognized" warning came up & all the little lights on the other ink carts were flashing an angry red.
Finally, in an effort to figure out just WHY the new little ink cart wouldn't play nice, I noticed it.
In tiny little letters.
I'm sorry, I didn't even know they MADE gray ink!
Luckily, the store would credit me even though I had mangled the packaging (& been an idiot).

So, 2 days later, off again I drove... 30 minutes there & back again.
And unpackaged & reinserted my new little black ink cart.
Only to have... you guessed it... now both the red AND the blue ink carts flashing at me & the alarm going off!!!

Excuse me?

I only print in black & white?
Who-body stole my colors?

OK, fine.
I can still print stuff at work.
Except, now I need to scan something.
You know, that technology where you insert a document, the green light passes over it, & it saves to your computer.
No printing involved.
Only, in an effort to be efficient, save me from certain doom, & drive me mad, the copier/printer/scanner/fax machine is incapable of performing ANY function if the ink is low.

And, yes, I removed the carts, shook them vigorously & replaced them.
Several times.

So, off I went to the 15 minute away store.
Only to find (drum roll please) that although now they were sufficiently stocked with black ink, they were out of red.


My only recourse was to purchase the "saver" pack.
You know, the one with all 3 primary colors AND the large black ink. (The small black ink is suspiciously absent from the "saver" pack!)
I saved... $1.

~cough cough cough cough~

I came home, connected the cable to the laptop (because, of course, the wireless isn't working either), turned on the machine, and watched the little alarm go off. Again.
So... I did what any person would do in this situation.

I smacked it.

And proceeded to scan my document AND print 20 pages, some in FULL color of the beautiful USF campus complete with blue skies & palm trees, without a hitch.

Note: at this point, I still have not replaced the "empty" red or blue inks.

I swear, this whole thing was a conspiracy of some sort.

And now I know why psychologists use ink blots for sanity tests.