Notes from Jackson Street: My search for a simple, home-office printer

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By JOHN A. WINTERS, Publisher

I needed a printer.

Nothing fancy, just for home use. Basic functions like wireless ability, scanning and of course able to copy and print. 

Well “duh,” you might say. But let me ask you this … how is your $500-plus “smartphone” at making and receiving calls? It can steer satellites and create music playlists, even be a pretty awesome camera, but somehow its primary function, its job – a telephone – is what it is worse at. Remember “Can you hear me now?” Now it is more like “I can’t hear you.”

Anyhoo.

I head off to the BIG BOX  electronics store to find something to fit my needs. Soon, I am facing about 20 or so models, ranging from big office modes that can, ironically, make phone calls, to hand fed models where you just feed in one sheet at a time. 

We need something in between. And to not waste any more time than possible, I go and ask someone for help. 

Said helper walks over and says “here you go” and gestures toward the printers. And I’m thinking to myself that I know where the printers are, because I’m standing in the printer row when I asked for help. What I need is something that best fits my particulars.  

So I explained that again and was greeted with the same response. I looked again and it finally dawned on me that he was pointing to four boxes. Turns out those were the only printers available in the entire store and two of them were identical.

This was a fairly easy choice. Got the new copier/printer home and asked Eldest Son, who was in for a brief visit, to hook it up for me since he speaks Electronics. 

One of the reasons I got the printer was I needed to print something. A stretch, I know. So I walk into my office to print said document and can’t seem to wirelessly connect to the printer despite seeing the little wi-fi icon glowing all happy. 

So I yell to Caleb, that would be Eldest Son, asking where the printer cable is. You know, that cord that connects the printer to the computer.

“There isn’t one,” he responds. This requires, on my part, a pause. “What do you mean there isn’t one,” was my retort, which I thought was rather appropriate. “You use The Cloud,” he said.

I hate “The Cloud.” Stuff just goes up there and you can never find it again.

“Forget The Cloud,” I said. “Where is the port for a thumbdrive, I’ll just use that.” Next thing I hear is, “there is no thumb drive port. Thumb drives are so over. What you use now is …”

Don’t say The Cloud, don’t say The Cloud, please God don’t say The Cloud.

… The Cloud.”

Damn it. 

Turns out not only is everything done through “The Cloud,” I have to use my phone to operate the printer. Yes, you download yet another “app” from the BIG PRINTING COMPANY and scan, print, copy, create PDFs, order ink and Lord knows what else.

I don’t need all this. I need a printer that prints and can make copies. I need a phone where I can make phone calls and have a normal conversation. 

Technology is starting to overthink too much. I hate to think what they are going to do with the simple rake.

Sometimes we just need a tool to do its job, that and nothing else.

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