Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hardly Anything Progresses When Your Technology Gets Hissy

I don't mind that the world in general ignores me, as long as my world in particular is willing to give me the recognition I deserve. So I don't, as a general rule, mind when someone asks, "Oh, could you devise and print off stickers for the 4th on 53rd Parade and Picnic? We only need about 500." I'm as flattered as anybody when they come back and say "Oh, we like those. How about a name tag to identify the volunteers?" Or, "Gee, we really need vouchers for the Food Court, so the volunteers don't have to pay to get something to eat at the picnic, so could you do it? We want each voucher to be worth $1.00, and each volunteer to get $5.00 worth and we only have between 50 and 60 volunteers. Oh, and one of the other organizations wants to do the same thing, but we need to be able to tell the difference between theirs and ours, so could you . . . ?"

These are usually, truly, deeply tedious tasks, once the design is in place. Toss a stack of label sheets in the printer and hit print. Check periodically to make sure there's no paper jam, or the color cartridge hasn't run out. This year, for a change, I was looking forward to this part because, of course, this year, I can knit. I could just sit at my desk and churn out mitered squares while everything else went off like clock-work.

Let this be a lesson to all local do-ers. Technology never works the way you want it to when it matters. I know it's bad when I start anthropomorphizing my printer. This year it has decided it doesn't care for the taste of the label stock, thank you very much. It prefers to be hand-fed each sheet individually, if you please. It accuses me of force-feeding it when I try to give it say, 5 sheets at a time. And then it starts spitting up on me.

Instead of sitting by my printer and knitting, I have to sit at my printer and make sure it eats nicely. One sheet of 30 labels is just about enough to pick up my knitting and make a mistake before I have to feed the printer again. Then I have just enough time to half-way undo the mistake and feed the printer. Then I get to repeat it, lose my place, find my place, a-a-a-and -- it's time to feed the printer again.

If this keeps up, it can just forget the hot fudge sundae for dessert.

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