BLOG WITH SIMON: Upgrade slave

We had a technology disaster the other day (cue dramatic music) – the printer ran out of ink!

You may laugh, but this was a calamity on the home front rivalled in magnitude only by a) internet hiccups and b) blackouts – the ultimate internet hiccup.

The problem was homework needed proofing.

Ideas, dreams and dodgy sentence structure were locked up in the computer pining for expression.

Without overstating the situation, if we didn’t get it printed out, the future of our children was stuffed.

Not to mention dinner – we also needed a recipe.

So a minion was dispatched to the shop to get an ink cartridge refill.

On the face of it, a simple, nay, mundane chore.

But in reality, a task resonating with historical significance.

Failure to get the ink cartridge meant our minion may well be history.

And to think, it was only a mere 570-odd years since Gutenberg invented the printing press, thereby sparking a renaissance.

Fast forward to 2012 and here was our minion on his way to the shop to unwittingly spark a new renaissance – in retail.

Turns out our printer was nearly as old as Gutenberg – in technology terms – ie, about six months old.

Ancient by technology standards.

And this was a problem, because at the shops our minion was informed they no longer made the ink cartridge required for a Gutenberg II.

And didn’t that sum up the technological age – on the one hand you want to win.

On the other, you can’t.

Our minion was presented with two options.

One, there was a shop across town which might have the required ink cartridge – in a cryogenic case.

Two, it might be time for an ‘‘upgrade’’.

Translated, ‘‘it might be time to buy a new printer’’.

This caused our minion to reflect: ‘‘What a rort!’’

The old printer wasn’t even broken.

But it may as well be without ink.

Our minion started imagining, what if they changed fuel as we knew it and then advised everyone to ‘‘upgrade’’ their car.

There’d be outrage.

Actually, it’s already happened with LPG.

The price has gone through the roof.

Won’t be long before people who got their vehicles converted will be ‘‘upgrading’’ again – to walking.

Talk about a joke.

Maybe that’s why our minion refuses to throw his old printer away, preferring instead to store it under the house till the next council pick-up.

We’re getting quite the technology museum down there.

All symptoms of the modern ‘‘upgrade’’ mentality.

The homework hounds don’t really care.

All they wanted was their homework printed out, and dinner.

So whatever it took – get an ink cartridge, buy a new printer, beam it up, minion.

The fact is, even if an ink cartridge could be found, it’s cheaper to buy a new printer anyhow.

So why get hung up?

Well, part of it’s got to do with being old school.

Old school doesn’t bow to the throwaway ethos of the new millennium.

Old school prefers to bluster about the good old days of stencils and lead pencils.

But ultimately old school doesn’t want to deal with getting the wi-fi on a new printer to work.

Now, that’s a real internet hiccup.

Better for old school to stick with the devil he knows and chase down that ink.

Black gold, baby.

Been forced to upgrade anything against your will?

Blog with Simon here.

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