Friday, June 4, 2021

Don't forget that printers are miracles

Every now and then I'll write a post about the good/bad old days in which we lacked certain technology that is now commonplace, and how none of us should ever take it for granted.

This is one of those posts.

I am of sufficient age to appreciate how amazing it is to have a desktop printer, because I grew up at a time when no one had them.

All of your school reports back then were handwritten or, if you were fancy, produced on a typewriter.

We had a typewriter in my house, and I remember using it to write reports on Theodore Roosevelt (when we had to pick a president to write about), Iceland (when we had to pick a country to write about), and Vermont (when we had to pick a state to write about). This involved setting margins and manual carriage returns, and if God forbid you made a mistake, reaching for the foul-smelling White Out to correct it.

It was cumbersome, but the final product always looked nice.

Like a lot of people, the first printer I owned was of the dot matrix variety, and much like a typewriter, it required changing out the ink ribbon every so often.

It only printed in black and white, of course, but that didn't matter. The fact was, it printed! I would create something on my Commodore 64, and a couple of minutes later, there it was on paper, looking all professional (or so it seemed).

You have to understand, this was a revelation. Then they came out with Print Shop software and you could create banners and flyers and all sorts of things that previously could only be handled by a graphic designer and a printing service.

In retrospect, it all looks pretty bland and cheesy. But to say that is to ignore how transformative portable printers really were. What had before involved a large investment of time and money could now be done in an instant at home. Mind blowing.

The next time I want to complain about my Epson printer, I'm going to stop for a second and appreciate the fact it exists it all.

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