Friday, March 30, 2007
Blackmail? This is just business
Roll up, Roll up (roll of drums) -
Yes, it's the one, the only, the original -
Tripe Pickers Journal
(fresh from 1978).
If this works, and Heaven knows, technology is miserable now, you may see an image of the very first, (yes, it still exists), the very first cover, ever.
(Isn't that what they used to say, back in the old days?)
That's Paul and Mike on the cover.
Which one is me?
(Clue: compare to last blog's pic!)
Fanzines are different now.
(They might not even have that name.
They might be e-zines, or whatever.)
Of course, everything was made out of wax and cement in those days. Fanzines were etched on parchment or cranked out on duplicators. (The word Gestetner comes to mind.)
Nowadays the word is Epson, and aren't they a pain?
Anyone else out there doesn't like Epson?
It started out OK.
I bought one of those '1,000 in one' jobs -
you know - print, scan, etch, make tea, etc etc
and it worked fine, at all those jobs
(the tea was a bit weak)
but I wasn't happy with it.
The main problem was it insisted on lecturing me,
telling me off,
whenever I wasn't doing exactly what it commanded me to do.
The main point of contention was that Epson wanted me to use their own ink in their printer.
Only their ink.
No one else's.
And the messages came up, over and over, every time one or other of the ink cartridges got anywhere near getting used up (which happened suprisingly quickly, strangely enough).
Now, I didn't mind. At first.
For months and months, I toddled down to Staples superstore at the end of our road and stocked and re-stocked with inks whenever needed. The real ink, the Epson ink, just as ordered.
I didn't think of doing anything else.
That was the day the Staples woman behind the counter said to me 'Our brand is cheaper. Oh, and the cartridges contain more ink'.
Well then, if someone is promising you 12mls for the price of 7, that's got to be a bargain, right?
And, hell, this was Staples, right?
They're a big name, even round here, the north of the north.
Far from the maddening London crowd.
We're heard of Staples, begorrah.
(Why we even have frothy milk in our coffees now.)
It seemed like I couldn't lose.
But I did.
First think that happened was that I took out the used black cartridge (Epson made) and put in the new Staples cartridge.
Well, I got the message.
My computer told me - 'This isn't one of ours'.
What I wanted to say was 'Go ahead anyway'.
I clicked on this, I clicked on that, but no dice.
The printer wouldn't start.
There was a big red cross over the pic in the Printer dialog box,
like it wasn't even there.
But it was.
I'd bought it and I wanted to use it.
I changed the next cartridge, yellow, and the same thing happened.
So I took out the new black one and shook it all about.
I got black ink all over my hands -
my other (laser) printer,
my cup of tea -
I hunted around for inspiration.
I clicked on the 'Help' button.
Things started happening.
Before I knew it, I was connected to the internet and in earnest dialogue with a man in Epsom, (the place, not the printer).
He was unsympathetic.
He was about as haranguing as the damn computer.
He told me he 'couldn't be responsible'.
He thought it might be a 'faulty chip'.
I had a question.
I wanted to know what Epson had done to the printer to make it refuse to accept all cheap ink cartridges.
He was outraged.
'We don't do that', he said (not out loud, in typing - this was an email, after all).
Why not? This is business, right?
Why wouldn't you jimmy our printers so we have to pay more for only the 'legitimate' ink?
'Oh no, no', my new-found friend insisted.
He really wanted to help, he really did.
Well, that's nice, but it was me that had to troll on back down the road to Staples on the junction and change all those flashy new cartridges I bought,
and pay for new Epson ones, just like they 'advised'.
So, now the message is clear.
Not only should you use the same-make cartridges, brother, you got no choice.
Only Epson cartridges work in Epson printers.
One more question.
Isn't that blackmail?
Isn't that, you know, illegal or something?
Isn't it unethical, at least?
What do you think?