Why just one good marketing brain and a sprinkling of common sense will change the hitech/IT sector forever

meglycinessnip No doubt an awful lot goes into the design, packaging, shipping and consumer uses of IT products, but thought isn’t one of them. An awful lot of what should be in the packaging isn’t there, almost none of the instructions are any more, and the people who write the online manuals are not all there either. The Slog has another surreal encounter with the world of hitech.

Some people (I know) think I make this comms lunacy up, so I have to share a recent experience with you – including photo captures – to prove that nerds do not inhabit the same solar system as the rest of us. Two days ago, I was shopping at Intermarché – I live life on the outer edge of danger – when I saw an HP deskjet printer on offer for €40. That, I thought, is cheap. So I bought it.

On the outside of the pack, it says you can set up and use the product “without access to the internet or a router”, which struck me as novel. And indeed, if you have a router fitted into your cerebral cortex you can do that….which is a good thing really, because the product arrives with no instructions or diagrams whatsoever. But without a router implant (soon to be available on the NHS) you can neither set up or print with the HP 3630, because you have to go online and download the instruction manual.

What the machine comes with in its box is three cartidges. To fit these you need to hire a four year old for the morning with fingers small enough to get into the cartridge bays. Also inside is a thick pamphlet containing warnings. Sorry, I’ll read that again: a pamphlet containing warnings for the thick.

“CAUTION!” says the first warning, “Cartridge ink contains Benzisothiazoin. Do not drink it“. Also do not try and pronounce it unless you prefer your tongue knotted.

You can see where they’re coming from. There’s something about an ink cartridge that tempts my sense of wild and crazy experiment. I see one and think “down the hatch Wardy, you only  die once”. So it’s as well to be warned, but for me the safety cautions were a little cavalier: I mean, where’s all the important stuff like, “do not piss on the scanner while switched on”, “do not use ink cartridges as an eyewash for your kids” and above all, “Never, ever put your dog in the paper-feed: it is not a toy”. And neither is the printer.

And so we move on: we download, we choose settings, we configure, we install but we do not press ‘Continue’ when it says so on the screen:


CAUTION: do not follow instructions in set-up sequence, as they were compiled by a severely disabled stickleback as part of our Inclusive Employment Project. Instead, do this first:


Be sure while pressing the power button down, before pressing the Start Copy black button for the second time, you are hanging from a minstrels’ gallery and reading Glass’s Guide to car prices. Also ensure that you have completed all three button cancellations before hitting the flagstoned floor below.

If the wireless light is blinking at the start, do not skip to the next step without tucking your left heel under your right underarm beforehand. If you still can’t detect the wireless blinking, it could be you are dead, because flagstones can be terribly unforgiving. However, if not, it could be that the light isn’t bright enough, so


Why is the f**king printer asleep?

I switched the mother on, remember? How can it be tired – it didn’t do anything yet, and how dare it be asleep on the bloody job while I’m trying to get it to work ferfeckssake? I mean what does it think this is, Sunday? You’re neocons for crying out loud, not wimpy overseers at a summer camp: take the slacker out and beat it with a baseball bat in front of others in your product range. That’ll learn ’em.

Anyway, the printer says I don’t have an internet connection because it can’t find it. But the internet connection says oh yes I do, and so does the printer’s control panel, and so do the five sections of the instruction manual I printed off yesterday.

One day soon, a young entrepreneurial IT startup will begin offering equipment where all the downloading, setup, configuration, alignment, installations, wizards, cuddly toys, hubs, and spaces have been uploaded at the factory by people with just the one head that isn’t pointy, and a mind that follows number progressions and the alphabet in the same direction as the rest of us.

Not only will this be more fulfilling for the workforce; it will stop the local recycling centres from being piled high with unused gadgets by Boxing Day afternoon.

Try and have a pleasant weekend. It looks like we have three days of Summer left here, and then some much-needed rain will fall to make the temperature more pleasant…that’s if the forecasting software is configured with the scanning hardware and correctly aligned to the windspeed combabulator. Otherwise, the forecast will be wrong and by tomorrow morning the landscape here will be covered in brimstone and boils. It’s anyone’s guess.

Yesterday at The Slog: the writing in between the ears on the walls

15 thoughts on “Why just one good marketing brain and a sprinkling of common sense will change the hitech/IT sector forever

  1. What is the point of having a printer?

    There is a printer at the library in my village, and for big jobs, there’s the libary in Utrecht.

    It’s not so much the cost – 5c per sheet – it’s the convenience of having somebody on hand to tell you how to use their super-simple system. The one that tells you to pay, but doesn’t tell you how or where to do this.

    The Dutch IT specialist shares the same shortcomings as the rest of them. They know what they’re doing, the problem for us is that because it’s so simple, they think everybody will know where they’ve hidden the buttons…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. To get my HP to print double sided I have to get up and an open and close the lid which is the acknowledged work around for this piece of low tech detritus when used with a Mac….almost unbelievably there is a software option in Windows that requires a click and no journey to the printer. Wonders will never cease…


  3. HP have always been notoriusly bad, way back when from my days installing the first laser printers that they released, and they have been told oftern enough but, like most other corporates these days, they don’t GAF, why? because it’s the same whatever you buy. No escape, just futile deviation.


  4. Erm.. a combabulator is actually a combat perambulator and these have been banned for meteorological use – licking your finger and inserting it into the airstream is apparently safer (and equally useless).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No 1 40 euro’s for high tech,by definition isn’t hitech? (some premium set to that price)
    No 2 Something being novel,usually equates to useless!
    No 3 Don’t use the features given usually equates to proof that its useless!
    No 4 Warnings of poisonous substance not to be ingested indicates child labour used!
    No 5 very small compartment is proof that child labour was used!
    No 6 Multiple synchronised button pressing shows that the system was designed by a closet pianist !
    No 7 sleeping on the job proves that even the basic operating system quickly bores of human interference!(& needs some stimulus)
    No 8 ignoring all calls,probably means it fell of the back of a lorry to make way for a immigrant


  6. Never mind about all this — concentrate on the important.

    Bet 365 offering 4/7 on Man U beating Man City Draw No Bet i e the only eay you lose
    your stake is if City win (?!!) Draw returns your stake. Fancy a grand on it to spice up your weekend ??


  7. Well, my HP printer cost 140 euros and it’s equally sh*te. Never again. I bought it to replace my Epson 740, which never gave any trouble – even though the boy at the ink cartridge shop always laughed when I told him how old it was. I have an excellent system for printing stuff now – I email documents to nearby sympathetic friends and pick up the results when I next pass. I don’t miss the price of the odd bottle of wine…


  8. @nat forest:- My old woodwork teacher, (that’s going back some, teaching woodwork with sharp chisels and all..) anyway, he used to say, “Measure twice, cut once”. A great maxim to live your life by I found.


  9. Be sure to read the ‘fine print’ about having ones pace-maker turned on when you see price of three replacement cartidges in 6 months time! Cheaper to toss scanner/printer in trash and purchase a new one…


  10. At 10c a sheet to have it printed for you avoids all this nonsense. I always find with cheap printers the ink cartridges self destruct rapidly irregardless of usage levels. I only use my own printer for scanning-Life is now so much more simple.


  11. John
    I bought a cheapy bog-standard (which is all I wanted) HP printer/scanner from Intermarché a year or so back.

    One difference between mine and yours…mine has no Wi-Fi…I went out of my way to ensure that it really didn’t have any wireless tat in it before I bought it. It had an installation disk and cartridges, but no usb cable (I had a spare one hanging around anyway). It cost €24 on promo. The result? It just works…does what it says on the box it prints and scans…

    Avoid anything which has wireless tech. in it, including cars!


  12. the Japanese car makers make their first year apprentice mechanics write the service manuals. the results are excellent because the writers don’t have any experience – just like the users.


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