Posted in Editing, Technology and Software

Smitten by a Printer

I was kept up all night by Microsoft Word. Even when you think you understand it and can find your way around it, doing things other people don’t even know Word can do, it still has the ability to baffle. I looked up a few ‘Word help’ sites on-line, but they don’t say very much, are too basic, and are chirpy and cheerful at a time when I’m keen to wring someone’s neck.

I enjoy the challenge of reducing a wild, fighting document to something pliant and beautiful, but when I think of all the time and sleep I’ve lost, and the frantic rush just before a printing deadline when everybody’s waiting for me to come up with the goods, and Word isn’t letting me do something that should never have been a problem in the first place… that makes me quite angry.

My printer broke down in the middle of it all. No, actually, I was glad. I’m usually upset when things of mine break (I don’t know when I last broke a mug) but I didn’t like this printer. Even as I turned away from its rapidly cooling corpse and my forehead met the desk with a thump, I thought to myself “I can buy a new printer now. And it won’t be the same make!”

I lifted my forehead off the desk and pointed my mouse in the direction of Amazon.

Not just because I’m a shopaholic who was fed to the back teeth with her old printer anyway, but because I felt bad about it and wanted to leave that moment behind. Move on, move on, move on. Get from a bad place to a good one. Despair begone and hope enter in. I didn’t want to fork out for a new printer, which was partly why I was upset, but let’s just get one and get it over with.

In fact there’s such a bewildering choice out there it took me two nights. I talked to everyone and read all the reviews and shopped around from site to site. I stared at pictures and thought about what I needed. I narrowed my shortlist to two printers – one laser and one inkjet – and they were so much the opposite of each other in their pros and cons that I couldn’t decide! I slept on it, hoping for a definite decision during the night, but in the morning was still irresolute. So I bought the one I wanted instead of the one I thought I should probably get. I bought the Canon inkjet.

Those two nights – it was a good thing I held back, as the price came down while I was staring at it. The other printer held its price steady.

I’m looking forward to it so much that just now I went back to Amazon and pulled down its picture just so I could stare lovingly at it. I showed it to Sharky, who was sitting on my knee. “Look – there’s our new printer.” He looked at it for a few minutes while I clicked back and forth between views, but he didn’t seem very impressed. I downloaded one of the photos so I could admire it when I leave the site. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, not for a printer. Not for anything other than a kitten or a teddy bear.

Maybe I just needed something to smile over and look forward to. I’m not down in the dumps; just tired. It’s one of those times when things are breaking down all around you – the PC’s hard drive packed up recently, taking a handful of pretty graphics with it, and I’m still waiting for a replacement. I didn’t particularly miss the PC, sitting blank and empty beside me, but today it hit me that I miss Paintshop Pro.

Edit Feb 2008: Comments for this entry when it was on Blogigo:

1. drifting wrote at Sep 27, 2006 at 09:05:
Word drives me nuts sometimes. Microsoft applications are not particularly ‘user-friendly’. I get so sick of the auto-formatting that Word insists on doing when it thinks it knows what I want. Excel’s help is not very helpful. Access is a nightmare. I need a new harddrive but just can’t afford it at the moment with the car bill coming up….
It is nice to get that document obedient, though. Just takes a lot of frustration!

2. drifting wrote at Sep 27, 2006 at 09:07:
Btw, I have to say I thought your title meant you’d meant a human printer… hehehe! It’s probably just as well to fall in love with an inanimate object – less hassle!

3. Diddums wrote at Sep 27, 2006 at 20:07:
That would be a match made in heaven, wouldn’t it – an editor and a printer! Even better if it was a writer and a printer.

What I find with Word help is it tells you stuff you know already – the troubleshooting information is thin on the ground. It seems to assume you won’t or can’t get into trouble. Or maybe they don’t want to have a huge troubleshooting section in case people think it reflects on the product! It doesn’t really, especially if it tells you what was going wrong in the first place. Then you would go “ah – silly me,” and fix it. I wish…



I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

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