You don’t need to know me well enough to know that I have a huge passion for technology! The internet, PC’s, mobile phones and tablets? I love them all! But there is one bit of technology I really really hate! That bit of tech is printers!
It is also a piece of technology we all have grew to hate over the years. Some times you want to print something quickly. But for whatever reason, It just won’t simply print. Other times the paper simply jams up and you have to then open the printer up and pull out that page and then try again hoping for the best. As if that’s enough reasons to hate printers, they always run out of ink or toner at the worst possible time and replacement ink/toner is so damn expensive easily costing over $50 depending the make and model.
At work, there is a printer there that just works whenever it feels like. On days it does not feel like printing, it will make your life miserable all day. It’s one lazy printer. If it does not feel like printing, it does one of two things. First it barely attempts to print a page and claims a paper jam has occurred, other times it just chews up the page its currently printing and you have to remove the toner just to get at the chewed up page!
After dealing with the crap the printer often likes to throw at me, I recently started to think about why we still use these machines considering the computer habits of many and the alternative technology available to read documents, books or pictures as well as ways we could improve them. Lets think about what we would perhaps use a printer for at home. Print documents? Print pictures? Print tickets for a sporting event or for travel? Now think about how many times you actually do that?
lets look at photos. If you come home from some party and your camera is loaded with pictures, what will you do? Well most people these days would simply just upload them to Facebook. I am sure very few, if not any, would actually get printed out unless you really want to frame it and put it on a table. Of course you need special glossy paper to do that and your printer has to have special ink and that just makes it more of a hassle.
If you booked a ticket to go somewhere by plane, the airline would most likely give you a reservation number. On the day you fly, you then type up your reservation number at a touch screen kiosk or terminal at the airport and it would then print out your boarding pass. You can write your number down or open the email from your airline with the number on your smartphone. No need to print anything.
During my years in school, It was an interesting time when some teachers asked for assignments to be handed in by paper while younger teachers started to ask for assignments to be handed in by an email attachment. In my last year of high school, more and more teachers started to ask for assignments to be handed in by email. Now I would not be surprised if all school assignments are to be handed in by email in the modern western world. It then makes you wonder what exactly is the printer you have beside your computer collecting dust is really there for.
Now granted, there would be some odd times that you might actually use the printer. Such examples that I can think of is to print out a form to apply for a job or government service. I do believe though that if the tech industry can come and work together, they could create some standards and protocols that would make document sharing with current devices out there such as your smart-phone, Kindel, iPad or an Android based tablet and finally kill the Pinter.
I envision a future that will come much sooner than I hope where everyone will walk around with an iPad or Kindle like device and uses it to read things like books, newspapers and documents. If you are at school and you bring your tablet device to class, the device would automatically detect that your present at class and would automatically sync all the notes and other material the teacher has prepared before hand for the upcoming lesson using Bluetooth or WiFi. You can then add your own notes to the device and save all that documents for later reference. This would save the teacher time distributing the photocopies of there lesson and even save the school on paper and ink costs.
In a business setting, I could see the same thing take effect. If you are to give a presentation, instead of handing out photocopies of your charts and other data while you present a power point presentation, all the data would get synced up to there devices and they just follow along to what you have to say.
Doing such thing I feel would really reduce the need for a printer at the very least. Such ideas could easily be implemented today. Its just that tablet devices these days are still quite new and I think it will take a few years for there prices to come down to the point where it would simply be a standard thing to buy at even the most basic discount stores such as Walmart.
Still though, in reality terms, the printer will still be with us for quite some time. While it may disappear from the home much sooner than businesses, businesses are kind of slow to adapt to new things and ideas so the printer would still have quite a bit of life there. As long as that’s true, I think I will have plenty of days ahead where I would get mad at the printer again for its stupid nature.