One of the many things I haven’t understood for quite some time now is the need for people to generate paper. And, if I’m honest, it really drives me crazy. Sure, there are something that require paper (usually stuff that has to be signed) and I get that. But the reams and reams of paper generated for the purpose of putting it into a file folder to be stuck in a metal box? I don’t get that.

Back in 1999 I bought my first DVD player. On that magical day, I decided to go 100% digital across the board. I got rid of all of my cassette tapes and VHS. I stopped printing as much as possible. I went digital.

Why can’t everyone else?

Part of my frustration with paper is the devices used to generate it. That’s right, printers.

What a wasteful product the modern printer is. Have you taken one out of a box lately? There is the box, about 100 yards of tape and enough plastic to melt down and reform into a Macbook enclosure. It’s ridiculous. And, of course, there is the ink, which is the only reason why printer manufacturers make printers in the first place.

Once unboxed and all of the packaging material safely disposed of, it still has to be installed. This is a problem too. You put in the disk, run an installer that takes 20 minutes, plug in the device and wait another 10 minutes while the printer whirs, chirps and grinds. Add another 10 minutes if you are trying to get this on the network. Add another 10 minutes if you are using security software that bypasses the Windows firewall to configure network access to the printer. Crazy.

Once all of that is done, you still have to go through and remove all of the icons to MSN and RealPlayer, kill start up items that every printer thinks you need and reset default programs because nobody wants to use the HP image gallery (trust me) or any other garbage that’s installed. The real kicker here is that Windows does every function supported by modern printers (print, scan, fax) out of the box. It’s too bad that the manufacturers don’t allow it.

I would be perfectly happy if I never had to install another printer again. It’s time.

By Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.


  1. Having just bought an allegedly fairly nice printer, that set me back about $300, I am convinced that there is no such thing as a good printer. They are all terrible. I’m going back to doing all my printing on a press.

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