The Soapbox Archives:
As an introvert, it's really easy to get into the rut of going off and doing things alone and keeping to myself. That explains how I can spend hours in front of a computer and be happy with life. However, I know that's not what life is all about.
It's not much fun doing everything alone. When I worked as a field sales engineer, I learned to push my inner extrovert out in the open while my outer introvert was trying to stuff him back in. This came in handy when social dancing.
However, I had an incident that demonstrated a good reason to be an (nice) extrovert.
I was shopping recently at the Shaw's in Cambridge. Perhaps because I remember some of the salesman skills I absorbed through osmosis, I had occasionally struck up short conversations with the people working there. As a result, some of them had started recognizing me and greeting me, even if they didn't know my name.
As I waited at the deli counter, one guy called out to me with an enthusiastic greeting and I responded in kind. An older woman turned to me and asked, "Are you friendly with everyone here?".
I said, "Of course! They touch my food".
Remember that if you ever get the urge to be rude to a waiter at a restaurant.
I've always recommended Hewlett-Packard (HP) printers. They always continue making cartridges for their printers even years after they've discontinued a model.
My first computer printer was an Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4L for about $400. I got this in 1993 and it lasted until last year when someone jammed it beyond repair. I got my money's worth out of that one. My LaserJet 2100 has been in use since 1999 (or thereabouts) and is used to print my website flyers.
Then I got to deal with their inkjet printers, a PhotoSmart 1000. I got a second printer because I wanted one that could do color, especially picture-quality. I was always annoyed that I had to replace the cartridges more often and that the cartridges were so expensive. The printer itself lasted about 2 years. It's obvious their printers are a loss-leader to hook people into buying their cartridges. My dad's HP All-In-One lasted only about a year because the entire inkjet printer head got clogged up with ink and it would have cost more than the printer to replace the printer head. Unfortunately, he got a newer model of the same printer so he wouldn't have to waste the extra printer cartridges he had bought. I heard that some printer companies incorporated software into the new models of cartridges so after-market cartridges would have to copy that software in order to work and would be in violation of copyright laws. The introduction of software to tell you that you were running out of ink seemed to be a benign thing...until it kept nagging you to get a new cartridge *before* you actually ran out of ink.
The last straw, I suppose, was the latest warning message I got. I inherited an HP C6180 All-In-One printer about six months ago. I had to replace the cyan cartridge (one of 5 cartridges) soon after, but they cost about $10 so it wasn't a big deal. However, this weekend I got a warning message saying that my cartridges...all of them...had "expired". It brought up a window that would allow me to buy new HP inkjet cartridges online. What the hell? "Expired"? What does that mean? I just replaced the cyan cartridge and now it told me that *all* of them had "expired"? Of course I printed out a page of color and it came out perfectly. What dumb-ass HP executive thought it was a good idea to scare inexperienced computer users into shelling out money for cartridges they didn't need?
Am I going to continue recommend HP printers to my friends? Not anymore.