Friday, July 30, 2021

Printer Ink

A random randomnesses column

What do printer ink, videos, usage data, and soft ice cream have in common?

Image by Magnascan from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — A Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Viewing with a tablet or a monitor is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"It's called a pen. It's like a printer, hooked straight to my brain." -Dale Dauten

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

I don't for a fact know that it's true, but I'm told that if you buy printer ink for your printer manufactured by the same firm that made your printer that the tiny bit of ink contained in a given cartridge costs more than gold.

Personally, I buy my replacement cartridges from obscure Chinese firms via Amazon that are manufactured by slaves and save so much money that I'm inclined to believe the gold story is true. 

{Wait-wait-wait. Slaves? You don't know that for a fact, right?}   

Well, technically speaking, Dana, no, I don't.

{I'm shock-ed that you would be so irresponsible as to...} 

But given the fact that Emperor Xi Dada has rounded up a million or so Uyghurs who are reportedly living and working in concentration camps/reeducation centers (po-tay-toe/po-tah-toe)...

And, that according to an article from the New York Times, are linked to the supply chains of manufactures of All-American brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Campbell Soup Company, Costco, H&M, Patagonia, Tommy Hilfiger, et al., 

I'm willing to go out on a limb given that my wild-eyed libertarian side thinks that anyone living in a country run by a dicktater is a slave. But let's move on. 

{I know that you think you're clever but...}

It's a very enlightening article, I can't recommend it enough.

As a former successful small business owner...

{You owned an ice cream truck for a while, had to find a job to get ya through the winter, and the word successful should be modified by the word moderately.}

I confess I actually sorta/ kinda admire the perfectly legal strategery of giving printers away at cost and then generating a highly profitable, long-lasting revenue stream via ink sales. My um, modest adventure as a greedy capitalist taught me that turning a profit in a country lousy with competitors, gummit regulators, and taxes at every level ain't easy.  

I keep encountering videos and articles lately that have taught me/reminded me of profitable variations of the printer ink strategery.    

For example: 

When you buy an ebook or a video from Lord Jeffry's retail arm, Amazon, you don't actually own it. In the fine print, it says that you've bought a license to view the content, which Amazon may delete whenever it feels like it. And, you don't own the usage data that you generate when you shop at

{Usage data?}

How long you were on the site, what you looked at, what you clicked on, etceteron. 

As everybody (well, hopefully, most bodies) knows by now, that data is sliced and diced and sold to the highest bidder so that targeted advertising can stalk you around the internet. 

As I've pointed out, repeatedly in some form or fashion, we should be paid for our data. Redistributing other people's money is an article of faith for the Wokies. Doesn't social justice require that the gajillionaire Oligarchs — whose citadels are staffed by woke, progressive minions — give the proletariat a taste?  

Ever wonder why the soft-serve "ice cream" machines (better living through chemistry) at Mcdonald's don't seem to be working half the time?

Well, I don't/didn't but I recently came upon a video, while mindlessly scrolling through YouTube videos, that explains the phenomenon in detail. Being a cutting-edge, multimedia sort of columnist, here ya go:

Bottom line: The machines are made by a company called Taylor. Taylor makes a particular ice cream machine, that till a few years ago, had to be used by all McDonald's franchisees. They stop working regularly and generate obscure error codes that mean nothing to users.  

To get the machine back online ya have to call in an expensive Taylor repairman repairperson. Taylor brags that 25% of its revenue comes from servicing machines. 

McDonald's has reacted to software sold by a third party that makes it much easier for a user to solve problems themselves by announcing that using it can void the machine's warranty. However, new software from McDs/Taylor is on the way! 

It's being developed by a company that's owned by the same company that owns Taylor.  

A person that's more cynical than me might suspect that McDonald's has found a way to make more money by pretending to sell pseudo ice cream than actually selling it.

Addendum: On a related note... 
There's a non-profit, that, well: "Our goal is to advocate for repair-friendly policies, regulations, statutes, and standards at the national, state, and local levels."

That is to say, there's an organization that's fighting to get laws passed that will not only give ya the right to open your complicated gizmo to try and fix it yourself without violating the warranty, they also want documentation to be made available by the manufacturer to help you out.

Manufacturers, understandably, are worried about giving away trade secrets. However, the fact that they turn a hefty profit by preventing you from fixing your own gizmos has led to some full-fledged kerfuffles.

Fine arts majors deeply in debt to Uncle Sugar take note, here's a nonprofit you could try to hook up with that might actually do some good while still keeping you from having to working directly with Deplorables.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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