August 2nd, 2004


Educational Videos

While riding the bus this morning I somehow reminded myself of the horrible "educational videos" I was subjected to in middle school Home Economics. One of them I don't remember more than the title ("Cipher in the snow", the teacher made sure we all new that "cipher" meant "nothing") and the beginning.

It began with a kid getting on the bus, and he had no friends. He then "didn't feel well" and got off the bus where he promptly walked up to a snow bank on the side of the road and dropped dead. (I think he was dead.) I'm not sure what the message of that video was supposed to be, maybe something like "lack of friends is fatal".

I don't recall the title of the second movie, but it was horribly out of date. It featured a first-chair violin player (apparently the first chair is really important, like varsity football) who, over the summer, joined a punk-rock band or something. There was a sequence of him putting on his white face makeup, the dyed hair and the clothing. When school came back he really liked his makeup, dyed hair, and clothing. He was also still better than all the violin players, but couldn't get first chair because of all the makeup and hair colors and whatnot.

Instead of everybody being supportive of his budding punk-rock carreer, his parents and band teacher made him sell-out to The Man. I think the lesson in this was supposed to be "Don't do cool stuff in front of authority figures". (In a modern, civilized society, the parents would have sued the school for discrimination.)

I'm not entirely sure that these were the correct messages I was supposed to carry with me into my adult life.


Rating HP Printers

I now have an HP LaserJet 2300 sitting on my desk. I think you could sucessfully kill one person with it without damaging the printer enough to make it stop working.

I've worked with a few 1000 series LaserJets, and I don't think you could kill a person with it without breaking the thing. Its just too flimsy.

You could kill a few people with a 4000 series, but I due to its weight you have to be rather skilled in handling it.

An 8000 series or larger printer could easily net you a massacre if you could arrange for a fire in the building such that you could push /drop it down a well-packed stairwell.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the quality of a printer. Well, I'll tell you. Printers vibrate and shake alot. They've got lots of complex little plastic parts. The more pages you run through the things, the more they vibrate and shake. So if a printer could keep working after being used in a blunt-force murder*, it must be good enough for your office.

No actual printers were harmed during the writing of this article.