you are a printer we are all printers

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

Anyway, here’s the best printer for 2024: a Brother laser printer. You can just pick any one you like; I have one with a sheet feeder and one without a sheet feeder. Both of them have reliably printed return labels and random forms and pictures for my kid to color for years now, and I have never purchased replacement toner for either one. Neither has fallen off the WiFi or insisted I sign up for an ink-related hostage situation or required me to consider the ongoing schemes of HP executives who seem determined to make people hate a legendary brand with straightforward cash grabs and weird DRM ideas.

It’s sort-of alarming that Brother are the only big player in the printer space who subscribe to a philosophy of “don’t treat the customers like livestock”. Presumably all it’d take is a board-level decision to flip the switch from “not evil” to “evil” and we’d lose something valuable. Thankfully, for now at least, they still clearly see the value of the positive marketing the world gives them. Positive marketing like like this article.

The article is excellent, by the way. I know that I’m “supposed” to stir up hatred about the fact that its conclusion is written by an AI but… well, just read it for yourself and you’ll see why I don’t mind even one bit. Top notch reporting. Consider following the links within it to stories about how other printer manufacturers continue to show exactly how shitty they can be.

I recommended a Brother printer to the Vagina Museum the other month. I assume it ‘s still working out fine for them (and not ripping them off, spying on them, and/or contributing to the destruction of the the planet).

A Proper Cup of Tea

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

Screenshot from "A Proper Cup of Tea", showing the start of the game.

This “choose your own adventure”-style game about making the perfect cup of tea is just… excellent.

If you lack the imagination to understand how a game like this could have dozens of possible endings, you desperately need to play it. My favourite path so far through the game was to add a teabag, then hot water, then remove the teabag, then add some milk, then add a second teabag, then drink it.

Genuinely can’t stop laughing at this masterpiece.

Young Squirrel Talking About Himself

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

This week, Parry Gripp and Nathan Mazur released Young Squirrel Talking About Himself.

You might recognise the tune (and most of the words) from an earlier Parry Gripp song. The original video for the older version is no longer available on his channel, and that’s probably for the best, but I was really pleased to see the song resurrected in this new form because it’s fabulous. I’ve been singing it all day.

Loud Helpline

I guess installing a sign was cheaper than retraining the helpline operators not to shout at everybody.

A sign advertising a number for a "Customer Helpline" directly above a sign that advises "Ear protection must be worn".

A sign advertising a number for a "Customer Helpline" directly above a sign that advises "Ear protection must be worn".×

Where?

I’m pretty sure that Wally/Waldo, Woof, and Wizard Whitebeard must be out on this mountain somewhere, too.

Composite image showing (1) a woman at an alpine terrace bar wearing a red-and-white striped jumper, and (2) a skiier wearing a yellow-and-black striped snowsuit. They look somewhat like Wilma and Odlaw from the Where's Wally?/Where's Waldo? series of books.

Composite image showing (1) a woman at an alpine terrace bar wearing a red-and-white striped jumper, and (2) a skiier wearing a yellow-and-black striped snowsuit. They look somewhat like Wilma and Odlaw from the Where's Wally?/Where's Waldo? series of books.×

Installation of Windows has Stalled

I was told Windows installation should take less than 20 minutes, but these ones have been sitting outside my house all day while the builders sit on the roof and listen to the radio. Do I need a faster processor? #TechSupport

A pile of window frames, factory-fresh and covered with tape. propped against the side of a white house, on a gravel driveway.

A pile of window frames, factory-fresh and covered with tape. propped against the side of a white house, on a gravel driveway.×

Brainfart

Brainfart moment this morning when my password safe prompted me to unlock it with a password, and for a moment I thought to myself “Why am I having to manually type in a password? Don’t I have a password safe to do this for me?” 🤦

KeePassXC authentication screen on Windows; no password has been entered.

KeePassXC authentication screen on Windows; no password has been entered.×

[Bloganuary] Paws to Hear my Scents-ible Idea

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

Come up with a crazy business idea.

Smell-based social networking for dogs.

Hear me out…

A white-and-brown bulldog lies flat, his tongue sticking out, on a rug.
“Tank sleepy. But Tank listen your idea in case it tasty idea.”

I’ve tried to explain to our occasionally-anxious dog that, for example, the dog-and-human shaped blobs at the far end of the field includes a canine with whom she’s friendly and playful. She can’t tell who they are because her long-distance vision’s not as good as mine1, and we’re too far away for her to be able to smell her friend.

If this were a human meetup and I wasn’t sure who I’d be meeting, I’d look it up online, read the attendees’ names and see their photos, and be reassured. That’s exactly what I do if I’m feeling nervous about a speaking engagement: I look up the other speakers who’ll be there, so I know I can introduce myself to people before or after me. Or if I’m attending a work meet-up with new people: I find their intranet profiles and find out who my new-to-me colleagues are.

A trio of small dogs wearing warm jackets meet in a mowed grassy field. They appear excited to have recognised one another.
“Oh! Is you! Hurrah!” /buttsniffing intensifies/

Wouldn’t it be great if I could “show” my dog who she was going to meet, in smell-form.

I imagine a USB-C accessory you can attach to your computer or phone which can analyse and produce dogs’ unique scents, storing and transmitting their unique fingerprint in a digital form. Your subscription to the service would cover the rental of the accessory plus refills of the requisite chemicals, and a profile for your pooch on the Web-based service.

Now, you could “show” your dog who you were going to go and meet, by smell. Just look up the profile of the playmate you’re off to see, hold the device to your pupper’s nose, and let them get a whiff of their furry buddy even before you get there. Dogs do pretty well at pattern-matching, and it won’t take them long to learn that your magical device is a predictor of where they’re headed to, and it’ll be an effective anxiety-reducer.

A laptop keyboard with a black man's hand and a cream-coloured dog's paw resting on it, seen from above. (Almost-matching) sleeves can be seen on the limbs of both.
Seeking investors for a genuinely terrible crazy business idea. Photo courtesy SHVETS production.

The only question is what to call my social-network-for-dogs. Facebutt? Pupper? HoundsReunited???

Footnotes

1 Plus: I get contextual clues like seeing which car the creature and its owner got out of.

A white-and-brown bulldog lies flat, his tongue sticking out, on a rug.× A trio of small dogs wearing warm jackets meet in a mowed grassy field. They appear excited to have recognised one another.× A laptop keyboard with a black man's hand and a cream-coloured dog's paw resting on it, seen from above. (Almost-matching) sleeves can be seen on the limbs of both.×

[Bloganuary] Mission

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

What is your mission?

King Arthur, from the film Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, says "I see the Holy Grail."

But more seriously, my mission – if I have such a thing, is:

King Arthur again, but now he says "I wanna, like, make cool shit on the Internet or whatever."

Today’s my first day back at work after an decent length break (if you exclude the Friday after Christmas, when I did a little, I’ve been away from my day job for over a fortnight), and I’ve got a lot to catch up on even before I kick off running a training course I’ve never delivered before, so that’s all you get for today. But so long as my Bloganuary streak (which now almost makes it onto my leaderboard!) continues, I’m counting this as a win.

King Arthur, from the film Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, says "I see the Holy Grail."× King Arthur again, but now he says "I wanna, like, make cool shit on the Internet or whatever."×

[Bloganuary] Billboards

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

If you had a freeway billboard, what would it say?

Building-sized billboard saying "THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK".

I always loved it when a book or exam paper or similar contained a page whose only content was the words “this space intentionally left blank”. It tickles a particular part of me: the part that wonders how “keep of the grass” signs get there without anybody treading on the grass, or laughs whenever somebody says something like “nobody drives in Oxford, there’s too much traffic.”

René Magritte's The Treachery of Images.
This is not the famous painting, The Treachery of Images.

So yeah, that.

René Magritte's The Treachery of Images.× Building-sized billboard saying "THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK".×

It Is Only Q

The programmers at British Gas are among the many who don’t believe that a surname can be only a single character, and their customer service agents have clearly worked around their validations (or just left a note for themselves in the problematic field!)… leading to hilarious postal mail1:

Letter from British Gas addressed to "Mr Dan Q (it Is Only Q)" and opening with "Hello Mr Q (it Is Only Q)".

Update

This is getting a lot of attention, so I just wanted to add:

Footnotes

1 I’m ignoring for the moment that they’re using the wrong title for me.

Letter from British Gas addressed to "Mr Dan Q (it Is Only Q)" and opening with "Hello Mr Q (it Is Only Q)".×

Magician Roles

Because I work somewhere hip enough to let people tweak their job titles, mine is “Code Magician”.

Employee directory photocard showing "Dan Q, Code Magician on Fire (Woo), started Oct 18th, 2019".

LinkedIn isn’t as hip as Automattic, though. That’s why they keep emailing me sector updates… for the “Magician” sector… 😅

Email from LinkedIn with the subject "Hiring trends for Magician roles".

Employee directory photocard showing "Dan Q, Code Magician on Fire (Woo), started Oct 18th, 2019".× Email from LinkedIn with the subject "Hiring trends for Magician roles".×

ET App

Travelling around Edinburgh by tram this weekend, I kept being advertised the “ET app”.

Print advertisement for the "ET App", stating: Download the et app to purchase your mobile tickets including bundle deals.

I didn’t install the app, in case it was bundled with spyware.

After all, everybody my age knows: ET phones home.

Print advertisement for the "ET App", stating: Download the et app to purchase your mobile tickets including bundle deals.×