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Friends and longtime readers will probably know that I work for Xerox. With this post, I’m doing them the favor of highlighting something rather awesome that got launched today.
 
Xerox ColorQube

(Obligatory CYA text: This post is entirely my own and does not represent Xerox – and I wouldn’t ordinarily do a product plug unless I really thought the product was worth it. All graphics here are, however, copyright and used with permission of Xerox Corp.)

When I worked in graphics offices, printers were often the bane of my existence. Paper would get jammed, toner cartridges would need changing (an extremely messy process), and the quantity of garbage generated was depressing to someone who actually cares about the environment. And any time you needed to open the machine up, it was a pain to see what you needed to do and the manual wasn’t much help.

Enter ColorQube.

First of all, there IS no toner cartridge. Just sticks of solid ink, which can be loaded easily even while the printer is running.

ColorQube Solid Ink sticks

Because it is not subject to the texture of the paper surface, a solid ink printer can produce the same perfect image on recycled paper as it can on new – and since there’s no toner cartridge, the amount of waste is very low – indeed, 90% less than with a typical laser printer. Added to the 12% drop in CO2 emissions and the 10% drop in energy requirements, and you have probably the most environmentally friendly printer on the market.

But no printer is perfect, and paper will always get jammed. The way Xerox has dealt with this is to have clear help videos built right into the console, and internal blue LEDs which illuminate the paper path so you can find the jam and clear it very quickly.

And did I mention that the operating costs are actually lower than virtually any other color printer out there?

I know the vast majority of my readers don’t have much say in their workplace’s IT purchasing… but for those who do – take a look at one of these, I think you’ll find it’s worth every penny and more.

colorqube gui

I’m all done plugging now. For those interested, you can follow today’s ColorQube launch on Twitter by following @XeroxEvents.

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 It’s getting harder and harder to define the Internet. I mean, it’s still the same old “series of tubes”, in purely physical terms, but as more and more aspects of our lives become integrated with it, it is in a very real way evolving into something far greater than the sum of its parts.

The job I do for 40 hours each week did not exist in most corporations a decade ago. Now it is an integral part of any success strategy.

Similarly, lasting relationships are being formed online each and every day. I met D on the Internet, and we have reached five and a half years of marriage, with many more anticipated. I also owe as many friendships to the Internet as I do to offline life. I can share all aspects of my life with friends and loved ones – and even, should I so choose, total strangers – and see their own details in return.

Really, once you can download a cheesesteak and a fuck, we’re pretty much golden.

Even leaving aside all of this, though, the sheer volume of information to be found on the Internet is many times greater than the entire body of humankind’s knowledge a mere 50 years ago. Our access to news is so fast that we know of major events almost as soon as they occur.

And, crucially, we all have a voice in the discussion of this information. In forums and on blogs, via Twitter and Facebook, each of us has a podium to stand on and say our piece. 

The Internet is the sound of an audience of billions applauding a performer who isn’t there.

Ultimately, the outlet for expression given to us by the Internet is by far its most important feature. Political careers are born and die, corporate stocks rise and fall, reputations are made and lost, all to the rhythmic background noise of a million keystrokes a second.

Opinions are like arseholes, they say. Everybody has one, and few are prepared to look at anybody else’s. Herein lies the root of the flamewars which beset Internet forums day by day – draining to read, but frequently containing valuable factoids hitherto undiscussed.

The Internet is the sound of a billion flying arseholes, all on a collision course. Yes, that sounds more correct.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the Internet is that it is rapidly evolving to the point where it could conceivably function as a simulacrum of Jung’s collective unconscious – the mind of a species entire.

‘Tis a passing strange and wondrous thing, this Internet. Looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

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It has come to my attention that I have accounts on WAY too many social networks. In quite a few cases (e.g. Orkut, Bebo), I’ve set up accounts but never actually used them. Others, like MySpace, I pretty much stopped using as it became more and more unwieldy.

In any case, the ones I use most often are Facebook and LinkedIn, in case anyone was looking to get in touch with me. If you’re wondering about some other network which you personally prefer, let me know – I’m probably on there someplace.

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