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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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I’m following some unusual advice today, from the good folks at On Your Feet:

“Go through your entire day visualizing that you have a personal giant robot that protects you, defends you and gives you outrageous compliments.”

It sounded like fun. And I’m going to liveblog it so you can see all the action as it happens.

7:00am Alarm clock went off. Reached out to silence it and came terrifyingly close to pressing wrong button. Was saved by giant robot who quickly grabbed alarm clock and threw it out of window at such velocity that it left Earth’s atmosphere and took out Chinese spy satellite. May get DOD commendation. How’s that for Chinese takeout?                     

Robot says I am really good at sleeping and snore in a delightful basso profundo

oyf-giant-robot                     

Illustration copyright ©2006 Gary Hirsch

7:36am Getting curious about robot’s programming. Intentionally turned water in shower as hot as possible to watch robot decide between letting water scald me or risking electrocuting me by getting in way. Robot instead saved me with strategic deployment of shower curtain.

Robot says I have the deviousness to be one of the best evil masterminds in a generation and by the way my dick is enormous.

Am beginning to be quite fond of robot.

8:34am Commuting. Robot is allowing me to focus on my driving by taking over the duty of flipping off the other drivers.

Robot is also equipped with a satellite Internet connection which allows it to take dictation from me and update this liveblog accordingly.

9:16am Am now at work. Colleagues are cowering in fear of giant robot. Also having to dodge pieces of dislodged ceiling.

Have instructed robot to soothe colleagues’ nerves by giving them a few compliments as well. Team have been duly informed that they are awesome.

Robot whispering to me that I’m still awesomer.

Like robot. Need to name robot.

9:57am Have been informed by customer that the website work I spent the entirety of yesterday doing isn’t necessary after all and please undo it. Giant robot held me down so that my fit of rage would not be too detrimental to my health, provided cushion so that I could safely slam head repeatedly against desk, then procured me vodka and strong coffee and vodka again.

Robot tells me that I am an XML wizard and JavaScript god. This helps. Quite motivational.

Have decided to name robot Bunny. Bunny tells me he loves it and I’m a genius but I think he is having a harder time giving me compliments now.

10:33am Have been offered $3,000,000 for Bunny by Toyota. Not impressed.

Bunny says I’m the bestest for not selling him. Not sure how to break it to him that I think they might come back with a better offer.

10:54am Have now been offered $8,000,000 by a coalition of Republican Congresspeople to sell them Bunny so that they can say what they actually think and let Bunny keep Rush Limbaugh’s ego stoked.

Not selling. Bunny could crush Limbaugh.

Hmm. Idea has potential, though.

10:55am Have been offered $8,000,001 by Congressional Democrats to have Bunny crush Limbaugh.

11:08am Liking the Dems’ offer better. They need to stop with the razor-thin margins of victory, though.

Drinking a Dr Pepper. Bunny seems a little confused that it contains neither doctors nor peppers. Have explained the pleasure of carbonated drinks and Bunny now wants to try one because if I like them they must be wicked good.

11:14am Ever seen a giant robot with hiccups? This is pretty fucking hysterical.

Bunny tells me I have quite nice eyebrows. Compliments seeming a little forced again.

11:27am Have decided that Bunny is a stupid name for a giant robot. Now accepting suggestions for names in comments here, on Facebook and on Twitter. For now, he is Giant Robot again.

Giant robot liking me more now that hiccups have subsided and name is no longer Bunny.

11:47am Suggestions so far are “Fred the Robot”, “Distructor”, “Lucinda” and “Circuits O’Toole”. Am also considering “Mister Sexypants”, “Giant Robert” and “Crush Limbaugh”.

12:21pm Great names all, but the winner is “Circuits O’Toole”, suggested by @blueslives on Twitter.

Circuits thinks you rock. He also thinks I rock, but we’ve established that.

12:36pm Pointed out to Circuits that the ‘protect and defend’ part of his job doesn’t seem to be happening very much. He pointed out to me that I am not in very much danger in my cube at work, but he read on my old blog that someone was plotting my demise in a copier-related ‘accident’ and is thus very alert when I walk past the print room on my way to the restroom.

12:37pm Circuits just offered to hold it for me the next time I go to the restroom. Politely declined.

12:38pm Circuits now looking minorly dejected. Explained things like personal space and comfort zone and other emotional-spatial metaphors, but these are tough concepts for a giant robot to grasp.

Wishing I hadn’t used the word ‘grasp’. Imagery still unsettling.

Going to lunch. If I do not return within an hour, please send me a @message on Twitter, and Circuits will come rescue me from something.

1:20pm Back. Accidentally choked on peanut butter sandwich. Circuits administered rather enthusiastic Heimlich.

Ow. Want my blankie.

1:48pm Doing better now. Practicing sign language. Circuits is complimenting me on how well I do the macarena. Now I know he’s lying. If I were doing the macarena, I would be signing biscuit biscuit monkey monkey blue blue walk walk house sky crotch. And I’m not.

2:12pm Told Circuits the news that I get to become a US citizen in 2 weeks’ time. He is very thrilled for me and says I’ll be such a great American that I’ll be voted in as President even if I don’t run. Told him about Article II. He thinks they’ll change it for me.

2:33pm Accident in print room! Went in there to get a document and a member of the maintenance crew suddenly stood up from behind the copier. Circuits grabbed him and fed him THROUGH the machine.

I hope at least one of him is OK.

3:07pm Helped maintenance guy back to his usual building. Via interoffice mail.

Circuits thinks that was really nice of me and I should be given a medal of some sort.

3:16pm Novelty has worn off. Coffee also. Circuits starting to irritate me.

3:20pm Circuits now starting to piss me off rather a lot. Is currently singing “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” over and over again because he’s so thrilled at being around me. Probably a bad idea to stab the large electrical object.

3:26pm AUGH this sodding robot is more annoying than Microsoft’s little paperclip guy.

3:31pm Procured high-powered electromagnet from manufacturing department.

3:35pm Trapped Circuits in place and dropped a large copier/printer unit on him, pulverizing him completely except for one small piece of arm. Not worried about it. Even if the Terminator thing happened, he could then annoy someone else.

3:38pm Just realized I could have sold him to the GOP instead of squishing him, and been eight million bucks richer. Fuck.

3:39pm Got papercut while getting document from other copier in print room. Stings like heck.

Circuits would have prevented that.

Kind of miss him. Rest In Peace, Circuits O’Toole. Or more likely in pieces. But I’d prefer peace.

3:40pm Guess Giant Robot Day is over. If you’re still reading, get a life or something. It’s Friday afternoon, for goodness’ sake. But thanks.

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Work

They say that when you work in advertising, you learn to distance yourself from your self-respect.

I’m beginning to understand this somewhat.

Before I qualify this statement, though, I should explain the working in advertising thing.

The last time I posted anything of substance, I had accepted a temp assignment on rather short notice, but one that I was very much looking forward to. The company is in direct marketing – which is to say that they do some of the more annoying parts of advertising, like telephone sales and junk mail. That’s not all they do, but it’s a fairly noteworthy part of the operation.

I have primarily been working in the IT department, just doing ongoing maintenance for anything more complex than people’s desk lamps. We’ve had the frantic fun of network outages and the blessedly quiet monotony of smooth functioning, we’ve had new geektoys come in the door and pass through my hands on their way to their eventual users (though in some cases that’s still me). We have a foosball table in the break room and enough coffee to sink the US Navy. I haven’t had to repair the foosball table or the coffee maker yet, fortunately.

This position has also given me the opportunity to flex some mental muscles that had been quietly atrophying. Tech writing, for one, since I’m compiling miniature versions of some of the user manuals and making them penetrable by the non-techie mind while still trying to make them educational and worth reading. Programming, for another, since I’ve begun work on an online help system for minor difficulties that shouldn’t really require my attention (PEBKAC issues), which I’m doing in Java just because I can. I could just as easily do it in HTML/XML, but that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

The position as stated is through the end of this month, but they’re currently pushing around the paperwork necessary to keep me on a permanent basis. I’m not going to celebrate too much until such time as pen has been put to paper, but that looks pretty certain at this point.

Now, with that out of the way, I feel I ought to explain the self-respect remark.

Most of the work I’ve been doing has been internal. Since I have teh skillz, though, I’m going to be getting co-opted by the graphics department from time to time, and one of those times is going to be either tomorrow or Tuesday.

They need me to make some banner ads for Web pages. Nothing quite on the order of ‘Spank The Monkey and Win $20!’, but banner ads nonetheless.

Fortunately our policy is that is it looks too obnoxious we won’t let it out the door.

And never pop-ups or pop-unders.

Ah, the joys of the corporate machine. At least there’s foosball. And coffee.

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