Scott & Sarah Kennedy

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ever get the feeling you're not being listened to?

To Epson's credit, they replied very promptly to my email. Unfortunately, their email sent the message that they were really not listening to me. And I quote (with spelling mistake uncorrected):-

Due to your expereince with the Epson Stylus CX3100 Epson Customer Service Management would like to extend an offer of a set of complimentary cartridges if you purchase a new Epson printer through an Epson New Zealand Stockist. Please note that this offer is only valid for 30 days from today.

So apparently I'm supposed to be bribed back to the brand with a couple of measly ink cartridges once I purchase a new Epson printer. In the immortal words of some beer we drink; yeah right.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Epson does not exceed my vision

To whom it may concern:-

I'm fed up. I really am. I have spent the last hour trying to print a nine page essay for my university course. From the third Epson printer I have owned. The first one came free with a computer I bought and printed green when I wanted red or yellow when I wanted blue and was finally replaced by the shop I bought the computer from. The quality of the second (same model as the first) was marginally better. At least it printed the colour I chose rather than some randomly picked hue. But the third. The third has gone far beyond the first two in its annoying idiosyncrasies.

The stats looked good. It had a fancy name. Epson CX3100 multifunction printer sounds like a class act. If only. Multifunction? What a misnomer. More like multi-malfunction, for since I have owned it, this printer has gone where no printer before it has gone in exploring new ways to function inappropriately. The scanner stopped working, rendering the copying function useless, and leaving me with the print function alone.

Well you would assume that the print function should be all right since after all, this machine claims to be a printer. Alas how naive I was. This printer prefers to mess with minds rather than print documents. Let’s begin with the ill-conceived document feeder..what a place to start. It jams and then continues fruitless attempts to feed 50 odd pages through at once finally printing on the same line of the piece of paper it cannot feed through over and over again until the ink gleaming on the page is an inch think, and for the next 100 documents black patches of ink appear at regular intervals on the top of the page. Alternatively it might decide to misfeed so that the one page of the document prints hard up against the top of the page leaving Sahara size regions of white at the bottom of the page. Another of its party tricks is the ol’ feeding it through on an angle trick, which leaves one with a piece of paper with a gradually decreasing white margin.

And let’s not forget the print quality. It is appalling. Gutenberg's first printing press had clearer type quality. No matter how many times one cleans the heads or faffs around with 'maintenance' settings, it refuses to print clean lettering. If I wanted a strikethrough effect on all my documents, I'd select it in my word processor. Then to make matters worse, after finally having got the print quality from ridiculously poor to slightly better than ridiculously poor, the next time one attempts to use the printer, the type is back to unreadable, with missing lines of ink. So again one must clean the print heads using up more of Epson’s completely over-priced ink. How is it that humble black ink is bordering on the price of gold per ounce?

Which brings me to changing ink cartridges. How is it that my colour cartridge runs down when I’m only printing black text? Why is colour ink consumed when I want to clean up the quality of the black ink printing and vice-versa? Why do I need to install a new colour cartridge when I only want to print with the black cartridge? The only way any of this makes sense to me is to assume it is some ploy by your sales team to increase revenue.

Every time I attempt to print a document now, I have to retry at least three times, fiddling with maintenance settings in an attempt to get a type that is passable in terms of readability. Reams and reams of paper are wasted in the process. I swear that my Epson CX3100 is solely responsible for vast swathes of destruction in the Amazon rainforest. But alas this darn machine has crossed me for the last time. No longer will I endure its petulant shenanigans. I have decided to introduce it to my trusty friend Mr Claw Hammer. I will not sell this machine to some unsuspecting citizen. No, I could not inflict this on my worst enemy.

So I'm off to buy another printer. And I assure you it will not be an Epson. I have been driven to distraction with your printers which in my experience are the poorest quality printers around. I have never had such problems from the HP printers which I have used. I will never purchase another Epson product until I hear there has been a vast improvement in quality, and I will tell all my friends and family about my experiences with your piteously inadequate products. Your by-line at the moment is “Exceed your vision with Epson”. The only thing of mine that has been exceeded by Epson is patience.

Yours mostly sincerely,

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Silencing Dissenting Voices?

What is it about human nature that we always seek to ban messages or silence people who disagree with us? I was half listening to a conversation at Teachers’ College the other day where a young lady was up in arms. It turns out she was irritated because another student had taken a different approach to an essay topic than her. She did not think he should have been allowed to have the viewpoint he did. Now you may laugh at this – and perhaps notice the similarities this young lady shows to those who disapprove of physical discipline on their children so seek that it should be banned for everyone else. Yet I think Christians also suffer from this neurosis.

Take for example the reaction of some Christians to the atheist bus campaign in the UK and the similar attempt here in New Zealand. A significant number of Christians think that atheists should not be able to advertise their beliefs in public places. We are concerned perhaps that people may read “There is probably no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life” and doubt the existence of God, or perhaps turn away from the faith. We are annoyed that Christians are falsely portrayed as living joyless lives, when we know from personal experience that Jesus has come to bring us life abundant! However I believe that attempting to ban what we disagree with sets a dangerous precedent. What if the majority of people decide they do not like what we say and want to ban our thoughts and the public expression of our faith on billboards, pamphlets and radio? This would be a deplorable state of affairs. In general I believe we should support the right of others to say things publically, even if we disagree with them, because we also want to speak about our faith publically. It is hypocritical of us to demand the right to express our beliefs yet deny those rights to others.

What further amuses me about this situation is the contradiction in the thinking of some Christians. They get their knickers in a twist because “There is probably no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life” is posted in the public space of a bus. Yet some of those very same Christians send their children to public schools, where God is banished and in essence the children are taught “There is probably no God – or at least he’s not relevant to what you’re learning about, so get on with learning without him”. In my mind the far more dangerous message is the silent and subtle message of the education system rather than the in-your-face attack of the bus slogans. Better that God be up for discussion in a public place than be ignored there completely.

We do not need to be afraid of the enemies of the gospel. The gospel is powerful and does not need state protection to advance. When the gospel took off in the first few centuries after Jesus died, the state was not benign with respect to the church. Christianity did not spread because its beliefs were forced upon an unwilling population. Other viewpoints were not silenced - although later they were and we all know what happened to Christianity then! In fact, in the early days of the church, Christians were often persecuted by the state. A plethora of religions and gods surrounded the early Christians and the messages they were bombarded with were much more antagonistic than the slogan we are discussing now. Yet the gospel was able to spread in this situation because people were able to see the light of the truth in the midst of the lies and darkness of Satan. In the same way, I believe this campaign gives us a chance to discuss our faith in the public arena. It is a positive opportunity in a world that is increasingly trying to limit our faith to the personal sphere. So I say “Let them come!”

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