When Technology and Achromats Collide
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:22PM
Richard Windsor in Achromatopsia, Greene in a Grey World, Technology, electronics, ipad

I brought a new printer the other day.

Now this earth-shattering piece of information might not make the six-o-clock news, but it's pretty big in my world. My old Canon printer – ten years vintage – finally died a slow, agonizing death while chewing up a draft of my novel-in-progress. With 100 pages still to print, I was faced with a dilemma.

I looked at a printer catalog online and couldn't fathom the laundry lists of doodads and features. "Why don't they make a printer for people who just want to print?" I wailed. The husband came to my rescue. "Its not fair to judge a printer by its catalogue picture," he said as he drove me to the electronics store.

Once there I faced shelf after shelf of gleaming boxes, each with more buttons than the starship enterprise. I felt lost. All the sales clerks were busy trying to talk every customer into buying an iPad, so I grabbed a snazzy-looking black printer with the no buttons in sight and headed for the counter.

Turns out, I made the most serendipitous choice.

The Canon MG6100 does, in fact, have buttons. But you won't see them until you plug it in and turn it on. Then, the whole surface of the shiny black lid lights up like a fireworks display. Not only does it look like something out of Star Trek, the bright white lights on a sleek black background make it perfect for achromats.

Embedded above the buttons, a black screen lets you know what you've pressed – in huge white letters on a dark background.

Sometimes, as an achromat, it's easy to stick with what you know works, even if there might be something better out there. If my printer hadn't died, I would've continued using it for another ten years, even though it wasn't achromat friendly, simply because I'd worked out a system. It was the devil I knew.

But companies are constantly striving to create futuristic, snazzy technology that's user-friendly and compatible with everything. Wireless devices mean you don't have cords snaking across the floor to trip over, Bluetooth means your devices can have a party together, and 3G means you can take your printer to the summit of Mt. Everest and if it won't print, you can call the help desk to see if they have any tips for unfreezing the ink cartridges.

The world is increasingly mobile, increasingly compatible, and increasingly accessible.

Now, if only Canon could work the same magic on my bread maker.

Article originally appeared on Achromatopsia.info (http://www.achromatopsia.info/).
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