Title text: Changes with this update: If you use the combined scan-shred function, it now performs them in that order instead of the reverse, saving a HUGE amount of CPU time.
This is an xkcd-style parody of an all-in-one printer, a printer which typically can perform several functions, usually printing, scanning, copying, and faxing. This machine starts off with fairly standard printer functions but quickly becomes absurd. The machine is accordingly oversized, making room for all the status indicators and (presumably) the extra internal parts required to accomplish the uncommon functions.
The title text says that if both the "scan" and "shred" options are selected, it now scans things before trying to destroy them. Previously the machine destroyed documents and then scanned the pieces and tried to reconstruct them, which takes a large amount of processing power, as the attempts to recover the german Stasi Documents have shown, in addition to the fact that it is extremely hard to correctly scan shredded and crumpled documents. The possibility of doing so raises the possibility that this printer itself is a even more complex computer than one would expect a multi-function printer to be, or that its driver can monopolize a host computer. It is also worth noting that if one selects "copy" and "shred" one could also just do nothing with the same effect (apart from generating some shredded paper, and assuming that there was nothing noteworthy about the original physical document).
List of functions
Certain functions are lit green, indicating they are in use. To show which ones are in use, they are highlighted green (selected).
Functions that most all-in-one printers do
- Print (selected): The most common function that a printer needs to do. A digital document or graphic exists on a computer, is sent to the printer and the printer transfers the document onto paper using ink or toner.
- Copy: A copy function allows a user to place a document on the integrated/linked scanning bed and the printer will immediately make a copy of the document as if a traditional 'analogue' photocopier.
- Fax (selected): A fax function sends a scanned document by telephone to another telephone number. The receiver fax machine will reconstruct the document and print it. A machine that has this function is usually also able to act as a receiver for faxes sent from elsewhere, though that setting wouldn't be visible in this configuration group.
- Scan: A scan function is used to optically scan images or documents into digital forms so that they can be used by computers. It can be seen as the reverse operation of the printer function.
- Collate (selected): To sort multiple copies of printed documents into sequences of individual page order, usually across multiple output trays having one sequence for each copy, especially before binding.
- Staple (selected): To staple together multipage documents, especially for each collated copy. This function is usually found only in high-end printers.
Functions that relate to printers or scanners, that most cannot do
- Staple Removal: Although mechanical removal of staples can be done by various devices, it's often not a simple task. Staples can be bent and mangled in many ways, and detaching them from paper without causing damage can require fairly complex intelligence.
- Shred: A shredder function is used to destroy paper for privacy or security by cutting it into strips or fine particles. Normally this task is handled by another specialised machine called a shredder, but this time it is already inbuilt into the printer.
- Translate: If the paper text is in another language, this would presumably translate it for you — after scanning and OCRing. This would actually be a helpful function and may be available on recent scanner-printers, although usually in the software that comes with the printer, on the host computer, rather than inside the printer itself.
- Add those perforated edge strips that are so fun to tear: In an earlier era, dot matrix printers and line printers were the common standard, and used a type of continuous stationery, which was manufactured with perforated strips along each side, with regularly spaced holes which allowed spiked wheels to advance the paper through the printer. Tearing these strips off after printing was once a standard task when using a printer. This type of stationery is now obsolete, but many people of Randall's generation become oddly nostalgic about removing the strips from the old style of paper -- the strips are kind of fun to play with. Note that the old stationery was designed such that the remaining page typically had a "standard" paper width, with the strips adding additional width. It's unclear if this function is adding perforations to standard paper, which would leave it too narrow once the resulting edge strips were removed, or is somehow adding perforated strips to it.
- Summarize: Presumably this function would summarize a printed material for the user. Similar to the translate function, a document would need to be scanned and OCRed first. Then a machine learning algorithm would comprehend the text and reduce it in length while keeping the important points. Automatic text summarization does exist, although the technology is not as widely used as automatic translation.
- Plagiarize: This function is unclear. Maybe it would plagiarize a paper for a certain subject? It would also be legally questionable. (Maybe it plagiarizes printer techniques, in which case this might be useful, though only in edgecases)
- Roll: This function is unclear. Perhaps it would roll up paper into a roll, like how the newspaper is rolled up for distribution by paperboys.
- Burn: Perhaps the printer has this function for greater assurance that sensitive information will be irretrievably destroyed. Historically, some printers could be at risk of catching fire if they jammed in a particular way, and so the "lp0 on fire" error code was created to signal that it should be investigated urgently.
- Eat: A printer is often said to "eat" paper by mangling either the input or output. Printer failure is also the modern descendant of the classic excuse for late homework, "the dog ate my homework".
- Fold airplane: This function makes paper airplanes out of paper stored in the printer, or documents being printed. Paper airplane folding machines are a thing, so it'd be possible to design something to fold an origami flower, as well.
- Origami flower: Similar to the previous one, this function makes flowers using the origami paper folding process.
- Corrugate: Corrugated fiberboard or cardboard is a kind of crinkled paper sandwiched between two sheets. This provides structural strength for low weight. Printers that jam can produce a paper that looks corrugated, but this is not an intended function, and corrugated fiberboard is not made with printers.
- Papier-mâché: (Literally "chewed paper") is a composite construction material consisting of paper pieces, bound with an adhesive, often a flour paste. The printer could use its "shred" and "eat" functions to produce the necessary materials, and any leftovers could be composted with the "biodegrade" function.
- Découpage: An art form where paper printed with decorative images is glued onto an object (typically boxes, but also furniture) and covered with many layers of varnish so that the images appear painted onto the object.
- Notarize (selected): A notary public is a person certified by a government to attest that certain kinds of legal documentation are legitimate and executed. All-in-one printers and scanners may be able to recognize certain signs of legitimacy (e.g. the EURion constellation), but unless this printer has some tactile sensation, it cannot certify the identity of the person who signed the document as a human can.
- Biodegrade: This would biodegrade the paper. Whether this would send it to an organic waste plant (which would be helpful) or actually house a composter inside the printer (which would be gross) is unknown.
- Crumple and throw at trash like basketball (selected): Many people, when done with a piece of paper, will crumple it up and throw it into a trash can from a distance as if playing basketball. This wouldn't be a very useful feature in a printer, especially relative to its complexity. For one thing, it would prevent the person who printed the document from using it (even if the user intends to throw away the paper eventually, presumably they need to use it at least once or they wouldn't print it), and it would also deny the user one of the few pleasures available in the office environment.
- [A large printer-like machine, with the label All-in-One Paper Processor on the top left of it. There are three columns of functions, with a few of them having a green light. At the top of the machine is a "paper feed" tray. At the bottom of the machine, is a large hole, for outputting the paper.]
- Column 1
- Print (lit green)
- Fax (lit green)
- Collate (lit green)
- Column 2
- Staple (lit green)
- Remove staples
- Add those perforated edge strips that are so fun to tear
- Column 3
- Fold airplane
- Origami flower
- Notarize (lit green)
- Crumple and throw at trash like a basketball (lit green)
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