Epson Multifunction Printer vs. Multi-Talented Toddler

by Barrett

My two-year-old son with a shiny penny approached my two-year-old Epson printer and said, “Gagel Flagel!” Translation: “Time to meet your doom!”

If you think a penny is worthless these days, here’s a cautionary tech tale.
Yet another example that demonstrates how fragile your Tech Zen can be…

Today’s Target: My Epson Artisan Printer
So my wonderful toddler likes to press buttons. All buttons.

They call out to him.
“Please press me.”

He’s especially obliging when the buttons are attached to my home tech.
“On” and “off’ are very persuasive commands.
He’s become quite adept at finding these buttons.

Last week, my toddler mastered the functionality of my 2010 Epson multifunction printer/scanner/fax machine. (Artisan 810). I bought it right after he was born, and it’s proven to be a great workhorse for handling my photos, faxes, and copies.

For months, Baby McGyver had been happily turning the Artisan on and off, taking about the amount of time it takes me to run over and applaud his achievement before he does any real damage.
He once had a bit more time at his disposal and quickly reset the Artisan’s language mode to French. For weeks, I had to rely on all my remaining grade school French (Je ne comprends pas) until I had the time to dig into the machine’s menu and return it to our home language.

The Power of the Penny
By now, he’d graduated into the AP class and was working on understanding the Epson’s more advanced functionality. Plus, he brought some tools to the job.

He secretly had a penny he’d found.

He walked up to the printer, while I was happily at my desk, working on my blog.
I wanted to finish up a thought and felt I easily had another five seconds.

Then, he successfully ejected the CD/DVD tray. (Yes, it can print DVD labels.)
At that point, I decided it actually wouldn’t be a bad idea to forget the thought and rescue my printer.

The Epson is located behind my desk and requires a five second journey from my chair. Maybe three seconds at top warp.

I made my move.
But he was quicker.

He had already placed the penny in the tray. And then he pressed the close button.
My Epson ate the penny.

The Artisan began grinding away, attempting to avoid the little intruder. Every illuminated element on the machine blinked in unison to protest.
Finally, my Epson declared that it could proceed no further and needed to be shut down.

My son looked up at me and gleamed with his amazing accomplishment.
(How can you really be mad in that kind of moment?)

Fix or No Fix
But repeated reboots failed to eject the poison, as the penny was securely jammed deep inside my Epson.

After a quick diagnostic, I realized I would need to take much of the printer apart to even locate the area of distress. I decided my odds of successfully repairing my Epson were not promising.

Prognosis: Cancel the surgery; my Epson is a goner.

And paying someone else to repair it was a “no-go” option. Too expensive.

The Easy Button
I am not proud admitting this, but my next move was to open the Staples circular (my favorite place to buy a lot of my home tech).
As if it were waiting for me, there it was… the next generation of my very printer, (the Artisan 837) and it was on sale!

I decided to take the hit and pressed the easy button.

Even though I would have preferred to do the fix myself, I took the easy way out and supported our disposable culture.
Not a good day for the green movement, but I hoped the planet would forgive me this one time.

Warp Drive Restored
I was quickly back in business.
With the exception of a few minor enhancements and menu layout differences, you wouldn’t even know the new unit had taken over.

I even reduced the financial sting by using a few Staples gift cards I had through my Discover credit card rewards program.
For every $20 dollars I earn in cash back, I receive a $25 Staples gift card.
(A very nifty deal!)

So the $199 Epson (originally $299) ended up costing me only $15 out of pocket.
And this included an extra $25 for a year-long product protection plan.
Though I usually don’t buy extended protection plans, I figured in this particular case, a future assault against my new Epson was not out of the question.

Bad Luck Comes in Threes?
So a puny penny literally felled my mighty all-in-one printer.
And it got me thinking…

What could be next?
Not to be paranoid, but this year, I’ve already had the Cup of Joe scare.
Now, the evil power of the penny.

This near tech-death experience dredged back up a longstanding concern I’ve had about the safety and proper long-term storage of my digital files.
(And this goes beyond the normal risk of damage from any child’s curiosity.)

Sure, I have a back up G-Tech external drive using Apple’s Time Machine. Sure, I’ve got other portable drives where I store other backups of my family’s photo and video history.

But is it enough? (Is it ever enough?)
Still, everything is here at home.
Common tech wisdom suggests I’m supposed to spread the risk around.
But I don’t think I’m about to stash drives around the countryside in friends’ and relatives’ closets.
That seems a bit absurd. (though not entirely illogical)

The Cloud to the Rescue
Hey, what about Cloud storage?
Yes… I could see it now.
All my precious media files sitting safely out of harms way in the Cloud.

So I did a little research.
And of course, the more I read, the more confusing it got.

But I slowly came to the realization that for only about $50/year, you could conceivably safeguard your priceless files offsite in the Cloud.

That’s a $1,000 investment over the next twenty years.
On the other hand, that also works out to less than fourteen cents a day.

Can you think of a better use for your spare change over the next twenty years?

Yes, the power of the penny.
Think about it.

Next time on At Home with Tech-
We’re putting our pennies to work and blasting our big media files off to the Cloud!