spilled ink.

My boss called me into his office to look at a bug he wanted me to investigate. Our program's printing capabilities weren't working on the Mac. Printing in general is a sort of lost area of our application. It hasn't worked quite right in a long time, but so few people use it that no one complains that much. Either that, or people have been suffering silently for years. Neither possibility is difficult to imagine.

I went to his office, and he tried to print two different documents. Nothing happened. Yup, that's a bug. I went back to my desk to see if it worked any better on Windows. I opened up a file that I had been using earlier to test something else. It had maybe seven lines of text in it, just a bunch of junk. I told the program to print, and the little bubble popped up to tell me that a document had been sent to the printer. I went over to the printer and saw a giant stack of paper sitting on top. Someone had certainly done a lot of printing. Having just finished up my taxes this week, I wondered if someone had a particularly complicated situation that might require every IRS form ever created.

I took a peek at one of the pages in the giant stack of printed paper to see if I could at least deliver it to the owner. What I saw was the print-out of a couple of giant files, in fact the very ones that my boss had been using to test printing in his office. Oh. I guess printing was working just fine, it was just pretending not to work. I took them to his office, where we both had a good chuckle at his expense, and I dropped the whole stack in the recycling bin.

You know, printing used to be hard. You used to have to take each individual letter that you needed and position it just so. It used to be someone's job just to do that one thing all day long. What used to be a tedious and deliberate process is now something that we manage to do accidentally. Silly me, I just printed off fifty pages that I didn't even need! I swear, we're just surrounded by magic.

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