Monday, 18 June 2007


Never give a name to an electronic gadget; you will feel like a murderer when the time comes to replace it.

This is Percival the Peripheral, the multifunctional printer which has served me well for two and a half years. He still looks like new, but he doesn’t print any more. It’s fifty pounds just to have him looked at, and a new MFP costs little more than that. His replacement arrives today, and Percy is destined for the local recycling centre.

He appears (as himself) in my short story Showing Them, which you can read at this link: Youwriteon.

I won’t be naming the new machine. Our relationship will be a purely formal workplace one. I shan’t pat him after he’s done a particularly good job of copying, or say ‘Thanks, Percy,’ as I switch him off.

Now I’ve just got the robot vacuum cleaner (Pootle) to worry about.

For the last time; thanks, Percy.


  1. We've had three robot vacuums. Have never named them. They all have kicked the virtual bucket and gone to the big department store in the sky.

  2. Maybe they all choked to death on bits of forest that dropped off you...

    Our problem is hair round the spindles; we've all got long hair, including the rocking horses.

    But I'd rather pick it out than push the darn thing around.

  3. I try to observe the axiom "Never let a machine know how much you need them to perform right now this very moment." A secondary law to that is "Never let a car know how much you have in your checking account."

  4. Maybe a third one is 'Never boast about how well a machine is performing.'

    Remarks such as 'I've had it five years and it's always been totally reliable' are just asking for trouble.

    In the past fortnight the graphics card went on one computer, then the chip fan on the other, then the MFP failed, then the vacuum cleaner had a nervous breakdown.

    And Minty has another week of exams to go...