NY Times Verbatim: What is a photocopier?

Also affected are the DorkCentre 7535, the PorkCentre 7556, and the BorkCentre ^&$*.


Wow. You got xeroxed.

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That lawyer has obviously never argued with a philosopher before.


“It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”


Indeed, uniformly excellent.

Can you please explain what you mean by “depends”?

PC Load Letter


ah… Juan Pablo and Kimi are so young…



Government attorneys are the lowest of the low. True scum of the Earth.

I still remember driving up to an office for an interview when Clinton started that line of reasoning (being broadcast at the time). I don’t have any recollection of the interview itself, I think I was late… I couldn’t stop listening them go round and round.

‘‘likewise when cassette tapes and vcr’s were invented they were created so that you could make and own a copy of any audio or video. all modern devices of a similar nature are very careful to couch their intended purpose in delayed viewing, they are time delay viewing mechanisms’’?
Not hardly! When VCRs were created their inventors were sued, and it took a US Supreme Court decision to determine that they were legal – and only because they were used for time-shifting. Modern devices are simply following the same narrow path of legality that the VCR established.


I remember reading the transcript of this incident awhile back–might have been on this site, actually. Awesome performance of it.

The older type of photocopier didn’t make an exactly true copy because the reproduction process copy enlarged the copy by about 2%.

I figured out the punchline pretty close to the beginning because I’m exactly as stupid as the guy in the chair. I earned a BA and pretty good grades from a decent school. I could guess what the lawyer meant by the term “photo copy machine” but it’s not something I’ve heard much if ever. People in my circles say “copier” or “xerox”. And WTF is the “photo” part? It’s a contact image. There’s no lens. It sounds like a machine that uses a camera to duplicate an image. When somebody asks you something in a deposition, any sort of ambiguity is going to make you nervous. Perhaps the guy was trolling, but you can’t be sure of that.

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I wonder if this is a southern thing here. We refer to all soft drinks as “Coke” and all tissues as “kleenex” and I grew up using “xerox” to mean “copy”. I never noticed that people had stopped saying that until a teaching assistant told me he had never ever heard anyone say “I’ll go xerox this.” So: don’t use “xerox” unless you want to emphasize how old you are!

From what I understand, Xerox made a big deal out of trying to de-genericize their name in the late 90s, and was apparently successful.

I just say “copy”, like “I’m going to make a dozen copies.” or “I’m going to copy this document.” That said, I use copiers only once in a blue moon these days. I’m living the (mostly) paperless dream.

hmm. well, photo just means “light,” a photograph just means a recording of the light i.e. what you see/what the camera “sees.” there are contact images you can make with photosensitive materials that still qualify as “photographs,” the “photogram” is just laying stuff directly on the print paper and exposing it to light, then dunking the paper in the process chemistry–no camera, film, or enlarger required. a photocopier absolutely oozes light, so I guess it qualifies for the “photo” prefix.

also, cameras have lenses since they help record images easily, but the name itself pre-dates the invention of optics. I forget what it means in latin, but a camera obscura is just a box with a pin-hole prick in it. the physical properties of light somehow projects the scene before it onto the opposite wall (upside down) and you can put photo-sensitive material there and make your “graph”, although they used to make room-sized ones and people would sit in there and trace the image. I had an accidental one in my old kitchen after I took a thumb-tack out of the particle-board panel in the door. the upside-down image of the house across the street used to appear on the cupboard. pretty neat since I was a photography student at the time (could you tell?)

so, anyway, uh, lenses aren’t a requirement, either.


Ah, that reminds me of my days as a CEO. We’d get sued routinely as a party to suits against our clients and I was always called for depositions, even though I rarely even knew the clients. You had to go, so I would try to make a sport of it. Lawyer: “may we have your name?” Me: “Yes.” Lawyer: “Yes, what.” Me: “Yes, you may have my name.” Lawyer: “Well?” Me: “well what?” Lawyer: “Your name?” Me: “What about it?” "Lawyer: “are you going to answer the question?” Me: “what is the question?” Lawyer: “Don’t you know your own name?” Me: “yes.” And on it would go until he would say the magic words, “what is your name?” I was always instructed to use yes or no answers and never embellish. I would sit down and look at my watch and say, “you’ve got an hour.” The lawyer would always bluster about how he’d take as long as he wanted and I would always say, knock yourself out, but I’m leaving in an hour. All he could do would be to go to the judge who could order me to come back at some future time. Nine times out of ten, they never did. As the chump being deposed, everything you said would come back to haunt you, so the game was to waste as much time as possible to minimize any serious questions about the lawsuit. Those were the days.


Camera obscura basically means dark room, and people could sit inside their cameras and look at the images or trace round them or something. I imagine your kitchen was pretty dark when you saw the inverted image. Later the camera bit got appropriated for the small machine used to take photographs, and of course “darkroom” came to mean a different dark room where you developed and printed photos.

I suppose it is not often that “camera” gets used in the modern world to mean a room, but it survives in places like the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford (a university library reading room) and bi-cameral legislature (political setups with two chambers, like Lords and Commons).


Okay, I’ll buy that technical truth. But I’d still reckon that the number of times somebody refers to “copier” vs. “photo copy machine” is about 1000 to 1. At least where you don’t have a 3D printer in the office.

Then again, maybe my brain is addled from all the mimeograph fumes I inhaled in elementary school.

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