Printers

Train your HP printer to harass your office enemies

Most Hewlett-Packard printers have a digital display with a programmable ready message, which is pretty much an open invitation for tech-savvy geeks to have some fun at the expense of their tech-addled coworkers. With a little perl hacking, here's how to get started.

insert_coin.jpgMost Hewlett-Packard printers have a digital display with a programmable ready message, which is pretty much an open invitation for tech-savvy geeks to have some fun at the expense of their tech-addled coworkers. All you need is this little perl program, developed by this guy. Get it going and you can have your local document demon start back-talking in no time, if only to demand quarters that the staff will have no visible method of inserting. And that's just for starters:

"I wrote a more elaborate version that takes advantage of the HP 4200's larger, four-line display. It sends the current weather conditions which I grab from NOAA using the perl Geo::METAR module. It updates every 10 minutes. Amazingly, while many people noticed the report on the printer display, no one questioned it!"

Ladies and gentlemen, start your hacking.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

12 comments
perry_awm
perry_awm

We have a Xerox Workcenter 2424. It has a big display. My dad is easily panicked. You see where I'm going with this. Is there any way to do something similar on a Xerox?

CONNguy
CONNguy

They were writing displays such as- FEED ME KITTENS USE P2P INSTEAD I'M SORRY DAVE WE GET SIGNAL INSERT 25 CENTS I M YOUR FATHER DONT USE HP INK TURN LEFT AHEAD ET PHONE HOME I DO NOT COPY NO MORE FONTS PAPER JAM BAND ...you get the idea. Much hilarity ensued as the computer lab paras were watching, and wondering why the kids kept jumping up and running to the printers. This was a couple of weeks ago. We didn't know how they were doing it until we stumbled across hphack.exe in one of the student folders.

Histrion2
Histrion2

They were writing displays such as- FEED ME KITTENS USE P2P INSTEAD I'M SORRY DAVE WE GET SIGNAL INSERT 25 CENTS I M YOUR FATHER DONT USE HP INK TURN LEFT AHEAD ET PHONE HOME I DO NOT COPY NO MORE FONTS PAPER JAM BAND ...you get the idea. You mean they weren't just putting a bunch of curse words on the displays? Some of this stuff is borderline clever. Maybe there's hope for high-schoolers yet! :-D

darksunmoon
darksunmoon

Otherwise, I would laugh my ass off at my mom who keeps having "problems" (that aren't really problems but more likely a failure to just have read the owner's manual) with her HP PSC 1510! And she actually thought that the scan function and the copier functions were the same thing... Where did I go wrong with you, mom??!? ;):P

L8o
L8o

...EXcellent! *rubs hands together mischievously*

meryllogue
meryllogue

I would HATE to get a reprimand in my HR folder! Of course, now that I telecommute I would only befuddle myself, but to do it in an offic environment...?

mad tabby
mad tabby

I know what I'm doing Monday morning >:)

jbecigneul
jbecigneul

The only thing about telling someone to stick something into a printer is: They are very likely to do it.

t.rohner
t.rohner

I just try it on my 4200, but then my girlfriend who uses this 10$ piece, wouldn't notice the message, she'd cry for my assistance if it didn't work but wouldn't read the message. (i bought it for 10$ at a local ebay-clone, cool bid... i was the only bidder) Just saw the "Punishing Computers...." is this faked? Otherwise, the guy on the other side of the table really got his part. (It didn't look faked to me...)

karateckie
karateckie

I can see people trying to find a place to put a quarter in the printers. I like the idea of updating it with a weather report. My only question about this is, when the printer is turned off and back on again, would the display return to normal (i.e. "Ready")? **EDIT** I decided to actually test this instead of wait for a reply. My desk is closer than the printer, it's Friday, and I am lazy today :D

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