This looks like a joke, but apparently it's real? London design shop BERG has unveiled its Little Printer, which can print, every morning, a 10-inch receipt strip of capsule news, puzzles and social network summary. Because the newspaper was not yet a sufficiently debased medium.
BERG is apparently quite proud of this whimsical little device, telling Fast Company in a "visibly giddy" Skype call that "we're sick of not telling everyone about this." That's a baffling impulse; in an era of iPhones and iPads or, for the retro crowd, actual dignified newspapers, the Little Printer is comically asinine, lacking the richness of a digital device, the ease of proper print media, or the depth of either. You can practically hear the reviews straining to indulge BERG's overexcited designers. "My first knee-jerk reaction to Little Printer was... 'really? this?'" Fast Company said six paragraphs in. (Dear FC, heed that instinct.) "A receipt-sized slip of paper probably isn't going to disrupt the way you ingest information ," admits TechCrunch in paragraph five.
Apparently you can customize your daily printout via a smartphone app, and make little shopping checklists and reminders to stick on your fridge. That's fine. Nothing you can't do on a decent phone, or with an ordinary printer, but maybe people prefer carrying a piece of trash they can shove in their pocket to carrying a lump of trash they must deposit in one of those oh-so-elusive trash cans. But with practical considerations pushing newspapers ever more compact and financial considerations making them ever more flimsy, Little Printer is also, alleged utility aside, a haunting and borderline insulting vision for the future of printed news. This is a sad looking thing! But do go ahead and watch the video below and see if you disagree. (You won't.)