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'The Office' Infiltrates Reality
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30 Nov 2011 01:52 PM EST

-by Jennifer Monteagudo, Staff Writer; Image: Dunder Mifflin paper (Image Source: Quill.com)

Paper:

For Office fans who can tell you exactly when Jim and Pam began dating, why Oscar, Dwight, and Andy each took hiatuses from the company and other dedicated trivia, dreams are about to become reality: Dunder Mifflin now sells real products.

Staples bought the rights to the name Dunder Mifflin from the comedy show’s network, NBC, to sell—what else?—paper. A “Dunder Mifflin” carton of 20lb, 92 bright is going for $35 at Quill.com, a website owned by the real office supply chain. Although those Dunder Mifflin logos come at a premium, a generic carton of the same paper sells for $30 at Staples.com. That $5 hike may be worth it, though, as The Wall Street Journal reports that DM cartons come emblazoned with Office-related slogans like “Our Motto is, ‘Quabity First,’” and “Get Your Scrant On.”

The deal struck is mutually beneficial to the two companies: NBC Universal receives 6 percent of revenues, and Staples hopes to see increased paper sales from the reverse product placement. Like the fiction Dunder Mifflin, the combination of a poor economy and an increasing digital office environment has left Staples with declining paper sales. The Journal reports that North American copy paper sales have declined 3 percent each year.

Printers:

Watchers of recent Office season may recall, however, that Dunder Mifflin no longer only sells paper, but printers too. In the season six episode, “The Cover-Up,” Andy discovers their Sabre printers were malfunctioning by randomly setting on fire.

It’s not just fictional Sabre printers that are a safety hazard, though. MSNBC reports a security flaw found in most internet-enable printers that could theoretically allow hackers to set your printer on fire.

It’s not the work of science fiction, but of coders, who could send the printers “instructions that would continuously heat up the printer’s fuser—which is designed to dry the ink once it’s applied to paper—eventually causing the paper to turn brown and smoke,” MSNBC reports. The flaw was discovered when Columbia University researchers reverse engineered Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers, and found out printers connected to the internet can’t tell whether incoming “software updates” are from HP or hackers. So when the printers automatically scan for updates, anyone can send any code appearing to be an update through to the printer.

On November 29 Hewlett-Packard released a statement saying their printers are equipped with a piece of hardware called a “thermal breaker,” which prevents a printer from overheating or catching fire, and that no customer has reported remote hacking.

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