Friday, May 11, 2018

it does not compute

Someone needs to drive a truck to my house, load up all of my electronic gear, and take it to a safe place.

And not because of my well-documented abuse of my expensive goods. Even though, it is true, if my electronics were children, I would be spending the rest of my life stamping out license plates with vaguely crude letter combinations.

No. My most recent malady has nothing to do with leaving my computer out in the rain or my binoculars on a harbor cruise in Sydney.

My brother is a computer consultant. He is larded with tales of customers who are convinced they have a major virus in their server, only to find out they have simply forgotten their password.

Well, I am about to become the star of one of those tales featuring benighted digital souls.

I bought a printer about a year ago in Manzanillo. It lacked most of the features I liked in my printer that died. (The fact that it was dead was a feature I did not like.) But the new printer and I have managed to build what passes for a nodding acquaintance.

In the beginning, I would ask it to print something, and it would. Then, the relationship frayed a bit. I would ask it to print something. It might. And it might not. I simply took that for moodiness.

While my brother was here, the printer decided it no longer wanted to be moody. It moved on to recalcitrance. I would request it to print something. It wouldn't. We might as well have been married.

I have been around the computer business for long enough to know I had a driver issue on my hands. So, I downloaded new drivers. And it worked for one print job.

I downloaded the drivers again. One print job.

Eventually, whatever was hanging up the process went away with the third download.

Until today. I had to download the drivers again. And it worked. Once.

On the second download, my computer gave me a new warning. The printer was "in error status." Of course, I already knew that. It was not printing.

Being the trouble shooter I am, I unplugged the printer and waited for the cache to clear. Nothing.

I closed up all the trays and took it outside to see if the inks were stuck. Nope.

Was there a paper jam? Nope.

Had a rat built a nest in the back of the printer? Nope.

So, I put it back on the desk, plugged it in, pushed the power switch, opened the feed-through tray, and flipped up the paper holder.

And I saw the problem. So simple that I am almost embarrassed to tell you. 
Especially after wasting a half hour out of my day. (But I would have told the story if it had happened to someone else. That is what we writers are like. Everyone around us is merely story fodder.)

It was right there in front of me. There was no paper in the tray.

My old printer had a readout that told me the paper was empty. But it was built for northern sensibilities -- where we need to be walked through each step as if we are half-witted children.

This printer was built for Mexicans -- people who have enough common sense to know that if a printer is not working, the usual culprit is one of two conditions: the power is turned off or there is no paper in the tray.

Unfortunately, the experience reminded me I am not really Mexican. I have been steeped in northern cosseting for far too long.

And next time? You can bet I will check the paper tray.

Of course, then, the tray will be full, and I will spend another half hour only to discover the printer has been unplugged.

Excuse me, I think I hear the truck at the front door.

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