21 March 2014

Why must electronic equipment IT gadgets not work?

(Must not generalise and direct ensuing rant to the blameless lightbulbs of the world.)

Today, in a well-meaning attempt to organise my revision, I went through all my course readings so I could print out all the ‘essential’ ones.

Because, let’s be honest, I’m never going to have time to get through the ‘recommended’ and the ‘optional’ ones as well. Not after all that future procrastination.

So, there I was, sat on the floor in front of my laptop, sorting all my printed papers into ‘essential’, ‘recommended’, and ‘optional’ stacks – and woefully recognising that I had read some of the optional ones by mistake.

Note to self: next time, organise yourself before you start revision, not two weeks into it.

Simultaneously, I was pulling up the PDF files for the essential papers, lining them up nicely in the printing queue. Then I pressed ‘print’. And for the first few papers, the printer hummed noisily along, obediently churning out page after page of revision.

Then the noise stopped.

If there’s anything I’ve come to dread over my student printing years, it’s a silent printer. And, sure as day, up pops a box on my laptop screen, telling me some gibberish about printer failing to load multiple paper.

Printer failing to load multiple paper? I’m not even sure what that means.

The box tells me to “reload paper”. So I proceeded to remove the stack of paper in the feeder, then put it back in. Not sure what difference that makes. But if that’s what the box says I gotta do, that’s what I gotta do.

Still doesn’t work.

I had no choice but to resort to the panacea of the IT world: I turned the printer off, removed the plug from the socket, counted to ten, and switched it back on.

It worked!

The printer proceeded to produce one more paper – two-sided, two pages per side. Then, one page into the second paper, it went quiet.

Box read: ‘Printer failing to load multiple paper’

Not really knowing what else to do, I repeated the above steps. Which didn’t work.

So I gave up and uploaded all the remaining files to Mendeley.

What good is a printer that doesn’t print? A laptop that displays a problem message each time it fires up? (Have to get someone to look at that.)

Why can’t technology just work? The way they’re supposed to?

I mean. Pencils don’t stop working. Mugs don’t start leaking coffee.

Why can’t printers just print?

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