Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Oh Brother, Why Art Thou?

So suppose you kind-of sort-of invite somebody into your house, expecting him to act right, but he turns out to be a big slovenly dude that never so much as gets his own dirty dishes as far as the sink and he never once does anything you ask him to do and all he does is take up space and whine about shit and just about the time you've been able to pretend he's not there he cuts loose with a big grotesque belch and a fart? That dude? He's living here. And if you decide to give him a chance and ask him to do something really small like take out the garbage for once? And he clears his throat and makes some kind of noncommittal noise like he's planning to get around to it sometime and you more or less give up on him but then right in the middle of the night he starts banging the garbage cans around and scaring the shit out of you, and even after all that when you check in the morning he's still left half the garbage behind? Hate that dude.

We needed a new printer, we really did, but this one is all Boris when what we really wanted was something along the lines of a Timmy. Sucker is totally the size of an apartment refrigerator. We've parked it next to a sophisticated computer but it has learned no manners at all. Originally, it would print out pages if you asked nicely. It has a scan button that doesn't do anything, and a fax button that does nothing but print out endless status reports on the faxes it won't send. Generally, if you ask it nicely to print something, it makes a bunch of noise, sucks in a piece of paper, poops it partway out about a quarter-printed, and then squeals and clicks for a while before shutting down entirely. I've learned to leave it alone because every now and then, say, at midnight, when you're concentrating on your writing, it will abruptly fire up again and spit out your page, and sometimes it's even the whole page, and not just the quarter it had already printed.

A few weeks ago it refused, as usual, to print something, and informed me that I was out of black ink. I opened it up, replaced the black cartridge like a big girl, and hit "print," and it said now I was out of yellow ink. I replaced the yellow cartridge, and then it said "did you replace the yellow?" and I said yes and it said "but I didn't feel anything. Do it again." So I did it again. And again. And again. And then I went to the Googles and found the most wonderful piece of advice. It involves black electrical tape--the same tape you use to fix your car's check-engine light. And it worked. And then it said I was also out of cyan ink. And I taped that sucker too. And hit print, and it fired right up and started printing. Printed a half-page of something I'd wanted three weeks ago that no longer showed up in the queue, but it seemed like progress.

Then my sophisticated computer got super sludgy. I did a little research and determined that I needed more memory. Like, duh. So, with complete confidence, I went into the Mac store and asked the nice man to put in some memory. I explained it to him. I explained that I'd checked the Utilities Application and the Activity Monitor and the little pie-circle that should have a lot of green had NO green and was mostly yellow instead. "Let's have a look," he said, as though my logic were worthless, and sure enough, in his house, everything ran like a dream and my little pie-circle was three-quarters green. Huh.

"You've got plenty of memory," he said, and asked me if I had any peripherals. Is that something that goes with onion dip? No, he said. Things that plug into the computer. Oh. Modem. Router. Solar panel monitor.

"Printer?" he asked. No, I said. It's wireless.

So I brought my resurrected computer home and plugged it in, and when I was set to stick in the last of the leftover USB cords, I noticed that it went to the printer after all. The bastard. I left it out. The computer is running fine.

But I have all the tools I need to fix the damn printer now. I have electrical tape. I have a splitting maul.

42 comments:

  1. It pays to get a good printer if it's something you use a lot. I'm not the most tech knowledgable person around, but I know that some printers interface with Macs and some don't. At least that was the case when I last bought a printer (Epson. I heard from a fellow Mac user that it was the best brand.) Perhaps your Brother is intolerant of Macs?

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    1. You know, they seduce you. You're at Costco or somewhere and they have a machine that will do eighteen things and fold the laundry, all for thirty bucks, and you buy it and discover that it's a scam to get you to buy ink cartridges every week for the rest of your life. That's what I did last time--this time I asked the print cartridge lady which machine would be best for saving ink, and she suggested this monster.

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    2. It saves ink by refusing to print stuff....

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  2. At first I thought you were talking about Randy Quaid in a National Lampoon movie.
    The splitting maul or any other heavy device works well. I might try a chainsaw next time my computer fails to follow my orders.

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    1. If you threaten it enough, it might respond when you merely make the chainsaw noise.

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  3. You can get a free ink printer. But you really need a laser printer if you want to save that sneaky enormous cost of ink. However being you, you might like to make your photographs into a quilt and that takes printers that use ink.

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    1. I'd really be afraid of a laser printer. Just my luck I'd stick my hands in there to free a paper jam, and it would up and spindle me with lasers.

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  4. I have one of them O'Brothers. It don't work neither. We need us a Maul Movement. Maybe on a special day we could circumcize our watches and wreck them muthas...erm, Brothers...in simulcast. Wanna?

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    1. Oh god yes. Whatever you said. I'm in.

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    2. Televise it. I would crash my car to get home in time to see that.

      Dang I wish that was my line. Kathleen Madigan is a genius.

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    3. Televise it. I would crash my car to get home in time to see that.

      Dang I wish that was my line. Kathleen Madigan is a genius.

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  5. At first I thought you were looking after your friends' dog again. Then I realized he would never be that ill-behaved. No dog would. Computers and printers, on the other hand ... it almost goes without saying that they are rude, overbearing and never lift a finger to help around the place.

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    1. And yet--the first time I heard of a friend owning a personal printer, I was amazed and envious. Of course, back then they were full-sized Xeroxes and you could hop up on them and photograph your butt. So I should probably be more grateful.

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    2. ... and maybe we should be, too!

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  6. "...the same tape you use on your check-engine-light..."I want to laugh, but I sense you're not kidding...

    I'd join Nance's movement...get the whip hand on the suckers.

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  7. My Epson has a nasty habit of lighting up and moving its parts around and making loud random noises when I'm not expecting them, and I jump every time. But it does print nicely IF I keep vast quantities of ink available.

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  8. I hope you never buy a 3D printer. With your luck (and history), it would print out something that would come alive and kill you as you sleep.

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    1. No, my luck is way better than that. My history lies its ass off.

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  9. Oh oh, look out, here comes the maul!! My printer has done the same thing. It would not print and when I finally thought I had it fixed, it printed out something from 6 months ago!
    Grrrr. I thought I actually heard snickering coming from it.

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    1. But of course if you have it print out your tax forms, it won't stop for days.

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  10. smash it, like Office Space, then get a construction job

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    1. I do not know what is this word "job" of which you speak.

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  11. Helpful they are not. Responsive to the words which get my partner and the cats moving they are not.
    Count me in to Nance's movement.

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    1. Wait, back up. What gets your cats moving?

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    2. THE voice. Which has less than no effect on inanimate objects.

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  12. You need a new printer. Ditch the Brother and get something reliable. Check different brands and styles online and read what others have to say about the reliability before making a choice. I have a Canon, which prints, scans and photocopies. It's an inkjet though and the ink cartridges run out pretty quickly and cost more than I'd like.

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    1. I worry though. I worry that if I invite enough printers in here, they'll all get together and cook meth or something.

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  13. You don't need more than one - if it's the right one. Mine is easily eight years old and still works fine.

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    1. Don't change operating systems! See Tabor below.

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    2. My printer followed quite happily from Windows XP to Windows 7, but I won't be installing Windows 10 at all, I've heard too many bad stories about it.

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  14. Since I with innocent willingness updated to Windows 10, I learned that my old workhorse of a HP printer no longer could be used! It is about 20 years old and worked just fine! I have a second Canon printer that I got free years ago, but it is a pig on expensive ink so I only used it for rare occasion photos or color documents. Now, I guess I have to go out and buy a new printer...but I am so afraid it will just sit there and look at me and make nasty comments like yours does.

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    1. That is exactly what it will do. I recommend writing your documents out longhand, twice.

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  15. Rich thinks that because he does BIG business he needs a lot of BIG (expensive) devices. That require BIG really expensive ink cartridges. I truck along fine printing on a little 89.00 Epson thingie that uses really cheap cartridges and prints all I need to run my small fiber arts business. Frequently I'll send to my printer and go to retrieve my sheep labels and find a 20 page report to ESPN. He's figured out how to wirelessly send BIG business to my little cheap printer. There's still a monster in his office and we currently have 4 printers taking up the space of four apartment refrigerators in our garage; they're way too "valuable" to get rid of but none of them work and we can't afford to plan for retirement AND buy cartridges. I know there's a hell stock full of nothing but broken monster printers and I will send 4 more there as soon as he is off on his next big business trip. Your blog post has given me the nerve. Thanks.

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    1. You are free to blame me for it by name if you wish, inasmuch as you and I are on opposite coasts.

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  16. And I thought I had printer woes.

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    1. I'm sure you do. It's just a nasty species.

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  17. Not sure if this will help: here(Australia) we can get most cartridges refilled and save money on the purpose-brand. Not for archival inks though. I've been having my Canon cartridges (several models) refilled locally for years.

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  18. Not sure if this will help: here(Australia) we can get most cartridges refilled and save money on the purpose-brand. Not for archival inks though. I've been having my Canon cartridges (several models) refilled locally for years.

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