back to article Mysterious brown spots and a different kind of mouse support

Welcome once again to On-Call, our regular look at the messes readers find themselves in when asked to go to help out their clients. This week, we've heard from Reg reader Pat, who tells us about the time he responded to a request for tech help from a user who was puzzled by the strange behaviour of a printer. "I was minding …

  1. b0llchit

    Job descrption

    Is that why helldesk and local support is such a shitty job? I guess that flushing the toner may not be enough to get the stains out.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Job descrption

      I hope they washed their hands before printing again.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Job descrption

      Mouse sewage treatment plant operator.

  2. Trollslayer Silver badge

    I've had some crap jobs as well.

  3. John Deeb


    Took a while before I realized this was not about chocolate mousse.

    Fusers can become pretty hot, perhaps printing a few hundred pages with fuser temp setting high would have solved it too! Of course we might start seeing black spots appearing.

  4. Fibbles

    Hopefully they made sure the printer was squeaky clean before putting it back into service.

  5. Tom 35 Silver badge

    I had to service a printer that was home to mice once.

    A Panasonic dot matrix. Did you know mouse piss dissolves copper circuit board traces and IC pins?

    Printer went in the trash.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Ah, yes. Bug reports. In 1980ish ...

    ... we griped about mosquitos on the manufacturing floor at Spectra Physics in Mountain View, CA. Went on for a couple weeks. Got to the point where most of us had a couple of the critters tied to the desk with a human-hair leash, taped to the desk. Was pretty funny ... all you had to do was breathe in their general direction and they'd tiredly go airborn & attempt to do what mosquitos do[0].

    Manglement finally payed attention when a big-wig from Caterpillar came in to look at the possibility of putting laser-level gear into production Cat kit.

    My lead assembler and myself were assigned to track down the source of the problem. Turned out to be a leaking water pipe in the under floor cable-track, pooling in a dip in the concrete. Pipe repaired, water removed with a ShopVac[tm], no more problem.

    [0] I'm not normally prone to torment critters who are just doing what they do.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Human hair leash?

      How, praytell, do you lasso a mosquito with a strand of human hair? That must have taken a bit of ingenuity to accomplish...

      1. jake Silver badge

        @DougS was: (Re: Human hair leash?)

        Catch 'em from the front end. Gently. Slip the hair over the back-end, under the wings, and tighten. Gently. Tape the other-end to your desk. Simples.

        Or maybe not so simple. We killed thousands of these obnoxious critters perfecting this technique. Remember, we were pissed-off at manglement for trying to ignore the pests, and getting payed for this particular distraction on the assembly line. We had a lot of time to perfect it ;-)

        1. JCitizen

          Re: @DougS was: (Human hair leash?)

          Sounds as bad as the pranks we pulled on our English teacher, by pulling the wings off flys so they would scurry about his desk.

  7. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "the eviction was successful and temporary, I am sure."

    The mice were let back into the printer???? Shirely you'd want the eviction to be permanent.

    1. Afernie

      I think he means there was no real way to prevent access to the printer's guts. Mice are determined little critters - they'd wait till he'd left and come back. The only permanent solution would be to provide somewhere warm and suitable nearby. Perhaps providing access to an obsolete PC with cooling issues would do the trick?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Frrrying tonight


        as Dogbert(tm) would say...

      2. Timmy B Silver badge

        nope... There is another, more permanent, solution to rats and mice. Ask my Jack Russell....

        1. Afernie

          I would but he seems to have his mouth f- oh.

  8. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Friend's 386

    My friend had a 386 than ran pretty well, but every so often would spontaneously reboot. You know where this is going -- after this last time it rebooted, he opened the case up, to find a few mice with one pissing on the motherboard. The system was rebooting each time the mice pissed on it. The largest hole in this case was a an open spot where a different motherboard would have had a 9-pin serial port (about the size of a VGA port.)

  9. Stevie Silver badge


    De cute and cuddly little doormouse

    Daylight come an' I wanna go home

    Hide de deadly Hanta Virus

    Daylight come an' I wanna go home

  10. Steve Aubrey

    I shouldn't . . .

    but I will.

    Thanks for getting us to the base of this tail.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Found a mouse

    With its head wedged between the L and N pins on a microwave power input PCB.

    Might have explained why the mains kept randomly tripping, we never could figure out why it happened at 2am and the usual culprits ie immersion heater and outdoor wiring had been isolated.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not IT, but still a good mouse story

    Once upon a time, our chest freezer started making a God-awful, grinding noise from near the compressor.

    After a day or so of this, I peeled off the plastic service cover and discovered that a healthy-sized field mouse had managed to insert its head into the compressor fan. Not a pretty sight.

    I'll leave the source of the noises to your imagination. Suffice it to say that the fan needed dismounting and a bloody good cleaning before it could go back into service.

    I guess he was attracted to the radiant warmth of the very hot compressor tank, scalded by it and while fleeing, inadvertently decapitated himself. Talk about a better mouse trap.......

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