back to article 'Printer Ready'. Er… you actually want to print? What, right now?

Whirr whirr click. Oh come on, print, dammit. Bzzzzt. Whirr click [silence] brrrrrrrrrrr [silence]. Why is it that an office printer manages to churn out pages day after day without delay or complaint, yet chooses to play silly buggers the moment you are in a hurry? Eh. Phut. Click. The green activity light is blinking …

  1. Simon 4
    Thumb Up

    Office Space

    +1 for the Office Space video

    1. Smallbrainfield
      Thumb Up

      Re: Office Space

      PC LOAD LETTER

      What the fuck does that even mean?

      1. Thecowking

        Re: Office Space

        I looked this up once, when I saw PC LOAD LEGAL or something similarly.

        That random word after LOAD, is a page size you've never heard of and will never use willingly. However something random in the emergent malificence of your network has added to your document, so your printer thinks it needs it.

      2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Office Space

        LETTER is the American equivalent to A4

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Office Space

          Apart from being the wrong size, yes it is.

        2. Snivelling Wretch

          Re: Office Space

          The "A" paper sizes are actually rather wonderfully thought out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Office Space

            "The "A" paper sizes are actually rather wonderfully thought out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size"

            I mostly read from that:

            "A is a logical system that is used by every country in the world except for the US and its satellites (Canada and Mexico). They use some other ridiculous system that originated God-knows when and isn't very helpful at all."

            I then realized that, in this sentence, 'A' was a variable, and did not refer to the paper system in particular, but to many systems and situations.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Office Space

            "wonderfully thought out" in a very German-mathematical way <G>.

            Actually, from a pure graphical layout perspective, they are not. You will rarely see something professional, a book, a printed image, etc. in pure A4 format, for example, because the dimension ratio is not "right" for the eye, and contents that please the eye. So usually A formats are trimmed to something else. Unluckily printers usually print (when you're luckier than Dabbs), but rarely trim.

          3. cd

            Re: Office Space

            That entry is funnier than the article, just keep scrolling down and reading the word "standard" over and over again.

          4. Daedalus Silver badge

            Re: Office Space

            Before Harold Wislon dragged Brits through the white heat of technological change, you all used to write on "quarto" and "foolscap".

        3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          US Letter

          Once, in the early '90s, when I was creating an APAR for a particularly obnoxious setup problem for an IBM printer on AIX, I was accused by the US support team of wanting to set an 'obscure' paper size as the default, rather than the 'standard'. The size I wanted was, of course, A4, and the US had set a hard default of US Letter.

          After some fruitless to-ing and fro-ing, I suggested that they either climb down from their ivory tower, or re-christen AIX as the "American Interactive Executive".

          This got me flamed for my unprofessional remarks in the problem management system, which came back down the management chain. I appealed back to my management chain in the UK explaining the scope of the problem, who thought my comments were, on the whole, rather restrained.

          I actually got an apology, together with a thorough re-working of the factory defaults in the 4019 laser printer, a fix to the printer setup prepended to the print job by the driver, and a re-work of the nroff and troff device defaults, effectively fixing the problem in three different places!

          Sometimes support processes work, sometimes they don't.

          1. Anonymous Blowhard

            Re: US Letter

            "Once, in the early '90s, when I was creating an APAR for a particularly obnoxious setup problem for an IBM printer on AIX"

            Living the dream eh?

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: US Letter

              I actually enjoyed the job back then.

              It was a time when people in the UK could actually influence products, rather than what happens now, just complaining to support reps. in whatever-is-the-cheapest-location-this-year, and getting completely ignored because complex problems upset their call statistics.

              I find it rewarding identifying and overcoming complicated problems! Does that make me odd? (No, on second thoughts, don't answer that).

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: US Letter

                "complex problems upset their call statistics."

                Any problem upsets their call statistics, it doesn't have to be complex.

              2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                Re: US Letter

                "I find it rewarding identifying and overcoming complicated problems! Does that make me odd?" - Peter Gathercole

                No. Well, not here anyway.

              3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: US Letter

                I find it rewarding identifying and overcoming complicated problems!

                I, too, once did that to AIX in the early '90s (tracked down a bug in the standard C library implementation that broke 3D rendering on the advanced graphics adapters, of all things). It's good work if you can find it.

                Have a thumb's-up.

          2. AndrueC Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: US Letter

            Once, in the early '90s, when I was creating an APAR for a particularly obnoxious setup problem for an IBM printer on AIX

            If you have X-Windows installed and enabled it becomes 'Aix and panes'.

      3. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Office Space

        I have actually received that message on an elderly printer. Until then I thought it was a generic frustration made up for the movie.

      4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        PC LOAD LETTER

        This means that you've (yes, you) f***ed up the page size settings in the page layout of whatever-app-you're-using.

        Unfortunately, there is plenty of scope for this, especially if you rely on documents crafted piecemeal from many sources by cut-and-paste, because many office products will also keep individual page settings if you plagiarize other peoples documents in large chunks.

        Mind you, I think that the first step in teaching office package use should be setting up default page size, dictionary and keyboard settings (huh - you got no training! Shocking).

        I have to admit that whenever I use certain dominant desktop OSs, it really bugs me that it no longer seems to be the case that you can set these things up on a personal basis in your profile, and that many applications appear to want to remember what you used last time, rather than work from the defaults.

        Yes, I know the last time I used A***e Reader to print some handouts I printed two-up, doublesided, tumbled and flipped on the long side. That doesn't mean I want the paper copy of my tax form printed the same way! What a waste of paper!

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: PC LOAD LETTER

          I often trace issues to:

          1) Administrators installing the printer without configuring papers sizes and trays correctly

          2) User installing drivers themselves because administrators don't deliver drivers and don't set drivers defaults correctly

          3) Office users utterly unable to use proper designed templates, and recreating company documents usually borrowing from another one possibly from an oversea colleague using a different paper default

          4) Printer cleaning and maintenance? Do you mean it's also a mechanical device and not a purely electronic one and sometimes needs to be cleaned?

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: PC LOAD LETTER

            LDS,

            yes those are the real reasons, but has anyone ever wanted a printer to anything but print on A4?

            All printers should have a button clearly marked "Quit bitching and print on any fucking paper in any tray you you can find mutherfucker becasuse its all A4 and thats what size I want ,and I want it now, I dont give a fuck if you are running low on ink just use what youve got NOW , on the paper I have just given you"

            Those weirdos who want A3, or envelopes, will have to learn to configure the printer.

            1. Smallbrainfield

              Re: PC LOAD LETTER

              Prst. V.Jeltz

              Our current office printer actually offers to print your document on whatever paper size is currently loaded. On the negative side, it will happily default to whatever is in the manual feed tray, (especially if you happen to have left some very expensive paper in there).

          2. Laura Kerr

            You forgot...

            5) Trying to print from Microsoft Visio.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: You forgot...

              Just give me some fan fold. I can move the tractor wheel to the right place, and tear off the perforated margins later. Plus the printer makes a screaming noise.

              None of this fancy arsed loose leaf shit.

              1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

                Re: You forgot...

                "Plus the printer makes a screaming noise." Which was why mine was in a soundproof box.

              2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                Re: fan fold

                Oh yes, fan fold... and a "NLQ" capable 24 pin printer, not a bad combination. Unbeatable for forms with carbon copies. (Which technically were not carbon copies. The paper for the copies had microscopic bubbles of ink embedded in it which were smashed by the impact of the pins on the topmost page.)

                Problem(s) however: 12" is only almost 297 mm (aka the length of DIN A4).

                12" length fanfold paper = cheap as dirt. DIN A4 fanfold paper = hard to find AND insanely expensive.

                For some printers, DIN A4 was an exotic setting. For some, 12" was an exotic setting.

                For some software, only DIN sizes existed. For some software, only US/non-metric sizes existed.

                You could end up with a combination of printer and software that meant YOU were the patch - meaning you'd print one page, then give the wheel/tractor a tiny adjustment and print the next page.

                </4yorkshiremen>

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: You forgot...

              5) Trying to print from Microsoft Visio.

              Well, I may be a luddite here but I think the print dialog is one of the few things Microsoft actually managed to get reasonably right compared to OSX.

              Here is the most reliable way to get someone hooked on the most powerful drugs available or, failing that, snort most of the toner out of the printer: print a PDF using Adobe Reader on a Mac, using a non-default page size like SRA3 (basically A3 with a border for cutting).

              I'd keep the straightjacket ready, and not because of the 50 shades of grey toner they'll be soon covered with..

              1. Laura Kerr

                Re: You forgot...

                "print dialog is one of the few things Microsoft actually managed to get reasonably right"

                I agree with you. Every other MS Office component has a clear and well-thought-print dialogue. Visio is the exception, needing a lot of fiddling about to get a large drawing to shrink on a page. You have to do this, then that, then t'other and then it'll print, unless it won't, or maybe not or something.

                If I'm in a hurry to print a Visio diagram, I paste it into an A3 Word doc and print that.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: You forgot...

                  Visio is the exception, needing a lot of fiddling about to get a large drawing to shrink on a page. You have to do this, then that, then t'other and then it'll print, unless it won't, or maybe not or something.

                  If I'm in a hurry to print a Visio diagram, I paste it into an A3 Word doc and print that.

                  LOL. Why is it that Microsoft kept the one annoying thing about Visio that needed fixing, but removed every other possible timesaving aspect from the GUI in its 'improvements'? It's been like that from before MS bought it to stop them from developing a Linux version..

                2. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: You forgot...

                  If I'm in a hurry to print a Visio diagram, I paste it into an A3 Word doc and print that.

                  I find myself doing that (cut-and-paste into Word) quite a lot with Excel spreadsheets, where getting the results table to sit 'nicely' on an A4 page can at times be too much effort...

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: PC LOAD LETTER

            @LDS

            > I often trace issues to:

            5) An Office update delivered via Windows Update that helpfully resets Word to US Letter (yes, I've been caught out by this)

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: PC LOAD LETTER

              > I often trace issues to:

              6) A document that was originally produced in LETTER (or a Word document that contains a section sized as LETTER) and the application refuses to obey the "scale to fit" setting.

              7) Application developers who don't understand users outside of the USA want to use a different default page (ie. A4) to those in the USA, hence when their application installs/resets it should configure it's defaults accordingly.

              8) Printer vendors (eg. HP) who have hard coded LETTER as the page default and so every time a user installs the driver, or creates a print/scan profile they had to change the page size from LETTER to A4...

              The scary thing, is that A4 is a new paper size, it was in widespread use decades before MS-Dos was thought of. Hence to still be having problems over something that is relatively trivial in 2015...

              I predict a similar problem with driverless car's; vendors and developers will hard code defaults to driving on the right...

          4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: PC LOAD LETTER

            LDS:

            5) Someone originates a document in Word on the PC (using A4) that, when loaded in Word on a Mac somehow mysteriously defaults back to letter whilst proclaiming that it is still setup as A4. Until you print the 200 page document at the last minute and end up having to press "continue" between every sheet.

            Not that it's happened to me. Honest.

            And it's not even reliably repeatable - sometimes the documents work, sometimes they don't. Quite possibly an insufficency of chicken blood involved.

        2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: PC LOAD LETTER

          ... or, you have an older HP Officejet, who's driver had a bunch of fixed "handy profile shortcuts" to configurations that all used US paper sizes. Even when installed on a UK-English Windows.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          adobe reader

          last time I used A***e Reader to print some handouts I printed two-up, doublesided, tumbled and flipped on the long side. That doesn't mean I want the paper copy of my tax form printed the same way!

          dont get me started on that bloated pile of shite. Adobe have managed to make a simple application that should be about as complicated as notepad into an incomprehesible mess more complicated than a sharepoint server. Obvious functions like print , save , zoom , move are just buried under mounds and mounds of useless shite that no one will ever use. Its only recently that a modern machine with gigabytes of memory and more cpu cycles than a vintage Cray can run adobe reader without dying, in fact just installing it and not using it would kill the average machine. why the fuck does it need to have an updater constantly running? personally if an update came out and i didnt find out until i next ran the reader app do you know how bothered i'd be ?"none at all" . like the bulldozer.

          Fuck them. fuck them in their stupid clown shoes. Im never installing it again

          1. Fatman Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: adobe reader

            When I saw <quote>last time I used A***e Reader to print some handouts</quote>,

            my mind interpreted it as:

            last time I used Asshole Reader to print some handouts.

            Would that be a "wrong" interpretation???

          2. Alistair Dabbs

            Re: adobe reader

            Speaking from personal experience, the genuinely nice people who work at Adobe simply won't be told. Any attempt to point out the ridiculousness of its application UIs is regarded as negative feedback and summarily dismissed. Any attempt to draw attention to the many, regular and frankly immense failings of its cloud-based systems is treated by them as the product of irrational hostility and, again, dismissed.

            1. Sandtitz Silver badge

              Re: adobe reader

              "Any attempt to point out the ridiculousness of its application UIs is regarded as negative feedback and summarily dismissed."

              I don't think that's exclusive to Adobe...

              I've seen many otherwise excellent coders who have also done the shitty UI themselves and consider all negative feedback to be a personal attack against them and their pet hamsters.

            2. AndrueC Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: adobe reader

              Speaking from personal experience, the genuinely nice people who work at Adobe simply won't be told.

              I noticed during the summer that one of their Reader software updates didn't put the utterly useless icon back on my desktop. Sadly it came back with the next update. Who the hell do they think actually needs the Adobe Reader icon on their desktop?

          3. Whiskers

            Re: adobe reader

            I think it was the latest version of Adobe Reader that intervened when an aged relative recently tried to print out the PDF magazine that was attached to an email. "I've never seen that before. What have I done wrong? How do I 'select PDF file'? Why?" A large part of the screen space was taken up by a lot of stuff totally unrelated to the task of reading or printing a document.

            I spent a few minutes gazing at the screen and eventually spotted what looked as though it might be a printer icon and tried clicking on it. A printer settings dialogue appeared. "That never happened before. What is it? I have all my printer settings the way I want already". Poked around a bit and found the settings that would get double-sided colour printing and then thought I'd look at another 'tab' in the dialogue; discovered the paper size settings which were helpfully defaulted to 'English' but didn't list any of the paper sizes normally found in England - a right click offered other measurement options including 'metric' which thankfully included A4 so I selected that.

            Had to use the Alt and arrow keys to shift the dialogue box far enough up the screen to see the action buttons at the bottom (relative has the Windows 10 screen text and icons size set to 'maximum' which is a possibility not catered for by some of the people who design dialogue boxes) and finally clicked on 'Print' and actually got a reasonable print-out. "What did you do there? Why? How?"

            I'm sure Windows software design is getting worse.

            1. dajames Silver badge

              Re: adobe reader

              I'm sure Windows software design is getting worse.

              Oh, yes -- in leaps and bounds. Has been for some years.

              Have you been asleep, or something?

          4. SamJ
            WTF?

            Re: adobe reader

            In my case it won't matter whether I use letter, legal or A4 - A***e Reader won't print anything. I am in the position that I have to create reports to .pdf files - and the latest versions of this GDed software won't even print from my machine (Win7 Pro, Dell). No matter what I do, it tells me that I haven't chosen any range or file to print - even after I have. Cannot even print the whole GDed file. @)(&$)(&*$@)#@)(*($*$#)(*@$&@)(*&)&*&)(&*@)(&*@)(&&^_~%)*(&!~+_()!@~#%$&(&*. (That's called self-censorship.)

        4. Jonathan Richards 1

          It ain't necessarily so...

          > yes, you f***ed up the page size settings

          Not if the program you're using has come from the good ol' USA with default settings for Letter paper, and persists with them despite your local settings for GB-en all over the place.

      5. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Office Space

        It means the little gnome who sits inside the box has run out of letters (in the right font) to typeset what you wish to print. It's a right faff everytime you print to have to go rummaging around for a bunch of Comic Sans "S"s when you overdose on alliterative comedy.

        1. tony2heads
          Devil

          Re: Office Space

          Is that a "printer's devil"

      6. Ian 55

        Re: Office Space

        I quite miss the HP Laserjet II and III printers that used to say that if you'd accidentally not sent the right set of codes saying 'use A4'.

        There have to be some still going: they were almost indestructible. Amongst other things, this meant that when businesses got rid of them to get an LJ 4 (ok) or later (not), you could buy them for about £20, or about 1/20th the price of new crappy model from someone else and even less of their original cost.

        The printer I have now prints more pages per minute, and at rather less than 60lbs is much easier to move, but really doesn't have any other advantages.

      7. N2 Silver badge

        Re: Office Space

        PC load letter = Paper Cassette load letter,

        Perhaps your were in short trousers when the LaserJet III hit the shelves :D

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

    If we properly adopted the use of technology, none of us would need to commute anywhere...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

      Except when you want to talk to actual people.

      Or do site visits. Not that I relish standing at the top of a 12 storey building with inadequate safety rails with 25 mile an hour gusts, but the clients apparently like it...

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

        And according to what I was reading yesterday, we apparently need to ensure to commute via some random European city like Berlin to make it a cheaper experience...

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

        Not that I relish standing at the top of a 12 storey building with inadequate safety rails with 25 mile an hour gusts, but the clients apparently like it...

        I would like to compliment you on elegantly of leading into the other joy of Fridays, the BOFH articles.

        :)

      3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

        "Not that I relish standing at the top of a 12 storey building with inadequate safety rails with 25 mile an hour gusts, but the clients apparently like it..."

        Fred Dibnah? thought you were dead!

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

        > Except when you want to talk to actual people.

        Are you mad? Talk to actual people? Isn't the reason why we chose IT that we actively wanted to avoid having to deal with squishy meatbags of mostly water?

        Apart from cats of course. And sometimes dogs.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

          CrazyOldCatMan,

          You may wish to disassociate yourself from me at this point. But I'm afraid I'm an interloper here. Worse from the building services industry, not IT. And even worse, I'm in technical sales. At least it's not marketing... If you want to know how to comply with the Water Regulations, I'm your man. Although you might have to talk to me for that. But if you'd prefer to avoid interaction, I can bore you to death with a powerpoint instead. For the favoured few, we even do lunch and certificates. But sadly, not distillery tours.

    2. WylieCoyoteUK

      Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

      Except to repair the printers, of course.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

        You don't need to repair printers. They're now obsolete. I just staple a bunch of old iPads together, with a different page displayed on each screen...

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: The rest of us commute in daily from our hovels

      Judging by the state of this office, our cleaners have been working from home this week.

  3. Tony S

    Printing?

    How 20th century of you.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      I can point you to some code

      I can point you to some code and buy you a beer if you are able to trace it through without a color printer (to get syntax highlighting), pen, highlighter and a bucket of vodka.

      In fact, I bet most of the El Reg readership can.

      Like it or not paper is better than a monitor if you are trying to comprehend something mindboggling with a pen/highlighter in hand.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: I can point you to some code

        Yes, sometimes you have to move quickly through a long document, or/and look at different parts of it, and I never found an application allowing me to move quickly as I can inside a printed one. It's really down to sequential/random access differences, the latter may still be easier with printed documents.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I can point you to some code

          As I mentioned in a another comment, FANFOLD.

          Can't beat it for long code listings.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: I can point you to some code

        Paper copies are also far better when you are trying to proof read and sanity check a document. Somehow on the screen people don't seem to see typos or gibberish as easily. Especially the ones that don't have a nice red wavy line under them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I can point you to some code

          Especially the ones that don't have a nice red wavy line under them.

          I actually kill all of that stuff off when I'm writing content. It's unhelpful when you are building up a nice train of thought with some complexities that need .. F*CK. Spelling mistake.

          Is it really old fashioned to write content and do spell and style checks later? Personally I thought we went off the cliff on good writing the moment we made WYSIWYG presentation more important than content (especially without spending maybe 10 minutes on explaining what styles are and how you use them), but given that that is the way Microsoft has been able to flog Word to the unwashed for decades I guess there must be something to it.

          I now use a thing called Ulysses - back to plain text. And *original* content rather than me too repeats of clichés so old that even their use is a cliché in itself - clearly, people have never heard of Art Plotnik either.

          Anyway, that's my monthly grumping allowance gone. Where were we?

          1. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: I can point you to some code

            Emacs and LaTeX. Everything else sucks - often not just to use, but in terms of the ugliness of its output. It's only been the last few years of a what, two decade?, life that MS Word has been able to produce documents that aren't almost immediately identifiable as the ill-formatted output of the same.

          2. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: I can point you to some code

            I actually kill all of that stuff off when I'm writing content

            Me too, also the auto-correct stuff - my muscle memory often tells me I've made a mistake before my eyes have noticed it onscreen, and I often find I'm already hitting 'backspace' before I know why, which is a right royal pain if the wordprocessor has also noticed, and has already corrected "teh" to "the" (ha! Even this textbox corrected it - I had to go back to un-correct it after I'd typed the closing quote).

            Is it really old fashioned to write content and do spell and style checks later?

            It does help if you have a reasonably good grasp of grammar and spelling to start with, and an accurate typing style, because then when you go back for a first read-through sanity check you can just tick off the small number of such mistakes without losing the thread of the narrative.

            I have to say here that I have at least one colleague who will happily bash away at a keyboard making mistake after mistake and then spend longer searching through all the wiggly red or green lines and correcting them than he did typing in the first place.

            WYSIWYG? In the days when I couldn't afford a word processor on my BBC Micro, the letters and scripts and suchlike that I wrote for my mum's youth work were BASIC programmes along the lines of

            PROCresetprinter

            PROCsetelite

            VDU2:PRINT"Dear Parents,":VDU3

            [...]

            DEFPROCsetelite

            VDU2,1,27,1,12,3

            ENDPROC

            and suchlike. Seemed like the right solution at the time, though I would probably have spent no more time if I'd written a text editor with macro facility for the printer (Epson LX80 - the poor man's FX80) functions. Aged 13 I just couldn't get my head around how to do the word-wrapping and line re-arranging bit.

            Back on topic, our current printer (and has been for about 9 years) is a Xerox solid ink Phaser. The noises, grunts and groans describd by Dabbsy are exactly the grunts and groans it makes if it's been switched off for any reason (because of the heater it prefers to be left in standby). So if I hear those noises I'm pretty confident that everything is actually working just fine!

            M.

      3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I can point you to some code

        Paper just seems to be quicker. Which is why all my important datasheets and graphs for calculations are printed out in a big folder. And why everyone else steals this, whenever they get asked a difficult question, because even though this stuff's on the computer, you just can't flick through it with one hand that way.

        When I'm on the phone to a customer, PDFs - finding opening the right one / scrolling through it etc - just take too much concentration away from the all-important talking/listening bit. Interestingly I've even been asked to email someone a particular file, because his office had a no paper catalogues rule. His exact words were, "please can you email me the pdf, as I can't check my catalogue until I get home."

        The other advantage is that I can keep hold of old, but still useful stuff, that people tend to replace/delete on computers - and I can make notes.

        A quick Google failed to find the source of one of my favourite quotes. The paperless office will happen about the same time we get the paperless toilet."

        What do you mean, you don't know how to use the three seashells?

        As happens one of the products we sell, and I have a paper datasheet with notes scrawled on to prove it, is definitely not called the BumWash 2000. Although since someone came up with that name, it's a struggle not to use it to the custards. But it's a wall mounted unit with all the bits in to comply with the water regs and ensure you have a warm, clean bum after using the toilet. So it may actually be that the paperless toilet will beat the paperless office by years. Some Japanese toilets even have blow-driers, for after they've washed you clean, front and back. And warmed seats, and noisemakers (to disguise the telltale sound of splashing). Perhaps they'll call this toilet-nervana they've created, the kamikhazi?

        1. Laura Kerr
          Thumb Up

          Re: I can point you to some code

          Upvoted for the Demolition Man reference.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I can point you to some code

          Paper just seems to be quicker. Which is why all my important datasheets and graphs for calculations are printed out in a big folder. And why everyone else steals this, whenever they get asked a difficult question, because even though this stuff's on the computer, you just can't flick through it with one hand that way.

          I've worked at a place where someone far more meticulous than me created an A0 slide to map everything that was going on. To illustrate how complex that beast was, the fonts on some of the items was 10 point. On an A0 size chart, and yes, somehow MS Office (a very early version, think Win 98 or Win 2k compatible) managed to actually process this.

          Now for the fun part: we didn't have an A0 printer. But we had an A0 plotter which was so fast that paper didn't even have time to curl down when it was drawing lines, but it still took 30 minutes and the thing was pretty much in constant use because it was the only overview ever produced in that place so every high level meeting wanted an up to date version.

          I suspect it was purely on the strength of that chart that we got the first inkjet plotter in the building, which cut production time to something like 15 minutes (it was less, but it allowed us to add detail that the line plotter could have never handled without eventually making a hole in the paper :) ).

          Sometimes a screen just can't hold a candle to paper. Also because it would start a fire :).

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: A0 printing

            In this context, it is worth remembering that you can buy a 600dpi A4 printer for less than the cost of the ink to print your first test page, whereas a 600dpi screen of similar size is (to the best of my knowledge) not yet a Thing. I have trouble even estimating a date by which we might expect widespread availability of 600 DPI A0 screens, but I hope I'm still around then.

            (Note: A0 is 33.11 x 46.81 inches, so that's about 20000 by 28000 pixels. The video industry will have to invent a whole new alphabet to prefix the "...-HD".)

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: A0 printing

              Replying to myself (I know, but...):

              How do they make e-Ink screens? Does that process scale to the point where you could roll out an A0-sized poster?

              (Yes, I can google. From http://www.eink.com/faq_matrix.html: "The size and shape of an E Ink Matrix display is totally dictated by the size of the electrical backplane that the FPL is laminated to. Displays can be very small or very large. E Ink has standard display modules. Almost any size and shape can be made depending on the volumes. ". That would suggest that the idea isn't completely mad. Perhaps I'll live to see a proper display after all.)

      4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: I can point you to some code

        > Like it or not paper is better than a monitor if you are trying to comprehend

        > something mindboggling with a pen/highlighter in hand.

        .

        Is *that* why I have to keep washing my computer screen every day or two?

      5. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: I can point you to some code

        "able to trace it through without a color printer"

        ...wait, source code can actually be printed...? Hmmm. Nobody told me of this before...

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Printing? How 20th century of you.

      Printing? 15th century.

  4. A K Stiles
    Coffee/keyboard

    As bad as kettles!

    I have found that printers, in general, are as bad as kettles for achieving full functionality during a period of close observation. There is almost something Schrodinger-esque about them in that they seem to be able to both print and not print simultaneously, until you try and figure out what they are doing, at which point they most definitely are now choking upon three and a half sheets of paper nicely coated in half the contents of the toner cartridge.

    Weirdly, it seemed I was the only person at a previous job who was capable of replacing a toner cartridge in the printer without also redecorating the print room and myself in a lovely shade of carcinogen! This meant, of course, that I ended up being the only one that ever changed the damn things. Still, a developer's salary for admin level tasks - fine by me.

    (icon is clean by comparison to anything in the print room after a user fiddled with the printer)

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Re: As bad as kettles!

      Our Samsung laser printer is now 100% reliable. Apart from running out of paper or ink, it never lets you down - even when you're in a hurry. And I think it's only paper-jammed itself once, which I cleared in a few seconds.

      On the other hand, their driver software seems to randomly break about every 2-3 months. So you have to email your document to another computer in the office when in a hurry, and re-install the drivers from scratch again.

      So it's nice to see that having made the printer too mechanically good to be able to fail at crucial times, their heroic engineers have managed to maintain this vital feature, by implementing it in software.

      1. Efros

        Re: As bad as kettles!

        Sounds like our Xerox Workcentres, they will randomly absent themselves from the network whilst being fully accessible from their web interface. This results in the only way of printing to them is to upload the document to the printer web server instead of printing directly from your application, bloody frustrating as it is totally unpredictable as to when it will happen.

        Other frustration is the number of older printers that use java interfaces, which our browsers will just refuse to load.

  5. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well done with the flipchart! Such presentations are usually much more involving than slides. Somewhere out there is even an anti powerpoint party. But I guess they are still far from running the country. Or even a company.

    (Are you turning into a BOFH with the placing of interspecies erotica?)

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Boffin

      The only problem is now he's made the fuck-up fairy that sits on his shoulder aware that he has the flipchart pen, so it will either:

      a) run dry

      b) go awol

      c) leak all over the inside of the backpack, resulting in everything ending up covered in thick black gunk and looking like it's been pulled out of an oil sump.

      At least that's my personal experience of such pens if used more than once in a blue moon.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      I improvise at the client meeting with the help of a flipchart and a thick black pen

      When I'm the client I'm much happier with someone who can stand up in front of a blank page and wing it than I am with a suit who mumbles his way through a bunch of powerpoint.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        I can't draw. And my already bad handwriting seems to go completely haywire when I attempt to explain and write at the same time.

        When I'm trying to navigate some difficult process I really love the freedom to just scrawl it all over a whiteboard, editing and deleting as appropriate. It's a really good way to help you shape complex ideas.

        When I try to explain a complex process to someone else using a whiteboard (given how clear I find it makes stuff for me), my handwriting either becomes so small they can't read it, or so big and wonky I can't get everything to fit, without having to start again. Then I try to differentiate stuff by using different coloured pens, so the ink runs out.

      2. Darryl

        Worse is someone who pulls up each Powerpoint slide and reads it to you word for word before going on to the next.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Worse is someone who pulls up each Powerpoint slide and reads it to you word for word before going on to the next.

          Yes, and any number of presentation coaches will explain this point (and demonstrate it in entertaining fashion).

          Nonetheless, I have a couple of colleagues who were once scolded by the board of a grant-giving organization for failing to read aloud all the text on each of their slides during the presentation. And they didn't do so on, say, accessibility grounds - they said it was "unprofessional" to display text and not recite it as well. Apparently several of the board members were not inclined to listen and read at the same time.

          Which simply goes to show that no rule will please all audiences.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Install HandyPrint (Mac) or O'Print (Windows) onto a computer on the same network as the printer. Annoying because you may have to take a laptop with you, kind of defeating the point of the tablet.

    Or print to PDF, put on SD/USB memory stick, and take to the printer. If Mohammed won't go to the mountain... (have I just tripped some spook agency search alarm...?)

  7. ukgnome Silver badge

    Are they still called printers if they don't print?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      no, they are called

      @ukgnome

      Boat anchors...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If they paper jam as frequently and violently as my old printer they are called shredders.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised it didn't just sit there and give a rendition of "Buffalo Soldier" whilst tearing up what little spare paper you've got in your supply cupboard…

  9. Snivelling Wretch
    1. Unicornpiss Silver badge

      Re: Ker-chunk, ker-chunk

      You beat me to it. The last inkjet printer I had I violently tossed in the trash. I will never purchase an inkjet printer again any more than I'll buy a mechanical hard drive if avoidable. Not that my laser printer doesn't find ways of pissing me off.

      If you want to evaluate the emotional stability and ingenuity of a job applicant, simply require them to get a printer to correctly print an address on an envelope.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Ker-chunk, ker-chunk

        I always write my addresses on by hand. I have labels, I have templates to make those labels work, set to the appropriate label type, back from the days we used to do mail-merges. The first time, you put the label paper in the wrong way round - and print it on the non-sticky back. The second time, it goes in right, but prints across two labels, and it's third time lucky.

        I've always found it easier to use a windowed envelope. Even if the stupid computer (or user) misses with the address, you can change the way you fold the paper to make it work anyway.

        1. Gavin King

          Re: Ker-chunk, ker-chunk

          That's what I have a typewriter for; unless there's dozens of the things to address at once it is faster to just wind it through and mash the keyboard.

          Or that's my justification for the old hardware at least. Ker-chunk ker-clunk indeed!

  10. Franco Silver badge

    Look on the bright side, at least removing the toner didn't trigger a delivery from the manufacturer of new cartridges at a huge mark-up. As if I needed another reason to hate HP printers....

  11. TRT Silver badge

    It seems...

    That the criticality detector chip*, a component developed in 1992 and added to every electronic device created after that date (some earlier equipment had development prototype versions of the aforementioned circuit) has been expanded with the addition of an AI irony sensor.

    *The purpose of the device is to detect the urgency of the situation at that moment in time and upon passing a threshold value fail the device in a variety of ways. It also seems to be responsible for undoing the settings that make things work as soon as the tech guy has stepped into the lift to leave, and detecting when the tech guy is within ten feet so that it suddenly starts working perfectly again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It seems...

      It's also fully integrated with Windows Update so that it schedules the "Installing updates, do not turn off or unplug your computer" message for no less than 30 minutes.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: It seems...

      Nowadays ofcourse fully integrated with the mangelfreuzer switch to cause the device to spectacularly fail right when you don't have the budget to replace it and 2 weeks after expiry of the waranty period.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: It seems...

        The Warranty Agreement Termination / Transgression / Invalidation Notification Generator Thing?

        Or TWATTING Thing for short?

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: It seems...

      There's a fucking USB/network protocol for it, I'm sure. The computer detects nervousness via keyboard typing patterns and voice recognition and sends a control code down to the printer which tells it to play silly buggers for the next calendar day.

    4. Montreal Sean

      Re: It seems...

      Xerox workcenter and newer HP LaserJet printers run a high risk of needing new formatter boards if you power them off before they have completely finished powering up.

  12. disinterested observer

    Printers are evil.

    I'd love to know why the Samsung SCX-3200 at home refuses to print anything at all when plugged into the desktop PC it sits next to, but if you unplug it (involving moving furniture and delving through electrical spaghetti) and plug it into a laptop, it works first time.

    I've tried swapping out cables, changing USB ports (which work perfectly well with every other device), kicking it...

    Nothing.

    Bastard thing.

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Printers are evil.

      Remove software. Then run cmd to show disconnected devices in device manager (google it). Then device manager. Show hidden devices. Find printer. Drivers tab. Find driver files and delete. Remove printer from dev manager. Then go to the spool directory (turn off print spooler service first ) and theres a folder within that that lists printers. Delete samsung entries. Goto printers. Any printer click properties. Goto ports tab. Delete any ports to do with Samsung. Reboot. Reinstall. Try that. Cant give exact folder names as i am currently sat on toilet

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Printers are evil.

        From 7 onwards, you can do most of those task from the "Print management" console. You can find it in Administrative Tools, or run printmanagement.msc. In older version right-click the printers folder.

        1. psychonaut

          Re: Printers are evil.

          printmanagement.msc i never knew this existed! thank you very much!!

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Printers are evil.

        "Cant give exact folder names as i am currently sat on toilet" --- psychonaut

        Am I the only one who thinks it's inconceivable that someone who knew all the foregoing could not RDP to his machine from the throne?

        1. psychonaut

          Re: Printers are evil.

          john - the thought of doing anything intense whilst concentrating on a proper shit might make me prolapse.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Printers are evil.

        "Cant give exact folder names as i am currently sat on toilet"

        You have an Internet of Things toilet? You flush bastard!

    2. John Tserkezis

      Re: Printers are evil.

      I would say the printers themselves are not-so-evil, rather, the bastards who designed them, and dare I say it, even more so, the bastards who use them.

      In a past-past-past life, I used to work on printers, and found they were entirely designed around being machine assembled, and screw the service guy if you wanted to fix anything.

      As it turns out, we COULD fix them, but the downside was a clear hour to dismantle, more for repair, then another clear hour to re-assemle.

      That WOULD be fine, but at just right in the middle, a fucking user demands we re-asemble it so they can print one page, entirely missing the thousand individual parts sitting on the adjacent desk which would have been a bloody clue as to why their demand wasn't an option.

      Now THAT pisses me off.

  13. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Coat

    The Silicon conspiracy

    It's all part of the conspiracy that the machines are perpetrating on us whilst they slowly become sentient and strong enough to do away we us meatbags.

    Other examples are:

    * The Windows Updates that insist on installing when you shut down your laptop on your way out of the office to catch a plane/train.

    * The coffee machine which spits hot staining fluids (as what comes out of many of them can't be classed as coffee or tea) all over your shirt and tie.

    * The phone volume level which raises itself to "wake the dead" levels during meetings but insists on dropping to "mouse farting in church" when you try to use it as an alarm clock on a business trip.

    * The Bluetooth device that offers to connect to every visible (and invisible) device within a half-mile radius except for the your one which is within a few centimeters of it.

    Mine's the coat with the easyJet boarding pass in the pocket, for use this afternoon printed out on paper with a duplicate in my laptop bag for when I lose it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did the client not have a projector you could use?

    My printer works perfectly 99% of the time, though I suspect that's because it knows I can easily replace it (I used to work for a number of print manufacturers and still have a lot of contacts in it). It didn't cost me anything either. Actually, come to think of it, I think it's even a pre-production model!

    My personal favourite issue I had was with the email printing function. I emailed a document direct to the printer so it would be ready when I got home. What I actually go was a perfectly printed page which said "could not print due to printer error". The file printed perfectly from my tablet using my LAN.

    For some reason that just reminded me of the famous "keyboard not present, press F1 to continue" error from years ago.

  15. WylieCoyoteUK
    Mushroom

    I actually manage a printer hotline.

    And the calls can be very amusing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I actually manage a printer hotline.

      I used to work for a printer manufacturer and visited the support offices a few times.

      If I had time I'd usually listen in to some of the calls. When I did I always left thinking the call centre workers had unlimited patience or must be very dangerous to be near when they decided to vent their frustrations.

      Some I've listened to include:

      One woman called to complain that her printer was rubbish. She was ranting and swearing down the phone and had clear anger management issues. It took 15 minutes to get through to her that she would be better off calling the manufacturer who actually made her particular model. The call centre guy then tried to sell her one of ours - he deserved a medal for bravery.

      Trying to explain why we didn't know what password they had to enter to get printer onto WiFi

      Explaining that modern printers work better with A4, and not so well with the fan-fold paper they've nicked from work.

      One (admittedly very polite) granny kept asking what was meant by "click on OK". Every. single. time.

      One who it turned out was putting their blank paper in the output tray and wondering why it kept them to load more paper (apparently you can fit a full ream into the output tray of that model.

      Complaining that the output tray was really flimsy (it was) because it broke when they accidentally sat on it (probably asking a bit much of it) - then demanding a new, much more expensive printer free of charge because of this.

      Complaining that the printer wasn't as good as the one at work (it transpired they had a graphic arts printer costing thousands at work, but a £30 landfill printer at work).

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: I actually manage a printer hotline.

      Don't stop there! Tell us more.

  16. clayusmcret

    It all boils down to any electronic device's CSD chip. Once the CSD chip kicks in it's game over for trying to accomplish anything in a hurry. Oh, the CSD chip is the Critical Stress Detector and they've been installed in computers at least since my original Tandy 286 8MHz computer w/10MHz Turbo Boost.

  17. Tabor

    toner

    "There is now multicoloured powder on the floor, my hands and swirling through the office air, seeping dangerously through my pores, darting murderously into my lungs."

    Made me chuckle. In a not so distant past I replaced a waste toner container on a machine, and managed to drop it. The results were not really colourful but definitely spectacular. The experience also makes me question the statement mr. Dabbs makes : I imagine that before making the presentation a change of clothes would be required.

  18. Terry 6 Silver badge
    Pint

    Yes

    Just yes.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Yes

      Do you mean "Yes" in a James Joyce mountain flower kind of way?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Yes

        Nah. I mean yes as in yes I know exactly what you feel, have been through those experiences at one time or another and hate printers, and printer manufacturers and especially HP with a deep and abiding passion.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Yes

          Do you mean "Yes" in a James Joyce mountain flower kind of way?

          Nah. I mean yes as in yes I know exactly what you feel, have been through those experiences at one time or another and hate printers, and printer manufacturers and especially HP with a deep and abiding passion.

          I'd just like to point out that, per Rule 34, for someone somewhere on the Internet, it's both.

          Of course, with that "deep and abiding passion", you're halfway there.

  19. imanidiot Silver badge

    I call bollocks

    Stop trying to convince is you are not a grumpy old git in real life mr. Dabbs. You play the part a little too well.

  20. Terry 6 Silver badge

    That being said

    Not long after our IT support and purchasing became part of the corporate system we were sent a shiny new laser jobby.

    The IT purchasing and what-ever-else-he-was guy came to install it and clearly had not RTFM.

    There was soon toner everywhere. He then tried to clean the inside of the printer with our cleaner's rather dodgy vacuum cleaner, while leaving the drum to sit on the window ledge on the only half decent sunny day we'd had all year.

    It was not a good start.

  21. Amorous Cowherder
    Mushroom

    Bloody women!

    Had exactly the same problem last night with our Epson 7515. My Missus was trying to print from her iPhone. Queue is stacking up micely but nothing coming out....

    W: "Why can't we turn it off/on?"

    Me: "Not now love, who's the IT expert?"

    W: "Yes but..."

    Me: "I'll have it in a minute love."

    W: "We could just reset the printer, look there's an option on the menu."

    Me: "Yes but darling, it's working fine from the PCs, it's got to be your phone."

    W: "What harm can it do to reset the printer config?"

    Me: "OK but I can't see what good a reset will do..."

    Wife: "Oooh it's working now look, it's printed my stuff!"

    ( *grumble* bloody women, bloody well always right....bloody well get back to kitchen... *grumble* )

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Bloody women!

      Actually, there is/was a issue with Airprint and iOS!

      For the past year, I've had various issues getting iOS devices to consistently see the printer (reboot router and printer and it would work for a while) and because it had worked previously to my changing the router, I had believed the web forums who said the issue was with the router. Did the update to 9.2 and the printer tab on the iPad is populated and stays populated.

      There is also the other issue that Airprint does take rather a long time compared to the Windows PC to send stuff to the printer and for the first page to print and isn't always relliable in its reporting, so I have had iOS happy that something was successfully sent to the printer, but no output or change of status on the printer.

  22. jason 7

    I must admit...

    ...I write down all my business costs in a book. The ones for the business just get an asterix scribbled to the side of them so I know how to split them from the customer costs. Makes my Gf despair (she pays for an account for some reason). I then just add the figures up in December. Doesn't take long.

    Just never got into using an Excel spreadsheet.

    1. psychonaut

      Re: I must admit...

      blimey. have you considered upgrading to an etch-a-sketch? very easy to maintain and has a handy "shake to reboot" feature

  23. Vinyl-Junkie
    Alert

    To answer your question...

    "Is the long-term plan to ensure that the entire population of central London is made up of Russian gangsters while the rest of us commute in daily from our hovels in the nearest affordable suburb, such as Inverness?"

    Yes.

    Next.

    1. tim 13

      Re: To answer your question...

      I liked that line too

  24. tim 13

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is-HVxmUELQ

  25. Mint Sauce
    Flame

    lp0 on fire

    If it isn't, it soon fscking will be...grr! Is it beer-o-clock yet?

  26. Joefish
    Megaphone

    Printer - Ready.

    Contender - Ready.

    Contender, you will go on my first whistle...

  27. teebie

    Printers don't work

    You can just about have a trachea 3D printed, but when this is done you may end up using it to scream at your paper printer as it fails to print out thank-you notes to the doctors that installed it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Printers don't work

      "You can just about have a trachea 3D printed"

      Then it says PC LOAD Letter PLA and all you got is ABS 'cos of some stupid bloody default setting.

  28. Chris Evans

    Dabbs's Law

    I thought every one knew:

    The likely hood of a printer successfully completing a print job is in inverse proportion to the urgency f the job.!

    i.e. "Sod's Law" on steroids!

  29. Roger Mew

    So ITS not just me!

    And I thought it was just me!!! I had several HP but the last I had 3 machines under warranty, the last cma in a box, supposedly tested and working, it did not. The printer head had a problem. I have just given it to the recyclers, it has never had a sheet of paper through it, and yet, I was given a Epson D88, it languished in my shed, damp dirty for about 9 months. I pulled it out, blew it off with an airline and it worked, no ink change, no head clean, it still is working today, reliably the odd paper glitch and ink change, so now about 4 years old and resting in a shed for months and how long at the other persons house I know not.

    Funny, I have never had an HP even LAST that long even when they worked!

    1. psychonaut

      Re: So ITS not just me!

      hp havent made a decent printer for 15 years. they seem to spend most of their time writing drivers....and all the other shit that they package it with. i hate hp printers with a vengence...can take 30 mins to remove and reinstall the software for some of them,......yaaaaawn!

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: So ITS not just me!

      I've not had any issues with HP printers. Then again they're all old LasetJets (4,5, 4700).

      Guess it is like with lot of stuff these days... "they don't make them like they used to".

  30. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    The solution is so simple

    The user forgot to set Thip Crinkle and Spoit to 'No'

  31. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Mushroom

    HP Inkjet undoing

    Unplug it. Put in midst of room. Use 2 kilogram hammer, long handle. Notice how fucking tough ABS is. Keep going. Still keep going. Stop when height of printer is reduced from 20 cm to about 5. Notice you are covered in sweat. Realize that you left the toner cartridge in and it was near full. Marvel that the cartridge is NOT broken. Keep finding little morsels of ABS for month to come. Learn that the very week at which hammer time happened the maker admitted the model of printer has a problem and would send replacement parts free of charge.

    Silently weep.

    (Apologies for reposting my old-ish post, it just fits so perfectly).

  32. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    I use a hammer.

    Device refuses to work properly? Pick up the hammer, show hammer to the device, ask "Do you feel like working properly or do I get to reprogram you with a hammer?", put down the hammer as the device suddenly remembers that it would definitely appreciate NOT being reprogrammed with said hammer.

    Device ignores the threat & continues to refuse to function? Feel free to cackle as you reduce it to it's component atoms in a flurry of frustration fueled fury, only stopping once those nice young men in their clean white coats come to take you away (Ha! Ha!).

    Eventually the devices get wise to the fact that you & your hammer mean business, so they work for everything short of physical incapability to do so, EG: it's on fire, someone pulled the plug, or you've failed to remove the manager's tie from the shredder before feeding in a fresh manager.

    *Cackles madly & brandishes hammer*

    Here printer, printer, printer... HeeeEEERE printer! MUH Hahahahahahahaha...

  33. ZPO

    The proper way to deal with a printer

    The Office Space guys were limited by their available implements.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dodPR7h_ytI

    Everyone knows an M240B is the proper implement to deal with a malfunctioning printer.

  34. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    So, is there any colour laser printer that actually works and doesn't fall to pieces if subjected to heavy loads such as a few sheets of paper in its try?

    1. Montreal Sean

      @Doctor Syntax

      The old HP Colour LaserJet 4500 meets most of your requirements.

      You could park your car on top of it and it would laugh at you.

      What it won't do, though, is print for you. Sure, it will warm up for 45 minutes, then make a lot of printing type noises, and finally barf out the entire contents of the magenta toner.

      It might also give you a paper feed error, so you think it might have actually tried to do its job...

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Yes. I have an old LaserJet 4700 and it works a treat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Rescued printer

        I've rescued an old HP LaserJet 4200 with a couple of toner cartridges from a skip. The amount of printing I do at home means that I'll probably never open the second toner! No worries about ink drying up on that one!

        For scanning, I used to have an all-in-one HP deskjet thing. The encoder strip is missing so on power on, the cartridge would whizz left to right at full speed with a nice banging sound that would shake the whole printer. It will then error out, then I can then scan. No Windows 8 drivers, so in the skip

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Rescued printer

          The amount of printing I do at home means that I'll probably never open the second toner! No worries about ink drying up on that one!

          After a decade or two, the rubber strip in the unopened toner cartridge will have decayed to the point where the cartridge is unusable, unfortunately. I ran into this with my LaserJet 4M (purchased 1992 and still works a treat). Had an ancient still-in-the-box replacement cartridge, but when I tried to use it after the old one finally ran out, it left streaks all along the page.

          So I had to shell out for a new cartridge, which was trivial to find online and approximately a zillion times cheaper per page than an inkjet cartridge.

          (Also, toner cartridges don't have ink. They have toner. And it can't dry out because it's not wet to begin with.)

  35. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    "Why is it that an office printer manages to churn out pages day after day without delay or complaint, yet chooses to play silly buggers the moment you are in a hurry?"

    Like wild animals, printers can sense fear. And when you are in a hurry. They can even sense that you meant to buy that new toner cardridge yesterday (but didn't).

    The only way to deal with printers is to radiate confidence, subtly implying there is a supply cabinet full to the brim with paper and toner in the next room, and just hinting at the fact that you are not above percussive maintainance.

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Ah, four-pen plotters. Lovely things, though not suitable for printing office documents.

      When I was at IBM around 1990, we had some huge, very expensive early inkjet printer. It used some kind of wax-based ink and printed onto special glossy paper, which sat on a rotating drum while the inkjet heads moved across the platten - so it printed vertical stripes, left to right, until the page was complete. Fun to watch.

  37. Down not across Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Pornstar mode

    Eee ooh-ooh. Oooooooh. Uh uh uh uh.

    I think it has switched into pornstar mode and is trying to shag the adjacent document shredder.

    Thanks Dabbs. Now my shapely Model M needs tissues to clean the beverage off of it.

  38. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    Orwell...

    Re. HP printer software, the most Orwellian application included with that suite of bloated crap: "HP Customer Participation Program" (When I see that one, I automatically remove it, along with the "Shop for Supplies" shortcut it puts on your desktop)

    Another fun printer we used to have was the Xerox 'Phaser' This unit used wax-like blocks of toner that the machine would need to heat to a molten state before you could print anything. Startup times were something like 15 minutes or more because of this. I believe the printer would use something like 600W of power at rest just to keep the toner liquid. And it was outrageously expensive and consumed quickly, especially in a cleaning cycle.

    True, this printer would create spectacular glossy pages, as good as any professional travel brochure, and for that reason it was kept around for Marketing to use, well past its prime. It also charmingly smelled like a burning plastics factory when in use, and one of the more amusing Helpdesk tickets I saw was due to someone moving the printer and sloshing the molten toner around inside, leading to "The printer is still working but smells like it's burning up and it's scaring people."

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Orwell...

      re: Phaser (rambling)

      We have had a Phaser for about 8 years at home of all places. It certainly beats any inkjet I've ever owned, though my Canon LBP4 (an HP Laserjet 4 in disguise) was still plodding on when I retired it at about 18 years old.

      When we bought the Phaser it cost not a lot more than a comparable laser printer - at the time if you wanted a cheap colour laser it probably came without networking and almost certainly without a duplex unit. Many of them had small paper cartridges or even no cartridge as standard, just the 50 or 100 sheet flop-down tray, so by the time you had found a laser with those facilities it was probably only 10% or 20% less than the Phaser.

      The trick with the Phaser is never to turn it off. If you turn it off it does indeed take about 10 minutes to warm up, and it will waste ink in the process. If, however, you let it go into standby instead* it wakes up in a couple of minutes and doesn't go through the big cleaning routine. No, it's not as fast as a modern laser, but I'm rarely in such a hurry that 2 or 3 minutes is a problem. If it is, I can wake it manually and by the time I've started the computer, loaded the document and clicked print the printer is probably ready.

      When it is in standby I have measured an average power use of less than 30W, though this is not a constant, being a few seconds at a couple of hundred Watts followed by a gap of barely double-digit Watts (IIRC). Even so, it's quite a lot of power by modern standards where a (networked) inkjet in standby might consume 2 or 3W and a laser printer about the same, so perhaps it's not ideal for sporadic home use. When it is printing it can use about 900W in bursts but averages somewhat less than that (switch on from cold uses more). Ours is fed from a 2kVA pure Sinewave UPS which can actually hold it up when it's printing**.

      We found running costs comparable to those of contemporary lasers, and probably only a little higher than current lasers - this is using our own figures rather than the official ones.

      I first met a Phaser when the company making them was called Tektronics. It was at work and probably one of the first models suitable for office use. The printer we have was about a fifth the cost to buy, uses considerably less power and is faster and more reliable. There have been a couple of model updates since then and I suspect they're better again. If I were buying again though, I'd probably go for a laser because while the basic cost of the Phaser has stayed pretty much the same in cash terms, the cost of a decent laser printer has almost halved.

      The biggest advantage though is the ink itself. Firstly there is almost no waste at all. A cardboard outer and a little plastic pot about the size of a Petit Filous baby yoghurt pot, both of which are recyclable in the normal bin. Compare this with the hassle of getting laser cartridges sent off for recycling.

      An additional advantage is that ink can be topped up at any time without disrupting the printing beyond a short pause. This is a revelation after inkjets and lasers. If you only have a small amount of ink left in (say) the yellow, then you can just add another "crayon" before or during printing. No need to wait for it to run out altogether, stop printing and cancel the remains of the job, which is what usually happens with inkjets and lasers.

      Sorry, sounds like an advert!

      M.

      *the printer is supposedly "intelligent" and can learn when it is used, if such use is predictable as in an office. In an office it will actually come out of standby pre-emptively, when it expects to be printing, and it will go back into standby when it thinks you've all gone home. At home we have manually set it to wake up on receipt of a job and sleep 30 minutes after finishing

      **who said you can't attach a laser printer to a UPS? You can attach anything to a decent UPS that is specified for the load ;-)

  39. herman Silver badge

    Save the trees

    If you feel you have to print stuff, it actually indicates that your display screen is not good enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Save the trees

      Indeed, it doesn't fold up in my pocket when I'm not using it, unfold out to A0-size or display the same content for decades without power.

  40. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Not about printer problems as such, but a good read about fighting malfunctioning machinery:

    http://www.ibras.dk/comedy/allen.htm#Mechs

  41. Potemkine Silver badge

    Toyotism

    Today's printers are really good to help us to implement the '0 paper' policy.

    Nowadays it's like printers are disposable and intended to work only once.... consumerism at best.

  42. Queasy Rider

    Fool me once

    A few years ago I bought a tiny wireless printer for $49. Unboxing it at home I found a note enclosed that the printer would only work with ink sold exclusively by the printer seller. In anger I phoned my tech buddy and said I was throwing the printer in the river if he didn't want it. He took it for his boat but was never able to get it to work wirelessly. It was with great satisfaction that I observed that the chain that had sold me the printer went bankrupt only a few months later.

  43. SniperPenguin

    "Well, it’s hardly my fault that Apple has specifically designed iOS to be wirelessly incompatible with my existing printer. Expecting me to purchase a new printer to support the inadequacies of the iPhone is taking the piss. If a mobile phone’s audio speaker is weak and tinny, should I upgrade my friends and only accept calls from people with deep, booming voices?"

    No, but it is your fault for using iOS in the first place ;)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      But if you must use iOS and Windows printers, visit https://www.collobos.com/ ...

      I think you can achieve similar with Linux.

      1. AOD

        It's A4 or the highway....

        I too was suitably annoyed with the attitude of iOS towards printers, but then I read a review for these and decided to try one:

        Lantronix xPrintServer

        If it works with your printer model(s) then you'll find it works well.

        No other connection with the company than been using one at home for a couple of years now. It means the sproglets and Mrs. AOD can print from their iFads etc to our decent networked Canon laser printer that does double sided umpteen pages a minute (oh and it has a sensible setting to tell print jobs to f*ck right off and stick with A4 whatever they may think).

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