back to article Send printer ink, please. More again please, and fast. Now send it faster

On-come again to On-Call, The Register’s Friday column in which readers share tales of tech support oddities. This week, meet “Sam” who told us that back in the 1990s he had a job as “a fledgling tech support/programmer/whatever else was needed.” Sam’s employer “was the supply point for a number of others, most of which were …

  1. A K Stiles
    Joke

    The Perfect Crime

    Well cashing cheques has to be the perfect, totally untraceable crime! No paper trail.... um...

    1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Re: The Perfect Crime

      That is why, now days, you cannot cash a cheque but have to deposit it into a bank account.

      1. Aleph0

        Re: Cashing cheques

        In my country you can generally cash cheques, provided that you bring them to the branch where the issuer's account is, the amount isn't too high and you show your ID. If there's any doubt, the cashier can verify via phone with the issuer.

        Source: that was my job until a couple of years ago.

        1. Tannin

          Re: Cashing cheques

          Just so. Here in Oz, you are (and so far as I know always have been) perfectly able to cash a cheque. You have to identify yourself and be at the appropriate branch. (I'm not aware of any limit on the amount, but it makes sense that there would be one.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Perfect Crime

      We had a cheque printer. Being an investment bank it was in its own secure room and the paper stock and ink were all kept in the room. Physical security was very tight. The couple of selected staff with access to the room looked after keeping the printer fed with ink and stock. Other than that their job was to take the printed cheques out of the printer and put each one folded into a windowed envelope so the name and address printed below the cheque was visible. Unfortunately the printer was on the network and anyone who knew the printer name could send whatever they wanted to the printer and get a cheque for almost any amount delivered to an address of their choice anywhere in the world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Perfect Crime

        > the printer was on the network and anyone who knew the printer name could send whatever they wanted to the printer and get a cheque for almost any amount delivered to an address of their choice anywhere in the world.

        So it was an early incarnation of one those "set your own salary" schemes.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: The Perfect Crime

      There was a story in an early 1980s electronics magazine article about "computer crime" which related how one "enterprising employee" (in the 1970s) discovered that if you hit the repeat button when the payroll system was printing a cheque, it would reprint the thing.

      He sat there hitting repeat for an evening whilst it was printing his paycheck and apparently only got caught when he tried to bank them all at once.

  2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    I once had a customer who called to say that whenever he wanted to print an expense report, a timesheet came out as well, on the same page, all mixed up with the expense report. I did a remote support, checked his computer to make sure he hadn't set any watermark or anything, I checked his printer driver. Couldn't find anything. And then I remembered a) how stupid people are and b) the sort of things people do. I asked him "were you having problems earlier with printing the timesheets?" and he answered "why yes! I did have problems with the formatting, how did you know?".

    I then asked "so you printed several copies of your timesheet?" "Yes".

    So I further questioned him: "And you put the paper back into your printer to reuse the other side?" "Yes"

    So I said "Well, you put the paper in the wrong way round, nd just printed over it!"

    His reply: "How on earth did you guess that?". "Just a hunch", I replied.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Something very similar just yesterday... client had inadvertently printed a 120-page document so was chucking the paper back in the tray while it was ongoing.

      I got connected at page 109!

      They then wanted to check that things were printing properly so tried another document and complained that it came out with 'other writing all over it'

      I had to explain very carefully what had just happened...

      1. Killfalcon Silver badge

        Last week, one of our printers was jamming every few pages - really unhelpful, to say the least. I was checking the rollers and poking around for half an hour before noticing that in the paper-in tray, half of the sheets had "page 2 of 2" in small type in one corner.

        Someone had somehow printed dozens of nearly-blank pages, and just thrown it all back in the tray. Since it had been through the printer process, the surface of the paper had been altered and things were slipping when the printer tried to pick up a sheet.

        1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Since it had been through the printer process, the surface of the paper had been altered and things were slipping when the printer tried to pick up a sheet.

          The heat of a laser printer is more than enough to drive off some water from the paper and thereby alter its handling properties. (It's less of a problem for photocopiers because in general they aren't as hot inside.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I witnessed a prank once where paper was ejecting from the side of a large printer straight into a shredder :D

            1. collinsl

              Here you are:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXwb_7DdZeQ

            2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

              Garbage out, garbage out?

          2. mowaldo

            Keeping the paper warm

            We replaced the companies IBM Typewriters with AT&T PC's running Displaywrite 3, the Xerox laser printers would print unevenly if the paper was damp, the toner didn't fuse to the paper, the typists would put in 1/2 a ream of paper and leave the rest out on the desk. To keep the paper dry we built a wooden box to hold the paper that had a 20 watt light bulb to keep the paper warm and dry. We never thought about fires ! worked great.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Keeping the paper warm

              running Displaywrite 3

              *Running* Deathwish 3? Best we could get it to do was "sometimes crawl along before it crashed".

              There was a reason most people used PROFs for most things.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "chucking the paper back in the tray while it was ongoing."

        Laser printers really don't like this, it was bad enough when duplexing manually, but the risk of jams and drum scratches is why we put locks on our paper drawers.

        Whilst shopping for replacement high volume printers a few years back i found that no suppliers will sell you the printer and toners, but all work on a per-page charge.

        This is because in the past they found that customers would do all sorts of stupid things to "save money", such as pouring the waste toner back into the input hopper and reusing paper.

        Even worse, a number of educational institutions would charge students separately for paper but let them supply their own.

        The service techs explained that over the years they'd removed wallpaper, wrapping paper, brown paper bags and heavily overprinted sheets of paper out from those particular gummed up systems.

        What annoyed me the most is when a printer is out of paper and someone opens a new ream, takes 20 sheets, puts that in the tray and leaves the opened ream sitting around where it invariably ends up soiled. The trays hold an entire ream (some drawers hold 3000 sheets, not just 500) and there were signs on the equipment telling people to add whole reams only.

        In the end we gave up on allowing users to feed the printer but the final straw and what prompted the locks was when continual jamming one Monday morning prompted a tech callout, which turned out to be a very expensive fuser replacement on an £18k printer because someone had poked a screwdriver into the works during the weekend and damaged the rollers.

        We'd already had a number of instances of holes being punched into transfer belts on smaller colour lasers (HP 4700 and 5500 models). The staff are all well qualified and highly intelligent however a number of them are proof of the thesis that obtaining a PhD frequently involves the surgical removal of common sense.

    2. ma1010 Silver badge

      You, sir are a true BOFH!

      @anthonyhegedus

      Your experience with this particular luser reminds me of a bit from the BOFH:

      The user who wanted to know why the ’follow-me’ service wasn’t working on her phone was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. It took a while for the PFY to realise she was carrying her desk phone around the building with her, but as a veteran hand at these things I expected no less.

    3. JSIM

      Your reply: "Just a hunch."

      What you were thinking: "I deal with morons every day."

      1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        “What you were thinking: "I deal with morons every day." “

        Yes I was. Bloody customers. Who’d ‘ave ‘em?

  3. RGE_Master

    This is pretty meh for an on-call story, I look forward to them each week on a Friday but you let me down today :(

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      You could submit your own witty tale of misadventure.

    2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Owww. We do try. And after the recent run of "and then the cops arrived ..." pieces I tried to head off on a different tack. Also did I mention we're free? And reader-contributed?

  4. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    There are so many extarordinary stories

    Most of us have run-of-the-mill stories along the lines of, 'I left a transaction open for 30 minutes and brought the main application to its knees' [1] or 'I re-installed the wrong server, left the company without the ability to bill for a day or two and got fired', which aren't really great stories.

    There are only so many extraordinary stories that can be told, and many, I suspect, would interest both the company in question as well as the authorities. And we expect a happy ending too — I wiped all of our backups and got promoted, this sort of thing.

    The former kind of stories should be sent in confidence to Simon Travaglia. I'm sure that there are a lot of actual shenanigans that would make great BOFH plotlines, without anyone needing to incriminate themselves.

    [1] Transactions are trouser-flies: you make a painful mistake once, and you never, ever make that mistake again.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

      [1] Transactions are trouser-flies: you make a painful mistake once, and you never, ever make that mistake again.

      Unless you're pissed.

      (I speak from painful experience.)

    2. NXM

      Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

      Button fly.

      But then your trousers fall down when you're at the pisser.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

        Button fly combined with braces. Works wonders...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

          "Button fly combined with braces. Works wonders..."

          From what I remember that would only make you look slightly cool in the 80's, provided the braces were red of course. Otherwise you look like a reject from Rainbow.

          1. ActionBeard

            Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

            I have just had a suit made. The trousers have a button fly and no belt loops, so can only be worn with braces. The only braces I have are red. I think it looks amazing and in no way do I resemble a reject from Rainbow. I might accessorise the suit with a Ford XR3i or mark 2 Golf GTI.

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At DeadlockVictim, re: trousers.

      There's a better way to prevent situations like that. They're called kilts! =-D

      *Wanders to the bushes, lifts the kilt, & reveals a flash of blue ribbon*

    4. flokie

      Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

      On Call has always been about those crazy users we have to support.

      Simon's started "Who, me?" recently for the kind of tales you mention - on Mondays, latest is here:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/21/who-me/

    5. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

      You're right. The On-Call mailbag has more than 300 un-used stories, but we try to bundle them up into seasonal or thematic specials to honour readers' efforts in sending them in.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of French sales

    Take the customer out to dinner, order an expensive bottle of wine with the meal. Then ask for two more bottles, uncorked. One for your cellar and one to keep the customer happy/quiet.

    Result: Very well stocked wine cellar in no time. For free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reminds me of French sales

      There are corruption and bribery policies in place for that sort of thing now. My company were that hot on that sort of stuff.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of French sales

        "There are corruption and bribery policies in place for that sort of thing now."

        Easily solved. Don't order the one for the customer.

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Reminds me of French sales

      Then ask for two more bottles, uncorked. One for your cellar and one to keep the customer happy/quiet.

      It is because of dickheads like these that now we have to fill out ever more paperwork for a simple meal ... like, who was attending ? Oh, I see, what was Y doing there ? Why did you have Cognac ? Three beers each at the pub after that, why ?

      When a $400 night out managed to secure $200k more in new contracts for an existing client ... whatever, does not matter, we still have to answer stupid questions like that .... Merci, hein! It is easier to bullshit a customer who has downed one too many ... then again, according to our customers, our ROI is actually very good, so ... but I digress ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reminds me of French sales

        "It is because of dickheads like these that now we have to fill out ever more paperwork for a simple meal"

        Well if you like that one, you'll love the one about the French customer who was so arrogant that if they spotted a supplier in the same restaurant they'd walk out without paying and tell the waiter to, "just charge it to that table over there."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reminds me of French sales

        Ah but in France you'd ask the restaurant for an unitemized bill for your 'note de frais', your boss doesn't need to know how much of your meal was in liquid form.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of French sales

      Then ask for two more bottles, uncorked.

      I certainly wouldn't want the wine if it were corked.

    4. Stratman

      Re: Reminds me of French sales

      As our boss said with a knowing grin querying "extra vegetables" when authorising an expensive overnight claim, "Were they red or white vegetables?"

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Reminds me of French sales

        Well if a tomato is a fruit, who can say that a grape can't be a vegetable?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Reminds me of French sales

          "Well if a tomato is a fruit, who can say that a grape can't be a vegetable?"

          They're both fruit but that also makes them vegetable (as opposed to animal or mineral).

          1. keith_w

            Re: Reminds me of French sales

            Obviously you are the epitome of a modern Major General.

      2. Anonymous IV

        Re: Reminds me of French sales

        You may well be remembering the story of a jobbing actor who was staying at a seaside boarding house, and (with the knowledge of the landlady) was enjoying the charms of her daughter on a nightly basis.

        His bill at the end of the week included a substantial charge for "extra vegetables"...

        (Can anyone identify this story more precisely, please?)

        1. The Nazz Silver badge

          re extra vegetables.

          That's gotta be the Norfolk broads, surely?

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Norfolk Broads

            Lovely girls, both of em.

    5. TomPhan

      For a while we had a customer who would take us out to lunch on his tab - he liked a big meal and a lot to drink, and realised if he took people from the software company maintaining his company's system (i.e. us) then he could claim it all on expenses. And he was senior enough that nobody would question it.

      Sadly it came to an end when it was found to be the main cause of projects overrunning, particularly fixing the mistakes caused by drunken and/or hungover programmers.

  6. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    In the early days...

    ..of mass computer printing, the line printers of the day used ink ribbons.

    These impacted an oily ink into the paper fabric which was hard to remove. At one point in my career I used to try this professionally....

    When laser printers came in there was a move to these. But laser printers work by baking a carbon dust ON TOP OF the paper, and the hard carbon ink shell can easily be shattered with a scalpel blade and a delicate hand. The resultant dust can be brushed off, and a new character substituted.

    This is why you use special papers and inks for cheque and receipt printing...

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: In the early days...

      "When laser printers came in there was a move to these. But laser printers work by baking a carbon dust ON TOP OF the paper, and the hard carbon ink shell can easily be shattered with a scalpel blade and a delicate hand. "

      It's way easier to get toner off paper. I have to wash my hands after handling laser printed paper.

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: In the early days...

        @onefang

        If you have to wash toner off your hands after handling laser printed pages you have a fuser temperature problem.

        :)

        1. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

          Re: In the early days...

          'Re: In the early days...

          @onefang

          If you have to wash toner off your hands after handling laser printed pages you have a fuser temperature problem.'

          Or someone has moved the envelope lever on the fuser!

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: In the early days...

      I thought the reason receipts are always printed with thermal printers is because they're cheaper and there's no ribbon/toner/ink to replace, just paper.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: In the early days...

        It's also easier for the underpaid checkout person to replace the roll of paper than a ribbon / toner / ink cartridge.

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: In the early days...

        @Doug S

        Thermal printers are bad news for historians.

        I was recently working on a collection of receipts from the 1850s. Apart from being works of art in their own right (lovely engravings) they had all sorts of useful and interesting information. One was for a cast-iron stove and noted how it was being delivered - Rail, canal and cart.

        That won't be available in the future - what's the chance of a thermal print-out not having faded totally in 100 years?

        Bring back old technology! Ban e-mail! Print everything!

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: In the early days...

          Huh? What 100 years? Did you mean ONE? Year after year, my local highway tax receipts are perfectly blank scraps of paper with barely the slightest (unreadable) hint of ever having had something printed on by the time I get the next one. And they sit inside an opaque cover all year round, undisturbed...

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: In the early days...

            Which is why any place dealing with receipts will photocopy or scan the original as they receive it, and attach it straight to the expenses form / original invoice.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: In the early days...

              "Which is why any place dealing with receipts will photocopy or scan the original as they receive it, and attach it straight to the expenses form / original invoice."

              One of my flatmates spent a large amount of time writing software which scanned all the receipts/cheques/etc and saved them to disk in suitably compressed formats, allowing the paperwork to be sent off to a rural storage bunker (cheap floor rent) whilst the records were still accessible.

              Trivial, you might think - not so trivial in 1982. He was quite well paid for his work.

        2. cbars

          Re: In the early days...

          Fading ink is the least of your problems.

          We still know what 'Rail' and 'Cart' mean; good luck to the future historians trying to decode the marketing gibberish that goes alongside major purchases and changes every other year...

        3. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: In the early days...

          > That won't be available in the future - what's the chance of a thermal print-out not having faded totally in 100 years?

          Heck, I had the printout from my TRS-80 Quick Printer II thermal printer fade to nothing after just a weekend in the back of a car in the Florida summer.

        4. Lilolefrostback

          Re: In the early days...

          In the mid 90s, I moved to the Dallas area. Not being certain about flight availability, I booked my flight home for Christmas in early September. The travel agent gave me my tickets, which I put in a drawer in the kitchen.

          The day before I was due to fly home, I pulled out the tickets to verify the flights, etc. To my shock, the tickets were entirely black. The drawer was next to the dish washer and the tickets were printed on thermal paper. Oops. Mad rush to the travel agent.

      3. Tannin

        Re: In the early days...

        "I thought the reason receipts are always printed with thermal printers is because they're cheaper and there's no ribbon/toner/ink to replace, just paper."

        No. they are done with thermal printers so that, three weeks later when you are trying to get your accounts straightened out, you can't read the bloody things.

        It also saves on warranty costs.

        "Do you have a receipt sir?

        "Umm ... I have some blank receipt-sized papers here. One of them is probably it."

        "Sorry Sir, can't do anything under warranty without a receipt."

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: In the early days...

        "...receipts are always printed with thermal printers"

        Exactly right about no ribbon to replace. Some customers would let the things wear so much they'd start shredding (and the printers were fiddlly to load)

        The other reason for moving away from inked ribbons was maintenance:

        I started my working career servicing POS systems (in those days, that was mainly just "electronic cash registers") and as the apprentice one of the regular jobs was to take the printer mechanism out and give it a liberal dousing of isopropanol spray whilst having it print with no ribbon and going over it with a toothbrush until the liquid stopped running purple.

        A secondary amusing part of having to do that was that isopropanol has "other uses" in the illegal drugs industry (mainly oil extraction from cannabis), so anyone buying significant quantities of it (and acetone - used to strip resist from PCBs amongst other things) was "of interest to the authorities" no matter how innocent the actual purchase reasons.

        You don't want to get either on your skin for any period of time (or breathe the fumes), but elfin safety rules weren't nearly as comprehensive back then so we simply weren't told about the risks.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: In the early days...

      "laser printers work by baking a carbon dust ON TOP OF the paper"

      It's a polymer which is heated and pressed into the paper fibres by the fuser. Scalpel tricks went out with old school oily photocopiers in the 1980s.

  7. Bob Wheeler
    Happy

    Back in the 80's

    I had to work with 'controlled stationary' a.k.a. pre-signed cheques used for the payroll run. Once week, the senior manager in charge checked the stock of cheques against his log and found 100 had gone missing.

    After much searching, acquisitions and the such turned out the managers log was wrong.

    anyway folks, today is my last day of gainful employment in IT and after 40 years I'm being put out to pasture (or the glue factory) one or the other.

    Enjoy and keep the BOFH faith.

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Back in the 80's

      We had stationery that moved. That is to say, it wasn't stationary.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Back in the 80's

      > today is my last day of gainful employment in IT

      Here's to you and the decades of shIT you managed to endure...

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At Bob Wheeler, re: retirement.

      Meet me at the pub so I can buy you an evening full of beer, nosh, & lap dances from incredibly happy persons of negotiable affection! ;-D

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Back in the 80's

      "today is my last day of gainful employment in IT and after 40 years I'm being put out to pasture"

      Welcome.

    5. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Back in the 80's

      Bob,

      congrats on your last day and thanks so much for wasting some of your employer's valuable time by making a comment on The Reg.

      Simon.

  8. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
    Coat

    Apologies in advance

    "And we expect a happy ending too — I wiped all of our backups and got promoted, this sort of thing."

    One should always wipe after a happy ending.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Apologies in advance

      "One should always wipe after a happy ending." SOme folks are just nasty like that. Like that lady that shaved her legs in a public pool.

      1. elDog Silver badge

        Re: Apologies in advance

        Or the same old story - do bad, get rewarded.

        I figured out how to enter into the mainframe supervisory mode via a flaw in the OS and some very delicate timing (1970's). Once there I could wander through the wiring and plumbing to see how the boxes were put together. One thing led to another and soon I was interfering with the main system administrator who was a bit prickly. The computer center decided to hire me to try and control my actions. Mainly worked.

        Many years later I used the same type of techniques to show vulnerabilities in a country's major defense network (this was sponsored by the country.) I wrote the report, handed over all magnetic copies and was unable from that point forward to read it or cite it.

        An opposite case is that of Randal Schwartz (merlyn) who was a admin for Intel and as such tried to show the vulnerability of the Intel systems. He was prosecuted for that action in a very nasty action by Intel.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did you know that if you put two packs of A4 paper side by side in an A3 paper tray the printer gets very upset indeed?

    That was last week.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      That's an interesting thought for a new printer design that can double the speed of printing. Design the printer to cope with A3 paper going in landscape mode but include rollers to cope with two side by side A4 sheets in portrait mode. The paper handling shouldn't be much of an issue, even duplexing. Most modern printers seem to use unique consumables such as toner carts and fusers so even building those as a new design should be no big deal.

    2. Colabroad

      We have an MFD that actually stores two stacks of A4 side by side in the tray, when one stack is depleted the spare gets shunted into place, you can even refill the backup stack whilst it's printing from the first.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "We have an MFD that actually stores two stacks of A4 side by side in the tray, when one stack is depleted the spare gets shunted into place, you can even refill the backup stack whilst it's printing from the first."

        Sounds like a device intended for constant use which pretty much necessitates a way to hot-load sheets while it's working. Interesting concept and I can see its utility.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Ah, but did you know that you're legally allowed to kill people who don't put a full ream of paper in when the tray is empty?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Even if the paper tray doesn't allow for a full ream (most paper trays I've seen only take half a ream at most)?

            1. Colabroad

              The aforementioned uber-machine takes 3 reams per stack in the tray! Plus two trays for A5 and two for Legal that hold about a ream each.

              It is a beast of a machine!

          2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

            You're also allowed to swat smartphones out of peoples' hands if they wander along in a public space looking down and getting in everyone else's way. Or it should be allowed, dammit.

      2. Deckard_C

        "We have an MFD that actually stores two stacks of A4 side by side in the tray, when one stack is depleted the spare gets shunted into place, you can even refill the backup stack whilst it's printing from the first."

        We've got some like that each stack is three reams so the active stack is on a platform which lifts the paper as it gets used. Unfortunately it's gets loaded with one ream of A4 or one ream of A3 as you can imagine it really doesn't like A3 resulting in call outs. When replaced it will be a device with standard 500 sheet trays.

        Also the replacements won't have side stacking finishers as cupboards have since been put next to them so the finishers stick out in front of door ways and we have to move them to open the side doors on the cupboard side to clear paper jams. Can't open manual/bypass tray to use because of the cupboard as well.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          If the paper tray doesn't take a full ream, you murder whoever acquired said device, then put their head on a pike.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            "If the paper tray doesn't take a full ream, you murder whoever acquired said device, then put their head on a pike."

            The acquirer was the OWNER who cuts all the checks. AND his brother is in the police. In a state with the death penalty...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              It was a terrible printer accident

              There was toner everywhere. We just couldn't save him...

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          " cupboards have since been put next to them so the finishers stick out in front of door ways "

          Simple solution: Sledgehammer the cupboards.

          Seriously, if someone's twattish enough to install cupboards that obstruct access to a large printer after installation then they deserve everything that comes to them. A few rounds of replacements might give them a hint and it saves finding that after you put a smaller printer in, someone adds more obstructing storage.

          Or simply refuse to clear the jams because the printer's obstructed and let $bossage have the sledgehammer when complaints start coming in. moving a large printer around like that is going to cause mechanical problems (our current large one has jack down feet. Once positioned, it stays put)

          A lot of service outfits won't deal with printers that have been boxed in, or start adding extra fees for the privilege that well exceed the cost of the cupboards. I'm sure you can come up with a suitable BOFHish excuse.

          WRT the "loaded with A3", a large yellow notice stuck to the the bottom of the tray would be one solution.

      3. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

        HOT SWAP PAPER! genius

    3. Montreal Sean

      Two packs of A4 side by side...

      On the older LaserJet 8150 you could get this really nice 2000 sheet optional tray which if configured for 8.5x11 gave you enough room to stack unopened reams of paper next to the tray.

      And people tried.

      I had a call out to fix one such tray that was making grinding noises and giving an error.

      Turns out they had loaded the tray with the accepted 2000 8.5x11 sheets, and stacked 4 packs of 8.5x11 paper to the left of it.

      Poor motor and gears couldn't lift all that extra weight.

      Billed them for a new 2000 sheet unit. User damage and all that.

  10. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Stop me if I've told you this...

    During my days of supporting a corporate database system, I was rung by a senior manager - directly, bypassing the help desk - who started screaming about why the printer wouldn't print...

    MOI: So is the printer on?

    PHB: Yes, damn it, it was printing five minutes ago.

    MOI: That's odd. Let me check the print server... says it's offline.

    PHB: Well there's a big red light on it, so I'm sure it's on.

    MOI: It should be green. Are you sure it's not out of paper?

    PHB: I've just put a load of paper in it, you idiot.

    MOI: OK, well it sounds like it has some sort of error by the red light. Are you sure there's nothing wrong with it?

    PHB: well... (light suddenly dawning) there is smoke coming out of it. Would that have anything to do with it?

    MOI: Probably, yes. I'll tell the helpdesk, shall I?

    Sigh... some poeple...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The client was happy to let the rest of its printer fleet fade to grey"

    By any chance, was the man in charge of this company a Mister S. Strange?

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "The client was happy to let the rest of its printer fleet fade to grey"

      More likely Mr B. Currie, Mr M. Ure & Mr C. Payne.

  12. Grant Fromage

    Does anyone remember the big squeezy bottles of toner?

    Mid 80`s, terminal working on a Vax network as admin console.. The posh printer in the lab was a kyocera not an HP IIRC.

    If you filled the toner hopper then it would get clumpy and streaky while still full.

    SOP became shake the toner bottle and only 1/4- 1/3 fill. No-one liked doing it as static would always leave you with a lightly dusted black pouring hand and wiping a thin film off all nearby surfaces.

    Someone hadn`t tightened the lid fully, not spotted ( I was afterwards).

    smacked it on the bench and grabbed hold to shake, the bottle deformed squeezing the air out with a black fog of toner, over shirt and face.

    The only reflective thing in the room was the screen, didn`t look good, my line manager turned into a snigger in a suit " been coal mining have we?"

    .When I got to the loo it looked like the Benny Hill/Milligan joke make up for a bomb survivor.

    It took so many paper towels to rectify the airbrushed half-othello look after washing fixed rather than removed it..

    Tip: take your shirt off and shake it, never scrub toner. I did.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Does anyone remember the big squeezy bottles of toner?

      > Tip: take your shirt off and shake it, never scrub toner. I did.

      And then carefully wash/rinse with COLD water. Wash with hot water only if you like the pattern so much you want to make it permanent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does anyone remember the big squeezy bottles of toner?

        >> Tip: take your shirt off and shake it, never scrub toner. I did.

        > And then carefully wash/rinse with COLD water.

        And whatever you do, DO NOT put it in the dryer until you're SURE it's clean.

        1. Grant Fromage

          Re: Does anyone remember the big squeezy bottles of toner?

          Tip: take your shirt off and shake it, never scrub toner. I did.

          > And then carefully wash/rinse with COLD water.

          And whatever you do, DO NOT put it in the dryer until you're SURE it's clean.

          Absolutely,

          I put the contaminated in mums washing machine (as a single item on reduced splosh ) for 3 coldwater rinse cycles, untill the carbon sought enough freedom, then sneaked detergernt in for the 4th. and ok 5th.

          Not knowing, you wouldn`t notice. but it stuck a bit even so.

          Going home on the tube looking matt black slightly oversprayed a little was only fixed by swarfega back at the folks and slapping eczma cream on to stop anti swarfega.face eruption, Niiiice.

          Mum ripped the piss out of me and only concerned that there was a pre cleanup photo she could get a copy of." for the album"

          That`s what happens when both parents are engineers too., In her case precision., the old man was an army one.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mysterious jams

    One morning, paper jams seemed to be the order of the day. Went to the first one, cleared it, and got called back a short time later. Odd, but no obvious issue. Went to one of the others, which was doing the same thing, sporadic misfeeds. Looking a bit more intently this time, I opened the paper tray and tried to fan the paper, but instead discovered it was all stuck together

    Turns out, the paper was delivered the previous day, and the supplier had changed the packaging. They hadn't quite mastered the glue sealing it shut, which had instead seeped through onto the paper itself. Some sheets broke off easily, hence why it wasn't initially obvious.

    Our account manager at the supplier was shocked, turns out they'd been sending packs out like that all week and nobody noticed!

  14. J. Cook Silver badge

    ... Then there was my second day at my last job, and I'm carefully dismantling the brand new color laser printer and using a knife on the iron-on inkjet paper that someone fed into it...

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Still not as bad as some that ran 15 ink jet transparencies through a laser printer at my last place.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      " I'm carefully dismantling the brand new color laser printer and using a knife on the iron-on inkjet paper that someone fed into it..."

      "Fuser damaged beyond repair, has to be replaced" - the labour cost of sitting there trying to fis them isn't worth the aggro (and the fuser never works properly afterwards anyway)

      Manglement can take care of finding out who put that shit through the unit and whether to bill them or not. Either way you can pretty much guarantee it won't be a common repeat event.

  15. earl grey Silver badge
    Mushroom

    i would like to insert a full ream

    Or maybe give them time a barrel; either way would serve.

  16. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Saving on pennies and paying onself £100,000

    He should have become a CEO. Than he could do it legally without worrying about the printer.

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