Sep 23 2016

What kind of printer do you have?

HP? Brother? Konica-Minolta?

Whatever it is, it’s not as cool as:


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Feb 10 2014

Know what’s great about Citrix?


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Jan 26 2014

That’s a spicy email

CUSTOMER: I need some more space on my system because I’m trying to send some attachments and it says they are too big.

ME: How big are the attachments?

CUSTOMER: They are eight

ME: Eight…


ME: …(stifling laughter)

CUSTOMER: Wait–eight MBs

ME: Oh, OK.

I increased the customer’s mailbox size so that she could send the attachments.

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Jan 7 2014

HP LaserJet 50.32.11 Fuser Error or 50.72.11 Fuser Error

If you have an HP LaserJet M600 / M603 and you are getting a “50.32.11 Fuser Error” or “50.72.11 Fuser Error,” you will probably find that there isn’t any info on how to fix this error on HP’s site, and replacing the fuser may not work either.

Each time I was inserting the fuser the tab closest to the power supply wasn’t catching properly. What fixed it in my case was removing the fuser, then reinstalling it, being very particular to ensure that the blue tab on each side was seating correctly. If you install the fuser and you are still able to pull one side away from the printer, it isn’t seated properly.

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Dec 19 2013


Customer: My letters are typing numbers.

Me: Press the F-Lock key.

Customer: Where is it?

Me: It’s up on the top row with the Fn key

Customer: There’s a whole lotta f-in keys!

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Sep 15 2013

One of my favorite gifts


This is the front of my Mac at work. The attached clipping is from a Pearls Before Swine comic that was clipped out and given to me by my wife.

This is one of my favorite things that I have received—not because of its intrinsic value—but because of what it represents.

At work I am often known as “the printer whisperer.” I handle a lot of the printer issues—and that’s cool. A lot of techs despise printers, but I really do like working on them.

You tend to talk about what you like, and I talk about working on printers quite a bit. I don’t know how much Heather has heard me talk about setting up or fixing printers—a pretty dry subject for a lot of people.

But this comic represents the fact that Heather at at least some point has actually listened to me talk about what I do, and understood enough to clip out a comic that pretty darned accurately what I d0 (to the extent an alligator in a superhero costume can).

She might not get every little nuance of what I do, but it’s clear that she listens to me,  she understands what I do, and she understands me.

That’s pretty awesome.


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Jun 25 2013

Overheard: 35 yr old female

“I’m trying to watch a webinar and I don’t know if I have the right whatever thingy.”

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May 9 2013

Voltron Tech Support: Episode #1

Chat Screen: 

Steve: They just wouldn’t listen.

Dave: I know, right?

Incoming Call: Nancy

Chat Screen: 

Dave: Carp, it’s Nancy. BRB

Call Log:

Dave: Voltron Tech Support, this is Dave, how can I help you?

Nancy: My lion won’t work.

Dave: Excuse me?

Nancy: My lion won’t work and I need it working right now.

Dave: Okay. Which lion are you in?

Nancy: What?

Dave: Which lion are you in right now?

Nancy: I don’t know. How would I know that?

Dave: What color is it?

Nancy: Red.

Dave: All right, give me just a second while I look up the specs on your lion.

Nancy: Mine’s the oldest lion in Voltron.

Dave (rolls eyes): …

Dave: Oookay, it looks like you are the left arm of Voltron. What is your lion not doing?

Nancy: It’s not working!

Dave: Right. How is it specifically not working?

Nancy: It won’t turn on.

Dave: How did you get it in arm-position?

Nancy: It turns on as a lion, but it doesn’t turn on as an arm.

Dave: All right. Please unplug the red lion–.

Nancy: I already did that.

Dave: Let me finish, please. Unplug the red lion from Voltron and wait 30 seconds and plug it back in.

Nancy: (grumbling) I don’t have time for this.

Chat Screen: 

Dave: yo

Steve: ya?

Dave: Apparently 30 seconds is too long to wait to undock and redock a 3 ton piloted flying animatronic lion giant robot arm.


Call Log: 

Dave: How’s it going, Nancy?

Nancy: Just a minute…


Nancy: Hey, it’s working. Why’d it do that?

Dave: It just does that once in a while.

Nancy: [grumble grumble]

End Call: Nancy

Chat Screen: 

Dave: I’m back

Steve: That took forever.

Dave: Good thing calling and rebooting was faster than just rebooting 😐

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Apr 14 2013

Beats me

If you call someone because you require assistance with something, they may need some information from you. If your response to said inquiry is, ‘beats me,’ that is very rude–you should not be surprised if they in turn are rude to you–or if they do in fact beat you–because you deserve it. You wouldn’t accept such a solution from them; why would you think it would be acceptable to offer it to them?

So instead of copping an attitude and running your mouth like this:

YOU: I am having difficulty with my computer/car/air conditioner/phone.
TECH: What kind of computer/car/air conditioner/phone do you have?
YOU: Beats me.
TECH: Die in a fire you stupid harpy.

Try this instead:

YOU: I am having difficulty with my computer/car/air conditioner/phone.
TECH: What kind of computer/car/air conditioner/phone do you have?
YOU: I don’t know the answer to that question. Could you tell me how to find that information?
TECH: I’d be happy to. Just follow these instructions….

Despite the fact that many technicians are very knowledgeable, I have never met one who altered my disbelief in the existence of ESP.

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Apr 7 2013

First two rules of I.T.

Note: if you don’t work in I.T., this post might be a little too cynical for you. In that case, you will just want to move on to the next post.

For the rest of us, however….


Every profession has its own list of rules for succeeding, and I.T. is no different. Unfortunately, our rules are a bit more cynical than others:

  1. Don’t trust the user
  2. Cover yourself

1. Don’t trust the user. The reasons you don’t trust the user are:

a) the user is probably incorrect and/or

b) the user is lying.

1a. The User Is Incorrect. Why might I surmise that the users are incorrect? Sometimes it’s simply because they are ignorant, and that is fine. It is OK to be ignorant, but you still may be wrong. Sometimes it is because they’re dumb and they don’t want to change. Changing from being dumb involves effort, and once you know how to do something you are responsible to do it. So some users stay dumb, so that everything can be I.T.’s fault. We frequently hear this from users:

“I’m just not very good with these computers.”

The first personal computer came out in 1976. One year before Star Wars. If personal computers were people they would already be middle-aged, on their second mortgage, and worrying about life insurance and their kids’ braces. Thirty freaking six years personal computers have been available. Thanks to the internet, widely available for at least 15 years, there are more free resources to help you use these newfangled contraptions than ever before in human history.

Another reason is pride. On a consistent basis we ask people to see if something is plugged in or not. Sometimes they get huffy about it. “Of course it’s plugged in! I’m not stupid!”

We in I.T. love this sentence. One, it conveys that the user hates us. But we don’t hate them–until now. Two, it conveys that the user is in fact stupid. The key differences between simple ignorance and actual stupidity is that ignorance is not in and of itself bad, and ignorant people can learn and be less ignorant. Stupid people cannot learn–because they refuse to. Third, we love this sentence because we work in a profession where we plug and unplug things to and from other things ALL DAY LONG.

Guess what? Sometimes we do it wrong. Sometimes we assume something is plugged in and it isn’t. Sometimes it really, really looked like it was plugged in–and it wasn’t. We ask ‘is it plugged in’ because we have learned the hard way from experience that sometimes stuff isn’t plugged in–no matter how much you would have sworn on your child’s life that it was.

1b. The User Is Lying. Why might I surmise that they are lying? Because they are still breathing and I can see their mouth moving. Nah, I’m just joshing ya. Sadly, however, part of my job involves having people ring my phone and lie to me. All. Day. Long. I surmise that a user is lying because a lot of users lie. Yes, I know this is stereotyping, but if you are going to cover yourself (see point 2) this is something you should assume.

2. Why should you cover yourself? See 1b.


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