back to article BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

It's yet another one of those Fridays where ALL I NEED TO DO IS MAKE IT TO 4pm.. And in the red corner there's a senior beancounter who thinks that HIS problem with the 30 quid inkjet printer that he brought in from home is somehow MY problem... "So it's still not working?" I ask. "It's WORKING," he replies, "but the colour …

  1. Wupspups

    BOFH with patience?

    IS Simon getting more patient with with users? Seemed to have taken ages to get to the ambulance stage.

    1. Maverick

      Re: BOFH with patience?

      IS Simon getting more patient with with users? nup

      just easier than using the cattle prod, no evidence to cover up

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: BOFH with patience?

      @Wupspups

      Gotta do something until 4! Might as well wind up some deserving sod....

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: BOFH with patience?

        I must say I thought that at this stage, Simon might have suggested another orifice for heating up the pen - but hey....

        1. Chika

          Re: BOFH with patience?

          I must say I thought that at this stage, Simon might have suggested another orifice for heating up the pen - but hey....

          That would have made the luser suspicious. Probably.

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: BOFH with patience?

            Given the intelligence of many lusers, I am not so sure.....

          2. PNGuinn
            Happy

            Re: BOFH with patience?

            "That would have made the luser suspicious. Probably."

            RTFA - this luser's a beancounter!

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Re: BOFH with patience?

              In that case, odds are it could have, uh, pleased him.

        2. Alan W. Rateliff, II

          Re: BOFH with patience?

          Indeed. 98.6 degrees F (or 37C, whichever) would seem to be a rather well-calibrated heat source.

        3. Mpeler
          Coat

          Re: BOFH with patience?

          But then it would have been another (too) long day at the orifice...

        4. Flere-Imsaho

          Re: BOFH with patience?

          ... Simon might have suggested another orifice for heating up the pen ...

          A problem with that orifice is that a beancounter would probably have to use a hammer...

          1. Alan Ferris

            Re: BOFH with patience?

            Wrong colour, too

    3. unwarranted triumphalism

      Re: BOFH with patience?

      He's playing the long game, which all aficionados of proper torture technique will appreciate.

    4. BasicChimpTheory

      Re: BOFH with patience?

      "IS Simon getting more patient with with users?"

      Potential murder to get to the pub on time == more patient?

      What was he like before?

      Really enjoyed the sudden twist. Was expecting the bottom joke another commentard alluded to.

  2. Dave K Silver badge
    Pint

    Dummy mode!

    Ahh, a very welcome return of Dummy Mode after all this time. Cheers!

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Dummy mode!

      Indeed! Probably a return to classic BOFH? I distinctly remember that the very first BOFH stories involved users killing themselves after following BOFH "advice".

  3. rhydian

    Dummy Mode...

    ...You can even hear the click sometimes...

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II

      Re: Dummy Mode...

      Or in some cases the gears grinding to a halt. Which I can only assume are the same gears which control facial expressions since those tend to freeze, as well.

    2. Efros

      Re: Dummy Mode...

      We had a theory about this, some individuals have the biological equivalent of an anti thump circuit. We've all met them you say something and then a few seconds later there is a movement in their eyes and a dawning realization that someone spoke to them. Essentially instead of protecting speakers from the thump of a suddenly connected mains supply, the biological anti thump circuit protects the feeble brained from sensory and motor neuron overload by preventing them firing in quick succession of each other.

      1. Mpeler
        Pint

        Re: Dummy Mode...

        Sort of like the woman in "So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish":

        "A thought seemed to strike the woman. It struck her very slowly. You could watch it coming in like a long wave on a sandy beach."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Never a truer phrase:

    "Years ago I ceased being surprised at how much effort people will put into being lazy – or to be more precise – how much effort people will put into avoiding doing something themselves."

    Computer User - Not Technical: Am I able to do this. Do I have the right permissions to do it?

    Me: Have you tried?

    CU-NT: No

    Me: Well if you try and it doesn't work, come back to us.

    CU-NT: Can you just check?

    Me: <no response>

    10 minutes later with nothing changed:

    CU-NT: It's working now, thanks for your help.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Computer User - Not Technical

      another great acronym to add to my list. Thanks!

      1. romanempire
        Pint

        Re: Computer User - Not Technical

        I'll second that and have an upvote.

  5. Tachikoma
    Facepalm

    In my old support days, I had to install a maintenance kit on a clunky old laser printer next to some PA's desk, when it was going through the "bag of spanners down the stairs" warm up, the PA turned to me and completely straight faced said:

    "I'm on the phone, can you turn the volume down on the printer please? Thanks"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah, PAs.

      Remember the "as big as a decent car engine" HP Laserjet 1? It's admittedly long ago they made that monster, but I leave you to guess what happens when a PA decides to ignore any advice given, ever, about label printing and attempts to do this with double side mode on?

      "Give it to our tech division" was then the answer, in the hope we can get the thing to print double sided again.

      That being said, as the only one daft enough to even attempt this I first got assurances that the device was considered dead (to make sure that anything I did was only going to make things better), and then I proceeded to take the thing apart. Yes, sans service manual.

      Now for the fun part: in the HP LJ 1, the unit that does the page flip for double sided mode was at the bottom of the device. The flap would allow you to get a sheet out, but a very much stuck set of labels needed access - which you could only get from the top down by pretty much taking the whole thing apart. At that point it turned from a nuisance into a challenge :).

      I count it as one of the proudest moments in my career that I not only managed to reduce the thing to its components and clear out the labels, but also managed the next day to reassemble the resulting entire table full of parts back into a working laser printer without as much as a washer left. Granted, I had to restart the build once when I got the sequence wrong (I think this has later become known as the IKEA effect: you only notice that you've used the wrong part when you reach the point where that part was normally supposed to fit), but I ended up back with a working, fully functional printer. All pretty much off the top of my head.

      Not that anyone noticed, of course, but for me personally it was a victory of dogged persistence over, well, sanity really :).

      Before you ask: no, normally I scrap such a device out of principle. If a mistake doesn't hurt the user, said user is likely to miss the education it provides, and repeat the error..

      1. herman Silver badge

        Hmm, the PA must have been very pretty. Else I can't see why you would have done that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Hmm, the PA must have been very pretty popular with a VP. Else I can't see why you would have done that."

          I actually went on a training course years ago which suggested that the priorities for attending to IT problems went:

          1. Managing Director's PA

          2. Complete network outage

          and so on down.

        2. Mpeler
          Paris Hilton

          PA - rebuild, challenge, or?

          Somehow Computer User - Not Technical must have been involved...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Hmm, the PA must have been very pretty. Else I can't see why you would have done that.

          To be honest, she didn't feature in the equation. It was more the challenge - HQ had already decided the thing was dead but even in those days I already had a bit of a reputation as a somewhat hard to control maverick. I sucked at the routine stuff, but the things that would scare a normal, well adjusted individual because of risk or complexity were exactly the things that got me going.

      2. Tachikoma

        We had something similar with people trying to print transparencies on laser printers. I think they stopped doing it when we started charging their department for the new fuser units.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Ah Transparencies

          A certain Three letter computer company seems to call them foils. The still use that for powerpoint pages. Doh!

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Tachikoma

          "....transparencies...." Back in the day when Xerox was the king of copier-printers, they used to have a warranty that said only approved transparencies could be used as cheap ones would melt in the fuser section. It was amazing the number of people that refused to take ten minutes to go down to the central stationary store and pick up a box of free Xerox transparencies (bought out of the central budget), but instead ordered cheap ones by mail order because they got delivered to their desk. If the printer jammed on a Xerox foil the engineer call and any parts were covered, but otherwise they would charge us for non-Xerox ones melted in there (about 800 quid IIRC). After about the eighth or nineth charge, the CIO sent out a memo stating that any future use of non-Xerox foils would result in the person responsible having the Xerox charges deducted from their wages. The very next day I found our Dictator of HR hammering away at one of the Xerox machines she'd just melted a cheap foil in....

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Tachikoma

            go down to the central stationary store

            There's no decentralised mobile store then? (aka office junior dogsbody with an office supplies cart)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Back in the 90s...

        Some of the users in my organisation had thetather unfortunate habit of yanking the sheet out of the printer before it was finished with it. This was on HP LJ II and LJ III machines(The big difference between the models is the styling, really)...

        Of course one of the printers finally gave up and papers got stuck inside. And of course they were in a hurry, with customers lining up... And no we didn't have a spare, not just because they were expensive back then, but also... already used...

        So, I loaded up another printer they had broken in another way, and brought it to their office, and proceeded to take both printers apart and rebuild a working printer from the carnage... in full view of all the employees and customers. Anyone getting close enough probably also learned a few new words also.

        They stopped yanking the papers out after that...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Back in the 90s...

          "unfortunate habit of yanking the sheet out of the printer before it was finished "

          I blame Hollywood for that. Many peoples only experience of seeing paper come out of a printer was the newsroom or top secret military bases where someone would "rip" the important document from the teletype and rush it over to "someone important"

          Some people in offices, trying to look cool and blasé about this new fangled technology would copy what they saw on telly, not having listened to the instructions they were given when it was delivered.

          1. oldcoder

            Re: Back in the 90s...

            If they paid attention to the show, that "rip the important document" was always from a typewriter... at the end of the sheet.

            Anywhere else and you could drag the typewriter off the table...

            and yes, as a kid I have done that...

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Disk0
              Pint

              drag the typewriter off the table...

              good for a month of sickleave when the Selectric fractures several bones in your foot, although chances are you'll never walk the same...

              1. Wzrd1

                Re: drag the typewriter off the table...

                "good for a month of sickleave when the Selectric fractures several bones in your foot, although chances are you'll never walk the same..."

                Back then, we were wearing military boots, the worst that one could get while wearing those was a bad bruise.

                Save, if it struck the leg, which would then be hopelessly fractured.

          2. Wzrd1

            Re: Back in the 90s...

            "unfortunate habit of yanking the sheet out of the printer before it was finished "

            Yeah, try that one with a high speed, three head, high speed printer. That gets real expensive, real quick, with a blown driver board and melted ribbon cable. A quick note from Big Boss telling the staff that the next such repair comes out of the culprit's paycheck curbed that idiotic practice.

      4. Mephistro
        Thumb Up

        Re: (@ AC)

        Related:

        Back in '97 a user (another accountant) tried to use transparent plastic binding covers instead of transparency laserjet paper, in a new HP Laserjet 4000 (if my memory doesn't fail me). After several hours removing blobs of molten plastic from the printer's guts -as in your case, without the help of a service manual- I managed to put the printer again in working order. The guy was very thankful and invited me to a few beers.

        Some two months after the incident, he did it again! Sigh...

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Not that anyone noticed, of course, but for me personally it was a victory of dogged persistence over, well, sanity really :)."

        Same here, although IIRC it was LJ+ I stripped down almost to a bare chassis.

        Best and proudest moment ever though was an Epson LQ2550. I got sent to site to follow our newest engineer who'd just been there the previous day and suddenly quit stating he didn't like the job. The customer presented me with a box of bits. If two parts could be separated, they probably were. I have no idea what that guy had been thinking when he took it apart A few hours later there was a fully working printer and no spare bits. I didn't even have to sneak that last spare screw into my pocket before the customer spots it that we've all done in the past.

        1. Bluto Nash

          "that last spare screw into my pocket"

          Yep - we even referred to them as "pocket screws." Re: the LJ1, I was the only tech brave enough to even ATTEMPT repairing either CRT monitors OR laserjets back in the day. Had a LJ1 fully disassembled to do PM and replace the fuser lamp and it was a sight to behold - parts everywhere. They really knew how to build them back then - all lovely milled SS parts and gears. Like a giant coal fired watch.

          1. Wzrd1

            "Like a giant coal fired watch."

            Indeed, Bluto, apt, very, very apt. One of the few small office printers that is a natural fit as use after final retirement as an artificial reef - continents need only apply.

            Ahh, the good old days, when moving small office equipment could result in major surgery...

            1. Hazmoid

              and monitors needed lifting equipment

              CRT monitors bigger than 17" required 4 people to lift and move.

      6. Disk0
        Pint

        "If a mistake doesn't hurt the user, "

        Mistakes not hurting the user definitely qualifies as a configuration error...

        Pint for your victorious submission of the challenge that is Huebleed Paincart.

      7. Wzrd1

        "Now for the fun part: in the HP LJ 1, the unit that does the page flip for double sided mode was at the bottom of the device. The flap would allow you to get a sheet out, but a very much stuck set of labels needed access - which you could only get from the top down by pretty much taking the whole thing apart. At that point it turned from a nuisance into a challenge :)."

        Yeah, been there, done that, didn't have to disassemble halfway, as I've long had the practice of placing components in specific order on an adjacent work mat, like we did when working on bombs in the military.

        I've also restrung the media tray base unit, when the cables stretched out of tolerance, as it was my department's unit. Other departments just had theirs binned and had to wait for a replacement.

        Priorities and all, our games ran faster than lusers applications, as we have priority.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How long was it before the user tried to print double sided labels again?

      9. Luiz Abdala

        I can relate to that disassembly of a LJ 1...

        When I was 17, I wanted to make an upgrade to my IBM Aptiva PS/2. Yes, the one that came with Windows 95 and OS/2, and let you choose between the two. (I still have those OS/2 disks shrink-wrapped somewhere).

        So, I wanted to have a new HDD. Nothing fancy, getting a 20GB IDE unit installed where the original 1.2GB was should be a breeze. Except it wasn't. Both hardware and software had issues:

        The first part: Hardware. It's not an standard ATX cabinet. The motherboard doesn't have PCI sockets; instead it has an huge riser with all the boards slapped on it: sound, network, modem and the HDD are all hanging on that riser. Thank IBM for manuals, because it told me I HAD to remove all of that, along with 32 bolts. As you turned the riser UPSIDE DOWN, the CD-ROM and HDD caddy were strapped in there. So, I got to them, and finally removed the failing HDD.

        Mom walks in and asks me "Will you be able to put everything together?" to what I take a look up and there are PCI board pieces EVERYWHERE. I half jokingly wave the thick IBM manual at her; "Sure, all in the manual." I never managed to convincingly lie to mom before. She bought it.

        I slap everything back together. Everything strapped and working, minus 18 bolts. The thing could take an earthquake, survive an atomic blast with that much over-engineering. Screw it, I got 18 spare bolts. You gotta give IBM the credit, that thing was sturdy.

        Now the 2nd part: software. IBM's BIOS couldn't handle the 20GB HDD, not even 8GB in fact. Nothing a quick flashing won't solve. Flash the BIOS, all good, at least it acknowledges there is an HDD in there. It won't boot with a 20GB partition, but fdisking the sucker to a 8GB partition and Windows manages to complete the setup.

        It took me a good 5 hours to go through all that, and I managed to get a running PC with Win 95 as per IBM specs with 18 spare bolts.

    2. Marshalltown
      Trollface

      PAs - heh

      The PRON spewing out the printer brings back the old days. I was happily at work, having secured my very own private office with a locking door and even a couch! I hadn't even finished my first cup of coffee when I heard a terrific scream from the owner's PA/Office Manager, who was a tallish, nice-looking, blond woman and a rabid fundamentalist who, at that time. was expecting the end of the world - in October I believe. Apparently the owner, after hours, had used her computer and scanner to scan some images (copyrighted at that) and upload them to one of usenet's more notorious groups. Apparently, he never bothered to power down the computer OR remove the magazine from the scanner. When I arrived at the scene she was belaboring him about the head and shoulders with the rolled magazine and explaining she would own him, his wife and children if "this" ever happened again. It never did, on her computer, but several weeks later I found my system on, and upon moving the mouse, received quite an eye full myself. Not being as easily offended, I spent a bit examining the evidence.

      1. Chris King

        Re: PAs - heh

        In a previous job, one user decided to print off some early-morning porn in the labs, and discovered to his horror that the printer was empty.

        My boss turned up early, noticed the lack of paper and helpfully re-loaded the trays.

        Fifty pages of Playboy pix were duly confiscated, and the user came in to demand a refund on his charged printing. The boss-man sent him away without his refund or his print-outs, just some sage advice:

        "Why not just go and buy a magazine from the newsagents ? I hear they're in colour these days !"

    3. Disk0
      Pint

      Didn't she know printing in volume is all the rage with the cubicle crowd these days?

    4. Wzrd1

      "I'm on the phone, can you turn the volume down on the printer please? Thanks"

      I'll happily plead guilty to that very offense. I was also giving the tech a wink though, as this BOFH has a clue and just didn't enjoy my contemplation of a pint in my fist being interrupted by the dreadful noise. ;)

      That's work best saved for a Monday, after a holiday weekend. :D

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Pint

    Brilliant episode. Really cheered up a rainy day here in the Netherlands (It has its merits: 1 hour closer to beer o'clock than the UK ;-))

  7. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    30 printers

    How do they turn up on random desks and get installed (Damn you HellDesk!).

    My approach to them is to ask whether its PAT tested. then what its Asset number is.

    I then hide behind the policy of using central equipment to minimise costs and pointing out the ink they use costs more than gold of the same volume.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 30 printers

      I then hide behind the policy of using central equipment to minimise costs and pointing out the ink they use costs more than gold of the same volume.

      PAT testing is always a good ruse, but I researched before I even bought the printer if there was "replacement" ink available. It means I spent about £45 on blank cartridges and ink for the equivalent of £900 in cartridges (easily spent as the thing is A3 capable). The only thing I haven't worked out yet is how to tweak the colours so they're equivalent to the original colours. It's an Epson so the driver has manual colour adjustments available, but I haven't quite worked out the delta between screen and printout. It's not urgent because it's used for flow charts and drafts, but it would be cool to have to ironed out.

      If anyone knows of any recommended method for that I'd love to hear it.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: 30 printers

        " The only thing I haven't worked out yet is how to tweak the colours so they're equivalent to the original colours. "

        You buy a pantone usb wotsit and associated software.

        How do you know your monitor is calibrated?

      2. LDS Silver badge

        If anyone knows of any recommended method

        Using manual colour managment is a trial&error approach that may waste a lot of ink, and not a repeatable one.

        You'd need to learn the dark arts of colour management... which means calibrating and profiling the whole workflow, input and output devices (scanners, cameras, monitors and printers) - of course the OS and applications need to colour management aware as well.

        You can do it yourself buying a profiling devices (there are cheaper one for a few hundreds, or pro ones for some thousand), and learn how to perform it, or you can call a professional service which will do it for you. But beware that for printer the profile depends on the inks and *paper* used. Change one of them, and a new profile is needed.

        Today most decent printers comes with a factory ICC profile to be used, it should be good enough for non demanding users. Monitors can be sometimes "calibrated" using some OS tools, but it's just a very basic calibration.

        Usually most uncalibrated monitors have truly wrong settings (brightness, contrast, colour temperature), thereby what you see on the monitor will be quite different from what gets printed - and most business monitors are limited to display a subset of the sRGB colour space. Some more expensive ones may cover the full sRGB, while professional one can have good AdobeRGB coverage. 4K+ monitors usually have better colour depth than older ones, but depends on the model. Many printers can exceed the sRGB space.

        Anyway, depending on the device, it may be "impossible" to reproduce all the "original" colours depending on the device capabilities, thereby some colors may be "shifted" by the colour management engine depending on some rules and settings you can usually select - which implies the user has to understand some colour management too to achieve the desired result <G>.

        These are truly a kind of dark arts that require learning, training and experimenting.

        1. Soruk
          Go

          Re: If anyone knows of any recommended method

          It can even depend on the paper.

          My wife's Canon printer can't print photos convincingly on Kodak-branded paper - and yet it's absolutely brilliant on the Polaroid paper picked up from Poundland.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: If anyone knows of any recommended method

            Personally speanking Kodak paper for inkjets is pure crap. Never been able to get it calibrated on my Epsom 2100.

            Yet, I used Kodak paper in the darkroom for years and was a great fan of Ektachrome film.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: If anyone knows of any recommended method

              Today Kodak papers for inkjet printers are among the consumer grade ones. The names in professional printing are Hahnemühle, Canson, Moab, Innova, and a few others, but none of the old photo brands, but Ilford.

              Many of them are brands from paper mills that found a new market beyond their classic fine art products.

              Chemical photo papers need the technology to produce the imaging emulsion, now it's just paper with a specific surface to accept printers inks properly.

              1. Chris King

                Re: If anyone knows of any recommended method

                Ever had users substitute their own paper without considering if it's even suitable ?

                Someone once managed to take a DEClaser "tank" (LPS17) out of commission with some "recycled" paper. I suspect it was recycled hemp, rather than actual paper. Poor bloody printer was completely jammed up with what looked like little flakes of paper towel, and it almost caught fire.

                She told me she was trying to save the Earth by not using the nasty bleached stuff we normally used.

                I told her she was getting the bill for the engineer call-out and parts.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: If anyone knows of any recommended method

                  "recycled" paper.

                  Oh $deity, some of that stuff is pure crap! I remember a conversation I had with the boss of a "green" organisation in the days when recycled paper was just becoming a "thing" and naturally they were "early adopters" of it. When I showed him the call out stats for the the pre- and post-recycled paper start date and thus demonstrating double the amount of diesel fuel used fixing the problems caused by their "save the panet, super green recycled printer paper", which they were using double sided despite it being marked single sided and had the arrow on the packaging to tell you which was the "finished" side for printing on, he suddenly realised that sometimes being "green" isn't actually "green" at all, it's just for show.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: If anyone knows of any recommended method

              I've always found it hard to get the horses calibrated on any deby, let alone the 2100.

              The do indeed crap everywhere.

      3. A K Stiles Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: 30 printers

        Have you tried changing the colour settings on your monitor(s) until they match the test sheet you printed?

      4. Marshalltown

        Re: 30 printers

        Frankly, "that isn't a company-issued printer" and "please get a work order from your supervisor" always helps. For fun a friend an I used to go war-driving around the state capitol and would discover that apparently many state employees would bring their own wireless routers and printers into work to save the walk to the printer down the hall. Not infrequently this lead to accidental trapdoors into what were supposed to be secure state networks.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 30 printers

        Did you not read the article? The user had exactly the same problem with colour mismatch, and the BOFH explained the reasons and solution! ;-)

    2. Chris King
      Facepalm

      Re: 30 printers

      That's assuming that

      (a) Stuff gets PAT tested before going out to users (who invariably order stuff just after the PAT tester has done his annual rounds), and

      (b) You don't have been counters that issue asset tags months after kit actually goes into service.

      The record for (b) is "the tags finally arrived the day after I pulled the servers out of the rack to scrap them".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 30 printers

      "My approach to them is to ask whether its PAT tested. then what its Asset number is."

      Then it becomes absolutely bloody wonderful when your users start making fake PAT labels and asset numbers which of course aren't in the database which then causes the pointy haired boss to assume the database is corrupt and demand you fix it as well as sorting out whatever the original complaint was.

    4. Wzrd1

      Re: 30 printers

      "How do they turn up on random desks and get installed (Damn you HellDesk!)."

      Oh, that one's easy. Add critical driver files for that specific model crapjet into the antivirus as malware, resulting in instant breakage and virus alerts on the drivers.

      Then, confidently inform users that those printers weren't approved for a reason, they were infected at the factory and by the way, you need your desktop wiped and baselined again. No, that computer shan't work until the PC shop reloads it, as it's blocked from the network due to a malware infection that can't be cleared.

      A few reload the driver, rinse and repeat, at try three, they get to have a long talk with HR.

  8. crosenblum
    Mushroom

    Yay!

    Finally a new BOFH post.

    I agree Simon was much, much too patient with that luser, i mean clueless user, I mean idiot who wouldn't hang up :P

    After all isn't that the true goal of every customer service in any industry?

    Get them to stop calling, and hang up faster?

    Time to charge up the Catltle Prod's!!!!!!

    1. Chika
      Headmaster

      Re: Yay!

      Time to charge up the Catltle Prod's!!!!!!

      Charge up the Catltle Prod's what?

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Yay!

        Charge them with GBH of course (gross bodily harm)

        1. Nunyabiznes

          Re: Yay!

          I thought they DIScharged with GBH? :)

        2. PNGuinn
          Headmaster

          Re: Yay!

          "Charge them with GBH of course (gross bodily harm)"

          I think the legal term is "grievous bodily harm"

          Sounds much nastier, and far more Bofhish.

          Cue 20,000 grammar nazis discussing "Bofhish".

        3. Chika
          Headmaster

          Re: Yay!

          @BeBopWeBop

          Re-read what I posted, check the icon then...

          Though yes, that's one thing that could be used!

  9. theOtherJT

    There are times I like my workplace

    Brought in your own kit? Well, enjoy that because unless it's either a mouse, a keyboard, or a USB flash drive the PC is your office is going to ignore it.

    There are A3 multifunction copier/scanner/fax/printer things on each floor by each stairwell. Those you may use. Other scanners, printers, 1980s fax machines you will not use. We won't support them. No exceptions.

    1. Snowy
      Joke

      Re: There are times I like my workplace

      You allow them to use a USB flash drive they found in the car park?

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: There are times I like my workplace

        You allow them to use a USB flash drive they found in the car park?

        It would be churlish to liberally leave them around the car park and not allow them to use them...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There are times I like my workplace

        Interesting story that. Back in 2008, some enterprising fellow sprinkled US CENTCOM's parking lot with USB flash drives infected with malware.

        At that time, US CENTCOM was located in a compound on a military installation I was information security for. I kept getting virus deletion alerts from removable media, zero infections. US CENTCOM and multiple locations further afield all became infected.

        Scan on insertion wasn't enabled, autorun was enabled on all of the other installations systems. They all were massively infected, my installation remained clean of malware.

        I was then castigated for following best business practices, by those running the infected systems. Those same folks then became their contracting company's heroes for working tons of overtime with a smile, while cleaning the systems that they misconfigured - twice.

        I put in zero overtime, sat back with a pint, while they slaved to clean up their own mess.

        After a full report was sent in on the source and background reasons for the massive infection, the contracting firm's overtime compensation was declined by the US DoD.

        1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
          Pint

          Re: There are times I like my workplace

          After a full report was sent in on the source and background reasons for the massive infection, the contracting firm's overtime compensation was declined by the US DoD.

          Probably one of the smartest things done in government. I was speaking with a state agency employee the other day about some of the really cool awards and recognitions given by various departments, divisions, and bureaus for things like "clearing up four-month backlog." You know, backlog the recipients caused in the first place.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's not

    quite the calibrated heat source in which I was expecting Simon would suggest inserting the pen. True, what I had in mind would properly a "calibrated WARMTH source"

    1. NotBob

      Re: That's not

      He's using that source of warmth for talking. He's a senior beancounter, so that's how he normally talks.

  11. imanidiot Silver badge

    You'd think at some point that company would run out of users clueless enough to tempt the powers of the BOFH on a friday afternoon (or any other day)

    1. Florida1920

      You'd think at some point that company would run out of users clueless enough to tempt the powers of the BOFH on a friday afternoon (or any other day)

      They're like beer or crisps. No matter how fast you consume (electrocute) them, you can't use up the supply.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      They are legion.

      1. Chika
        Trollface

        They are legion.

        You mean.... they do not forgive and they do not forget? I was expecting them!

  12. Wemb

    Appalling!

    What a despicable thing to do to a Mont Blanc. Sure, take the owner out, but take pity on a good pen, it's not it's fault who owned it.

    1. Martin Silver badge

      Re: Appalling!

      Hmmm. Mont Blanc are to pens what Bang and Olufsson are to audio - very good, but overpriced. Sort of thing a beancounter would buy really. So, no sympathy here.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Appalling!

        No - quite good compared to say a Bic but too much invested in style and not function. Back in the days of fountain pens I had a mate who would hand-carve you the bit you hold in your fingers, after watching you write and taking a plasticine impression of your fingers, from ebony wood.

        Now that was a pen to write with. Looked good too. Just as computer printers appeared...

        1. Striped Lungi

          Re: Appalling!

          Back in the days I had a friend who would stab me with that fountain pen (its nib) on my buttocks. Not sure if it would have made much of a difference (to me) if it was hand carved after careful examination of the pen owner's habits..

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guerrilla Printers

    My boss (BOFH) and I (PFY) had a user that refused to use the network printer, but insisted in this local attached HP Laserjet.

    An evening expedition to his office, a bit of insulation tape over the laser unit and we managed to neatly remove exactly one column from his spreadsheet.

    The "broken" printer was removed to be "repaired" and he never saw it again....

    In another office I had to turn down installing new more cost effective printers because the blue on the old ones were nicer than the correctly colour calibrated new ones.

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: Guerrilla Printers

      I would have done a bit of service on it... Just a little nick with a scalpel here and there. One little cut, another new and annoying stripe on the prints every day...

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: Guerrilla Printers

        "One little cut, another new and annoying stripe on the prints every day..."

        One proper nick, right in the paper path and one can call it a day.

    2. energystar
      Windows

      Nicer always 'win' calibrated.

      ...[What are you doing down there?].

  14. Notas Badoff

    Honestly?

    "I need you to slide that pen into a calibrated heat source. Do you have a calibrated heat source in your office?"

    "Uh, no."

    Hmm, a lying asshole if I ever heard one.

  15. Paul Woodhouse

    bit complex and risky

    talking the luser into using the PC PSU.. all you really need to do is talk them into lifting the printer cover off and poking about with a pen or a screwdriver in there... last time I did that, the really annoying thing was after the bang/flash and me landing on my arse, one of the directors actually asked me if there was any need for language like that...

    1. Chris King

      Re: bit complex and risky

      You need to start worrying when they say "That was cool - can you do it again ?" and they hand you a new (non-charred) screwdriver.

      1. WorsleyNick

        Re: bit complex and risky

        Try that with a band printer.

        1. Paul Woodhouse

          Re: bit complex and risky

          oh, that was just a little Samsung ML, it still put me on my arse... forgot the damn thing was still plugged in.

    2. Striped Lungi

      Re: bit complex and risky

      I completely agree with the director there.

  16. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "Years ago I ceased being surprised at how much effort people will put into being lazy – or to be more precise – how much effort people will put into avoiding doing something themselves."

    Still surprised from time to time - but that is put so nicely that I will ask a friend who is into calligraphy to ink it on a piece of good paper. I will then have it neatly framed and hang it on my office wall.

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Slight tangent

    Meanwhile I spent most of the morning setting up a cousin's new HP inkjet.

    Start with the Linux box I set up earlier. No Linux support on the CD, of course, but check if hplip is installed. It isn't so install it through Synaptic, then go through the printer control panel which instantly finds the printer on USB and installs it.

    Next, the W7 laptop. This is allegedly supported on the CD.

    After a openings and closings of the drive the CD deigns to autorun. My first attempt to click OK to the dialog that asks me if I want to install terminates with a loud burp that seems to indicate an error.

    After a second attempt which isn't much better I get to a screen which tells me it can't install and offers to download a troubleshooter.

    I let it do that and from this point on the CD is totally redundant. The troubleshooter asks me to reboot. After that it offers to download an installation wizard. I let it do that. I run the wizard which downloads the drivers and finally gets the printer installed. At least there was only one reboot which is pretty good for Windows.

    The CD appears to have no function but to throw an error and initiate a sequence of downloads from the net. WTF has happened to the once-mighty HP?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Unhappy

      WTF has happened to the once-mighty HP?

      Beancounters and not enough BoFH

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Slight tangent

      The CD appears to have no function but to throw an error and initiate a sequence of downloads from the net. WTF has happened to the once-mighty HP?

      They probably had to do this because there's no longer enough space on the CD for the two football pitches worth of legalise and disclaimers as well as the print drivers. Mind you, the way HP's print drivers are going there's probably not enough space on an otherwise empty CD, and DVDs are doubtless considered too expensive.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Nick Ryan Re: Slight tangent

        ".....They probably had to do this because there's no longer enough space on the CD...." Actually, there are at least two obvious reasons. Not only does pressing CDs cost money (hosting a downloadable driver on a web server is cheap), but you can never be sure the CDs actually end up in the hands of the right admin. One company I worked at hadn't updated their Sun servers for months because the patch CDs were all ending up in a box in the mailroom - the right admin had left, had not notified Sun and not trained a replacement. At another, the purchasing manager put their name as the point of contact on the support contract and promptly binned all the support CDs.

    3. Striped Lungi

      Re: Slight tangent

      Wait for w10. You will be boggled.

      1. Luiz Abdala

        Re: Slight tangent

        Try scanners on W7 and W10.

        Then try Vuescan.

  18. Zebo-the-Fat

    Transparencies

    I was once asked if the copier could do "double sided transparencies", they never explained why the wanted to do it!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Transparencies

      It's obvious! You just have to flip over to the other side to project the second view................. don't you?

  19. Hazmoid

    Printers- the bane of my life

    As an IT person, I rarely print anything out, unless it has to have a physical signature on it. However the number of lusers who insist that they have to print out every email so that they "can read it later when they have the time" truly shocks me. I have rebuilt many HP Lasers over the years and they seem to be getting flimsier each time I have to do this. Also the covers with the plastic tab with a hole in it that fits over a lump of plastic that breaks off as soon as you flex it annoy the crap out of me. What is wrong with a decent screw fitting? We made a point to telling users that we would not support any personal printers and if they needed toner or ink they had to buy it out of their own pocket.

    1. SSI Guru

      Re: Printers- the bane of my life

      Reminds me of our CFO. Prints everything, especially documents that need to be redistributed to employees. But instead of attaching the original PDF includes a scanned version of his printout.

  20. kain preacher

    I have one question. who's the bastard that called 999/911.

    1. Wzrd1

      "I have one question. who's the bastard that called 999/911."

      The smoke detector automatically set off the fire alarm, which alerted EMS and the fire brigade.

      1. Chika

        The smoke detector automatically set off the fire alarm, which alerted EMS and the fire brigade.

        Which got through to the automatic answering service at the fire station...

  21. joe bixflics

    So this is what all you MBAs are doing in those tall buildings.

  22. energystar
    Pint

    Deliverate intention...

    To cause harm on both sides of the Desk.

    The edge is so sharp on the part of Simon as to cause a 'do not f_(* with me' first impression. Also an implicit 'So, you dare to tray again that s%!#.

    Getting a free diagnostic -and maybe a repair [if Simon dares to touch it]- on his home printer is so evident.

    But the 'cheapo' printer hurt me.

    Have light exposed prints from decades ago on quality paper, still with decent color accuracy. Not the same with photographs to their side.

    Ink printers are to be used. Everyday. I print a screen color adjusting image almost daily. And every one of the jets remain clean.

    Ink printers are not to be transported. They are like old wall clocks. Also have to be carefully leveled. On solid, stable furniture. No laser could get miles away of them when in micro-drop mode.

    Don't f_(* with cheap paper. Cheap paper and color are two words than can't go together.

    Cartridges are remainders of a cartel era. Anything without individual tanks are toys of robbery. Cheers!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lexmark laser prints ca. 1991

    Back in the early 90's, we purchased a number of Lexmark laser printers. They were pretty good, but one had continual issues with grabbing a massive wadge of paper from the tray and regularly munting the feed roller. We could not understand why this kept occurring, until we sat with the secretary who had done this several times and watched her reload the tray. As she reinserted the tray into the printer, we saw that she flicked it slightly sideways - checking the tray mechanism revealed that the paper was only held in place on one side, and a small lateral force was sufficient to dislodge a pile of paper, ready for the next pickup.

    Suffice to say, we didn't stick with Lexmark as our printer supplier.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lexmark laser prints ca. 1991

      Reminds me of when, during my PFY days, we started getting more call-outs than usual to a particular printer - often having to re-set the paper tray guides and then eventually replacing the tray.

      While stood near the printer discussing it with a colleague we witnessed someone walk up, pull out the tray, slam in a new ream of paper and slam it shut again all within a few seconds. The tray was slammed back in with so much force the printer (a big, heavy, properly-built thing.. I forget which brand) edged back about 1cm on the desk.

      That day we found out why it kept breaking. Advice about slowing down and treating it with more care was duly given and the printer proved far more reliable from that point forward.

  24. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    why do people insist on printing in colour just because there's colour on the screen?

    in fact why do people insist on printing shit out at all?

    should be made illegal

    1. Chika
      Coffee/keyboard

      in fact why do people insist on printing shit out at all?

      Is that how you do it?

  25. Alfred Loo
    WTF?

    Nevermind

    Nevermind

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