Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dear IT Department................

Firstly, can I just say thank you for the new art installation that has been sitting in my office for about 3 weeks now. What? It's not an art installation? It's the new printer is it?

Thank you also for your e-mails explaining that it was sitting there awaiting 'remote installation', although I was a bit unclear how you were going to remotely unplug the old one, wheel it out of the way, schlep over the new one and plug it in but hey, what do I know.

So imagine my excitement when I went into my office on Monday to find that you had done just that, although I'm not entirely sure that you really did do it all remotely, you little tinkers.  In the spirit of 'remote IT' you kindly sent me an e-mail explaining that I could learn how to use this new piece of kit online. There was a step by step guide, complete with screenshots, which told me everything except how to turn the damn thing on. Call me old fashioned but I prefer to learn about new technology from a human being. Makes it so much easier when the inevitable questions arise.

I was also delighted to hear that I could now print out my documents at any hub in the county. Marvellous!  Except that I don't go to any of the other hubs so this wonderful new benefit really wasn't much of one, all said and done. But still, you have reliably informed me that this new printer will save me time and my employer money and represents a new era of IT networking. Fabulous!

I was slightly less excited about the fact that I now hav to type in a pin number in order to get said printer to print my documents. This pin number must 'be kept secret and not divulged to any other staff member'. Well quite right! Just imagine the anarchy that could be wrought if anyone else has access to my pin number for the printer. It really doesn't bear thinking about.  People could be photocopying their arses willy nilly on MY account.  I'm delighted that I now have yet another secret code I have to remember on top of all the other ones I already have remember for my laptop/email account/online timesheets/procurement system/database/evidence room/office door. Is sticking it up on the office noticeboard secret enough? You see, the thing is I have such a bad memory for numbers.

So, I duly typed up a whole load of letters to those naughty lorry drivers who keep driving their big heavy lorries over the little Town Bridge (yes dear reader, I have progressed from counting sheep and cows to lorries. There really is no stopping me).  It is nothing too difficult, one letter on headed paper, one on plain paper. Simples. I follow the instructions on the internet to the letter, if you'll excuse the pun. I even remember to change it from duplex to simplex. It printed out one letter on headed paper. I waited for the second one on plain paper.... and waited.... and waited.  Oh well, never mind. I'll just print out another one on plain paper. That should be easy because that is the default setting.  TA DA! It printed out another copy on headed paper. So I go back to the beginning, for surely I must just have done something wrong.

Step 1. Select Paper Option. Check,

Step 2. Ensure 'automatic selection' is shown in the first window.  Check.

Step 3. Select 'simplex'. Check.

Step 4. Press 'Print'. Check. 

Nip over to printer, type in pin number, press 'login', select 'secure print', select my document, press 'secure print and delete'  - is i't just me or does this actually take twice as long as the old printer - and VOILA! It prints out on headed paper again.

I call one of my colleagues who checks me through each step in case of a blonde moment but he concurs that everything is as it should be. He suggests we select 'plain paper 80gsm' instead of 'automatic selection'. I press 'print', nip over to the printer, type in my pin number,  press 'login', select 'secure print', select my document, press 'secure print and delete' and wait with baited breath. It whirrs and chunders then beepsand flashed a red light at me. Now I don't know much about modern technology but I do know that red lights and printers are never a good sign.  It asks me to 'load paper'. Phew, that was all it was. I check the paper drawers but they were all full. Hmmm. So I opt for my usual method of troubleshooting which involves pressing every button as fast as possible in the hope of tricking it into believing that nothing was wrong.  It doesn't work but I do discover that it now wants me to load paper in the manual paper feed on the side. I mean, why? I didn't even know it had a feed on the side so why would I ask it to print out from there?  I so load the paper as instructed and the red light goes off. Hurrah! I press 'print' again and it prints out my letter. On headed paper.  I use a very rude word.

So back to Steve in IT. I describe my problem in detail and even send him a few of my own screenshots - two can play at that game. He replies straightway.

Problems like this, he tells me, are notoriously difficult to sort out. It's really a question of trial and error. Well that bit was true, it was a trial and there were lots of errors. But, he continues, 'what I think you have to do is.....' You know when somebody in IT says what he 'thinks' you have to do, that you are in trouble.

Neither of his suggestions work and by this time is was 4.30pm.  The chances of finding any meaningful answer to anything at work after 4.30pm is unlikely such are the demands of working in the public sector.

So, dear IT department. I lost approximately 2 hours doing battle with your new sooper-dooper all singing-all dancing labour and time saving printer.

Please may I have my old one back? I miss the comforting whirr of the toner cartridge squeezing the last bit of toner out.  I miss the paper jams and the slight smell of burning that used to waft from it.

                     Thank you


Perpetua said...

Absolutely howling here, Wylye Girl! :-))) Marvellously funny but also horribly accurate. I hate having new bits of kit as it takes so long to feel at home with them. I do feel for you.

Steve said...

If hell were a real place it would look like a printer.

Sarah said...

It's amazing how often IT doesn't actually save time at all. Especially when coupled with an administrative system...

All it generally means is that people who used to do the work now don't, and you have to do it instead.

Macy said...

Don't talk to me about printers... don't get me started about wireless bloody printers especially.

Sorry. No.. Even trying to explain further will result in childish fits of temper and the hurling of any large and heavy objects to hand.

Elaine said...

Oh dear - I can sympathise with your problem. At my place of employment we have recently acquired a new 'singing and dancing' photocopier which apparently will do everything bar make the dinner. However... with the old copier you put the document on it, pressed the number of copies you wanted, pressed start and voila - said number of copies. The work of mere moments. This new thing, though, requires multiple processes in order to get one copy. I just cannot see the benefit. It takes about 5 times longer to get one copy than it used to! Aaaarrgghh. Oh, and if it goes wrong? Another 10 minutes spent trying to figure out what it could possibly be which involves opening and closing all the paper drawers and pressing all the buttons. I hate the thing!

Wylye Girl said...

Perpetua, well, a week later, the problem is still not solved! I give up...

Steve, my printer to be exact!

Wylye Girl said...

Sarah, our IT department seems to be particularly clueless

Macy, I feel your pain!

Elaine, it sounds like the same thing I'm experiencing. It's all supposed to save time and money but in reality does neither

the fly in the web said...

I'm so glad I'm not working....I have enough problems with the all singing all dancing but no bloody printing printer at home.

About Last Weekend said...

Oh Lord, I'm so glad someone else is so enamoured of their printer. I have to wait for my 14 yr old to come home to do any printing at all. (printing arses, I guess that one version of junk mail)

Wylye Girl said...

Fly, I believe they call it progress

ALW, I am still out of love.....:-(

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