Saturday, December 8, 2007

Equipment Fatigue

Crisis #1: Earlier in the week, Jim's niece Paris - a studious college freshman - had lost a paper she'd written on her new Mac, and Karl and I were called in to see if it could be restored. Sadly, no, and it really fell to me to let Paris know that there was nothing to do except start over.

Crisis #2: Spent a few hours this week scanning in and masking images for Marina's portfolio for application to F.I.T. Time was of the essence, since she'd had her first portfolio eaten by wolves and only had six weeks or so to create a new one from scratch. Her interview is tomorrow - today, as you're reading this, so today was crunch day. So I was bound and determined that I would get my part finished on Marina's portfolio in time for her to at least be able to be relaxed about it. And I did make good time, getting everything set to go, when: printer shock.

See, I don't much like printers. Oh, I like it when they work, but I'm generally opposed to a having a lot of paper around, and the extreme cost of maintaining them and their unreliability and etc. In fact, if I can't have access to a really good $50,000 postscript color laser printer that can do double-sided tabloid, I'm perfectly happy to do without color and just have an unassuming black and white that I can stick in the closet and forget about until I need it. So my printers generally go unmaintained, save for the one color one I have for office work (a Canon i960), but which can really only print well on premium glossy photo stock. We also have a color printer that came free with the Femputer, and the sheer amount of neglect I've shown this printer is scandalous. If it were any kind of living thing, even a parakeet, it would have died from emotional trauma by now.

But Yesenia needed a printer for her class, and the two other printers we have - brought here from the office - were going dim. The black & white HP 5000 that I went to all the trouble of networking in is really on its very last leg - constantly drawing too many sheets through the drum and choking on them and needing to be operated on any time you need to print. And the really nice (frankly) HP Color Laser Jet 2500L, whose only flaw is that it can't print on anything larger than 8 1/2" x 14", never took to being networked very well, and the drum gave out six months back and I couldn't be bothered to deal with it. So I brought the Femputer freebie back to life, and it turns out to be a pretty reliable printer for all of Yesenia's printing needs. And it is decent, albeit slower than the 2500L and not as sharp as the 1960. But I thought it would be fine, fine, fine for Marina's portfolio.

Of course, a printer needs ink, and two pages into the portfolio print job, the printer sighed and informed me that if I wanted to keep printing, I had to insert $60 for new ink. This despite the fact that I'd replaced all the cartridges not three weeks ago and not done any major color printing in that time. I think it was fucking with me, but there you are.

Anyway, mercifully, the bulk of the work had been done in the scanning and assembling phases, and other printing options were easy to come by, so the story still has a happy ending: I burned the files to disc and Marina took them home to print (after a brief detour to get their own printer more ink). But still - talk about lack of closure. This has been my week for letting down teenage girls. And as I remarked the other day to Karl, you never feel quite as bad about letting anyone down as a young girl. Particularly for Marina, who's stress point regarding this portfolio must have been sky high, but who still managed to stay focused and not blow a fuse, which I'm not sure I could have done in her situation.


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