Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lab Printer

Apart from the fact that majority of printers (my personal opinion, all) have shity drivers, when it comes to lab printers human factor adds up. 

Typical case is that there is no paper in printer, so whenever you try to print something it gives you message "No paper". After that you must perform a certain ritual. Put a draft paper in the machine and return to your computer. Firstly, you have to deal with drivers (it does not update it's status very quickly), so even though paper is in printer it's still shows "No paper" or something like "assistance required". In that case disconnect internet on your computer and connect it again. It will force drivers to check printer's status immediately.

This was software's factor. Now about lab people's involvement. Remember draft paper at the beginning? As long as printer gets paper and you hit start button it will never, NEVER, print your stuff first. I don't remember a case when I put paper in the printer and it prints my stuff right away. Sometimes, if you put enough paper, it can print couple of forgotten and abandoned journal articles. So, you need couple of draft sheets to see what it will print first. But usually it's only a few pages (you know, those which have only header and page number). I guess, usually people put just enough paper to print important stuff but still hit "print all". Or realize at the end that they miss one or two pages, but after certain consideration (laziness) decide that they don't need them after all and these ghost pages continue to dwell in printer until somebody release them. 

So, after you print ghost page (or pages) hit cancel button to kill all remaining ghost pages in printer (you never know how many; if first printed page has title on it, it is a bad sign). Then you have to repeat ritual with disconnecting internet (only if printer will show "no paper" status, and it definitely will). After that, when status is "Ready" and you killed all ghost pages you can put good paper in it to print your stuff, but just enough to print only your stuff (because you don't want suffer alone). 


P.S. Sometimes you can find personal information of your lab mates on those lost ghost pages. In that case you might want to add more draft paper in the machine. So you can be aware not only about professional interests of your colleagues. To clear your consciousness consider it as team building initiative.