Anatomy of a Printer Repair

I was asked to come up to camp to repair a printer that stopped functioning.  I asked if it was connected to the network.  I was told yes.  It was not.  I’ve done enough posts about outrages over printing and computers so I’ll have one of my periodic compassion-spasms.

Before I left as Assistant Camp Director, Nick Gramiccioni helped me with a project whereby we labeled every damn cable in the camp office.  You know that thing you do when you teach a kid to read and label door “door” or if they’re learning Spanish “fantasma bloqueador”, we did the same thing but with computer cables.  “USB Cable #6” and “To Network Port 4 from Office Manager PC” tabs were everywhere and for a brief shining week, I could say with confidence I knew where every cable went.  The chain of events that lead to breaking a printer spans 2 years and 48 network ports and goes something like:

  1. Cables in perfect harmony with computers.  Druidic ascension reached in terms of network.
  2. Network equipment put on slightly higher shelf, port assignment rearranged to make cables just barely cover distance.
  3. Port blows in building, patching now done through second cable, switch added, no labeling.
  4. Cluster of cables no longer tenable, they form trip traps and garrote wires.  In fit of rage, cables rearranged in daring midnight raid.
  5. Computer removed from network, thoughtful person removes cable marked “2nd Office Computer” is actually printer cable.
  6. Person sees “OKI printer cable” is plugged in but no printing happens.  I get call.
  7. I see that the cable marked “printer” has different ends on each side.
  8. I plug in unplugged cable.
  9. Clouds part
  10. God reveals self