Computer Eharmony

By: matýsek

I rarely use my printer. I don’t need to print things out. I keep all my work on my computer, and I back it up in some way. I understand that some people, more specifically college students, are in need of a printer much more than I am, so I’m sure that the best printers you can afford as a college student still work much more efficiently than my piece of junk. However, I do have one editor who sends such specific instructions for articles that I feel the need to print them out and keep them in front of me when I am working on her assignments.

Last week, she emailed me one of her usual assignments that included about 30 points she wanted me to cover. So, I saved the file and hit print. I waited a few minutes, but nothing happened. I went over to my printer to take a closer look. I could see the green light, so I knew the printer was on. There was paper in the tray, and nothing seemed to be wrong. The printer was just not responding.

I have a new laptop, so I thought that I forgot to set up my printer with the new computer. I went into control panel to confirm that I had linked it to my laptop correctly. Sure enough, my printer was listed as the default printer. It even had that little green check mark next to it to show it was the printer of record.

In years past, I would have called my husband, the engineer, to talk me through these technology glitches. But I have been trying to be more self-sufficient when it comes to my computer. Besides, he never answers his office phone anyway. He says it’s the new phone system or he is in the lab out of reach; I think he avoids me.

In his defense, I will admit that when technology issues have arisen in the past, I might not have been the most calm and receptive person when it comes to fixing the problem. He wants to give me long, drawn out solutions that require a 10,000-step procedure to make my computer do what I want it to do. I want to press one key and abracadabra, it’s fixed. And if he can’t give me that one key to press, I might get a tiny bit snippy.

I was totally perplexed and wondering why I could not get the printer to print, so I decided to do the old rebooting trick and look into hp printer troubleshooting, as this was one method I had attempted previously and it did work. I first rebooted the desktop computer that is command central for the rest of the computers and the printer in my home network. After that computer had restarted properly, I hit print again. I got a message that said,

Directories are not active and cannot be accessed.” I didn’t like that message. So, I ignored it, cursed out loud, and went on to my step two: rebooting my laptop.

I could feel my anxiety level rising a bit because, to be honest, the rebooting thing is the only technical fix I know for computers. If it did not work, I knew I was screwed. When my computer had completed the reboot, I held my breath and hit “print” again. This time, I got a message that said:

Computer does not recognize printer.”

“What the hell does that mean?” I screamed. “The printer is listed as the default printer. Both computers are up and running, and my computer does not recognize the printer? Is it kidding me?”

So, I tried to figure out a way for them to recognize each other. Out of desperation, I took my laptop over to the printer and said,

“Printer, meet my laptop! Laptop, meet my printer!”

I gave them a minute to get acquainted. I even put on the little webcam thing so they could have a picture. Then, I took my laptop back to my desk and hit “print” again. Guess what? It worked. I kid you not. Out of the printer came my editor’s instructions. I was amazed. When I saw what my little matchmaking attempt had done, I thought I should dim the lights, give my laptop and printer a bottle of wine and let technology love take its course.

I was so impressed with my non-conventional solution that I called my husband to brag. I left a voice mail explaining how the computer and printer seemed to have an emotional moment. Within a minute, he called back. Yeah, within a minute – he definitely avoids me. He said that it was impossible for the printer and laptop to have that kind of connection, and I must have done something to fix the issue. I accused him of being unromantic and thinking too much with the left side of his brain. He asked if I had been drinking.

Anyway, whatever I did to the computer and laptop did the trick. My printer has spit out everything I have asked it to spit out since that day. Maybe I did press something unintentionally, and it was the right key to hit. Maybe the rebooting had a delayed reaction and the printer was set to go with the next command. Or maybe – just maybe, even computers need a little romance to get back on track.

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5 thoughts on “Computer Eharmony”

  1. Hmmm, I suspect that when you “introduced” the laptop to the printer, the close physical proximity caused the link to work and they finally recognized each other. But what do I know. Maybe they were both shy, and you helped them break the ice.

    However, what I do know is that when I have a problem with the computer, it’s a doozy. I explain a problem to a guru, and I get the “I never heard of that before” response.

  2. Ah! A kindred soul! Someone else who KNOWS that machines are alive. I will have to tell my coffeemaker about this.

    1. Betsy, you beat me to it. But I agree Kathy, I think the “machines” develop personalities. I remember seeing a rerun of Lost in Space where that was true. 🙂

      1. There are a few old Twilight Zone episodes that will back up our theory, too.

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