Thursday, March 12, 2009

The French taking over the world - one printer at a time

*smacking myself in the head*

I'm sorry! I realized that I should have shared on this blog the printer saga that happened in my house. And since I'm a writer, computer and printer issues are a BIG DEAL.

It all started last September with the discovery of the "French Conspiracy."

“No!” you may gasp. “The French can only formulate cheese, make any word sound romantic and snooty at the same time, and surrender.”

Au contraire, mes amis. They can also drive you insane through harmless electronic objects. Oh, yes. Forget technological or biological warfare. Why get the world mad at you through overt action, when you can just drive your enemies to surrender—or even suicide—one printer at a time.

Printer? You read it right: printer. Travel back in time with me and I will show you this diabolical plot, and see if at the end of my story you do not also look at your printer with suspicion, or maybe even fear…

To start the story, envision a cheapie printer (probably from China) that required a trip to the ink refill place once a month, so that we could have bought a dozen printers for the cost of those stupid cartridges. Then the cheapie printer decided to wig out and only printed lines—and only in pink. I ran to the ink refill place, and even bought new cartridges, cleaned the attachment points with rubbing alcohol, and tried everything short of tossing the printer out the window. No luck. Pink lines were all we were going to get.

My husband won a brand, spanking new printer at some conference or other (we were so excited, usually he wins something like a set of embossed pencils – go public education). He brought the printer home, and I gleefully set it all up, plugged it in, and followed the instructions that popped up for installing new hardware. Then popped in the installation CD.

Everything was going swimmingly until I noticed that the installation instructions were all in French. That’s strange. I didn’t choose French. Surely I could change it to English somewhere along the way.

Ha. That’s just what the French *want* you to think. Lure you into a false sense of hope.

It all installs, but everything is still in French. I could deal with that, but the stupid thing wouldn’t print. Everything said it was printing—the printer display, the printer & faxes folder, the program I was printing from—but no printing pages. Not even pink lines.

Hmmm. Maybe I did something wrong. Uninstall, reinstall. Still in French. And still no printing. Uninstall. Reinstall. Still French with no printing!

Ok, time to break out the instructions. First, take printer out of package. Check. Install ink, plug in power, yada yada yada. To install: Do not follow Windows Add new hardware pop-up. Well crap! I wish I would have known that 3 installations ago!

Uninstall. Reinstall following the directions. Still in French! Still no *&(*%^$# paper printing out!

Follow the troubleshooting instructions which say to uninstall then reinstall. Well, brilliant! I already tried that, like 5 times! Remember, all the instructions are in French so I *think* I’ve been uninstalling and reinstalling.

My husband gets home. I am absolutely fuming at this point and both printers are about to be used as speed bumps in my neighborhood. I am not only livid, but frustrated to the point of tears. I dare you not to be after THREE FREAKING HOURS installing the French printer from hell with its Easy 1-2-3 installation.

Hubby takes over. After he uninstalls, and reinstalls, the printer decides to be a smart aleck and actually prints out the test paper for him—in French!!! Then it changes its mind and does the whole not-printing thing. By now we have a print cue of like 100 or so.

We break down and call tech support. It takes my husband and some nice, baffled guy named Francois (or something) over another hour to finally get the printer to print. But tech support has no idea why it insists on doing everything in French. “Je suis vraiment navré” Francois says, all the while laughing up his snooty sleeve I bet. (translation: I’m really sorry)

I go to print the next day and NOTHING will print. I call up Francois at tech support again. We walk through everything for another hour, and the printer deigns to print a couple things for me. Until I turn on the computer the next time.

I’m ready to slit my wrists, but before I do it, I have a stroke of genius. I download a free complete uninstaller, run the printer program through it. Then reinstall following the instructions. Voila! Now we have a printer that *Gasp* actually prints. And the menu is in English, too!

Ha ha, you French! Your plan was foiled. Thank goodness for brainstorming in the shower. And now I will spread the word to everyone far and wide. I will expose your scheme for what it is!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

And so... no more problems?