NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Challenges And Mysteries
by Judy Lococo, President, APCUG February 2001
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Hi, we're from the government. We're here to help you. I didn't really think this joke would come back to haunt me on the Internet, but alas, I have been shot down in flames by one of our very own State of Kentucky web sites! Or possibly my Xerox Docuprint P12 laser printer.

I located a form I needed on one of our state's Internet sites, but every time I tried to print it, my printer would stop dead in its tracks and tell me it was out of paper. I checked the tray, and beheld there was enough paper in there to print 150 copies. I looked for a paper jam, and the innards of the printer looked its usual black self. So I tried to print something else, and the printer kept telling me that it was already printing this form, and until it finished that job, it wasn't gonna print another thing! Jeesh! I checked all the settings & purge print jobs I could find, and there just wasn't going to be any printing done today! Finally in desperation, I turned off the printer and restarted the computer. Again I checked the settings and everything looked right, and I asked the printer for a test page, which came through perfectly. So I decided to print the form again. The "out of paper" light came on again, with the same dreadful message that it was printing that form and I wasn't going to print another thing until it finished that one. After a couple hours of frustration, and a computer inferiority complex, I decided that this shoddy form was my nemesis and quit trying to print it altogether.

Enter an intelligent, charming, handsome, distinctive, extraordinary, etc., etc., technodweeb who is infuriatingly right most of the time... He tried to print out that darned form and got the same error message I did! Yeah! I suddenly felt smarter! However, he was able to print it out on two different HP printers at another location without incident, _AND_, with my Xerox printer, he was able to circumvent whatever it was that was denying me my printed form. I shouldn't have been quite so smug. The circumvention involved saving the document to my computer and removing the "locks" on the form, instead of printing directly from the web. In other words, he CHEATED by changing the rules!! But he did get the thing printed. The problem was that whoever created the document also locked the form so it couldn't be modified. By doing that, the form was also locked into using a specific paper tray. Unfortunately, between Word 2000, the form, and the Xerox print driver, the software decided to use what is actually an optional paper tray for the Xerox printer.

I asked Xerox technical support for an answer, and after walking me through a LOT of the same steps I had already tried, they finally instructed me to install an HP IIP LaserJet emulation driver. When I asked for that printer to print the document, I was able to print out the gazillion copies I had stacked up in my queue!

I have to wonder if other Internet documents have their own printing instructions hardcoded into the documents themselves, that don't necessarily fit all printers. For example if it required the paper to come from the upper tray, and your printer used the bottom tray. If this were true, many of us would take a hammer to our printers and use language we didn't know we could pronounce, without ever knowing why. Wouldn't it be more sensible to ask that a document be printed out with the default settings of _any_ printer?

My challenge goes out to whomever is reading this to submit their own personal mysteries and hiccups. Please send your thoughts to (your editors email address) for inclusion in the next issue of (Your newsletter name) I know that it matters not how proficient you are with a computer, somewhere, sometime, one of these bumps in the road will strike and have you scratching your head. If you are too shy and don't wish to divulge your identity, use a pseudonym. I seem to remember reading an excellent article on home networking written by Ima Clueless and M.C. Essee...

There is no restriction against anyone using the article as long as it is kept in context, with proper credit given to the author. This article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an International organization to which this user group belongs.

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