Saturday, August 29, 2009


Plugging in...

So there the Tutor was, paddling her kayak up the Danvers river, not another boat on the ocean, this quiet weekday. The Tutor frequently paddles solo and always brings a cell phone tucked into a dry bag strapped to the deck of her kayak, SEA-battical, for safety purposes, certainly not to work!

There's always a first time for everything, and didn't the cell phone begin ringing as the Tutor paddled lazily by Sandy Beach, heading for the Danversport Yacht club. The Tutor's cell phone isn't prone to ringing, as many other cell phones are, because it is mainly used to call OUT, so hearing it ring was a surprise, and it was so entirely out of context on the ocean to hear a phone ringing, that the Tutor ignored it. Until it stopped, then started ringing again. Someone really wanted to reach the Tutor.

So, securing the paddle, unclipping the dry bag from the stainless steel caribiner and extracting the phone, the Tutor answered it. And it was a client, looking for assistance in getting their Comcast modem back on track. When I described where I was, the client quickly suggested we talk another time, preferably land-locked but the Tutor had already secured the paddle, could talk with one hand on the phone and used the other hand to gently paddle away from any obstructions. Did you know you that a kayak could be paddled only with hands - slow but true.

The client had been away for two weeks, had unplugged ALL electronics before leaving (a great idea to not only save electricity, but to prevent a summer thunderstorm and subsequent power outage from potentially damaging the modem and the attached computer). Only one problem... the client wasn't entirely familiar with how the modem, wireless router and computer all worked together in that jumbled mess of wires under the desk. The wireless router was inadvertently left unplugged, leaving the client puzzled as to what happened to the internet connection.

Hum the following to the tune of Dry Bones (the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone...):

The cable's connected to the modem
The modem's connected to the router
The router's connected to the computer
Oh hear the word of the TUTOR!

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, and is it turned on?


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can You Say Hermetically Sealed?

Plugging in...

We all love color, don't we? Or are you one of the growing contingent with the FOC problem? What the FOC, you ask? Fear. Of. Color. Well, color ink jet printers are currently the best selling printers on the planet. The manufacturers practically give the printers away, knowing they'll be making oodles of money on their one consumable: ink cartridges.

Ink. Comes in a box. In the box is a cartridge either shrink wrapped, or wrapped in foil. These packages are hermetically sealed. Big 50 cent word here. Means air tight. Air tight for a reason. The reason? Ink cartridges dry out. Poof, ink evaporates like water droplets in the sunshine.

Why is the Tutor talking about such a boring topic as hermetically sealed packaging? BECAUSE a recent client ran out of ink, installed a new ink cartridge and continued to receive an out of ink message. How is this possible, the client wanted to know in utter frustration?

The client had purchased the ink cartridge several months prior. Took the cartridge completely out of the packaging and left it on a shelf in their office so they would:

1) know where it was and
2) have it ready to install

since opening some packaging these days requires a bowie knife or a saw!

Guess what happened on the way to the printer? All the ink dried up in the opened cartridge. All of it. What a waste of $35.00 for the cartridge, and the Tutor's not saying any time is ever wasted when she's on-site with a client, but heck, the Tutor had to charge for the time spent sorting out the client's behavior. Rather, ahem, the ink problem. We all now know the ink had no problem what-so-ever, don't we?

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, is the ink still in the original packaging, and is it turned on?


Expensive Ink

Plugging in...

The ink jet printer won't print, but doesn't give any kind of error message? A bit like being ill without symptons. Older ink jet printers don't always have those little helpers called "monitors" that shout out long before the ink is gone, BUY MORE, BUY MORE.

The Tutor's client checked all cable connections and they were Okey-Dokey. Power was turned on. Paper inserted correctly and not jammed. Hmmmm. Try inserting a new ink cartridge. Sometimes black, sometimes color, sometimes both. Just do it. Try to print. Chances are the printer will click and clack to life.

Make another list and check it twice before calling the Tutor or that already pricey ink cartridge is going to be a whole lot more expensive! Since checking an ink cartridge is a lesson in futility (one can't usually tell by looking or shaking if it's empty, half full, or new), always have spares on hand for one never knows how much ink will an ink jet print before an ink jet decides to STOP?

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, did you try a new ink cartridge, and is it turned on?


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reading 101

Plugging in...

The Tutor always tells clients that reading is fundamental and 50% of what the Tutor teaches is reading. No joke. Case in point:

A recent client couldn't get the ink cartridge alignment notice to stop asking to align, nor could they get it to stop printing the alignment page. How strange, you ask? This was not a new printer, and the client had changed ink cartridges many times in the past. So what CHANGED?

After the printer shot out more than 35 pages of ALIGNMENT patterns, they called the Tutor. It sounded odd, perhaps a glitch in the printer driver, or worse. But alas, it was a case of reading, or in this case, not reading.

The client changed the ink cartridges correctly, the alignment page printed as usual, but the VERY LAST thing the notice said on the screen was "PUT THE ALIGNNMENT PAPER FACE DOWN ON THE PRINTER GLASS AND PRESS OK". Well instead of reading and following the instructions, the client recycled the paper (and the other 34 that printed after it). The printer needed the alignment page in order to check the patterns to ensure the cartridges were installed properly.

Not the printer's fault. When the Tutor put the page facedown on the printer glass, the message miraculously disappeared and no more alignment pages plagued the owner.

Reading. It's fundamental!

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, did you READ everything, and is it turned on?