October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

Bad Data, Good Outcome

| Seattle, WA, USA | Top

Client: “My printer keeps printing junk.”

Me: “You have to turn off the computer and the printer, then turn on the computer first.”

Client: “Okay.”


Client: “It’s still wrong.”

Me: “Did you restart the computer first?”

Client: “No.”

Me: “Why not?”

Client: “The computer is too far away. It saves time if I just turn the printer off and on.”

Me: “That won’t fix the problem.”

Client: “I don’t see why not. I don’t have time to go back and forth.”

(We go through the procedure several times, with the client short cutting the directions each time.)

Me: “Okay, I think I know what to do. There is bad data in your cable.”

Client: “Oh. How do I get it out?”

Me: “First, turn everything off. Then disconnect the cable.”

Client: “Okay.”

Me: “Lay the cable out in the hall. Then pick up one end and shake the cable two or three times. Shake it very hard.”

Client: “Just a minute.”

(Time passes with strange noises coming through the phone. The client comes back on out of breath.)

Client: “OK, I did it.”

Me: “Good. Now reconnect the cable to the printer and then connect it to the computer. Then turn everything on.”

Client: “That did it! Thanks!”

(About a year later, one of our trainers called to tell a funny story about the client who insisted on shaking the cable whenever the printer messed up. She said it was, ‘To get rid of the bad data’. I kept my mouth shut.)