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Image from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License.


Magic: the operative word for anything relating to computers. I have seen IT personnel, in unguarded moments; wave their hands over the offending machine, and restart it. Sometimes, it works. Other times, they shoot a few hoops, and try again.

When everything works, I take my computer buddies for granted.  But when they complain, I obsess like nobody’s business. Which is why I was not pleased when my reliable Multi-Functional Center (MFC) began talking to me.

MFC: “Drum End Soon.”

I, baffled: “What drum?”

Soon after, the machine mentioned, “Replace ink cartridge.”

“Yippee!  I know how to do that.”

I trotted down to my local office supply store, plunked down a large chunk of change on four ink cartridges.  Installed them.  Congratulated myself.  This proved to be a premature response.

MFC: “Drum end soon.”

 “I just fed you.”

 “Drum end soon.”

I pulled out the manual and discovered

1.  A drum is not an ink cartridge.  (Duh!)

2.  Price check: A drum costs half as much as a new machine, or, a machine cost twice as much as a drum.  I am a good consumer.  I bought a new MFC.

Life Lesson 1 – Why I bought new machine:

My current machine is really old – 5 years at least — in technology terms, practically a dinosaur

I want to ‘air print’ from my iPad

I have a credit card

Life Lesson 2 — Having a new machine is not the same thing as installing it.

Life Lesson 3 — How many over-educated people does it take to change a wireless MFC and connect it to the wireless access point?  I have no idea.

We read the manual, memorized the Quick Set-Up Guide, and downloaded every updated driver on the website.  No luck.  I waved my hands.  Nothing. Nada. Zippity do dah.

We shot metaphoric hoops.

We called Tech Support.  They only work Monday-Friday.  Really?  Seriously?  Tech Support doesn’t work on the weekends?

Drank beer. Shot more hoops.

Monday, worst day to call anywhere.  I’m up at 5:00 a.m. There are many wonderful things about living in Hawai`i, but getting up at Zero Dark Thirty to call the East Coast is not one of them. (grumble, grumble)  I was not alone.  I know this, because I was on hold half an hour. It was worth it.  Once again, I am wirelessly wired.


Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.