Saturday, February 27, 2010

SoC printing problem

So SoC is currently having this printing problem where if you print wirelessly, the spooling gets incredibly slow (20min for a lecture note).

I'm not the sort of person who waits for "someone else" to do it (todo: sci lib com lock, soc missing mag, laser, recycle), so I decided to do something about it.

I visited the technical helpdesk:

Firstly the person suggest for me to map \\nts27\pc to my netbook as a network drive. It makes no sense to me but well she's the expert and I'm no system admin. It doesn't help.

Next she claims that my file is too big, too many pages etc... I proceed to print a 22kb pdf file with only two pages. It took a long time. So she called the technical guy and they spoke over the phone. The guy says that my file took 36mb on the spool and that he had cleared it. (*) They didn't give any explanation, nor any timeframe for which they'll solve it (not that they owed me one), and only say that this issue has been known for quite sometime and that they recently changed the printing mechanisms.

I'm not satisfied. I mean this is the School of Computing for goodness sake. If there's a problem related to computing, one would think this is the last place in the school where it'll happen. The irony. I'm not angry about this, just amused and inconvenienced.

So I asked, "So what can be done?" She asked, "Do you want to speak to the technician?" and I answered in the affirmative, "Yes I would like to". What happened next made me really angry. She told the other person on the line, "Quek ah, got someone want to speak to you. .... he insisted to speak to you" and mentioned not just once, but at least thrice that "I insisted". What an false allegation! For the record, she suggested and asked if I would like to speak to the technician and all I said was a simple "Yes I would like to". On top of that, she was blatantly lying while I was just in front of her.

I could sense that the technician was kinda unwilling to speak to a "student" and she somehow wanted to absolve herself of any association to me wanting to speak to him, hence this lie. But sorry, this is not a white lie. It is black.

I am not angry that the wireless print spooling takes a crazily long time and that it is not fixed to date (can't blame people for their incompetency). I can always print from the programming labs. But I am infuriated that I get accused by someone of saying something which I didn't say, especially when I'm just in front of accuser. My straight face didn't reveal that I'm angry or anything. There is no emotion, there is peace.

In retrospect, I should have recorded the entire conversation to prove that what I said in this post is true. But hindsight is 20/20, and you have the choice whether or not to believe in me.

(*) I did some experiments later. A regular .txt file spools immediately from wireless, hence .pdf (and the printer driver installed on wireless devices) is most probably the culprit.

Later I printed a .pdf file using the exact same print settings, once wireless from my netbook and another time from a programming lab. As usual, it took a very long time to spool wirelessly, and it was very quick from the programming lab. I suspect that there's a problem with the printer drivers (settings) on wireless devices (I have deleted and reinstalled the printer drivers prior to the test) causing the filesize to be extremely large when spooling. However, as I do not have sufficient privilleges on the school's printers, I'm unable to select "Pause printing" for the printer to check the size of the file in the spool. When I tried printing it at home using the same settings, the filesize is just 181kb in the spool for the 22kb .pdf file. I have a different printer (and hence different printer driver) though, so it doesn't really say much.

I don't think I'm going to experiment further with .ppt and other file formats (to get the classes of documents for which this is an issue. probably happens with postscript printing). It's not my job, it's theirs. It's not worth the effort, and they're not going to be grateful. I have my projects, homework, tutorials to do, and books to read and study. For now, I'll just print from the computer labs.

I was angry then, I'm not angry now that I'm typed this out. Peace out.