That's why it's IT's favorite four-letter word

This IT pilot fish's parents have a color printer that's stopped printing in color, and is anyone surprised at who's called on to solve the problem?

"With a little research I determined it was a common problem for that model, but too costly to repair," says fish.

"A few weeks later, my mother ordered a new printer -- same brand, different model number -- and I took on the task of what should have been an easy installation process on a Wednesday night."

Fish is in a little bit of hurry, so he suspends his usual rule of reading the manuals that came with the printer before trying to set it up.

A quick survey tells him the printer can connect three different ways -- USB, LAN or Wi-Fi. That's fine, because it needs to connect to one PC networked with the printer by Ethernet through a router, and with two others connecting via Wi-Fi, like they had before.

Fish uninstalls the drivers for the previous printer on each of the computers and then starts the driver installation process for the new printer. And it works -- on the Ethernet-connected PC. For the two connecting by Wi-Fi, no luck.

He tweaks a setting. Still nothing. He tweaks a few more. Lots more nothing.

After 20 minutes of useless adjustments, he realizes that maybe suspending that manual-reading rule wasn't such a wise idea.

He's still in a hurry, but fortunately a light bulb goes on: This printer works three different ways -- USB, LAN or Wi-Fi -- but it can only be set up to work one of those three different ways at a time.

Sighs fish, "I had an extra wireless card for a desktop and installed it in the first PC, changed how it would connect from Ethernet to Wi-Fi, and set up the printer to connect via Wi-Fi. The other two computers could then see the printer and were successfully printing as well.

"The whole project took me an hour longer than it should have -- and reinforced my rule to RTFM."

Sharky wants to RYTTOITL -- read your true tale of IT life. So send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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