Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday, aka Murphy's Law Day

I had it all planned out. Really, I did.

The plan was, go out for a little R&R after stuffing bags on Saturday, then wake up Sunday, take my car up to Steven's place, take the #5 bus back, and plunge into the conference.

But I got slightly waylaid, then started the day later than I planned. Of course, it's easy to get waylaid at Fry's. I was disappointed that they didn't have a better selection of paper, nor did they have decent prices. I settled, basically, on a fairly white 24 lb. stock. And I passed by the toner cartridges, saw that they had the ones for my printer, and on impulse, decided to grab a set--at full price. I didn't want to get stuck short.

Getting out of there late, I relaxed with a burger from Red Robin, where I read about another place I thought I'd try some poker. It turned out to be dead, but there was one $4/$8 table. I played for too long, played not up to snuff, and got back later than I planned--only to find the cordless phone over the bed not working, so my wakeup call (for 8:30am instead of 8:00am) would literally get me out of bed.

Stayed at my friend's place for a half hour to chat, rather than catch the right-way return bus, which put me at the hotel at 11:00am--when all hell broke loose.

Consider this: It's just past 10:30pm now, this is the first blog entry I'm had time to make, and I'm eating he first substantial food I've had all day (although I had planned to skip breakfast and do a good lunch), which isn't anything more than bad-for-me fast food, pretty much the only thing available to me nearby this late.

I walked in and Joe was frantically juggling. Turns out some of his friends who were flying in to help were late. He had some notebook cable locks for the Internet stations, but wasn't able to figure them out, and had other things that needed doing as well. So I jumped in, figured out the cable locks (not an easy task), and set up the notebooks--only to find another problem, with the wireless routers on that floor. I did a workaround until the routers there got fixed.

That bumped me right up into the start of the afternoon sessions. I had wanted some time to tweak my template, but now I was going to have to do that while I was taking notes.

But I ran into more problems, this time software-related. InDesign just wasn't working. Styles were not being given the fonts or the colors they were defined to use, line spacing was all over the map, it was becoming a real mess.

Finally out of frustration ,sitting in the middle of a session, I gave up. I opened Microsoft Publisher, which I had used last year, and began searching for a template. I found one. I wasn't crazy about it, but I had some criteria in mind. I wanted 4 columns, and I wanted a style that would be easy on toner.

Got that set up fairly quickly, to my relief. Didn't get quite as many notes as I wanted in the 3 sessions, but heard some interesting stuff. I stopped also at the Doc-To-Help Day session for a little bit. Not as many people in there as I would have thought--and most of those were leaders in our field (Paul Neshamkin, Char James-Tanny, Sue Heim, to name a few) who were asking the ComponentOne reps tough questions.

And then the fun really started. I got my printer set up in my workspace, got it connected, and tried to print out what I had so far to take a look-see.

And nothing printed.

The beginnings of troubleshooting didn't help. I thought it might be the print spooler, but restarting that didn't help.

I went to the HP site, downloaded the latest firmware and the printer driver. Updated the firmware. Nothing.

Reinstalled the printer driver software. Although it didn't finish the install with an error, it still didn't work.

I decided to try a drastic measure, something I had never done before: try to restore my computer from a restore point. I went back to before the first time I had installed the printer driver. It took a long time, close to an hour--only to fail.

I was feeling panicky, desperate. It was approaching 7pm now. I had been struggling with this issue for a good 2 hours with no end in sight.

Finally, I hit on an idea. I swapped out the brand spankin' new USB cable for the little short one I had been suing at home.

That did the trick.

As they used to say in the old Toyota ads, "Oh, what a feeling."

Fortunately, the editing Sue did was light, and the printer turns out to be fairly quick, putting out 200 double-sided copies in about 45 minutes. The printing finished just about 10 minutes ago, and so now I can go to bed and get ready for Monday, which will be packed. (I'll post some photos then too.)

I sent Joe the newsletter PDF, and he will probably post it on the conference site tonight or tomorrow.

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