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  • I think the idea that a device can sit out there, be sent a string of digital data, motivate 10,000 parts to suddenly kick into action, pick up a single page from a stack of sheets, feed it through a roller-coaster ride of rollers, pinchers, pickers, and more, put an electrical charge on the paper with frickin' laser beams, get tiny particles of toner to stick to it, melt it to the paper, and deliver it to me in a few seconds, is amazing.

    So, no. I would say that printers are probably one of the best parts of IT. It sure beats the old days of standing at the computer window waiting for your printouts to be burst and put on the counter by computer acolytes.

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  • No, the worst part of IT for me is being dispatched on a printer service call and have the IT contact say "I used to be a printer technician, this is what needs fixing" or "I looked online and this is the way to fix it". Well Mr. Smarty Pants, if you know all this, why am I here? Just tell me the problem and leave the fixing to me. 

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  •  How is business for that? I can't imagine many people can actually mechanically fix a broken printer, and I hate to hear of devices getting thrown away!
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  • I miss pin printers... they literally sang as they worked.

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  • Now, that would be something! I know somewhere down the line productivity could be in line with music, but we're talking deep work.

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  • Imperial March

    It really has been done.  I recall my brother writing the code to do it in Q-Basic years ago on an old NEC 24 pin printer I had (that was color).

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  • I would say print drivers are the worst thing of IT.

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  • I have to agree with Robert - printers are one of the most amazing pieces of technology our users use every day.  The fact that they work as well as they do is simply a testament to the ingenuity of printer designers and builders.

    Print drivers, on the other hand...

    ===========

    If printers push you out of IT, then maybe IT wasn't the right career choice for you.

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  • Printers are not something an I.T. person has to do much with these days.  You just make sure that they are leased to a good plan, and if something goes wrong, call the number.

    They really are one of the easiest things, replace the toner, replace the maintenance kit, reload the drivers from the server.

    They used to be a PITA but these days are a very well sorted technology, the biggest challenge is going paperless.

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  • andrewkornrumpf wrote:

     How is business for that? I can't imagine many people can actually mechanically fix a broken printer, and I hate to hear of devices getting thrown away!

    This is the bread and butter for lots of companies! I used to be a printer technician and I would literally rebuild fusers with new rollers, springs and little pieces. I have spent countless hours on the insides of printers, and they are quite impressive when you understand the process and science of how the laser printer actually prints.

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  • For the most part a printer only does what the software tells it to do.  Most of the problems I have found are users that do not know how to use the software in front of them to make the printer do what they want it to do.  Or trying to make it do something it can't, but of course it did it last month.  But they only had this printer for a week.

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  • [Utility] [Administrator Settings] [Security Settings] [Enhanced Security Mode]

    Select whether to enable the Enhanced Security Mode.

    Possibility?
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  • Printers are wonderful things but can be a headache when they are not configured correctly and playing around with the drivers can be a challenge as they can produce weird and wild outcomes for users trying to print with the wrong drivers or strange configurations.  The devices are getting a lot smarter and the troubles of years ago with printer configurations I think are becoming less common.  

    I would say the worst part of IT for some places is the lack of understanding by some users and Management groups as to the importance of it. My IT infrastructure was neglected for many years before I started working here to the point that it's having major impacts in the business's ability to move forward and adopt new technologies that it needs to keep pace with an ever-evolving industry.  All infrastructure is running on its second year of extended warranty, most of the laptops out in the field are pushing 8 years old and are vulnerable due to the lack of patching for older machines to accommodate Spectre/Meltdown. All core software is pushing end of life and there is not enough money to fix it all even though all of it is now critical.

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  • There are disposable printers and printers you have repaired. Nobody is going to dispatch a technician to fix a $40 inkjet and most businesses know better than to purchase them to begin with. Commercial duty printers are far better made than consumer junk and will do a lot more pages between problems. I’ve dealt with some printers that have done hundreds of thousands of pages with nothing more than replacing consumables and feeding it decent paper.

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  • petegaughenbaugh wrote:

    There are disposable printers and printers you have repaired. Nobody is going to dispatch a technician to fix a $40 inkjet and most businesses know better than to purchase them to begin with. Commercial duty printers are far better made than consumer junk and will do a lot more pages between problems. I’ve dealt with some printers that have done hundreds of thousands of pages with nothing more than replacing consumables and feeding it decent paper.

    A printer at my old site hit 1,000,000 pages just before I left. What a milestone. It wasn't even one of my problem printers either.

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  • Great comment!

    I think the general idea is because everyone is always on a device, that the industry doesn't provide value... why do I need to hire an IT team when I can just google the solution myself? I'm  was going to attach a jpeg of the top 10 problems in IT but I'm having problems with attachments, so my email address, I'd love to discuss way to drive value to the I.T. industry and to SHOW employers why IT matters!

    kornrumpf.tech@gmail.com

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  • Come on !!!!

    The worst part of I.T. gotta be USERS !!!! 

    Then the close second would be I.T management especially when it comes to budgeting.

    ......

    In this topic context.....it is either you got the wrong printers for your organisation or wrong MFD.

    When a printer is old (either by mileage count or age), there should be a replacement unit deployed and the old printer must be ready to decommissioned.

    For example....all of our MFDs have 60 months contract and they will be replaced with a new contract.....each floor or every 80 users have at least 2 units. 

    Then all users are not allowed personal or desk-bound "networked" printers unless with special requests. Then these printers would have max of 3 yrs manufacturer warranty and MUST be replaced after 36 months or after 24 months if replacement parts cost more than 35% of a new printer (to prevent repetitive failures or need to change expensive fuser units) and servicing every 12 months (replace rollers). So management must budget printers & servicing (without cost of toners) under these "special requests" for at least 72 months.

    ....

    Every printer have its mileage counts....this is a general rule of thumb

    2000 sheets = 1 toner (or mainly black as count if color printer)

    3 toner = 1 fuser

    2 fuser (came with printer + 1 change) = 1 printer

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  • andrewkornrumpf wrote:

    I think the general idea is because everyone is always on a device, that the industry doesn't provide value... why do I need to hire an IT team when I can just google the solution myself? I'm  was going to attach a jpeg of the top 10 problems in IT but I'm having problems with attachments, so my email address, I'd love to discuss way to drive value to the I.T. industry and to SHOW employers why IT matters!

    kornrumpf.tech@gmail.com

    The value of the users devices and software & hardware is to provide value to run the business (business operations) and for business stake holders to make proper decisions (reports etc).

    I.T. Teams usually provide 3 main benefits to the organisation....

    1. Ensure business continuity in terms of hardware & software support

    2. Ensure smooth business information transfer to stake holders

    3. Ensure security for the business information

    .....

    I have seen a 100 person organisation that does not even have a single computer for its business. Everything is done on pen and paper.

    Even payroll is done by issuing cheques and the staff signing off on a book.

    Incoming orders (clothes manufacturing) are received via fax and filed up and "pre-printed" perforated delivery orders and invoices are handwritten, either despatched or faxed out.

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  • Printers aren't the worst part of IT by a mile - Users are much,much worse.

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  • I'll have another vote for users - at least a printer attempts to do what you tell it !

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  • Printer Security also. Having a fleet of five year old printers that have a security flaw that won't get patched is a pain when they still function just fine, and no budget/desire to replace them other than the security flaw...

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  • Well, users are the best and (2nd) worst part :)

    Without them we wouldn't have a job, they can be frustrating, but they can also be very thankful which in return can be rewarding.

    The very worst part is having to explain to a manager with a very bad idea it's a bad idea that we shouldn't do because it's illegal/massively expensive/against IT policy, because they are manager and thus assume they always know best. [spoiler]They don't[/spoiler]

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  • The worst thing about IT for me, is when something simple should work (given the correct config, being up-to-date etc) and doesn't. Print drivers being a good example (as noted by others).

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  • Sorry to say, printers can be a PITA, but, Users who think they know it all are the worst part of IT.

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  • Many, many moons ago in a world that now seems far, far away...  I worked in an envelope factory. If you think modern printers are a problem, you should try working on an envelope machine.  An envelope machine takes a roll of paper that weighs over 1,000 lbs prints on both sides of the paper in up to 5 colors; dries the ink; cuts the paper into sheets; trims the sheet into an envelope blank; creases the blank to prepare to fold it; cuts holes in the blank for the window(s); applies patch (clear plastic), with glue to the windows; applies gum to the envelope; folds the envelope; dries the envelope; stacks the envelopes; and finally boxes the envelopes at a rate in excess of 1,000 - 1,500 envelopes per minute.

    Granted when I took that job I had to take a mechanical aptitude test and I had the fastest time on that test they had ever seen. I also ended up doing a lot of PLC work on those machines. In many ways I prefer working on mechanical and electrical issues to the computer issues that crop up, but the money and working conditions are definitely better working on computers.

    Regular business printers are a piece of cake.  The biggest problem with printers is finding the needed parts.  In my experience most printer problems fall in to two or three categories.

    1. Paper / Paper Path
      Either the paper is not installed in the printer correctly, or the guides are not properly set for the paper being used
    2. Incorrect pressure or worn rollers
      The printer is not properly set (or designed) to print on labels, envelopes... or rollers / bearings have worn out
    3. Toner / Fuser issues
      Either the wrong type of toner, defective cartridge.  Or the wrong type of paper is in use for the type of toner / printer settings.

    Actually parts failures are pretty rare for me any more.  The worst printer I can think of was an old HP LJ 1300.  The fusing roller had a silicon sleeve over it and when you ran envelopes through the printer it would groove the sleeve and then when printing on regular paper there would be lines where the grooves were. I had to replace a lot of fusing rollers on that model printer.

    As others have said, users are the biggest problem in IT.  I can understand, fix, repair mechanical, electrical, programming issues far better than I can people.  That isn't to say I don't like people, or help them.  But trying to explain to someone why they need to fan paper before adding to a printer or how to properly set the guides and why that is important can be very ... challenging.

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  • http://theoatmeal.com/comics/printers

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  • They can be a PITA and what's more, a distraction from more important stuff. Even in SMB offices, I warmly recommend leasing the main printer(s) at a flat rate incl. service, consumables, and spare parts, and buying or also leasing a smaller unit to serve as backup in case of total failure. 

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  • paulm8 wrote:

    Printers are not something an I.T. person has to do much with these days.  You just make sure that they are leased to a good plan, and if something goes wrong, call the number.

    They really are one of the easiest things, replace the toner, replace the maintenance kit, reload the drivers from the server.

    They used to be a PITA but these days are a very well sorted technology, the biggest challenge is going paperless.

    This, right here!  The only printer calls we get are for toner and waste toner cartridge replacements.  And that is because user tend to make a mess replacing either one.

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  • Printers are certainly frustrating. But for me it's the combo of printers and users. In particular the notion users have that they need a personal printer on their desk. Because what a pain it is to have to walk 5 to 50 feet to the copier. 

    Now to list a few things I hate about printers in general:

    - all the different models of printers that use different toner cartridges
    - you can't settle on one model because in 2 years that model is obsolete and costs 4x as much if you want to purchase it
    - this model does wireless, this one doesn't, this one does auto duplex, this one is manual duplex, this one does color, this one is only black and white, this one scans to ftp, this one scans only to unc, this one won't scan to email

    I have more than two dozen personal printers and I'd say 75% of them are unique models. Just lovely.

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  • I agree with Mike400.  When you consider all of the processing, networking, and mechanical aspects of it - I am just amazed anything comes out of a printer. 

    A user once told me, paraphrasing whatever quote they heard and it's true: "Printers will always break because we go from the digital world to a physical piece of paper.  Two worlds collide".

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  • The Repairatrooper wrote:

    No, the worst part of IT for me is being dispatched on a printer service call and have the IT contact say "I used to be a printer technician, this is what needs fixing" or "I looked online and this is the way to fix it". Well Mr. Smarty Pants, if you know all this, why am I here? Just tell me the problem and leave the fixing to me. 

    That's disappointing. Because I'm that guy, and you're here because I'm now probably getting paid more (hopefully) to do higher level network/server management, so it's not worth my, or the company's, according to my manager, time for me to grab a screwdriver and crack the thing open to replace a fuser assembly, as much fun as I'd have doing it! Oddly enough, the printer techs I've worked with seem to appreciate the details I know to provide them about an issue, and also have someone to kick some ideas back and forth with before committing to a particular area to repair first. They also love showing me things that are new to me, and that I like learning about them.

    At the same time, I know what you mean. "The ink won't print on the page, but I Googled it! Google said it needs a new laser 'ssemblee! Can't seem to find one for this new PageWide thing, though. Stupid HP..." ;)

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  • I'd have to disagree. Fax machines, I'm beginning to think this dated technology will outlive us all.

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  • I find printers easy to deal with. Especially when you have a company contracted to maintain them. All we have to worry about is driver issues and dealing with the contracted company. Which we are switching at the moment.

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  • Entitled users are my pick. They don't ask, they expect. They don't comprehend, waiting...

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  • Another Vote for Users,

    IT without having to deal with the users would be perfect :),

    and for printers, if you don't want to maintain them, buy them with a contract from a company that will do it for you

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  • Printers are one of the least worst parts of working in IT.  They are more easy to support now than they used to be, like back in the day when driver software was not readily available for download, let alone loading automatically 95% of the time like these days.  More often than not you will have warranty coverage on a device if there is something you can't fix yourself.

    On the other hand, one difficult part of supporting them is if you have a set of centrally managed multi function printers with a "print anywhere" set up integrated with a security card system... then it can get kind of complicated.  

    But generally printers ain't that bad

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  • I only say yes to this but when in the case of zebra printers

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  • I can see printers being very frustrating when budget is low, parts are scarce and tensions are high. But for the most part if they’re still in warranty and you are able to keep adequate consumable supplies on-hand they can be tamed. The real issues start with out of warranty equipment that has been deemed as mission essential but not important enough to replace or spend money on a maintenance plan.

    Now, copiers and bigger printers are better off leased with their own support and maintenance plans. Keeping up with out of warranty equipment like that can lead to maximum stress.

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  • Printers are a thorn in the side no doubt about it.  However I believe the reason they are such a thorn is that they are very visible and when one goes down you have a lot of users complaining about it.  I see it as the users that complain a lot about the printer are more the problem than the printer itself.  Hence why I got my boss to allow me to have what I call the mobile printer.  When a printer goes down and it will be down for an extended period I roll out my mobile printer on a cart.  Plug it into the network were the broken one is and just have people print to that one and it takes care of the frustration and that allows the other printer to be worked on and a less frantic and watched like a hawk pace.

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  • Agreed- AND the utter reluctance of anybody to actually post a solution when you look online...

    "Yeah. We're having the same problem"

    -Inscribed on the tomb of the unknown IT Tech

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  • We contracted out the support for all our printers. So problem solved for us. For them, well... bwwwaaahhahaha suckers <--- Best answer!

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  • Printers to me are a non-issue, if they are a big issue for you then you or your management are doing something wrong. Find a good printer supplier/service company, we use POA.

    The biggest problem I see in IT is upper management that does not understand or appreciate the work that IT does. A former employer decided to cut the IT budget 1M$ a year. Everyone there is now maxed out with work and I am told they were hit with ransomware that totally wiped out years of savings. My current employer is a huge improvement over them.                                            

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  • BYOD is the worst part of IT.  I brought my kid's chrome book, make it work for my autocad computer.

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  • ^^^^ This

    If you think a normal printer is bad, try to set up and configure a Zebra label printer.

    In my last place, just after I started, my manager said they had a printer that needed configuring that was sitting in a cupboard. Thinking it would be simple, I happily volunteered to sort it out (I've done a lot of printer fixing in the past).

    Just logging into the admin panel took me a couple of hours as I had to try to crack the PIN on it, ended up factory resetting it to then realise all the config was gone for the label size they needed. Whole process took over a day, with unhelpful error codes and poorly designed UI). Once set up we needed it to talk to our bespoke software hosted in AWS, to print in various locations in our warehouse (they had 2 more there already configured).

    Hours and hours and hours and hours of fun...

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  • So yeah, printers suck, but lemme tell ya this....

    You looking to break into IT? Get a starting servicedesk type job? Be the printer guy. Got me my first enterprise level gig. 

    I kid you not, in the job interview, "So you can work on printers eh?   .....    ..... We'd love someone to work on them  (instead of us)...."

    Me: I'll be your printer guy.

    I got hired. So yeah, I did printers until I bled toner, but I also got a lot of great exposure and work experience with networking, Active Directory, wireless, VMware, powershell, group policy, app and server management, etc.... 

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  • Robert5205 wrote:

    I think the idea that a device can sit out there, be sent a string of digital data, motivate 10,000 parts to suddenly kick into action, pick up a single page from a stack of sheets, feed it through a roller-coaster ride of rollers, pinchers, pickers, and more, put an electrical charge on the paper with frickin' laser beams, get tiny particles of toner to stick to it, melt it to the paper, and deliver it to me in a few seconds, is amazing.

    So, no. I would say that printers are probably one of the best parts of IT. It sure beats the old days of standing at the computer window waiting for your printouts to be burst and put on the counter by computer acolytes.

    LOL! Robert... you sir, are a character.

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  • The worst part of IT - MACs. Luckily, we only have a few at our company. If they ever become mainstream in the business world, that is the day I leave the IT career field.

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  • I always said that in I.T, printers are the bane to our existence. 

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  • I wouldn't say printers are the worst part of IT. Printers can be a pain in the butt, and it seems as if there's always something wrong with a printer somewhere, but not the worst part of IT. In my opinion, the worst part of IT would be know-it-all end users. My favorite part of the job is proving them wrong and playing around with computers.

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  • You asked what's the worst part of IT,  Conference Room setups for me...(I can't speak for everyone, but everywhere I've worked it because part of IT's responsibility)

    Why? Too many demands/expectations (want everything to work like $100k set up, with $1,000 equipment invested), too many different users with different needs, too many points of failure or issues that may not be in IT's control

    Always hated them, no matter how much you test, plan, get adapters/parts... things still go wrong at the right time.

    (Not to mention, many of us are not A/V people- yet "oh it sounds weird, this needs to be fixed" etc)

    And it's always IT's fault

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