Absolutely Ludicrous

I am absolutely fuming today. This is an unusual state for me – I usually
couldn’t care less, but a run of events at university have gotten me
particularly annoyed. Here goes!

It all started when my printer stopped working last week…..

…this shouldn’t be a big deal at all. My final project report was due in
today. Having put the final touches on at lunchtime I had quite a number
of hours to spare before the deadline (4pm). I went into uni at 1.

First task, print the paper. I go up to the computer science department
and, as I predicted, it’s full of 3rd years finishing off their paper.
This is fine and not a problem. I then go to Murray building (nearby
computer rooms) to print.

They’re also full. This is also not a big deal – there are loads of rooms
on campus.

At this point I should say that printing at uni involves quotas. We are
given £2 a year free from the university. Luverly. The odd thing is that I
am aware that we (Computer lot) get a quota recorded on a server
somewhere. My friends elsewhere have cards of some kind.

I ask the guy at reception where else in the university I can print that’s
going to use this system. The answer is ‘any XP computer, there are plenty
in the Library’.

I go over to the Library. Sure enough there are XP computers and quite a
few are free. Great.

Now, to hand in the paper, you have to jump through a few hoops. First,
you need to submit the paper electronically. You are then returned a sheet
with a barcode on it which you need to make two copies of. You then need
to take this to reception, along with two physical copies of your paper.
Not a problem.

I print the barcode sheets. Nothing happens. I then find out I need to go
to another computer by the printer, log in there and press print to
confirm my print. OK. I do that. It prints. All is good.

I then go back to the workstation to print the two copies of my paper.
Return to the printer, log in and hit Print again. Nothing happens. I hit
print again. Nowt happens.

Somebody is waiting behind me, and we both look at the screen, shortly
spotting that this printout of 50 pages will cost £2 exactly, and because
I’ve just printed two sheets at 4p each, I only have £1.92 left. (There
was never any error to tell me this, in fact I come home this evening and
find they emailed me the error instead! Great bloody help now.)

Okay. I ask him how I get more credit. The answer is this:
I go to the library reception where there’s a card machine. I put in a
pound (side note, I never had a pound anyway), and the machine dispenses a
I then go to a different room in the library where I have to put the card
in the machine and transfer the credit back to my electronic account.
Why can’t I just use the card? Because they no longer use it in XP rooms.
Once that’s done I then come back to this room and print again.

So, for the sake of two pages I need to do all that, spend at least a
pound with no obvious way to get a refund and have to go through this
whole charade again. I decide to go to my mate’s house. He agrees to print
the paper for me, on the condition that I give him a lift to the hospital
so he can hand a gift in to his lecturer there (long story). I agree.

We start printing. The printer jams up. We both agree printers are inbuilt
with a ‘deadline looming’ detector that makes them break in such cases.

Since I told him I’d give him a lift to the hospital I do that – he’d
never get there in time otherwise. We go to the hospital. Take 10 min. We
come back. My mate agrees to let me print the two extra pages with his
card if we go back to the library. To cut a long story short I manage to
get the paper printed thanks to a friend in the postgrad department who
has a free printer. Thanks Nick!

Anyway, back downstairs to hand the thing in. I’m then told it needs to be
bound before it can be handed in. Fine, I say. The receptionist hands me
two strips of binder rings, and says ’60p please’. Turns out our
department, with their ability to install pointless plasma screens in
reception and digital matrix signs that read ‘Fire Exit’ in LED lights (in
most other departments a little green plastic sign suffices), have the
cheek to ask me to pay for two bits of plastic to bind some paper (there
was a stapler sat next to me, but alas it has to be bound…)

Of course you’d also think that a computer science department would have
eradicated the need for paper handins a long time ago (especially when it
was paper *and* electronic handin), but you’d be thinking wrong.

And that was my day. How was yours?