02 February 2009

A highly technical geek story (or, a farcical tragedy)

Hooking up a printer in XP is supposed to consist of these easy steps:

1. Plug the printer into the computer.
2. Turn on the computer.
3. Turn on the printer.
4. Wait for the computer to fail to autodetect the printer even though it's on a USB port, then go to Control Panel, then Printers, then Add Printer.
5. When the computer asks, insert the CD that came with the printer. (This step may take a while if the CD in question is nowhere near the printer and hasn't been thought of since printer purchase, and is lying in the bottom of a box somewhere.)
6. Wait for the computer to find the printer info on the CD and copy over all files.
7. Print out a test page. Voila.

What actually happened:

Well, we got through step 5 with only a minor bump in the proceedings (when there was much rummaging around the house to find the aforementioned CD, accompanied by rumors that it might've been thrown away, and also a fair amount of angst by the child who most wanted the printer to be working).

Then came Step 6.

I should stop and mention at this point that the XP in question was running in Chinese. I couldn't read a darn thing I was doing, and the friend who could read it wasn't at all computer-savvy and didn't understand everything she read. Also, her English is weak and my Mandarin is weaker. Yay for universal picture icons. :)

Anyway, so there was a bit of a problem when it turned out that the computer was unable to locate all files on the CD. It wanted to find a somethingsomething.dll that didn't exist, in a directory that didn't exist. As usual when dealing with Windows, I quickly gave up trying to look at files via the GUI and went over to DOS, so I could see what all was on the CD. There wasn't a "cht" directory, but there were a number of other three-letter ones that looked like "rus" and "fra" and "dan." Presumably different languages then. So, not knowing what the dll file was for, I found a dll file with the correct name in the dan directory, and told the computer to use that.

Moving on to Step 7! I tried to print something. An error box popped open. It was in ... Danish? o.O

It turns out that most freebie online translators don't do Danish, and the ones that do, don't do it very well. (Or "dan" stands for some other language that isn't immediately obvious.) I think the error was trying to say something about low ink. But I don't know. The printer itself complained that it was out of paper (it wasn't). We didn't get it to print anything. :(


Jim Wright said...

Did you have one hand tied behind your back?

Because, seriously, dude, you should have.

Oh, and DAN stands for Detachment Anchorage, if that helps. What?

MWT said...

Heyyy... you're kinda sorta near Anchorage, aren't you? Next time it comes up, I'll call you up and you can translate. :D

I'm just glad that I didn't find the rus version of the file. Chances they'd have the cyrillic alphabet installed: yeah right. o.O

John the Scientist said...

But Ilya or I could have helped with the translations if it was in Russian. :p

MWT said...

"Okay, so now it says question mark five times, then four times, then nine times. Any idea what that means??"