Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

Just like in those Simpsons episodes where they travel the world, we're in Brazil. But without sucking

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On-Call Look at the clock: Friday is here and so, therefore, is On-Call, El Reg's weekly wander down memory lane and into readers' recollections of jobs gone awry.

This week, we're going to be like one of those Simpsons in which the family visits another nation. But with a better plot and without lazy stereotyping, thanks to reader “Mark” who tells us he “works, lives and suffers” in Brazil.

Where it turns out they have pimply-faced youths (PFYs) just like anywhere else. One of Mark's PFY acquaintances was asked to deal with a trouble ticket about a printer that wouldn't.

After the usual questions “Is there paper in the printer” and “Is it turned on” questions, plus some footling about whether or not the printer was visible on the network, the PFY went and looked at the machine.

“He found out that the printer; indeed, had paper on it,” Mark recounts, “but the user did not bother to take the ream out of its wrapper. Once that was done the print jobs started to spill again.”

Another of Mark's gigs saw him asked to restore a server from backup.

He told us it had to be done after hours “for some pointed hair management issues”. Maybe we should have asked what that means. But we're going to leave it here because it sounds fun.

Whatever it means, Mark told his building manager that he would be working late and therefore needed someone who could let him out of the building after midnight.

“Like the IT Crowd show, the IT room was in the basement,” Mark told us. “And when I tried to emerge from its bowels, it was no surprise that I was locked in.”

At the time, mobile phone coverage in Brazil was scanty and the fixed line to the security team wasn't answered.

“After two hours of shouting I managed to get the attention of a security guy.” But that worthy did not have a key to anything useful. Mark says “he managed to open one balcony door that I could access and climb out of the first store of the building at 02:00 in the morning.”

On another occasion Mark was asked to install a server at a new office. When he got there, he was a bit surprised that the server didn't work. In any power point. “ It turned out that there was only energy cabling from the building to the framework, but there were no cables distributing the energy to the room!”

Mark later learned that the previous tenant had taken the wiring with them and that whoever signed the contract hadn't made a proper inspection.

Do you have tales to match Mark's, no matter where on Earth you go about your business? If so, write to me to give yourself a chance of featuring in a future edition of this globe-trotting column. ®


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