Wednesday, August 5, 2015

365 True Things: 129/Technology + Photography

A shaggy dog story . . .

Back in April (#33), I wrote that my hairdresser, Charlene, had asked me if I'd put up another photo show, my fifth. I confessed here that as the day approached to hang and I hadn't even started printing, I was feeling stressed. (No kidding!!!) But I had said yes, so it was time to get going.

(Procrastination is an art form. Believe me.)

The next day (#34), however (among other, unrelated technological issues), I discovered that I was virtually out of printing paper. I called Charlene to postpone by a week, ordered two boxes of paper, and then went ahead and chose my fifteen shots, of hands. That, I thought, would do it: the paper would arrive in a few days, printing doesn't usually take too long, I'd frame in a day—and I'd meet the (new) deadline. Whew.

But when the paper arrived, a new obstacle arose: I'd recently installed a new OS on the computer that talks to the printer. And now the Photoshop printer plug-in I use couldn't be found. Rather, I knew where it was: I could see it on the hard-drive directory. But the printer couldn't see it. And it's the printer that needs to see it.

As far as I could tell, I had the correct printer driver installed. Everything should be working.

But it wasn't.

Printer on arrival day
My first experience with Canon customer service, in 2009, was a dream: a very helpful guy somewhere on the East Coast who patiently guided me step by step through the set-up process (which is not intuitive, let me tell you).

The last time I needed customer service, a couple of years ago, was another story. I no longer had the number I'd called before; instead, I found a number on the Canon website. Had to be legit, right? When I got through (after plunking down $99 for a "service contract" with iYogi Technical Services), I was greeted by "Poindexter" . . . with a thick Indian accent—plus I'm pretty sure he had a bad cold. He sounded unwell, and he was not in a good humor.

More to the point, I don't think he'd ever heard of a professional Canon printer of any stripe, much less my particular model, before. When I told him my problem—which had something to do, again, with the computer and printer not communicating—he actually told me I should just go buy a new printer! Snort. I told him I'd do no such thing, and since he obviously couldn't help me, I'd figure it out on my own. [phone slams down]

Printing technical notes
Which I did. I don't remember exactly how, but I believe it involved turning on, turning off; and uninstalling, reinstalling. The usual high-tech solution.

In any case, that experience soured me but good to Canon tech support. And so with the new problem with the plug-in, I was verrrrrry reluctant to get help. But unfortunately, my last high-tech solution was providing no results.

So I fled the country, thinking when I got back I'd give it one last go on my own before calling in the Indian cavalry.

A few days ago, I girded my loins and gave it a shot. When I turned the printer on, I heard the usual grind and clunk—a good sound. But then came a long series of frantic high-pitch beeps—not a good sound. I looked at the console and saw: ERROR E161-403F / Call for service.

Color test chart
The printer had been complaining for a while that I should "check" the left nozzle, but this—ERROR—this was something new and entirely unsettling.

In desperation, I summoned up the Canon website. And there, under "Got Questions?" was a "Support by Email" option. Yes! iYogi averted for the moment, I wrote a pleading message explaining my issue (including my experience with Poindexter).

A couple of days later, I got a lovely response back—from someone in Chesapeake, Virginia! She described what the error message means (the left printhead is overheating), and assured me that "Canon's technical support is here in the USA. We would like to help you correct the problem you are having with your printhead and also help you get the latest plug-in and get it working for you so you can print again." Oh, sometimes it's the littlest things that make the world go round!

I'm waiting until I've crawled out from under a stack of work to tackle this issue, but let me just say: I am no longer terrified of tech support! I believe I will get help, and good help. I believe I will get my printer running again.

That shaggy story was actually an introduction to what I really wanted to write about today, which is:

I called Charlene this morning to apologize (again) for being so unreliable and to tell her my printer is momentarily dead, but it will soon be on its feet. Oh and by the way, I need a haircut. She called in the afternoon to schedule an appointment. She then told me that she's got three artists lined up to show in her salon, and after that she's done: no more shows by other artists. Instead, she's going to concentrate on showing her own work.

I think she thought I'd be upset.

But I wasn't. Not at all.

I'm off the hook!

And she should be using that beautiful space to show her own work. She was also excited because she has a big new beautiful light studio to paint in. I felt so happy for her!

And for me. The heavy weight on my shoulders that I've been feeling for months now lifted, just like that. For whatever reason, I really didn't want to print and frame and hang another show. Perhaps I should have been honest with Charlene from early on, but I was resisting the resistance. After all, I didn't have any real reason not to want to have a show.

I suppose I could try to analyze why I felt such resistance. But now it's gone. And I think I'll just leave it at that.

I'm still going to get the printer fixed, but now, instead of printing to show, I would like to focus on printing a portfolio: a lot of prints of a certain paper size that show off my themes, my styles, my eye, my sensibility. That sort of put "me" together in one sampler box. That sounds like fun.

And in the meantime, maybe I'll take some of the framed photos I already have—since I'm not going to be needing those frames for the show—and hang them on our walls. It's about time we started decorating this place.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see what you do my very talented friend!