On any given day, if I am having difficulty with a computer or other piece of electrical equipment, I will fiddle with it for a while and if that doesn't fix it then I go online for assistance.
Normally a problem that I can't puzzle out unassisted will necessitate me going further than the simple 10 FAQ provided for beginners. Normally.
Yesterday at work I was looking for a World Cup 2006 planner that listed all the group games and would allow me to write in the scores, and also had a section for writing in the countries as they qualify for the second round, quarters, semis and the final. I'm not a big football fan, so having the planner means that I'm keeping up with what's happening, and makes it more fun for me. More "interactive", if you will.
I found such a planner at bbc.co.uk/sport, and went about printing it. As it appeared I realised that the colours that were nicely distinguishable on the screen hadn't translated well into the various shades of grey that our departmental LaserJet is able to supply. I considered waiting until I got home, but I know that our colour cartridge is running low, and I didn't think that my other half would be too chuffed if I used up precious ink needed for his latest PhD related work.
At this point I remembered the colour printer that sits quietly on my desk, rarely used. I was curious about its provision when it was ordered, but wasn't about to argue with a moment of generosity from one of our managers. This printer is provided for my sole use, and purely to make the charts I produce for our departmental statistics more interesting. Or "pretty" (my words).
I unearthed the printer from under my calendar, box of tissues (don't you love summer colds?), recycling paper for test printing, and a vast folder containing lists of occupants of emergency accommodation, and lightly pressed the 'on' button. Nothing happened. I pressed it again. Again nothing.
I looked over the other side of my desk to check that the printer was plugged in. I knew it was because I knew I hadn't unplugged it, but instinct told me to check. As I knew, it was plugged in, and the extension lead was on, shown by both the light indicator, and the switch being in the 'on' position.
Curious. I then moved all of the debris that had been on top of the printer away from the desk space in front of the printer and placed it onto my chair. I pulled the printer forwards to check the connections at the back. They were all plugged in fine, but I pulled them out and pushed them back in just in case.
At this point I pushed the 'on' switch again. Still nothing. Starting to feel a bit confused, I dove under my desk to check the connections with the computer, even though I knew in my heart that connections with the PC wouldn't affect the power leading to the printer itself. All the connections were fine. I wiggled the leads coming out of the back of the printer to make sure I was inspecting the right ones. I was.
I couldn't think what to do next, so I pushed the printer back into place, put all the detritus back onto the space on my desk, sat down, and promptly googled for the make and model, heading to the troubleshooting section of HP's website.
I found an option about problems with the printer not switching on. Clicking this provided me with a large image explaining how to put the power cable together, and reminded me that there was a power module adaptor. Feeling stupid, I went back over to the plug, noticing that the lead coming out of the adaptor was almost completely unplugged. Remembering that a colleague and I had wrestled the air conditioning unit out that very space earlier in the day, I deduced that this had probably caught on the lead and pulled it out.
I reinserted this lead and the printer sprang into life, flickering its lights and making a reassuring clunking sound. I sat back down feeling relieved, but really quite daft that I hadn't checked that first.
This morning, woken early by the post man, I turned on the television. Our freeview box was stuck on BBC Three, and was refusing to update the time, telling me that it was 00:23. Even I in my Saturday morning stupor knew that this was wrong.
I changed the channel using the remote control, and while the on-screen display indicated the channel was different, no picture came up. The box was very warm, so I turned it off and pulled it out from where it sits to try and cool it down.
When it was cooler I turned it back on, and BBC was fine, but now none of the ITV channels would display properly. The sound was disrupted, and when it was broadcasting sound properly the picture was jumping. This was annoying. I tried ignoring it, hoping it would fix itself, but after 20 minutes this was too irritating.
Yanking the manual out of the side of the video cabinet, I turned to the troubleshooting page. There are three options on the troubleshooting page, none of which have been any use with any of the problems we've had in the past. However, the second option "check all of the connections" rang a bell with me.
Not only had I wrestled a piece of electrical equipment roughly out of its 'home', but now something wasn't working properly and I hadn't checked the connections.
Laughing to myself, thinking, "Oh, it'll be something much more sophisticated than this wrong with it", I checked the connections, and the picture perfected itself.
I think the hot weather is making me stupid. But at least I am now successfully watching television with my colour World Cup 2006 planner at my side.