The Manic Printer
Penfolds Winery has a lovely administration office and in the 1980’s they had a bunch of what was called Band printers. These printers did not print from dots in a print head, or spraying ink, or heating ink particles. Instead, there is a metal band that massively prints at an extremely high speed – especially for those days.
At this winery, they had 3 or 4 of these printers as they printed masses of reports. One day, I was called on site, because their printer was going “mad”. It had eaten 10 boxes of paper over night. A box of paper is about 10 rehems of A4 paper and it is all connected in one long stream. As they printed all night, the company had joined one box to another so that the printer could not run out of paper.
Something in the code went wrong, and this mad printer was spewing paper, faster than you could fold or gather it up. No one considered turning off the printer, instead they called us out. For us it meant a 2 hour drive from Adelaide to the Barossa, and during that time another box of paper was chomped up by the printer.
When we arrived the paper was everywhere. The first thing we did after climbing over the piles of paper was to turn the printer off. We then asked the operator to reset the computer, and then test the printer again. Of course, the old On and Off trick, fixed the problem.
However, this did not fix the physical clean up. The funny part, was that the manager at the time, wanted us to pay for his paper – all because they would not turn off the printer.