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View Full Version : Minor cranky rant: Machines don't use the Force!



Staiduk
2013-Feb-25, 08:24 AM
'Lo. OK; had a bit of a hard day at work running around like crazy correcting other people's mistakes. I wouldn't mind so much if it was my own mistakes (and I make plenty) or the mistakes of a rookie but really... should I really need to run madly down a 300-ft. long press frantically flipping switches while the thing accellerates? Or make the 40-foot climb up and down the Ribbon deck several times because people don't know a) how to pull paper and b) the proper web-up path? Especially since each of these two people have more than thirty years in the industry? I don't need this kind of 3am. exercise at my age.

Then of course one of our stackers blew up. Not because the Baler (entry level position) set it up wrong; he actually did quite well. No - because one of these aforementioned jack...er...individuals decided to adjust it. Result: two broken belts, an hour of downtime and thousands of books on the floor and guess who had to gather and jog them all up?

The problem is these two are so experienced, so senior and so good - just ask them - that they don't need to pay attention to mere numbers. No, they print holistically; they make adjustments with grand, impressive-looking flourishes; impressing everyone with their sheer skill.

Too bad the machinery doesn't seem to agree.

Look: if a finished book is - for example - 10.5" by 10.5"; then just set the bloody machine to those dimensions. Boom - you're done. You're mounting a plate? Line it up to the scribe, don't say 'this looks right' and count on your massive experience. Adjusting colour? Follow the proper procedure; don't get creative. Following procedure might not be artistic, but it works. I tell new people all the time: "Machines don't use the Force. They use numbers. Set it to the numbers. Then make adjustments once you see what the numbers are doing. Don't guess. Don't assume. Just follow the numbers."
Oh I'm sure many people will disagree with me; they certainly do at work. After all; I'm only an inexperienced 20-year commercial printer and a rolltender at that. What do I know about real printing? Not much - but I do know that it can take these bozos more than fifteen minutes to line up the copy. It never takes me more than five (an average time to reach keepable copies is about 2 minutes) and that's with proofing the copy as well. Just follow the numbers. Art is important in the printing trade; but like any art, it's based firmly on solid technique. If you ignore the technique you don't have art; you've got a mess.

Aargh - dirty, sweaty, exhausted and very sore. Needlessly. Just like every week. Must go to bed; after a long hot soak.

grapes
2013-Feb-25, 01:46 PM
Art is important

Amen to that

Swift
2013-Feb-25, 01:55 PM
Of course machines use The Force. Its just that some have gone over to the Dark Side.
http://www.animated-smileys.com/smileys/starwars/animated-smileys-starwars-004.gif

schlaugh
2013-Feb-25, 03:18 PM
I've seen web breaks and the aftermath. You deserve a large, cold adult beverage. Several in fact if you are so inclined.

peteshimmon
2013-Feb-25, 03:32 PM
I trust that unkeepable output is recycled!

Staiduk
2013-Feb-25, 04:24 PM
I trust that unkeepable output is recycled!

Of course. Paper recycling is a huge industry. I don't know the exact figures but close to 80% of all paper products released to customers is recycled. Of all the paper I run I'd guess less than 10% is virgin stock.

Trebuchet
2013-Feb-25, 04:24 PM
...because one of these aforementioned jack...er...individuals decided to adjust it



The word you want is "in-DUH-viduals." Coined by Scott Adams.

Staiduk
2013-Feb-25, 04:37 PM
The word you want is "in-DUH-viduals." Coined by Scott Adams.

The word I want would get me banned. ;) I like that though - gonna use it tonight. :D

swampyankee
2013-Feb-25, 04:56 PM
Swift is optimist. Machines, especially large machines with lots of heavy, preferably hot, moving parts are just waiting to kill us the moment we let our guard down. Sometimes they try, but fail, and only remove body parts, usually phalanges.

Trebuchet
2013-Feb-25, 05:51 PM
Swift is optimist. Machines, especially large machines with lots of heavy, preferably hot, moving parts are just waiting to kill us the moment we let our guard down. Sometimes they try, but fail, and only remove body parts, usually phalanges.

And it's not just machines. My house tried to kill me in December!

Solfe
2013-Feb-25, 07:30 PM
I worked in a copy shop (no, not a large print shop) with three of those ridiculously oversized 1980's era copiers. I had completely trained a new person in just one weekend and she was handling everything wonderfully.

Until I walked away for 15 minutes.

There were no customers, so she ran a copy of a fax for the bulletin board. For some reason, it produced a white peice of paper. She diagnosed the problem as "out of ink" and pulled the large saddle shaped ink/tone cartidge. And dropped it on the floor and broke it. She tried to put the new cartidge in and ended up dropping that one too. Black powder was everywhere.

She filled a bucket of water and grabbed a mop.

I don't know the rest of the story because she walked out the front door and never came back. It was hard not to notice that she was mostly black in color and sopping wet. Her clothes, her shoes, her skin, parts of her hair.

The next weekend, I repainted the copy center. The only thing that wasn't black up to wasit level was the linoleum tiles and strangely, the copy machines themselves. Apparently copier ink doesn't stick to linoleum or copy machines

swampyankee
2013-Feb-25, 07:35 PM
And it's not just machines. My house tried to kill me in December!

Houses get really cranky when you tread on their roofs. Or stairs. And, of course, bathtubs and showers stalls are prone to homicide.

John Mendenhall
2013-Feb-26, 03:24 AM
I worked in a copy shop (no, not a large print shop) with three of those ridiculously oversized 1980's era copiers. I had completely trained a new person in just one weekend and she was handling everything wonderfully.

Until I walked away for 15 minutes.

There were no customers, so she ran a copy of a fax for the bulletin board. For some reason, it produced a white peice of paper. She diagnosed the problem as "out of ink" and pulled the large saddle shaped ink/tone cartidge. And dropped it on the floor and broke it. She tried to put the new cartidge in and ended up dropping that one too. Black powder was everywhere.

She filled a bucket of water and grabbed a mop.

I don't know the rest of the story because she walked out the front door and never came back. It was hard not to notice that she was mostly black in color and sopping wet. Her clothes, her shoes, her skin, parts of her hair.

The next weekend, I repainted the copy center. The only thing that wasn't black up to wasit level was the linoleum tiles and strangely, the copy machines themselves. Apparently copier ink doesn't stick to linoleum or copy machines

Really funny! Was drinking coffee, now I have to clean my PC screen.

Regards, John M.

Solfe
2013-Feb-26, 05:36 AM
Really funny! Was drinking coffee, now I have to clean my PC screen.

Regards, John M.

The stories I could tell about that one store.

It was a bookstore, copy center and paper supply when I started working there. When that business tanked, it re-branded itself as a party supply store. People would walk in looking for books and left handed scissors and would stumble right back out the door, all the while looking at the sign on the front door. The fact that the party supply company retained all of the employers of the book store just added to the confusion.

One of my favorite moments was checking every product in the store for correct pricing. We were attempting to get an item pricing wavier after investing in scanning registers. The day the county sent an inspector, headquarters had computer glitch that loaded price data for Brooklyn to all stores in NY.

The inspector was baffled because he was expecting to find 20% errors or less, but couldn't get anything to scan correctly. He told us that he felt bad rejecting waivers when a store score 79.5% correct. He actually left and came back later to try again. He said that leaving had no effect on his scanning, he was merely hopeful that we would get our stuff together while he was gone. I am guessing that he didn't feel bad about rejecting our waiver.

Edit - Needless to say, that store went out of business, too. The actually reason for the edit isn't to say something "needless", but to point out how obvious this situation was. :)

publiusr
2013-Mar-01, 11:42 PM
There was a lovely bit in Eco's book called Foucault's Pendulum about a certain fictional Vanity Press: where unsold copies of biographies are donated to hospitals and prisons where it is little wonder that the elderly don't heal and the evil don't redeem.