Wayback Wednesday: Out of rotation

You have more faith in computers than you should.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This IT pilot fish is asked to set up a new sheet-feed scanner at a state agency so that a secretary can take a multi-page printed document from another state agency, scan it, OCR it and save it to a Word document so it can be indexed on a network drive.

Everything works great for months, but then fish gets a call from the secretary — the scanner is not working. By which she means the Word documents are full of junk text.

And she emails fish a copy of the latest document so he can see for himself: complete gibberish.

Fish starts troubleshooting: Has the document’s form changed in any way? Has anyone changed settings on her computer? Is she doing anything at all different this week?

No, no and no.

Fish finally ask the secretary to scan the document again, but this time to send him the result immediately — no OCR, no saving as a Word document.

As soon as the email arrives, fish knows what’s wrong. He calls the secretary back and asks, Why are you scanning the document upside down?

“She said the top corner of this week’s batch of documents had torn off when she removed the staple,” fish says. “She was worried they would jam if she tied to feed the torn corner in first, so she put them the other way.

“She asked, ‘Can’t the computer see I’m feeding them upside down and just rotate them by itself?’”

Sharky will try his best not to turn your true tale of IT life into gibberish. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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