Friday, July 09, 2004

Joey's New Show is Gonna Suck Too

We're still not Friends with the new Millennium software system yet.

I think most of the problem stems from our ignorance at how we can adjust the system to Not Quite So Annoying mode from the Pretty Damn Consistently Annoying mode it's currently in.

We can't seem to make it stop printing whenever we perform ANY normal function with it. Check out a book, it prints a slip. Renew a book, it prints a slip. Put a book on hold, it prints a slip. (And while I'm using the term "slip" what I really mean is "a full 8.5" by 11" piece of paper with a slip-sized print at the top of it.)

Oh, we can uncheck the little box that says PRINT SLIP and make it stop temporarily, but that box never stays unchecked for long. In fact, it rechecks itself to PRINT SLIP if you do pretty much ANYTHING and suddenly the printer starts shitting out slips again. Actually, if it only shit out the slips that wouldn't be so bad. (It might even be useful at shutting the whine-holes of some of our patrons who moved here from big cities where their libraries gave them an itemized printout of all their books with every checkout, and where they were served pastries and tea and had a frickin' Starbucks in the reference hall.)  Instead, the printer shits out BOTH a slip AND a damned cover page for each slip that tells us it just printed a slip. No kidding? REALLY? A slip you say? Damn, I'm glad you used a whole piece of paper to tell me, cause I wouldn't have noticed it among the 500 other pages the printer's shat in the last hour!

Occasionally we are able to convince the infernal thing to stop printing on a more lengthy basis, but we never know exactly how we've done it when we do. See the thing comes with more than one PRINT SLIP box to check and we think they ALL have to be checked, cause if you do only one of them it just rechecks itself when your back is turned. Another method is to shut Millennium down and bring it back up again. A box comes up that mentions something about printing capabilities and you can tell it "HELL NO." This is all very inconvenient because our circ computer is so slow that it literally takes 8 minutes to reboot, during which time the computer cannot be used for anything else. It's also merely a temporary measure, cause as soon as we really DO need to print something, say a book hold request slip, the computer assumes you want it to print EVERYTHING once again and starts doing so with gusto.

We know there has to be a way to get it to print only when we specifically request it. Our librarians are hesitant to call our state tech guys to ask, though, because: A) the tech's are busy as hell with all the other libraries calling to ask why the system keeps freezing up or eating patron records or losing its ability to search books by barcode or smoking cigarettes in the restroom and horking sandwiches from the staff fridge, etc.; and B) because we have no faith that the tech guys truly know any more about it than we do. Many of the other libraries seem to take this same attitude, which is why they call us when they have questions. Naturally, these questions tend to land painfully in my crotch.

THEM ON PHONE: Hey, Juice, this computer isn't letting us check a book out to this patron and it keeps telling us we can't access its Booginfroondle Record using that number, cause it's invalid, but we're not using that number and we don't want to access its Booginfroondle Record in the first place, we just want to check out a Patty Cornhole book to them. How do I fix that?

ME: (*THROWS UP HANDS*) Pshht! Ya got me. Have you tried turning it off and rebooting?

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.