NEIU Invaded by Alien Forces, Student Body Doesn’t React


Photo by Rut Ortiz

Some of the old printers have remained on campus. Was your favorite one upgraded?

An alien machine force has invaded NEIU. These machines were not there at the end of the summer semester. Where did they come from? What do they want?

I’m referring, of course, to our new printer and copiers, who like an alien invasion, have appeared from space. These machines are seemingly a part of the “technology upgrade” NEIU is having, referred to only by a summer Targeted Announcement. With all new technology there are bound to be some bugs or hiccups in the streamline process. A few hiccups I’ve encountered along this path have been double-sided printing, wireless printing and the general lack of any kind of technical support.

On August 25, I entered the computer lab in the basement of Lech Walesa Hall. Choosing to prepare for my first class of the semester that had been activated in D2L, I decided to print my syllabus. Upon requesting to print I was greeted with a prompt to type my username and password.

I do not like to make assumptions when it comes to machines and technology because I have seen all five “Terminator” movies and the “Sarah Connor Chronicles,” and I know what happens when you assume things about technology.

The option to create a username and password were given so I created one using my NEIU information. I followed the steps hoping printing would soon follow. It did not. I walked over to the printer, swiped my card, and “no print jobs available” appeared on the printer’s screen.

I typed in the username I had created and one available print job appeared, but no print credit appeared with it. I was now 10 minutes late to class. As I made the walk to the Fine Arts building, I frantically recalled in my head every notice regarding my financial aid for this semester. “Maybe I forgot to pay?” I thought. “What if I can’t print anything for the rest of this semester?”

My inquires of the process behind printing in the computer lab have been answered by the lab attendants who have been the most obliging. When inquiring from the same people on how to make copies of any kind, shrugs and blank stares accompanied their unsure responses. Finally, a fellow student showed me how to print. At the time, the only option available was single-sided printing from a computer lab station.

After visiting Print Services, I received a small tutorial from the staff and this very new technology sounded promising. It leads me to wonder, as I finally made my photocopies, “What do the other students do?”
This tutorial was only received after a long search of the NEIUport, the NEIU website, and eventually a long walk around campus asking strangers for help. Should printing really be this difficult?

I have several questions, which at this point are frustratingly unanswered.  Where did these alien machine invaders come from? Why did they just appear out of thin air? How on earth am I supposed to use them?

The new copiers and printers remind me of middle earth legends: Dwarves, Hobbits and elves sitting around a campfire telling stories of printing days gone by. These stories would consist of the ease of making double sided copies, about how a simple swipe of a card and four-digit pin made printing possible.

Gone are those days. Will they return? Will someone send out a Targeted Announcement on how to use the copiers? Will there ever be wireless printing again? So many questions, and as of now, there are no answers in sight.