Just tell it it's USB


  • BINNED

    Against my better judgement I got talked into a side-job on the weekend. It was supposed to be simple - just get the Internet working using a mobile data stick (USB dongle thiggy with a SIM card), and install a text-only printer so the POS software that will be used can print receipts. Straightforward enough.

    After wasting an hour poking around mobile connection settings before the customer finally admitted he bought a voice plan card instead of a data plan card and fixing the freaking APN, I got the Internet running. A bit ticked off but hey, at least it's nearly done, right? How hard can it be to get a simple text-only thermal printer working, right?

    Weeel.. .a bit harder when it's broken. I think the power supply gave up or something, and all I got was a blinking power light. Well, no worries, he has another one: an old Epson that connects over RS232.

    So I connect it, install it as a text only printer - no go, gibberish. Turns out it needs some utility that monitors the traffic and modifies it all to fuck-knows which format. Well, it's old, and supports graphics, so maybe not a WTF, or not a big one. In any case, it installed properly, provided it's own virtual port and even managed to print the Windows test page properly, logo and all. So far, so good.

    Ok, let's try to print a receipt. Click print - nothing. After poking around I find that it's sitting in the queue of the text-only printer connected to LPT1, which is broken of course. But... it's not the default printer! Oh well, fuck it, useless anyway, remove it. Click print - software freezes.

    By the way, the whole thing was "written" in Access. And since it uses some runtime... thing so you don't need full Access installed, there are no useful options anyway. But, after some poking I find a table where one of the fields is set to LPT1. Yup, it writes directly to the port. Ok, set it to COM1, print, File access error. Ummm... ok? Set it to EDSPRT0001 (or whatever the virtual port it used was called), print, crash.

    Desperate, I ask if we can contact some form of support. Well, apparently, the whole tthing was written by one guy, and the customer refuses to call him because he's apparently on vacation. So for a couple more hours I fuck around with port binding, try to share it as a network printer and bind it using net use LPT1: \\127.0.0.1\EPSON, no go. I finally give up (this was yesterday night btw) and say I'll give it another go in the morning.

    While giving me a ride home, the customer finally folds and I manage to get a number of the guy that made the POS software and call him. I explain what I did, get a lot of "Hmmm..."s and he finally tells me that if I set the port to USB it will print using the default Windows printer. Well, gee, thanks, that's not obscure or anything.

    So tried it today. The way it prints? It saves a file in it's own folder (which, by default, is in C:\ProgramName, have fun on Windows Vista and later!), opens it in Notepad and then prints it!

    So... pick your own TRWTF, I guess?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    +1 would read again


    Filed under: I genuinely felt sorry for you whilst reading that


  • Omg, that sounds awful :(



  • Ugh, so the 'use the default' magic value is... "USB"...
    Holy shit.
    +1



  • Front page material.


  • BINNED

    @Matches said:

    Front page material.

    Why do I get the feeling I'd get renamed to "Hanzo"?



  • Like a ninja in the shadows, Onyx a.k.a Onyxo got talked into a side-job on the weekend.


  • SockDev

    And do so according to the Book of Five Rings.



  • @hungrier said:

    Like a ninja in the shadows, Onyx a.k.a Onyxo got talked into a side-job on the weekend.

    FTFY



  • @Arantor said:

    And do so according to the Book of Five Rings Ports.

    FPTFY



  • @boomzilla said:

    EGTFY

    FTFY

    TRWTF is why you didn't act as a consultant and just tell him to buy new equipment. Would have saved everyone a bunch of time, especially the next time that this fails (and it will).


  • BINNED

    @chubertdev said:

    TRWTF is why you didn't act as a consultant and just tell him to buy new equipment. Would have saved everyone a bunch of time, especially the next time that this fails (and it will).

    Probably should have. Still wouldn't save me from idiotic software though. Weather I would try to type in USB or not is anyone's guess at this point, since I wouldn't necessarily expect it to work due to actually understanding you can't just start throwing text at an USB device and expect it to work.



  • @Matches said:

    @hungrier said:
    Like a ninja in the shadows, Onyx a.k.a Onyxo got talked into a side-job on the weekend.

    FTFY


    My brain simply refuses to read that correctly on first glance… :squirrel:


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