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True IT blooper #59: Shake it!

A shaky table jams a printer and rattles the nerves of an IT pro. A new table – not new parts – does the trick.

In this blooper, a part-time IT pro solves a technical problem with a hammer, nails and ingenuity.

James Arthur Lewis, Sr. is a security manager for a company in the banking industry. No, not technology security. He's in charge of processing requests for certificates for stock and bond securities.

"The certificates are printed out encrypted on special pin-fed printers," Lewis said.

The company has 10 of these printers, which cost about $2,800 each. They constantly churn out certificates, up to 600 per day.

Recently, one printer was routinely uncooperative. It would jam after printing 10 to 15 certificates, and Lewis had to reload the paper and restart the print job. A real pain.

Eventually, Lewis needed tech assistance.

"I had to call for parts because of error codes, which were coming up," Lewis said. "A technician came out and repaired the printer, and we were back up and running."

The solution was temporary. After successfully printing about a dozen certificates, the printer jammed again.

Though the printer problem fell outside Lewis' responsibility, he decided to look into it. He has worked with computers since 1975, when they were as "big as buildings." Plus, he has a certification in printers. So he took a stab at it.

He had noticed that when the printer was printing, the table it rested on rocked from side to side. He didn't need a certificate to figure this out.

"I set the printers on the floor to keep them from shaking the table," Lewis said.

The printer didn't jam. He concluded the table was the problem. He had to find a sturdy solution, because printers on the floor "sure didn't look professional."

He hopped on Visio, Microsoft's drawing program, and designed a new table, and the company's maintenance crew built it.

"That was six months ago, and the printer in question has yet to jam," Lewis said. "After months of wondering what the problem was, we can go along our merry way."

Share your bloopers with us. E-mail them to Read more of our past IT Blooper Series, which originially appeared at, part of the TechTarget network.

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