Intermec PM43 Label Printer Notes

•March 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I have posted this to get it out on the internet so people can find it and not have to go through all the crap I did to get here:

Over the holiday season this year, we made the mistake of leaving our broadcast clients for one of the lines at the KTP plant active. Over the holiday Ford moved product on their line which caused our client to process the data. Hundreds and hundreds of jobs were processed which meant that probably a thousand printouts were done. Most of our printers at the time were low on label stock and ran out. I recall taking a look at the printer server to see how many jobs were queued up but discovered that none of the print queues had any jobs nor did any of the queues show they were in an error state. I knew otherwise. I was annoyed. This leads me to problem number two.

Problem two: When I actually got on-site to take a look at the piles and piles of labels at the printers, I began to reload the stock. I made the silly assumption that all the printers were done printing. Nope! After loading the labels, the printers began to print once again, only this time, it began to print jobs out of sequence. No bueno! Very bad. We’re a sequencing center, the jobs must come out in order. We have error proofing in place to prevent out-of-order sequencing but in normal operations the jobs always come out in order and deviations are cause for concern. I sorted what I could and then reprinted the jobs that were messed up. This took me a few hours when it was supposed to be a, ‘take a quick look to see if things are ok’ job.

I took a look at the settings on the print server and on the printer itself to see if there was anything obviously different between these new printers and our old printers that we have at our IP assembly plant. Since we don’t have this problem with our old printers on our old line. I didn’t find anything obvious so I swept it under the rug and forgot about it.

Over the next few months we’ve added more commodities to our sequencing center here at our original plant. I’ve encountered the out-of-sequencing complaint several times now and it has caused a rift between myself and the night shift coordinator that manages that commodity. The expectation from this guy is that it should work exactly right, every time, and deviations are unacceptable. While I agree with that stance, no amount of digging has, up til now, uncovered a shred of a clue as to why these problems occur.

To reiterate the problem, if the printing operation is interrupted due to running out of paper, the printer server will not record the device as being in an error state and when it is loaded again, will print some jobs out of sequence.

I have become totally fixated on solving this problem. Having zero documentation to work from, needless to say, it has been a bear.

I made a discovery though about a setting that has no explanation that is only accessible through specialty software made for these printers. There are two methods to get to it, through the Intermec equipment management system called SmartSystems and through another printer-only program called PrintSet 5. The setting follows the same path in both programs: Network Services, Net 1, Queue=”On/Off/Multiple” The default value is On. Not knowing or finding any actual explanation as to what this setting does, I took the route of just changing it and seeing what happens.

Here is how our system is setup. We have a Windows 2012 R2 server which is primarily a printer server. We run a proprietary application which looks at a flag in a table on our SQL server that tells it to IDLE, PRINT, or REPRINT a report. Each commodity has two reports, a Part and a Rack report. When a new broadcast comes in, it adds to the report queue table with the PRINT flag and the report manager then grabs the data and packages it up into a single print job and sends it to the print queue, it then changes the table value to IDLE. It’s a very simple and logical operation. The print queues are individual printers, mostly label printers, and all Intermec PM43 printers.

When I change this queue setting to off and then rip off the labels so that it runs out after 5 prints and reprint 9 jobs, it will print 4 jobs and half print the 5th and then the printer itself will flash that it’s out of paper. At the print server the printer will queue up and count down 5 jobs then stop and wait. It will take one more job after about a minute, leaving 3 in the queue on the print server, then the print server will report an error. I reload the labels and it prints out the 5th and 6th jobs immediately, then pauses to clear the error at the queue, then takes the rest of the jobs. Nothing is out of sequence.

When the queue is set to on, which is the default and I follow the same procedure, it prints 4 labels, half of the 5th and then the printer displays the out of paper light but at the print server the queue continues to count down to zero, slowly. About one every minute. It never reports an error on the server. When I load the label stock it prints out what it had queued up and it prints it in order.

I have not been able to replicate the out-of-sequence printing problem but I can replicate the out of paper error reporting problem. I strongly believe that this Queue setting is the key it and know for certain that it is the cause of the non-reporting problem that I have encountered before.

I have posted this to get it out on the internet so people can find it and not have to go through all the crap I did to get here.

Fear of Success

•January 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Part of the negativity about my house buying situation is that this is the third time I’ve tried. My first two attempts led me to negative experiences. All my doing. Being treated like trash because of your credit rating is pretty shitty. Watching and being responsible for my sisters foreclosure on her home that trashed her credit rating while mine remained in the trash, is a harsh responsibility and guilt to bear. It’s difficult to overcome the idea that I don’t deserve it. So there’s the actual root-cause to my chorus of negative thinking.


•January 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I find myself walking in circles sometimes.  Sometimes I’m walking halfway up, halfway down, then halfway up my stairs.  Sometimes I’ll open a door, start to walk through it, then turn around and walk the other way.  Why?

Sometimes, like a few moments ago, I have 15 things that I’d like to do pop into my head all at the same time.  Because I’m impulsive, I pick the last thing, then as I start to do that, I realize that perhaps I should start at the top, no, perhaps I should stop and re-prioritize what I want to do.  No, perhaps that’s too much, I think I’ll sit down, oh, shiny!

That’s what happens and it is probably one of the things that deep down subconsciously depresses me about myself.  It’s just another flaw.  It’s the voice of someone shouting at me to make up my mind. It pisses me off.

PS – I think I’ll go do what I was going to do before I got distracted…

Financial Success

•January 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

It has taken me a lot of embarrassing moments to get to where I am now.  Lots of moments of asking my mom or my dad to be a co-signer on something.  I’ve had repossessions, I’ve had the Department of Justice threaten me because of my default status on my college loans.  One of the things that I’ve always wished for is job security and stability.  That is something that I have had now for almost 9 years.  Even though it is in the automotive industry.  I suppose that’s why it has taken me as long as it has to get here.

My college loans are in repayment and in good standing. My credit rating has gone from 535 to 683. I pay my credit cards early and more than the minimum payment.  My car payments have never been late. I have over 10k saved in retirement and almost 10k in available credit among all my credit cards. All this to one end: Home Ownership.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel of this life-goal.  I’m even kind of nervous.  I’ve been looking at houses for a while now so I have an idea of what is out there and of what I want.

I’m 45. I made a lot of mistakes but I thinks I’ve put them behind me now.

Hell yea!

Off the Meds

•January 19, 2016 • Leave a Comment

On day 11 of not taking cymbalta or the replacement, Prozac. Barely any withdrawals now.  Just the occasional tingly brain which is easily ignorable.  While going to the Prozac was a bit wild, it actually did reign in the brain flashes.  I just didn’t need to take 10 days worth.  I think I took 5.  I know last Sunday (1/10/16) I stayed in bed for about 16 hours.  There was a time when I just didn’t think I could move, almost like I was a prisoner of my body.  Either way, once I got through sleeping all that shit off, I’ve felt pretty good.

Now, what to do with the energy… I have a ton of it but I’m still lacking the fire in my mind to use it.  There’s so many places I need to start on.  Eating better, more activity, anger management, social tact…  At this point my body is still kinda trapped inside my brain.  The desire to be lazy is still strong.  My desire to eat yummy food is still there.  That demon in my gut that screams in pain when it’s hungry, is still causing pain and getting worse the more I try to not eat.  I don’t need food.   Seriously.  I see my gut in the mirror and I know I have enough fat stores to last me a few months of drinking just water.  Not saying that’s what I’ll do but I know I could last a famine.

So, right this moment I’m planning on going to get me something to eat either at IHOP or Waffle House.


•January 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Now that I’m off the meds my thoughts swirl around in my head like a turd in the toilet. I get fixated on the feelings of disappointment I’ve had in myself and in others. I judge myself harshly, far worse than I should, I know. I’m waiting for my brain chemicals to finally settle down to a normal level. My norepinephrine levels have leveled out because I find that I can sleep again. The serotonin levels on the other hand are still fluctuating wildly. The intensity of emotions are pretty strong. I’m giving it to the end of January before I start to consider that the levels have all settled down.

In the meantime I need to put a stopper on this rage, or at the very least convert it to something else. To this end I’m considering going guitar shopping. It’s been a long time since I’ve picked anything but the reason why I don’t play the acoustic I have already is because it’s just flawed. Always has been. I got it because it was cheap and worked. Now I need one that fits me. I think I’ll go check out Guitar Center on Saturday.


•January 13, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The word sardonic has been popping into my head of late.  I had to look it up.  My gut feeling about what it means was what I thought it was.  Grimly cynical.

As my brain chemicals go back to their normal levels, and the cymbalta finally fades away from my life, I hear the echoes of my bitchy ex girlfriend telling me that my temperament is going to drive me to a heart attack.  She might be right.  Even without her crazy bitchiness to deal with, the world in general rears its always ugly head to me and drives me to anger and frustration very quickly.

Right this moment I’m thinking about how society has been programmed to think that human life has no value against personal property or wealth.  It’s irritating to look at this country of ours, a country made of laws to ensure that everyone remains protected, turns onto itself cannibalistically to devour those less fortunate.  It is more important that Joe Greed gets rent when he wants it. Failure to do so will get you killed by a cop and because of these laws, you can’t claim self-defense if you try to protect yourself and your family from him.  It is so easy to take a sterile, cold, and completely procedural approach to life, as if there is only black and white, grey is wrong.