Ernie the Attorney : Searching for Truth & Justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 5/8/2002; 1:09:41 AM.


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Monday, April 29, 2002

"Error - not enough memory to perform this operation" - Okay Sherlock, troubleshoot this one...

I got this message when I tried to print my timesheets about two hours ago.  The program that I keep my time in is called Amicus, and I need to finalize and submit my time so I was going to print to file (as is my custom) and send the file to my secretary by email.  I'm working from home today.  Anyway, I get the aforementioned error message and so I can't print to file.  Any ideas yet? (The solution is at the end so don't peek).

Fortunately, I didn't waste too much time trying to solve the problem.  My first thought was I had too many programs open and so I closed all of them.  Then I tried printing again.  No luck.  Then I remembered what Buzz told me that he learned from talking to lots of programmers: "memory management is a black art."  So I thought, well maybe the memory resources are inextricably committed because once I opened all those programs I couldn't "uncommit" them.  So I rebooted, and opened the target program with nothing else open.  I tried to print.  No luck.  Any ideas now? (Don't peek).

So I checked the Amicus website for known issues.  I was thinking that all of the time I had entered was "unposted" because the program won't let me "post" unless I send it somewhere.  And I have nowhere to send it so it stays in the program;  I thought I'd see if the failure to post after a couple of months makes the program think it might have to print a huge file (or something like that).  I hunted around, and called tech support and was on hold for about 15 minutes while I did other things.  I got impatient and hung up.  I was skeptical that they would be able to help 'cause I searched the site for "print" and "memory" (and other seemingly meaningful combos) and got nothing.

Then started thinking from scratch.  What change had been made in my computing environment?  I was thinking it was the fact that I hadn't posted any of my time over the past months and that some threshold finally was reached.  But that wasn't it.  I wasn't hooked to my firm's network, that was another thing.  But the program I was using is a totally local program; it doesn't connect with the network in any way.  Or does it?

Well it thinks it does, because what it needed was to have a default printer that it could "see."  My "default printer" was a network printer, and so even though I was printing to file it still wanted to see a default printer that was local.  So I made Acrobat Distiller my default printer and guess what?  Now it works. 

The moral of the story is twofold: (1) troubleshooting is tough because if you self-filter information then you filter the possible problem, but you need to filter to zero in on the problem and so on...; and (2) error messages are often misleading.  Insufficient memory was not the problem, and I don't know if that message would even have helped a computer geek figure out the problem.  I guess the last moral of the story is that having laptops that are sometimes docked with the "mother ship" and sometimes disconnected creates a whole new world of trouble for computer people.....

12:51:04 PM    

© Copyright 2002 Ernest Svenson.

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Help link 5/8/2002; 12:25:37 AM.