Thursday, June 24, 2010

No hope

The trusty old multifunction (print, scan, fax) Hewlett Packard Officejet I had set up for someone at their home recently decided to constantly keep clicking like it was trying loading documents. After performing the standard IT verification that it was knackered (leaving it powered off for a day, pulling everything out of it and finally whacking it around a bit) it was decided a new one was in order. Since this one had performed so well for so many years I decided that I’d go with another HP.

 

Off I went to the local office supply shop and bought an Officejet 8500. The best thing about this one was that it could be networked, where the old one was USB only. Whacko, this would work well on the home network I was planning to install it on. After stuffing the printer in my car (is it just me or do these printers just seem to be getting bigger and bigger? Even an ink jet printer like this proved a struggle to get into a standard car) I returned to complete the install.

 

I hooked up the printer to an ethernet cable and installed the HP software on the workstation. After a bit of configuration (setting the IP address for a start) I managed to print. However, all did not seem right. Everything seem very slows to respond. When I tried to configure the printer I kept getting a disconnected message. The worse problem was when I tried to do a scan the whole network would lock up and I couldn’t even get to the Internet.

 

Next step was to drop into standard troubleshooting mode. Check all the cables, power off, power on but still no good. Ok next step, update all the software. To do this I had to unplug the Officejet from the network and download 220MB of updates. After I reinstalled the software things were better but it still wouldn’t scan. Damm, why is this so hard?

 

My troubleshooting continued over the next few days, after hours mind you, as I tried the other most obvious things I could think of. Then I decided to browse to the IP address of the Officejet from a machine on the network. Luckily, the Officejet has its own internal web server from which you can see all the settings. As I worked my way through all of these I suddenly came across a setting that showed IPv6 and IPv4 were on concurrently. Hmmmm… I wonder. I changed the setting to IPv4 only and voila everything seems fine now, scanning works like a dream.

 

This raises two points. Firstly, if you have purchased a HP Officejet 8500 and are having issues getting it working on a networked connection then browse to the printer IP address and select IPv4 only. Secondly, how the hell were the new owners of the Officejet ever going to figure that out? If they didn’t have access to my free labour they would have had to call someone in to have a look who would have probably done the same things I did and spent the same amount of time I did but would have charged them. After only an hour of so that charge would have been greater than the cost of the printer. Let’s say that this IT person couldn’t find the problem, this would mean these people would have been stuck with a marginally functioning printer and a big bill!

 

I’m a techie at heart and I love technology but I also appreciate how hard it is becoming for the common person to use this stuff. Honestly, wasn’t it all supposed to be getting easier? It must be so intimidating for people to buy some piece of technology and find it doesn’t work and then have to locate someone to assist.

 

I admit that these people were not running the latest operating systems, routers and so on but really isn’t that most ordinary people? If technology doesn’t help us then what good is it? Surely, it can’t be too hard to ask for technology that is actually easier to use? Surely?