Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Frustration with computer printer manufacturers

Being a computer consultant that sets up a lot of computers systems, over the past few years I have noticed that the printer companies have changed the way they do business with the consumer market. They have really cracked down on their software support. For example, I have an HP DeskJet 970C series printer (pictured left) that I purchased new back in 1999. It's been a great printer and still works great to this day. The problem I'm having isn't with the printer, but with HP. I can't upgrade my Macs to Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard because HP hasn't written the software to support my printer. Instead, I have to rely on a generic third-party printer driver which doesn't support the two-sided page printing capability. Since I use that feature a lot, I continue to run Mac OS 10.5 Leopard which has the HP software with all the options for my printer. With this lack of support, it forces the consumer to purchase a new printer even though the one they already have works fine. Isn't it enough that these printer companies make millions of dollars on selling the ink and toner on all the existing printers already out there plus new printers being sold currently?
A second problem I encountered last night working with a client's Canon MP470 printer (pictured left) was that I was connecting the USB cable to an Apple Airport Express Base Station to network the printer wirelessly. The Canon software was all up-to-date but the Canon printer would not communicate with the Mac connected through the Airport Express Base Station, but only worked connected directly to the Mac. I believe the Canon MP470 is a new enough model to have Apple's Bonjour networking technology incorporated into it, but it seems not to have it and didn't work.
If your tired about how the makers of your printer does business, let them know, because ultimately we all vote with our dollars and they know that.


  1. I was able to get my MP470 working on the Airport Express with no issues. It popped up as soon as I hit the little plus sign to add a new printer. I already had the driver installed since it was previously connected through USB.

    My problem now is I can't scan anything. The software that came with the printer says the scanner isn't connected. What's the deal?

  2. Scanning is usually only available through a "Direct USB Connection" on certain printer models. I have an HP All-In-One model that allows me to do everything wirelessly. But that is how it was designed right out of the box, where as your MP470 was not. Apple's Airport Express USB port was designed for regular printer function I believe.