The Perils of Printers

No, I have not been sitting idle since I returned from China. I actually have been very busy dealing with a variety of things, one of which was getting a new printer and setting it up.

“Easy” you say! Well, you only say that because you have no clue as to how the universe conspires against me when it comes to new technology. You see, we needed to get a new printer because the HP5550 that we had that did a wonderful job decided to blow its power supply.

“Go buy another power supply!” you urge. Once again, you are clueless. HP purposely makes a different volt/amperage power supply for every printer it puts out. No one on the entire Jerusalem mailing list ( JANGLO ) nor on the Modi’in mailing list had an old one hanging around the house. After about 10,000 telephone calls, I located the supplier in Israel who was willing to sell one to me for only $40. Since that was about half the price of the printer which, by the way, was only a printer and didn’t have scanning or fax capabilities, we decided to buy another printer.

“Easy” you say. Once again you show your ignorance. Not easy. Easy if you have computers that run on an operating system that was produced after 1998. Try to find something that will run on Windows 98… and that is the desktop to which the printer was to be physically connected in order for us to use it on our home LAN. So we found a network printer that we could use directly and the two laptops would be able to print and documents and pictures from the desktop could be “shared” and printed from the laptops. Good? If you are nodding yes, you have once again fallen into a trap.

The man who sold us the printer (an HP Photosmart C6183) assured us that as long as we had someone who knew computers, we’d be fine. When I pointed out that that someone would have to be me, he averted his eyes. So we happily took home our new baby and I proceeded to do what I do with new gizmos… I read the instructions and went step by step through them doing exactly what they told me (in Hebrew, of course). I started at about 7 p.m.

Perhaps my next problem happened because I was not sufficiently Israeli. I should have brought some humous upstairs to make the installation disk feel at home. I should have offered to treat it to a felafel. I should have… but alas, I didn’t. And it got its revenge. I was proceeding through the download, answering the questions when suddenly…NO….NO…NONONO… all of the letters turned into question marks. So I kept hitting the “suggested” responses until I came to a screen where I had to make a choice among three items. I had no idea what any of them were since they were all question marks. I tried one. More question marks. I didn’t know how to get back. I pushed here and there and realized I was in question mark hell and there was no way out. I did what any almost sane person would do…. I called an expert.

The sweet son-in-law I called (not to be confused with the sweet son-in-law who is off in Germany giving a paper and certainly not to be confused with the sweet son who was in another part of Germany giving a seminar and of course not to be confused with the two over-worked sweet sons in Israel) suggested that I download the driver from the internet. His calm voice reassured me that I was on my way to escaping from question mark hell.

So I looked up the driver. Of course there is no 6183 driver. So, I downloaded the 6180. Or tried to. The first time I attempted to download it, I was told it would take 84 hours. I decided that moving the laptop to the area where the router was located, shutting off the desktop and praying might aid the download time. Sure enough, it only predicted a download of about 2.5 hours. I left the laptop downloading, went out, returned, and about 3 hours later, was present when it registered an error and stopped loading and suggested I try again. And try I did. Finally about another 3 hours later, the download was complete.

OK, I thought, now it’s JUST a matter of installing it. HAHAHAHAHA, I heard my computer say. The installation started, failed, had to be removed, started again, and finally was completed at about 2 a.m. I triumphantly printed a page!

But I was only half done. Now I had to do the same thing to my husband’s laptop. At a little after 2 I started downloading the driver and went to sleep. At 6, bleary-eyed, I stumbled into his office to find the download window reporting “99% , one second to go” and over it, an error message. We had to download the driver once again (another unknown amount of time in the 2-3 hour range.) Then we tried to install it. After about 15 minutes, we received an error message “cannot scan.” Then the installation halted. The helpful error report said, “No fix is currently available. Uninstall, reboot, and try again.” Which we did.

It wasn’t until the afternoon that the second laptop was able to print.

And my grandmother thought she had problems!

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