I have had a love/hate relationship with HP printers for a very long time. On one hand, they tend to be absolute workhorses. On the other hand, their tech support and website leave much to be desired. Fortunately, I’ve rarely needed tech support.
My current printer is a LaserJet CP1525nw color, and I’m totally taken with it. It’s the most trouble-free printer I’ve ever owned. The fact that I managed to pick it up on sale directly from Hewlett-Packard for half price makes it even nicer. It’s connected wirelessly to my network — one less cable to deal with. Last month HP released a firmware update to make it totally AirPrint compatible. The trick was downloading and installing the update. The downloader/updater app doesn’t like Lion. It would start up, start looking for the firmware update, and promptly quit. I thought at first that it might be just a conflict with something running on my iMac. After trying both of my Macs, using a clean identity, starting in safe mode, reading a bunch of postings on the HP support boards, I finally gave up — for the moment.
To the rescue — a bootable 32 GB thumb drive with Snow Leopard installed. Running Snow Leopard, the downloader no longer quit, but it had other problems. It would identify the printer on the network, download the update, then announce that it couldn’t find the printer. Long story short — I had to connect to the printer with a USB cable, then turn off the printer’s wifi. Only then did the update download and install. Nowhere on the HP website is there anything indicating that their downloader doesn’t like Lion, but then, they are notoriously slow to acknowledge these things. Yeah, been there, done that, hence the hate part of love/hate.
Happily, my iPad can now print to the HP without my iMac or MacBook needing to be awake. And the thumb drive with Snow Leopard? I’m keeping a copy of Snow Leopard on it for future problems like this. It runs like molasses, but it runs. So, if you have a spare drive hanging around, you might want to install a copy of Snow Leopard on it — just in case.
Hope all of your holiday shopping is finished. If not and you want to avoid the headaches of the malls and big box stores, think about supporting your locally owned mom & pop stores. Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah to all.