Interesting Airport-HP AiO interaction

I hate to sound like a broken record– I mean, a corrupted MP3– but HP’s Mac software is the worst. I love their printers, I love their scanners, but I hate their software (and that keeps me from buying their printers and scanners). Ugh.

HP sells a lot of equipment (to people who didn’t ask me first), and one of their devices is the HP All in One (AiO) Photosmart 3310. It prints, it scans, it faxes, and it copies– and it can do it all over a network. It’s pretty unusual to be able to scan over a network, and in practice you still have to walk over to the 3310 to put your stuff on the glass so all you really get scan-wise is the convenience of being able to scan without connecting your laptop to the scanner with a cable. That’s nice– when it works. When it doesn’t work, like it didn’t yesterday, it’s the pits.

The situation: Apple Time Capsule serving as the wireless base station, with firmware 7.4.1 on it. HP AiO Photosmart 3310 connected to the Time Capsule with an Ethernet cable. MacBook Pro connected to the Time Capsule wirelessly (802.11n, you geeks). I could print but I couldn’t scan. Every time I tried to scan I got a message about “unable to contact the 3100.” That’s nice.

I uninstalled the HP software using their own uninstaller. Then I found about thirty more pieces of HP software that the installer left behind (I also found a four-page HP document that tells how to delete the software, which is everywhere). My suspicion was that something was corrupt and that completely deinstalling, then reinstalling the latest version of HP’s software, would solve the problem.

Turns out I was wrong. After all of that the scanner still didn’t work over the network. Hmm.

My Friend Google helped point me in the right direction: the problem involved the firmware on the Time Capsule. Very interesting. I tried upgrading to 7.4.2– no good. Then I rolled back to 7.3.2… and it worked. I think most of us see that orange light blinking on the Time Capsule and think “let’s do the upgrade, it will make things better” but in this case, no.

I can’t remember seeing another manufacturer’s stuff break when Apple does upgrades (other than La Cie’s, come to think of it). If you have a choice, I’d steer clear of HP, unless you are willing to put up with things that stop working for no obvious reason. Or unless you like having me in your office fixing things.


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