I recently wrote a post, "Attack of the all in one machines & customer service," about my purchase of a HP C6180 AIO, printer, scanner, copier, and fax. The past weekend I had a chance to install it and try most of the features.
As is often the case, it turned out not nearly as easy as one might expect. There were a couple of interesting challenges, one that was HP's fault and one that was likely mine.
The good news, as is often the case in technology, is that I kept working on it until I got everything working.
First off I actually read the instructions and followed them. The HP 6180 can be set up wireless on a 802.x network or wired as part of a standard network. I just to hook it to my newly installed Ethernet network.
The network has a cable modem hooked to a router with four ports. One of the ports feeds an Airport Express. I am running OS X version 10.4.8 on all the Macs. The first system I attempted to install the software on was my dual G5 which I admit to neglecting by not upgrading it to at one gig of ram. The first thing I notice is that didn't get very far in the installation before I was presented with was a drop down menu that would only let me select C7100 as the model for my printer. Obviously that was not a good sign, but I went ahead an installed the software. Of course when I tried to set up the printer, the HP software couldn't find the printer. Being the clever Apple guy that I am, I used Bonjour to get the printing working. Unfortunately when I went to use the scanner, it wouldn't initialize.
At this point I decided to backtract. I un-installed the software that I had just finished installing and went to HP's website and downloaded the latest software for the 6100 series. When I started installing I was presented with the correct choice of printer in the pull down menu. The picture above is a scan of the disk that was in the box. Unfortunately it appears that the wrong software is on the cd-rom even though the label is right.
Next I tried to install the software on my laptop wirelessly. It never could find the printer so I grabbed an Ethernet connection and the software installed correctly. I went back to having my laptop on our wireless network and couldn't print. It took me a while, but I eventually figured out that my Airport Express was distributing IP addresses so I ran Airport Admin and turned off the IP address feature.
So far I really pleased with the quality of the text. I also have a Brother 5250DN laser on the network for quality printing but I'm not sure I need it. The text coming out of the HP is much better than indicated in all of the reviews that I read. Of course it's pretty hard to beat a laser for being really professional.
The photo printer also works well on the HP. My wife is pleased with that. Mixed color and text also looks very sharp. The scanner works well and can scan directly to iPhoto. I think my dual G5 might get an upgrade to 2 gigs on ram since the HP apps seem to be memory sensitive. They work well on my MacBook that has 1 gig of ram but not on the dual G5. I need another connector before I can test the fax, but I have little doubt that it will work.
Technology continues to get better, but there always seems to be a few glitches which require remembering stuff that I would just as soon forget. My nightmare is one of these days I'll wake up and not be able to do this stuff.
As soon as I can "borrow" my Windows laptop back from my daughter I see how everything works with Windows and Linux. I did install the Parallels software and Windows XP on my MacBook but I believe it needs to get upgraded to 2 gigs of ram to be really functional, and I need my genuine Windows serial number off the bottom of my Dell laptop to validate the software.
This stuff is never easy. By the way, I don't see lots of people using the Parallels solution on a regular basis unless they're sophisticated software users.