A while back, a friend of mine gave me his old printer. I don’t do much printing at home, but never being one to turn down a free anything, I took it. Then, like a glacier crossing a mountain range, I slowly picked up the new power cord, ink and usb cable I needed for it. Millennia later, after the glacier thawed, I was finally ready to set it up.
Simple, like Mike Tyson beating Buster Douglas or General Custer killing some redskins, so I plug this beauty in and wait for the magic to happen. I figure that it’ll work like an Ipod, just plug it in and go. Not so! My computer asks for the CD with the drivers. No CD. It says look online. I do so. I go to HP’s site. That’s when I get the first bit of bad news. This printer isn’t supported on Windows Vista.
Time out. Windows Vista? I’m not evening talking about Windows 7. I mean how old is this printer? It’s not like it writes with a hammer and chisel. Turns out this printer is nearly 10 years old. I can hear the gasps from the audience. 10 years old? It’s like the Methuselah of printers! Seriously though, it prints in color; it takes memory cards; prints photos and does a bunch of other things I’ll never need. So why by a new one?
I figure there must be a solution, so I turn to the all knowing oracle of the Google and search for a solution. Sure enough someone else has had this exact same problem. They posted their quetions to CNET and got a pile of useful responses like these: “Suck it up and buy a new printer” and “Honestly, how long do you expect (demand) HP support an obsolete, seven-year-old printer?”
Now I expect to be screwed by corporations. It’s what they do, but when I go on a tech support site and I see replies like this, I feel like a biblical profit envisioning the end of the world. We’ve reached a point where people not only think it’s ok to throw away perfectly working equipment, but there’s something wrong with YOU for wanting to use something more than a year old. This next quote really sums up the attitude nicely: “I hope you really thanked the person who gave you the printer. After all, he/she gave you a printer that was two-years-old at the time and already replaced by newer models.” Wow, that’s a classic. Why didn’t I think of that. I should have picked up my phone and called my friend to let him know what a bastard he is for giving me a gift that’s out of date. Well at least the guy who gave that advice was sensitive enough to use “he/she”. I mean you wouldn’t want to offend anyone…
In any case, turns out there was a solution. The software for this printer appears to be identical to that of a newer model, which is supported on Vista. Meaning I just pretented I had a newer printer and used that software. Yup, that’s right it was that easy, and yes HP had the answer all along and just won’t give it to you. They could put up a link and save you buying a new printer, save some space in a land fill and let you give the money to some poor guy living in a house made of pizza boxes, but no, they (and everyone else it seems) would rather you buy a new printer.
Turns out that wasn’t the only problem, but I’m going to spare my readers any more technical talk. I eventually got my printer up and working. It took ages, but now I can charge people 25 cents to come over and see my Fred Flinstone printer. More importantly I won a small victory against the juggernaut of forced consumerism. Hope you can do the same.