Better half bought a new printer recently to replace the bloated HP device we bought only a short while ago. Even though worst-writer is the family system administrator, I don’t print anymore so I gladly turned the task of print-media over to the head of household. Which meant that every other month there was a frustrated voice around the house complaining that she’s run out of ink–again! After failing to convince her that, if she was going to be printing so much, it was time to stop throwing money at the print ink industry, the life of our krappy HP device gave out. The print-head didn’t last two years which meant that we were yet another victim of corporate obsoletism. Putting my cynicism about the corporate tech world aside, our problem is wifey prints everything. She prints design patterns for sewing her skirts. She prints instructions for quilting. She prints mock-ups of pug winter coats. So after the HP krapp died and I was unable to convince her otherwise, she called me up and said, “Ok, I’m buying a new printer whether you like it or not.”
“Oh really,” I said.
“Yeah. I NEEEEEED a printer,” she says.
“No. You don’t. You only think you do because our generation was raised on paper. Come on. Times have changed, honey. And you have all these devices. You have a Mac, you have an iPad Air, you have an iPhone. You don’t need to print anything anymore.”
There was a short, intense pause. I could hear dogs barking. I could feel the rumbling of the bats in a cave. I could smell sulphur as Hell’s vengeance was starting to brew.
“We’re not having this conversation again. I understand your point of view but that doesn’t mean I have to answer to you. Now. I’m getting a printer whether you like it or not. Just tell me which one to get!”
“Ok. Fine. Geez. Get a laser printer,” I said, beaten.
“I know that! Which one!”
Enough about males trying to change the minds of females. And. Long story short. I told her if she couldn’t wait for me to research which product to buy then to get the Samsung. Which she did. She came home with it and lots of smiles. But by the look of the packaging I knew that trouble was inside. At first the printer worked great. Full compatibility with our Macs. But then, the other day, I noticed that wifey’s iPad was hooked up to her Mac. Which meant that she was updating to iOS8. Oh well, I thought. There is only so much we men and masters of this tech universe can expect from our wives. The update was gonna come eventually. And so. After the update she can no longer print to her new, fancy laser printer using her iPad. Kaboom!
Which brings me to the pic above. After an initial “I told you so” discussion with wifey, I grabbed the printer and took it to my office. I began the process of trying to find the problem. My iPad4, which was and will remain on iOS7 for as long as possible, printed fine. After reinitialising the printer, setting it up using the included software CD and a USB connection, there was nothing to be done. The iOS8 update is the problem. Ok. Google it. Lo and behold. The printer needs a firmware update. Great. Found the firmware update and downloaded it. It’s a .zip file. Unzip it. (Pause. Breath. Stop the presses.) What gets unzipped? Wait for it… A friggin’ .exe file. What? Are you f’n kiddin’ me. Samsung releases a firmware update for a €300,- laser printer and that update is windows ONLY? Wow. After continuing to search the Interwebnets for a Mac compatible file, nothing is to be found. The whole time I kept thinking of the moment I got rid of all my old Windows stuff back in 2011. And don’t get me wrong here. I’m a windows fan. I love Windows 7 and 8. My problem is I can’t afford both OSs. So we’re an Apple only home. Oh my!
This is a moment when I’m convinced there is no progress in this world. Seriously. How is it that a company like Samsung can pull this off? Oh yeah. It’s Samsung. And it’s not just the fact that they make a firmware update for windows only. It actually gets worse because I didn’t want to give up on the fact that I could solve this problem. I kept thinking about how I could get this update installed without a windows machine. What about a USB stick? The printer has a USB slot. So I tried it. There is no interface to allow the printer to access the USB stick that way. Ok. What about something online, provided by Samsung? There is nothing. Then I thought, hey, what about my network access? As is the case with most networked devices, the printer has a setup page one can access using a browser and your internal network. Just find out what the printer’s IP address is and put that in a browser. The printer even has a “maintenance” section that includes a firmware update protocol. All one has to do is tell the browser where the update file is located. But then the browser update protocol cannot recognise the file path on a Mac. And that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Wow! This is such a bummer in 2015, man.
So now we wait for a response from Samsung support on whether or not they will bring the fruit of update joy.
Luckily I only had to spend a few hours on this whole printer problem. Also, hats off to @SamsungSupport USA for quickly responding via twitter. (And since this was my first Twitter Direct Message (DM), I finally learned what that is all about.) The only problem is, Samsung didn’t help much. After atypically asking the customer for further info about the product–which they really didn’t need since this was about their firmware update being windows only–I finally starting asking neighbours if they had an old PC/laptop that I could borrow in order to update my printer. The second neighbour I asked obliged and handed me a really, really old Compaq pentium laptop. It was neat to start the thing up, it booted right quickly (for its age) into XP and after waiting here and there for the old machine to perform, I was connected via USB to the printer. The firmware update took about ten minutes during which time I couldn’t help but look at that piece of ancient tech history. It had a 1,4mb diskette slot. Even the wifi pcmcia card worked. More hats off (than to Samsung) to old PC equipment for making this happen. Now better-half, using her iPad Air running iOS8 can print to her new laser printer.