Posts Tagged ‘hardware’

Several months ago I wrote about how I solved a wireless printing problem with my HP LaserJet P1102W. One tiny little change to the settings made all the difference in the world.

Recently I returned home from vacation to find that – once again – it wouldn’t print. I started by taking a look at the list of devices connected to my home network. Sure enough, the P1102W was missing. This time though, I suspected that it didn’t have anything to do with the channel on the wireless access point. My hunch was that some other device had grabbed the printer’s IP address.

All of the devices on my home network are using dynamically assigned IP addresses rather than static addresses. (However, I may rethink that after this latest issue.) My theory was that the printer had been off for over a week, so its IP address hadn’t been active on the network. Perhaps when we returned, one of the other devices leased the printer’s address. When we returned from vacation, we brought with us two iPhones, two iPads, one iPod, and one laptop.

For this issue it turned out to be a fairly easy fix. I turned off WiFi on the iPads and phones, and sure enough the printer popped up on the network again. When I re-enabled WiFi on the other devices, they leased new addresses and everything was back to normal. That made me start thinking about how many devices we have on the home network, and once I totaled them up, I was a little surprised.

2 iPhones
2 iPads
1 iPod
3 laptops
1 desktop
1 Wii
1 X-box
1 DVD player

That’s twelve devices on the home network. I realized that we had a lot of gadgets sitting around, but it was interesting to see how many network connected devices we have.

Well . . . interesting until they all start talking to each other and take over the world.

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UPDATED 07/18/12

To cut to the chase: Try changing your wireless access point to Channel 11.

The follow-up post may also be of interest: It Won’t Print Again.

Keep reading for the original post.

I have a friend who used to work in another nearby department on campus. He used to call me up just for fun and say, “It won’t print.” That’s all. No “Hello.” No “How are you doing?” Just “It won’t print.” It was kind of a running joke because I used to tell him about a number of the really strange printing problems I tackled.

It’s strange that in this age of being able to do so many things completely electronically people still like to print. They still like things on paper. I’m no different. Some things I just really want on paper. If a company doesn’t send me an e-mail confirmation within about five minutes of an online order, I’ll print the confirmation page. I’ve tried electronic boarding passes before, and I’ve let the airline scan my phone. Somehow though, I feel better with a paper boarding pass. Why? Maybe I feel that I’m more likely to lose my phone than that magic piece of paper. Perhaps my phone battery might die. Or how about this one? Maybe my phone will crash. It has happened before. My paper boarding pass has never crashed. Oh, it might get a little wrinkled and smudged, but the airline has never had a problem scanning it.

Whatever. I still want to print things sometimes.

About a year ago I built a new computer. It didn’t have a parallel port, and the USB-to-parallel cable didn’t work, so I wound up abandoning my trusty old HP LaserJet 6P for a new LaserJet P1102w. As these things often do, it went swimmingly at first. I installed the driver, printed a test page, and all was well. The wireless printing was fine as well, so I installed the driver on another laptop or two. Over the past year, it got gradually worse. It reached the point where it wouldn’t print without a lot of coaxing. I ignored it thinking that I would get around to it someday. Someday finally came when some visiting relatives needed to print their boarding passes and it wouldn’t print ANYTHING – not a test page or even a page of mojibake.

I took a shortcut by printing from a USB connection before settling in to finally tackle the problem. I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow account of the troubleshooting, but anyone who has ever tried to solve a problem knows that there are a number of possible problems with just the printer and the computer. Add wireless printing into the mix and you introduce a number of other interesting variables.

I Googled. I poured over the HP forums. I removed the software and tried reinstalling it. I tried reconnecting to the wireless access point. I finally determined that the printer absolutely was not connecting to the AP. It wasn’t leasing an IP address, and its MAC address wasn’t showing up in the list of devices attached to the access point. Somewhere I finally came across a web posting where someone noted that the printer seemed to work best with the wireless access point was set to channel 11. I changed mine from channel 5 to 11, and I had the proverbial “Voila!” moment. Everything started working again across all devices. Printing was rock solid after reboots, after idle time, and after printer hibernation. I was back in business.

I’ve been doing computer support since the mid-nineties, so I remember exactly how we used to do our troubleshooting before there was such a wealth of technical support material online. Of course people were solving problems like this long before there was any online information, but it sure makes a difference! That experience notwithstanding, I still find myself occasionally asking, “How do we ever do this before the Internet?”

I guess I should also be asking, “How long until I can stop printing?”

Several years ago I was meeting with one of our hardware vendors, and I asked them what cool new things they had coming down the pike. They talked about some pretty boring things and then asked what I would like to see. I described to them a idea for foldable screens. They looked at me like I had just turned blue, and sprouted horns and tentacles.

Perhaps they just couldn’t get their minds around the idea. Poor them. Check it out here: Kyocera and Samsung!

Imagine the possibilities! Think about the last time you lugged that laptop to the conference. Maybe you really wanted something the size of a netbook, but you had to take the laptop because you really needed the larger screen. What if you could carry a nine-inch device with a screen that folded out to seventeen inches?!?!? What if you could roll a 4’ x 8’ OLED screen up and carry it with you in a tube? That would really change the face of “poster” sessions. Imagine being able to stick a thin OLED film to the wall for a special event and then peel it off when you’re finished. This technology could really change the face and form factor of smartphones, e-book readers, and many, many other technologies.

These screens are not yet of the size that I would like to see, but THEY FOLD! This is a great start, and I really look forward to seeing how OLED technology will develop.