Apr 6, 2015

Oh HP, please!

I have a super grandma. She'll be turning 90 in May, but she's still sharp as a knife and in better health than a whole lot of people half her age. A couple days ago she called to ask my help with some laptop stuff. Her laptop, a good 7 or maybe 8 years old, I'd guess, had died in the middle of a word (my grandma writes a lot - runs in the family ;) ). She wanted to know what could be done to the laptop and whether it was salveagable or not.

My educated guess, when I listened to the symptoms, was that not much was doable to the old laptop and so as soon as I got a word in (she talks a lot), I told her, "Listen, on Monday when you come here for the birthday coffee, you're leaving with me and a new laptop. I'll take you home and set it up for you." She nearly broke into tears. In my mind, whatever little things I can do to pay back all the good she has brought to my life, I do with joy. Besides, we had an extra laptop, only a year and a half old, collecting dust.

Today was that Monday. My grandma came here for my youngest daughter's twelfth birthday with my dad and his wife and I took my grandma home (yes, she lives alone, in her own row house appartment) along with that new-old laptop that I had fixed for her use. I showed her how to use Win8.1 and Word 2013 - I don't even know what versions she had been using before. Everything looked different, but she learned well. I set up her mobile network - she has a usb stick for internet connection so that she can use the same at her summer home easily. And so on. Just the basic stuff.

And then there was the printer. An HP Photosmart C4270. Win 8.1 did not recognize the device on its own so I thought, "piece of cake, we'll just download the driver from the HP support site." Oh, was I wrong about that! The only piece of cake today was the one I ate with an espresso!

I googled. At first, this is all I got: http://www.hp-drivers-download.com/hp-drivers/hp-photosmart-c4270-all-in-one-printer. The page seems to promise a driver download, when in fact it gives you some goddamned driver fixing tool that asks for some licence numbers. WTF?

I removed that and tried searching, tried this and tried that and all I ever found was some similar kind of tools, that I personally just rate as spyware. I do not want that on my grandma's laptop! Finally, by accident, I stumbled upon this page here (which for some strange reason is the first search result for me here at home, on my own laptop, but I could not find it when searching with my grandma's laptop - how odd is that?): http://support.hp.com/us-en/product/HP-Photosmart-C4200-All-in-One-Printer-series/3192751/model/3300210/drivers/

There, finally!

I downloaded the driver and started the setup. It took like a half an hour! It did this, it did that, step 1/8 for this, step 8/8 of something else. Device recognized, finalizing installation. This may take a few minutes. No kiddin'! It took like 10! And then the setup application said: "An unknown error has occured, rolling back installation." And I was like, hell no you don't! I paused it and for the lack of other ways to halt the rollback for good I killed the setup with Task Manager.

Yes, the printer was installed and working fine. I have no idea what that error might've been, but it did not have anything to do with the printer and its ability to print out stuff!

HP, please! Couldn't you just offer a nice clean driver for your devices instead of these horror packages? I mean, how can a printer driver be 180Mb and take a half an hour to install on a relatively new computer (albeit not the fastest kid in the block)? And hey, I've been in IT business for 16 years and I was working on this shit for an hour. How do the non-IT people do it? Contact your Support? Can't you just make it a bit more simple, please!

[P.S. This: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/printers. Yup. Thanks, Jukka Niiranen (@jukkan)!]


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