Monday, September 3, 2012

Progress Has a Seizure

So much for scanning in all my pre-digital pictures....

I bought an HP 3050A, a good deal, I thought, at $80. It faxes, copies, scans and prints, and can do it all wirelessly. This was a good selling point for me, because I have sufficient clutter around my computer already and was glad to be able to install this machine in the less frequented parts of the room.

Installation went with barely a hitch. The only hassle was that I had to disconnect everything from my computer and move it across the room so I could briefly connect it to the new machine, to transfer wireless information. You know, if HP would just use a regular old USB port for that connection, and told me where on my computer the needed info was, I could've just copied it onto a flash drive. But no, I had to install a battery (I normally leave it out, except when I travel), disconnect the primary printer, the speakers, the second monitor, the power cord and all the little gadgets and woo-ha things that are plugged into this computer (all the things that made me glad to be able to install the new machine across the room). Then I was able, after punching in a few bits of information, to scan photos on the new machine* and have them magically appear on this computer ... whence, the photos of Guanajuato posted the other day.

But it wasn't to last. Twenty pictures into the next set — pictures from the PCB Tour, a mid-'80s trip around Europe with some friends that we titled Deadly Poison On The Road — my old Netgear router hiccoughed. I had to re-boot the router. Not a big deal: it happens now and then, and my phone and my computer always just pick up the renewed signal and sign themselves back in.

But not this cheap-o HP machine. I eventually got it re-connected to the internet, but while my computer could find the new printer, the new printer could not locate the computer. Everything checked out fine, but it was always unable to locate the computer. I went to the HP Scan-Doctor, or whatever they call their Help system, and it was no use. I spent all of Saturday and Sunday, off and on, trying to get the new machine to work. By midnight on Sunday, I had decided I had done everything their website could suggest, and had seen then same instructions over and over and over.

Of course, some of those instructions were especially irritating: the ones that tell you to press nonexistent buttons, the ones that instruct you to selection unavailable options from the menus.... But mainly what frustrates me is the idea that these machines should all be a part of this plug-and-play world. I should be able to plug in my new wireless printer, type in a few numbers, and have it spring to life with no more fuss than I go through in trying to sync my MP-3 player.

But no, it isn't that simple; technology has had a seizure, hit a brick wall, run off the road. It is so far from being that simple that today I took the machine back, and I am once again without a scanner, so there will be no more old pics posting.

I know you're all broken up over that, but try to keep hold of yourselves.

* I wouldn't want to give the impression that it worked correctly; each time I hit "scan," the machine would whir and flash its little progress light, then announce "activation lost," and tell me to re-establish a connection. I soon learned to ignore this, and after a pause the scan would take place and the file would appear on my computer. Each one took about 75 seconds, which I thought was a long time. But what do I know?

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