The Apple Experience

You really don’t appreciate the whole “Apple Experience” until you experience an amateurish attempt by some other company.

I have a home office w/ a multi-function printer in it. I would like to be able to print via my network, but my printer is a cheap canon MP150 ink jet multi function device, so it’s not natively network capable. I have been holding off buying a USB print server because they are usually $100 and that’s just way too much money to pay for something like that. It’s not that hard to walk into my office and hook up my printer.

But today, I was in CompUSA, and they had a nice selection of USB print servers, all for $50, which is a decent price. So I was excited to pick one up. I choose DLink DP-301U because my router is DLink, so I figured it would be better to get the same company. Not that it should matter.

I got home, tore it open and hooked it up, expecting it to work right away. After all, it’s not that complex and with Bonjour, IPP, and LPR, printing is pretty much a standard operation. I loaded up the web admin interface to make sure the print server was on my network and everything looked great. Then, I loaded up the printer setup utility on my mac to print a test page. I hit the Bonjour option and there my printer server was, so I picked that as my printer.

Nothing.

No problem, I thought, Bonjour is a Apple thing, so I’ll try IPP.

Nothing.

Appletalk? Nothing. LPR? Nothing.

So this thing was pretty much DOA. Nothing was being set to the print server. I checked online, but DLink doesn’t even list my hardware revision on their website ( Nice. ). I tried to pop in the cd to see if there was some other stuff I was missing. The CD didn’t work in my Mac. Wonderful.

Then I remembered that I had an Airport Express in my living room. I just use the Airport Express for streaming music, but it has a USB port for sharing a printer. On a whim, just to see if maybe the printer couldn’t be networked, I hooked up my printer to the Airport Express. I then loaded up the Airport admin utility to configure the printer.

But I couldn’t find any printer dialog. Odd..

So I loaded up the Printer Setup Utility, and there my printer was. My Canon MP150 was listed, with the correct driver and everything. I tried to print to it.

Worked perfectly. The first time. With no configuration.

Needless to say I packed up the DLink print server and will be returning it. My printer is now networked, but sitting in my living room. Since I have to replace my router for other reasons anyway, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ll go ahead and pick up the new Airport Extreme router from Apple. It still has a USB port, and can even network a hard drive.

And I have no doubt I will work right out of the box. To me, that’s worth the extra money I end up paying for the “Apple Experience”. Because, frankly, I’ll pay the extra money for something that works the first time, without hassle.