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Mac Day 3 – 8/27/09 Good News

I called Apple and they gave me some good news about the Snow Leopard upgrade that comes out tomorrow. As a recent customer, I can upgrade for 9.99 rather than 29.99. That’s nice to know, but it’s not something that I plan to do just yet. I want to see if there are any issues with the new version.

We have a Brother HL-1240 laser printer connected to our home network via a print server adapter that connects to the parallel port of the printer. The print server has a host application which lives on my studio PC, and this allows the print server to be configured for whatever protocols are in use. I’ll admit that the setup for this was quirky on the PCs, so I expected this to be a challenge, even on a Mac. I knew that I would need the print driver, and a way to allow the Mac to recognize the printer on the network.

The printer driver that came with the printer was out of date, so I checked Brother’s site. They indicated that the latest driver comes with the Mac OSX disk. I thought perhaps I would need to load the print driver from the disk, so I tried that. I checked the “optional” install items folder, but didn’t see anything there, so I began a full install routine to see if I would be given an option to just grab the print drivers. I didn’t get such an option, so I backed out of the install process.

I realized this was probably getting way too complicated. So I restarted and returned to the printer config screen. It wasn’t long before I found that the drivers actually *were* installed already. Half the battle won, I moved on to the connection itself (in this case, still using wireless.

My next hour was spent trying to get the network connection to the printer to work. The print server has many (too many) options to configure for various operating systems and connection types. I assigned an IP address to the printer and tried accessing that from the Mac. No dice. I also tried AppleTalk, but the Mac doesn’t seem to recognize AppleTalk (it is grayed out and doesn’t let me select a zone so it might not be installed). All of my attempts to just let the Mac “look for” the printer and connect in some user-friendly way failed. Frustrated, I figured this might be one to save for those 90 days of Apple support that I have yet to use.

I installed some more of my audio programs and ran another successful test with Riffworks and Garage Band running through the line input. I was still unable to get CubaseLE to work properly. An attempt to install a Native Instruments VST synth was twarted by what appears to be an incompatible disk, even though it is labeled for OSX. More research on the vendor’s site is needed.

Aside: It is clear to me that setup problems are going to occur on any device. This is consistent with my original theories before going into the Mac world. So I don’t note these technical issues with any particular malice to the Mac community – only to show that they do indeed exist. The utopian vision of a trouble-free computer experience is not realistic. If people are not perfect, how can their machines be perfect? (It is appropriate that this experience is taking place as we watch the final season of Battlestar Galactica.)

All I can say, perhaps, is that the Mac world is closer to that utopia than the PC world. I am enjoying the machine immensely, and hope to get past some of these smaller issues soon. Next step? We’re hitting the road. Artsy fartsy WI-FI hotspots beware… Jeremy is coming to your town to pretentiously type and browse in the corner drinking his latte. …


By jjdeprisco

Sonic explorer, sound artist, guitarist in Fricknadorable, software designer.