Printer purgatory

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Things have been pretty quiet on the Mac front this year, or at least they were until just recently.

It still smarts that my old Canon laser printer is a model that just isn't supported on the Mac - all the Mac forums agree, by the way, it's not just me! So I originally got myself a nice new Mac-compatible Epson wireless multi-function inkjet printer to use at home with the Macs. I say wireless, but in fact the wireless feature was so flaky we gave up and just plugged it in. It seemed we had to reinstall it every now and then to maintain the wireless connection for some reason, but it wasn't essential.

Then there was the ink issue. Epsons, it seems, just don't like so-called compatible ink cartridges. I think I probably threw out £50 worth of so-called compatible cartridges that just wouldn't work and had to go for the twice as expensive Epson brand versions. It also gave up recognising even those cartridges on two occasions; the first time I took it back to PC World and exchanged it, then last week, the second time, I decide to swap it for a different make.

Since the colour option wasn't so essential I thought I'd go back to a laser, and there  was a good looking Canon multifunction printer that the salesman assured me was Mac compatible. Nope, it comes with no less that THREE CDs full of Windows only software and help documentation. A search of the Canon website eventually found a Mac printer driver plus a string of workarounds (because essential features like paper size selection don't work properly on the Mac!), but no driver for the scanner at all. After a couple of hours I thought why am I wasting so much time on a brand new printer?

So back to PC World next day and exchanged it for an HP Photosmart 6510 multifunction inkjet printer, with lots of Mac and Apple functionality clearly listed on the box! In fact, the Mac details were listed before the Windows requirements, which gave me some comfort.

The good news is that it works perfectly. The wireless connection is fine. It even supports Apple AirPrint so I can print photos and documents directly from my iPhone, and it works perfectly. Only time will tell what the running costs are, but the lesson for any Mac owner is: make sure your printer is properly Mac-compatible and don't be fobbed off by salesman. "Most" new printers probably are Mac-friendly, but not all, so do your research first. And if you buy from Currys/PC World buy the extended warranty, it's worth every penny!

About Nigel Harris

Nigel Harris

I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices and a stint with a training consortium.

I have the distinction of being one of the original members of the AccountingWEB editorial team, having been a freelance writer here for a year or so before John Stockdyk joined!

 

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