Murphy Has Struck the Network

The computer has decided to not play nicely with the printer. I hate it when this happens. I need to print out some more business cards. I would really like to break away from this nasty habit and get some cards professionally printed, but I’m not settled enough on a design to commit to 1000+ cards just yet. Thus far, I’ve been printing on Avery’s smooth-edge business cards with an old HP LaserJet. The printer does a nice job, but it needs a good cleaning at the moment.

Things that I like about this printer are that it’s been incredibly simple to use, and it runs well. It was manufactured in February of 2002. It has logged 22,573 prints in its lifetime. Of those twenty-two and a half thousand pages printed, the errors are well under a hundred. The system only stores the fifty most recent errors, but it was under that number when we purchased it used, several years ago. I’d like to completely tear it down, clean it out, install new, HP-branded supplies, clean the duplexor, and upgrade the ram. Then, it would be like a new one again. We bought the printer at a garage sale for $100 after confirming that it did indeed function. The toner cartridges were each under 10% remaining, but we still got many hundreds of prints out of them before we had to order new cartridges. We went ahead with remanufactured cartridges from a third-party supplier (which I have regretted), and it has largely run well. The price was kind of ludicrous. We were planning on picking up a color laser printer, and had planned on spending a few hundred dollars for a new one. When we found the big HP for $100, we kind of had to do it.

Plug it into the network, and it works. Mostly. When we first set it up, we had to tell it which network it was on, and we had to override DHCP a couple of times to get it to IP correctly. There are reasons that most households don’t see a printer like this one. For one, you’ve got to have a decent working knowledge of networking to get full functionality out of this beast. Secondly, they are big and heavy. Lastly, you can’t usually get a working example for $100. It has been running smoothly and trouble-free for quite a while now. Well, up until now, actually.

Over the weekend, it became clear that this was going to be a busy week for me. I’ve got quite a bit of work lined up to get done, and I’ve got several deadlines to meet. I gave out the last of my business cards over the weekend, so I hopped on the computer last night to print out some new ones. That’s when the trouble started.

Open Office was very sluggish opening my business card files. In fact, it acted as if it was freezing up. So, I shut everything down, restarted and tried again. Similar results. Ran a full scan with Spybot S&D and tried again. Now, Open Office will open my files (slowly). Good enough. When I went to print, it told me that the printer was not present. I tried to print from Adobe reader instead with the same results. I also tried from Notepad.

I’m running M$ Windon’t XPee SP3 on a FrankenDell with a P4HT and somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.25-Gb Ram. I opened up Printers & Faxes to see if I could diagnose the ‘missing’ printer from there. When I asked for properties on the printer in question, I was informed that the printer was missing.

I logged into the router via Opera and checked for DHCP clients. There, I can see the printer. I pinged the printer by IP just to make sure I wasn’t missing something obvious. Four sent, four received, nice fast connection, no problems. I shut off the printer and restarted it. I deleted the printer from the computer and attempted to reinstall it. In the printer installation wizard, I specified the printer by IP address, and the computer gave me an error, saying that it couldn’t find the printer there.

At this point, I’m at a loss. If I can ping the printer, why can’t I connect to it? I’m hoping that I haven’t screwed Windon’t up to the point that I’m due for a fresh install. I don’t have time to be monkeying on this crap. This week even more so than the last few, I need to be a designer, artist, and craftsman. Not a network sysadmin chasing ghosts in the ethernet.

It just figures, doesn’t it?

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8 thoughts on “Murphy Has Struck the Network

  1. We are all God’s Sysadmins, Michael… whatever that means :)

    I’ve decided that next on my list of computer stuff is to upgrade the beast to a new motherboard and all the good stuff. Going to go with a brand new Intel Core i7 and set up a RAID system to go with it.

    The old stuff will be moved over to a smaller case and it will form the basis for a firewall system and then the wife will get her own new out-of-the-box computer.

    Yeah, big plans, but I think we can do it 😀
    .-= Instinct´s last blog ..The end is nigh!!! =-.

  2. Must be nice, Instinct. My next computer will be the hottest used lap top I can get for $200 or less. I’m hoping that I can find a decent one with a webcam for that. I’ll probably wind up getting a Vista machine and wiping it for an XPee install.

  3. questions:
    can any other machines in the house print to it?
    is it plugged into the router, and if so, can you connect it directly to the machine to print?

    this could be as simple as a driver error. i’d suggest downloading updated drivers for it, but only if you’ve tried the above tips.
    .-= falnfenix´s last blog .. =-.

  4. “Over the weekend, it became clear that this was going to be a busy week for me. I’ve got quite a bit of work lined up to get done, and I’ve got several deadlines to meet. I gave out the last of my business cards over the weekend, so I hopped on the computer last night to print out some new ones. That’s when the trouble started.”

    Of course. Murphy strikes again.

  5. If you want to find out if it is Windows or the printer, download an Ubuntu Linux live CD from Lets you run Linux (somewhat slowly) from the CD drive without touching your hard drive. I’ve found that installing most printers is easier in Linux than Windows.

    If you can run openoffice, you can run Linux.
    .-= Sevesteen´s last blog ..Straws and camels =-.

  6. Sevesteen, the only reason that we have Windon’t on this machine instead of Linux is easy media file compatibility. I don’t know if it’s still true, but when I was playing with Debian and Ubuntu, keeping Flash in a somewhat current version was like pulling alligator teeth. The antique Mac Book will print to that printer. When I deleted the printer and reinstalled drivers and all, it worked for a couple of days. Then, it went back to the same old crap. :( I know full-well that a Linux install is FAR more stable than anything M$ has offered us.

  7. In recent versions of Ubuntu, Flash and media codecs are now installed and updated just like any other program–A couple extra clicks once Ubuntu is installed, no manual updates or manually copying files. Plus Flash is now at the same version for Linux as Windows.

    Mint is basically Ubuntu with the media stuff already installed. Haven’t used it myself.

    Full disclosure: Flash is not quite as stable on my computer as I would like it to be, but runs fine on my wife’s Ubuntu.

    I am pretty much a Linux Fanboy, but I won’t fault an uninfected Windows 2000 or later system for stability. I will fault them for the lack of security that makes spyware and viruses as common as they are.
    .-= Sevesteen´s last blog ..Straws and camels =-.

  8. That’s good to know! If I recall correctly, the last linux install that I did was Debian 3.1. I’m sure there have been some pretty massive improvements since then. Open Office certainly has improved since then!

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