Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dear HP software devs...

Hi.
I recently wanted to install a printer my roommate owns onto my laptop, and it happened to be a HP PSC 1315 "All In One".
The reason I wanted to do it was to print out an invoice or three, because it's my sick day off work and I haven't done it. Most printers are easy to install - a driver file and that's it.

Most printers.

I discovered, soon, that you required a CD installation. What? Is this windows 98? No, I do not think so.
Ok, ok, get the CD, automagically find the drivers. Hmm. I see. An installation wizard. Interesting.

My slow, rickety old laptop ran the installer, and it informed me that for a mere gigabyte of HDD space, I could have the latest and greatest in HP software.
All well and good, but I have never found a bit of manufactorer supplied software that is superior to whatever it is I use to do things - please, don't install acrobat reader, or a crappy scanning application... just install me some drivers.

Hundred?I thankfully discover, just below, there's a "minimal" installation at a mere hundred mb. Sod off. Back in my day... *incoherent rambling about floppy discs and printer drivers*.

The wizard runs. Flickers and tries to do about 80 different things. That's very odd and unexpected behaviour. It tells me to plug in the printer, eventually - surely the fucker is already plugged in, otherwise windows wouldn't be bugging me with "new hardware detected" every three minutes.

Some cable jiggling later, I've changed nothing but it's now working. Note to self: slaughter a goat to the god of whatever it is possessing my hardware.

There's 8, long, slow steps. Eventually, they complete. I click next.

Suddenly, there's a warning message. BEEP WARNING WARNING FLASH FLASH - hey, there's another install in progress, finish that before you complete this.
Lies. Lies I say. I know for a fact that there's no other installations of HP software going on, and I'm only removing the Office XP suite [sidenote, open office 2.0's latest beta kicks ASS], surely this printer doesn't need to worry about that, does it?

I click OK, expecting it to busy spin and say, hey, finish the other install or cancel this one. Instead, it goes into a rollback. The 20 minutes of time wasted installing up to this stage, which required me to accept a licence agreement for "scanning" software I didn't agree to, it's all gone.
The entire process rolls back. Slowly. Scans my registry. Shows a rather scary dialog which proclaims boldly:

HP All-In-One Installer
Removing unneeded components: Canon PCLe-5

What? No, no, you evil son of a bitch, that's my work stuff. I know it isn't *actually* uninstalling my other printers, but it's a very fucking unfortunate thing to put on a screen.

Finally, the final interface has a "you must restart your machine" message and a button to do it.

How about no thank you, I'd rather keep working with the document I wanted to print, eh? Luckily, we can cancel out of this installer with crafty use of the window termination button ("X").

The second attempt at installation got as far as the first did - and apparently, there *are* no standard windows drivers on the entire CD that windows XP can understand.

So, HP devs, please find another occupation, because you aren't very good at your current one. Sure you can make a printer and things like that - nice, but not really what I'm looking for in a hardware vendor.
I'd advise a career in gardening, or perhaps work for the tax office.

Kind Regards,

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