OS X-Files: Necessity and the Mothers of Invention

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Date: Wednesday, April 10th, 2002, 01:00
Category: Archive

Printing and scanning in OS-X has been hindered by a lack of drivers. It’s amazing at how many ways there are to work around these problems. Thankfully, my workhorse HP 4MV Postscript network printer worked immediately after installing OS-X by simply selecting it in the Print Center. Interestingly, this is the oldest of all my printers. No such luck with the HP 230 Design Jet plotter. There has never been an HP Mac driver for this beast and it?s just a matter of luck that my ancient PowerPlot driver still works under classic using an HP Etherprint server. No big deal since PowerCAD drafting software is not slated to be upgraded to run under X until 2003. Classic all the way.

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Printing and scanning in OS-X has been hindered by a lack of drivers. It’s amazing at how many ways there are to work around these problems. Thankfully, my workhorse HP 4MV Postscript network printer worked immediately after installing OS-X by simply selecting it in the Print Center. Interestingly, this is the oldest of all my printers. No such luck with the HP 230 Design Jet plotter. There has never been an HP Mac driver for this beast and it’s just a matter of luck that my ancient PowerPlot driver still works under classic using an HP Etherprint server. No big deal since PowerCAD drafting software is not slated to be upgraded to run under X until 2003. Classic all the way.

My Stylus Photo 1200 has been abandoned by Epson and is deemed too ancient to be supported. It is of course my newest printer, sporting a USB connection and optional Axis Ethernet print server. Since Photoshop is not yet out for X, it has not been a problem to print from the Classic environment. When my pre-ordered version of 7 arrives, what to do? My first brutal thought was to force 7 to launch in Classic just for printing. Kind of clunky, and what about color printing from other applications in X? Then it occurred to me. Set Acrobat to open in X, but set Acrobat Reader to open in Classic. It’s a simple matter to save print jobs as .pdf files from any application in X. Just take the resulting Acrobat file and drop it on Reader. Classic opens automatically and voila I print from Reader to the Epson.

My printer at home is a Lexmark Optra 310, again shared using a print server. Choosing the Optra 312 in the print center works fine. The final printer is the nifty Citizen PN60i. This has never been supported to print via infrared on a Mac and it must be booted into OS9 with a Keyspan serial adapter to print at all. It would be a nifty project for somebody to develop an OS-X/irda driver for this tiny printer.

Drivers from Canon are not even available in beta for my 656u and 650u scanners. Thankfully, the shareware program, VueScan works quite well with both. This leaves an old Olympus SCSI film scanner in need of replacement. I need more resolution and most available scanners are supported in X by VueScan, but not by their own manufacturers. Thank goodness for shareware, which has made up for the flat-footedness of many larger companies. And, thank goodness for eBay, since I have a table full of peripherals I can?t use any more.

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