Wireless printers more trouble than worth

In IT you frequently get asked to set up printers as wireless. That is, in a home network, the ability to directly print to the printer using Wi-Fi instead of the traditional USB connection. For the most part, this doesn’t work like people expect and hope.

Peoples expectation is that a wireless printer is just like a USB printer but no cables. If they have a laptop they strongly insist on this. The interesting part is that when they have problems, which most people do, they learn how fragile this setup can be.

Wireless printers more trouble than worthWhen a USB connected printer has a paper jam or whatever, it tends to talk to the computer and not have an issue. However when people have issues with their wireless printer, often the solution ends up having to reinstall the wireless printer. This is not a problem if they know how to do it, but most people do not know how to do it, so they depend on a companies IT staff to figure it out.

Now generally, IT are instructed by management to not work on any systems or devices that are not company owned. However practically this isn’t possible. For people who have a home office, IT end up supporting their office networks even though we didn’t set them up.

I had a client yesterday call and say that she tried to cancel her print job and it turns out she ended up deleting her printer! So I had to reset it up. Or I tried to, but it wouldn’t set up wirelessly. It kept giving an error which meant that either the printer was damaged, or the wireless connection on the laptop she was using. I was able set it up with USB and it worked perfectly. When I explained that wireless connections to printers can do this again, she didn’t want to be hassled again so left the USB connected.

All of this is a fine learning experience for the employee, but it comes at a cost to the company. I have seen that for many companies they figure at least a $50 cost for the time of the IT person and the lost wages of the employee not working. So a policy of supporting home offices ends up costing a great deal of time, and money figuring out things like this.

Of course you may say I’ve had a wireless printer and it has worked great. That is great. However since most people don’t know how to set one up, and don’t know how to deal with problems when they have them, I always recommend a USB connection. If they are tech savvy then they can solve their own problem and I don’t care what connection they use. Part of being in IT is finding ways to save money, and that means learning from mistakes and not allowing them to happen again.

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Sony Remote play works great on the mac

I have been playing Sony Remote play on a MacBook Pro and it works great. Even thought the MacBook Pro is probably 5 years old, it plays as though I was right in front of the PlayStation. Which is amazing considering how it is set up.

Sony said that you only need a 5 MB wired connection between the Internet and the PlayStation. I have a 50 MB wired connection. On the MacBook Pro end there is a 10 MB connection and Wifi that is old 802.11b that uses the 2.4 GHz spectrum. It only has 4 GB of Ram and it works wonderfully. I have no doubt that any PC in the last 5 years would work as well or better.

I didn’t detect any lag or issues. I could not watch Netflix using Remote Play, but I was able to play any game that I tried. I tried DC Online and it worked great as well.

What was amazing is that with the PS4 controller connected to my computer with USB it acted as though it was a wireless connection to the PS4. I like that USB connected idea since controllers often lose power quickly and this would fix that problem. I played a variety of missions and even with 8 other players, it was just as responsive as being in front of the PlayStation.

What I don’t understand is that if my computer was connected to my PS4 then why wasn’t there more lag? I would expect general slowness from those many connections but it wasn’t the case. I wonder if this client is making dual connections to both my PS4 and the PSN network directly? So that it sends the keystrokes, and then simultaneously it updates the screen. Fortunately my Internet provider has low latency, so remote play will probably cause people to change their ISP.

This is a great service for families or anyone away from home. Now instead of having to be in front of the system, you can play games anytime you have an internet connection. I have no doubt that this will cause the PC side of DC Online to suffer. Why have the limitation of a PC only technology, when you can have a PS4 and have either the console or PC as a choice of platforms? I think what will happen is that the PC only company will see their sales decrease since now they are the under-performer, and eventually Sony will take over the PC client possibility just merging it into this remote play system.

Since this is Sony we are talking about, I expected failure. I am grateful that they didn’t screw this up. Good job Sony, keep innovating like this and we will continue to buy your products.

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