Kevin Dorrell, CCIE #20765

22 Jun 2008

Gripes about my HP Photosmart 3210

Filed under: General — dorreke @ 14:51

This has nothing to do with CCIE.  I’m just using my blog to gripe about an unsatisfactory piece of software.

I have one of those HP All-in-one printer-scanners, the HP PS 3210.  Overall, it works fairly OK, but I do have a number of gripes about it, especially when used on the home network.  I would be very interested to know if these problems are still present in the more recent all-in-one models.

1. Multi-user scenarios

We have Windows XP on the family computer, and an account for each member of the family.  This doesn’t interact too well with the print driver, especially if you try printing double-sided.  The driver has a feature for printing double-sided: basically it prints the odd numbered pages first, then you turn them over manually, then it prints the even numbered pages.  (Or is it first the evens, then the odds .. ?)

Anyway, you get a pop-up telling you when to turn the pages over, and it doesn’t print the other side until you click “Continue”.  Trouble is, the pop-up comes up in the context of the first person to log in, which is not necessarily the person who asked for the print job.  (Some members of the family have the bad habit of leaving their desktops logged in.)

I tried getting support from HP on this, but they said it was too difficult to fix so they were not going to do anything about it.  Great!  Lots of wasted paper.

2. Must be always powered on

If you start the PC with the printer switched off, then you are in trouble.  The trouble occurs not when you start the PC, but when you try and shut it down.  It comes up with lots of “Program not responding” pop-ups, and does not close down until you kill the HP software by hand.  Is it unreasonable to expect them to have thought of that scenario?

3. Cannot update software any more

This is a knock-on effect from my attempts to solve the double-sided issue.  When I contacted HP support, of course, I got the usual “Are you running the latest version of the driver?”  So I downloaded and installed the very latest version I could find on the web site:  Since then, the automatic software update does not work any more.  It seems to download the files OK, counting the bytes, but then says “Download failed”.   There are several “critical” updates I have not been able to install.

4. Default scan profile not applied to multi-page TIF documents

Being European, I have a default scan profile corresponding to A4 paper.  Definition: 1/16 m² with an aspect ratio equal to the golden ratio, ((sqrt(5)-1)/2).  When scanning a single page document, this works fine.  When scanning a multi-page document, it works fine for the first page.  But for subsequent pages, I must re-apply the profile manually to each page.  That slows me down.  (P.S. Strangely, this happens only if you enable the preview.  If you don’t preview, the profile is applied to all the pages.)

5. B/W threshold is different if previewed.

When scanning in black-and-white, you can set the B/W threshold to determine how light or dark you want the image.  The range goes from 1 (very light) to 255 (completely black).

If I preview the scan, I need a B/W of about 120 for a reasonable copy.  If I don’t do a preview, a setting of 120 gives a very light washed-out image.  Unfortunately, the only way I know to edit the profile is do do a preview, which doesn’t make the adjustment of the non-preview setting very easy.  After a lot of experimentation, I found that a B/W threshold of about 164 gave the correct result in non-preview.

Why couldn’t they make the settings behave the same in preview and non-preview modes?

6. Scanner goes into non-responsive mode.

There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to this.  Sometimes the scan software goes to sleep for up to two minutes just after it has populated the preview window, but before I can click “Accept”.  Sometimes, it gives me back control within two or three seconds.  I have no idea why the difference.  During this time, TaskManager tells me that the CPU is 99% occupied, running the process hpscnvw.exe.

Further Comments

Just in case someone comes across this blog and has the same problems, here are some more things I found out:

Issues 5 and 6 are actually related.  I found out that the “going to sleep” depended on the page being scanned.  I was scanning some old documents for the archives.  These documents were on slips of paper of format 1/3 A4: about 8″ by 4″.  These particular documents had some areas with a mid-grey background, and that was being converted to b/w dot-screen for the purposes of the preview.  That is what was taking the time.

If I ask it to scan without a preview, the whole image comes out a lot lighter, and in fact the mid-grey background gets lost.  It can therefore present the scanned slip in about 15 seconds instead of 2 minutes.  I think I can live with that – at least the printed parts are still legible.


1 Comment »

  1. Thank you

    Comment by Hafceamb — 03 Aug 2008 @ 02:44

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