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HP Photosmart Premium Fax (C309)

I was tired of scanning documents by lifting a lid, so I wanted to get something with a document feeder. Then I figured I may as well get a “photo printer”.

First I verified this thing had XP x64 drivers, because evidently I’m the only fucking donkey shitter that wants to use every-day devices and software (thanks, stupid-ass iTunes) on this OS.

So I buy the thing. First surprise is that it’s the size of two desktop computers stacked atop one another, and still comes with an external “power brick” AC adapter. What a fucking crock. I hook it up via Ethernet, and install the “software” to my surprise, there was no software, just a driver. Now I realize that HP offers the full software only for XP 32 bit (and possibly Vista, but I don’t give a flying fuck). No worries, I figured, this fucking ass shit printer has a control panel with LCD screen and three trillion buttons.

So I stick a slim piece of paper (a check) in the feeder. Thankfully, the paper-guiding fences don’t adjust past about a large envelope’s height, so my printed check is going to go through there like a drunken bitch on his way to find a toilet to puke in. Whatever, I say, it’ll be fine. So I use the clickedy clackedys to “scan to computer” on the LCD screen. “Go to the computer and start the scan software”, says the fuck-tard ass shithole. Thanks bitch, I like going to the printer so it can tell me to go back to my fucking computer.

I stick a USB jump drive and tell it to scan to USB. That works, but it slower than shit. It’s like a fucking mouse is sitting in there fucking drawing that shit. Still, everything comes out fine, but it defaults to JPEG, which I don’t want, and because the checks I’m scanning are going in short end first, they are rotated 90 degrees in the images.

So I fire up my XP 32bit virtual machine. Of course I had the network set to NAT, so I have to change it to IF, because even though the HP software installation will find the printer on another subnet, it refuses to let you use it. Then I have to cancel the installation, which takes about 5 hours, so I can shut down the virtual machine, because if you just “save its state” with Virtual Box you can’t change any of the settings. It’s been about an hour by now. The first thing I uninstall is another “add all your pictures to my library so I can fuck you later” piece of software. Thanks for reinventing the wheel into a cracked square, HP.

If you press up, down, up, down, left, left, ok, print, copy, you get this picture in vivid color.

If you press up, down, up, down, left, left, ok, print, copy, you get this picture in vivid color.

Finally I get all the software installed. It’s nagging the shit out of me, popping windows out of nowhere. Then I finally go to use it. I stick 3 checks on the feeder, and try to scan them. The software is nice and pretty, but confusing as hell. Before fucking around with any settings, I just go to scan to PDF, and it opens up the HP scan utility, with another fucking splash screen. Then it lets me pick where to save the files, etc., and of course it has stupid defaults, like color scanning, and saving to the “My Scans” folder. Anyway, it scans the things, and it works; they’re all wavy because there’s no guides to feed them in correctly, but whatever.

I start going through the options, because I noticed that it doesn’t remember that I don’t want them saved to “My Scans”, and that I want separate files, not multiple pages in one file. There’s all this shit that implies I can “send new shortcuts to the device”, but I don’t know where the hell they are, because they are not in the scanning menu of the ass-fuck.

Finally I find a place where you can change the defaults like whether or not to save to “My Scans” or somewhere else. I change a few of them, like making picture scans save to TIFF instead of JPEG, etc. I go to close the window and it says I need to save the individual changes. Thanks assmunch. I go to save, and I can’t overwrite the “shortcuts”. I’m not going to fucking rename this shit you fucking dick willow. So I cancel it all.

I start getting annoyed with the time-sinking window fades and animations and stupid splash creens that appear, so somewhere else I find some options where scanning a document doesn’t ask any questions, it just does it. But then I can’t pick where it saves them (goes to “My Scans” again) and it fucking irks me. God damn it.

At this point a couple of scans have ended with the last check stuck in the machine, the printer saying it’s scanning, but not actually doing anything, the software saying it can’t scan because another computer has control of the thing, and me having to power it off, which takes some 10 seconds, and power it on, which takes some 20 seconds before the PC recognizes it again.

I tried scanning the checks the other way, so they wouldn’t be 90 degrees, though at some point I saw an option to “auto rotate” and “straighten” (surely neither of which work; we’ll see). Once you could tell the first one almost didn’t make it to the second drive roller because there’s a long streak in the scan (the paper wasn’t moving but the rollers were), and then it sucked two checks in at once. The second time, one got stuck deep in the rollers and I had to carefully yank it back. They are simply too short to reliably go through.

This prompted me to install WordPress and write this.

To summarize:

1. This thing didn’t solve my problem at all. Document feeder/easy scanner my ass. The software has made it a pain in the ass to do anything; forcing you to open the “HP Solution Center” instead of just the HP scanner utility, making you watch 8 fucking splash screens go by, only to have the stupid thing get stuck in a loop or eat your fucking paper for lunch.

2. I don’t think the hardware is bad, but the software is a great example of marketing ass donkeys asking for easy software and the engineers having their heads up their ass or simply refusing to do a good, integrated job out of spite. Either way, the customer gets fucked.

3. I think this is also an example of putting in too many things into one device, and ending up with everything at a mediocre level. Ethernet, USB, Wifi, Bluetooth, LCD screen, keyboard, fax, scanner, printer, document feeder, and I can’t just walk up to the damn thing, put my originals in, scan to a file, and go to work. It’s supposed to work, as far as I can see from the vague manual, but it doesn’t.

4. The two pieces of 5×7 photo paper it comes with yielded some incredible prints. One was from a 10-megapixel high-end point-and-shoot, and it came out like a high-quality lab print (though I’ve never had digital photos printed anywhere). I also printed a 180 MB TIFF scan from medium-format slide film and it came out great.

Overall, I give this a fuck-me-in-the-shit rating. Had I known the scanning was going to be such a fucking bitch, I would have spent a bit more on their new large-format photo printer (printer only) and enjoyed some presumably great 13×19 prints. For “scanning” small things I will still have to lift the fucking lid and put them in. At least other papers I can drop in the feeder—though I can’t tell right now how often it will jam or suck in too many sheets at once.