It’s been a while since that last time I got some new hardware, I think my iPod Touch was the last bit of new tech I’d gotten before this week. So, this week I made up for lost time and got myself new network printer and a new USB headset. I have to say I’m very happy with both, they just worked, no drivers, no messing. Actual, genuine, plug and play. Oh, and I was testing these on Leopard.

[tags]Apple, OS X, HP, Logitech[/tags]

I’ll start with the printer, but before I go into the actual details I want to explain what I was looking for and how I went about picking the one to buy. I’m writing my PhD thesis at the moment and one thing that involves is lots and lots of printing of lots and lots of text. So, I needed a printer that would be fast and efficient at printing black and white text. I also wanted a printer that could be hooked straight up to the network. I was getting fed up with my old MacMini having to be on each time anyone wanted to print. So, I needed a networked laser printer that did a descent amount of pages per minute.

Bearing that in mind I did what I usually do when I want to buy hardware, I went to, navigated to the relevant category, sorted it by price (lowest first) and found the three cheapest options that met my needs. Then I looked at each of these three in detail, read the reviews and then picked the one I liked best. In this case I chose the HP LaserJet P2015n. It was reasonably priced, did 26PPM, and had good networking support.

When I got it home I un-packed it, took off all those silly orange tabs HP likes to hide all over the place, added some paper and plugged it in. I didn’t even take out the CD. I just went to my machine, opened the printing preferences, clicked the plus button to add a printer, and Bonjour found it instantly. A few seconds later it was automatically configured and ready to go. Now that’s what I call plug-and-play! No drivers, no messing it just worked! It’s well integrated into OS X too, when you print the icon you see on the Dock is a realistic icon that looks just like the printer. When you right(control)-click on it and go to Utility it takes you to the web interface to control the printer. I’ve been using it for a few days now and it works like a charm. Money well spent I think.

Finally, I’ve been using a very old and very battered Trust headset for my podcasting work for ages now. When I say battered I’m not exaggerating, the boom to hold the mic has been super-glued back on twice! I had been hoping to get a good bluetooth headset but every one I’ve tried has been rubbish. So, I decided I could put up with some cables and on a whim went down to the local computer store and just picked one.

I ended up picking the Digital Precision PC Gaming Headset from Logitech. This was a risk. The word PC was all over it and the requirements on the back listed only Windows versions. No mention of Macs. BTW, I had to get a USB headset because my Mac Mini has no audio in at all and my MacBook Pro only has a line-in port, not a mic-in one. However, feeling bolstered by how well the printer had worked out I bought it anyway. It has both USB and analogue connectors so I figured if the worst came to the worst I’d just use my old Griffin iMic analogue to USB converter. I needn’t have worried though, it worked perfectly. I plugged it in and the Mac picked it up immediately. No software, no drivers, nothing. Yet again, real plug-and-play. And when I mean no drivers I mean no drivers. Not even that annoying thing Windows does when you plug in something that it knows how to address “new hardware detected – please click next and waste your time and effort for no reason at all”. OK, I made the last bit up, but I hope you get my point. Microsoft’s infatuation with pointless wizards is just stupid. It doesn’t add to usability, it just wastes people’s time and effort. If you have the drivers pre-installed in the OS to just make the thing work then just make the thing work and stop annoying people!

As for the quality of the headset, you’ll have to wait and see. I did a very short test and it sounded fine but the real test will be when I record my weekly segment for Monday’s NosillaCast with Allison tomorrow.