Simon Willison’s Weblog

Thanks a bundle, HP

I needed to scan a couple of signed documents at work, as a cheaper alternative to locating a fax machine. The office scanner is an HP scanjet 4570c. I plugged it in to the back of my PowerBook to see if it would work straight away, as pretty much everything else I’ve plugged in has. It didn’t. Fair enough, I can’t expect Apple to pre-install drivers for everything. So I headed over to HP’s site to grab the necessary software.

All 170 MB of it!

Opera 7 is 3.8 MB. FireFox is 10 MB. Heck, the whole Mozilla suite is only 15 MB. What on earth could a scanner need that’s more than ten times the size of Mozilla?

So I gritted my teeth and proceeded with the download. Ten minutes later (thank goodness for broadband) the installer started up, and cheerfully told me I would have to quit all of my applications so it could restart my machine. If I clicked OK, it would shut them all down for me before proceeding with the install. Definitely no chance of me doing some useful work while it was copying over 7,000 files around my computer. Who needs multi-tasking anyway?

Gngngnngngng.

Another ten minutes later (I run a lot of apps) and the installer’s off on its merry way. A while after that it restarts my Mac. Time to see why goodies HP has provided:

  • HP Photo and Imaging Director (added to my Dock, thanks for asking(!))
  • HP Photo and Imaging Gallery
  • HP Quick Print
  • HP E-mail Portal
  • HP PrecisionScan Pro
  • HP ScanJet Copy Utiliy
  • HP ScanJet Manager
  • HP Scanner Preferences
  • ScanLaunch
  • HP Send To Application
  • HP Share-to-Web
  • Memories Disc
  • HP WebUpdate
  • Readiris 7 Pro (OCR software)
  • HP Uninstaller

I took a guess and fired up Imaging Director, taking the addition to my Dock as a clue that this was the best place to start. Options included “Scan Picture” and “Scan Document”. “Scan Document” launched the OCR software, then promptly crashed. “Scan Picture” managed to scan the image, dropping it in to Imaging Gallery. It wasn’t at all obvious what Imaging Gallery was actually for, so I dragged the scan back out of it, opened it in my own choice of image software and did what I needed to do.

I’m now left with 170 MB of useless, apparently buggy software. Thank goodness for the uninstaller. Does using a scanner really have to involve this much hassle?

This is Thanks a bundle, HP by Simon Willison, posted on 1st April 2004.

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Previously hosted at http://simon.incutio.com/archive/2004/04/01/hpsux