Bonjour rocks!

A few months ago I bought an [AirPort Express][] to play with, mostly because I wanted to play my [iTunes][] through the stereo speakers instead of my laptop’s. This was *so* easy that it didn’t even warrant a blog entry. I just plugged the AX brick into an outlet and plugged a 3.5 mm stereo-to-RCA cable between the AX brick and one of my stereo inputs. Since I was only planning to use my wireless laptop to transmit to the AX, I didn’t even have to bother with connecting the AX to my (wired) network.

I made some changes on my AX earlier this week. I needed to print quite a few pages from my laptop, and wanted to see if I could take advantage of the USB port on the AirPort Express. I moved the printer into the living room and plugged its USB cable into the AX brick. This didn’t work *instantly* — I forgot to fire up the `AirPort Admin Utility` (probably in the `Applications / Utilities` folder on a Mac) to associate the new printer with the AX. I also took advantage of the fact that my wife was out of town for a few weeks and ran a network cable into the living room for the AX brick. (She still hasn’t noticed it, so I must have done a reasonably neat job of installing it.)

Still, nothing worth blogging so far–I mean, c’mon: A Mac laptop connecting to an Apple network appliance? **Of course** it’s going to work. Painlessly. We take it as a given, like the sun coming up in the morning. 🙂 But today my wife noticed the printer in the living room, and she was a little curious. “Honey, what is the printer doing next to the *stereo*? Shouldn’t it be connected to *the computer*?” Uh oh! Holy marital strife! To the Internet, Batman! A quick Google search for `”airport express” windows printing` turned up [this post][ifelix bonjour] which revealed The Trick: download Bonjour for Windows! Visit Apple’s [Bonjour][] page and look for a link labeled “Get Bonjour for Windows” (currently at the bottom right of the page). Once I installed Bonjour on our Windows 2000 box (on the wired network, not WiFi), it took a few mouse clicks (and no decisions) to install the printer. Wow! Did I *really* install a printer on a Windows box without having to go to Device Driver Hell and back? Now **that’s** something worth blogging! 😉

In all fairness, this printer had already been installed on the Windows box, so the drivers were already there. But I’ve never seen network printing done so easily as this. I can definitely see more AirPort Express bricks in our network’s future…

[AirPort Express]:
[ifelix bonjour]: “Printing from a Windows XP PC to a printer attached to an Airport Extreme Base Station or Airport Express using Bonjour”

About Jim Vanderveen

I'm a bit of a Renaissance man, with far too many hobbies for my free time! But more important than any hobby is my family. My proudest accomplishment has been raising some great kids! And somehow convincing my wife to put up with me since 1988. ;)
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