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]: http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/
[ifelix bonjour]: http://www.ifelix.co.uk/tech/1008.html “Printing from a Windows XP PC to a printer attached to an Airport Extreme Base Station or Airport Express using Bonjour”