Cheapest Network Printing Solution?


I have used a HP JetDirect to network my HP 970Cse but it is no longer supported. I understand USB print sharing is not supported. What is the least expensive network printing solution for a home network running 10.1 and 9.2?
I've been wrestling with the same problem - 970Cse attached via parallel port to a jet direct server. The driver for the Deskjet included with MacOS X (not sure if this driver was built by Apple or HP) only supports the printer over USB, not the network. My environ is a 10baseT network across several rooms, with printer shared between windows and Mac. An additional problem for me is that the I/O on this and a few similar models is not hot - it selects either USB or Parallel port at startup and can't switch on the fly (some other models in series can do this). So the option of having my wife's windows box (in another room) continue to print over network, and connect my OS X box direct via USB is not a solution without physically disconnecting the cables each time someone needs to print. I did wait quite a while before resorting to attempting to connect via USB from the Mac (on principle - I should be able to use the network for this...) and discovered this additional limitation a few months after learning I couldn't print over the net.

Needless to say I wasn't happy, so I sent some email to HP's tech support asking that they work on a driver for this printer that will work over the network via the print server, or they offer me a discounted trade-up to a similar printer with hot I/O. I got this response from HP:

Hopefully the next release of the Mac OS X DeskJet driver will provide
AppleTalk support. We do not have any specific information on this nor when it will become available, but we do know that the next driver update is currently in the works. Please refer back periodically to the drivers and downloads page for your printer on our web site. You may sign up at the following web page to receive email notifications when new drivers are released.

You can print over AppleTalk in the Classic Environment.

Most 900 Series DeskJet can have both a USB and a parallel cable connected to the back of them at the same time, and only require a power cycle to reset the ports. Whichever port is accessed first will lock out the other port until the next power cycle. However, sometimes the printer does require that the other cable be disconnected.

The DeskJet 960, 980, and 990 have hot I/O ports which lets them automatically switch between ports when needed without a power cycle. You can call (208) 472-3494 and should be able to inquire about a possible trade-in/trade-up for the DeskJet 970, if one is available.

I still didn't answer your question. You're asking if there is another print server out there that will work. I believe the answer to that is no. The problem is not with the print server per se. It is with the driver that comes with OS X only working with USB, not the network. Any print server you stick out there on the network is going to be affected by this.

I did confirm that I was able to use classic mode to print over the net. I was suprised by this, in 10.0.x, the chooser seemed to be disabled, so I didn't think it was an available option. But the chooser now works in 10.1, I was able to see the printer and print to it from a classic app. (Needed to power cycle the printer - print monitor indicated the printer was "busy" at first). A workaround for printing from carbon/cocoa aps might be to print to a .pdf file, and then print the .pdf from a classic version of acrobat reader.

I am hopeful from the email I got that HP will eventually cough up the required driver, but it looks like we're going to have to wait a bit.

thanks for your input, Feline. I had the same experience with HP. The second time I talked with them they seem to think a driver for the JetDirect was coming.

I had also discovered the ability to print in Classic on the network. But it is a silly work around.

Thanks for the the info about leaving both ports powered up and recycling the power button to switch ports. That will help.