The cast of characters: handsome Mac G4 (Sawtooth) running OS 10.4.11 and slightly homely but talented, engaging HP 4ml printer.
All kidding aside, I had another idea about how to get around the fact that since I upgraded my Tiger software to 4.11 (from 4.7. then .9, then .10, I believe), I get a message that "the printer isn't responding" when I ask to print. All looks great until the last minute, by the way: the pages download, the little printer icon with the paper on it appears, and then the dread message. The printer worked fine before I upgraded to OS X, then for a while it wasn't recognized, but since then all was fine until recently, when I took on version 4.11.
I think that it was Bob Profitt who opined that maybe my problem lay in the fact that the printer's attached (by serial cable) to AsanteTalk, which allows me to attach the computer to it with an Ethernet cable. Models of Mac before mine apparently had a place to attach a serial cable, but this one doesn't. The printer works fine with my (failing) laptop, which is still using OS 9 and dialup. Having to transfer files from one computer to the other when I want to print, or imposing on my neighbor, is, in the first case, a bit of a pain, and in the second, an imposition I don't want to make often.
What it does have, though, is a USB connection. I was wondering whether I could, use a serial-to-USB adaptor to attach the the two machines with either the serial cable I have or a USB cable. (I think I have one of those, too.) That would bypass Ethernet altogether. You see, I have to use AsanteTalk because just as the Mac doesn't have a place to put the end of the serial cable, the printer doesn't have a place for USB.
First, is this possible? I know that such adaptors exist that have serial and USB. (I have one, though the serial end is male, and I need a female one.) I don't know, however, whether (1) it would not blow out the brains of one or both of the machines, former close friends, or (2) it wouldn't harm them but wouldn't work.
There's another reason that I'd love to bypass the Ethernet connection: As things stand currently with me, I get broadband as part of a very small network, and the way I get it is with an Ethernet adaptor. Although it uses USB, somehow, the built-in Ethernet seems sometimes to get into a tussle with it. Or maybe it's using the Ethernet to function, and the AsanteTalk part of the arrangement gets in the way. What do I know? All I know is that Bob may have been right about AsanteTalk being attached to the printer. If I could jettison the printer as part of the Ethernet hookup, I might be able to get all of these things to work sweetly together.
Right now, I've taken the printer out of the setup, including the serial cable, and have the Ethernet cable attached to AsanteTalk on one end and the G4 on the other. All seems to be well, except that of course, I can print only from the G3 PowerBook.
I don't even mind looking for the adaptor and trying things out, so long as I'm not likely to hurt anything by doing so. That is where I really could use advice. Also, would I be using a USB cable and just using the adaptor to connect it to the printer, or the serial cable (probably not, yes?) and attaching the adaptor to the G4 end? If you all are thoroughly confused by now, join the group. My head is swimming.
Thanks to anyone who can advise me. Much obliged!