Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Favorite OS X utility of the month

Without AppleTalk, OS X does a reasonable job of auto-detecting and auto-configuring network printers that support the Bonjour family of TCP/IP services (based on the IETF Zeroconf effort). I miss AppleTalk, but when I was listening to Apple pitch this idea back in 2000-2001, it seemed like the most reasonable way to make TCP/IP usable.

However, today I found a really cool freeware utility that makes Bonjour more usable: Bonjour Browser from TildeSoft.

Here’s how I used it: in a strange office, I wanted to know what printers are available. Apple’s default “add printer” feature will do that, but it hides the IP addresses from me.

If I use Bonjour Browser, then I can get the IP address for any or all of the printers. And if they’re HP LaserJet printers, I can throw the IP address into a web browser and thus browse all the useful printer information: status, configuration, installed accessories, etc. etc.

Of course it has other uses. And the price is right.

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