Do You Know Your Neighbor Can Print on Your Printer?

neighbor can print to your printer

Are you aware that the odds are your neighbor can print on your printer? I discovered this by accident. So what, you might say. If a neighbor prints on my printer, I won’t give him any documents. But they could set your printer to produce the Grapes of Wrath while you are at work. Using up all your paper and ink.

At home in Sacramento our network has a firewall and is better protected most likely than the setup at our house in Hawaii. In fact, I’m not even sure how our printer works here in Hawaii. I just bought an HP, plugged it in, stuck in cartridges and it works. Not all the time, though, and sometimes I need my laptop to be closer to the printer instead of out on our lanai.

It’s a touchy thing. Which is why I had no idea that a neighbor can print on your printer. Sometimes I have to turn off the HP and turn it back on to get it to print. It’s an annoyance, and I use for so very little in Hawaii. An occasional property report in case I am preparing listing paperwork. OK, I also print boarding passes with it because I like a plan B.

Any little thing can screw up your cellphone, and I don’t want to be boarding a plane and discover my phone is messed up. I don’t trust technology to work all of the time because it doesn’t work all of the time. And then there is user error, too. Not immune to that.

The way I discovered a neighbor can print to your printer is because I heard a strange noise in the house. Clicking, clacking. Maybe it came from outside, some new strange crawly or flying critter. I went from room to room, and as I got closer to our den, the sound was louder. Sure enough, the printer lights were blazing, and it was printing.

A page flew upside down on the floor. I picked it up. Hmmm. Thanksgiving Day Menu. At first blush, I thought it was an HP error. Because seriously, who would serve Stove Top stuffing when you could make your very own sausage and sage dressing? But then I figured it had to be local, Hawaiian, because it contained taro rolls.

How did this happen? I guess my printer showed up on my neighbor’s printing menu. I figured it had to be the neighbors to the north of me because they were closest to our den where the printer lives. Just to mess with them, I went next door and set the menu on a chair by their front door.

A few days later, I spotted Mrs. Neighbor coming home from work. Did you get your Thanksgiving Day menu? I asked. She looked very confused. I put it on your chair, I said.

She burst out laughing: OMG. She couldn’t figure out how I knew it was her.

I did the easy thing. I unplugged the printer. There is something you can do about turning off wireless direct. I didn’t do it, though. Because knowing me, I would fix it so I could never print to it again. Unplugging it is safer in my case.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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