Martin Geddes is having printer troubles. Specifically, how do you attach a bluetooth enabled laptop running Windows XP to a USB printer via a Linux server? He uses that as a jumping off point to talk about the stupid network, commenting that "I thought I “got” this stupid network stuff. But I still casually accepted these stovepiped connectivity solutions sprouting in front of me!"
What you need, Martin, is Universal Plug and Play. It’s networked, built on TCP/IP, and is automatically discoverable on your LAN. Profiles for many devices, including printers exist. And, your PC already supports discovery of UPnP devices. If you don’t want to dump your shiny new Canon printer, you can get one of these to add UPnP to your printer.