Jeanne - I think you are understating this. I believe that the browser's sandbox should block any access attempts to any hardware.
Ruquia - this may be frustrating for you, but imagine this from a blackhat perspective. There are websites you can go to know that pop up lots of annoying (to say the least) web pages. Or do pop-under sites. Now imagine how much more frustrating it would be if you were to go to a web page and suddenly find that your company's printer is printing thousands of pages of advertisements. Or that the page had told to your printer to reconfigure itself in some way that the printer did not understand, and your printer is no longer working.
ActiveX ... can you afford to exclude everyone who is not running one particular browser on one particular operating systems AND whose security level is set low enough to allow this? While it may be possible, it won't work for many people.