Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Printer

Can you believe how much computer printers have advanced over the years?

It blows my mind thinking back to 1993. My wonderful and generous grandpa had bought me a new super-whamodyne 486 computer (oooooooooh, aaaaaaaaah). That fall, I passed my interview with Admiral DeMars (a.k.a. Director of Naval Reactors) and was accepted in the Nuclear Propulsion training program. When you pass your interview with Naval Reactors, you get an accession bonus. I went out and spent $2,000 of my accession bonus on an Epson ActionLaser 1500 laser printer to go with my top-o-the-line 486.

That was one of the best purchases I've ever made. I certainly got my money's worth. I still have that Epson printer and it still works like a champ. It has become harder and harder to find ink refills for it over the years, but Epson earned a great reputation with me by virtue of the 16 year old printer that's still my old-reliable printer.

A few years ago, we picked up an HP All-in-One printer that was a COLOR printer, fax machine, and scanner. It was a nice capability to have, but it had its limitations. I have my Epson connected to a print server so that any of the computers in our home network can print on the Epson. I could do that with the HP, but it would not work as a fax or scanner over the LAN. In order to use those non-printer functions, I had to actually plug the printer's USB cable into a computer.

With the advent of wonderful new capabilities like depositing checks at home using a scanner, each time we get a bunch of checks for the boys' birthdays or Christmas, I would gather up all the checks, set up a chair by the HP printer, plug my computer into the HP and sit there scanning checks to deposit.

Likewise, anytime I have scanned a piece of the boys' artwork, I carry my laptop over to the HP and plug it in so I can scan the picture.

To tell the honest truth, we didn't use the HP very often unless we really needed something printed in color. I used it more for the scanner function. Segue into a big frustration of mine with the HP: When one of the ink cartridges runs out and it displays the error message telling you to load ink, it ceases to function as a scanner or fax machine. Of course, this happened at the most inopportune moment when I really needed to scan something like an important realty document to email back to our realtor, but the HP wouldn't let me scan it because it was out of ink.

Fast forward to present day Ashburn, Virginia.

The catalyst that drove us to search for a new printer was that my wife's new computer with Vista would not recognize the old print server and old Epson printer connected to it, so she couldn't print anything.

I had heard there were printers available now that would connect wirelessly to your LAN. I hadn't really looked into it because our setup was functional and my old reliable Epson was still chugging away in the basement.

Then one day, my wife and I were in the Buy More**, and we saw the price tags on the printers. Oh my! They had some really nice looking wireless printers for about $200! The printer the salesman at the store had recommended was an Epson WorkForce 600. It's a color printer, scanner, fax machine, has a memory card reader for printing out pictures, and it's wireless!

Not one to make big purchases like that without doing some research first, I came home and checked user reviews and prices on epinions and pricegrabber. I saw positive user reviews on the web and comparable prices to what they were offering at the store, so a couple of weeks later I went back to pick one up.

When I went into the store the next time, the printer was marked down on clearance AND they gave me the military discount, so I ended up walking out of the store with my new printer for $120!!! Cha-ching! Cha-ching!

So far, I LOVE the new Epson. It was very easy to setup on each of our computers to link wirelessly and print. It's awesome to sit here in the comfort of my chair in the family room and scan and work with an image of something I just tossed in the scanner as I walked by. No more lugging my laptop over and holding it there while I plug it in to let the scanner run. My only complaint so far is that it's pretty loud when it prints. It remains to be seen if it will continue to function as a scanner if the ink runs out. We shall see. So far though, I like it.

** Speaking of the Buy More - can you believe we have to wait until MARCH for the new season of Chuck to start??? That's just cruel making us wait that long.


Jay said...

Like you with Epson, I have only bought the cheapest Canon printers, and have yet to have a serious problem with the four or five I've owned.

The good thing about the cheap ones is if they do die, you don't feel guilty getting a new one, because the printer is almost the same price as ink, and they come with at least a partially filled ink tank(s).

I find it hard to believe now, like you must, that I ever spent $2k for a computer, and that was in 1989.

Hilary said...

Sounds like you got a great price on that printer. I hope it lives up to its predecessor's reputation.