Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Epson WorkForce 545 Multi Function Printer - Update

I finally got off of my ass and decided to set up my new Epson WorkForce 545 Multi Function Printer, the one I bought a few days ago. After helping my wife bring 2 of the dogs to the vet today, Roxie and Pepe, then picking up Roxie, the one they had kept for intravenous hydration (both have had gastric problems but the one they kept has been both upchucking and has had the runs for about a week now) and realizing I just paid the veterinarian well over seven and a half large (yes over $750 in fact over $775) I needed something to get my mind off of that shit. Wow, veterinarians sure make lots of money up this way, too bad Brendan changed his major from biology to sociology! Oh well, onto the printer.

I opened the box and everything was packed nicely and was easy to take out. Anything taped closed on the printer had taped that was folded over onto itself on one end, thus making it easy to lift, as if it had a tab on one end that said lift here. That was a nice touch. There was a quick setup sheet that told how to set the thing up. I followed all of the instructions and the setup took me about an hour. Once done, I clicked the button to print a test sheet and it came out fine. Well, I guess it came out fine since there was no preview to look at on my computer screen to show me what to expect! After that I hit the scan icon on my PC and tried to scan a photo and save it on my PC. No go! Tried again, no go and the printer display said there was no USB connection, but there it was, the same one I had just used during setup, the same one by which connection I had just printed the test picture. What to do. I changed USB cables to another USB2 cable. No luck. Then I tried an older plain USB, no luck.

So, I did what I figured was best, I removed the software following the Epson instructions on how they said to do that, then I reinstalled the software fr the printer. his time it said it was fixing an accessory program that had loaded first time around. It was not for the scanner but was related to the scanner, a program to change scanned docs with text to actual text docs, if I remember right. So that all took at least another 1/2 hour or more.

Once done, I tried a scan again and voila, it worked. I tried a second, third, fourth and fifth time and it worked each time, I made scans in both color and gray scale! By the way, when I reloaded the software this time and then connected the laptop to the printer, I used the plain USB cable and not the USB2 cable. I noted that the instructions just called for a USB cable. I don't know if using a USB2 cable was the problem the first time round or if it was that program that got fixed when I reloaded the software but now it seems to be working fine. Th pic of the cat was of our dear Cody about 18 or 20 years ago. He lived a long good life with us. He died, only a few years ago, and we still miss him sorely. I just found a few photographs of him a few days ago and figured why not scan one of them as one of my test photos. It came out nicely done or at least I think so!

So, there was a bug in the works that needed to be gotten out but once I reloaded the software with a plain USB chord, it seemed to work well. One thing I will say is that the printer is noisier than I thought it would be. For me to say that is kind of amazing because I really am hard of hearing since my last chemo session. That one seemed to change my hearing drastically within a few days to a week of the last treatment. So much so, that when I saw my mom last night, she asked me if I am hard of hearing and said she never remembered me being so. Pretty sharp for a dementia patient who has seen me only twice in over 5 months (because of my condition). So, what I am saying, with regard to the printer, s I expected to hear nothing from it. Why, well because I read review after review with folks really excited about how quiet this printer is in operation. That has got to be absolute balderdash because when my prints it sounds fairly loud to me even with my lousy hearing. It is also supposed to be a speed demon at printing speeds. I don't know about that. It seemed to print at a run of the mill speed to me but I will have to try simple text documents to see how it does, then a photograph to see how it does with them. All I printed up tonight were a few of the same Epson test sheet and that is a combination of text and graphics though not much of each. Like I said, the speed seemed sort of run of the mill.

As for the scanner, it is slow as molasses, or so it seemed to me, but then almost all flatbed scanners that I have used have seemed that way to me. It did do justice to my pictures for the most part. It kind of missed the yellowish almost light sepia tinge to one pic I scanned. It really was not a sepia tinge but was a B&W photo yellowed from age. The scan came out in gray scale with no sepia to it. I kind of liked that because it fixed it to what it should have looked like. I imagine a sepia print would need to be scanned as a color print to keep the sepia tone.

As for the fax, I have not even set it up, I hit the option to set it up later. I am not sure I will use that option but if I do, I will write it up later. I was happy to have the option to set that up or not. That was a good touch, a plus for the folks at Epson.

Now as for the copier, I have not tried that either. No, let me correct myself, I just tried it. It copies like a speed demon, that is for sure. I was surprised at how fast it copies. I just copied one sheet but wow, that was fast for a machine like this.

As for the overall construction, almost everything is plastic but what would you expect for a printer selling for $64.99 on sale! Nothing seemed extra strong but then again nothing seemed all that flimsy except for the outbound paper tray and maybe the auto-feeder paper tray. If you take care not to mess them up though, they will last for years is my guess, just like other ones on other printers I have had.

The control panel is laid out nicely. There is a 2.5"display screen off center to the left. There are numerous control buttons on the face of the panel but none are difficult to figure out. Of course you can also operate the machine remotely from your computer without touching one of those buttons on the panel. That is because you can set the printer up on your home WiFi network. I have not tried that yet since the Epson instructions for setup recommended doing the setup with a USB connection first, then later setting it up for WiFi too. I may do that tomorrow. Back o the control panel buttons for a moment; as far as I know, the screen is not a touch screen. I like that very much because all the touch screens I have seen on this type of multi-function printer have been pretty flimsy. I much prefer the control panel button as long as they are laid out as nicely as they are on this printer.

The printer itself is pretty big. It takes up almost double the footprint size of my last printer which was a simple ink-jet printer and not a multi-function printer. I have it on my computer desk right now and need to figure out the best position for it to give me the most room to work in. I wish it was smaller but many others are even bigger than this one. Epson has a smaller model, the NX430 but it only used up to high capacity ink cartridges and not the extra high capacity ones. That means a lot more money spent on ink and a lot more cartridge changes. I am saving big bucks by having bought a model that uses the extra high capacity ink cartridges.

Not much more I can think of right now except to say most of the regular things were in the box with the printer such as the power chord, a telephone connection wire (for the fax) an instruction manual on how to use it, a set up sheet, the software and ink cartridges. One additional nice touch is that Epson supplies full high capacity ink cartridges with this printer. Many other companies reportedly supply their new printers with only partially filled ink cartridges. One thing that was not included in the box was a USB cable - come on Epson - I would be willing to pay an additional few bucks that it would cost you to include one. An Ethernet cable was not supplied either, but you can also hook the computer to the printer with one of them if you prefer it.

I guess that is about it for now. I will report on how well it has done for me at a later date.

All the best,
Glenn B

Gun Show White Plains, NY

It is really, really, very nice to be able to drive to a decent sized gun show within only about 45 miles, give or take a mile or two, of my home. That would be the gun show at White Plains, NY at the Westchester County Center on February 4th and 5th (this coming weekend). It is sure a lot better than having to drive the 80 miles or so (always thought it was 90 but MapQuest says much closer to 80) to get to the Orange County Fairgrounds for the Middletown, NY show which is the one we went to most before the return of the one at White Plains. While the White Plains show only has 350 tables, I think it beats out the Middletown show by about 50 tables or so. Fifty more tables probably translates to about 30 to 35 more tables showing guns for sale (considering that the other tables will show knives, books, firearms accessories and so on). Not bad and it makes the White Plains show a better bet than the Middletown show for Brendan and I.

Of course, we are planning on going to the show. Right now, the plan is to leave our house at about 0700. That should get us there in time to maybe find a parking spot on the street thus avoiding having to pay a parking lot fee. I don't mind paying to park if I have to but free is free and parking on the street, where legal, is free up there but only if you get there early. When you consider the gas for the ride up there and back is about 2.5 to 3 gallons at about $3.699 a gallon, the tolls are - heck I do not know what they are now but my guess is over $5 - I was close, just check. The toll without EZ Pass NY is $6.50, the toll with EZ Pass NY is $4.80. Whew, under five bucks for us each way, that's great! (I figured a sarcasm alert was not really needed for the last sentence but if you did not realize the high amount of sarcasm in that "Whew" or in the "that's great" it was there in both places! The admission fee is secret this year but I am guessing about $9.00 each with our $1.00 off coupon. Then lunch that will be about $30 for 3 of us (actually there will be 3 of us going along, Brendan's girlfriend Haylie is coming with us). You can see it starts to get expensive so if I can avoid whatever they charge for parking, I think it is from $5.00 to $10.00, well count me in on free parking!

Once we are up at the show, we hope to meet up with my buddy Charlie K. and his brother-in-law Rob. Both great guys and lots of fun and smarts at a gun show. They are both very knowledgeable about firearms - much more so that me and I can always get some advice from them if I or Brendan are looking for an AR or another AK. They are go to guys for info on those kinds of weapons.

Well, enough of my babbling. I have got to go to the secret stash and see how much I have hidden away. In figuring how much of it I can spend on a gun or guns, I have to remember we have to be back to the hometown just before 6PM because my wife made reservations at a restaurant for the family, Haylie and Phil (Celina's fiance). Six for dinner could cost a pretty penny and I may just pay for it in cash if I have enough left over after the show but right now am guessing it may have to be put on my American Distress Express card.

I also need to take a look through the gun locker to see if I have anything with which I would be willing to part for a good chunk of change coming my way. I kind of doubt it but maybe, just maybe, I may find something in there that I would be willing to sell.

All the best,
Glenn B

Bumper Stickers Say It Pretty Well

A 17 Year Old Golden Treasure...

...is hidden away, in a chest of drawers, in my cellar. It is guarded by two mutts, two Chihuahuas, and me. Note that I have a loaded shotgun at hand. If I cannot reach the shotgun, when and if I catch someone trying to lift my treasure out of the chest of drawers, beware that in with the treasure is one hell of a sharp machete.  I am ready to protect it against all comers.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, allow me to say that, I have decided that in early March, I will open the container holding the treasure and I will imbibe of it. I will do so with my son. We will both enjoy it mellow smoothness as it goes through the teeth, over the gums, and down the gullet on its way to our stomachs. You see, the 17 year old golden treasure of which  am speaking is a bottle of 1995 Knappogue Castle single malt Irish Whiskey. It is absolutely my favorite whiskey and is no longer available at at liquor store that I have visited in the past year to year and a half.

Now you may wonder just what occasion could make me want to open such a prized possession and believe me it is a prized possession. I kind of thought that I would not open it for a few years yet to come, maybe on the event of my son getting engaged or him landing a career making job or his going into the military or something like that. I always figured I would share it with him, that was never in doubt once I realized that this vintage had been replaced by Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old (no date on the bottle). So what is it, you ask, that will inspire me to open it and partake of it sooner than expected as in early this March. Well, in early March, I am scheduled for a Pet scan and a CT scan. The results of these tests are supposed to determine whether or not I still have cancer. I figure that if I am found clear of the wicked scourge it will be time for a celebration between the two of us, a celebration of the fact that we may yet have years to come of our camaraderie, our bonds, of our enjoyment of travel, the outdoors, of hunting, of fishing, of firearms, of herps/herping and all the other things we shared together that led to good times. If on the other hand, I am found to still be afflicted with this terrible disease, well then it will be drunk between us to help us drown our sorrows, intensify our bond, help both of us take courage regardless of the odds and to celebrate the life we have had together so far with hope that we will have yet more of it together. I can think of no better time to open it - oh shit, I just did and that is not said lightly. In a flash I just remembered that Brendan graduates from college this year, so maybe that would be a better time.

I have thought on it now for a few moments and have made up my mind. No, it would not be better to open it for his graduation. Brendan's graduation would be a time to buy him his favorite brand of drink for both of us to enjoy. Time for my favorite golden nectar will definitely be early this March. I can only hope that circumstances, in early March, will have it tasting as sweet as I remember it and that it tastes that way for both of us.

All the best,
Glenn B