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Jewish World Review
Sept. 21, 2007
/ 9 Tishrei 5768
Second looks, second thoughts
Anyone who is permanently settled in his opinions probably doesn't use
technology that much. Because, as we who have struggled with computers
and their related gear know, there's always something, or so it seems,
to make one think twice about most products.
Some second thoughts, then, after extended consideration of various items.
KODAK PRINTER STILL SHINES, BUT ... I lauded the $299 Kodak Easy Share
5500 all-in-one printer a month ago, and overall, it's still a good
machine. For example, I still like the way it scans documents for easy
use by my computer. And the quick photo-printing feature, utilizing a
small drawer for 4-by-6-inch print paper, is nice.
At the same time, printing regular documents turns out to be a bit
slower than I'd expected, something that became evident over a longer
period of use. Print quality is fine, but one's patience can be
Worse still, at least in an office, there seems to be a problem with
the printer giving off a hum of some kind that my Lucent/Avaya phone
can pick up. It's annoying and it's about to make me pack up the
EasyShare, gritting my teeth about the lack of a scanner. Kodak needs
to rethink the shielding it uses on its electronic components to keep
the noise down, or, better, eliminate it.
Of course, other multifunction printer makers may have the same
problem. In just walking around the building where I work, I see more
than a few "home office" printers being used at corporate desks. If
they interfere with telephones and the like, that could become an
LAPTOPS BEST FOR SCHOOL ... At least that's my thinking. Playing with
both the Fujitsu T-2010 and Apple's ultra-smart MacBook, each under
$1,600 in decent configurations, I remain convinced that giving a
notebook computer to a high school or college student is probably a
very smart move. These notebooks are portable, of course, but they are
also very powerful.
The Fujitsu T-2010 can take a small degree of punishment the
keyboard is said to be spill resistant and offers a digitized
"tablet" screen for note taking. It also includes Microsoft Windows
Vista, which isn't everyone's favorite operating system, but which
also seems to be OK here. I just like the product, and I think a
student would be able to make pretty good use of it, too.
Even more practical, in some ways, is Apple's MacBook. There's no
"tablet" feature here, but the optical media drive is built-in, which
is a great help in many circumstances, such as loading software,
burning photo CDs, and so on. The Mac OS is exceptional, and should be
nicely augmented by Mac OS X Leopard in about a month's time. (Unlike
Vista, this upgrade should cause few tears for existing users.)
The MacBook is a super portable and a very good value, thanks to
recent processor upgrades and other boosts to its performance. It
almost makes me want to go back to homeroom again.
GETTING AN ILIFE ... Further in the Mac realm, I'm still enamored of
Apple's ILife 08 software, particularly IPhoto. It's one of the best
ways to organize and manipulate digital snaps on a computer, and the
folks in Windows land will have a ways to go to match it's ease of
The best feature, for me, is that the software will separate each
download into a separate "event," by which you can then organize
photos. The events can be named, tagged with keywords and easily
searched. There may be something as good on the Windows side -- a
contender arrived last week -- but I've not seen it yet. Meanwhile, I
would submit that programs such as ILife are yet another reason to
make the switch.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com