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Monday, May 17, 2004 12:27 AM >>>

The All-in-one Toy

Sunday,  05/16/04  11:54 PM

We just acquired a new toy; an HP psc2501 all-in-one printer.  Well, I say printer, but it is also a scanner, a copier, a fax machine, and a photo printer.  And best of all, it communicates with WiFi, so you can put it anywhere on your network.

So let me just say - so far I love it.  The user interface engineering is impressive; there is a little LCD display which walks you through any task, and there are a minimum of buttons.  Each function is straightforward.  For example, to make a copy you press Copy, then either Black&White or Color, and Poof! - you get a copy.  The print quality is really impressive, too.  I bought an optional photo print cartridge, which allows you to print photo-quality prints on photo paper.  It really works.

I have PCs and Macs, and they both worked out of the box.  The HP software installed seamlessly on both, even to the extent of providing TWAIN drivers so I could scan from Photoshop (both platforms).

Another cool feature - the printer has a website!  You simply put its IP address into a browser, and you can monitor cartridge ink levels, change configuration data, even initiate a scan (the resulting image is downloaded through your browser as a JPEG or TIFF file).

And another cool feature - the device is a reader for photo media; it supports CompactFlash (I & II), Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Secure Digital, SmartMedia, and xD memory cards.  I have an Olympus camera which uses SmartMedia, and I was able to put the card into the printer and print photos right away.  The device also acts as a reader; you can download photos from a memory card to your computer.

Overall I am really impressed.  There are about six devices in my household we no longer need - a 10-year old Apple LaserWriter, an Epson Stylus Color dot-matrix printer, a Canon scanner, an Olympus photo printer, and a Canon personal copier.  (eBay, here I come :)  If we had a fax machine we wouldn't need it anymore, either; we've actually been using my computer as a fax machine, which is kind of a pain.  So now we have a dedicated fax machine.

Nothing is more fun than a great new toy...