Epson 2760

Purchased one of the Epson that claim a year’s ink comes with it about a week ago.  I bought the ET-2760 because it was on special at Best buy.  The next one up was $150 more.  Considering that I am living off Social Security nowadays, I decided on the less costly one, though the more expensive one advertised two sided printing.

Guess what?  The ET-2700 has 2 sided printing and it is easier to use than the laser printer I was using.  Oddly, I was confused as to why they don’t mention that in the advertising or on the box…as near as I could tell.  Maybe I missed it.

The install…via USB port went picture perfect.  The only hitch was that I had to fish the ink bottles back out of the trash.  It seems that ink needs to be installed twice, once after the basic install.  No big deal.  Just thought I’d mention it in case any of you want to buy one.

I also have a second computer, my laptop, printing to the printer through the desktop system via my network.  Though the install did not go as well, it is due to Windows, not the printer software.

The printer, the scanner and the copy functions work easily.  There is a one-button color copy function.  I guess just about anyone can do that.  I suppose it gets more complex for more complex functions, such as two sided copying.  I don’t yet know if it does that.

As near as I can tell, the only thing I gave up by buying the less expensive printer is that it does not have a page feeder for the scanner, copy source function.  That is a function I would very rarely use.

One more note: They cautioned to remove all tie downs that they used in shipping.  Look carefully.  There are a couple that are somewhat hidden.

It isn’t quite as fast as my laser printer, but the ink is less expensive, I hope.  Also, my new printer will print the first page in about the same time as my laser printer warmup time.  Naturally, you can’t beat laser for quality, but this comes pretty close.

As an aside, I do like the idea that I can monitor the ink levels by just looking through the four windows on the front.  I have never seen this advantage anywhere, even in ink jet printers.  Just a glance now and then to determine when it is time to order more ink… or go to the store.

For those interested, they can tell Obama and the squad that it is likely more green.  I don’t have any sound references, but it does seem to me that ink jet printers use less power than laser printers.  Somehow, I don’t think anyone will notice the savings.  I suspect I won’t notice it.

A New Use for a Robot

With a background in electronics, computers and the Marines, it is only normal I should have an interest in robots.  Already robots have changed the way we fight wars.  A drone is nothing more than a specialized robot.  It is certainly nice to be able to send out a drone to have a good look to see what enemy assets are in the area.

I saw on TV a robot that looks a lot like an ox.  The Pentagon looked at it as a vehicle to carry a soldier’s ammunition and equipment while walking behind him.  The robot they demonstrated actually had the ability to follow the soldier automatically.  It sounded like a good idea to me, but with two changes.  First, I would like to ride on the back of the robot and I would like to have two fifty-caliber machineguns mounted out in front of me.  From what I understand the defense department discontinued the idea.  The robot was too noisy.  Still, I would guess they are still looking into it.  A robot capable of running thirty or forty miles an hour for a few hours is something I would want to have on my side.

I also noticed they have two-legged robots.  They walk, run and even do flips.  I am sure there are a few Vietnam vets that wished they had something like that walking out in front of the squad.  First, the robot might be better at spotting the enemy and booby traps.  Even more, if the robot tripped one, the robot would be lost.  That would be bad, but not nearly as bad as a soldier setting one off.

The robots have many other uses too, that is, besides the assembly lines.  Think of it.  A surgeon in Seattle can perform procedures on a man in Nome, Alaska.  In addition, the surgeons can use the robots locally because the movements can be more precise than a human’s hands. Also, they can access very small places.  I suppose the robots have other advantages in surgery, but I’m no expert on it.

In a related field, bionics are making large strides.  In the near future, people who are paralyzed, or even missing legs, will walk as well or better than those of us who still have our legs.  It beats using crutches.  I know.  I had to use them for quite a while after breaking my ankle.

Of course, one new field for robots is in cars and trucks.  In the near future, most of us might not drive our own cars.  Though it produces a whole new set of problems, the robots will likely be much safer.  They have instant reactions and they don’t get distracted.  Some people would likely insist on doing their own driving, but eventually, all cars will be driven by a computer.

I suppose I’m not telling most of you anything new.  Most of what I have written is common knowledge.  However, I think I have a new use for a robot; one that no one else has thought of.  They could build one that would MC the OSCARS.  Just think; it would have no prejudice.  It wouldn’t laugh at its own jokes, and its feelings wouldn’t be hurt if people made fun of it.  Then of course, the biggest advantage would be that it would have no history.  No one could find something that it did forty years ago while in the first grade.

Computers, Good and Bad

Ever since computers have become somewhat common, I have had an interest in them. It helped that my brother designed them. He had a master’s in math and an Electronics Engineer degree. When I went into the Marines, I went into Aviation electronics. Admittedly, I didn’t have my brother’s abilities. If I had, I likely would have never gone in the Marines. Even as it was, I almost went to work for Autonetics, the electronic division of the no longer existing North American Aviation.
After the Marines, I went into the repair of computers and then into operations. There is no way I ever thought I would start writing books. Most of my English teachers concurred. By the time I reached the 7th grade, I was starting to have problems. At the time I had heard of Dyslexia, but I had no idea what it is. Though I have never been diagnosed as dyslexic, I now realize I have many of the symptoms. Anyone who knows the symptoms and has read my books will realize what I mean, although it is more of a reading problem.
So during my youth, I spent a great deal of my time trying to hide my problems. Because reading is difficult for me and I read slowly, I generally shy away from reading. I am good at listening, which allows me to somewhat make up for it. I can attend a lecture and I remember it far better than if I read the same material. In spite of my efforts to hide my problems, teachers should have recognized it and taken proper actions. Instead they just punished me for not keeping up.
I am very bad at spelling. It’s not specifically part of dyslexia, but the two sort of go together. When I write, I leave words and even phrases out. I frequently use words like also at the front of a sentence and then too at the end. Homonyms drive me crazy. I really do know the difference between there, their and they’re. That does not keep me from using the wrong one in the wrong place. I haven’t the foggiest reason for it. I don’t know if that has is something common among dyslexics or not, but it does drive me nuts. In my more recent books, I do searches on many homonyms to make sure I use them correctly.
Actually, as I started this my purpose was to write about computers. I guess I got off on a rabbit path. Nonetheless, it isn’t too far off of the beaten path. The fact is, without computers, I’d never be able to write. It would be hopeless. I have heard of other authors who were highly successful. You can do a Google on dyslexic authors and there will be a big list of them. (Including Earnest Hemingway and Jules Verne.) The word processors, as great as they are, simply cannot find all my errors. I have no idea how the old authors managed it, but many did. Maybe they just had good editors.
Here lately, computers have really made a mark on recent history. The text-to-speech has really made things nice. First time I heard one, a man had a small box connected to a desktop computer. He had it set up so that anything he typed, it said, though it sounded a little like Robbie the Robot. Also, it did mispronounce things. In baseball, it pronounced the e. It sort of made it sound Italian. The problem was easily solved by separating the words… base ball.
Nowadays, the text-to-speech programs are very good, though some provisions have to be made for some words. The one I purchased always read the word read the same way, present or past tense. Nonetheless, I do use my program a lot. I use it to help me with my editing. Others might find the program far more useful. Even at seventy, I have full use of my eyes, for which I am thankful. Some are not so fortunate. People who are blind can listen to books. Before computers, the blind couldn’t read anything that is not in Braille.
On the other hand, computers help those who have a difficulty hearing. The old hearing aids, as great as they were had one problem; they amplified all frequencies about the same. That was fine for most, but sometimes people hear almost all frequencies but a small band, especially high frequencies. Current hearing aids are smaller, but they can also be programmed for a specific person. They are expensive, but for those who have problems hearing, they are well worth it.
Then there is the cochlea implant. What an invention that is. And it is only possible because of computers. Indeed, it is a type of computer. As far as I am concerned it is one of the greatest inventions of modern man. You might argue with me about it, but not with someone whose life it has changed.
I sat and watched TV one day and saw a cripple man walk. I was absolutely amazed. He didn’t walk well nor did he walk very far. He carried a computer on his back that had probes connected to his legs. …and when he wanted his leg to move, it moved, using his own muscle. I was floored. I worked around computers almost all my life and I was stunned to see what they did.
From that day, I understand that they have made large advances to help people walk with the help of computers. It is a wonderful thing, if for no other reason than to keep the muscles from atrophying.
What wonderful things these computers are. To be sure, they are a tool. They can be used for good and they can be used for things not so good. They can be used to spy on people. They can be used to track all that an employee does all day. For a while, I was even one of those employees.
I can’t help but think, why do people use computers for bad when they can be used for such good? Who knows? Maybe, one of these days they will make a word processor that can correct all my mistakes. I don’t think that will happen really soon though.