I feel like Dilbert

I had to send a fax today and discovered that Office Max and Kinko’s charge $1 per page to send a fax. What kind of a rip off is that? It wasn’t even a long distance fax. For $70 you can buy your own stinking fax.

Which I’m probably going to do. Anyone have any advice on buying an all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier? I have no need for color, mainly speed and the ability to scan decent stuff, make black & white copies, and send faxes. A laser printer seems like the best choice, though they’re almost twice as much as the inkjets. Ouch. Anyone have any advice on lasers vs. inkjets for the home office?

(if you’re wondering, yes, my computer purchase is getting closer and closer, and I’m realizing my parallel port laser printer that’s served me dutifully for ten years will become useless, as will my scanner. That leaves me with a decent color inkjet, though my need for a scanner, fax, and copier, as well as the lack of usefullness for color are making me consider an all-in-one. )

14 thoughts on “I feel like Dilbert”

  1. You can always buy a USB->Parallel Port adaptor ;-)

    The scanner you should probably upgrade. I’m not a fan of the all-in-one gizmos- if one thing breaks, the whole thing is useless (or in for repairs). I usually recommend buying things individually. To send and recieve faxes without a fax machine try eFax.com or any of it’s competitors and save some trees.

  2. Jack of all trades, master of none.

    The scanners on these things are good enough to scan in a fax. That’s about where it ends. The printer will produce readable text, but it will be smudgy and you’ll run out of ink monthly.

    I’d recommend keeping the laser around. The total cost of ownership on a laser is always less than an inkjet, and you can’t beat laser quality especially for text. Digital photos should be printed by professionals anyway for longevity purposes.

    Maybe invest in a new scanner. A lot of them come with fax software too. If you don’t send faxes very often it’ll probably do the trick.

  3. Yes, but with an 8×8 office, you really don’t have room for a seperate scanner, fax, and printer.

    And if my ancient scanner has been working OK, I can’t imagine a new one being anything but better.

    We’re talking home office machinery here folks, not rocket science. I need to send a fax without paying a buck a page, I need to make copies without running to the library.

    What I really need to do is stop blogging about every stupid decision I need to make.

  4. ;-)

    That last comment from Kevin was pretty funny. I just wanted to acknowledge that. Personally, I enjoy getting these glimpses into your mind, Kevin. Can’t we all vote on what purchases you are going to make?

    BTW — I actually made enough money on Amazon to buy a 5GB iPod (brand new, in the box) off eBay. So keep the dream alive!

  5. My neighbors have something very similar to this. I’ve used it a few time and it seemed to do the job pretty well.

    You might also consider stopping by Savers. I’ve seen fax machines there for pretty cheap. You can use just about any fax machine as a copier, though it won’t be in color of course.

  6. No! You cannot make decisions for yourself any longer Kevin! Your blogging responders make your decisions for you now! HA!

  7. Keep the printer. Buy a Canon LiDE scanner – it will take up less room than your current scanner by a long shot (no power cable either). You can make copies with it… you can fax with it (via FaxModem or Efax.com). Day saved.

  8. OK, I don’t mean to rip on you people, but you don’t send faxes, do you? Efax.com? C’mon Nick. It’s $12.95 a month. And who scans something to send as a fax over the computer? If it actually worked that easy they wouldn’t sell fax machines any more. I hate fax machines, but I’d rather use one than try to scan and fax with my computer. Yikes.

    You’d be impressed that I actually checked out Consumer Reports today rather than just asking all of you. Laser printers are defintely cheaper per page, faster, and higher quality (which I knew). The all-in-ones are a pretty good deal, though including a fax often bumps the price up significantly — they recommend buying a seperate fax. Here I go again.

  9. Don’t worry Kevin. Apple has you covered.

    You can send and receive faxes in Panther. It’s built-in, and it’s free (except the cost of the call for sending, of course). Did you really think Mac OS X wasn’t better than Windows? Now if someone tells you PCs are cheaper, just add the cost of a fax machine onto whichever one they tell you to buy. Oh, and a fax machine that can automatically make your faxes easier to read, save them in any number of convenient folders, forward them to any email address you choose, etc. Yeah. Oh, and faxing works from any application on Panther. Check that action out.

    If you don’t print color a lot (I imagine you don’t) then leave it to the professionals and rely on iPhoto’s print-ordering capabilities. Steph and I ordered prints through iPhoto, and they are absolutely stellar in quality! Incredibly high quality. You can get a photo sized up to 20″ x 30″, too, just in case you’re thinking they can only do 4 x 6s. The prices aren’t too bad, but sometimes local photo shops will have little machines that you can stick your digital card into and print up 4 x 6 and 5 x 7s for around $0.25 or $0.30 a piece. Sometimes that’s a better deal.

    All that to say I think you should stick with a laser printer. They last longer and they’re cheaper.

    You can get a scanner for well under $100. The Canon LiDE scanners mentioned above work well with Panther, and they’re easy to store so you don’t have to have them taking up space when you’re not using them. I like them!

    If you’ve got a physical document that you need to fax that isn’t already on your computer (how often do you scan something that you don’t have an equivalent doc on your computer for?) it would probably take about five or six clicks to fax it. Most of these new scanners have one-button scanning, and then you open the document, choose print, and choose fax, and that’s about it.

    All-in-ones suck.

  10. You know, when I first posted this entry, I really didn’t feel like Dilbert. I just thought it was a funny title since I have a Dilbert desktop calendar this year.

    Now that I’ve been getting all these different responses, I really do feel like Dilbert.

  11. Did you get that memo? Cuz we’re putting the new cover sheets on all the TPS reports from now on. So if you could go ahead and do that next time, that would be great.

  12. Oh, and I’m going to need you to come in on Saturday. Around 8. So if you could just plan on being here, that would be great.

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