Thursday, October 26, 2006

When the President Called...

The President of the United States called the house today, but of course I wasn't here to take his call. No, not the current President; I don't know what would happen if I got a call from him, but it would be unlikely to enhance my opinion of the man. No, this was President Clinton. He didn't identify himself in the voicemail (the beginnings of automated messages are often cut off in my experience), and for a moment I thought I was listening to President Carter; but I soon realized who it was. He was talking about fiscal responsibility, going from budget surpluses to terrible deficits, and how he's counting on me to help turn things around on the first Tuesday in November. You got it, Bill; I'll be doing my part. I just wish I weren't hearing from every Democrat in America right now. I had four new messages in just over 24 hours - all of them involving the upcoming election.

But fiscal responsibility isn't exactly my strong suit. When I got off work today, I headed over to Best Buy and took care of a couple of my more urgent technological needs. I got a second decent set of $15 headphones, so that I can leave one pair at work and still have some available to use at the gym with my iPod. The ones that came with the iPod are too big for my ears, and too awkward and uncomfortable. They actually hurt when I try to jam them in so they'll stay, and then they fall out about five seconds later anyway. No. It's just not worth it. So I've been doing without my iPod at the gym, because I never remember to unplug the decent headphones from my computer at work. Now I don't have to.

Next up in terms of personal expenditure is my new mouse. It's not worth a picture; there aren't many choices for a wireless mouse designed for use with laptops. Meet the new mouse, same as the old mouse. The difference is, this one works. I saved the old actual mouse, and threw away the USB stick thingy. Ironically, I caught myself using the touchpad instead of the mouse several times tonight, and also had to unplug the new USB stick twice to use the port for my camera. See, the other two USB ports are currently 1) charging my iPod and 2) interfacing with my big purchase of the night.

The new scanner / copier / printer etc.

And here it is: a Canon Photo All-in-One Pixma MP 460. What the heck is that? You may well ask. It's the replacement for the $109 scanner that I bought three years ago.

Okay, the dust didn't look this bad. "Confetti" effect.

The old Canoscan has been putting dust motes on the scans for quite a while now. I think there was dust inside it, but it wasn't possible to open it up for cleaning. John borrowed it to take a look, and when I plugged it in again it didn't work at all. (This was almost certainly my fault, not John's.)

Impressionist Fine Art effect. Not exactly Monet.

So I needed a new scanner. Plus my printer was a $50 Canon i250, three years old. It still works fine, except that it's very slow, and when I print a page I have to try to catch it before it hits the floor. No tray, you see. Plus people at church always want me to photograph something for them and give them copies, but my printer just wasn't good enough for that. This new one will print photos. The ink cartridges I bought tonight came with 50 sheets of 4x6" photo paper. I can pop my camera's memory card directly into the MP460, I can scan stuff, and I can print either photos or conventional pages. All for $20 more that I paid for my old scanner-only, three years ago. I call that a bargain!

And there's one more important feature. The cheap photo software I use for effects and color saturation and tone balancing and perspective-fixing, ArcSoft PhotoStudio 2000, came with my Canoscan. Just as I'd hoped, the new scanner/printer came with an upgraded version, PhotoStudio 5.5, along with new versions of several other programs. A few of the effects don't work right in PS 5.5, but that was true of PhotoStudio 2000, too. And the update has many more effects to choose from. So I played around a bit with them, as you can see.

But now it's time to stop playing with my new toys and go to bed. Good night!


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DesLily said...

it's not easy to make yourself stop playing with new toys!

julie said...


I'm getting all of those political calls as well. Drives me up the wall. It's so nice that the politicians exempted themselves from the phone solicitation rules. The only difference between your calls and mine is that I'm hearing from every Republican in the country.

Bea said...

Hey, I got in today! So you have some new tech toys... how nice. I'd like to get a photo scanner next. Then I would never leave the home office! ... so I've been putting it off until the summer. Take care. Bea

Becky said...

Woo hoo! New toys! So you got a new mouse, but not an external keyboard to replace your faded and sticking one. But then I remember you are short on available USB ports. I also just remembered I was going to look for a set of keyboard stickers I KNOW I have around here somewhere...