Epson Stylus CX7400 Color Printer

Date Fri, May 23 2008

I am really excited to be discussing the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer not just because I really like it but because I finally have a working printer and what’s more is that I can use it with my digital camera’s memory card to directly access and printer photos without needing to use my computer!

We picked up the Epson Stylus CX8400 at a local store. I had been looking at it and chose it mostly for 4 reasons: it’s sexy and black, I can print directly from my memory card with it, it functions as a scanner as well and it was priced reasonably. Although I would be using is mostly as a document and photo printer, I occasionally will use these functions as well.

As an all-in-one printer, the Epson Stylus CX8400 does not necessarily need to be hooked up to a computer for some tasks. Copying and photo printing can be completed by using the controls on the top left of the unit as soon as the printer is plugged in and turned on. To scan or print a file from one’s computer, the printer must be hooked up which I did immediately.

On the outside, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer a great printer with a classy finish, a smooth and looking and easy to use control panel on top and, right above that a 2.5′ LCD screen to view photos which also shows printing status and intructions for the current task. I was impressed by the LCD itself but the fact that it tilts upward really makes working with this printer easier. Having to stand over the printer to go through photos is certainly not something I want to do but the tilting LCD screen lets me work with the printer while sitting down. Another plus of this is how neatly the paper loading tray and paper catching tray fold up. There never has to be any part sicking out in your way!

Unfortunately, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer does not come with a USB cord so I needed to purchase one which meant I couldn’t test it as a printer right away. Also, the port for the USB cord is unique in that, to fit most cords, one must unscrew and remove a panel, plug in the the cord, slip the cord through a hole in the panel, slide it back in and insert the screw again. I was a bit frustrated by this; why couldn’t Epson simply make the panel accessible to all cords without the extra step?

So, the first thing I tested this with was printing photos. I had never done this before but it was easy. There are several ports in front of the Epson Stylus CX8400 for different camera cards. I personally have an XD memory card but many others are supported

  • Compact Flash
  • Microdrive
  • Memory Stick
  • MagicGate Memory Stick
  • Memory Stick PRO
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • MultiMediaCard
  • xD-Picture card (Type-M & Type-H)

Several other types of memory cards can be used with adapters

  • Memory Stick PRO Duo
  • MiniSD
  • MiniSDHC
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
  • Memory Stick Duo
  • MagicGate Memory Stick Duo

Upon plugging in my memory card and pressing the button for “Memory Card” from the control panel and the printer took a short while to load all the photos; the LCD screen showers the status. Then I had the option to either View and Print Photos, Print All Photos, Print by Date or Print Index Sheet. Each option has a small description and most of them are common sense.

Printing an index sheet may be a function unique to Epson printers or it may be something most photos printers allow but I can see how it would be useful. It allows you to print off small thumbnails of all the pictures on a card, 30 to a page. Then, you can mark the photos you want to print, scan the index sheet and the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer will print them.

I cannot see myself using this feature much, however. Even with less than 500 photos on my picture card, I would need to wait for 16 pages to print. Furthermore, I’d rather save that ink for the actual photos! Plus, I think it would take just as much time, if not more, as going through all the photos (It seemed to take about a minute to print 4 pages before I gave up on it and canceled), which is one of my concerns.

There does not appear to be an option for viewing more than one photo at a time when working with a picture card. The Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer only allows me to view 1 at a time so, to find the picture I want to print, I need to go through all of the pictures on my picture card. While this is slightly annoying with my older, smaller card, my current one has 700+ photos and I haven’t even filled it!

Unfortunately, the dates on my pictures cards are never right and I don’t pay attention to when I take photos, anyway. I don’t see myself using that feature of the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer. However, it could be useful to someone else.

It’s also unrealistic for me to print all my photos at this point. However, with a newer card with less photos or a smaller card, this may work great!

I had purchased a 100 pack of Epson’s Premium Photo Paper Glossy for a reasonable price, slipped it into the loading tray and adjusted the feeder guard so all I needed to do was adjust the photo for printing after I located the one I wanted.

The Menu button allows me to easily change settings such as paper size and type, border, quality and date. When selecting a photo, pressing Display/Crop shows settings for zooming, rotation and portion of the photo to print. Of course, the ratio for my photos is 3:4 where as the ratio of the paper (4 x 6′) is 2:3 which means the photo needs to be cropped. However, this isn’t a large deal.

After zooming, rotating and move the guide, I’m ready to hit Okay. If I make a mistake, it can easily be undone by pressing Back. When the picture if perfect, press Okay twice then hit the Print button. It’s all really easy.

It does take a while to print photos but I can’t complain because the quality is extremely nice. The photos I have printed thus far all look much better than almost any picture I’ve taken with a traditional film camera! If you didn’t know

The Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer promises to be smudge proof and scratch resistance and while the latter isn’t quite as true as I’d like, the photos are smudge proof which is probably good for someone like me! The ink is also apparently fade and water resistant and I even went to far as to mist a print out with water; the claims are true! I’ll have to wait and see how well the ink holds up to time but I have high hopes!

I took the copy function for a test drive as well. After inserting the page to copy in the scanner, I selected the Copy button from the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer‘s control panel. There were options to adjust paper size, type and colour along with a few additional options. After adjusting until I was content, I pressed the print button and my copy began. I found the actual copying of a B&W document to print quite slow, as it seems is the case with this printer.

After purchasing a UBS cord, I was able to install the printer drivers and software. This process did seem to take an awful lot of memory and it hung at several places but installation completed without any major problems. Along with the drivers, the installation includes Epson Scan (scanning software), ArcSoft PhotoImpression (for photo editing), Arcsoft Print Creations (for making print projects like calendars), and software for monitoring the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer such as a users guide.

I tested the other functions. As a printer, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer worked well. The text document I printed was high quality. Oddly enough, the black and white document seemed to take longer to print than any of the other types of printing (photo, index sheet) and it was a bit jerky but it wasn’t anything that would bother me in the long run.

The scanning function works well. I scanned some comic covers for my husband and it was easy and the scan was high quality. The scanner itself shows where to line up the document clearly (bottom, right). The scanner warms up quickly and the scanning itself is much faster than any scanner I’ve used before. The only large issue I have is that the scanner itself is quite small; the width is only slightly more than a standard letter sized sheet so this won’t work well for some projects.

I’ve used the scanner with both Windows scanning utility and Epson scan, the software provided, which has several modes: Full Auto, Home and Professional. The auto mode crops the scan without showing a preview and automatically saves scans to the “My Pictures” folder so I prefer to use the Home Mode which lets me select the type of document, colour, destination (also where you change the DPI) and preview before scanning. Professional mode has more specific options which are beyond my need including document type and source, exposure, image type, resolution, and further adjustments like tone, image adjustment, dust removal, backlight correction, descreening et cetera.

To sum it up, this is a sleek looking printer with many functions I shall find useful. I was impressed by the memory card feature although it would be improved by an option to view several photos at once. For those who need a similar feature, the option to print an index sheet might work well. Photos printed with excellent quality! The scanner was fast and high quality and worked well with Epson Scan or the Windows Scanning Utility. Printing and copying of black and white documents took longer than I expected but the quality was, again, top notch! The ink is very durable proving to be smudge and water and, hopefully over time, fade resistant; however, the photos were not as scratch proof as I would have liked. The accompanying software is a nice touch for anyone who does not already have photo editing software and the monitoring and scanning software by Epson was functional withuot hogging a lot of resources.

Overall, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer is a great model for anyone looking for an affordable printer with extras. If you don’t mind waiting for high quality prints or paging through individual pictures, this might be the printer for you!

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An oldie but goodie

Date Fri, May 23 2008


I’ve been a Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo user for some time. Unfortunately, my dandruff doesn’t help my love for black. Fortunately, Head and Shoulders is affordable and works without any negative side effects.

Some dandruff shampoos simply don’t do the trick (helping reduce dandruff) and some do but leave your hair dry or greasy or in another pitiful state. Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo, Classic Clean will reduce your dandruff and leave your hair feeling clean.

They recently added more products to the Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo line as well as upgrading the product design and I noticed something else. The classic head and shoulder received a scent upgrade, too. It smells much less medicinal (but I was willing to deal with that to get such great results!). In fact, I couldn’t figure out what smelled so great and refreshing the first day I switched back to head and shoulders but it was my hair! Many shampoos which smell great do a poor job at making your hair smell great for any amount of time but I was pleasantly surprised at how good my hair smelled after using this.

I recommend this product to any dandruff sufferers and, worry not, there’s no unfortunate side effects.

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Make Money Online

Date Thu, May 22 2008

Every wondered just how to make money online? Look no further. I’ve written up a handy little guide on how to make money online here. Just a few snippets, if you’re interested.

Making money online is, at once, both easier to do than most think and harder. With the right tools, services, site set up, business or server, money can seemingly come rolling in. On the other hand, without proper resources or set up, it can be difficult to make a dime online.

– Make Money Online

Freelance work, sometimes known as contracted work, offers a way for business in need of services like taper, proofing, web design and programming et cetera the opportunity to advertise to potential freelancers.

– Make Money Without a Site

An increasingly popular way for every day folks to make money is by writing paid or sponsored blog posts which are often in the form of product reviews.

– Make Money With a Site

# Make money doing voice overs with Opuzz Voice and you may even hear yourself on the radio!
# Tutoring online can provide revenue with Tutor.com.
# Arise and Working solutions pay people to give tech support via the internet and phone, right from their own home!

– Make Money Online With Miscellaneous Methods

Hop on over to find out how to make money online!

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Printer Ink Warehouse Will Save You a Fortune!

Date Wed, May 21 2008


I’ve used the Printer Ink Warehouse several times now and continue to remain impressed by this website. The Printer Ink Warehouse offers discount ink for literally thousands of printers including Canon, HP, Dell and Epson printers. Compare their prices to those are your local store and you will definitely be amazed!

I started using the Printer Ink Warehouse several years ago after I became sick of spending $30 a single cartridge every time I needed ink. For my particular printer, I was only paying $8 per cartridge through Printer Ink Warehouse. I gladly took the discounted price! Customers can easily search by printer type and model; you don’t need any more information than that to find your ink!

If you’re wondering how it works or whether it works at all, rest assured! PPrinter Ink Warehouse (and probably similar sites) do in fact work. The reason they are able to offer printer ink as such a great price is because you are purchasing remanufactured, that is, they are cartridges which have been used and are cleaned and refilled then sold to you at a cheaper price than brand new cartridges. Be aware that these are not the same name brand cartridges that you will buy directly from the manufacturer but they work just as well if not even better as the cartridges you have been paying an arm and a leg for all along.

It’s important for customer to realize that by using a cartridge that is not manufactured by the same company as your printer, you may be voiding any warranty you have. If this is a concern of yours, then you should not use remanufactured ink cartridges in your printer.

Wondering if a great deal can be improved? It can! If you purchase your ink in bulk from Printer Ink Warehouse, you’ll get free shipping. The shipping fees which are normally a very affordable flat fee of $4.95 to within the continental United States, are knocked off when you purchase upwards of $45 worth of ink.

Furthermore, the Printer Ink Warehouse has a 1 year satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with your ink up to a year, you can return it easily. The Printer Ink Warehouse offers such a policy because they’re almost positive you won’t have any problems with their remanufactured ink which is tested electronically to meet rigorous standards and customer satisfaciton.

Stop by the Printer Ink Warehouse today to get a discount on your ink!

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Eyes on Rimmel Mascaras

Date Mon, May 19 2008


I currently own 2 of Rimmel’s mascaras: Volum’Eyes and Mash Laxxx. Although the product have different claims and are intended for different results, I was surprised at just how different my final opinions were about these mascaras from the same company!

Volum’eyes, which I believe also to be known as Extreme Volume Mascara (they have the same tube design and brush) is the first Rimmel mascara I’d tried. I had had success with other Rimmel products previously and was looking to step up from the drug store brands I had been using for mascara. I choose “001 Black” because, honestly, who needs any other colour?! I digress.

Both of these mascarars take a different approach to the mascara brush tool and with the Volum’Eyes mascara, this is a mistake. The tube claims that Volum’eyes is an “instant full volume comb mascara” that will create “volume & separation for dramatic false lash effect.” Instead I found the brush to be awkward and extremely large and bulky, as the picture illustrates. Also, rather than fine volume and separation, I found myself with sickly looking lashes that many would call “spider” eyelashes. I was not impressed. To top it off, my spider lashed were extremely clumpy probably due to the fact that the large brush collects far too much product to allow a smooth application.

I was open to a new brush style in hopes that it would create a dramatic effect as Volum’Eyes promises. Unfortunately, the promises are empty. Sure, I did get a dramatic effect but it was not the effect anyone would want on their eyelashes. Because of this, I’ve only used Volum’Eyes by Rimmel a handful of times.

On the other hand, Rimmel’s Lash Maxxx Mascara really impressed me with it’s refined brush tool, smooth product consistancy, slick packaging and overall performance. Again I chose black in the waterproof formula.

Where the brush of Volum’Eyes was thick and bulky creating a scary mess, the Lash Maxxx brush is the finely tuned grandchild providing true separation and holding true to its claim of providing “3X multiplying effect.” I was definitely impressed by how gorgeous my lashes looked because of this mascara and where Volum’Eyes left horrible clumps, there were virtually none using Lash Maxxx.

Furthermore, I was equally impressed by just how waterproof this mascara is! I sweat frequently so I was looking for a mascara that would hold up to that without smearing and Lash Maxxx does just that! Unlike other mascaras that may or may not claim to be water proof, including Volum’Eyes, Lash Maxxx has very little if any smearing under wet conditions.

I was also unexpectedly delighted to find that this mascara hold curls fairly well. It far outperforms any other mascara I have ever used in this aspect.

Overall, Lash Maxxx mascara by Rimmel created a dramatic yet clean look with little clumping, a high degree of water resistance all the while holding curl in my lashes. I would definitely recommend it.

The winner of this battle, hands down is Rimmel’s Lash Maxxx mascara – a make up which delivers on its promise to create a dramatic multiplying effect with its unique tool.

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Tweaking!

Date Mon, May 19 2008

Hopefully you’ve noticed some improvement to the side, like a third column to provide extra space for contact information, recent comments, and a disclosure statement.

Furthermore, I’ve been rearranging and changing the types of advertisements used on the type so they can be more fully saturated while remaining noninvasive. I hope you all agree.

Lastly, I’ve made some changes in hopes to improve functionality. There is now a search field in the left column and I’ve enabled Intense Debate for comments which will allow inline comments and for visitors to make threads, follow comments, link to profiles and use avatars. I’ve also replaced the old links for social bookmarking into a new, more dynamic menu by AddThis.

I hope you enjoy these improvements! I do and certainly feel that Reviews by Cole is coming together.

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Praise for Netflix

Date Sun, May 18 2008

This will not be the first time I’ve shown love for Netflix, the online service which allows customers to rent movies (in DVD format) by mail. And it probably won’t be the last either. Of course, since my last praises, Netflix has raised the bar again!

On the surface, Netflix seems like a nice investment. If you love to rent DVDs but have trouble returning it on time or rent them so frequently that your video rental bill is ridiculous, Netflix may just be the service from you.

Signing up with Netflix is easy and allows you to choose a different plan. Decide how many movies you want to have out at a time (here’s a hint, the more movies you have out the higher the plan will cost) from 1 movie to 8 and browse their selection of “more than 100,000 movies” to add promising titles to your queue. The titles at the top of the queue will then be mailed directly to your home (or local post office) without and shipping fees.

I personally use the “3 at-a-time (Unlimited)” plan which means that, at any given time, I can have 3 movies out without a deadline to return them. Unfortunately, this does include shipping times so as soon as the distributor mails a DVD is it considered “out” until it’s in their possession again. Still, if that’s an issue, you can choose up to 8 movies at a time and will be sure to always have a DVD at arm’s length. However, the customer doesn’t have to worry about paying shipping and handling when returnign the DVDs as a business return envlope is included; the actual mailing envlope you receive turns into a return envlope by tearing off a piece of paper.

I’ve used this same plan for over 2 years and have never noticed a hike in prices. In fact, the price has actually gone down – twice! Way to go Netflix!

Of course, I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy this service, like I have for the last 2.5 years, if they didn’t ship to military addresses. This certainly benefits anyone in a remote area when there’s nothing better to do or accessible to service members and their family.

In the last year, Netflix has worked hard to release an online viewing option so customers no longer have to wait for movies to be mailed. Instead, select titles can be viewed from one’s computer. Customers are allowed to view as many hours a month as they choose with no extra fee, unless they have enrolled in the 1 at-a-time (2 a month) plan, which allots customers 2 hours of movie viewing a month.

Netflix movies ship quickly. In lower WI, it averaged 2-3 business days from the time I dropped the DVD in the mail tot he time I received the next. Of course, those closer to distribution centers may have less time to wait and those not in the continental states will have a longer wait. Currently, in Japan, my wait time is about 1 week from the time the DVD is shipped (Netflix notifies customers whenever a movie is received and shipped) to reach my post office for a total of 2 weeks between the time I mail off DVDs to the time I receive them.

Netflix also offers some services for those who opt to receive movies in the mail. If a movie is lost in the mail, a customer can report it to Netflix and they will send a replacement immediately. The company understand that sometimes the mail can be unreliable.

Also, if Netflix sends a DVD that has been damaged and will not play, the customer can report it on the website and a replacement will be sent.

However, Netflix cannot return any discs that were erroneously sent to them which is easier said than done. I myself has sent back 2 DVDs by mistake.

Overall I’ve been very happy with service from Netflix. The prices are reasonable, much more so than renting the same amount of movies from a local store every week and the selection is vast. Every DVD I have wanted to rent has been available to me and very few DVDs are not available immediately. The queue works efficiently allowing one to find and add appropriate titles easily and keep track of DVDs rented and returned. Furthermore, Netflix offers tools to rate movies seen and offers recommendations based upon said ratings. Netflix is a great improvement over your local rental shop.

Anyone who is interested can leave a comment with their e-mail and I can invite you to join Netflix for 2 weeks for free!

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