Odds and Ends

My wife and I had a bit of panic this week when we discovered our kids’ passport applications had run afoul in a supposed backlog of 90,000 applications. We had submitted two months ago, with the expectation we’d have them in 6-8 weeks, and now we’re planning a pre-dawn family drive to Seattle to get the applications redone in person. Fun! We have to have their passports to complete the Visa application packets.

DataTravellerOn another front, we’re evaluating low-cost USB Kingston DataTraveler drives. The one gig version is only $9 at newegg.com, and we considering it for the supply packet for all fifth graders. We also have some of the four gig versions ($36) that have been working, but not flawlessly, on our PCs and Macs.

Konica Color PrinterAs for color printing, we’ve had a second Xerox Phaser 6200 solid ink printer die, and we don’t plan on fixing it. We bought six of these, and they became half-way affordable with the third party ink sticks, but they don’t seem to have the longevity of the HP printers we’re used to. We can’t afford the consumables for HP color lasers anymore (but we still use a couple of 4550 workhorses) . So, we’re rolling the dice with a Konica Magicolor 5500. Our main attraction to it is the Extra Large toners that are supposed to be good for 12,000 pages (5% coverage) for less than $170 a pop. (Don’t forget that the printer needs four of these guys.) In addition, it needs imaging units (four) at around $160 each every 30K pages. Its speed and resolution also looked worth a try.

HP MFP PrinterOn the B&W front, we’ve been very happy so far with the HP M4345 MFP we purchased for the US library to replace a failing Canon copier. Yes, it can only copy 8.5 x 11 (legal if you use the ADF), but there’s a tabloid capable copier within walking distance and most students only want smaller sized copying. It replaced the HP 4100 printer, and students are actually using it for basic color scanning to email through the interface. Over the past four years, the HP 4100 MFP series units we’ve had in department offices in the US have held up surprisingly well for around 40,000 pages a year of printing and copying. We’ve had two with failed internal hard drives (around $400 to replace), but otherwise they are holding up well.

That’s it for odds and ends today. Later this afternoon, I’m taking my network administrator out for a sail on Aurora, our Cal 20. I never managed to hold a staff meeting on the water…

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