Epson Perfection 3200 Pro Scanner

I bought an Epson scanner. It is a very good scanner with 3200*6400 dpi resolution. It supports 48 bit color, usb as well as firewire, and has a high dynamic range of 3.4 Dmax. It comes with a nice software bundle. All these features are not cheap, and I paid $514 in 2003 for it. The scanner worked very well, but I finally ran into a big problem. I decided to update my operating system to Microsoft Windows 7, 64 bit. One feature is that for stability Microsoft only accepts signed drivers for the 64 bit version of Win7. Epson doesn't offer any 64 bit drivers for Win7 (or for Vista 64 bit either). I understand not spending much effort on inexpensive products support with new operating systems. But I don't consider a scanner that costs over $500 to be an inexpensive product. My HP printers which are older than this, have Win7 64 bit drivers. All of my hardware, as far as I can tell has Win7 64 bit drivers, except for my Epson Scanner. I searched their site, and contacted them. When I asked if they ever would have a Win7 64 bit driver, they told me I could get a discount (10% under retain) on buying new hardware from them. I was quite unimpressed by that. Perhaps if it would have been 80% off, I might have considered it.

Well, the scanner still 'works'. I can use it just fine under Linux (32 or 64 bit), as well as under 'WinXP mode' or with VirtualBox running WinXP. I don't blame Microsoft on this, as they have found that many crashes are caused by bad device drivers. I blame Epson completely. Of course with Linux you are not held hostage to Microsoft or Epson to support their hardware, as you almost always have the source code for the device driver. I won't be buying any Epson hardware in the future. I suspect the fancy software bundle I got with the printer may have issues with a new operating system. I recommend finding a vendor that has better support.

HP Scanjet 3570c Scanner

After the fiasco with drivers for my Epson scanner, I was in need of a working scanner for my computer running Win7. I found someone giving away a HP Scanjet 3570c. It has a basic driver for 64 bit Vista, which works just fine for Win7. The driver doesn't have as many features as the Epson software, but the Epson software doesn't work on Win7. The scanner isn't nearly as nice as the Epson, but it works for basic scanning. It even has a built in slide scanner. The resolution is 1200x1200, and the scanner is much noiser and slower than my Epson. However, it scans. This scanner was made around 2002, which is even older than my Epson, which was made around 2003. However, HP has real support for their products. I happen to have two Laserjet printers which are even older, and have a fully supported driver for Win7. When you buy a product, you have to consider the hardware, the software, and the support. Epson hardware and software is better (after all, the scanner costs more than five times as much as the Scanjet), however the Epson support is substandard. On the other hand, I am quite impressed with the support for all of my HP products. I expect support for expensive Laserjet printers, but supporting a consumer grade scanner from 2002 shows a real commitment to the end user.

HP Scanjet 4570c Scanner

I had a working scanner, the HP Scanjet 3570c, but it was a bit slow, and the resolution wasn't so high. I found someone giving away a HP Scanjet 4570c scanner. It has a basic driver for 64 bit Vista, which works just fine for Win7. The driver doesn't have as many features as the Epson software, but the Epson software doesn't work on Win7. The scanner isn't nearly as nice as the Epson, but it works for basic scanning. The resolution is 2400x2400, and the scanner is noiser and slower than my Epson. The 35mm slide scanner is a separate thingy which goes over the glass of the scanner, as opposed to the Epson 3200 or the HP Scanjet 3570c where it is built in. Fortunately for me, I don't scan 35mm slides very often. However, it scans fine. This scanner was made around 2003, which is even older than my Epson, which was made around 2003. However, HP has real support for their products. I happen to have two Laserjet printers which are even older, and have a fully supported driver for Win7. When you buy a product, you have to consider the hardware, the software, and the support. Epson hardware and software is better (after all, the scanner costs more than five times as much as the Scanjet), however the Epson support is substandard. On the other hand, I am quite impressed with the support for all of my HP products. I expect support for expensive Laserjet printers, but supporting a consumer grade scanner from 2002 shows a real commitment to the end user.

Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical

I have used many computer mice. The first thing I learned was that mice with balls were a bad idea. I had to clean then pretty often. The optical mouse eliminated the need to clean the mouse ball, and was a vast improvement. Of course, the whole market quickly realized this, and ball mice are virtually extinct. The second thing I learned was that two button mice were a bad idea. Soon afterwards three button mice became available, and then 4, 5, and who knows how many button mice can now be bought. But the standard seems to be three.

The next major innovation in mice was the wheel mouse. The center button also served as a scrolling device. This has proven so useful, that most mice have this feature. In time this has evolved into all kinds of complicated scrolling in multiple dimensions. I think the jury is still out on this.

I bought a Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical because it was either really inexpensive or free after rebate. I happened to like the way it felt, and ended up using it quite a bit. After a few years, it wore out as mice tend to do. Unlike other mice, I simply called Microsoft, and told them the long number on the bottom of the mouse, and they sent me a brand new replacement mouse. I doubt any other company offers that level of support.

Microsoft Natural Elite Keyboard

I bought a Microsoft Natural Elite Keyboard after my wrists and fingers started to hurt after many house of typing. The keyboard is a split keyboard, with a separate area for each hand. In addition the two areas are at an angle to each other, and there is a bulge between the two split areas, as if a balloon was being inflated under the center of the keyboard. Over the years, the amount of bulge in the Microsoft Natural Elite Keyboard has varied a bit, recently being higher than the oldest models.

The idea of split, rotated and bulging keyboard is to match the angles of your hands when you type. If you put your hands together in the air, as if you will be typing you will notice that if your wrists are straight, your hands are pointing inward. The split and angle of the keyboard is designed to allow your wrists to be straight while typing. It really works. In addition the bulge is supposed to help keep the angle between the hands and wrist to be straight. The keyboard works great for me, and has eliminated any pains in my hands and wrists no matter how much I type.

After a few years, it wore out as keyboards tend to do. Unlike other keyboards, I simply called Microsoft, and told them the long number on the bottom of the keyboard, and they sent me a brand new replacement keyboard. I doubt any other company offers that level of support.

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