Thursday, August 7, 2008

Avoid Fake CNN spam

Slashdot and many of the other blogs (which you should scan now and then, btw) are warning people about a spam that is making the rounds called CNN Daily Top Ten. When you click the link, it takes you to a window that tells you that it needs to install a new version of the Flash player.

Naturally, that isn't Flash, it's malware. You can be certain that it is designed to infect Windows boxes, but it isn't known if it can also detect a Mac and serve malware just for us. We do know that there are some weaknesses in OSX and Safari that CAN be exploited, but not if this is one of them.

Bottom line: It's spam. Don't click it. I don't care how pretty or believable it looks. It is always out to hurt you so avoid it at all costs.

More on Epson

One person responded saying I should not tar the entire product line because their tech support is awful and their little CD print program is garbage. He says that their higher-end professional printers are still excellent.

Good news, then. This is similar to HP in the sense that their high-end laser printers do not suffer from the same horrible software that their cheap laser and inkjets do. One would think they care about ALL of their customers, but I guess not.

That CD printer program probably works fine for people who have only one printer, plugged into USB, but I would look to other publishers for CD printing software. I know one comes with Toast and there should be others.

Worse news: The Canon printer that can handle CDs is sold only to Europeans. You may not have any other choice.

Forget about Epson

Today I had a client with a new Epson all-in-one with the ability to print on CDs directly. They also have a wireless network with an AirPort Express that you can plug the printer into and print from anywhere on the network. It mostly works, but the client said the colors are not as good as her previous printer. This is bad news because Epson used to have the best color, even as their tech support went to hell.

Well, it's still in hell, at least India, and they were incapable of solving a problem with their super-simple CD/DVD printing program. It uses a non-standard print dialog box, and there is no way to change the printer! This is important, because there has to be two drivers: one for USB direct and one for wireless. Choose the wrong one and the print will fail with a "Can't find the printer" message.

It was like pulling fingernails to get the level 1 tech to even understand the problem: Everything worked correctly; it could print in all programs BUT their CD printer. After an hour battle and finally getting switched to a Level 2 tech, I still could not get satisfaction because he had no answers why the print window worked like it did. At best, we got the thing to default to wireless printing. The only choice they offered was to deinstall everything and give up on wireless printing entirely - create one print driver for USB and nothing else and maybe the CD printer would respect that.

Scanning won't work wirelessly because Epson can't write good software (like HP, even worse) yet I know it's possible because both the Canon and Brother all-in-ones do support wireless or network scanning.

I have been recommending against Epsons for a few years now, and this is just another reason to keep it up.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another reason to avoid WD's MyBook

There are several, not the least of which is a high failure rate due to overheating. But today I discovered that you cannot make them bootable, either via FireWire or USB (Intel Macs only). This is due to an obsolete chipset.

So, stick to LaCie D2 Quadra drives, or OtherWorld Computing's drives.