Kodak All-in-One is awesome asset in the digital darkroom

“Man that sucker’s huge”, was my first thought as I unboxed Kodak’s new flagship All-In-One photo printer. But that stands to reason, as the Kodak ESP 9250 All-in One Printer (henceforth known as ‘the 9250’ or ‘Kodak Unit’), does a lot more than just print.

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And that’s why it’s so hard to write about these Swiss army knife computing appliances — there’s so much that you’d use regularly (printing, scanning, copying), and the other things that you’d never use. In my case, it’ FAX — I don’t use it so I’m not going to talk about it :smileyhappy:

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Print? Scan? Copy? Fax? It’s covered!

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Recently I had an opportunity to put one of the new Brother multi-function printer devices through it’s paces, and overall, I liked what I saw.

Priced as an entry level unit, the Brother MFC-J615W (that’s a mouthful, why can’t they just use names) is a solid home and light-duty small business document centre.

The first thing that impressed me was the packaging — no styrofoam. Now I know that’s minor, but I appreciate it when companies make the effort to design their packaging with the environmental impact in mind.

Judge me by my size, do you.
This is a fairly small unit, and very well designed. Once it’s set up and ready to use, the unit is smaller than most toaster ovens. Unlike my current printer, which when in print mode has a huge paper ream support rising out of the back and another finisher support out the front, the Brother has an internal paper tray and feed system that keeps the footprint small — great for small home-office situations.

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Cute name. Cute scanner. Great value.

SnoopyFuzzy200.jpgI have two dogs, miniature Daschunds. They’re about 6 inches tall at the shoulder and about 14 inches longs. Weiner dogs. Doxies. I now have a scanner, and it’s a Doxie too! It’s about 2 inches tall, and about 10 inches long. Appropriately named. But the name doesn’t do justice to the scanner itself. The Doxie is one cool and powerful little scanner in a very tiny package. Because it’s got such a small form factor, the Doxie is highly portable — No external power supply. If you’re a road warrior you’ll appreciate that you’re only packing the scanner and the USB cable, and not another power brick.

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As with many devices these days, the real sophistication is in the software running on the computer; from most casual user’s perspectives, there appears to be little difference in the hardware actually capturing the image. Rather, it’s the usability and functionality of the software that’s important. The folks at Apparent Corp. (the makers of the Doxie) have really worked hard to inject some ‘spirit’ into the Doxie scanning software.

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You’ll first encounter this spirit when you realize that there’s no driver disc or installation software in the box. Rather, you point your browser at http://www.getdoxie.com/start and download the appropriate installation software (Mac or Windows). Always the most recent version, rather than one that could have been burned to the CD and packed with the unit when it was manufactured a few months ago. A very smart move.

After running the install software and performing a simple calibration routine with the included calibration sheets, you’re ready to scan documents or images. The Doxie will scan in most popular resolutions and document sizes (up to 8.5” width).
But scanning is only part of the equation. It’s what you can do with it afterward that makes things really interesting.
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[Above — 8×10 scan of old inkjet photo in Doxie’s scan/format dialogue box]

With most traditional scanning solutions, you’re able to dump the scan into a file on your desktop or hard drive, or automagically import it into some image editing or OCR software.

Doxie lets you store your stuff in the cloud(s). Either the free Doxie Cloud services, or Flickr, Evernote, Google Docs, Picknik, Scribd…etc. You simply add the service to Doxie’s Cloud Preferences, and then with one click of the mouse you’re able to send your image directly to the service of your choice. A great time-saving feature.

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Now, if you’re scanning text, you may be scanning text you’d want to edit. Well, that gets a bit tougher. Doxie’s not optimized for that, but the applications it plugs in to may be. Google Docs, Evernote and Adobe Acrobat all have some semblance of OCR capability. Your mileage may vary. I scanned in this Fanspeak Glossary from an old fanzine I had kicking around from the late ‘70s. You’d be amazed at what a ‘blog’ was back then :smileyhappy:

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One other little issue cropped up from time to time — that of image alignment. Occasionally, when scanning a smaller business card or photo, the image imported would be slightly askew. Easy enough to fix, either by rescanning or rotating in an image editing program. Similar issues occur with many scanners with built in sheet feeders.

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And finally, kudos to the marketing team. Sure, the Doxie comes adorned with a uber-cute set of pink hearts, but that may not be to everyone’s taste. Recognizing that, they’ve also shipped a set of stylish adhesive skins that let you personalize your Doxie — I’m partial to the MacIntosh tartan.

So, to wrap this up, the Doxie is a small, portable, and highly efficient personal scanner. It works, and works well. If you have the need, take a Doxie for a walk :smileyhappy:



This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.