Consumer

Goodies from Google

January 19, 2005

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We already know about really neat stuff like search, mail, toolbar and blogger (including this blog) offered by Google. Recently, I tried two new products and found them extremely useful.

Google Desktop Search rifled through all the files in my desktop (documents, text, mail etc.) and indexed them. This process took about a day or so and ran in the background. Once the indexing was done, I was able to search my computer through a Google search like interface. The search itself is very fast and works really well.

Google has recently upgraded its Picasa photo organizing software. Annoying bugs in the earlier version have been eliminated and the keyword search was extremely useful in locating photos. I was considering buying Adobe’s Photoshop Album (retails for US$49.99), but Picasa offers equivalent functionality and is free.

Buying an Inkjet Printer

December 30, 2004

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I was in the market for an el cheapo inkjet printer that should be able to print:

  1. Directly on ink-jet printable CDs and DVDs.
  2. Near photo-quality images.
  3. Occasional text documents.

I found the printer guides at Steve’s Digicams, PC Magazine and CNet.com to be quite useful. At the local big box retailer, basic inexpensive models offered by Canon, Epson, HP and Lexmark, provided a lot to choose from.
Before buying, I wanted to research the ongoing cost of owning an inkjet printer, as the makers often sell the printer at a loss and make their profits on the ink cartridges. Tom’s Hardware Guide has a detailed comparison of the models I was considering (Canon PIXMA iP3000 and Epson Stylus Photo R200) in this article. The cost per page for most printing purposes seems to be cheapest for the printers from Epson and Canon. I finally bought the R200 because it has the ability to print directly on DVDs. It was also the cheapest printer at only $75 after rebates.

Order a credit report

December 15, 2004

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There are two credit reporting companies in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion. Every time, we apply for a credit card, phone service or mortgage, our credit report is checked with one of them. I usually request a credit report every year, but I should really try to get a report from both of them, just to make sure that there is no funny business. So, as a year-end to-do item, I am going to request a credit report for us from TransUnion. I am in no hurry and I want to save some money, so I am going to request the report by mail.