Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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August 2003, Week 3 -- Hard copy


 Lexmark p707

   Lexmark has produced a shiny jewel of an office machine, even though it has the dull designation of "X6150 All-In-One."

   Unlike the dozen or so other combination office units that have been out there for the last few years, this one is also a stand-alone fax machine. In fact, it's a stand-alone everything. It's a combination flatbed color scanner, printer, copier and fax machine. And it doesn't matter whether it's connected to the computer or not; works either way.


   You can send or receive a fax in black and white or color. You can also print and copy in black and white or color. The copier function can reduce an image to 25 percent of original size or enlarge it by 400 percent. Resolution is 1200x4800 dpi (dots per inch). Copier output is 16 pages per minute. Printer output is 19 ppm and copies can be collated.


   The X6150 can be connected to a PC with a USB cable. Adding the computer lets you use the bundled software, which includes "ABBYY Fine Reader 5.0." This is an optical character recognition program (reads and understands text) that we reviewed a year ago and was the best we had seen. Excellent software. But remember: you don't have to connect to a computer at all.


   Color us brightly impressed. Especially by the price: $199 suggested retail. Web info:


One very handy utility

  Secure IE

   We just spent some time in Winferno. No, it's not one of Dante's circles of hell, but they do a heavenly Windows utility.

   Winferno makes a utility called "Secure IE," which means secure Internet Explorer web browsing. It's also very productive. For instance: You can save dozens of web sites to a "workspace." When you open the workspace, they're all available as tabs at the top of your screen. Click between them without having to enter any web addresses.


   You can search Google simply by typing "go (space) search terms." You can have shortcuts like this with any search engines or site. Type "di (space) and any word" and you go to which will give you the definition. You can set shortcuts for any web site simply by setting up a two-letter shortcut and then following that with your query.


   You can use Secure IE it to add "sticky notes" to any text you highlight and then email the whole web page and the note. Just as a passing benefit you can also set the utility to block popups, active-x and flash advertisements.


   There's a ton of features here, useful and fun. Secure IE is for Windows, $30 from




--  This is a site that solves a problem increasingly encountered by groups trying to email their members. If there are a lot of members, many internet service providers will identify the mailing as spam and may dump it. Here, information can be posted to a private box available only to members, where they can log in at any time and get the latest news and event schedules. Service costs $39 a year. A similar service is available at Yahoo for free; type



--  An eccentric site put together by someone who likes to collect old advertisements. They're scanned from old newspapers and there's no selection process other then they struck the web master's fancy. We were charmed by the ad for wombat-fur coats.

--  Home site for the International Dark-Sky Association. The organization is dedicated to trying to control outdoor lighting so we can still see the stars.


--  For a subscription of 99 cents a month, they send you a daily email on a subject of your choosing. Select gardening and you get a gardening tip a day. Their "today" newsletter provides a new web site, joke and odd fact each day. You can get daily emails for up to nine different categories.




   My wife referred to this as "The Netflix of the game world."


   Netflix, of course, is a subscription service for movies on DVDs; just go to This new one is called "GameFly"  and does the same thing for video games on PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox. For a subscription of $22 a month, you can get two games at a time and keep them as long as you want. When you return a game, you get a new one from your selection list. These games are expensive to buy, as any parent knows, and are usually kept and played much longer than movies.



 Google Pocket Guide

   The "Google Pocket Guide," by Callishain, Dornfest & Adams; $10, O'Reilly Press

   This is pretty interesting: small, pocket size and listing lots of shortcuts for using the popular Google search engine to best advantage. For instance, if you want to find somebody's phone number, you can type "phonebook:John Deere IL." If you know you're looking for a residential phone number you would put an "r" in front of "phonebook;" for a business number, use a "b." If you want to search by place you can begin with something like "," which would just search for the keywords in the United Kingdom sites.


NOTE: Readers can search past columns on our web site: You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at or