Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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December 2000, Week 1 -- More Hardy Copy

  Okipage 8z digital printer


   In the never-ending struggle to save a few dollars on printing costs, we're continuing to look at laser printers.

   The new "Okipage 8Z" from Okidata is the smallest, lightest and cheapest we've found so far. (Could be something cheaper on the horizon, though.) The printer has a remarkably small "footprint" of only 7.5 by 12 inches (19 by 30 centimeters) and weighs less than eight pounds. List price is $250.

   At 8 ppm (pages per minute), this printer is slower than the 12 ppm Brother HL 1250 we looked at last week. That one costs $399, however, confirming the trend that what you get as you go up in price is speed.


   Though they're called laser printers, the Okipage printers have never used lasers. They use two rows of very tiny LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) which light in the right pattern to reproduce letters and images. The advantage is fewer moving parts than a true laser printer, the disadvantage is more limited resolution. Resolution is limited to 600 X 1200 dpi (dots per inch). Though this resolution is more than adequate for text and graphics in black and white.


   The Okipage 8Z works with Windows or Macintosh, parallel port and USB connections. Cost: $250, lowest we've found. Phone info: 800-654-3282 or 856-235-2600 (856-222-5276 for Spanish); web:


Free database


   GS-Base 5.1 is a free database that can be downloaded from Up to 512 fields for each record you create and the fields can contain almost any type of data, including links to pictures. You can send personalized e-mail messages to each member in large groups, verify Internet addresses and convert database files to HTML code for posting to the Web. Handles an unlimited number of records. Do a search at zdnet on the key words "gs-base."


The shopping report


   A study by Verizon Corp., the former Bell Atlantic, found that 21 percent of those browsing the Web's shopping sites are just browsing, nothing more. They are merely selecting what they want to buy, the study found, and then go out to a traditional store to buy it. No wonder it's so hard to park.


Wholesale Charity

--  A new site with an interesting idea. You buy checks to be given out as gifts, and the recipient then gives it to the charity of their choice. Individuals can buy blocks of charity checks but the service is aimed primarily at businesses and large organizations, who would buy charity checks to hand out as presents.

Internuts: Fun with sound


   NOTE: If you right click with your mouse button on any of the following sound clips, you can save the clip to your computer.


-- This is a really fun site, by far the best sound clip site we could find. There are 29,500 sound clips and sound effects from cartoons, movies and records. Sound bits from Abbott and Costello, Tom Lehrer, Jack Benny, the Marx Bothers, Humphrey Bogart, etc.

-- The place to go for special sound effects. There are 100 frog sounds, for example, all different; 48 sounds clips of lightning and thunder.

--  Johnny Cash singing the Folsom Prison Blues, cellist Yo Yo Ma playing "Fancy on a Bach Air." All of the music is from  labels and TV shows owned by Sony near as we could tell.


-- A personal site by a drummer. Lots of interesting drum routines and lessons on how to reproduce them with your own drums.


More Internuts:

-- From the Sanskrit word for light. This is a site for uploading your photos and a rich source of tools for image editing. The site is sponsored by Ulead, makers of "PhotoImpact."

-- and Two new search engines. Use different search engines, you often get different results. SearchHound seemed more effective of the two here.


Oddities of the language


   A few weeks ago a reader who's a stickler on correct usage pointed out that there is no "burn" in burning a CD with one of the new CD-R or CD-RW machines for recording your own CDs, nor is there any "cut" in cutting a tape or a new CD. He pointed out that what the laser does is change the reflectivity of a spot on the disk.


   Agreed. Still ... almost all telephones have buttons these days, yet we still say we "dial" a phone number; that's the way language is.

  Dear America



Child's play

   "Dear America" is a charming program for young girls, from Knowledge adventure. The child "corresponds" with pen pals from six periods in American history. Clever. For Win/Mac, ages 8-12, $20; web:

    "Kids Games," under the Hoyle label from Sierra, was surprisingly good fun and more than just for kids. There are 12 familiar children's games to play. For Win/Mac, ages 5-12, $20; web:
    "Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion," $20 for Win 95/98; from Electronic Arts. You play Nancy Drew as the famous teenage sleuth solves another one in an adventure series always popular with girls. The packaging for this program is the size of a small book, by the way, and I hope this starts a trend, since most large game boxes contain nothing but a disk. Web:
   NOTE: Readers can search more than four years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at or