Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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  January 2005, Week 2 -- Cut and Print
Epson R320

   Epson's new Stylus Photo R320 photo printer is definitely something different. We'll start with the simple stuff:

   You can plug any of 13 types of memory cards directly from a digital camera into the printer, then print photos in six colors and sizes without using a computer. The resolution can be set to a stunning 5760x1440 dots per inch, considerably higher than most digital cameras can shoot.
   But, as they say on those late-night TV ads, that's not all you get:
   The printer has a small preview window that allows you to see which picture you're about to print. The size of the print can be selected from a built-in menu that lets you scroll and then push a button. All this is done without use of the computer.
     With the computer, the software enables double-sided printing, watermarks, fit-to-page, poster sizes and borderless printing. This last option means you can "bleed," as professionals call it, the print to the edge of the page.
     The printer also comes with a special tray for holding CD or DVD disks that can accept printing on their face side. You can find these at almost any office or computer supply store. Using the computer, select a picture and whatever text you want to use for the face side of the disk. We tried this and it worked perfectly; the selected picture covered nearly all of the disk surface and was as sharp as any photograph.
     All in all, this is the most remarkable photo printer we've seen, and one of the most remarkable printers of any type. It is compatible with Windows and Macintosh computers, but also can be used on its own. The photo results are as high quality as anything we've received from a commercial studio.
     The Epson Stylus Photo R320 has a list price of $200, but we used Nextag ( and found it for around $175 from several sellers. Each of the six color cartridges can be replaced individually, and we found the color ones for $5.95 each by searching with; black cartridges were $11.95.
     For an extra $70 you can buy a Bluetooth adapter that allows printing photos transmitted from Bluetooth-enabled cameras and camera phones. In general, you should know, Bluetooth works only over short distances.
  The Numbers Report


  Online retail sales were up nearly 20 percent this year compared with 2003. The biggest jump was in sales of toys and video games, up nearly 50 percent.

     The predicted demise of Internet business, widely reported after stocks in these companies went down the drain in the bear market of 2000, has been proven wrong. In fact, it was always wrong, and Internet sales are certain to keep increasing. The World Wide Web has everything going for it: no crowds, no parking problems, instant price comparisons, no sales taxes for many purchases and speedy delivery. Did we miss something?


  Sales of photo-enabled cell phones recently surpassed those of regular cell phones. You could say they are now the regular cell phones. In the very near future such phones are expected to be sold with tiny built-in hard drives, capable of storing lots of messages, photos and Web site visits, and even telephoto lenses for surreptitious picture snapping.

  The Hottest New Game


   There's a common saying that "whatever is old is new again." How about "whatever is ancient"? The game drawing the most enthusiastic praise right now is Children of the Nile, for Windows, a kind of Sim City of ancient Egypt. Build an ancient city, watch it being constructed, live in it.
   This is not a Sim City game, but an entirely new construction from Myelin Media (; $40 from retailers like EB Games ( Players nearly unanimously say you have never seen anything like it, and it's great.
  3D is Back!

wired glasses


   Want to play video games in 3D? We're talking about the 3D Vision System for Windows from
   This is a set of eyeglasses, but not a pair of cardboard spectacles with red and blue cellophane like you sometimes get as handouts for movies or code books; it's more complicated than that.
   The eyeglasses come with a device that connects between the computer's video port and your monitor cable. It's called a dongle, and it alters the computer's video display, splitting it into a color shift similar to the old 3D movies. Software included in the package completes the picture, so to speak.
   The special eyeglasses have a thin cable that plugs into the same dongle that's altering the video display. This synchronizes the glasses with the display's color shift. The result is a three-dimensional effect remarkably similar to the very expensive Evans & Sutherland computers used for military and scientific simulations.
     The manufacturer, eDimensional Inc., claims it works with almost every PC game made. The list price is $70, and the glasses have received enthusiastic reviews from users.