Review of HP Photosmart Premium All-in-one

The HP Photosmart Premium All-in-one printer (and also scanner and copier) is wireless. Which is why I plonked it on the middle of the coffee table in the sittingroom for the Bank Holiday Weekend.

And from there I printed off photos to my heart’s content. And then I decided to turn on the laptop and I sat a bit away on the couch, printing off lovely 4×6 photos on the lovely glossy paper that comes in a pack.

How did I manage this? Well, I know it’s not an entirely new concept in printers, but the HP Photosmart Premium has a SD card slot for printing off photos straight from your camera, without even connecting up your computer. The brightly lit and easy to navigate touch screen on the printer makes it easy to flick through your photos and decide what you want to print off. A bit like what it must be like to use one of those in-store photo printing kiosks (I’ve never used one).

The official list of features on the HP Photosmart Premium All-in-one

  • Large Touchsmart screen
  • Wireless printing
  • View, edit & print photos without a computer
  • Archive, retrieve and print photos from Snapfish.com
  • HP Quick Forms
  • Copy, scan and reprints from TouchSmart Screen
  • Printing from iPhone; phones etc via Bluetooth; Playstation 3
  • RRP of €199
  • Approx €30 for Photo Value Pack containing ink and glossy photo paper.

Click here for photos and video of this HP printer

Printing wirelessly from your laptop to printer is a joy, no bother with USB cables reaching from wherever you want to leave your printer and wherever you’re relaxing with your laptop.

All in all, I found the printing of photos a really easy and straightforward experience from my laptop and directly from the SD card.

What didn’t really work for me

However, a word of caution, the wireless set up required me to connect the laptop to the printer initially at set up, so some wired connectivity is required.

The printer also took a dislike to my SD card and photos that were appearing fine on my laptop were coming up as corrupt on the touchscreen and wouldn’t print. Some photos only partially printed direct from the SD card.

I don’t like the texture of the photo paper, but I’d get over that just to be able to share photos instantly – offline. For example, within seconds of receiving photos from Australia by e-mail, I was able to print out a pic of my best friend’s baby and put it up beside my screen for the day.

Features I couldn’t test

  1. iPhone I don’t have an iPhone, so I couldn’t try printing direct from that. I did try printing via Bluetooth from my Nokia E51 handset. Despite altering settings on both printer and phone it would only print on the normal paper, not the 6×4 photo glossy paper, which has a separate tray.
  2. Playstation I don’t have a Playstation 3 and doubt one will ever cross the front door, but cool for kids (even the grown up ones), I imagine.
  3. Snapfish.com I don’t use HP’s Snapfish.com for storing/printing photos online, I’m a Flickr kinda girl and Snapfish’s functionality let me down last year when trying to make calendars for Christmas presents (though it must be said, they are the best for designing calendars!)

Who’s it for?

  • Families/households that need to print from a variety of devices from kids on Playstations, teenagers with iPhones or iPod Touches, students with assignments, parents with printing needs, anybody who’s into photography.
  • Small office home office / people working from home who like to be able to press print from the comfort of the kitchen table without being tethered to the printer in their home office,  study or computer room.
  • People who want to print photos at home from SD cards but haven’t a clue about using a home computer.

Value

  • If you already print a lot of photos from printing kiosks, your local pharmacy or online, it may be worthwhile weighing up the cost of that versus the cost of the printer and photo value packs.
  • If you have a bit of cash to spare, need a printer (or a printer even that scans and copies), and always mean to print off photos but never do, this is a good option.
  • If you’re tired of wires and have a number of devices from which you’d like to print either documents or photos wirelessly, this should be on your list.

I hope to post a blog soon about how the scanner and copier works on this machine. And see if I can find out more about Wireless radio and Bluetooth radio in its settings. How cool would a printer be that also worked as a DAB wireless radio!

Advantages of printing out digital photos

This weekend I’m trying out the new HP Photosmart Premium printer copier scanner.

It’s about time I brought some of my thousands of photos to the light of day, because lately I had a nightmarish experience with photos.

I properly moved over to digital camera use in 2004, but was an amateur photographic fanatic for about 15 years beforehand and photography as a hobby was something I was brought up, with my dad being an avid photographer.

Anyway, who cares about pre-digital photography – all my photos and negatives are relatively safe ( let’s hope I don’t jinx myself with a catastrophe of either rain or fire).

But the same cannot be said for my digital photography collection. Over the last few months I’d notice my 120-gig computer slowing down and realised I’d only a few gig free space. I deleted loads of documents and one day decided that I’d transfer ALL my photos – divided into folders by year and then event – to an external hard drive.

Great, until I then deleted the My Pictures folder from my PC to free up space. The folder on the external hard drive synced with it. Everything was gone, except the 2009 pics I’d left on my PC. There were no tears, but there was a lot of frustration.

To cut a long story short, I got an IT expert to get them back, but they’re no longer in order or indeed in folders. Sorting them is another day’s or even year’s work.

My unwillingness to go to the effort of printing off digital photos had resulted in my all-time fear – losing everything. I’d always feared this would occur through theft or burglary, but it was my own stupidity in not backing up stuff properly or cleverly, that resulted. And as I’m not one to run to the local photo printing kiosk with every new batch of 100+ photos I’d taken, I only have a handful of images printed out – through the online photo printers Photobox.

So today, I am really, really excited about getting some of my fave pics printed off with this new super cool HP Photosmart Premium printer.

I’ll be off to buy some suitable frames over the next few days too to show off these nice 6×4 prints that I’m expecting to print off.

Another thing is I have hundreds, possibly in the low thousands of photos taken on my travels in South East Asia and Australia in 2002/03 that are sitting in albums.

The beauty of the scanner being part of the printer is that in more or less one fell swoop I can scan and print beautiful landscapes of Australia.

Photos and video relating to my experience of using this printer will be uploaded to my Flickr account in due course.

Identity theft or identity found?

A few months back it was published in the national and international press that people could be targeted by burglars if they had status updates indicating they’re on holidays or away.

We mostly giggled, as if the common garden cat burglar was that tech savvy.

Status update: steal my identity

Theft of possessions is one thing but throw in the word identity and the giggling stops. According to an article in The Irish Times “People posting apparently innocuous information on social networking sites could leave themselves open to identity theft”.

It’s not too difficult to give away personal details through conversations and status updates on Twitter or via Facebook if your status updates are public – you can set them so just your friends can see them (I have).

We might not like to give away our ages, but having your birthday (and year of birth) publicly available online is not a good idea, same goes for your home address.

Information others control online about you

But even if you’re personally careful online, you have to be conscious of details friends, family and colleagues may have innocently posted online about you.

Case study:

For example, I know of one sole trader facing a bad debt who wanted to find out more details about the company director who had stopped taking their calls about the bad debt, and wanted to know more about them. No combinations of the individual’s name in search engines came up with anything like a photo, a news story, a Facebook account. They were essentially faceless.

The bad debtor had a video on their company website, hosted on YouTube, with an unusual username. Once this username was Googled it threw up results including the individual’s Facebook account and other online accounts they had with this same username. However, the Facebook account was private and didn’t feature a photo of the person in question.

But, on clicking on ‘View Friends’ and then on the profile of an older woman with the same surname, the person chasing this bad debt was finally given a picture of the bad debtor. His mum, a woman in her 60s who doesn’t know a thing about Facebook privacy options, had her profile public, along with captioned photos of her son the bad debtor on his wedding day with his wife and son.

The person went away happy – rather than identity theft, it was a case of identity found: they’d a face to the person who wasn’t available on phone or e-mail and who only had a vague business address registered with the Companies Registration Office.

Choice

We all have the choice to protect the information we give out about ourselves online and the information that others innocently share about us online. It may be called ego or vanity searching, but there’s no harm in searching online regularly for your name, or indeed, phone numbers and addresses, and common usernames you use to see where you’re mentioned and what you can do about it. It might be an idea, before someone else gets to it, or gets to you.

Do you know who you’re LinkedIn with?

Somebody posed the question on Twitter today, what do you do if someone you do not know/have never met adds you as a contact on LinkedIn?

My honest answer was, yes, I have done it in the past. But I don’t accept such invites anymore.

Creating a network of trust

LinkedIn is about “trust” you see. If we all only add people we trust, well then it’s a more secure network for contacts of mine to do business with contacts of one of my other contacts.

If a contact I trust and trusts me back goes to do business with someone I don’t know at all and it backfires, well then the circle of trust is broken.

Enough of the preaching, but honestly that’s the thinking behind LinkedIn. So, 10 minutes later I deleted about 7 contacts in my LinkedIn network that I had never had any contact with, or former colleagues who added their LinkedIn profile a few years ago and forgot about it. They’ve all moved on from the roles and companies they’re listed as working in.

Maintaining your profile

They should really just delete their profiles or maintain them – and by maintaining them I mean using them, updating them, interacting with others through LinkedIn.

By being there still as my contacts, they’re really just numbers. They can add me as a contact when they resurrect their LinkedIn profiles.

If you don’t know somebody on that network and they add you as a contact, there could be the chance they are interested in doing business with you. If you have a website or your contact details are available through a straightforward enough Google search, or directory enquiries, and LinkedIn is their first point of contact… Well, maybe they’re just not that tech savvy, or they’re just looking to add loads of contacts for the numbers as opposed to anything else.

It’s good to talk

You don’t have to say no, though. You can always just chance it, make contact and see what happens, it could be the business deal of the year. You could always ask why someone wants to connect with you. Or you could suggest connecting elsewhere if you don’t think LinkedIn is the place. There’s loads of other social networks.

Facebook friends

Sometimes getting an invite to be someone’s friend on Facebook is just as puzzling. Facebook to me is about friendship. It’s not a place I want to connect with clients, customers or competitors unless we can really both say we are good friends. If I felt it was appropriate, naturally I could set up a Facebook page for my business, but at the moment I don’t feel that would serve any useful purpose.

I already have a Twitter and LinkedIn presence (not to mention some Irish business networks) which is where, I believe, relevant conversations and connections happen – well at least for my business.

What works for you?

Developing a habit – blogging regularly

Blogging is something that many people have a mental block about actually doing.

Still, they invest heavily in the concept. They invest time in talking and blogging about starting one; they are kept awake into the wee hours thinking about topics they could write about, if only they had the time; and they spend valuable man hours tweeting on Twitter about how they’ve been too busy to sit down a get one done. They’ve great ideas, they claim, or no ideas, or no way with words; they’ve great excuses.

Plenty of us are guilty of that. But what can we actually do about transforming inaction to action? How do can you go about writing a regular blog that develops a following, helps people find your website, and gets people talking about, if not buying your product or service?

If you want to start blogging, do your market research. Sure, find out who your audience is and who your competitors are, but what’s most important is that you find out what a blog actually is.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Online know-it-all Wikipedia explains that “Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries.”
  • Blogger.com describes blogging as a “way to share your thoughts — about current events, what’s going on in your life, or anything else you’d care to discuss”.
  • The benefit of a blog to a reader, in the words of Blog.com is to “observe the world, from the smallest details to life-changing events”.
  • WordPress.com takes the assumption that most of its users are familiar with blogging and give no explanation as to what blogging is, apart from the very succinct message: “Express yourself. Start a blog.”

I think that’s enough. If you’re still not sure, think about what Posterous, one of the newest blog kids on the block says to do: “post everything“.