Wednesday, April 02, 2014

**PRODUCT GRIPE** Canon Pixma MG series

So, a couple years ago, I bought a Canon printer. I didn't need anything fancy or multi-wonderful. What I needed was a basic machine to print out simple black-ink pages of my writing project. While we are in the computer age of electronic books and all the software we need to write and read them on our PCs, phones and tablets, there's nothing as useful for writers as the printed page. I can't even fully comprehend how to edit and make notes without actual  paper pages in my hand.

I bought the Canon Pixma MG2100 because it looked simple to operate,  didn't take up a lot of space in my cramped work area, and it was around $50 bucks. I remember that when I saw it at the store, I joked to my friend that, even for a simple printer, the price was almost too good to be true. She thought that I'd lucked out big time. So I bought that piece of bitch.

First let me point out the positives about the printer - because there are some things I like about it. It is pretty quiet when printing, and  it connects easily to my PC with a USB cord. Also, the printer looks good; it's not some ugly piece of appliance that you want to hide under a cute throw when it's not in use. It was set up to scan, copy and fax. I can scan and copy right from my Android phone so I wasn't worried about those functions but, hey, to have them all in one for a super-low price... Not bad, right? I didn't really have any serious complaints until the ink ran out so fast that I swear I only printed may 20 pages (some color, some black). After that, I had to keep fiddling with the settings to get any more use from the cartridges.

For a while, I had no problem replacing cartridges. Until a few weeks ago.

Walmart was out of the replacements I'd bought previously. When I looked at home for the manual (to see if I could use other brands, etc.) I realized I'd packed the book in  a storage room. Under about 9 million other things I'd put away between moving from one place to another. No problem, right? This is the age of the internet so I should be able to find a manual online somewhere. Maybe even at Canon's website.

You'd think.

Canon's website is perfect for getting driver updates and all kinds of product support. For everything but my model of printer. I decided to use their contact form to ask about the MG2100. That model is not even listed. I can contact them for the MG-this-one or MG-that-one, but not for the MG-one-that-I-have. I had to cheat on the form and use the closest model number (because you can't "submit" the query without inserting a model number).

I'm waiting to hear back from them about obtaining a replacement manual. I won't be surprised if their response doesn't turn out to be a polite version of "What'd you expect for 50 bucks? That we'd keep product info available for owners of the old printers?"


Guess that $50 price wasn't marked as a bargain as much as it was for dumping old inventory.

What I really wish is that I had never gotten rid of the old dot-matrix printer I had years ago. That thing printed from a ribbon that lasted forever. I was a little annoyed that it rocked the printer stand so much that everyone downstairs from me thought we were having a minor tremor, but I loved being able to print and re-print my work every time I made revisions.

My birthday's coming up so, when I was whining to my sister and niece about this cute little Pixma paperweight, they asked if I was hinting for new printer. (By the way, my family has always believed in my future as a writer. Good love from good people.) I wasn't hinting but, since they brought it up... Ha!

Tell you what, I will make sure that if I am getting a printer for my birthday, it won't start with "C" and end with "anon". The folks in my life love me, but I don't think they love me enough to supply me with printers every time Canon comes out with a new one. And, who know? This might be the way things go with all products, but I won't get burned twice by the same flame.

Now, let me go see which one of the fam loves me enough to run off a print of my rough draft...


***REVIEW*** Tony Little's Gazelle Edge

The other day, my neighbor gave me this:

Tony Little's Gazelle Edge

She's had surgeries for a serious back problem and her doctor has recommended a different type of exercise. Because she knows I've been doing a lot of regular walking and working out, she was kind enough to gift me the machine. (I'm going to look for a nice little "thank you" gift for her.)

I've used the Gazelle Edge regularly for the past 3 days and I'm ready to post this review.


  • Very easy to store (for now, I'm keeping mine propped behind the bedroom door).
  • Easy to move and set up for use. 
  • Can be used for varying speeds and intensity of "walking".
  • Feels stable and sturdy (even when I move faster and with longer strides). I have balance problems on a treadmill at fast speeds, but I'm able to use the Gazelle without holding the handles, which is great for doing a jogging type stride.
  • Good workout for people who need something low-impact.
  • Has a battery-operated tracker for speed, time & distance. (I haven't put in batteries. So far, I'm using my Android Pedometer Pro app.)
  • After just 3 days, I can feel the ache in my legs & arms from a good workout.
  • It's really quiet. (There's some mild squeaking when moving fast, but I'm going to follow directions for oiling the parts.)
  • Can be used in small spaces. (I place mine at the base of my queen-sized bed & still have lots of room to make long strides if I want.)
  • Though I got mine free, the price range I've seen online ($130-$140) seem reasonable for the value.
  • Convenience. I save time driving to and from the gym to use a treadmill; I can get my exercise no matter the weather; and it takes very little motivation to do my exercises while watching TV or listening to music. (I've gotten heavy into podcasts of news & mystery theater type shows while I get my workout.)
  • Because of all the above, it's easy to use this machine on a regular basis.
  • Don't lost your user manual or DVD. I couldn't find a complete manual online. I did find a basic manual, but I've had to resort to YouTube and other places for examples of exercises.
As you can tell, I had to stretch to find that one negative! The one thing I do notice is that, while this is a great workout for my legs and arms, my abs aren't getting as much of a workout. Don't get me wrong, I do feel some of what I call "workout ache" in my abs; I just feel it most in my thighs and calves.

The biggest advantage to having this machine is the convenience. When I was trying to get all my exercise at the gym, I sometimes just couldn't talk myself into making the drive in poor weather. Even on nicer days, I had to consider things like the cost of gasoline for my car, finding time in between other appointments, etc. Now that I have this handy alternative, I find it easy to do a little bit of exercise all during my day. My favorite time to do a little gliding on the Gazelle is first thing in the morning and after meals. The first day I had it, I used it while I was watching a documentary on Netflix. Without even realizing it, I'd been gliding for over an hour.

Do I think that I'm going to suddenly start dropping pounds because I have this machine? Maybe not suddenly, but I know for a fact that even light exercise on a regular basis can make a difference in the way I look and feel. I wasn't going to the gym as regularly as I should have been and I have come a looong way from where I was just a few months ago. I truly do think that I'm going to see a more drastic a change in less time if I keep using the Gazelle every day. I see a benefit to my energy level and sleeping pattern. My recent fatigue is already fading somewhat.

At this point, I can say that having the Gazelle is beneficial for someone who is a too busy (or bit lazy) to get to a gym more than a couple of days a week.