Sunday, May 18, 2008

Adventures with a Kodak Printer

A few days ago, my crappy old Dell printer began acting up and I thought it was about time to replace it. Sams Club had Kodak all-in-one printers for $89. These things were supposed to print photos equal to commercial labs as well as regular letters, and also scan, fax, and copy. And their ink refills were mondo cheap. Sounded cool to me, and Kodak is a big name, and the price is unbeatable, so you can't go wrong, can you?

You bet your ass you can.

I lugged it home and installed it Friday night. The software bundle is huge and takes a long time to run just from the CD. Then I had to download and install the latest version from the Kodak site, which over my DSL line took an hour. Made a couple of test 4x6 photos and documents and they really looked good. I'm a happy man. So then I launched Microsoft Outlook to get to work. Uh oh. Outlook got about halfway through the launch and crashed bigger than a jet plane. I tried a few things and it still crashed. Uninstalled the Kodak software and it did it again. Ran the System Restore utility to bring the computer back to where it was before it all started, and Outlook ran just fine. So here I am, right back at the beginning, after several hours of mostly waiting for software to download or run or whatever. I'm not a happy man.

This went on for the next 24 hours. I installed the software several different ways. I called Kodak's tech support twice. I rebooted a dozen times. I installed, I uninstalled, I ran System Restore, I installed several Microsoft upgrades, all to no avail. The Kodak software killed Outlook every time. Finally the Kodak tech rep (a really nice guy in El Salvador) said that it was a Microsoft problem, not Kodak, and there was nothing more they could do.

Well, there was sure as hell something I could do. I uninstalled the Kodak software, ran System Restore one last time, then packed everything back up in the box and took it back to Sam's. Sorry, Kodak, but in a battle between you and Microsoft, Microsoft wins. Everything else on my computer works with Windows, so if your stuff doesn't, that's your bad. I did some Google searches while trying to find more information, and found a lot of people with very very bad things to say about Kodak's software, so I'm not alone. The sad part is that the photos that actually come out are really good and really cheap.

On a related note, during this process I installed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. And immediately uninstalled it. My old system is slow in booting up, but SP 3 bogged it down like a Kia pulling a freight train.

Lessons learned:
1. Stay away from Kodak printers until they learn how to do software right.
2. Stay away from Windows XP SP3.
3. When this computer finally dies, I'm replacing it with a Mac.

No comments: