These guys used to make a good printer. They were the first
real color printer on the market. Expensive and clumsy but the
price came down fast as did the size. I sort of like the separate
color cartridge idea. They kept getting clogged and the paper
jammed. The world changed from printers and scanners to
All-In-Ones. So I left my old Epson behind. I still
have it and a dozen of the little cartridges. I just hate to
throw things away. Maybe one one Megan's computer geeks can use
I always liked IBM. They make mistakes but in general they are
innovative and worth looking at. Their printer division made
excellent printers. Then they sold the division and the new
company became Lexmark -- with no reference to their history as part of
IBM. So Lexmark started as unbelievably inexpensive both for their
hardware and their cartridges. This was great. But the
world moved on. Now you buy "All-In-Ones". In other words
the single device became so expensive to market and sell, they have
combined features. An All-In-One has a scanner and a printer in
one unit. With this combination you have many functions for which
you do not need a computer. For example: make copies. Add a
telephone interface and you have a FAX. Etc.
But then you want to interface with your PC and they add a suite of
program functions and these functions interface to other
programs. For example, you may scan a page and import it into,
for example, Photoshop. Photoshop has an import function so that
this Suite is unnecessary but it is once to have everything in one
place. Again a great concept. You have an All-in-one
hardware device and an All-in-One software interface.
The problem here with Lexmark is two fold. Three fold:
1. Their print spooling program aborts with the Windows
message: "Time Executable" has stopped working. This window
appears in both Windows XP and Vista. When you get this message
you really do not have a problem unless your current file is not
completed printed. You lose what has not printed. For
two-sided, you lost all of your second side. For a printer jam,
you lose all of the pages not printed. For me these are serious
2. The OCR program does not install even though it claims to have done so.
3. Lexmark has not informed Windows of their spool program
error and so when you take the Windows option of searching online for a
solution, you do not even get a link to Lexmark support. Without
some serious investigation or just good luck, you do not know that the
"Time Executable" message is even a Lexmark error.
These problems should be easily correctable with a couple of
sessions with Lexmark product support (if you figure out it is a
Lexmark problem). Here is the bottom line: I spent over a year
with many contacts with Lexmark support. All references to the
OCR problem were just ignored: no response at all.
The Time Executable problem resulted in a message that could have
been generated by a machine: uninstall the printer and then reinstall
it. They procedure to do this gets more and more elaborate: go
online and download a new set of software; download a "cleaner"
program; various combinations of the two.
After a few interactions, you get a "survey" asking how they did.
Stating that they did nothing does not get you increased support.
I have had this experience with multiple computers, one brand new off
the shelf with no other software or printers installed. The other
computers several years old with other printers having come and gone.
My only suggestion therefore is for you to avoid Lexmark. If
you are a gambler and try one, great. I know people who have had
them and had no problems except a few months later asked me to buy them
a scanner. If you are the gambler and you run into the "Time
Executable" problem, immediately take the printer back and demand a
full refund. You will not get a Lexmark or Windows resolution to
this problem. If you want to use OCR, do not even put Lexmark on
your search list.
I gave my Lexmark away to an RV park who used it for a copy machine
until it gave up altogether. They never did get the FAX feature
to work. I tried without any luck. Mostly it would not
answer the phone line. THe RV park attendants also needed a
simple operation. The Lexmark was too complicated. But it
gave a year of service before it died.
Talk about junk. The print quality is good. The scanning
is good. HP finally came out with large cartridges -- but they
cost. It is about time for large but I resent the high
price. The printer makes lots of noise and refuses to load photo
paper. The menu program says that you can damage the printer if
you lie about the paper type. I think this is a caveat: the
printer damages itself. Even using it as a copy machine with standard
paper the printer makes a series of loud clicks every time it prints. But
it works. I sold it for $30. I was tired of trying to print
pictures. I have no idea how many hours I played with its menus
and papers before I just plain gave up.
I have never liked Kodak but I thought it was time to try one of
their printers. They have a good advertising campaign: cheap
printer cartridges. The keyword is "cheap". Everything
about the 6150 reeks "cheap". The print quality seems OK.
The scanner quality is not even close to that of the HP.
The WIA standard software defaults to 75 DPI. Maybe the scan
quality is OK but you must enter the advanced menu on each entry to
increase the DPI to a usable density.
machine itself is giant. It is as big as my old Lexmark. Maybe bigger. I had seen a
newer Lexmark at half the size of the original. Lexmark
learned. I would have thought that Kodak would have figured it
out. Desktop space is limited. Kodak takes its own path rather than learning from others.
Cartridges. Why are they cheap? HP started it and the
others jumped on. The HP cartridges come with electronics built
into the cartridge to produce adjustable color dots. The High
Price you pay for ink cartridges is because electronics and the
microscopic ink jets are built into each cartridge. You
want this because the ink jets wear out and, if they remained in the
printer as originally done, the quality of your photos would degrade
Kodak has beat the game -- sort of. They have gone back to (or
maybe never left) the concept of a cartridge feeding a sponge.
But instead of the print heads being part of the printer, they have an
additional component: a separate print head. This makes the
cartridge cheap and when the print head wears out, you buy a new print
head. Great idea. One of the old sponge problems was when
the sponge got older, it hardened. You could have pools of ink
under your printer for a long time before you figured out that
the reason you frequently needed new cartridges was sitting on your table
top. And do not even think of tilting your printer. Maybe
Kodak has addressed this, I doubt it.
Why did I distrust Kodak? Kodak had a monopoly for years on
photo film. Then along came Fuji giving you honest colors instead
of the Kodak red pictures. Red? Originally the red made
skin look better but as the cameras and the films improved, there was
no need to bias the colors. Fuji was cheaper to buy and cheaper
to process. Kodak had a hard time with Polaroid but it won.
It did not win against Fuji. But Kodak really liked its monopoly
and did not adjust to competition well.
Then along came the digital world. Kodak was so slow off the
mark that I thought they would just give up. But no, they entered
the field with their cameras. But they used proprietary computer
and printer interfaces. You needed the Easy Share software to
make things work. Junk (the official generic word is "crapware"). All of the other digital
manufacturers used standard Windows interfaces. Their cameras
appeared as hard drives and you could just copy or move pictures to
your computer -- or back if you were so inclined.
The other venders supplied a software suite for those people who
could not figure out how to use Windows Explorer. The suite had
software to support the printer features. This meant that out of
the box you could copy, print, scan, and maybe FAX. Since I use
Windows programs, programs I wrote myself, and Photoshop, I had little
use for the camera suites. But I installed them and tried to
understand their features.
But Kodak. Wow. I have 4 million pictures on my
computer. When you installed their product, the installation went
around making little index files wherever it found pictures. I
killed the installation after a day of figuring out what it was
doing. I was afraid it was damaging my computer or my
files. Kodak is not unique in this. The Nero photo software
suite does the same thing.
So now I have the 6150. I have yet to see if its advertised
paper sensor really works. It had better. I had to do a lot
of rearranging to find a place to put the monster. And I shall
buy a separate receipt scanner since the location of the printer is
outside of arm's reach. But here comes the zinger: the Kodak software
suite is still crapware.
The limited software that comes with the 6150 seems to work.
a DVD/CD with Microsoft Office extensions and templates. Sounds
good? After messing with it for an hour and restarting the
program multiple times. Restart? It would just start and
then die. Nothing spectacular. It just quit and went
away. It left the setup installer running but it had quit doing
anything. I took the dog for an hour walk and came back to find
no progress. After a few more restarts it told me that my Office
version was too old and that I needed a new version of Office. I
just installed Office 2010 last month. If this is too old, then I
have no idea what version Kodak wants. Version 2011 of Microsoft
Office has been recently released but I just spent money on 2010, I
cannot afford to buy new software because Kodak cannot write for
year old commercial software. I called Kodak support. The
"complementary" Office Suite Software is not supported. Go to a
third party website. No response.
To top off the stupids, there is this blue light that blinks on and
off while the printer is searching for a Wi-Fi connection. The
blue light (K-Mart specials anyone?) stays on if a Wi-Fi is
connected. But you would think that if the printer is connected
via a network cable or a USB cable, that the blue light would go
away. No such luck. You live with a flashing blue
light until you step through the menus and discover the entry that disables the blue light..
Oh. And I received a software update. Two parts: one to
the driver software and one firmware upgrade. Maybe they do not
like customers complaining that their printer hangs Windows. Only
one problem. The driver software installs just fine. The
firmware upgrade requires the printer to be online and at the same time
be connected online to their Website. eMail support? Why
not? You get the same "no response". I used to think Kodak
lived in an ivory tower. Now I know that they do. I do hope
that the printer works with the original firmware and their new
software. I doubt Kodak even thought of this. Requiring
online firmware updates? Unique since no one else would trust a
data connection to directly download a device with data that if
corrupted would cause total failure of the device.
Before Kodak I never heard of company support saying that the supplied
software was "complementary" and with no requirement to support
it. My computer occasionally hangs before or after printing.
Until my Kodak, software hanging up Vista was unheard of.
I often criticize things. I believe that criticism is good: it
helps people improve their products. The Kodak is so bad that I
do not criticize it. It will not be improved -- Kodak does not
care. I condemn the Kodak printer and the company that makes
it. I thought that maybe my USB ports had gone bad. Maybe a
bad hub. Maybe even a bad disk drive. No. The Kodak
printer can hang Windows Vista so badly that unplugging the device
cables will not help. Unplugging the printer will not help.
Restarting Windows will not help. A force power off of the
computer is the only resolution. And then when you power back up
you get the message that Windows wants to repair your system. I
always say no to this and WIndows comes up just fine. You may get
some strange printer operation but it goes back to normal
quickly. Normal is not good.
Junk the Kodak and buy a name brand printer. Kodak has a name but for an obsolete product: camera film. The world has left camera film behind. Kodak has not figured out the reason yet. I doubt that it ever will.