Review: Brother MFC 6490-CW (Multifunction Inkjet)

Disclosure: The reviewer was not paid to provide this review. The reviewer was sent the machine at no cost for the purpose of reviewing the product. Though the company was originally supposed to take the unit back after the review, they opted to let the review keep the unit.

Ever since I purchased my first laser printer, I was sold on it.  I swore off inkjets for good…and pretty much ended my relationship with color printouts as well.  Color laser printers are still not cost effective in my book.  Refills are quite expensive and frankly, I just don’t print color that often.

That said, there is a time and place for color presentation.

Recently, I was contacted by Brother to give the MFC 6490-CW a spin (here after, “6490CW” – official specs page here).  My knee jerk reaction was that it was an inkjet and I was not going to like it.  I agreed to check it.  You know what?  It ain’t bad…not bad at all.

Brother MFC 6490CW Front View

Here’s the breakdown:

1.  It’s a multifunction – scanning, printing, copying.  

You can scan on the platen glass or run a stack through the sheetfeeder.  Both the glass and the sheetfeeder appear to be high quality construction.  No complaints whatsoever.  

Copying is a breeze and fast.  From powering on to finished copy, I had a beautiful page in 34 seconds flat.  That’s faster than our leased (ugh) copier at the office on a completely cold start.  If the machine is on, 23 seconds is all you need to get your first copy out.  

This is a video of a color print which took about 47 seconds, again from a COLD start.  

Now printing…printing is sweet.  Beautiful precision, sharp fonts and well rendered images aside, this thing is WiFi ready!  It took me about 2 minutes to get it “talking” to our Linksys router and voila!, I was printing from my laptop.  (There was a bit of setup to add the printer to my laptop as well, but again, it was dead simple and I didn’t even have to refer to the manual.)

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Stir Crazy in your home office? Feeling groggy? Reboot!

I still conduct business at a traditional office – though I’ve taken steps to make the jump.   That said, I still spend lots of time in my home office working.  I spend lots of time optimizing my websites for better marketing and positioning (SEO) and despite only dedicating a few hours working at home, I still find myself getting a bit stir crazy.

My solution?  Get out. Go roam.

Even if this means just a quick jump in the car to run errands or a gym stop to shoot some hoops, every bit of escape leaves you refreshed.  I call this a “reboot”.

So stop reading this blog or just subscribe to it using Google Reader (yes, you can read HOE on your phone!) and take it on the run.  (I just bought a Blackberry Curve and can’t put it down!)

I find that reading my RSS Feeds at the gym is a great way to relocate and stay connected.  That said, going offline is healthy – and home office workers have a tendency become online addicts.

Here’s a list of suggestions:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go shoot some hoops
  • Go ride a bike
  • Go to the gym
  • Go run some errands
  • Go to the bank
  • Go for a swim
  • Go to the dog park
  • Go get a dog
  • Go to the bookstore <– personal favorite
  • Go catch a matinee flick
  • Go to the library
  • Go buy an overpriced cup of coffee or a smoothie
  • Go pick up some milk

Just go. Get out. Reboot.

Does Twitter Work For Business Use?

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this post are those of the author only, and are not shared by Jay S. Fleischman. It is instructive to read this post if for no other reason that to witness the divergent opinions of the legal community with respect to the use of social media for lawyers.

First, what is Twitter? I’ll let this great Common Craft video explain it to you:

It didn’t take long for business owners to figure out that there *might* be some business use in Twitter but so far, I remain unconvinced it’s the right model for everyone. For service providers, Twitter serves as a marketing tool – to get your name out there.

Twitter users are hoping that if they can connect with the active Twitter user base, then there will be a hidden lead out there.  Frankly, this can probably be accomplished through Facebook using wall posts and status updates too, but people who actively use Twitter really do LOVE Twitter.  Facebook marketing is still untested – for the moment, the userbase doesn’t expect to be the target of a sales ploy.  Facebook itself doesn’t allow businesses to create accounts (though you can create a “page” to show off your wares and services.)  On the other hand, Twitter users have become accustomed to random “follows” by users who are clearly trying to sell something.

A visit to an active Twitter user’s page is not unlike walking into a networking mixer and not knowing a sole, anxiously wondering if anyone will even care enough to ask what you do and take one of your business cards.  The signal to noise ratio is alarmingly low.

But if you have the time to invest in Twitter, it might be worth it.  Note also that Twitter adoption in your locale may be an obstacle too, if you can’t provide products or services outside of a limited physical radius.

The flawed Twitter business plan, if it can be articulated, probably goes something like this:

  1. Follow other users (seeking a shred of tangbile relevance),
  2. Hope they follow you too somewhere down the road,
  3. “Tweet” away about what you do like a used car salesman.

The “proper” Twitter business plan is not unlike the flawed model – the only difference is your demeanor:

  1. Follow other users (if you have a genuine interest in following them – don’t blindly follow everyone)
  2. Hope they follow you too – but don’t sweat it if they don’t.
  3. “Tweet” away about what you are doing – but get out of sales mode!

Dell, the computer sales giant, recently showed how effective Twitter marketing can be but let’s not forget that the Dell name probably drove most of that traffic.  To be sure, “Joe’s Computers” has probably not had similar success through Twitter.

Clio's big announcement: Client Collaboration

clientconnect

Just got exciting news from Jack Newton of the Themis Solutions/Clio team: they are rolling out Clio ClientConnect today at  LegalTech 2009 in  New York.

Clio ClientConnect works seamlessly as a value-added feature of the main Clio system. It allows Clio users to share information and collaborate with clients through an easy-to-use online interface. ClientConnect will also enable online bill-paying for the attorney’s clients. Attorneys simply send their clients a link to an outstanding invoice, and the client can easily pay the invoice via PayPal or other online payment systems.

I talked to Jack about a Basecamp like feature back when I first learned about Clio.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one!  This is a monumental announcement for Basecamp lovers who are looking for a comprehensive solution. The bill paying component sounds like a formidable challenge to Freshbooks as well but we’ll have to wait for the official rollout.

Clio is a web based practice management application that can be accessed from any internet connection (so it is “platform independent”).

I covered the early release news of RocketMatter which beat Clio to the punch with good initial PR, but Clio has made things very interesting.  Clio ClientConnect will likely be a real crowd pleaser and possible game-changer.

I haven’t seen it in action yet, but the team at Clio is surely jumping out of their pants to show it off at LegalTech New York today.  Stay tuned for screenshots and a screencast.

Read the whole story:  Announcing Client Collaboration and Online Bill Paying: Clio ClientConnect.