Some Quick Hits for the Holidays – Apple iPad, Epson inkjet printers, streaming players, and Onkyo AV systems

It is once again that time, with gadgets under the tree, phones in our pockets, and stockings to stuff. Here are a few of my technology-related thoughts for the holidays.

Replace Your First Generation iPad

That original iPad you have may still be operational, but it can't run the two most recent major versions of iOS and it is looking heavier and heavier. There are other great tablets out there, but if you decide to stick with Apple, go ahead and replace it with either an iPad Air or an iPad mini with Retina display. Try both of them first to see which size you find more appealing. Promise me you'll double the storage you had on that first one - if you had 16 GB move to 32 GB, 32 GB move to 64 GB, etc. If you want to hold on to that "classic", turn it into a digital picture frame.

For more information on the Apple iPad visit:

Update Your Printer 

Almost all modern printers are multifunction devices - document centers with a lot more onboard intelligence than mere printing devices. I "hire" a home printer to do two things. First, I share with many the belief that you should absolutely be printing your truly great photos. This means getting an inkjet that can accurately reproduce the now impressive shots we can get from our digital cameras. The second thing I want from a printer is the ability to scan and save documents into usable formats such as PDF and TIFF.

I've been partial to Epson inkjets for years (perhaps decades). The Epson Expression Premium XP-810 with its 3.5 inch color LCD can do many things: output borderless prints at up to 8 1/2 x 11 inches, print nicely on printable DVD/CD media, print from your iPhone, and scan to PDF or TIFF. Inputs and connectivity include Ethernet (10/100), USB 2.0, WiFi (b/g/n), and slots for SD, SDXD, Memory Stick Duo, and Compact Flash.

For more information on the Epson Expression Premium XP-810 printer visit:

If you'd like to print larger prints, the Epson WorkForce WF-7520 can print up to 13 x 19 inches and scan up to 11 x 17 inches. Inputs and connectivity include Ethernet (10/100), USB 2.0, WiFi (b/g/n), and slots for SD, SDXD, Memory Stick, and Compact Flash, but it does not have the ability to print on DVD/CD media.

For more information on the Epson WorkForce WF-7520 printer visit:

Add Intelligence To Your Aging Television

Many of us have televisions that still look great, but lack the "smart TV" features that are available on the newer sets that Samsung, Sony, et al. so badly want us to buy. There are two really good options here. The first is to get an inexpensive (under $100) streaming player like the Roku 3 (I like the built-in Ethernet and the more powerful processor on the 3 versus the lower-end Rokus) or the Apple TV. Both the Roku 3 and the Apple TV can give you access to channnels like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Watch ESPN, and MLB.TV, but there are differences in what else they provide.

For more information on the Roku 3 visit:

For more information on the Apple TV visit:

Update Your AV Receiver

The second option comes into play if your audio/video receiver is aging and/or if you are running out of available HDMI inputs on your television. Modern audio/video receivers come with USB and WiFi connectivity (WiFi is often optional) and have support for many on-line music services. I like Onkyo's systems: even their lower mid-range receivers such as the HT-RC560 shown to the right support Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify and have at least 6 HDMI inputs. Of course, there's an iPhone app for remote control (and amazing third-party apps such as oRemote if you want to get crazy).

For more information on Onkyo audio/video receivers visit:

Happy Holidays!

John Mulhern III, Posted 12/21/2013