Monthly Archives: September 2015

Review: Brother MFC-J475DW

When departing the house, I offloaded our 10 year old Brother MFC465CN copier/printer/fax via craigslist.  I wanted it gone quick, so I used the magic keyword, FREE! It worked fine, and I had a big box of spare ink cartridges, but it was redundant with a new printer Sandy had  in California.

Even though Sandy’s Canon MFC was 9 years newer, it paled in comparison to the trusty Brother.  It was slow, first page out took a minute or more, it was crazy loud and could not feed photo paper other than a single sheet at time.  After one session of trying to print out a few snap shots, I had enough.

I saw that the Best Buy down the street had roughly the 2015 edition of the Brother machine we used to have, the MFC-J475DW for a penny pinching $49, and swooped over to pick one up.  Its feature list is pretty impressive for the money:

  • Wifi (and wired networking)
  • AirPrint
  • Duplex printing

I was a little disappointed when I unboxed it and noted that the build quality was not nearly as nice as the old one.  But, the features and performance make up for that shortcoming.

Setup was pretty straightforward;  just type in the access point name and password, and that’s about it.  OSX on the computer side didn’t have the printer in its database, so I had to download the latest driver package, but the process was no more complicated than that.

Compared to that Canon MFC, the Brother is lightning fast.   Time to start printing is under 10 seconds for most prints.  Finishing the page only takes under 10 seconds.  The duplexer also works very reliably.  In a couple dozen prints, there have been no jams.  Its also delightfully quiet;  much quieter than both the Canon and the older Brother.

Printer quality isn’t super great for text, but not terrible either.  Not 100% black and just a little fuzzy.  Photo quality is a lot better than the older Brother.  No discernible scan lines, and colors are bright.  Didn’t have to manually brighten photos before printing to get the to look good on paper.

I haven’t had much occasion to use the scanner yet, but the 2 times I tried it the quality looked fine and it was pretty speedy.   With the older Brother, I gave up on the scanner pretty much.  The quality was fine, but it super slow.  I eventually just resorted to using the Scanner Pro iOS app instead.

One minor quibble is that the paper tray doesn’t have separate slots for everyday paper and photo paper.  Come to think of it, I don’t miss that much because I don’t print photos that often and when I did on the old printer, I always left the photo part of the tray enabled and fouled things up when needing to print regular stuff.  So, no great loss.

So, for a $50, the Brother MFC-J475DW is a whole lot of printer and looking forward to another 10 years of reliable printing.

Eff’n Insurance

So, its been on my list to switch over from the rental insurance that my apartment complex recommended (kickback, cough cough), to our preferred insurance provider. You know the one that rhymes with ‘fate harm’.

We took a pretty big hit when I canceled the homeowner’s policy. Turns out multi-line (house and auto) racks up the big discounts. So, after getting an estimate for a renter’s policy, I was happy to learn that I’d pay less for renters insurance than I was paying and I get back a decent discount on auto insurance too.

So, today, I got in touch with my agent to seal the deal (and so I can cancel my current policy that re-ups at the end of the month.) I sent him an email with the go ahead and asked if he needed anything more to get the new policy going.

I got a call back a few hours later saying that there was a snag setting up the new policy. Oh, what?

When we had the house, I put in a homeowners claim for a widespread mold problem in the attic crawlspace. They sent someone out, they took one look and said “sorry, nope, not covered.”

My agent out here said, “even though we didn’t payout anything out that still counts as a claim. Because you didn’t immediately start renter’s insurance when you ended coverage on the house, you triggered a rule that says you can’t start a new policy if you’ve had a claim in the last 3 years.”

Super! So, even though I’ve never actually cashed out anything against my homeowners policy, I can’t get a new renter’s policy (or homeowners for that matter) in the next 2 years (claim was a year ago).

Might be time to start shopping for another insurance company.