by Gregory Mone

For some reason, I like this sign for a Cambridge, Mass., carbon-nanotube maker. Left: the best print I could muster from Photohands. Right: the same image after a few simple tweaks in EasyShare.

TUESDAY, P.M. After a few weeks toting the Casio Exilim EX-Z40, I’ve got plenty of photos. The next step: printing them on the Canon i80 Bubble Jet.

WEDNESDAY, A.M. The compact i80 is easy to set up, but the
install CD gives me three photo-editing programs, and I have two already from Casio. Why, again, do I need five of these?

THURSDAY, P.M. Open a shot in Casio’s Photohands. Play around with Contrast and Brightness, activate Sharpness and Noise Removal. Onscreen it’s perfect. Hit Print. The result: cartoonish colors and an image so pixelated it looks like a bad high-school art project.

FRIDAY, A.M. Know-it-alls at work tell me I must have taken low-res pictures by accident. Sure, blame it on the Luddite.

SATURDAY, P.M. Switch to Canon’s poorly named Easy-PhotoPrint. The odd Digital Face Smoothing feature smoothes nothing. The prints pass with the grandparents, but none of them have their glasses on.

MONDAY, A.M. I download Kodak EasyShare. Suddenly, everything’s, well, easy. Clicking Enhance really does enhance the image. Final prints actually look like the After side of the preview. My “low-res” pics are now frameworthy. Lesson: Without user-friendly software, the best camera and printer are worthless.