Is there a printer that produces decent quality prints, but doesn't cost a fortune in ink replacement? Also, any recommendations for external hard drives? I've read mixed reviews for the Western Digital MyBook. Any advice would be appreciated!
as far as printers go, I usually recommend Epson. Mainly because I have never had a bad printer experience with them. The quality of the prints is great and the ink consumption is decent (if you know the right settings to use). I have had some sort of negative experience with every other printer company over the years and that has led me to not recommend them. Some experiences are a little bit older so maybe the companies have improved.
As far as the mybook, i have 2 of them. An older 250g usb2/FW400 and a newer 500gb USB2 drive. The older drive is slow to spin up and can get loud. The new one however works great with no flaws so far. Powers down with the computer, very quiet and actually seems faster than the older drive. Plus the casing looks better. I think it depends on what version and size you get. I have not used any other premade external drives. I do have 3 other external enclosures that I put internal drives into.
I like seagate drives (as I have seen WD drives fail, but never a seagate desktop drive fail). I don't know what the actual statistics are though.
The Freeagent Pro is nice, you can get one with USB 2.0, Firewire and E-SATA for a reasonable price. You can usually save some money buying an enclosure and putting in your own drive, though.
And I would second that Epson recommendation. I've never had any problems with Epson or Canon, but Canon inks will set you back a pretty penny. (A full ink replacement for my ip6600d, which does lab quality photos, is between $100 and $150). I think my next printer will be an Epson due to the availability of much less expensive supplies.