Bill, you might want to contact Epson again and get the instructions to manually remove all the Epson scanner hardware driver files and the EpsonScan software. Sometimes, uninstalling leaves files behind that can upset the subsequent installation of new drivers.

Once you gotten rid of all the old files, download and install a fresh set. I honestly don't know if this will solve the problem, but it's a good place to start.

FireWire will certainly speed things up. I use it with my Microtek 1800F and it works very well (I use Windows and VueScan). I do think your specific issue is a software problem, though.