Tag Archives: printer

How to Keep Printer Ink Fresh

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Someone asked recently if it’s possible for the ink in their printer to harden. I don’t know for sure about getting “hard,” but the moisture inside of your inkjet cartridges are full of moisture. That liquid can evaporate, leaving you with something that is not usable. You have to exercise your printer so that doesn’t happen!

When I say exercise, I mean USE the thing, of course. Print out something small at least once a week – enough for the ink to actually be used. Wouldn’t it be great if we could automate that somehow? Let’s say there was a browser extension or desktop application that we could schedule… our printer would then automagically print something out like once a week to keep itself nice and fresh.

You may think it’s a “waste” of ink to print something if you don’t really need it. You’re wasting far more, though, if you let it sit and your ink goes to waste. Think of things in the long run, not just the here and now.

How to Turn Off a Printer That Won't Turn Off

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One caller the other night was concerned that his “new” printer has no off button. He had purchased a used Lexmark X125 machine for $25.00 and couldn’t figure out how to shut the thing down. The only buttons on it (according to him) either start or pause a print job. Keep in mind that this printer originally sold back in 2002.

This is only a guess, but there’s probably a port where your cable runs out of the printer. You can either unplug it there or from the wall. From the sound of it, there’s not really any other options. If there really is no power (or on/off) button, then you have to yank that cord out of the outlet when you want to shut it down.

This seems to be a case of “you get what you pay for.” Printers that cheap aren’t all that out of the ordinary. The ink is what usually costs you an arm and a leg.

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HP Photosmart Premium Review

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Yes, this is a printer. It happens to be connected to my network wirelessly. It also boasts bluetooth features and a touch screen! This HP Photosmart Premium allows me to print, copy, fax and scan. It also allows me to connect to parts of the Internet, such as coupons, Google Maps and more!

I can even print wirelessly using the HP iPrint application on my iPhone. It happens to be a free App, even! Without connecting my phone to the network, the App detected the printer on my network and sent the photo to it! How easy was that?!

The coupons feature is pretty cool, even if I do prefer my own coupons. These are ones that you can sort by category, and print out to use in your local store. Enter your zip code, and receive coupons to local stores! Who doesn’t love to save money?!

I can also print a map out for myself, so that I don’t end up lost anymore. I can target whatever location I want using Google Maps, and print out what I need. If you are subscribed to my Twitter, you know that my GPS system called me an idiot recently when I kept missing my turn. By printing out a map, that will hopefully never happen again!

I didn’t have to connect this printer to any computer in order to download updates or anything. This thing is really simple to use. If I wanted to, I could add or change the included widgets. This printer has just about every feature you could want, and then some! I love the fact that it’s connected to my entire network!

[awsbullet:hp photosmart premium]

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A Word of Caution Concerning Printer Ink Cartridges

After reading my article about generic print cartridges, Teebo was moved to write to me about his experiences. He taught me a few things that even I didn’t already know… and hopefully you’re about to learn something, as well. Here is what Teebo had to say:

There are two types of ink cartridges today: one is a complete cartridge which includes a print head, the other is only an ink reservoir. The advice I was given when I bought my last printer was to buy one whose cartridges contain the print heads. That way, each time you buy a new ink cartridge, you’re getting a brand new print head.

My previous printer had the print heads built right in to the printer itself, not on the ink cartridges. One day, the print heads failed. I called customer service, and was told that it wasn’t worth it to fix the machine. They said I was better off buying a new one! I was so unhappy with their response that I DID buy a new printer – from a different company! I made sure to purchase one that uses ink cartridges that include the print heads.

Every time I buy new ink, I get new print heads. I never have to worry about them failing again. Generic cartridges don’t come with print heads, of course. My recommendation is to not buy generic ones… but to simply take your name-brand ones in for refills to save yourself money. These work great for home use. When the print heads finally do fail on the ink cartridges, simply throw them out and buy new ones. This is going to save you a lot of money, and a lot of headaches.

Excellent advice! Thanks, Teebo, for reaching out to help others refrain from making this same mistake!

Do You Want a MakerBot or RepRap 3D Printer?

If you didn’t already realize it, Gnomedex.com is currently promoting our next conference – coming up next month (August 20th – 22nd, 2009). One of the presenters is Bre Pettis, who is a “maker” extraordinaire. For the second time in the past couple of weeks, I’ve had someone from the community email me to let me know about Bre’s MakerBot.com – without knowing that (a) I know Bre, and (b) Bre is speaking at Gnomedex. Still, Christopher Benjamins explained Bre’s project to me…

Hello Chris! I’m not really in the chat, but I’ve seen a lot of your videos. I’ve been getting interested in 3D printers and stumbled on an old video you made back in 2007 talking about them. You mentioned that you read in a magazine I think that someone was trying to make one out of cheap stuff, well – he did. I wasn’t sure if you kept an eye on it or not or forgot about it.

I’m sure you know that the commercially-produced 3D printers are expensive; they now range from $20,000 to $500,000. I was lucky and got to play with one back when I took an CAD Engineering class in high school (I made a cool little spaceship in 3D). Recently, I found the MakerBot and the RepRap 3D printers. They are very cheap compared to the other ones. I’ve been thinking about getting a MakerBot, and then using that to make a RepRap. The interesting thing though about them is that they are open source projects. You can get the designs for them and built them completely by yourself. Or, you can get kits. Another interesting thing (specifically, the RepRap) is that 60% of the parts can be made by another 3D printer (it doesn’t have to be RepRap or MakerBot). They are self-replicating machines. The RepRap project is working on improving that ratio, and also allowing someone to print in more than just plastic. I think they have a solder and a plaster extruder?

3D printing is more than just prototyping now. Their dream is in the future instead of buying something online and having it shipped to you, you would download it, and print it yourself – like a mini personal factory.

Both of these projects work together to improve their designs. Actually, the founder of RepRap helped jumpstart and support MakerBot – both are different in a way. MakerBot is made from cheap stuff that anyone can find and build. RepRap is designed to self-replicate, but the downside of that if you don’t have a friend or some other resource who can give you those special parts (the ones that a machine would make), it’s difficult to make one. So people usually make one, to produce a RepRap, or make a temporary machine using the same motors and circuits to make the parts for it.

Again, you can meet Bre / MakerBot at Gnomedex – in person.

HP Color LaserJet CP2020 Review

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I bet you didn’t think I had more than one room in my home, did you? Let’s face it – all you ever see is my office! However, I shot this video in the “hub” of my home… the kitchen/den/open area. I don’t know how to properly describe it! Anyway, that’s where my new HP Color Laser Jet CP2020 sits. Since I have computers scattered all over the house, it makes sense to have my printer in a central location.

You’re likely going to want to buy one of these for yourself… if for no other reason than the fast double-sided printing on ONE page!! Yes, you read that correctly. I demonstrated this by choosing to print something directly from YouTube. You’ll notice that the page prints – and then goes back into the printer! How cool is that? I didn’t have to take the paper out and feed it back in. It didn’t pick up a second sheet. It just yanked that little sucker back in, and printed the second side. It was fast… and the quality is excellent!

The printer connects either via your home network, or by USB. This makes it easy for you to use it in any situation where you have a network with several printers. Why would you need a few cheaper printers that don’t work well in each office location, when you can have one AMAZING one connected to all the machines?

Check out the new HP CP2020. I can pretty much guarantee you’re going to fall in love just like I did!

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Are Laser Printers Safe?

The question, from Jamie:

I was looking at buying a new printer in the near future. At the minute I have an all in one and would never go back to a “Printer” as such. I was reading about laser printers and some people where saying they could harm a human body. Is this true, also what does a laser printer need? Ink? Cartridges? or something like that?? And would you recommend the printer you have (HP Colour LaserJet CM1312.)

The answer, from Wireless Packet:

Most laser printers today use toner. They do come in cartridges, depending if he is interested in a black and white (or color). The machine could take several different cartridges at once.

Laser printers can be harmful to the human body. I wouldn’t worry so much about printing a few dozen pages a day, but if you plan on printing hundreds a day… over time… depending on a number of things, he could see some health issues.

Asthma and other breathing illnesses can be aggravated by being near these types of printers. My recommendation? If you plan on purchasing a laser printer, make sure it is being used in a well-ventilated room. Do not sit right on top of the printer. Printers do produce an exhaust. This exhaust does contain things like paper and toner dust. Once in the lung, it has no place to go but in your body.

So, use caution…

Canon Printer Software Problems

A fellow geek purchased a Canon printer recently and, much to his dismay, discovered that it was impossible to operate without first installing the required software. This is one of the reasons I’ve been extremely gunshy about recommending Canon’s consumer products as of late (I’ve about had it with their PowerShot digital camera series, too). He wondered if I had the same problem with a specific HP printer previously reviewed…

So I just stumbled on your review of the HP Photosmart C6380. It’s probably kind of old by now, but I have a question about the required software and drivers, and I think you might be the only reviewer out there who would be interested in listening.

Have you been able to install the C6380 without using the provided software CD? I recently got a Canon PIXMA MP620 which seems to be pretty much the same printer on paper (and I have to agree with you, wireless scanning is something I’ve waited way too long to get). But I was disappointed to find that I had to install a ton of software just to print. Scanning, I can understand the need for some software (although I hope there comes a time when it’s unnecessary), but printing should work right away. I used to have an HP Photosmart 2610 and all I had to do to add the printer to my system was type in the ip address in the “ipp” field. In fact, now that I think about it, I believe Bonjour found it even before I had the chance to think about typing it in.

A network printer is a great thing to have around, since anyone can use it anywhere in my apartment, even neighbors down the hall who need to print out an e-ticket quickly before going to the airport or train station, or a teammate who comes over to work on a project one afternoon and wants to print out a diagram or a proposal so we can draw on it and discuss it together. But if they have to install a bunch of software just to print one thing, it kind of negates that ease of use. Canon, unfortunately, only supports their proprietary “bjnp” protocol, which means there’s basically no way to use the printer without installing their software. Getting it to work on linux took me two hours of googling, downloading, configuring, rebooting, and trial and error. If the C6380 can at least print without installing a bunch of junk, I would immediately box this thing up and pay the difference to swap it for the HP. Have your tried to use it without the provided software, or do you know if it supports ipp or something similarly universal?

Thanks for your time, and for the great video reviews!

I could certainly use the printer outright – and yes, it was quite available on the network. Of course, it was good to have the software installed – but I didn’t feel I needed to in order to access basic printing functions. I’ll actually be doing a future comparison between that HP printer and a similar Kodak model (to test ink cost theories).

How Do You Save on Printing Costs?

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Tell me if this sounds familiar: you go to print a web page, and find you’ve printed fifty pages instead of just a small part of one page. You realize you forgot to copy the text. What do you do when you want to print parts of a web page? You almost need an editor for printouts. PrintWhatYouLike allows you to have just that.

  • Format any webpage for printing in seconds – no more pasting into Word.
  • Save money and the environment by reducing your paper and ink usage.
  • Make printed web pages more readable by removing ads, widgets and other distractions.
  • Fix broken pages that don’t print correctly.
  • Enter the url of a page you wish to print.
  • Edit the page until it contains only what you want to print.
  • Print It! Only your modified page will be printed.

There really is nothing else to it. It’s so insanely easy that you won’t believe it. This is the most effective way to get things done when it comes to printing.


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HP's Color LaserJet CM1312

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You guys know about my two dogs, Wicket and Pixie. I took some pictures of them recently, and printed one in about a minute flat on the new printer sitting in my office. The quality was as good as the quality of the photo itself. The big deal would be that it was printed on a color jet printer. To be exact, I used the new Color LaserJet CM1312 from HP. I’m really excited about this machine, actually. HP sent this to me to review, and I don’t think I want to send it back.

I’ve been using HP Laser Jet printers for years, going way back to the days before USB. Over the years, features and functions have grown. I’ve always been sold on the concept of an all-in-one device. Thus, I jumped at the opportunity to review this machine… and it’s been a great experience. This is the first color laser jet printer that I’ve had in my home office. To tell you the truth, I can see it no other way at this point.

This thing is as Uber as these types of peripherals get. It can fax, it can scan, copy and print. It doesn’t just print in black.. it prints in perfect color. I can’t get over how fast it printed these pictures. It’s just insane. I printed high-quality photos in LESS THAN A MINUTE!! Featuring newly formulated HP ColorSphere toner, the HP Color LaserJet CM1312 MFP produces print-shop quality documents with a wider range of colors, higher gloss and improved photo resolutions to help micro and small businesses who need to take their business documents to the next level.


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