Author: Chris Allard
We get this question all the time at Ink & Toner Solutions. It’s extremely frustrating for the consumer to buy an ink cartridge and not have any information as to what they are getting in terms of how many prints they can expect to get from it. Unfortunately that is exactly what the consumer encounters when he purchases his ink jet cartridge. Continue reading
The Dumbest idea for 2015, burn wood to produce electricity in place of coal!
Ink & Toner Solutions is in the business of recycling and reusing spent printer cartridge to save them from the landfill saving millions of barrels of oil a year which helps save our resources and cut down on our carbon foot print. So when we see our elected officials proposing something as stupid as this it makes us feel like were fighting a losing battle.
Did you know our precious ground water is being depleted for the express purpose of lining the pockets of big industry? Nestle is one of the biggest offenders as you can see from this recent post by MintPressNews.com. California is in one of the largest droughts they have ever seen and Nestle is sucking 80 million gallons of water out of their aquifers and selling it back to them! Hell they are even going into Canada and stealing it from them, you can read about it here. I’m not sure where the bottled water craze started but it is becoming one of the biggest ecological problems of this century. Were we the people really responsible for it just because of the convenience? That’s what I would like to talk about today, its been on my mind for some time and I feel we all have to do something about it.
Is There a Solution?
If we did in fact cause it for no other reason than convenience shame on us. What did we do before the “bottled water”? Brought water with us if we thought we would need it of course. It really would be that easy to stop this ecological mess. Big business would stop sucking the water out of our aquifers because it would be the old supply & demand routine, nobody buying, stop producing it. I guess the question comes down to is there enough of us willing to stop buying this product?
It used to be if we wanted to carry water with us we would simply use a container, fill it with water and bring it with us, why can’t we do that now? There is so much wrong with bottled water it boggles the mind. From the oil it takes to make millions of these bottles to businesses stealing local water supplies, it has to stop.
The Devastating Effect on Our Environment
First of all the companies that are supplying the water are going into states and drilling down into the aquifer and draining them, here is yet another example in Florida. There have been reports of sink holes appearing and whole houses being lost down the hole. The worst part is it took millions of years for these underwater aquifer’s to become what they are, its part of our earth and the way it works. It is part of nature and we all need them, plants, animals and humans. I’m surely not a scientist but it does not take much of an imagination to think about what might happen if we deplete these.
There are many examples of these companies move into a location, negotiate a deal with the authorities and start pumping water at little to no cost. The residents get nothing, the town might get a small payment but in some cases get nothing and the company that is doing the drilling gets to sell a product that cost them almost zero to produce and sell it for huge obscene profits. What the hell’s wrong with this picture?
If this scenario isn’t bad enough, we now have the millions of bottles that have to be produced to put the water in. Holy Christmas, this is just as bad as the problem of sucking our aquifers dry. Many of these empty bottles end up in our land fills, on the side of the road and in our rivers. This problem has really become a ecological nightmare, we must stop it.
How, just stop buying the water. Is it really to much trouble to just buy a few water containers, walk over to our facets and fill them up when we are going out? Have we become that lazy? The gym where I go has installed a water station that you can fill up your water bottle and it has a counter on it that tells us how many plastic water bottles we have saved by doing this. In one gym the counter is well over 50,000 and it has been installed less than a year. Imagine if all gyms did this. Imagine if we all did this. Imagine if no one bought bottled water any more. The depletion of our sacred aquifer’s would be saved.
Ways to Help
Our goal at Ink & Toner Solutions is to help in any way we can with recycling and reusing products. We reuse spent printer cartridges which helps keep them out of the landfill and saves millions of gallons of oil each year. In our Northampton Computer Repair store we strongly advise of repairing computers and printers rather than buy new for as long as possible. We are in the process of launching a new program that will allow consumers to lease to own their own laptops and tablets which is not a new idea but what is new is we will only offer refurbished machines. Again this will save on so many resources which is what we have to all think about going forward.
We are looking for new ideas revolving around conserving, recycling and reusing. Please give us your feedback and ideas you may have on solutions to these global problems. We really are in this all together, none of us will be insulated when water runs out or it has become so scarce and precious that big business will be charging us outrageous amounts for every drop. But that’s another post in and of itself.
As promised in my last post “The Day The Printer Died” I said I would give you some ideas on how you can start to go paperless in your office. It really is a great time to go paperless whether you are working out of your home office or have a small to medium sized business office. Let’s face it, printing has become a real chore what with having to buy the supplies, the maintenance of the printers and finally having to file & store all of that paper.
Did you know that Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster envisioned a “paperless society” way back in 1978, he even wrote a book on it, “Toward Paperless Information Systems” (make this a link). Well as we all know it’s not here yet but hopefully some of these tips will help you get started. But thanks to paperless technologies it just may be possible in the near future. It does clear clutter in your business but it also saves you money and is a great way for you to reduce you carbon footprint.
Let’s start with some of the Productivity Apps out there.
Ok, so you’ve gone completely paperless, or so you thought. How about when you, one of your employees or your bookkeeper needs to have a document with a signature on it? At these times you find yourself pressing the CTRL+P button to print, sign and then scan or fax the signed document to the proper entity.
This is where Hello Sign (make this a link) comes in. It lets you sign documents through your web Browser or mobile device without printing, scanning or faxing. It’s totally secure and the electronic signature is legally binding and even accepted by the IRS, can you believe that?
If your anything like me I have receipts, business cards and notes all over the place, on my desk, in my pockets and of course in my car. So of course one of the first steps in going paperless is getting rid of existing piles of paper. The Fujitsu ScanSnap (make this a link) scanner digitizes your paper receipts and anything else you want to save digitally.
What’s really cool about this though is you can connect this to a Shoeboxed Account (make this a link)! Using Shoeboxes will allow you create reports, edit data, label receipts and scan multiple pages at a time.
Why is it people still fax? I don’t get it but until absolutely everyone finally, like finally quits faxing stuff you can bet you will on occasion still have to send or receive a fax.
You can send & receive faxes without paper and without a fax machine. It lets you keep the exact same fax number but switches the entire process to online faxing via email. It allows your customers to still send faxes the old way, while you’ll lead the way with completely paperless faxing.
Using HelloFax (make this a link) the process will no longer be a pain and will be completely paperless!
Save the trip to the printer when you have to share documents with co-workers not only in the same location but literally across the globe if you so desire. With Google Docs (make this a link) which is a free service run through Gmail, you can work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet. The system will even let you “chat” with others viewing the document. One cool feature is it continuously saves so you’ll never lose your work. You have the option of downloading the files if you need to email them or print them God forbid. You can even compare an earlier version of a document at any time. For a free service you really can’t beat Google Docs to help you take one step closer to going paperless.
Paperless Statements and Bill Paying
Many of us still insist on getting our statements thru the mail which makes no sense anymore. Most banks if not all now offer paperless statements and even provide incentives for customers to manage their account online. Pay your bills online and save on paper, checks, envelopes and the time it takes employees to coordinate invoices, checks and mailings. If you’re a merchant you could use an app like Square (make this a link) to accept payments through your smartphone. You can also email receipts for customers instead of printing them
Take Digital Notes
With the wide range and ever growing note taking apps out there why would anyone want to use another Post-it? It makes one wonder if the Post-It note will go the way of the way of the slide rule, their just comes a time when a product has run its course and something else better takes its place. You have text only options such as SimpleNotes (make this a link) to more sophisticated offerings such as EverNote (make this a link) and Microsoft OneNote. Some have touchscreen and stylus support that lets you enrich notes with sketches and diagrams and all notes are saved to the cloud.
Reduce Where You Can’t Eliminate
The unfortunate reality is that we all face situations where paper printouts are unavoidable or we work with partners and clients who require them. When you’re faced with these situations there are still things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Use duplexing where ever you can, it’s just like using 50% less paper. Find a font that is known to save on ink and set it as you default font, you’d be surprised at how much this can save you in a year. Think about switching to Eco-friendly printer cartridges, these have come a long way from when they first came out. They use the spent cartridges and remanufacturer them to OEM specs, but be away you get what you pay for. You can find fantastic deals on line but it’s the “you get what you pay for” deal. Find a reputable dealer that backs up their product with a rock solid warranty, is easy to contact and has a excellent replacement and return policy.
While the paperless society remains elusive for most of us adopting processes that puts the emphasis on digitization will help us to get closer and closer to the ideal.
Can you imagine a day when we no longer have to cut down millions of trees a year so we can produce paper for printing? In my humble opinion that day will come. Back in the late 80’s and early 90s there was a lot of talk about the “paperless office”. The personnel computer was here and we were then introduced to the ink jet and laser printer which could be connected to the computer. What a marvelous invention, gone were the days of the electric type writer and all of the manual corrections that went with that form of printing. Now we could create documents that were easy to correct & save to a computer. But wait, now we could also print just about anything we found on that new platform, the internet. So instead of ushering in the paperless office we created offices that were producing much more printed pages than before.
So what happened was simple, when you make something really really easy to use people, will use it more and more. I have no scientific proof for this but I know it to be true. Think about it, before ink jet printers we had the electric typewriter and of course we made mistakes. Mistakes back then were corrected with a thing called whiteout ink or tape. For those of you too young to remember the whiteout ink was in a small bottle with a tiny brush. When you made a mistake you would have to stop, back the paper up in the printer, dab some whiteout on your mistake, blow on it to make sure it was dry, manually turn the paper back to the position of the mistake and start typing again. And then came the next great invention, whiteout on a roll, roll your mistakes away. Even with the fastest typeset this was still slow going. The end result, you only printed what you had to.
With the modern ink jet or laser printer we connect it to a computer that has a program installed that lets us type using our computer & keyboard. Making a mistake now means you simply go to the mistake, hit the delete button and retype. Spelling error, no problem, run your spell checker. Want to know how many words in that document, easy, run your program that checks the word count. The boss wants multiply copies, no need for carbon paper anymore, just enter the number of copies you want and presto, out they come on the printer. So what do you think happened to the “paperless office”? It went right down the tubes. People actually printed more, lots more, like crazy more.
This was not only limited to the office, when I got into this business in 2004 producing home photo’s was the rage. Kids would also print everything they seen when on line, I actually had mothers tell me their kids were using up all the ink they were buying on this. Not to mention the mothers were printing every recipe they seen and who knows what the fathers were printing, fishing tips maybe. A printing craze ensued.
That’s then and now is now. Here’s my point, even though my business Ink & Toner Solutions is in the business of selling ink and toner cartridges for these printers, what I would like to propose is kill your printer. I know you’re sitting there thinking this guy must be crazy, he’s advocating something that would potentially kill his business. That may be but what’s the right thing to do? CVS did the right thing when they stopped selling cigarettes. They lost millions in revenue, this was one of their biggest profit centers but they made a hard decision and did the right thing. Selling a product that is killing people went completely against what CVS was all about.
When I started Ink & Toner Solutions my reason was to sell high quality Eco-friendly ink and toner cartridges that helps to keep them from ending up in the landfills. We do this by reusing the spent printer cartridges and remanufacture them to original specifications. It was my way of contributing to saving our resources and reusing and recycling a product. Well times have changes and there are better ways to save our documents than printing them and saving a hard copy. There are excellent products available to everyone from the individual home owner to a large corporation that will save and store any and all information you can think of.
In my next post I’ll go over some of the options out there that just may help you not to print so much and help to save some of those trees.
We started out with the desktop computer that had a Printer attached to it via a cable. Then came the laptops and with that portable printers, not really practical but that was about all we had at the time. So the best you could do when you were on the road back then was save your document, send it through your email account and have someone at your office print it for you. Or you could just wait till you got back and print it yourself. There has always been that disconnect, nothing ever seemed to really work all that great for printing when you were on the road. Continue reading
If you own a business then you are well aware of how much printing can cost. At a claimed $4,731 per gallon, printer ink is more expensive than vintage Champagne, rare whiskey or Russian caviar so saving money on printing costs has become an issue that has to be dealt with. This has been a fact for over ten years and instead of this commodity going down over time like everything else does in consumer electronics, ink prices are going up, some reports say as much as 30 percent since 2009. You can easily pay $20 to $35 per ink cartridge that may yield any where from 200 to 1000 pages, if your lucky. It’s easy to see how printing can become very expensive very quickly for business. Continue reading
The popularity of wireless printers has greatly increased over the last few years, mostly due to the fact that printers are easy to share and can reside just about anywhere you wish. With the number of mobile devices out there like tablets and smartphones, you now have the power to printer from nearly anywhere, as long as you are in the bounds of your Wi-Fi, of course. Most printers these days are very easy to install and setup, even as a wireless unit, but we have a few tips and tricks to help things run as smooth and as quick as possible.
Assuming that you have your wireless network running , the two pieces of information that you will need to start installing a printer are called the SSID or wireless network name, and the password if the network is secured (as they should be). If you need help with finding these items, see “Finding Your SSID and Password” at the bottom of this article.
Location, location, location
The big limiting factor in installing a wireless printer is whether it will be able to receive a wireless signal where you want to put it. What we suggest is take some form of Wi-Fi capable device (many smartphones are great for this task), disconnect from the Wi-Fi network and bring the device to the exact spot you want to keep your printer. If your device can see the wireless network and has a good signal, you are good to go. If the signal is dodgy or non-existent, you may want to either reconsider where you are placing your printer, or you may want to see if you can put the router in a more central location.
Any large metal objects, including building elements such as girders and even screen doors or windows, will interfere with the wireless signal. Some older buildings like farmhouses may even use materials like chicken wire in the plaster which blocks wireless signals near completely. Even too many closed doors or walls will degrade the signal. If your wireless signal is weak or intermittent, move the printer closer to your wireless router and avoid obstructions. If you need to expand your network, there are wireless signal boosters which plug into the wall and act as repeaters, expanding the signal from one end of the office or house to another. If you need help, you can get a hold of our sister company Northampton Computer Repair to help you with a site survey to figure out the best placement for your wireless devices
Few printers need to ever connect to the computer directly (typically only older units with no LCD display on the printer), so most printers can be set up in their final location. If your printers directions indicate the printer needs to be hooked up to the computer first to install the software, you may have to place the printer temporarily near a PC that’s already connected to your home network, so you can continue with the installation. If you have a laptop, you can bring the computer to your printers location and set it up that way.
In the long term, your placement options are very flexible.
Connecting your printer
Once you have you printer location figured out, it is time to unbox it and set it up. placed Printers with LCD control panels usually let you configure the wireless connection directly from their internal menus. The printer will detect networks within range; you then select your network and enter the password, and you’re good to go. Many printers allow you to attach the printer to the router via wired connection or “ethernet“, you can configure the wireless using a Web browser. Other older printers may need to be directly connected to a computer via USB cable for the wireless setup as we mentioned before.
Automated Installation (More or Less)
Once you have the printer connected to the network, you can run the disk that came along with the printer on your computer to install the drivers and extra software. If you don’t want the extras and just want the printer to print without installing more software, see the next step on installing the printer manually.
Some users want to limit the number of pieces of software they install on their machine. For those users you can avoid all the extra programs that the automated install includes by manually installing the printer. A note to make things easier: Windows 8, 7 and Vista all ship with many printer drivers. If you encounter problems printing, please download the latest drivers from the vendor and install them before reporting issues. In cases where “certified” Windows 8 and Windows 7 drivers are not available, try using the equivalent Vista drivers.
If you’re trying to add a network printer at the office, you’ll usually need the name of the printer. If you can’t find it, contact your network administrator.
Open the classic Control Panel (open the Metro Control Panel and scroll to bottom, then click on More settings) and go to Hardware and Sound
Click Add a device or printer.
On the right will be a list of devices you computer has detected on the network. If it is able to see your printer, it should be listed on this panel.
Select the printer you want to use, and then click Next. (If your computer is connected to a network, only printers listed in Active Directory for your domain are displayed in the list.)
If prompted, install the printer driver on your computer by clicking Install driver. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
Complete the additional steps in the wizard, and then click Finish.
- Start → Control Panel → Devices and Printers → Add Printer This brings up the Add Printer Wizard
- Select Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer
- Windows will search the network for available printers and list them as they are discovered. If you have the IP address of the printer you want to install, simply double-click on the printer name. If Windows does not have a driver available for the printer, you will be prompted for a driver.
- If you just can’t wait, or the printer you are interested in was not listed, you can select “The printer that I want isn’t listed”. This will allow you to specify the IP address of the printer you are trying to install. You should be able to complete the install from this point.
- You will be prompted to rename the printer, enable sharing and set the printer as the default system printer. It is recommended that you do not share the printer.
- Open Printers by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then clicking Printers.
- Click Add a printer.
- In the Add Printer Wizard, select Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer.
- In the list of available printers, select the one you want to use, and then click Next. If your computer is connected to a network, only printers listed in Active Directory for your domain are displayed in the list.
- If prompted, install the printer driver on your computer. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- Complete the additional steps in the wizard, and then click Finish.
- Go to Start → Control Panel → Printers and Faxes → Add Printer
- Make sure the printer is On and Ready, and connected to the network. Click Next to start the wizard and then select A Network Printer, or Printer Attached to Another Computer. Click Next.
- Select Browse for Printer and click Next again. Select the wireless printer you want to install in the list of found printers and click Next. If your printer is not visible in this menu, it may not be connected to the network properly.
- A Connect to Printer dialog box will open. If it asks you for a driver, you may need to insert the CD or the printer and find the driver on the disc. If this is the case, many users may want to opt to exit out of the wizard and just install the drivers and software from the software provided by the printer manufacturer. Click Yes and finish the wizard.
Finding Your SSID and Password
The easiest way to find your network name and password is through a currently connected laptop or mobile device. In Windows 7, left-click the wireless-connection icon in the system tray. Assuming you’re not inadvertently stealing your neighbor’s bandwidth, the name of the current connection should be your network name. Right-click over the current connection, select Properties, choose the Security tab, check Show characters, and you’ll see your password.
You can also look up the network name and password in the wireless router’s Web configuration pages. Open a browser and type in the IP address of your wireless router into the browser’s address field. You can find the default IP address in the manual, but some of the more common ones are 192.168.1.254 (ATT 2Wire) and 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 (Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, and the like).
Note that the router has a user name and password, as well. If you never changed your router’s user name and password, check the documentation for the default settings or check for your routers default information at RouterPasswords.com.
In some cases the wireless password isn’t shown unfortunately. If you really can’t remember it and no one else knows it, you’ll need to change it and have everyone on the network reconnect with the new password.
Know Your Network, and the Installation Will Follow
Most of the snags that arise when you set up a wireless printer have to do with the wireless network rather than the printer itself. Collect your network’s information ahead of time to avoid getting stuck. Then enjoy sending a print job from your bedroom to the living room — it’s pretty awesome.
If you’ve been doing your part in the effort to recycle ink and toner cartridges and other small electronic devices but feel it’s burdensome, difficult to manage and don’t really like the idea of not getting cash back but rather reward points toward purchasing product from the company managing the recycling program, there’s now a better way. Continue reading