Common features on new fax machines

18. November 2012 05:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

HP 1010 Fax Machine The process of choosing a suitable fax machine can be fairly complicated. The features and capabilities of different models vary considerably. Before you shop for a new fax machine on the Internet or in stores, it's best to determine what features your business or home office truly needs.

Faxing Features

Most models have a speed dial function. However, they don't all store the same quantity of fax numbers. Some machines only hold a few numbers; others store hundreds of them. A large speed dial capacity will only become important if you send faxes to many different people.

Some machines have junk fax blocking features. They try to detect unwanted faxes and cancel them. This prevents the machine from wasting ink, electricity and paper. It also stops advertisements from delaying legitimate faxes. Some junk fax blockers work better than others; read product reviews for more information.

Modern fax machines typically have a memory that stores fax data. This enables you to print multiple copies or delay printing if the machine runs out of ink. You can also scan documents and send them later. Depending upon the model, the amount of memory usually ranges from 25 to 500 pages. More memory is desirable if you receive large faxes.

Printing Features

Models with color printing capabilities can send and receive high-quality color faxes. This proves useful for printing artwork, photographs and brochures. However, it's more expensive to buy and operate a color fax machine than a black-and-white model. If you primarily plan to send text-based documents, consider using postal mail or email to distribute color images.

Some of the more expensive fax machines offer laser printing. They provide high-resolution output and greater reliability. Compared to inkjet units, these machines also print faster and perform better in very dry conditions. Nonetheless, an inkjet fax machine may be preferable for a home office or small business that receives faxes occasionally.

Extra Features

Many recent fax machines perform several functions. Some models feature built-in scanners, copiers and printers. Many also offer corded telephones. Keep in mind that these capabilities are only beneficial if you have a genuine need for them and don't already own equipment that serves the same purpose.

A number of minor features also vary from one model to the next. Some machines hold more paper than others or have trays for two different sheet sizes. Others provide caller ID capabilities or permanent memory that can store faxes during power outages. All of these features add versatility and convenience, but they also increase the cost.   

What is a Personal Area Network (PAN)

10. November 2012 05:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

If you're looking for a convenient way to connect several computer users through one device, you should consider using a personal area network, or PAN. A personal area network is a small network that allows a group of computer users to connect through one person's setup. PAN technology is used in many situations, and there are many variations available. It's not limited to computers. You can connect a variety of devices to a personal area network. For example, this kind of network can be used to wirelessly send documents to a printer.

Printing Over a Personal Area Network

It's not unusual for people to have smartphones, laptops and other devices. Portable printers aren't quite as common, but more people are using them than ever. If you're going to use a portable printer, you'll definitely want to consider using a personal area network. With PAN technology, you can wirelessly connect all of your devices, which will allow you to send documents from your smartphone or other device to your portable printer. This is a lot easier and more convenient than trying to do this over a regular Wi-Fi connection, especially when you're traveling and changing locations frequently.

Bluetooth PAN

One of the limitations of a regular PAN setup is that it only stretches across a limited area. When it was initially developed, PAN technology could only extend about a meter or so. Things have improved, but standard PAN technology usually only stretches a few meters more. In many cases, this may not be sufficient. One alternative is Bluetooth PAN.

Bluetooth PAN is also known as piconet. This type of network uses more advanced technology, so it works more efficiently with devices like Smartphone's. As with traditional PAN technology, there is a base device that's known as the master. The other devices are known as slaves. With the right antenna, a Bluetooth PAN can extend more than 100 meters. You can use this setup to share a Bluetooth-based network with other users.

WPAN

WPAN stands for wireless personal area network. Unlike traditional PANs, there's no need to use FireWire or a USB connection. Everything is handled wirelessly. Instead of using wires, WPAN technology uses IrDA, which relies on Bluetooth, wireless USB or infrared signals. This type of PAN is the most effective option for people who want to connect several wireless devices. It's also suitable for people who aren't going to stay in one place for very long. Without the need to connect any wires, setup is a breeze.

Skinplex

Another type of PAN is known as Skinplex. It gets that name because it is activated by human touch. This technology is sometimes used on convertible car tops and automatic door locks. As far as printing goes, it doesn't have any really useful applications. It's still worth mentioning because the technology is still relatively new. In the future, it may be used more extensively.

On-the-Go Printing

The main benefit of any type of personal area network is the ability to connect a variety of devices through one master device. Thanks to this kind of technology, the days of having to physically load a document on a computer that's connected to a printer are rapidly fading. If you regularly need to print documents while you're out and about, a portable printer is an excellent first step. To make the most of your printer, though, you should also try using a PAN.

Although portable printers don't use regular ink, you'll need to stock up on compatible ink cartridges to ensure that your regular printer is always ready to go. It's especially important if you're going to have several devices connect to your printer through a personal area network.   

Is mobile printing the wave of the future?

2. November 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Mobile printing You don't have to be a techie to know how popular mobile devices have become. These days, it seems like practically everyone has a smartphone or a tablet. The popularity of handheld mobile devices shouldn't slow down anytime soon. In fact, experts predict that the total number of mobile devices that are in use will at least double over the next three to five years. It seems only natural that the demand for mobile printing will grow right along with it. Although some people say that digital documents are making printing obsolete, the truth is that there will always be a need for hard copies. Find out why mobile printing is sure to increase in popularity below.

More Mobile Devices will Produce Greater Demand for Mobile Printing

When mobile devices first started growing in popularity, those who used them didn't have a pressing need to be able to print from them. After all, most people continued to use laptops and PCs along with their smartphones and tablets. As mobile technology improves, however, more and more people are turning away from PCs and laptops in favor of mobile devices. That's not to say that desktop PCs and laptops will become obsolete, but it does mean that there is a more pressing need for mobile printing.

New Software Simplifies the Process of Printing from Mobile Devices

There are plenty of workarounds for printing documents from a mobile device. For example, you can take a document from a smartphone or tablet and send it to your email address. From there, log onto that email address from a laptop or a desktop and print your document. This technique works, but it's hardly convenient. It comes as no surprise that many companies are developing software that addresses this issue.

HP ePrint Software Paves the Way

One of the first programs that was specifically designed to address mobile printing was HP's ePrint software. This software is included with many HP printers. It assigns a specific email address to the HP printer. Users can then send documents from their smartphones and tablets directly to the printer. It eliminates several steps from the process that is highlighted above. However, its main limitation is that it only allows users to print documents to one printer. The good news is that it's compatible with popular email programs like Gmail and supports file formats like PDFs and Excel spreadsheets.

Will There be Less Demand for Mobile Printing?

Some folks believe that the ease of sharing and sending digital documents and photos is going to eliminate the need for printing. However, several things suggest otherwise. For one thing, people who have mobile devices and are able to print form them easily, typically do twice as much printing as people who have standard PCs and laptops. In other words, if the process of mobile printing is simplified and readily available, people will happily put it to use. Software companies are aware of this fact, which is precisely why so many new programs are being developed.

Mobile Printing is Sure to Grow

For all intents and purposes, mobile devices and technology are only just hitting their stride. Now that they have become commonplace, the next logical step is to enhance and improve mobile printing technology. That process is well underway, so you can expect to see many more devices that are compatible with popular printers. Before too long, printing a document or photo from your smartphone or tablet should be quick, easy and efficient. When that happens, there's sure to be a major uptick in the number of people who engage in mobile printing.   

Explanation of printer DPI

31. October 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News, Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

DPI DPI is an acronym for dots per inch and is used to describe the resolution of a printed image. Inkjet printers work by dispensing ink across the page via a pattern of tiny dots. DPI isn’t a major factor in printer selection if documents are the only things being printed; however, if graphic charts or photos are to be printed, DPI is important.

When searching for a new printer for the home or office, people tend to look at the number of pages per minute, or ppm, a printer is capable of producing. If the main use for the printer will be document printing and a handful of charts or basic graphics, it’s unlikely that DPI is of any concern. However, if sharp, clear images or photo printing is desired, it’s necessary to check the maximum DPI of the printer. DPI printer resolution is denoted in one of two ways. You may see it as 'some number x some number DPI,’ or you might see it as 'some number DPI.’

To understand the concept of DPI resolution, consider a photograph that has been enlarged on a computer. As the photo expands, the image becomes blurry or fuzzy. The edges of people or items become less smooth, and pixels may be apparent. This is because the pixel density wasn’t adjusted, but the overall size of the photo was adjusted. When pixel density, or pixels per inch, isn’t adjusted for a photo re-size, the quality of the photo’s appearance will begin to suffer. What does this have to do with DPI? It’s simple: if you have a printer with a low DPI resolution and you try to print a very intricate photograph, the picture will come out on paper the same way the enlarged image on the screen appeared. Edges will be rough, color gradients will be poorly transitioned and the photo’s features may appear grainy or block-y. Remember that PPI is different from DPI; PPI refers to on-screen pixels that directly touch one another, while DPI refers to printed dots with in-between spaces.

Many standard photo-capable printers today offer the user the option of DPI adjustment. During print setup, there are usually drop-down menus for quality. Users can opt to keep the setting at ‘normal’ for standard printing, or select ‘maximum DPI’ when trying to print out a photo. Maximum DPI settings are best when used in conjunction with photo paper; if regular printer paper is used, the paper may be saturated when it leaves the printing head compartment. Understand, however, that your printer is not magically gaining a higher resolution; you are simply setting it to its maximum potential. Many people prefer to keep the DPI lower for basic documents because it uses less ink. For example, if you are shopping for a photo-quality printer and come across two separate printers, one that says 300x300 DPI and another that simply says 4800 DPI, select the 4800 DPI model. However, if you will be printing mostly word-based documents and few if any photos, opt for the 300x300 model. Your photos will not be crystal clear perfect, but you will probably save a few bucks.

What does internal color depth of a printer mean?

22. October 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News, Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

One of the most important factors in achieving high-quality prints is choosing the right printer ink. There's no need to spend a fortune on OEM ink though. You can easily find compatible inks that produce exceptional results. With that being said, there's only so much an ink cartridge can do. The technology that your printer relies on plays a pivotal role as well. The best ink in the world isn't going to matter if your printer is incapable of achieving decent internal color depth. Like many people, you may be unaware of what internal color depth is and what it means. You can learn about it below.

Factors that Affect Print Quality

As mentioned above, the quality of the ink you use has a major impact on the quality of the prints you produce. As far as the printer itself goes, many other things come into play as well. The number of cartridges that it uses has a huge impact. The more colors of ink it uses, the better the quality will usually be. More than anything though, its quality is influenced by its internal color depth, which defines the kinds of color tones that can be achieved.

What is Internal Color Depth?

Internal color depth refers to the richness of the color tones that a printer is capable of producing. Figuring out your printer's internal color depth capabilities is fairly easy. Internal color depth is measured in bits. By understanding what constitutes a decent internal color depth and what doesn't, you'll be able to determine whether your printer is up to par or not. When considering the number of bits, more is better. In other words, you should try to get a printer that has the highest internal color depth possible.

Understanding Internal Color Depth Measurements

To give you an idea about what internal color depth measurements actually mean, consider this: A typical computer screen offers 24 bits of internal color depth resolution. In the old days, computers were only capable of supporting internal color depths of up to 18 bits. On this scale, an internal color depth measurement of one bit equals black and white printing. Most people can't make do with that type of printing, which is why it's so important to take internal color depth into consideration when shopping for a new printer. Don't worry though. It's not difficult to find a high-quality printer.

24-Bit Internal Color Depth: The Gold Standard

The vast majority of today's printers offer 24-bit internal color depth technology. A total of 24 bits may not sound all that impressive, but it reflects a very rich and vibrant internal color depth. It is typically referred to as true color, and it comes remarkably close to replicating real-life images. With 24-bit internal color depth, there are 256 shades of red, blue and green. When put together, they are capable of producing 16,777,216 internal color variations. On Macs, true color is referred to as millions of colors. In either case, it represents some of the clearest, crispest and most vibrant results possible.

Taking it One Step Further

24-bit internal color depth is more than enough for the vast majority of people. If you have a pressing need for even better results, you can invest in a special video card that lets you increase your internal color depth even more. The next step up is referred to as deep color, and it produces billions of internal color variations. The results are absolutely spectacular. For all intents and purposes though, true color is more than enough. It's nice to know that additional options are out there though.   

Why you need to setup an Ethernet network in your office

25. September 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Ethernet Hub Many companies route printing jobs from office computers to a shared printer. One of the simplest ways is by using an Ethernet network. In this blog post, you'll learn how easy it is to set up. Plus, you'll discover why you would want to use an Ethernet network instead of more high-tech options like wireless routers.

What is an Ethernet Network?

First, an Ethernet network simply connects multiple computers to your printer using cables. Some may find this solution to be low-tech in today's wireless world, but these types of networks have some significant advantages.

What are the advantages of using an Ethernet network?

1. Reliability

A system with fewer parts is less likely to fail. That's why an Ethernet network is so reliable compared to wireless routers. Reliability, or up-time, plays a key role in most organizations' decisions to use cable-routed networks over wireless. However, there is another advantage.

2. High Speed

Ethernet cables and hubs allow data to transfer at speeds much higher than even the internet. Data travels from computers to printers much faster. Ultimately, the high speed translates to increased productivity in the office. It also means fewer maintenance calls, less waiting around the printer and absolutely no interference with other wireless equipment nearby.

3. Low Cost

Finally, Ethernet networks cut less into the budget than other options. The equipment is minimal and relatively straightforward to understand. It installs quickly and tucks easily out of sight when properly set up.

How to Set Up an Ethernet Network for Printing

1. Purchase Equipment

Begin by purchasing equipment. You'll need a hub and Ethernet cables. Be sure you don't accidentally buy crossover cables. Ask for help if you're not sure. You'll need a cable for every computer you connect plus one for the printer.

2. Designate a Location for the Hub

The hub isn't very large, but you should locate it in an area where people are less likely to disturb it. Typically, it fits well behind the printer, under a counter, in a server room or any area where traffic is minimal. Keep in mind, it's better to locate the hub near the printer for the sake of speed.

3. Route the Cables

Route cables to avoid tripping hazards. Normally, you'll want to route them up and overhead as much as possible. String them along poles or support beams of the building. Most cubicles and desks now come with routing holes and plugs to make this task easier.

4. Plug in the Cables

With the hub in place and the cables strung, you can now connect everything together. First, connect the cables to the computers. Leave slack for near the hub. You don't want excess cable dangling underneath desktops. After that, plug cables into the hub. Start with the printer's port. It is usually the last one on the right-hand side in the row. Some hubs will separate the printer's port for easier identification. If in doubt, look for a label above the port that says, "Link" or "Out." The other end of the computer cables can typically plug into any port.

5. Test Each Computer or Device

Finally, you're ready to test the new Ethernet network. Try printing a test page from each computer and make sure it works. If so, congratulations. You're done. If not, then check the cable first. It's usually the first culprit. And that's it. You now better understand Ethernet networks. You know why you'd want one, and you could set one up if you need. It really is simple once you know how.

Why do printers need RAM and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?

18. September 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

If you think your printer simply relies on your computer's memory, think again. Modern printers are equipped with memory (RAM) of their own. In some cases, they even have their own hard disk drives (HDD). To understand how your printer works and make the most of its capabilities, you need to understand RAM and HDD. RAM refers to random access memory, and HDD refers to a hard disk drive. Both components are found on computers, but they are also found on printers. The amount of RAM that your printer has can have a profound effect on how well it performs. Whether or not it has its own HDD plays an important role too. Learn more below.

All About RAM

Memory Chip (RAM) When you print a document, the file that needs to be printed is sent to your printer. In the old days, it was sent in small increments because the printer had little or no RAM. These days, most printers have a decent amount of RAM. For that reason, most reasonably sized documents can be instantly transmitted and stored onto a printer, which allows them to be printed quickly. You don't have to wait for the file to be sent, which can be very frustrating.

The key thing to know about RAM is that it is designed to store files temporarily. That's the case with computers and with printers. As soon as the file has been printed, it is erased from your printer's RAM. Similarly, files that are stored in a computer's RAM are erased after the machine is turned off for the day. In the case of a printer, you will need to resend the file if it doesn't print properly the first time. This usually isn't a big deal because the file can be zipped over again quickly. However, it also means that you should never close a document without saving it. You should never assume that it will print properly.

HDD and Printers

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) On a computer, HDD refers to the hard disk drive. It's also known simply as the hard drive or hard disk. This is where files go when you actually save them to your computer. Files that are saved to a computer's HDD can be accessed again later. They aren't erased after the computer is shut down for the day. The same thing holds true for HDD on a printer, but a hard drive isn't a standard part of a modern printer. Entry-level models don't usually come equipped with hard drives.

Printers that do have hard drives are useful because they reduce the risk of losing a print job entirely. You should still be careful about making sure that the document has printed properly, but you will be able to access it again and print it again if something goes awry. This is an especially useful feature for very large documents, and it comes in handy in offices and other places where multiple users send print jobs to a single printer. If someone's print job doesn't print, they can find it again on the printer's HDD and print it.

A Word of Caution

If you elect to purchase a printer that has an HDD, make sure to wipe it clean before disposing of it or selling it. If you don't, the next person who owns the printer will be able to access its files. Confidential or sensitive documents could fall into the wrong hands.

With these points in mind, you should look for a printer that has a decent amount of RAM. A hard drive is nice, but it typically isn't necessary. Whether you need one or not will depend on how you're going to use the printer.   

Why Pocket Printers are great for photographers

15. September 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Pocket printer next to a phone The world of photography has experienced some truly incredible advancements in recent years. Not that long ago, the only way to see the photos that you took with a regular camera was by having them developed at a local store. Thanks to digital cameras, all of that has changed. It's now possible to instantly see how a photo looks. You can also edit it, delete it or share it in a heartbeat. One piece of the puzzle has been missing: creating physical prints of digital photos while on the go. That's changing quickly too. There are more pocket-sized printers on the market than ever, like the Brother PocketJet. Learn more about these innovative products below.

Sharing Digital Photos

Whether you snap a photo with a digital camera or a smartphone, sharing it online is easy enough. In the case of smartphones, you can instantly share your photo on popular social networks; you just have to click a button. It's also a breeze to share digital photos via email, so that's a popular option as well. Now that reliable and affordable pocket printers are here, it's finally possible to share actual prints with people immediately after taking a digital photo. This development opens up many exciting doors.

Digital Photography

If you're just concerned with snapping quick photos while on the go, a smartphone should more than suffice. If you're more concerned about producing professional-grade photographs, there are digital SLR cameras out there that are sure to do the trick. In either case, the digital photos that are produced can be edited and tweaked from just about anywhere. Once you have exactly what you want, you don't have to limit yourself to sharing it on Facebook or through an email. With a pocket printer, you can print out a physical copy of your photo in just about a minute.

How it Works

When you think of traditional printers, you're sure to be puzzled by the concept of pocket printers. After all, standard printers require ink, toner and legal-sized sheets of paper. How on earth will all of those components fit into a pocket printer? The answer lies in the innovative technology that is used in these pint-sized printers. With a weight of just about eight ounces, the standard pocket printer is far too small to include ink or toner. These remarkable printers use thermal printing technology instead. The results are every bit as vibrant as those that you would enjoy with regular printers.

Special Paper Makes it Possible

You won't have to worry about buying ink or toner when you use a pocket printer, all that is needed is special paper that has dye crystals embedded in it.  It only takes about 60 seconds to produce a small photo. As a result, you can snap a terrific photo with your digital camera or smartphone and print out a gorgeous copy of it in no time.

The Possibilities are Endless

Connecting a pocket printer to a digital camera or smartphone is a breeze. In most cases, the two devices can be connected via Bluetooth or through a PictBridge port. With that in mind, you can easily slip your pocket printer into your camera bag, purse or backpack. Once you've given it a try, you're sure to be hooked. People are always tickled to be presented with actual photos while out and about, and the technology is still new enough to surprise people.   

What is a large format printer and who uses them?

21. August 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

A large-format printer is a machine that has a bigger print width than a conventional printer. This type of printing can be done on an exceptionally large scale, and it is typically reserved for graphics or images that are used in advertising or marketing. There is a variety of uses for large-format printers, and choosing this method for creating signage provides numerous benefits.

Large format printer One of the most common uses for large-format printers is retail advertising. Whether an oversized sign is displayed at the point of purchase, on a shop door or outside a business, the larger images will catch the eye and make a bold statement. Wide-format printing is also ideal for business presentations, trade show displays, and promotional events. Essentially, any organization that needs instant visibility can use this type of printing medium.

Some popular displays for larger graphics include banners, posters and billboards. Many businesses also use wall, window or floor graphics for promotional or marketing purposes. Large-format printing is gradually replacing the more traditional processes like screen printing. Printer technology is continually changing, and the methods for producing text and images on bigger surfaces are becoming increasingly effective.

More and more individuals and corporations are discovering the convenience of large-format printing. One of the greatest advantages to using this printing technique is the cost-effectiveness. Many companies send their large projects to professional printers. This is not only expensive, it takes up valuable time. Businesses can now reach a significant amount of people for less money, and productivity within the company does not need to weaken.

Because many wide-format printers can produce multiple posters on one roll of paper, company owners do not need to wait days to see results. The speedy printing allows businesses to generate professionally designed, detail-oriented materials within just a few hours. Additionally, using large-format printing instead of outsourcing projects reduces the likelihood of errors occurring on each printout.

Another benefit to printing in wide formats is the conspicuousness factor. Posters displayed on a grander scale are difficult to miss. A business head can reinforce his or her brand and increase awareness by creating just one visually stunning, oversized advertisement. Because of the versatility this printing process provides, it’s one of the most effective means for acquiring public interest. 

Any organization can benefit from using a large-format printer. Regardless of how big or small a company is, successful advertising and marketing requires visibility. Posters, brochures and banners can be designed and printed out quickly and inexpensively with a wide-format printing machine. For individuals and businesses, oversized printing is a viable option.   

Concept of the Circle Printer

13. August 2012 08:00 by Calvin Yu in Printer Reviews, Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Overhead view of the circle printer In a technological society that is all about making devices smaller and minimizing space, the printer stands out as one of the bulkiest computer peripherals. The unit takes up a significant amount of space, and paper trays require even more room to deliver printed pages. Designer Yang Jae Wook seeks to change these flaws with the concept of the Circle Printer. The idea is still in its developmental phase, but consumers and printer manufacturers are excited about its potential.

The goal of the Circle Printer is to provide the same functionality of a traditional device while taking up much less desk space. The technology inside the unit is the same as its rectangular counterpart, but everything is flipped vertically. The end design is a tall cylinder featuring an attractive casing that does not crowd a work surface. Yanko Design refers to the concept as a "courteous printer" because of its unobtrusive size and shape.

From the images and blueprints, it looks like there is a narrow compartment on top of the printer for the paper feed. While printing, the page wraps around the cylindrical drum and exits at the side of the printer. One impressive design feature is that there is no need for a paper tray that takes up more desk space. The designer also suggests that the Circle Printer will be quieter with fewer vibrations than traditional models.

Circle printer in the home

At first glance, the circular shape does not resemble a printer at all, but this design is part of the appeal. The Circle Printer combines style with functionality, and the basic mechanics remain the same for simple maintenance and troubleshooting. Reactions to the concept printer vary from complete acceptance to skepticism of the device's viability. Some consumers fear that the pages will come out with curled edges, and others have the impression that frequent paper jams are inevitable.

Overall, computer users are excited about the prospects of the Circle Printer and are eager to see mainstream companies utilize the concept. This device satisfies the desire for compact equipment without requiring complex machinery or technology to operate. Provided the development continues without any major hitches, businesses and consumers can look forward to seeing the Circle Printer on the market for all printing needs.

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