Archive for August, 2011
Are you looking for a unique way to decorate your walls?
Instead of printing a 4×6 inch photo of the beautiful sunset that you took on vacation last year, blow it up into a poster that will cover an entire wall in your bedroom! Tiled printing is separating an image into several individual pages (from a PDF file), giving you a fun way to be creative with your decor! Best of all, instead of paying print shop prices for an expensive poster print, you can do it at home for the cost of paper and ink or toner.
Like a jigsaw puzzle, each sheet of paper represents a small piece of an image. Alone, each piece may seem like nothing, but when put together, it makes a vivid picture.
Any standard printer, laser or inkjet, monochrome or color, is capable of tiled printing but you will have to download The Rasterbator application. Here is how it works:
- Download and open The Rasterbator application – Click here to download The Rasterbator Standalone 1.2!
- Upload an image from your camera or use an image you have found on the internet. The Rasterbator application will automatically break it up into pieces on your computer screen, like the example below:
- Select the paper you will be using and the overall size of the poster.
- Choose the rasterizing options that best suit your needs.
- Save and print the PDF file.
This process is easy and free, only requiring printer paper and someone willing to do the legwork to put the tiled print on the wall. This can be done using any kind of adhesive that will not destroy the wall or you can frame each sheet and hang them.
Here are some unique ways others have used this fascinating printing technique:
And my personal favorite:
Tiled printing and The Rasterbator application are steadily growing in popularity because of the simplicity and the limitless possibilities. Anyone can do it. Instead of purchasing artwork or posters, you can make your own for free! If you are looking for inspiration, see Eight Great Resources for Web Based Art and Design.
When you order a new or remanufactured toner cartridge from a major manufacturer or a third-party vendor, the cartridge might arrive with a shipping seal. The shipping seal is important for protecting the most sensitive elements of the cartridge, such as the drum, and toner compartment.
The box the toner cartridge is shipped in provides some protection for the cartridge during shipping, and the bag protects it from dust and other elements, as well as containing any leaked toner powder from spilling out of the box. A standard shipping seal is wrapped around one of the main rollers within the cartridge. Its purpose is to fill the space that is in between the developer and application rollers as well as the spaces around the doctor blade. With the gaps filled, no toner can be released, thus protecting the cartridge from springing a leak. Sometimes the shipping seal can get jammed, so regardless of how hard you pull, it will not come out. This would be considered defective and will warrant a replacement as well.
The type of shipping seal used can vary from model to model. Generally, the seal is a very thin material similar to tape, that is mostly inside the cartridge, but has an end sticking out that has a pull tab. For other models, the seal may be a larger piece of plastic that must be pulled slightly in one direction to loosen and remove it. In most cases, you will be given instructions on the box or inside the box as to how to remove the shipping seal. After you have removed the shipping seal, it is a good idea to gently shake the cartridge to distribute the toner evenly. Then, you can insert the cartridge and print a test page.
The shipping seal is an important part of shipping a toner cartridge, and it is just as important that you remove it. If you are unsure how to remove it properly, or you are experiencing a problem with the cartridge, be sure to contact the vendor where you purchased it for help.
Here is an example of how to remove the packaging and shipping materials from a toner cartridge for the HP LaserJet 1020 printer as an example:
Most consumers couldn’t care less what type of ink is used in their printer, but there are a few choices, and users who want their prints to last longer, for archival purposes, might want to pay attention to the ink type when choosing a new printer. The majority of inkjet printers use dye-based ink, which is designed to be absorbed into the paper to create text or images. A newer type of ink known as pigment-based ink sits on top of the paper, rather than being absorbed, which offers a few advantages over the typical dye-based variety.
Here are a few of the major benefits of pigment-based ink:
Pigment-based inks can retain their color longer, and are much more resistant to fading, even when subjected to sunlight and other harsh lights. Of course, it is still recommended that users protect their prints from sunlight for the longest life possible. Dye-based inks tend to show some color shifting within a few days after being printed, even under the best conditions, while some pigment-based inks have been rated to hold their color for up to 200 years in “museum conditions” which include museum-quality lighting and framing.
Water can be the enemy of a printed document or image. Since dye-based inks are somewhat water soluble, they will begin to break down and dilute when exposed to water. Pigment-based inks produce a protective surface that is much more resistant to water, and will tend to hold up to a small amount of moisture without breaking down. Of course, it is still recommended that you avoid exposing your prints to water to keep them in the best shape possible.
While it ties in with the other aspects, the fact that many pigment-based inks are rated for archival quality printing can be a big selling point. As a photographer or digital artist selling your work, you can point to resources such as Epson’s UltraChrome K3 page, and ensure buyers that their print will last for a very long time with less fading or running.
Pigment-based inks are not without their drawbacks, however. In some cases, pigment-based inks offer a more narrow color gamut than dye-based inks. The other major downside is the higher cost of pigment-based inks, as well as the piezoelectric printers that use them.
Overall, both types of ink have perks and downfalls. If a consumer is in need of a printer for simple, standard text documents, or even non-essential photos, a unit using dye-based ink may be the best match. On the other hand, if the user needs to print color documents or documents that will last for years to come, a machine with a pigment-based ink system might be worth the extra cost.
From time to time, consumers order third-party toner cartridges that are not recognized by their printer or are causing an error message that the toner is empty, even though the new cartridge was just installed. This can also happen when a cartridge has been refilled by the consumer, but not properly remanufactured. In many of these cases, the problem lies in the manufacturer’s use of microchips within the toner cartridges.
Toner chips are installed in cartridges to monitor the toner as it is used. As the toner gets low, the chip will communicate that information with the printer which will then alert the user. Though this seems like a genuinely helpful tactic that was built to be beneficial, it can have negative side effects. In some cases, these chips often expire at a certain date so the printer will read that a cartridge is incompatible long before it is actually empty.
Some modern “smart chips” installed in toner cartridges communicate with the printer to verify the cartridge is “genuine” and came from the original manufacturer. Major manufacturers claim that this reduces the likelihood of problems, but it also eliminates third-party competitors and forces users to buy OEM replacements. Sometimes the chip will even deliver false alerts that make users believe that a third-party cartridge could have damaged their printer, which very rarely actually happens. The European Union has banned the use of many of these chips mainly to increase recycling capabilities, increase competition, and prevent unnecessary waste, and similar laws are being considered in other countries.
Some users attempt to avoid these deceitful tactics by using a chip re-setter and refilling their cartridges on their own, but there are many dangers involved in this process, and it is not recommended. Instead, the best option is to seek a third-party seller who offers remanufactured or compatible toner cartridges with a 100% guarantee of compatibility. These companies produce products with compatible microchips, and if you encounter a problem, they will stand behind their product and offer a refund or replacement.
Most printers, whether they operate with toner, solid ink or ink cartridges, have a USB connection option. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and is used to support connection, communication and power between a hub and external devices.
This interface has become the most common on electronic equipment since its birth in 1994 when it was developed to make the process of connecting devices fundamentally simpler. Over the years, the standard USB has been revamped to match the increasing speed of computer hardware and the advancements in technology, such as mobile devices.
Each upgrade represents a higher data transfer rate. If you print heavy volumes often and are looking for a new printer, you may want to be aware of the type of USB connection because it will alter the speed of productivity.
Different USB Speeds:
USB 1.0- The original. This connection only allows a speed of 1.5 Mbps.
USB 1.1- A slight upgrade from the original, clocking in at 12 Mbps and void of the issues reported with the 1.0.
USB 2.0- The most common in current models and referred to as ‘high speed’. It has a speed of 480 Mbps, which is more than the rival FireWire 400 out of Apple, which has a speed of 400 Mbps. However, the FireWire 800 is said to operate at nearly twice the speed (800 Mps) of the USB 2.0.
USB 3.0- This one is the newest, found only on the most recently produced printers. However, it was designed to be compatible with USB 2.0 ports. ‘Super speed’ of 5 Gbps, or 5,120 Mbps will keep pace with expanding hardware and technology.
To find out the capacity of the USB port on your current machine:
Start Menu> Control Panel> System> Hardware tab> Device Manager> Click the plus sign (+) in front of the USB controllers> If anything that is listed says ENHANCED, your USB is at least 2.0.
Types of USB connections:
Type A is the most common, with a thin, rectangular shape that will connect to any computer or hub.
Type B is used to connect to devices such as printers, scanners and external hard drives.
Mini-A was once used for smaller devices, but is now obsolete.
Mini-B is the new Mini-A and is used for devices such as tablets, cell phones, MP3 players and digital cameras.
When you are purchasing a new printer, keep in mind that more connection options are out there, including ethernet for networking, PictBridge for direct connection to digital cameras, as well as, traditional wireless connection.
Inkjet printers are some of the most common and affordable printers on the planet. Though laser printers are often more popular in the business world, it is inkjet printers that are found in most homes, and even many offices as well. But where did inkjet printers come from?
They started as an idea in the early 1950s, but by 1970, inkjet printers that could reproduce digital images on computers had hit the market. In 1980 they landed in the consumer market, led by HP, Canon and Epson then eventually the IBM spinoff company Lexmark. They eventually made their way into the homes of millions of people. In the early days, two different technologies were introduced, though one has become the clear favorite.
Continuous Inkjet (CIJ):
This uses high pressure pump to push electronically-charged ink droplets through a tiny nozzle. This technology is clearly the fastest, allowing machines to print pages in less than 3 seconds. However, a lot of ink tends to be wasted because it lacks precision, some of which are recycled. This method of printing is still used in industrial settings. For instance, some businesses use it for printing on the outside of cartons.
Introduced in 1977, this technology also uses nozzles, but has the control to spray ink only where needed. Because it is more modified, units using this technology are slower, but more cost-effective. DOD can be broken down a bit further into two more specific methods: piezo-electric and thermal. Piezo-electric is most commonly used for commercial printing as it tends to be a bit more expensive to produce, though Epson and Brother use the technology for some consumer models. Piezo-electric printers use static charges to push the ink through the printhead nozzles. Other manufacturers, such as HP, Canon and Lexmark, use thermal technology to push droplets out of the nozzles, which is a much more affordable and popular technology.
Inkjet printers are accurate, precise and affordable, and have continued to evolve over the past several decades. Today, most consumers have an inexpensive inkjet model in their home that is more advanced than a model that would have cost thousands of dollars in the 1980′s!
Modern households typically have more than one computer, and for all of those computers to access the internet, a home office network is created. But how can you connect a single printer to that network? Well, this depends primarily on the type of printer you have and it’s available interfaces. Each model and manufacturer will be slightly different, so though we will provide general direction, we strongly advise consulting your manual or contacting customer support for more detailed instructions.
If your printer can connect to a computer only via USB port, you have a few options. You can purchase a network adapter, which will plug into the USB port of the printer then connect via ethernet to the network. Read the instructions that come with the adapter for specific details and software information. You also have the option of using a device like the xPrintServer which is not only a network adapter, but allows printing from mobile devices as well.
The most basic option that doesn’t require extra hardware, however, is to plug the printer into one PC and then share it with others. Keep in mind, though, that the computer attached to the printer does have to be turned on for any printing to happen. To enable your printer to be shared on a Windows PC:
- Go to the Start menu.
- Select Printers and Faxes.
- Right click the printer’s icon and choose Properties.
- Choose the Sharing tab.
- Select Share this printer.
- Enter a name for the shared printer and click OK.
If you are using a computer with a Mac operating system, here is how you enable the printer to be shared:
- Click on System Preferences in the dock and choose Print & Fax or Print & Scan.
- Select the plus sign (+).
- In the default tab, select Add.
- Choose Sharing and click Printer Sharing.
- Select the box that represents the printer you are trying to share.
At this point, the host computer is now enabled to share the printer. To access the shared printer from another Windows PC:
- Go to the Start menu.
- Select Printers and Faxes.
- Select Add a Printer.
- Choose Network printer, or printer attached to another computer.
- Click Next, select the printer, and click Finish.
To connect to the printer via your Mac:
- Click on System Preferences in the dock and choose Print & Fax or Print & Scan.
- Select the plus sign (+).
- Click the Windows icon in the printer browser window.
- Select the workgroup name (first column) and click the computer that is connected to the printer. If applicable, you will enter a user name and password at this point.
- Choose the printer that is being shared (third column).
- Go to the Print Using menu and select the appropriate printer driver.
- Click the Add button.
Now that the computer connected to the printer is enabled for sharing, repeat the above process on the other computers that you wish to print from.
In recent years, ethernet interfaces have become a standard connection option on printers. Most printers being manufactured today are network-ready, which makes the process of sharing a printer very simple. Simply plug one end of an ethernet cord into the network router and the other end into the printer. Once this is done, the printer will usually be automatically accessible on the network.
Once you have set up your wireless printer, connecting it to a home office network wirelessly is a fairly simple process as well. There are only two things you need to know to complete the process: the name of your network and the password. If no password is required, we recommend changing your security settings so that a password must be entered to access your network, otherwise anyone within range can steal your internet. Once you turn on your wireless printer, it should scan for local networks. On the LCD screen of your printer, select your network and enter the password. If there is a hiccup in this process, visit this pcworld.com article for troubleshooting tips.
Regardless of which type of connection your printer uses, it is possible to share it amongst your home office network. Be sure to read your printer’s manual and installation instructions if you opt to use universal adapters. If there is a setup issue or connection failure, contact the printer manufacturer for more detailed help.
Many Windows error messages are fairly descriptive about the problem that occurred, while others are very cryptic. If you are working with Windows and you have seen the “Spooler SubSystem App has encountered a problem and needs to close” error, you have run into one of the more cryptic variety.
In simple terms, the spooler subsystem app queues up the data to be sent to the printer in small chunks that it can handle without getting overwhelmed. If a third-party application interferes with this system, or it stops suddenly, you may encounter the above error message. There are a few ways to attempt to fix the problem.
Microsoft Fix It
The Microsoft Fix It software is designed to diagnose and fix a number of problems related to Windows, printers, and other hardware. In many cases, it may be able to resolve the spooler subsystem error. Simply install the program and follow the onscreen prompts to attempt to repair the problem.
Restart the Service
In some cases, the spooler service may have stopped, and simply needs to be restarted.
- Click the Start button and choose Run.
- Type “services.msc” and hit Enter.
- Scroll down to “Print Spooler”. Right-click it and choose “Restart”.
- Right-click “Print Spooler” once more and choose “Properties”. In the dropdown box, select “Automatic”, then click “OK” to save the changes.
Reinstall Printer Drivers
If the error message still persists, the spooler service may be affected by your printer’s drivers or software. See our page on Installing a Printer Driver for instructions for reinstalling the driver and software. In most cases, you should download the latest drivers and software from the manufacturer’s website, as the problems you are experiencing may have been addressed in a recent update.
By trying the solutions above, you will have hopefully resolved the error message and you can resume normal printing. If you are still experiencing issues, you may want to contact technical support for your printer manufacturer for more specific troubleshooting.