Archive for July, 2011

Printing from a Kindle

Though the Kindle from Amazon was a pioneer in the e-reader industry, many things about this mobile device were limiting.  For instance, the inability to connect your Kindle to a printer via USB cable and print resulted in a number of complaints from teachers, attorneys, medical staff and other professionals who could use excerpts from these downloaded books for educational or legal purposes.Mobile Device Printing

There is a slight loophole in the original Kindle, though, that does actually let you print text, but it can be complicated and time-consuming.  Here are instructions on how to do it: Continue reading “Printing from a Kindle” »

Enabling Print Queue Status in Networks

Are you unable to view the status of the jobs in your network print queue?

We all know that the computer must communicate with the printer in order for data to successfully be transferred and documents to be printed.  However, bidirectional support allows the printer to communicate back to the computer as well, delivering essential information such as the print queue status and ink or toner levels.

Most current machines enable this bidirectional communication automatically.  When the printer is not communicating back to the computer properly, users are not able to monitor print queue status and other important information.  The problem usually lies in the printer driver software.  The easiest solution is to reinstall or update the printer drivers.

Follow the steps below to reinstall or update the printer drivers:

  1. In the Start Menu, type “printer” into the search box and hit Enter.
  2. Right click on the icon displayed for your printer and select Delete.
  3. Right click in the window (any empty space) and choose Run as Administrator.
  4. Select Server Properties.
  5. On the Drivers tab, remove your printer and select the option to Remove Driver and Driver Package.

  6. In the Start Menu, put “APPWIZ.CPL” into the search box then press enter.  (At this step, be sure all printer software is removed from the printer).
  7. Go to the printer manufacturer website and locate the section designated for downloading drivers.  (Typically in the Support section).  You can also enter your model number in the search box.
  8. Select the driver for your printer, which will launch the Setup Wizard.  Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the installation. Continue reading “Enabling Print Queue Status in Networks” »

Laser vs. LED Printers

Laser printers and LED printers are often grouped together when speaking in broad categories, and for good reason. In fact, there is very little difference between the two when it comes to the basic science of how the two types work. They both use static electricity applied to a drum, which helps to apply toner and heat to create an image. The main difference comes in how the static charge is applied.

Laser vs. LEDA laser printer printer uses a laser beam, which bounces off a moving mirrored surface. When the laser reaches the rotating imaging drum, it creates a static charge that attracts toner to it, which is then transferred to the page. The laser scans across the page in sequence, emitting thousands of light bursts per second.

An LED printer, on the other hand, uses an array of tiny LED lights that light up at different times to create the static charge. Since the lights span the entire width of the drum, an LED printer requires fewer moving parts.

Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing between a laser or LED printer: Continue reading “Laser vs. LED Printers” »

HP Fax Test

Setting up a new fax machine is usually not difficult. When it comes time to test its operation, however, most users need to find another user and another fax machine, taking up their time as well as yours. Fortunately, the HP Fax Test Service provides an easier solution. By sending a fax to their toll-free number, you can receive a return fax in just a few minutes to confirm that your machine is able to both send and receive. Here are the steps to follow.

HP Fax TestHow to Use the HP Fax Test Service

  1. Make sure your fax machine is plugged in, turned on and filled with paper.
  2. Prepare a simple text sheet that you can send. Any simple office memo will suffice, or just print out a single-page document with some sample text on it. You could even include a favorite quote just for fun!
  3. Insert the page for faxing and send it to 1-888-HPFAXME (1-888-473-2963).
  4. Wait 5 to 7 minutes (or sometimes as long as 30 minutes) for a return fax. If you receive the return fax, you have now verified that your fax machine is working properly. Continue reading “HP Fax Test” »

Brother Printer Paused or Offline

Brother printers are generally quite reliable, and the majority of users won’t encounter many Brother error messages, even during heavy use. One error that you may encounter infrequently, however, is a message that states “The printer status is Offline” or “The printer status is Paused”. Essentially, the system is alerting you that Windows has paused the device or that it is now considered “offline”. Luckily, this is actually very easy to fix, and it should take you only a few steps to get up and running again.

Printer Status is Offline

The instructions for getting the printer online depend on the operating system you are using:

  • Use Printer OnlineWindows XP — Click “Start”, then “Printers and Faxes”.  Right-click your Brother printer’s name, and then click “Use Printer Online”.
  • Windows Vista — Choose “Start”, followed by “Control Panel”. Next, click on “Hardware and Sounds” and then “Printers”. Right-click your Brother printer and then click “Use Printer Online”.
  • Windows 7 — Click “Start”, then “Devices and Printers”. Now double click on your Brother printer’s icon and click “See what’s printing”. Next, simply click “Printer”. You will now see an option that says “Use Printer Offline” with a checkmark in the box next to it. Click to remove the check mark from the box. Continue reading “Brother Printer Paused or Offline” »

Monitoring Ink Levels

Monitoring the level of ink that is remaining in your inkjet cartridges of your printer is a fairly simple task that could make a world of difference, especially in an office environment.  Knowing how much ink is left allows you to gauge how soon replacements will be needed.  This is important in an office because running out of ink could halt production entirely and potentially waste an entire work day.

By using the supplies status feature, you can calculate the number of cartridges that will be used per month based on when a cartridge was installed and how much ink has been used since that time.  Users who print frequently should purchase enough replacement ink to support at least a month’s worth of printing.  This way, you will never run out and you can qualify for bulk discounts from vendors.  Even if you want to buy a year’s worth, most cartridges have a shelf life of 1-2 years.

There are a few different ways to access the ink level status information, depending on the make and model of your printer as well as the installation software features.  Though it is impossible to give you step-by-step instructions, the general processes are similar enough to guide you through.

Mac users are required to download the “Ink Level 1.22” utility from the Apple website to be able to monitor the ink levels of cartridges.

Via Printer

Using the navigation buttons on your printer, sort through the menu until you find an ‘information’ option.  Keep in mind, it could also be listed under diagnostics or maintenance.  Keep sorting until you find an option for checking status.  Some printers require you to print a status page, while others let you few the levels directly on the LCD screen.

This is an example of the ink levels being displayed on the LCD on the machine:

Ink Level Continue reading “Monitoring Ink Levels” »

How to Clean Your Corona Wires

Let’s start with the obvious- what is a corona wire?

Chances are if you are not a printer technician, you have no idea what the answer is.  This may even be the first time you have ever heard the word ‘corona’ outside of a cold one on a hot day.  However, this wire is one of the single most important parts of any laser printer, and it doesn’t require a lime.

Though laser printers generally have the same components, the interior functionality and design have small differences that are unique to each manufacturer.  These make it challenging to generalize cleaning techniques and give “how-to” instructions. Continue reading “How to Clean Your Corona Wires” »

Differences between Wireless and Bluetooth

Wireless and Bluetooth are two of the most innovative technologies in the last 20 years.  Both were initially developed in the early 1990’s, but have been improved tremendously over the years and now serve as essential communication options in offices, homes and pockets around the world.  Neither requires wires to communicate, but they are mostly used for very different purposes.

Bluetooth Logo


Bluetooth is a short-range connection and designed for two Bluetooth-enabled devices to communicate with each other.  For instance, when I start my car, the car’s computer system and my Smart phone connect instantly through Bluetooth, allowing me to play music downloaded on my phone and take phone calls all through my radio.  Bluetooth uses a PAN, which is a Personal Area Network, meaning it is designed to be used with personal devices. Continue reading “Differences between Wireless and Bluetooth” »

Print Quality Modes

Printing is a part of most people’s lives, personal and/or professional.  It is a booming industry in a flailing economy, but supply and demand keep a place reserved in the budget for printing products.

There are a few ways to optimize the dollar for printing, such as seeking reputable third-party vendors who reuse recycled cartridges or build compatible cartridges from scratch, equating to a cost 3-5 times less than OEM cartridges made by the manufacturer of the printer.

What about a way to reduce the frequency of which replacement cartridges are needed?  That would be a good option for your budget as well as the environment!

Different printing modes are available on every printer.  These modes basically represent ‘quality over quantity’ to ‘quantity over quality’.  Each make and model may refer to these modes by different names, but in general, inkjet users can expect to see Fast or Draft, Normal and Best, while laser users may see different resolutions listed (the higher, the slower), EconoMode or TonerSave mode.

Various types of documents require different levels of quality.  For instance, when you are printing highly complex graphics for work, you want to be sure to use the most detailed mode available.  But just printing some recipes or directions or a flight itenerary, the same quality is not required.  This is when you would switch to Draft, EconoMode or TonerSave mode, which can be done through the Print screen, allowing you to change the mode every time you print something.

That screen will look something like this:

Print Quality Modes Continue reading “Print Quality Modes” »

Universal Printer Drivers

A printer driver is a piece of software installed on a computer that helps the computer and printer communicate with each other properly. Most printers include a driver on a CD in the box, or the driver can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website. There is another option available called Universal Printer Drivers (UPD) that can often support multiple machines with basic functionality, but they come with a few drawbacks that you should be aware of.

Universal Printer DriverWhen you install a printer driver that was designed for your specific device, you can be sure the driver and its software will support all of the features and functions of your printer. For example, if your printer supports multiple quality settings, the driver and software will provide options for easily changing these. With a Universal printer driver, you may only be able to print, without access to some of the more advanced settings and functions that your printer is capable of. Functions like scanning and copying that are included in some all-in-one machines may not be available at all, or could be limited in their functionality. Continue reading “Universal Printer Drivers” »