Archive for July, 2012

Recycle Your Toner Cartridges! [Infographic]

Toner cartridge recycling is important.  Super important.  While most people probably understand that cartridge recycling is a good thing to do, we still see half a billion cartridges showing up at landfill sites each year.  At Ink Technologies, we take toner recycling very seriously; so much in fact that we maintain our own free recycling program, and feel that it’s crucial that we all take a moment to appreciate how serious (and easily solved) this problem could be.

Do your part to help out by recycling your own cartridges, and spreading the word to others.  We’ve created this wonderfully detailed visual aid as a way to help you get the word out tastefully.

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Books Before Printing: Unhappy Monks

Today the printer and its accessories are almost commodity items. The technology is advanced, freely available, and low cost. Modern inkjet printer can create very high-quality images on a variety of surfaces. This we all take for granted. If we could step back in time by a century, we would see that small-scale personal printing was carried out by unreliable and clunky hand-powered devices. If we take a larger step back in time, before the scientific discoveries of the Industrial Revolution in the 17th and 18th centuries, before the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in the 14th Century, before the Renaissance, back into the medieval period, we would see the “printed” page being produced in a very different way.

From about AD 400 to AD 1300, the main way to get a book was to pay someone to write and decorate it by hand. It was an extremely expensive and time-consuming process, available only to the wealthiest citizens.

These illuminated manuscripts — produced mostly by monks in monasteries — are some of the most beautiful artistic creations of the Medieval period. The most common sort of books created this way are Gospel books, which are often lavishly illustrated with gold leaf and inks. The Book of Kells is the most famous example of a Gospel book.

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Color-Based Optical Illusions: Seeing Shouldn’t Always be Believing

InkJet printing, screens like those on your PC or iPad, and the pointillist art we looked at last week rely on the way our eyes and brains can take incoming light of multiple colors and combine them to make one color that’s an amalgam of its constituents. When we look at an object, we don’t really “see” the object, we perceive certain wavelengths of light, reflected from the object, gathered by our eyes, and heavily processed by our brains. Like all evolved systems, neither the eyes nor the brain are perfect: they are just good enough to get us by in our ancestral environment. That means they can be “tricked” into seeing what isn’t really there. This week we’re going to take a look at some very cool optical illusions that do just that.

After Image Illusions

These optical illusions depend on the fact that the various intensity and color sensors (rods and cones) on our retinas can be slow to respond to changes under certain conditions. Ordinarily, our eyes are unconsciously darting around in random movements (saccades) which prevent the rods and cones from focusing on one particular color or intensity for too long. When we force our eyes to focus intently on one spot the rods and cones become fatigued or over-stimulated, which makes them send erroneous signals to the brain.

Afterimage Sony Ad

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Art before Inkjet

The basic principles that underlie inkjet printing are easy to understand. A series of dots comprised of inks are squirted through a printer head at a substrate — most commonly paper. The exact mechanism by which this is achieved is quite complicated, but the idea of creating images by building up patterns of dots on a surface has been around for a long time, and was frequently used by artists. This week we’re going to take a look at three artistic techniques that artists have used to create paintings and printed works in a manner analogous to the inkjet printing process.

Detail of Seurat's La Parade showing the pointillist technique.Pointillism

Most painters create images by mixing paints on a pallette until they’ve got the right color, and then applying it to their canvas with a brush in long strokes. Pointillists instead use small drops of pure colour added in a precise arrangement and proportions, which, when viewed from a distance, merge into a block of color. This is very much similar to how inkjet printing builds an image. Pointillism was first used by French post-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat in the latter half of the 19th century, and has been employed by various painters since, including Van Gogh. Modern painters like Chuck Close use the pointillist technique to achieve photorealistic results for their works.

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Has Your Printer Been Printing Unauthorized Pages of Garbage?

All over the USA and the wider world, printers in homes and businesses have been printing reams of unasked-for pages filled with garbage text. If your printer has been doing this, the fault is almost certainly not with the printer or PC hardware, but the result of an infection by malware, which is triggering huge print jobs as a means of distracting people from its main purpose.

To explain what’s going on here, we’ll need to clarify some common computer security terms.

  • Malware – Malware is software that has some harmful purpose, which might be disrupting the operation of your computer, gathering private information, or causing your computer to become part of a botnet. Viruses, trojan horses, spyware, and rootkits are all examples of malware.
  • Adware – Adware is software that exists primarily to serve adverts to computer users. Adware need not be harmful, but it is usually annoying, and sometimes has malware as a component.
  • Trojan Horse (AKA Trojan) – Trojan horses are malware that often attempt to disguise themselves as something innocuous or as part of your operating systems components.

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