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obligatory outrage over printers

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  1. 1. where do ya fit in?

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first of all, i hate printers, and pretty much have since I bought my first one and realized that they were made to not last. And although it's sort of out of style to be outraged by printer ink costs -- so much so that it's now just an accepted fact of life -- I have to post something about this...My friend was given a Lexmark z611 by her parents because they weren't using it. She asks me a cheap place to find ink. I tell her about the cheapest place I know that sells generic ink, and she goes there and to my surprise it's $20 for black and $21 for color. Meaning that if she makes that purchase, she will be spending $41 + shipping for ink for a cheap little Lexmark.Or, we found, she can go to buy.com and search around their printer section and find a printer for $48 + free shipping.Meaning that, yes, the urban legend that one may as well just buy a new printer rather than getting new ink is actually officially true now (if it wasn't already).Now aside from knowing that it does NOT cost $20 to manufacture an ink cartridge, my outrage stems from the fact that my friend would basically be kind of stupid NOT to just get the new printer. It will have cheaper ink cartridges when she does need to restock (for whatever reason, the ink cartridges for a Canon are cheaper than the ones for Lexmark z611) and it will probably print her digital photos with better quality (why she feels the need to print digital photos is beyond me...isn't that what Picasa or Flickr or Coppermine for..? just post them online and send friends and family a link). So forget concerns about being kind to the environment, or not wanting to encourage printer manufacturers to actually make printers that will last more than half a year; this is just plain, simple extortion. They will NOT give us well-made products. They will keep making cheap plastic printers that shake themselves to death every time you print something, and charge you way too much for ink, and we continue to be a disposable society.My answer? Literally, don't print. But if you can't do this and you have to print, print at your local library or computer center or office center; ie, use someone else's printer. Lexmark and HP and Canon and Epson and Brother and all those must die!!

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The reason why a new printer is cheaper then a new ink cartridge has to do with the fact that the ink cartridges which come with the printer are usually half full, or even quarter full. Knowing this; check out the HP website and look up the number of prints you can do with your shiny piece of plastic crap that supposed to be a printer. The number of prints possible is significantly less then the price of the ink.The reason for this is probably the generic brank inks. The printing industry works according to the razor and blade strategy. First; you take a (relatively) expensive product (razor), and put it out for (relatively) cheap. The trick is to make sure the product needs renewables. Then; take the (relatively) cheap renewable (blade) and sell it (ridiculously) expensive. People will buy the razor (printer) at a reduced price, but overpay cfor the blade (ink).Then comes generic ink. Which started to put its paw in the ridiculously expensive ink market. The next step for the printer industry was to simply create new printers; with different cartridges. At first this wasn't much of a challenge since molding plastic in a different shape was usually a no brainer for the people doing the generic brands. The next step is to include different ways of talking to the ink dispensers. There's already quite some "intelligence" in these toss-away cartridges. Though originally just a port which started the `dump ink' and `stop dumping ink' functionality, I think it won't be long before these things will have more processing power then some of the computers I've got at home*. Disposable computing is coming our way rapidly; but not in the package we expected it to have.Anyway; my personal solution to the problem was a bigass laser printer. CUPS nicely kept track of what I have printed over time; and with that you can calculate the average number of prints per month. Considering most of the time these where A4-size full colour printouts (mothers and computers do not go well together. I've explained the workings of f-spot at least three times; I took the numbers from the HP site (which was my printer at the time) and got to the conclusion each printout costed about 1 euro in ink. This is, off course, assuming all colours run out at the same speed; which isn't true since I tended to consistantly get green-ish pictures once the colour cartridge was empty.After that, I went and found out how much it would cost should I print this out on an expensive business laser printer. IIrc at the time was ~10 cents. Hence, it would take about 500 printouts before I got to the brake even point. And the came-with-the-printer laser-cartridges would only be half empty by then (well they already came half-empty; so actually they would be 3/4 empty). In case you were wondering; this was including the printer. So... should you be looking for a new printer (probably not) you may want to check out http://www.eff.org/pages/list-printers-whi...y-tracking-dots to see if the printer do not waste ink on proving they are the one have printed the page. (this is probably a bad method for making sure your prints aren't tracable; if that's the goal; best would probably be to take 3 or 4 trackable printers, and print different parts of the document with the different printers. The unique tracability would likely be negated by the over-abundance of tracking information. :-)* I have quite some of old stuff; SGI indy old; so it's not that hard to top.


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