Tag: ink

HP backtracks on third party Ink

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP has backtracked on a rather nasty plan which meant that users could not buy third party ink cartridges.

HP hit the headlines when it issued an update for its printers that made it impossible to place third party cartridges in its machines.  The move was made suddenly so that buyers who had been using such cartridges for a year or more would have to buy the expensive HP ink.

The move angered consumer rights groups and it looked like HP would be facing a rather expensive court case.

Now HP said it will restore the ability of certain OfficeJet printers to use third-party ink cartridges, after being criticized for issuing a firmware update that rejects non-HP ink.

But HP is still defending its practice of preventing the use of non-HP ink and is making no promises about refraining from future software updates that force customers to use only official ink cartridges.

Writing in its bog, HP said:

“We updated a cartridge authentication procedure in select models of HP office inkjet printers to ensure the best consumer experience and protect them from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges that do not contain an original HP security chip and that infringe on our IP,” the company said.

The recent firmware update for HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro, and OfficeJet Pro X printers “included a dynamic security feature that prevented some untested third-party cartridges that use cloned security chips from working, even if they had previously functioned,” HP said.

For customers who don’t wish to be protected from the ability to buy less expensive ink cartridges, HP said it “will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature. We expect the update to be ready within two weeks and will provide details here.”

HP said it will continue to use security features that “protect our IP including authentication methods that may prevent some third-party supplies from working.”

Our guess is that the new policy will come in with new machines so that customers know that they have to buy the official cartridges.

HP did apologize for its poor communication about the firmware update and promised to be more “transparent” in the future. But that alone won’t satisfy the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called on HP for a public commitment to never again use its software update process “to distribute anti-features that work against [HP] customers’ interests.”

HP Inc speeds up job cuts

HP logoThe maker of expensive printer ink HP Inc can’t get enough of job cuts, even though dividing the company into two was supposed to sort it out.

The outfit said it was accelerating its restructuring program and now expects about 3,000 people will exit by the end of fiscal 2016 instead of over three years as it announced in September.

HP had said it expected to cut about 33,300 jobs over three years, of which up to 3,300 were to be cut in what would become  HP inc. It said then that 1,200 people would leave the company by the end of 2016.

The restructuring will result in charges and associated cash payments of about $300 million in the current year, the company said.

HP Inc is the bit of HP that got the legacy hardware business, reported a near 12 percent drop in quarterly revenue, as it struggles with weak demand for PCs and printers.

Revenue in the company’s personal systems business fell 13 percent in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, while it declined 17 percent in its printing division from a year earlier.

PC sales have been falling sharply worldwide, and the launch of Windows 10 has so far failed to rekindle demand.

Printer demand has been hurt as corporate customers cut printing costs and consumers shift to mobile devices.

The company, which is reporting results independently for the first time since being spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co, forecast adjusted profit of 35-40 cents per share for its second quarter ending April 30. HP Inc maintained its 2016 adjusted profit forecast at $1.59-$1.69 per share.

The company’s earnings from continuing operations fell to $650 million in the first quarter from $770 million, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $12.25 billion from $13.86 billion.

All this was in line with analysts expectations.


Epson 9900 wastes tons of expensive ink

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyIt appears that while the printer companies have been charging a fortune for ink, they have not been exactly economic with it.

Bellevue Fine Art in Seattle decided to find out exactly how much ink their high-end Epson 9900 printer wastes, and found that the number was “shedloads.”

The Epson 9900 is a professional grade printer that costs thousands of dollars. Each 700 ml ink cartridge can cost nearly $100, and a full set runs well over $1,000. Bellevue has four of them.
When ink “runs too low,” the Epson 9900 will kindly inform you that there is only 1 per cent of ink left, that it can no longer properly clean the cartridge, and that you must change cartridges.

Bellevue Fine Art wondered how much ink was left in the “empty” cartridges and took them apart.

They found that, on average, a 700 ml cartridge still contains about 100ml of ink when you are forced to replace it. Sometimes they contain 150 ml or more. For a 350 ml cartridge, 60-80 ml of ink was left.

So basically you are being asked to throw away 15-20 per cent of the ink.

Bellevue Fine Art says it has contacted Epson numerous times about this issue, but they have not been able to get anywhere with the corporation.

The printing company wrote that Epson needed to do a better job of ink measurement in their 9900 series printers.

“We throw away hundreds of dollars of ink every month.”

Looking at it from Epson’s point of view they actually have to BUY hundreds of dollars of ink to make up for the ink that Epson told them to chuck.

Chinese want to put HP out of business

Chinese boffins have come up with a cunning plan to put HP out of business.

For years HP has been making printer ink which is more expensive than gold, but the Chinese have worked out a way to make it from water.

Now although governments are keen to pollute the water supply so their mates in big oil can survive, there is still a lot of the stuff about. Whereas printer cartridges are both ridiculously expensive and harmful to the environment.

Jilin University chemistry professor Sean Zhang and his team said that people still print their emails and all sorts of useless things so a paperless office is still the dream of executives with too much time on their hands.

They created an all-new printing system, using water in lieu of ink on a special paper that changes colour when wet.

Dubbing this paper “water-jet rewriteable,” Zhang’s team created it with dyes that are invisible until exposed to moisture; the water opens closed, colourless molecules in the paper, triggering the coloration. The paper can be printed on repeatedly, since the words are erasable.

Our guess is though that it will not solve the problems of printing which has to last a long time, like company reports. 

Printed circuits say hi-ho silver

Researchers at the University of Illinois have emerged from their smoke filled labs having come up with a new way to make cheap printed circuits.

The team has developed an easily-made, more conductive silver ink that can be used in fine-nozzled inkjets.

According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, which we get for the spot the ionic bond competition, the ink will sort out some of the problems of printing on flexible substrates which are getting more popular with thinner electronic gadgets, wearable devices, and flexible screens.

Hans Thurnauer, professor of materials science and engineering, and Jennifer Bernhard, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, developed the ink which is comprised of silver acetate dissolved in ammonia to give a clear solution.

This is a better system than other inks which are particle based and less predictable. In the reactive ink, the silver remains in solution until the solvent evaporates, leaving a conductive silver deposit.

But the good part is because it is a solution, the ink can be used in inkjet heads or airbrushes with nozzles that are only 100 nanometres in diameter. This is far smaller than is possible with particle inks. It can also be drawn using a pen if you have to.

The other advantage is that the ink remains stable for very long periods. For fine-scale nozzle printing, “that’s a rarity.”

Another use of the ink could be to create mobile phone aerials which could improve reception in lower signal areas, and there are also applications for RFID technology. It will be useful for flexible connectors and also of use for batteries, sensors, and solar energy arrays. 

British Library to collect web sites for posterity

The British Library is afraid, terribly afraid, that the present may be lost forever because of the transient nature of the internet and so it is making an appeal that it be allowed to archive websites before they’re gone forever.

Unlike Google, the British Library is not a commercial organisation.

The British Library has linked with a number of other organisations to form the UK Web Archive but needs permission of web site owners to keep the stuff. It’s only managed to archive 6,000 out of eight million websites so far.

Maybe Google should give it access to its record. Google doesn’t need permission to archive stuff, it seems to me.

But there are some questions here that need to be answered. Just how is it going to archive the web sites? By using digital data or by printing it all out on stout vellum so it will last more than the next sea change in the computer industry? Because if it prints all the stuff out on ordinary computer paper using ordinary printer ink, you may as well wave goodbye to it. Many books printed in the 1970s are already disintegrating because of the poor paper quality.

Perhaps, given the level of unemployment in this country, it could recruit scribes to produce illuminated manuscripts copying web sites, using fine substances like vermilion for the colour.

The most famous tale we’ve heard is of the British Secret Service that transferred all of its data onto the notoriously unreliable optical disk and went and built a vault in the country and put the paper stuff down there in case the computer system went down.

The UK Web Archive wants the UK government to give it a hand and make it OK to archive the stuff.

By law, books printed in the UK must be given to the British Library, which has a vast archive of stuff from whenever in vaults in Wetherby near Leeds.

A man from the British Library on BBC TV earlier today said it was interested in blogs – he described them as diaries – and would also sample Twitter and Facebook. My bog is here.