Laser or Inkjet?
by Betty Hardin
Inkjet is a water-based wet medium 'pushed' onto the paper through little pinholes in the ink cartridge. Inkjet, because it's wet, takes time to dry. If you handle it too soon, you may end up with blurs, blotches or smudges on your document - and ink on your fingers. Inkjet is susceptible to fading with time or exposure to light. If you drop water on it, the ink will run. You can increase the longevity of your inkjet prints by laminating or spraying them with protective coating.
Laser, on the other hand, uses dry powdered pigments (called toner) which are fused onto the paper using heat. You can touch it as soon as it cools (laser printouts will be warm when they come out of the printer and cool within seconds). Because the toner is fused onto the page laser printouts are fade resistant and require no protective coating. You can immerse a laser printed page into a bathtub of water and the ink will not run.
When choosing a printer (whether inkjet or laser) you’ll want to look at the pages per minute (ppm); but be aware that an inkjet and a laser with the same ppm rating may not actually be the same speed. A laser printer makes one pass to produce your document. An inkjet might make several passes or print considerably slower when printing at higher resolution.
Laser printers produce the best quality black and white prints. Inkjets are best for photographic prints. If you frequently print photographic images, you’ll want to consider a high-end inkjet. The quality of your document is determined by the resolution used to print it. Resolution is measured in dots-per-inch (dpi); a higher dpi rating will result in higher quality. Be aware, however, that the higher you set the resolution, the longer it will take to print your picture and the more ink and inkjet will use.
Finally, we have paper.
You can use most any paper you want with laser. Inkjet printers, however, require paper that allows for absorption of the liquid ink. It’s important that you match the paper to the job. Inkjet has a tendency to bleed and distort when absorbed into regular paper. You can only achieve maximum resolution when you use wax-coated paper for text and photo paper for photos.
If you’re using an inkjet printer buy inkjet paper. If you are using glossy paper, make sure you are printing on the right side of the paper – if you print on the back of glossy paper, the quality will not be as good as you expect and in fact may be smudged or fuzzy. If you want to print on both sides, use non-glossy photo quality paper – or standard white cardstock.
At first glance, inkjet is cheapest.
It’s the cheapest printer to buy (quite a few are available for less than $100.00) and the cartridges also have the lowest price ($15 - $50). In a four-color machine, you might spend $200.00 each time you buy ink.
A black and white laser printer starts around $200.00, a color laser printer is going to start at $400.00. Toner can typically range in price from $65.00 to $150.00 per cartridge. In a four cartridge machine this could mean $500.00 each time you purchase toner.
But consider this...
The capacity of an inkjet cartridge is minimal compared to a laser. Most of us print in black and white most time so for this example let’s compare black and white printing to keep things simple:
You pay $200.00 for a laser printer and $120.00 for the toner cartridge. The yield is 8000 pages. Total cost to print 8000 pages is $320.00.
You pay $100.00 for the inkjet printer and $20.00 for an inkjet cartridge. The yield of the inkjet cartridge is 200 pages. You’ll have to purchase 40 cartridges to print (the same) 8000 pages as the laser printer; adding up to a total cost of $900.00 for the inkjet printer.
If you aren’t using it every day and you typically print 10-12 pages at time, it would take a long time to print 8000 pages. On the other hand, if you are using it for your business and printing 50 pages per day, 200 days per year, it’s not going to take long to rack up the expense.
High end laser printers usually have a counter on them that keeps track of the number of pages printed. On a low-end printer, the software utility that comes with the printer might have a counter built into it but more often than not, low end printers do not come with a page counter.
If every printer had a counter, you would be shocked at how much you really do print.
Crapware or Bloatware
Whatever you want to call it, it's software that comes pre-installed on your new computer or as an ‘add-on” from your ISP or with your new printer. You didn't ask for it and will probably never use it. Examples are:
store or brand utilities
toolbars (what does the Yahoo toolbar have to do with Java? Nothing.)
Unnecessary utilities added by your ISP
time-limited antivirus software (Norton is a common one)
add-on programs get installed with your printer driver
Generally, it has limited functionality and is installed on the computer to entice you to purchase the full version. It never comes with installation media or instructions to remove it. Sometimes it's difficult to un-install using standard methods provided by the operating system. Sometimes it can actually cause damage to your computer or shorten its life when it is not intended to run with the hardware (standard defrag utilities do not play well with solid state drives).
More often than not crapware is configured to auto start when you start the computer; this means that it is occupying resources that could be used for something else. That might not be a big deal when the computer is brand-new, but a few months from now on the computer slows to crawl you might find out it was the crapware that came installed on it.
For the most part this is only a problem for people using the Windows operating system; we don't see it on Linux or the Mac.
If all this is true, why do the manufacturers put it on your computer? Because software vendors pay the PC maker top dollar to get their trial ware loaded on the equipment.
So- what can you do about it?
You can buy a computer that doesn't have crapware installed.
You can order direct from the manufacturer and ask to not have trial ware installed (usually for price).
Buy your computer from a reputable IT organization-Big Blue water is one of them-who will take the time to make sure you get what you ordered and remove the crapware before you take ownership.
When you install a printer driver or other software, choose to not install the add-ons.
How can you get rid of it?
Most can be removed using the “Windows Add/Remove Programs” utility -but others, such as Norton antivirus, don't remove easily and you'll have to download and run the installer from Norton's website to get it off your system. After you've uninstalled it, use it ccleaner to clean up after it.
If you have a problem or just don't want to do it yourself, bring it in or give us a call and we'll take care of it.