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What printer should you buy for your office?

My Mom just sent me this question:

Dear Son,
My coworker Mark asked me if you have any good suggestions on laserjet printers. His printer at home ran out of ink and he doesn’t want an ink jet. If you know of any good deals out there, could you let him or me know?

Thanks.
Love, Mama

My answer:

Dear Mom,

I used to recommend Lexmark and HP, but I no longer recommend them because they gouge on toner in their low-end laser printers. I now recommend BROTHER.

I have a Brother HL-2140 and I like it. I paid $50 on sale (OfficeMax)… it’s $80 on Amazon now. Watch for a sale. It prints fast and clean. While it doesn’t duplex, you can just put pages face up, top toward you to print on both sides manually. I’m still on the starter cartridge (1000 pages) but you can order third-party replacement cartridges online for $30 shipped (refilled), which print 2600 pages. Much cheaper than new Lexmarks which have no refilled cartridges… $100 a cartridge with them. Brother is usually cheaper.

If he orders it have him order through this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010Z1W06/brilliaphotog-20

Then I get 4% ($3.20) and it costs him the same. That link puts an Amazon tracking cookie on your computer… I get a 4% commission on anything you order within 24 hours as long as you don’t delete your cookies.

Black and white (monochrome) laser printers are the de facto standard for printing text and documents. They use them exclusively at my college. Inkjets don’t even compare. Laser printing is one-tenth the cost of inkjet and the text quality is better. It’s also much faster… I can print a 20-page document in under a minute.

The HL-2140 is really for 8.5*11 paper… I think it’s not good with envelopes or other sizes.

Love, your son,
Richard

I haven’t printed a document with an inkjet printer in over 2 years. Photos are great on inkjets. However, if you’re going to print walls of text, you need a black-and-white laser printer. I have one of both.

As for printing a lot of photos… you’d be best to go through an online printer like Snapfish or Shutterfly. They produce resin-coated chemical prints from a digital source using a laser, usually with very expensive Fuji Frontier machines (expose and then develop, stop, fix, wash, all automated in darkness). It’s cheaper, the quality is miles beyond inkjet prints, and the prints are WATERPROOF… I can put one of my 4*6 prints from Snapfish underwater for hours. Then when I hang it out to dry, it’s just fine. Awesomeness.

Color laser printers also exist… but I wouldn’t recommend them for photos. I also wouldn’t recommend them for the office, unless you want to spent $500 or more. I have a Lexmark C534N ($700 printer I got free after rebate 2 years ago), and after printing 1500 pages it just says “service fuser”… I don’t know what to do. Color lasers are more expensive per page, even in black and white mode. They’re expensive, large, heavy, complicated, and failure-prone. In the office, stick to black and white laser printers.

Trivia: toner is finely ground bits of black plastic (also: yellow, red, and blue plastic in color laser printers). The laser printer etches toner onto a drum with a laser. Then, it literally fuses the toner to the paper at a temperature of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The paper doesn’t catch on fire because it passes through the fuser in just a few seconds. But it comes out nice and hot…

What printer do you recommend? Post a comment!

Daytona State College 2009 Talent Show

I just played piano at the Daytona State College Talent Show at the News-Journal Center, 221 N. Beach St., Daytona Beach, FL 32114. The show was 8-10pm Fri. Oct. 2 (tonight) and it’s 10:45 now.

We had a full house… there were probably 800 people in the audience. It was great and I actually performed better than in the rehearsal. I was the opening act at 8pm, playing The Entertainer by Scott Joplin on the baby grand piano while a slideshow of 58 of my photos played including all 30 in my portfolio. The Rebel got a laugh from the audience.

I was also running for Mr. Daytona State against Jerred T. Mason, Zach Smith, and Tad Jennings. Jerred won with his monologue on overcoming obstacles in life and reaching your dreams, which is a lot of what I wrote last year in personal development. Michelle Underwood and Shawana Brown were running for Ms. Daytona State, and Michelle won with her improvised comedy act.

The show as very good. It was much better than the rehearsal Mon. and Thu. I told dozens of people about it at Daytona State College all this week and it seemed no one knew about it. I was only expecting a couple hundred people but Dad estimated there were 800-1000 students in the audience.

I took about 300 photos with my DSLR and my Dad filmed my performance. I’ll cull and edit everything by Sunday and post it then. It’s almost 11pm and I need some sleep. Update: video of my piano playing (fast forward to 2:30), photos above. Everything is posted!

Have a nice weekend everyone! Please leave your comments about the show on this blog post.

I also published this on DaytonaState.org.

Photo: Welcome to the Future

Welcome to the Future

This is a photo I took over three years ago of a bunch of electronics. I put this photo on deviantART in 2006 June.

I remember this being very hard to set up. I had a junky point-and-shoot with no ISO control, so I was stuck with about a 1/15 shutter speed. In one hand I held a spotlight while in the other I held the camera. It was hard to get a clear shot, and getting everything in frame took about two hours of moving things around.

The title is a joke. Most of the stuff in this photo is old, failed technology, that obviously won’t be in our future. Included: an AOL 3.0 CD, an SDRAM stick and an even older type of RAM, a PS/2 mouse with a bunch of old adapters, Nintendo e-Reader cards circa 2003, a VHS tape, 8mm Panasonic camcorder tapes, an onion, a fork, a Mattel JuiceBox, an HP LightScribe blank CD, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles folder, a Nintendo Zapper lightgun from the 1980s NES game Duck Hunt, a floppy disk, chopsticks, a calculator, a drawing I made of a water cup, a large audio jack, a shrimp flavor packet from ramen noodles, an old TracFone, red thumbtacks, an old sound card, a dial-up modem (PCI), a Dinacell battery (Duracell knockoff), lip balm, and a Kodachrome slide from the 1950s.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/12, F2.8, 6mm, ISO100, 2006-06-14T21:39:02-04, 2006-06-15_01h39m02

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

Download the high-res JPEG.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

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