Recently there was a meeting between labeling regulators and ink cartridge
brands at The National Conference on Weights and Measures.
According we reported in this blog
, the US Conference of Weights and Measures would compel manufacturers to improve their labeling standards.
No longer could Epson cartridges list misleading printout yields. No longer would HP hide the ink volume of their cartridges. Instead consumers would pick up an OEM cartridge – they’d see that it housed 20ml of ink – they’d realize it cost $24.99 – and they’d snort with disgust.
Years later and OEM cartridge profits would plummet an estimated $5 billion.
Of course that was last month, and the brilliant dawn of realization hasn’t happened. There are two possibilities:
(1) the labelling regulators and toner brands are still debating or
(2) The conference was sensationalized.
Post-conference ink labeling standards remain the same, and we must accept that The Weights and Measures Conference solved nothing.
Yet there has been fallout in the blogging world.
On February 2 Taeho Lim at Cartridge News outlined his scheme to help consumers keep track of their toner use. He proposes that consumers who know their rate of ink consumption could make more informed decisions, and that printer software ought display this.
In short, he takes the consumer desire for more information as literal. By doing this Lim misses the point of the labeling furore completely.
The absence of accurate labeling is a problem because OEM brands are hiding the real cost of ink from consumers. That consumers wish to precede each purchase with a quantitative analysis of how the last cartridge fared (as Lam suggests) is unlikely.
Dean Gallea of Consumer Reports even argues that the most useful information
for consumers is that already given by OEM brands: pageyield. To label the volume of ink contained in a cartridge will not tell consumers how many prints the cartridge contains; some printouts use more ink than others.
Instead, stating the volume of ink on the cartridge is important because it tells consumers how much they’re paying per liter. It lets consumers compare what they pay with the cost of production. It reveals OEM brands for the price gougers they (likely) are.
Charles le Compte of Lyra Research puts it best: volume information “sets in motion a dynamic that will drive down cartridge prices over time.” Once the consumer not only complains but proves he’s being overcharged, prices must tumble.
Before The Conference of Weights and Measures, chief Max Gray told American Public Media why he targeted ink cartridge labeling: “All of this lack of clarity… led me to feel that maybe this should be addressed.”
To what end addressed?
Gray may intend that OEM brands give all possible facts, as Lim outlines. He may be launching a covert attack to make OEM brands lower their prices. The conference last month solved nothing: ink cartridge
labels remain unclear.
With any luck what Gray intends will become clear in the near future.
I don’t know about you, but since getting my iPhone, and really ever since Smart phones became so “smart”, my laptop does not get the every day usage it used to see from me. I do still have to log in for a few tasks, such as printing photos
There are some useful and creative iPhone apps that allow you to even print photos from the iPhone. There are some great, free apps that you can install to print to a Wi-Fi network enabled printer.
Looking for more fun with photos? PS Mobile
redeems the lack of editing in the iPhone Camera with Photoshop style editing. Another free app, PS Mobile allows you to crop, brighten, add borders and even upload and host on Photoshop.com.
What Mobile phone apps have you found to make taking or printing photos easier?
Many U.S. companies have pledged Six-figure sums to aid Haiti relief in the last week. According to a frequently updated list by the Chamber of Commerce
, among the larger contributors are: Microsoft, which has donated $1.25 million, and Pepsi, which is pledging $1 million.
Other contributors include Crocs, which is donating thousands of pairs of shoes, and Nestle, which has donated $1m in bottled water.
Leading printer brands are also adding to Haiti relief. According to a 15 January press release by Hewlett Packard
, the household name has contributed $500,000 to the American Red Cross International Response Fund.
HP will also match $250,000 in contributions from its employees, coming to a possible $750,000.
Group has also pledged $220,000 to aid victims of the earthquake, which struck Haiti last week.
Speaking in the Canon Press Release, President and Chief Executive Officer at Canon USA Joe Adachi said: "A tragedy of this magnitude requires support from the global community and it is our hope that our contribution, along with all of the aid coming in from around the world, will help the people of Haiti begin the rebuilding and healing process."
According to the 17 January report at USAToday.com, US donations are set to exceed the $2b pledged after the Asian tsunami two years ago.
Notable pledges outside the corporate world include: $1m contributed by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to Doctors Without Borders, and $500,000 contributed by The New York Yankees.
Sal Fabens of United Way Worldwide says that cash is the most useful pledge, because donations of food etc. may not be able to reach the disaster-struck areas.
If you’d like to pledge Haiti relief, you’ll find information at the Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Are you sick to death of the outrageous prices HP charge for their original black ink cartridges? You might avoid paying through the nose by purchasing from a remanufactured ink
vendor. Or, if you’re hopelessly attached to the contents of the wallet, you might print documents with your own blood.
This, according to a bar chart created by Clementine at ReflectionOf.Me, is almost half the price of HP black ink # 45. All you need is an emptied ink cartridge and a blood donor pack. That woozy sensation you’re feeling as you fill the cartridge? That, dear reader, is what saving feels like - glorious, glorious savings.
Looking for details before you undertake this (admittedly drastic) procedure? HP’s black ink retails for $0.70 per mL, as opposed to $0.40 per mL for human blood. Need some liquid courage before you start? That’s no problem, because according to the bar chart, vodka retails for almost nothing. And if the whole thing goes wrong and you find yourself in the hospital – that’s okay too, because penicillin is only $0.05 per mL.
So get printing – and who knows? Before long HP might unveil its new ‘Vampire’ series.
For years the printer cable was a tether by which the computer user was kept in spitting distance of their Epson
printer. A slave were they to the length of that copper wire. But no longer. For, according to a December 14th, 2009 press release from Epson, owners of network capable Epson printers, including the Artisan 810
and Workforce 610
, will be able to print their images wirelessly. The means of this freedom? Nothing less than Epson’s very own iPrint
Application, for use with the iPhone.
The Epson App is available from the iTunes App store, seated alongside similar releases from rival brands. Earlier this year both Hewlett Packard
enabled their customers to cast away their printer cables, so long as they own iPhones. The Apple device comes equipped with a sixth sense, meaning that it’s capable of automatically identifying printers in your network. It does this with WiFi. Yet persons seeking this printing freedom ought beware: according to a December 14th 2009 post by Ragu Magapann at TheStandard.com, the quality of images produced on the iPhone is mediocre.
Print News: HP Joins Anti-Counterfeiting Group
In recent years HP has invested huge amounts to combat counterfeit ink cartridge sellers. Now the cartridge giant has joined the anti-counterfeiting Global Leadership Group.
In an attempt to redouble its anti-counterfeiting efforts, HP has announced its membership of the Business Action to Stop Counterfeit and Piracy (BASCAP) Global Leadership Group. A worldwide organisation, members of the BASCAP co-operate to address property rights issues, as well as share resources to fight counterfeit groups. By the combination of their expertise, businesses within BASCAP aim to increase the effect of their anti-counterfeiting schemes, as well as educate consumers about the problem. Though HP is itself concerned with combating counterfeit ink sellers, BASCAP fights the sale of illegal goods across many electronics industries. BASCAP was formed in 2005 and since then has expanded steadily.
For HP, the rise of counterfeit ink cartridges has become a real problem. It is estimated that of the $3 billion lost to counterfeit sellers in the cartridge industry last year, $1 billion of that was lost by Hewlett Packard. This is according to market research by IDC. Combined with the tough climate of the recession – sales of HP products fell 21% this year in the US – counterfeiters today seriously undermine HP. This is due in part to changes in HP’s business model, which depends on the revenue from ink cartridges. They are sold at prices reaching half that of the printers themselves, which recoup only the cost of production.
Yet while making the ink and toner market incredibly profitable – according to BusinessWeek.com its value has ballooned from $11 billion to $45 billion in ten years – HP opened the way for counterfeiters. While the print giant spent this decade combating legitimate toner resellers, which depend on HP’s own empty cartridges, the market in counterfeit ink exploded. According to LatinTrade.com, since 2003 the revenue lost to counterfeiters has gone from $2 billion to $3 billion. The problem has become so massive that, between 2005-2008, HP’s anti-counterfeiting unit conducted 4,620 investigations, seizing $795 million in fake products.
The decision to join BASCAP is one of several attempts by CEO Mard V. Hurd to combat the counterfeit market. Talking to Cliff Edwards of BusinessWeek.com, he expressed concern that the widespread sale of fake HP toner would ‘damage [the brand’s] reputation. His concern is legitimate because, unlike ink resellers
which don’t pretend to sell original cartridges, counterfeiters imitate HP toner packaging. There are ways of distinguishing – counterfeit toner won’t bear HP’s security logo, for example – but often the imitations are too accurate to be discerned. Moreover, unlike sellers of counterfeit watches, which go for reduced prices, sellers of HP counterfeit ink cartridges often match the prices of the original.
Whether HP will enjoy any success because of its BASCAP membership remains to be seen. Their existing anti-counterfeiting measures have paid some dividends – HP’s website notes that the manufacturer has seized 15 million false ink and toner cartridges in three years. Moreover, HP retains a full-time Anti-Counterfeiting force in existence solely to combat counterfeiting groups. The Force advises customers if they’ve fallen victim to a fake cartridge seller, and also performs sting operations. However, though glamorous, it is difficult to determine what impact such measures are having on counterfeiting groups. Judging by the yearly revenue HP is losing to the black market, counterfeiters are not yet going anywhere.
I recently saw New Moon, well honestly who hasn’t? Just as we were watching the previews, anticipating this long awaited sequel, a commercial poked its nose in. This wasn’t like any other commercial, no movie theater popcorn, this commercial was for a new HP printer. Not as exciting as the upcoming New Moon, right? Wrong! This was so amazing that there were gasps heard throughout the theater. Really! I was not the only one making notes to check this printer out. This was no boring printer. Think Web 2.0 meets printing.
Introducing HP Photosmart with TouchSmart
Technology - Online. If you have seen the commercial, a smart woman demonstrates how she skips past her computer, goes directly to the printer to input an address to mapquest, hit print and voila! This is the world’s first web-connected home printer, powered by touch. Just think, print movie tickets, maps, coupons and more – all without a computer. You can even install new apps from HP. This, as well as photo editing, template printing, photo uploading and more is all available from the new HP Photosmart Premium Touchsmart Web All-in-one. This printer retails for $339 and utilizes HP 564
or 564XL High Capacity