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Techie Stuff

Table of contents

Printer Processing Speeds

When people refer to processing speeds they are normally talking about the processor of a computer. Printers, however, have their own processors as well. The higher the MHz rating speed of a printer the faster the first page will print out. While the printing speed of the first page may not seem like that big of a deal, the truth is that the first page takes the longest to print because the printer is configuring the printing of the document during this time. If you print numerous documents throughout the day, a faster processing speed can save you precious time.

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Cost per Page

When calculating which printer to buy, many consumers only look at the cost of the printer itself and the cost of ink or toner refills. The truth is there is much more too look at.

When looking at the true cost of a printer you need to estimate the cost per page. Most printers have a three-to-five year lifespan. The cost of supplies over the life of the printer will actually be much more than the cost of the printer itself. Some consumers can spend five to ten times as much on printer supplies than they do on the cost of the printer. This is why it is imperative to calculate the cost per page.

When purchasing a printer, check the yield of the ink or toner cartridges you will be using. The lower the yield, the more times you are going to have to replace the ink or toner.

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Printer Resolution

Most consumers understand that DPI stands for “dots per inch”. However, the resolution of a printer can be confusing because it is given in two different numbers, such as 2,400 x 600. What this means is the resolution of the printer prints out at up to 2,400 dots per inch horizontally and 600 dots per inch vertically. Optimized DPI means that the printer optimizes the placement of the ink drops to improve the quality of the printing. This is accomplished by layering dots by passing over the same part of the page multiple times. This allows the printer to put several dots of different color in one place. The results are better, but this technique takes up more ink.

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Printer Drivers

Printer drivers are not actually stored within the printer. They are stored on the hard drive of your computer and allow your computer to interact with your printer. The driver is a piece of software that converts the data of the files you are printing into a form that is specific to the printer that you are printing from. Without the proper drivers installed on a computer, the computer cannot communicate properly with the printer and will not print documents.

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Thermal Printing

Unlike most printing methods, thermal printing does not use ink or toner to print onto a piece of paper. Instead, a thermal printer will apply heat to special paper to produce the image that is being printed. Even though thermal printing doesn’t apply ink or toner, it is considered a digital printing process. When a thermal printer is used, the printer selectively heats coated thermochromic paper and as the paper passes over the print head, it turns the areas of the heated paper black. This is how the image is produced. Thermal printers can also print in two colors (usually black and red) by applying two different heat settings to the print heads.

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Printing Modes

The way in which you can print on a printer will depend on what type of mode the printer can print in. Some printers can read strings of characters, bitmapped images, vector images, computer program languages or a combination of these. Most of today’s printers can utilize all of these printing modes – especially printers that can support PostScript or PCL.

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Printer Steganography

Many printer users do not realize that printers can utilize steganography in their printing process. Steganography is the process of hiding messages within the pages of a document. This can be done to imprint serial numbers or provide authenticity for documents that you print. Most of today’s color printers are capable of implementing steganography in the printing process. This is accomplished by adding tiny yellow dots to each page. The dots are barely visible to the naked eye and contain encoded printer serial numbers as well as date and time stamps.

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Printer Server

A printer server is a device that can connect multiple printers and computers over a network. The server accepts print jobs from the various computers and then sends the jobs to the appropriate printers. Printer servers are more versatile than a stand-alone Wi-Fi printer and many large businesses utilize print servers to manage their document printing needs.

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