Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 
January 2019
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Happy New Year, and welcome to 2019! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and are staying warm and enjoying the relative peace and quiet of January.

This month I go deep on printers, a subject near and dear to my heart, as I spent my early career selling laser printers for Xerox. My second article is a selection of great websites. And lastly, a bit of explanation about an IOS update that seems to be causing issues.


Julie Marto 
PS - Need some help with some new tech? Give me a call and I'll get everything running smoothly!
Printer Recommendations

Printer technology has improved and come down in price over the years. If your printer is no longer doing its job, here are some considerations for its replacement.

Color inkjet vs. Monochrome Laser vs Color Laser - Color inkjet manufacturers use the "razor blade" business model - they price the printer at a loss in order to make a lot of money on the ink cartridges. Cartridges are expensive, and  if you don't use the cartridges regularly, they will dry up.  Alternatively, if you use the printer a lot, you will buy a lot of ink! If you are not a frequent printer, or if you are, and you don't need color printing, you are much better off with a monochrome (black only) laser printer. Laser printers usually cost more, and the cartridges are more expensive, but you can expect to print thousands of pages before you have to replace the toner cartridge. The difference in total cost of ownership makes it worthwhile

Color laser printers have also come into their own. Newer models are much smaller and less expensive than they were just a few years ago. However, the quality of the color output is not as good as that of color inkjets, so keep that in mind if you plan to do photo printing. They are best for home users and small businesses who have some "spot color" needs.

Multi-function printers - Do you only want to print? Or would you like to copy, scan, and possibly fax? If so, a multi-function model is a good option. If you do a lot of copying or scanning, a model with an automatic document feeder might be best. Keep in mind, even if a printer only prints with black ink, it scans in color. And fewer multi-function printers come with faxing capability these days - if you need to fax, make sure that it's included!

Connectivity - The simplest way to connect a printer is with a USB printer cable - usually not included in the box. However, with most households printing from multiple devices, it's much more efficient to have a network enabled printer. While WiFi has become the standard, networking is more stable with a wired  Ethernet port that can be attached directly to your router. Once the printer is connected to the network it can be accessed wirelessly by any of your devices if they are set up correctly.

Printing from Mobile Devices - Airprint technology means you can print from an iPhone or iPad.  Google Cloud Print is used to print from a Chromebook or an Android device.  ePrint is a method to print though HP's cloud servers - you create an email address for your printer, and then email what you need to print as an attachment. 

If printing from a phone or tablet is important to you, make sure your new printer has the correct technology for your device before buying. Even with the technology built in, it is sometimes difficult to set up - give me a call if you need some help! 

Automatic duplexing - some printers automatically flip the paper so you can print on both sides. Great for businesses, this functionality can save you money and paper. Keep in mind that if your printer has auto-duplexing and is Airprint enabled, prints from your iPhone and iPad will default to two-sided.

Brands - I tend to recommend HP or Canon for inkjet, and Brother for laser.  I am not a big fan of Lexmark printers, as they seem to have quality issues.   As far as third party ink is concerned, I tend to buy genuine while the printer is still under warranty, and then switch to generic. However, I am cautious about where I buy the ink, and don't expect it to have the same quality as original OEM cartridges. Read on for more information about choosing third party ink.
Best of the Web

Here's a New Year's gift for you - some of my favorite websites for avoiding rip-offs, keeping an eye on outages, and finding bargains!

Fakespot - You'd like to buy some generic ink for your printer, and you go shopping online. There's a third party vendor that has a ton of 5 star reviews, but really, is it possible that everybody truly loves their ink so much? Copy and paste the product URL at Fakespot, where they will analyze all the reviews and let you know if they are honest or not. This is a great website for weeding through the chaff!

DownDetector - It happens every so often - I get a call from a client saying they can't get their email. I tell them I'm happy to help, and make an appointment for the following day. Then I get another call abut the same email provider. And another. Hmm, seems like a pattern - time for a search at DownDetector to see if other people are reporting a problem. If so, I'll call my clients back, and let them know to just wait it out. 

Kayak Explore - Spring break is coming up, but you don't have a plan. Or you've scheduled some time off from work, months in advance, with no destination in mind. How to decide where to go or what to do? Kayak Explore  lets you enter a date range and a price range into a search engine and find airfare deals all around the world that meet your budget.  

Camel Camel Camel - It looks like a great deal at Amazon, but should you buy now or should you wait? Camel Camel Camel gives you price history for any product, so you'll know if a deal is actually a deal!  
IOS Update Issue

The other day I posted  this article on my Facebook page, warning  folks with Apple iPhones and iPads about issues with the current IOS 12.1.2 update. Researching this more fully for my clients with questions, the issues are with both mobile and wireless connectivity. Apple currently has update 12.1.3 in beta, to patch the patches.

The problems are relatively rare, but very real. If you are already on 12.1.2 and aren't experiencing difficulties, you should be just fine. If you have upgraded and ARE experiencing problems, following the steps in this article should provide a temporary fix. And if you haven't yet installed 12.1.2, you might want to turn off automatic updates for the time being.

I'll keep an eye on all this and let you know next month if you are good to go!