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Tag Archives: Printing

What’s a Managed Print Service and Does Your Business Need It?


The following article is a collaboration with Creative Wire. -Ed.

You might have heard of managed print services (MPS), but what exactly are they and how can your business benefit from them? In essence, MPS allow you to outsource all your printing and imaging requirements. Every job done by a printer, fax machine, copier or multifunction device is outsourced to an experienced vendor who will efficiently and cost-effectively handle larger printing projects for you at a set cost. Some business can reap a lot of benefits from these services but, as with everything in life, there are pros and cons to consider.

Most printing equipment manufacturers offer managed print services which often come at a very competitive price and enable you to benefit immediately from any new technology. However, low prices usually only apply to the manufacturer’s own brand. This solution only offers limited product flexibility but, if this isn’t a priority for your business, it can be a good option. It can simplify and streamline equipment acquisition and support while at the same time allowing you to control and monitor your monthly spend.

You no longer have to worry about printing equipment breaking down. Your MPS provider will take care of any repairs for you, so you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that any printer issues will be dealt with promptly. Managed print services also allow you to monitor whether your staff are taking office supplies for personal use. Furthermore, you’ll end up using less electricity, ink/toner, and paper – that’s not only great for the environment but it can save you time and money in the long run.

Managed print services are particularly useful if you’re running a larger company. It can alleviate cash flow problems because you always know exactly how much you’ll spend on your printing services. Your MPS provider can also provide good printing supplies at discounted prices. Smaller businesses that only occasionally need to complete larger printing projects can get them printed by a professional printing service, like Helloprint. That way you’ll receive quality printouts without having to commit to an ongoing service.

For some businesses, managed print services can be a great way of saving money, time and nerves. MPS providers understand that their clients demand exceptional service and innovation, and are constantly working to improve their offering. When choosing a provider, it’s important to take your time to fully understand what you will get out of it. Whether outsourcing these services makes sense for your business is something you have to decide for yourself.

Print You Own iPhone Keyboard On A Piece Of Paper


Maybe you find the keyboard on the iPhone a tad too cramped? Your big meaty fingers make a mess of everything? Maybe you’d be better off giving this application a look, then. It’s called Paper Keyboard and involves you physically printing a special keyboard on a piece of paper. You know, like people did in 2006? Print stuff in 2D? Right, so once the keyboard is printed, you place your phone in the specially designated area and its front facing camera takes care of the rest. Its “sophisticated algorithms” track where your fingers are and register the key presses. You’re then free to use that text in other applications.

Now… we’re not sure about this one, cool as it sort of sounds at first. If you’re able to print something, there’s a good chance there’s a full computer nearby, no? So why not just use that? Like, this could be useful if you have to type a really long email and don’t want to stare at a tiny keyboard for the whole thing. But if there’s a computer nearby… what’s the point?

In any case, it’s free to download and try out, though they’ll ask for money if you want to use the in-app chat application.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

Did The Cost Of A 3D Printer Just Drop To $300?

By David Ponce

It was barely a couple weeks ago that we were writing about the Solidoodle, a $500 3D printer. But now we’re here to say that the price has apparently dropped to $300, thanks to a machine called Printxel 3D. It can allegedly make ABS plastic objects up to 5.5 inches on every axis, with a layer thickness (and thus, resolution) of 0.2mm to 0.4mm, with smaller layers supposedly being possible. If this machine works as advertised, it’s pretty incredible.

However, here come the caveats. First off, it’s a Kickstarter project that has only 25 machines up for pre-order. They all sold out within 11 hours. Secondly, this appears to be one guy making the kits from his home or garage or something. Which means that delivery time for the additional kits the man says he is now selling is impossible to know. You’ll get yours… some day. Thirdly, we’d hesitate somewhat before giving a random guy $300 of our money, especially since unlike the Solidoodle, which was backed by the MakerBot ex-COO, no one really knows who this man is. What’s after sales service like? What if it doesn’t work? So… buyer beware. This may very well be a $300 3D printer, but you buy at your own risk.

[ Kickstarter Page ] AND [ Additional Kits’ Page ]

Put Your Head On A Superhero Figurine

By David Ponce

We’re not sure whether to be impressed by this product/service, or whether to be creeped out that there are people passionate enough about superheroes to actually want this. It’s pretty simple: you can oder a superhero figurine and have the company send you a 3D printed replacement head that is made to look just like you. You just have to send them two fairly high-res pics of your noggin along with your order, and you’ll get a standard figurine in the mail, along with your plastic head. You have to do the swap yourself for some reason. You can choose from Batgirl, Batman, Superman, The Joker, and Wonder Woman.

It’s $125, which isn’t cheap, but hey… you may not be the superhero Batman needs, but you are the one it deserves.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

xPrintserver Gives You Trouble-free Wireless iDevice Printing

By David Ponce

Unloading a document off your iDevice and printed onto some dead tree sheets is easier said than done, especially in a corporate environment. Sure, there’s AirPrint, but there are tons of different printers in your office and they may or may not play well with the technology. That’s where xPrintserver comes in. It’s an iPhone sized device that plugs into your network and automatically discovers all the printers. Connect to it through your mobile device and print away. The xPrintserver comes preloaded with drivers for over 4,000 printers, including from brands like HP, Brother, Epson, Canon, Dell, Lexmark, and Xerox. Yes there are app that may do the same thing already for free, but remember this is for the office. And as such, you might be able to chalk the $150 price tag up to a legitimate business expense.

xPrintserver will ship in January 2012.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Mobile Printing Kiosks Remind Us That The Paperless Office Is Still No Where In Sight

Mobile Printing Kiosks (Image courtesy St. Joseph Communications)
By Andrew Liszewski

The promise of a paperless office where computers, phones and electronic devices completely replace our need for printed documents is certainly tantalizing. But it’s still no where in sight. I might have minimal need for a printer at home, but visit any busy office and you’ll still find copiers and laser printers running around the clock. So instead of trying to sell us on some paperless dream, a PR company called St. Joseph Communications, working with HP and PrinterOn, have developed a public pay kiosk allowing users to print off documents for a small fee.

Printing reports, presentations, maps or travel plans are all handled by a “best-in-class” HP color laser printer. While photos instead come from a Citizen dye-sublimation printer, which probably costs a little more. Documents can be wirelessly sent from a smartphone or tablet using HP’s ePrint app, securely emailed directly to the kiosk from your laptop, or even accessed from a flash drive or memory card. There’s no word on what the service costs, but since most users will probably be using them in a pseudo-emergency type situation, you can bet it’s probably not going to be dirt cheap. But you can find out for yourself if you happen to be passing through Toronto’s Pearson International Airport where the first eight kiosks have already been installed.

[ PR – Mobile Print is Taking Off! St. Joseph Communications debuts its patent-pending mobile print kiosks at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport ] VIA [ The Moodie Report ]

Print A Forest Adds Ads To Every Page You Print With Proceeds Being Used To Plant Trees

Print a Forest (Images courtesy Print a Forest)
By Andrew Liszewski

That paperless office we’ve been promised is still no where in sight. And if you feel a little guilty about the sheer quantity of printed material you or your office produces, a charitable organization called Plant a Tree promises to plant 1 tree in an endangered forest for every 100 pages you print. With the funding for this project coming from selling ad space, which appear in the footer of every single page you print.

To make the system work the user downloads and installs a special Print a Forest program on their PC, which creates a virtual ‘Print a Forest’ printer that they send every document too. The program keeps track of how many pages are printed from a given printer, and inserts ads on the bottom of every page. So a constant internet connection is required. After printing to the ‘Print a Forest’ app you’ll then need to choose the actual printer you want to print to, so the system does add an extra step. But when you crunch the numbers, on average for every single tree that’s cut down to make paper, 75 new trees will get planted. (Assuming everyone using the paper also uses Print a Forest.)

[ Print a Forest ] VIA [ PSFK ]

PrintBrush Looks Like Magic, Makes Printing Not Suck

By Evan Ackerman

Printers are this close to becoming obsolete technology. I mean, paper in general is just a terrible idea these days… All kinds of catastrophic things can happen to paper (fire, loss, airplanes, etc.), and not only that, but it can kill you. I do admit that on occasion, having a printer comes in handy, like the few times a year when I need to print a boarding pass or some labels, and this is why the PrintBrush is basically my fantasy printer: it’s small, it’s fast, it’s silent, and 99.9% of the time I can pretend that I don’t actually own a printer at all.

The PrintBrush is a real product, not a concept, and you really do just wave it back and forth over a piece of paper like in the video. It’ll cover a full size sheet of paper at 600 dpi (black and white only) and uses Bluetooth and rechargeable batteries to print without any wires whatsoever. The real beauty of the PrintBrush is that it’ll print on any flat surface you like, meaning that you can print addresses directly onto letters, for example. It even prints on fabric. It works using some kind of crazy accurate optical sensor, sort of like the thing that optical mice use, except way better ’cause it can detect tilt and rotation in addition to translation. Supposedly, the PrintBrush is due out in early 2010 for $199 USD… They have working examples, which is good, and a production plan, which is good, and some dates, which is good, but their last press release is eight months old so as cool as the PrintBrush is, I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one.

[ PrintBrush ] VIA [ Crave UK ]

Get Your Picture Printed On Canvas And Displayed On Times Square


By Chris Scott Barr

I had the opportunity to visit New York for the first time earlier this year. I have to say that Times Square is one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen. The lights and giant screens are awe-inspiring at night. Well how would you like to get one of your own pictures up on a giant screen in Times Square? One company is giving you a chance to do just that.

CanvasPop is a new company that promises to take any of your pictures from Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket (or wherever you have your pictures uploaded) and will print them on a large canvas. They promise to work with any resolution (they specifically list the iPhone as a source), and still have good-looking results. Well if you’re one of their first 500 customers, you’ll be able to put one of your own pictures up on a big screen in Times Square. It’ll only be up for 15 seconds, but you’ll receive a picture of the screen showing your picture, complete with date and time. Prices start at $30 for an 8×10 canvas, and go up.

[ CanvasPop ] VIA [ Crave ]