My 9-year-old Okidata color laser printer spews pale pink ink all over my documents and makes a black streak on the side of every page. Should I dump it or have it fixed?
The Okidata tech support guy said the drum is busted, done in by the cheap toner I bought.
I'd been buying knock-off toner from Amazon ever since I discovered that a full set of certified Okidata cartridges costs over $400. But those cartridges can print 6,500 pages in magazine quality, perfect for my greeting cards. The cheap toners don't last and have lousy color, in my experience. In December, for example, I spent $55 on a set from "EasyPrint." Six months later, one of the four cartridges choked. I had only printed about 70 pages.
Before having my laser printer fixed, I did the math: $400 for new toner plus $139 for a new drum. Eek. Time to consider an inkjet. The Epson Ecotank, dubbed the ET-2803 All-in-One, was on sale at Target for $229, so I nabbed one. It's called an "Ecotank," because you refill the tank with bottles of ink, saving 90% of what you would normally spend on cartridges. I've read about these for years, but I never realized how effortless the refill process is. Tip in a 5-inch-long bottle, hear it glug, remove it, and close the connection. The ink the printer comes with is the real deal, not a starter pack. It's equivalent to about 90 individual inks. That's enough to print 4,500 pages in black and 7,500 pages in color. Replacing the whole set costs $56. I'll never use knock-offs again.
Not only is the Ecotank's print quality excellent, it also includes a scanner/copier. Best of all, I'll be keeping all those used cartridges out of landfills.
A reader wrote: "My iPad is giving me problems and is not scrolling properly." He thought he needed a new stylus, but that didn't solve anything.
"It seems the screen may actually wear out over time," he said. It was a second-generation iPad, a 9.7-inch tablet with LTE that came out in 2017 for $799. "It was a huge waste of money," he concluded. But he liked its large size.
Instead of buying this year's iPad Pro for $1200, he turned to Facebook Marketplace and got a lightly used second-generation iPad Pro and stylus for $350. Works great, he says.
Amazon is striking out against fake reviews. Around the world, over 12,000 of its employees are working on the problem. In the last two years, they've removed 10,000 Facebook groups devoted to fakers.
Since there are also fake Amazon reviews on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, Amazon has removed more than 200 million fakes since 2020. According to theVerge.com, Amazon has also removed hundreds of sellers from Amazon.com, including popular brands like RavPower and Aukey.
TIPS FOR GOOGLE DOCS
I'm using Google Docs, a free alternative to Microsoft Word, to edit a Korean novella, so I added some Asian names to my "personal dictionary." To do that yourself, click the three vertical dots next to a red-underlined word and choose "add to personal dictionary."
Want to get fancy with fonts? Look at the top of your Google Docs window where you see the word "Arial," and click on the drop-down arrow next to it. Now choose "More fonts."
TEXTING ON A PC
I much prefer typing on a large keyboard to texting on my phone. To set it up for an Android phone, go to messages.google.com in Chrome or some other browser. Click "Messages for Web." Then go to your Android phone, open the Messages app's home screen, and tap the three vertical dots in the upper right. Now tap "Device Pairing," then "QR code scanner," and point your phone at the big QR code showing on your computer screen. Voila! Now you can answer text on your computer, with its big keyboard.
SLIDESHOWS FROM YOUR PHOTOS
Later this year, Chromebook owners will get a new tool for making movies. After they get it, it will roll out to other devices.
In the meantime, you might want to try Google Photos. It has a tool for automatically making a slideshow. To use it on a computer, go to Photos.Google.com and click "Utilities." Now choose "movie," and select a theme. There are "meow movies," "selfie movies," "love story," "they grow up so fast," and other themes. To start from scratch, click "Utilities," then "create movie."
The automatic slideshow feature also works on iPhones and Android. If you have an iPhone, install Google Photos from the app store first. When you're ready, tap the Google Photos app, and sign into your Google account if you haven't already. Next tap "Library" in the photos app, then "Utilities," then "create new." Choose a template or design from scratch.
• "Saudi Arabia plans to build a massive skyscraper that stretches for 75 miles and can host five million people." Search on that phrase to read about it in ZMEScience.
• NicoleHone.com is the site of a designer who makes 3D plants that magically respond to air, water and ice. They're not for sale yet.
Go to win7games.com to get a free download of many of the classic games that have been included with Windows over the years. These include the original Solitaire, as well as Free Cell, Minesweeper, Mahjong and others.
Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at email@example.com.