Monthly Archives: November 2010

WBFO: Cyber shopping (2010-11-29)

 WBFO: Cyber shopping (2010 11 29)Cyber shopping Sharon Osorio (2010-11-29) BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – the long Thanksgiving weekend is over and now it’s Cyber Monday. It’s the day many online retailers are offering great deals for holiday gifts.

But is your computer ready to cooperate?

many online stores today are offering deals you cannot refuse. But one thing that can stall your shopping spree is the speed of your computer. It’s an even bigger problem today because so many other people are online and on the same sites.

“Cyber Monday is one of those times that everyone is trying to shop, so chances are you are going to run into bottlenecks,” said Keith Curtachio.

Keith Curtachio is an Information Technology director at the University at Buffalo. He says the first thing you need to do is get your computer started well before you want to shop.

“If you have a lot of other files, if you have a lot of startup programs even if you have a lot of fancy toolbars on your browser, each one of those will slow down the boot up of the computer. So you might actually get to the Website later even if everything else is okay,” said Curtachio.

And those files that need to boot up may also be sucking memory and speed from your computer while you’re shopping. Shortcuts on your screen can drag you down, but you can easily delete them without deleting the actual programs. now let’s look at the bottom of your screen.

“Look by your clock and you see all these icons to the left of your clock. Each one has to load in memory, taking up active memory even if you’re not using it at that moment,” Said Curtachio.

Once you exit out of the ones you don’t need, update your browser or any programs like Flash that you’ve been prompted to do. then run Disk Cleanup, and then Disk Defragmenter, both found in system Tools.

Curtachio also stresses security when you’re online. Do not submit information unless you know you’re on a safe page.

“If you have a lot of other files, if you have a lot of startup programs even if you have a lot of fancy toolbars on your browser, each one of those will slow down the boot up of the computer,” said Curtachio. © Copyright 2010, WBFO

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Short, on-Chip Light Pulses Will Enable Ultrafast Data Transfer Within Computers

1290916809 99 Short, on Chip Light Pulses Will Enable Ultrafast Data Transfer Within Computers

ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2010) — Electrical engineers generated short, powerful light pulses on a chip — an important step toward the optical interconnects that will likely replace the copper wires that carry information between chips within today’s computers. University of California, San Diego electrical engineers recently developed the first ultra compact, low power pulse compressor on a silicon chip to be described in the scientific literature.

Details appeared online in the journal Nature Communications on November 16.

This miniaturized short pulse generator eliminates a roadblock on the way to optical interconnects for use in PCs, data centers, imaging applications and beyond. these optical interconnects, which will aggregate slower data channels with pulse compression, will have far higher data rates and generate less heat than the copper wires they will replace. Such aggregation devices will be critical for future optical connections within and between high speed digital electronic processors in future digital information systems.

"our pulse compressor is implemented on a chip, so we can easily integrate it with computer processors," said Dawn Tan, the Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering who led development of the pulse compressor.

"next generation computer networks and computer architectures will likely replace copper interconnects with their optical counterparts, and these have to be complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatible. this is why we created our pulse compressor on silicon," said Tan, an electrical engineering graduate student researcher at UC San Diego, and part of the National Science Foundation funded Center for Integrated Access Networks.

The pulse compressor will also provide a cost effective method to derive short pulses for a variety of imaging technologies such as time resolved spectroscopy — which can be used to study lasers and electron behavior, and optical coherence tomography — which can capture biological tissues in three dimensions.

In addition to increasing data transfer rates, switching from copper wires to optical interconnects will reduce power consumption caused by heat dissipation, switching and transmission of electrical signals.

"at UC San Diego, we recognized the enabling power of nanophotonics for integration of information systems close to 20 years ago when we first started to use nano-scale lithographic tools to create new optical functionalities of materials and devices — and most importantly, to enable their integration with electronics on a chip. this Nature Communications paper demonstrates such integration of a few optical signal processing device functionalities on a CMOS compatible silicon-on-insulator material platform," said Yeshaiahu Fainman, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Fainman acknowledged DARPA support in developing silicon photonics technologies which helped to enable this work, through programs such as Silicon-based Photonic Analog Signal Processing Engines with Reconfigurability (Si-PhASER) and Ultraperformance Nanophotonic Intrachip Communications (UNIC).

Pulse Compression for On-Chip Optical Interconnects

The compressed pulses are seven times shorter than the original — the largest compression demonstrated to date on a chip.

Until now, pulse compression featuring such high compression factors was only possible using bulk optics or fiber-based systems, both of which are bulky and not practical for optical interconnects for computers and other electronics.

The combination of high compression and miniaturization are possible due to a nanoscale, light-guiding tool called an "integrated dispersive element" developed and designed primarily by electrical engineering Ph.D. candidate Dawn Tan.

The new dispersive element offers a much needed component to the on-chip nanophotonics tool kit.

The pulse compressor works in two steps. in step one, the spectrum of incoming laser light is broadened. For example, if green laser light were the input, the output would be red, green and blue laser light. in step two, the new integrated dispersive element developed by the electrical engineers manipulates the light so each spectrum in the pulse is travelling at the same speed. this speed synchronization is where pulse compression occurs.

Imagine the laser light as a series of cars. Looking down from above, the cars are initially in a long caravan. this is analogous to a long pulse of laser light. After stage one of pulse compression, the cars are no longer in a single line and they are moving at different speeds. next, the cars move through the new dispersive grating where some cars are sped up and others are slowed down until each car is moving at the same speed. Viewed from above, the cars are all lined up and pass the finish line at the same moment.

This example illustrates how the on-chip pulse compressor transforms a long pulse of light into a spectrally broader and temporally shorter pulse of light. this temporally compressed pulse will enable multiplexing of data to achieve much higher data speeds.

"in communications, there is this technique called optical time division multiplexing or OTDM, where different signals are interleaved in time to produce a single data stream with higher data rates, on the order of terabytes per second. We’ve created a compression component that is essential for OTDM," said Tan.

The UC San Diego electrical engineers say they are the first to report a pulse compressor on a CMOS-compatible integrated platform that is strong enough for OTDM.

"in the future, this work will enable integrating multiple ‘slow’ bandwidth channels with pulse compression into a single ultra-high-bandwidth OTDM channel on a chip. Such aggregation devices will be critical for future inter- and intra-high speed digital electronic processors interconnections for numerous applications such as data centers, field-programmable gate arrays, high performance computing and more," said Fainman, holder of the Cymer inc. Endowed Chair in Advanced Optical Technologies at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and Deputy Director of the NSF-funded Center for Integrated Access Networks.

This work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) grants, the NSF Center for Integrated Access Networks ERC, the Cymer Corporation and the U.S. Army Research Office.

Email or share this story:

Story Source:

the above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of California – San Diego. the original article was written by Daniel Kane.

Journal Reference:

  1. Dawn T.H. Tan, Pang C. Sun, Yeshaiahu Fainman. Monolithic nonlinear pulse compressor on a silicon chip. Nature Communications, 2010; 1 (8): 116 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1113

Note: if no author is given, the source is cited instead.

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Yes, You Can Speed Up Your Computer

1290902416 45 Yes, You Can Speed Up Your Computer

Time is relentless. Each second represents exactly the same passage of time, but for some reason, computers seem to age a lot faster than our other gear! a good portion of my professional life is devoted to speeding up computers. a primary concern of mine when putting a new computer into service is “How long will this last?” Speed and performance are always at the forefront of decisions about computers.

Technology Makes all The Difference

My television set is 15 years old. It still works fine but probably within the next five years, it will need to be replaced. when I bought the TV, I didn’t think about how long it would last; I just knew it would last a long time. since I bought my now hopelessly outdated TV, we’ve seen the rise of cable, IPTV, HD, 3D TV, Smart TVs, and flat panel displays. If the TV died today, I would have to choose among LCD, LED-LCD and plasma sets. old analog TV technology isn’t even made anymore. My TV is a true dinosaur.

No one in his (or her) right mind would buy a computer and expect it to still be in service in 15 years. unlike televisions, computers just aren’t used like that. The average life expectancy of a computer in a corporate setting is about four years. some computers are retired earlier than that – every three years. Lately, due to the tough economy – some corporations are moving to a five-year replacement cycle.

Unlike TV technology, computer technology changes a lot faster. Newer, more innovative technologies enable computer chips to run faster and do more while sitting in smaller packages and consuming less energy. This, in turn, means that a computer that’s about the size of a bread plate can do 200 times more than the ten-year-older model that took up an entire tabletop.

It also means that subtle decreases in performance are magnified significantly and are noticeable instantly. It doesn’t take much to slow down a computer, but finding the cause of the degraded performance isn’t quite as easy.

Certain obvious things cause delays. Anti-virus and anti-malware software cause delays, mostly for good reasons! Large applications, little available RAM and poor software design cause delays. Routine maintenance can combat a lot of the performance degradations we see today. Regular file system maintenance can make a big difference in performance, as can regular registry maintenance. Using a registry cleaner like RegCure can help keep your computer’s registry free of old, unnecessary entries that can cause a computer to slow down. Download a copy of RegCure and see for yourself what a difference routine registry maintenance can make.

Photo Credit: brownpau, via Flickr

Tags: registry cleaner, slow computer, speed up computer

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Best Registry Cleaners Net – Spendid Info

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When being your own PC mechanic, be careful under the hood

 When being your own PC mechanic, be careful under the hood

Q About a month ago, I noticed that my 2004 PC running Windows XP was taking longer to start up and connect to the Internet. on the recommendation of a local store, I purchased the Iolo system Mechanic Professional program to help speed up the PC. when I began installing the Iolo program, I was told to uninstall my anti-virus software first, which I did. But I also read online that I should delete some anti-virus components that might remain on the PC by altering the Hkey files, so I did. Then I installed Iolo.

Now my PC is slower than ever and I’m getting error messages about the check-disk function (Chkdsk) and about a file or directory on my hard drive that is corrupt and unreadable. what can I do?

HELYNN SCHUFLETOWSKI, EAU CLAIRE, WIS.

A Your PC may be suffering from a flaw in Iolo’s system Mechanic program, or from your altering of the Hkey files. those files are part of the PC’s registry, a database of computer settings that can cause trouble if altered incorrectly.

In a review of the Iolo program earlier this year, the Notebook Review website said Iolo "can run so many consecutive and powerful PC utilities that their combined effect might ‘over-clean’ your system and leave applications — or the PC — running improperly." For details, see tinyurl.com/264ph6y.

If the Iolo program is to blame, you might be able to reverse the changes it made via a rollback function in the software called "SafetyNet." For details, see tinyurl.com/22s55e5.

If the Hkey changes that you made are the problem, try repairing Windows XP using the Windows CD that came with your PC. First back up your most important data on an external flash drive or hard drive, then try a "Repair Install" of Windows XP. See details at tinyurl.com/r1cg.

Note: the repair will erase all Windows improvements you’ve downloaded for the last six years. use Windows Update to reinstall the fixes for all the flaws and security risks discovered since then.

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Upgrade to a solid-state hard disk

1290398409 65 Upgrade to a solid state hard disk

You may not think of your PC as being mechanical, but the noise it makesevery time you switch it on suggests otherwise. the components inside heat upand need cooling with fans, and perhaps the most precise mechanical instrumentin your PC, if not in your house, is the hard disk.

Several glass discs inside spin more than 5,000 times per minute while adevice the width of a human hair scurries back and forth across them readingfiles, folders and programs from the surface.

Although modern hard disks are impressively tough – they work inside alaptop, after all – anything this complicated and mechanical has the potentialto go wrong. And, although they are fast, mechanical hard disks are stillrelatively inefficient when it comes to finding your files.

Recently, though, a new alternative has appeared: the Solid State Disk, orSSD for short. these work in the same way as a USB memory key: data is stored ona series of memory chips, connected to your PC internally. With no moving partsthey are far more resilient, and much quicker. Running from an SSD, Windows canoften start in seconds.

SSDs are becoming more affordable all the time, so today you can buy one forless than £100. Beginners may find it difficult to install one, but if you are aconfident computer user read on and we will explain how to do it in a simplestep-by-step manner.

Benefits of SSDs Before we explain how to install an SSD, though, you might be wondering whetherit’s worth the trouble. if you are happy with the speed of your PC, the answermight be no – but if your computer’s a bit sluggish, an SSD could help. Here’swhy.

It’s easy to imagine that hard disk speed only affects your computer when youare copying files, perhaps from one location to another, or from your PC toanother device. but, in fact, your computer’s hard disk is being accessed almostconstantly.

One of the most intense periods of its activity comes when you start Windows– it needs to read thousands of files quickly to get the operating system upand running. using an SSD will cut the time this takes drastically.

Over time, the way data is written to a mechanical hard disk becomesincreasingly random, which means you either tolerate a slower PC or defragmentthe files. you will never need to do this with an SSD.

Your hard disk gets lots of use once Windows is going, too. if you load bigapplications, such as a photo-editing tool, your hard disk has to refer tothousands of files.

An SSD makes this quicker, so programs start up faster. And, if your computerruns short on memory, it will start moving data from memory to your hard disk –something that is far slower on a hard disk than an SSD.

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Speed up computer vista/windows

1290384009 87 Speed up computer vista/windowsNovember 16, 2010 10:19 am admin Computers and Technology

Leading Tips In order to Improve Your Personal Computer  Are you seeking techniques which users can improve the performance of a machine? Have you been concerned because your machine takes forever to run any file or a directory then keeps stopping responding for no evident grounds? I assume you invested very much in a good computer but at the moment you see you aren’t using the computer’s whole power? yes, you need not do away with your personal computer in order to purchase a greater PC foruseful remedy to that common mystic how can i speed up my computer is within this article. Users could substantially boost computer abilities should you get to know the causes it happens to be dawdling. there exist numerous methods to speed up PC speed, I will just list you guidelines ofleading ways to improve a computer’s full capabilities.1. clean up your disk drive Software create lots of constant folders and files that muddle and jam the HDD. Check the disk drive anderase any app files which only stay there with no role. Its grueling to comb for them all one-by-one; you could try a speed up computer freeware program which deletes them very well.2. Remove unimportant tools A significant technique tip to speed up computer vista is via disabling any unnecessary operating system tools that deplete immense processor speed as well as memory space. you ought to stop them on options or in the Control Panel, Add/Remove programs then use ‘Turn Windows elements on or off’.3. Eliminate worms, spyware, viruses and trojans Harmful software could be taking over the computer behind the scenes, causing the machine sluggish. you should speed up computer performance by finding and doing away with these programs through anti-virus program and a firewall.4. Defragmenting the system hard disk drive It can look out-of-date but should you check computer speed ahead of and after defragmenting, you would be astonished by the difference. Defragmenting assists boost computer performance and you might carry it out through a unique utility or by system’s tools. so many people seek ways to speed up my computer insensible of the reason the system are sluggish. to crack PC speeds mystic, set out with finding out the remedies to the problems to have a great system you will be astonished.

Speed up computer vista

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Week in gaming: Diablo 3 on consoles, OnLive, Kinect hacked

 Week in gaming: Diablo 3 on consoles, OnLive, Kinect hacked

Gaming news is slowing down a touch as we get ready for Thanksgiving next week, the day where we host our families and see if Granny really will like our Kinects, Moves, and latest Wii games. this week we took a look at the issue of gaming as a business from the point of view of a successful indie developer, we explored the possibility of Diablo 3 on consoles, and reviewed need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

Also: the 360 is the best-selling console in the US this year? good news for Microsoft, bad news for Nintendo.

Hacked Kinect used to manipulate images, more to come: the Kinect is a flexible, powerful piece of equipment, and that makes it an attractive target for those wishing to code their own programs to take advantage of what it can do. Ars speaks with Florian Echtler about his PC-based image manipulation program, and what’s next in Kinect hacking.

Risk aversion, funding mistakes block gaming masterpieces: Ars talks with 2D Boy cofounder Ron Carmel about why a well-funded, mid-size game development studio is the key to unlocking the first true gaming masterpiece.

A console Diablo 3? Blizzard hiring talent, looking at possibility: some job postings show that Blizzard is in fact looking into bringing Diablo III to consoles. But will we ever get to play it? the history of Blizzard’s thoughts on bringing the game to consoles.

Super Meat Boy devs: why sale came first: the two men behind Super Meat Boy explain why the game was released on sale, and why they asked the press to spread the word of the price increase so no one “feels screwed.” welcome to the world of a very unlikely indie hit.

Big-head mode returns in Wii Goldeneye 007, college days relived: a number of cheat codes for the Wii re-make of Goldeneye have been revealed, including one that revives the classic big head mode.

Activision may close Bizarre after giving it too little love: Bizarre Creations didn’t make enough money for Activision Blizzard, and is now facing a 90-day consultancy period… a legal requirement in the UK before widespread layoffs go down. the problem came from poor timing and promotion on a number of games, painting the picture of a studio that may have been set up to fail.

Crazy Taxi on PSN, XBLA: when the music stops and stores close: Crazy Taxi was known for its feel and mood more than the specifics of gameplay, and the loss of the game’s original soundtrack and licensed stores hampers the nostalgia of an interesting game. 

Xbox 360 set to be 2010’s best-selling console in the US: While the Nintendo DS was the best-selling hardware in the US in October, Microsoft looks like it will win the year with the Xbox 360. the top four games in the software charts were also on Microsoft’s platform. Oh, and the Kinect was a hit. It’s a good time to be green.

The $99 gaming PC: the OnLive microconsole in pictures: the Onlive microconsole is in our hands, promising high-level PC gaming in a $100 box. the games are played on more powerful hardware, and then streamed to your television through the box. Here is our first look at the hardware, with a full review of the service coming very soon.

Burnout gets heavy: Ars reviews need for Speed: Hot Pursuit: need for Speed: Hot Pursuit takes the developers of the Burnout series and asks them to make a racing game that feels more like cops and robbers. That’s not a bad thing at all.

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HP’s Multitasking Printer Spreads Itself Too Thin

1290297617 63 HP’s Multitasking Printer Spreads Itself Too Thin

The HP Envy 100 box is daring me to open it, but I am afraid. four words: Print Scan Copy Web, hover over an ominous printer on the box front. I gently slip open the top, anticipating the terror of endless plastic wrap and cardboard. What’s this? A tote bag? Sweet, I didn’t even have to donate to PBS! Yes, even mere mortals like yourself, and not just obscenely “rich” and “handsome” tech writers like me, will have your HP Envy 100 wrapped in a delicious free tote bag.

But seriously, the Envy’s packaging is a welcome change from the usual mess of plastic and parts. And while there is the requisite foam and some baggies, at least HP put a bit more effort into presentation while minimizing unnecessary bad-for-mother-earth clutter. Plus, a free tote bag never hurt anyone.

Once you haul it out of the box, you see that the Envy 100 printer/scanner/copier looks like it was designed by Darth Vader. Ominously coated in gloss black with silver accents, it’s barely 4 1/2 inches tall; sleek enough to slip into a pretty small space. Even the paper-output handler is an automatically retractable arm that barely sticks out. on the outside, this machine looks badass. but just how evil is it?

First, you’ll need to install the rather small ink cartridges. unfortunately, there aren’t separate color ink cartridges that would save money on refills. you get one multicolor ink cartridge and one for all your blacks. Perhaps more alarming: after running through one 50-page load of plain paper and a few photos, the Envy software showed black ink hovering near 50 percent. HP claims the ink-measuring software may not be completely accurate, but be forewarned dear reader, your ink costs could get real big, real fast.

After connecting the power cord, the 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen lit up, and the Envy held my hand as it led me through a zenfully simple setup process … until it was time to install the software on my computers.

Installation on a Vista PC came off without a hitch, aside from the usual “opt out to not install this extra addware that you’ll never use.” next up was a real test where the Envy scored with a +2 critical-hit bonus roll. Yes, dear reader, HP graciously provides Linux drivers on their website. So, for all 20 of y’all out there using Ubuntu or K or X whatever, HP deserves a shoutout. Just be prepared to go through the usual “missing library” installations Linux requires to make anything work. (Mac users can ignore this entire paragraph.)

Once hitched up to my home Wi-Fi network, and loaded with paper (up to 80 sheets), it was time to waste some trees with hard-copy output. on a notebook running Vista, using a wireless connection, and Normal print-quality settings, the Envy averaged 4.5 pages per minute when handling simple text or text with grayscale graphics. on plain paper, text was sharp and dark, while color photos printed in grayscale tended to be slightly dark.

The Envy showed more moxie with color graphics. A high-resolution full-page photo printed out in slightly more than nine seconds. While that may be pretty poky, the colors were excellent with subtle detail, and a near perfect match to the graphic onscreen. of course, to get good results, you’ll have to make sure your color management is spot on, as well.

The only strike against the Envy’s printing was that some glossy photo paper came out with faint, but noticeable marks from the paper-feed mechanism. Some gloss-paper coatings are more delicate than others, and different paper brands and qualities had different results, with a good number showing no marks at all. Photo perfectionists should try a few different kinds of paper. in my tests, Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy II has the best ink saturation while HP Premium Photo Paper matched the original the closest.

Copying is a no-brainer. Just touch the Copy button on the LCD screen, pick color or black, choose the number of prints, and you’re done. Copying output was a shade faster than printing, but not by much. for black-and-white copies, the Envy averaged 4.2 ppm. A single page color copy came out at 42 seconds. It’s certainly not blazing speed, but output on plain paper was on par with the Envy’s printing.

Scanning with the Envy is straightforward, as well. you can scan up to 1200 dpi so it’s useful for blowing up old photographs and other small artwork. The Envy tended to brighten scanned images a bit, reds in particular, but overall detail was very good, and any slight color variations were easily fixed in photo-editing software.

As with most other printers in this class, the HP Envy does direct printing from cameras, as well as from memory cards, with a top USB port and SD card slot. you can also scan results to a memory card instead of to a computer.

Another nice printing touch is e-print. Just send an e-mail from your phone or a computer to the printer’s unique e-mail address, and you’ll have hot, fresh copy ready and waiting when you get home. you can also check the status of an e-print job online.

Lastly, we come to the apps. Apps? you say, “I have enough electronics yapping at me all day. I just want my printer to print, my scanner to scan, and my copier to copy.” HP says, “with the Envy, you’ll have your apps, and like them!”

Flip out the Envy’s LCD touchscreen and you’re presented with a bunch of preloaded app icons. Some of the available apps are fairly useful, some definitely not. Do I really need a printer to spew out tic-tac-toe games when a pencil is about 100 times more efficient? more importantly, why would I want to print only the first couple of sentences of a blog post?

Other apps like Google Maps are useful for a quick print. Even so, it feels awkward and silly to peck out an address on the tiny LCD screen when my computer is a few feet away. true, you wouldn’t have to turn your computer on, and it might come in handy if you have a large home with the Envy as the central output/input peripheral. Thankfully, you can delete apps you don’t want or need to reduce clutter, and load some new ones you do want.

The HP Envy 100 is a jack of all trades, and does most jobs pretty well. It’s not particularly fast, but solid text output combined with excellent color prints merit consideration. The real question is: Do you need all the extras like apps and e-mail printing? if not, you could probably save some bucks and get similar performance from a more stripped down all-in-one.

And then there’s the boondoggle of most printers: per-page costs. with limited ink capacity and a hungry appetite, you might be buying ink cartridges more than you’d like, but at least you can carry them home in your new tote bag.

WIRED Excellent color output with subtle detail on gloss photo paper. Super-sleek Vader-approved design, low-profile chassis doesn’t hog space. Easy setup and installation. Downloadable Linux drivers available. good LCD touchscreen

TIRED Small ink cartridges — doesn’t use separate ink cartridges for each color. Mediocre print speed. Gloss-black finish is a fingerprint and dust magnet. Cover for USB and memory card feels fragile. Paper-feed mechanism can mark some gloss-paper coatings.

See also:

  • Review: Brother Printer Offers Wireless iDevice Printing Now …
  • Review: Polaroid PoGo Printer Spits Pics on the Quick
  • Canon PIXMA iP4700 Printer – Wired News
  • HP Photosmart A646 Compact Photo Printer – Wired News
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