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 user 2005-10-05 at 12:32:00 pm Views: 46
  • #13093

    What zone is your printer ink cartridge?

    PARIS:At just
    the time when the Internet seems to have lowered the world’s digital
    borders, technological innovations keep raising them back up.

    As has been the case for feature films on DVDs for years, all kinds of software, games, Web sites and even ink-jet printers now are being zoned.
    Advances in digital technology allow media companies to divide up the
    world into regions so that one geography cannot use products made for
    For consumers who do not travel extensively, zoning does not matter
    much. But for the global business class, top policy makers, students
    abroad and others who travel extensively, zoning is an irritant, a
    phenomenon that is disenfranchising them precisely of the seamless
    globetrotting that is their stock in trade.
    “We live in a world today that’s frantically erecting walls, even as
    those walls keep being dissolved,” said Mark Hachman, a columnist at
    ExtremeTech, a Ziff Davis publication. “Technology should facilitate,
    not impede. Region encoding is just another wall.”
    While many have adapted to DVD regional locks by purchasing players
    that can read discs from any zone, that work-around is harder to
    accomplish with the new products. At the same time, laws and trade
    agreements around the world increasingly ban ways to get around digital
    While Sony’s new PlayStation Portable games are not region-coded, its
    PlayStation 2 games are, as are the movies that can be played on the
    portable game machines. Thus, PSPs purchased in Australia will only be
    able to view movies coded for Region 4. The United States is in Region
    1, and Britain is in Region 2.

    But it is the arrival of
    Hewlett-Packard printers that can be used only in the region of origin
    that is catching many people by surprise. Kim Holm, the European HP
    executive who oversaw the start last year of region-coding for printers
    and their replaceable ink cartridges, said the reason was to help the
    company better set prices and thus help consumers know how much it
    would cost to print with HP products. The company has gone from
    adjusting global prices six or eight times a year to twice a year.

    All new HP ink-jet printers,
    except those designed to be portable, are regionalized. With them, ink
    cartridges bought outside the region won’t work. A customer who moves
    outside an area can, however, call HP support to find out how to
    manually change the region coding on the printer