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 user 2008-05-07 at 2:22:48 pm Views: 97
  • #19759

    Modern-day Mr. Fixit wants your old printer
    Bob Foote has been rescuing your old technology from the ‘Graveyard of Busted Printers’ for 17 years.Travel with us now to the Graveyard of Busted Printers where the bones of once-shiny, light-flashing, cheerfully beeping machines lie bleaching in the sun.They are here because their ink stopped jetting, their paper feeds stopped feeding, their lasers quit lasing and their owners tossed them out like an empty Bic pen.But it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way, says Bob Foote, owner of Canada One Office Repair, tucked in a small-business centre at 10624 105th Ave., in the shadow of Grant MacEwan College.

    Foote and his staff are the modern, high-tech successors to the Mr. Fixit shops of yesterday — the nearly extinct tinkerers who soldered elements in broken toasters, gave new life to old vacuum cleaners and mended holes in leaky buckets.Printers can be fixed and Foote has spent 17 years proving it, after discovering there’s more money to be made repairing them than selling them.On one end of the spectrum are companies that spend $800,000 on high-end laser printers and getting them repaired when they break down is a more attractive, cheaper option than tossing them out, Foote says.And, in terms of $200 to $300 home printers, “some people just don’t want to throw things away.”On that level it’s an economic balancing act. An average printer repair is about $70 — and could be more, depending on the components needed to make it work again.”It’s the manufacturer’s fault,” he said. “They keep the prices down (to sell the units), but sell the individual parts at sky-high prices.”The part may cost as much as you paid for the printer to start with.”The part that breaks down most frequently in ink-jet printers (the most common for personal use) is the printer head — the device that squirts ink onto the paper through human-hair-size holes. It’s also the most expensive part in the machine. “The printer head is 80 per cent of the cost of the machine.”Foote’s business comes from people who see the economy in a repair cost or who come to him with machines still under warranty — especially extended warranties that retailers sell on behalf of independent insurance companies.

    He doesn’t recommend extended warranties on low-end printers, but sees a value in them for better machines.”The manufacturers do fix them — but want you to ship it to them. Most people want it done quick.” Foote’s four Edmonton technicians (he’s also got three in his Calgary office) will do the repair work in the shop or will make house call.Foote doesn’t hold any particular printer brand over another — he notes that companies often have agreements to put their brand names on units manufactured by other companies.But he does have this piece of advice for people contemplating substituting the manufacturer’s recommended ink for the cheaper generic cartridges on the market these days: Don’t.While he agrees manufacturers reap a whirlwind of profit from over-priced ink (“they only sell you a printer every once in a while, but you need ink a lot more often”), it’s still best to use their recommended product.

    “Ink formulas are unique to manufacturers.”
    The “jet” is created by heat, not a pump, he explained, and if the ink is not the right viscosity, it could gum up the works. And using non-prescribed ink could void the warranty.Canada One also repairs computers (most any PC product) and especially laptops, which Foote says have created an interesting mindset in consumers.”Their whole lives are contained in the laptop,” he said, describing anxious customers who, when they drop off their machine act like “they’re dropping their kids off at school for the first time.”People come in with crashed hard drives hoping to have their photos, contacts, e-mails, phone numbers and other information restored.”For some reason people don’t back up their data on a laptop, but they really should.”

     Chester Carlson invented a dry printing process called electrophotography (commonly called a Xerox), the foundation technology for laser printers to come in 1938.
    - Remington-Rand developed the first high-speed printer for the Univac computer.
    - The original laser printer called EARS was developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center beginning in 1969 and completed in November 1971.
    - In 1976, the ink-jet printer was invented, but it took until 1988 for the ink-jet to become a home consumer item with Hewlett-Packard’s release of the DeskJet ink-jet printer, priced at $1,000.