Memorial Day- store hours

Flags that were placed on gravesites at Fort L...
Image via Wikipedia

We will be open on Monday, May 31st, for at least 5 hours, 9AM to 2PM.

Most of our vendors will be closed Monday and quite a few of our customers have indicated they will be enjoying the 3-day weekend, so if it proves to be a slow sales day we’ll close at 2PM.

Should you need us to remain open longer or need a delivery on Monday after 2PM, please let us know before Noon on Monday.

We hope you and your loved ones enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. We’ll return to our regular store hours on Tuesday the 1st of June.

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HP 920 & 564 cartridges

We are now able to provide you with HP 920 and 564 replacement cartridges.

We cannot yet get the XL versions of these.

Our pricing is:

HP 920 black $12.99

HP 920 color $7.99 each

HP 564 black $8.99 (this is the slim black cartridge next to the colors in the image)

HP 564 color $7.99 each

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Printing skin

Image by The U.S. Army via Flickr

Technology is advancing so fast there doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by without a weird-but-true story making headlines.

Like this one; scientists using inkjet printers to print skin for wounded soldiers.

Researchers at Wake Forest University have found a way to use everyday ink-jet printers to quickly create skin for soldiers with life-threatening burns from the battlefield.

Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine have figured out how to use sterile ink-jet cartridges and printer heads to bioprint skin cells in three-dimensional patterns, building up the tissue in layers, said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the institute said in an interview.

Using modified ink-jet printers has greatly accelerated the method of growing tissues, which in the past has been laboriously done by hand. Burns account for about one in 10 war wounds, so the demand for speed has driven research in skin grafting. The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine funded the Wake Forest project.

The process basically works this way: Different types of skin cells are placed in wells of a sterilized ink cartridge. The printer is programmed to arrange the cells in a specific order, an innovative adaption of technology that allows scientists to precisely arrange multiple cell types and other tissue components into predetermined locations.

The institute has adapted another common piece of office equipment to replicate skin cells: a scanner that when placed on a patient, copies skin much like an office photocopier reproduces documents, Atala said.

To date, the institute only has tested the bioprinting in mice, and will require Food and Drug Administration approval before it can be used in humans, something that could take years, Atala said. (

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How men and women perceive color

OK, this is a joke. Still, in a business like ours that deals extensively with colors and color names you’d be amazed at some of the suggestions we hear for the standard magenta, cyan and yellow (nearly everyone gets yellow right, but the other two get called all sorts of things).

color names

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Phil McArtridge says: “Backups are important.”


Phil McArtridge, "Buy your backup cartridges at CW San Diego and save."

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Ink-saving tips

Carlisle School - Printing Shop (LOC)
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Even though our customers are already saving money buy shopping at CW San Diego for their ink and toner needs, there’s always more we all could be doing to reduce our use of ink and toner. Every so often we like to share tips and tricks we come across that help us do that. offers these suggestions:

Print only what you need. Don’t print a whole book, if you’re only interested in a few paragraphs. Don’t print the graphics, if you’re only interested in the text and vice versa.

If you’re printing a piece of text for proofreading, you may not need to print the pictures. In Word you can make use of the print option “draft output”, which prints a fast and low-quality draft copy without images. Go to >file >print. This will open the print menu. In the bottom left click >options and check >draft output. Then go ahead and select the printer. But make sure it’s fine tuned according to the tips listed below.

The right settings are essential and will save you the most when done right. Instead of manually choosing “low quality” settings for each print job (i.e. all the time), you should make “low quality” the default. Hence you’ll have to make “high quality” settings manually, which will make you choose them only when required (i.e. rarely).

First of all, take note of the layout options you have. You may be able to print several pages on a single piece of paper or you may be able to print on both sides of a paper. Both options can save a ton of ink/toner and even paper. Please remember that if you change settings here, every print job will be printed like this per default. So keep in mind the options you have here for those special cases.

On some printers you can reduce the graphic resolution. This option is usually found under >advanced settings. 300 dpi (dots per inch) are usually sufficient for most purposes. Besides, regular paper can’t handle very high resolutions anyways. So applying a high resolution only makes sense when you’re using high quality photo paper.

In general, inkjet printers require a steady stream of electricity. Now if you completely disconnect your inkjet printer from electricity, for example by using a power strip that can be switched off, the printer will go through a cleaning cycle once electricity is back. If repeated on a daily basis, this procedure not only costs energy, but also tons of ink.

To save energy, turn your printer on only when you need it! And to keep the ink from drying out, turn the printer off manually. Don’t use the power strip! Using the manual on/off button activates a program and the printer will properly “park” the ink cartridges. In the park position the ink is protected from drying out quickly. (Read all their tips at

5 Start Support offers a few less common, general purpose tips:

Ensure that the tape that seals the cartridge ink port is removed prior to installing the cartridge.

Use the printer’s own self-test, according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. If it fails, you have verified that the problem is within the printer. If the print head is not moving at all, the transport motor may have failed.

If the printer that you are using is not set as the default printer in Windows or the printer driver is not installed, the printer may print garbled characters. You may also receive errors when you attempt to print from applications.

If the printer passes the self-test, try a test print using the Print Screen capability within DOS. If the Print Screen fails, you know the problem is in the relationship between the printer and the computer. Inspect the cable and the cable connections. Replacing the cable with a known good cable is worth trying since cables are so frequently the source of printer problems. Cables can fail with broken wires, loose or broken pins, or incorrect pin-outs.

The message “out of paper” is sometimes erroneously reported when there is plenty of paper, and can indicate a physical problem with the printer.

If the printer port is not properly identified in CMOS, the printer may not function properly and you may receive errors when trying to print. Check your User’s Guide on how to enter CMOS. Once in the Setup utility, locate the LPT1 settings. The address setting for the LPT1 port should be 3BCh or 378h depending on what kind of video card you have. The IRQ setting for the port should be 7 and LPT1 should be enabled in order for the printer to print correctly. (More tips at

That last tip is especially relevant if you are using a parallel-port cable to connect your printer to your computer. USB and Firewire connected printers should be recognized by the operating system without making you dig through your IRQ settings.

And that tip about removing the tape from the cartridge print head? We must get at least one call a week on that exact topic. It’s an easy mistake to make if you’re in a hurry or not used to installing cartridges.

Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to pass along to our readers? Please include them in a comment to this article or email us at CW San Diego.

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5 things to keep in mind when buying a new printer

HP LaserJet 1012
Image via Wikipedia

There is no fixed season for new printer purchasing. Printer manufacturers don’t have any particular time of year set aside to introduce their new models. Some manufacturers introduce a new printer once a year, others bring out several new models a year. The decision to buy a new printer is going to be based on your needs and the condition of your current printer. From what we’ve seen, the average life expectancy of a new inkjet printer is about 2 years. Since inkjet printers are not made to be repaired, if your inkjet printer breaks you really have no alternative but to replace it (and recycle your broken printer). Laserjet printers are designed with repair in mind and replacement parts are usually available. But these days the cost of parts and labor can exceed the value of the printer. In those cases replacing the printer may be a better decision financially than repairing your broken machine. We would generally advise a customer to reuse their old machine, but with an appreciation of financial reality, we understand that doesn’t always make the best fiscal sense. Still, we encourage anyone replacing their current printer to find a way to recycle it rather than throwing it in the trash.

So you’ve decided it’s time to but a new printer. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you commit to a specific model or brand.

1. What type of printing will the new printer be doing as its primary task?

This is the most important question of any you need to consider before deciding which printer to buy.

Will you be printing photographs or color copies? Then unless you are willing to spend a few hundred dollars for a color laser printer you’ll be looking for an inkjet printer. Inkjets produce the best color prints for a reasonable price per page. If you only intend to print out documents and forms and have no need for color printing, then you should consider the various models of personal laserjet printers being marketed today. These are smaller than the typical office laserjet and while the single cartridge may set you back $40 or more, that cartridge will produce, on average, ten times more pages than an inkjet cartridge, so your cost-per-page is a tenth of that printing with ink.

2. How often will you be printing?

If you print something at least every couple of weeks then either an inkjet or laserjet will be useful to you. However, if you’re only going to use your printer for a few weeks every year you’d be better off considering only a laserjet. Laser printers use powdered toner which isn’t subject to drying or evaporating. You can leave a laser printer alone for 3 months, come back and run a perfect print. That isn’t going to happen with the majority of inkjet printers. Laserjet printers are subject to humidity, though. The toner in a laser cartridge kept in a humid atmosphere will clump up and be unavailable for printing. This can be remedied by gently shaking or rocking the cartridge back and forth to break up the toner clumps. At worst clumped up toner is a waste; toner clumps cannot damage your printer. Ink cartridges left too long without being used will most likely form hard blocks of dried ink on the printhead. This can sometimes be cleared up but most often requires replacing the cartridge.

3. Is printing vitally important to you or something you only do once in a while?

The more important printing is to you, the more attention you should pay to all the capabilities of your next printer. If you do a great deal of printing, you want to minimize costs as much as possible while ensuring the highest quality of output available. You’ll want to purchase your printer from a retailer who offers a solid warranty and good service-after-the-sale. If printing is a casual practice and you don’t need all the bells-and-whistles of a high-end printer, watch for sales at the big box electronics retail stores and even scout out your local thrift stores. Older printers and discontinued models may meet your needs and save you quite a bit of money.

4. Where will your printer be located and how many computers will be using the printer?

One of the capabilities being built-in to newer printers, both ink and laser, is wireless connectivity. Previously, if you wanted to connect your printer to a wireless network, you had to purchase a separate print server, a nasty piece of hardware that usually proved difficult to configure and nearly impossible to use without problems. I used to work for D-Link on the help desk, and I’d say the most difficult calls we had to handle dealt with print servers. No one is happier to see the end of these devices. Printers with built-in wireless capabilities are simple to set up and deploy. It’s not much harder than adding another computer to your network. A wireless-capable networked printer is available to any computer within range of the router. You could have your printer in one office and send print jobs to it from any other office in your business or any room in your house.

Another alternative is a wired network printer. Many newer laser printers have an ethernet card built-in to the chassis and can be added to your network by simply connecting a standard RJ-45 ethernet cable from the router to the printer. This means that the printer will need to be located within cable length of the router, usually 6-15′.

One advantage to a wired printer is security. If for any reason you are sending print jobs to the printer that should be kept secure from possibly being intercepted by an unauthorized 3rd party, you’ll want to have a wired connection to the router for both your computer and printer. Any data sent wirelessly to a router or printer can be compromised by being intercepted en route. For the average user this isn’t much of a concern. But if you deal with sensitive data or any information that shouldn’t be exposed to the risk of interception, it’s something to keep in mind.

5. What is going to be the cost of consumables?

The initial cost of the printer is not the only expense you’ll be incurring over the lifetime of your printer. You need to factor in the cost of consumables, primarily ink/toner and paper, as well. With each new generation of printer the manufacturers are shrinking the volume of ink and toner in their cartridges. This makes sense when you consider they make little or no profit off the sales of the printer but instead have chosen to make most of their profit from the sales of cartridges. To increase profits they need to make you buy cartridges more frequently. This is most easily accomplished by reducing the amount of ink and toner in the cartridges so you’ll have to replace them more often. It’s true they have also reduced the price of many of their newest cartridges, but the price reduction doesn’t always reflect the amount of toner or ink in the cartridge. Your new cartridge may cost $2 less than the ones you used to buy, but you’re often only getting half the ink that was in those older cartridges.

While we can’t help you reduce the cost of the paper you buy for your printer, we can help you control the cost of ink and/or laser cartridges. On average remanufactured cartridges from CW San Diego cost from 30-45% less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of original cartridges. Our cartridges are filled with quality ink and toner manufactured for your specific printer, and all of our products are guaranteed for the life of the cartridge. We offer you a no-risk way to reduce the cost of ink and toner cartridges.

We encourage our customers to call us before and even while they shop for a new printer. We can let you know our prices for the cartridges required for your new printer, allowing you to make an informed decision about which printer best meets your needs.

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Digital copiers put personal information at risk

We’ve mentioned on our blog how fax machines that use a film roll, primarily Brother and Panasonic fax machines that use film in place of a laser or ink cartridge, keep what is essentially a carbon copy of every fax that goes through the machine. This can put personal information, both yours and your customer’s, at risk of exposure to identity thieves.

Now CBS News shows how digital copiers can pose a similar risk.

At a warehouse in New Jersey, 6,000 used copy machines sit ready to be sold. CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports almost every one of them holds a secret.

Nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive – like the one on your personal computer – storing an image of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by the machine.

In the process, it’s turned an office staple into a digital time-bomb packed with highly-personal or sensitive data.

If you’re in the identity theft business it seems this would be a pot of gold.

“The type of information we see on these machines with the social security numbers, birth certificates, bank records, income tax forms,” John Juntunen said, “that information would be very valuable.”

“Nobody wants to step up and say, ‘we see the problem, and we need to solve it,’” Juntunen said.

This past February, CBS News went with Juntunen to a warehouse in New Jersey, one of 25 across the country, to see how hard it would be to buy a used copier loaded with documents. It turns out … it’s pretty easy.

Juntunen picked four machines based on price and the number of pages printed. In less than two hours his selections were packed and loaded onto a truck. The cost? About $300 each.

Until we unpacked and plugged them in, we had no idea where the copiers came from or what we’d find.

We didn’t even have to wait for the first one to warm up. One of the copiers had documents still on the copier glass, from the Buffalo, N.Y., Police Sex Crimes Division.

It took Juntunen just 30 minutes to pull the hard drives out of the copiers. Then, using a forensic software program available for free on the Internet, he ran a scan – downloading tens of thousands of documents in less than 12 hours.

The results were stunning: from the sex crimes unit there were detailed domestic violence complaints and a list of wanted sex offenders. On a second machine from the Buffalo Police Narcotics Unit we found a list of targets in a major drug raid.

The third machine, from a New York construction company, spit out design plans for a building near Ground Zero in Manhattan; 95 pages of pay stubs with names, addresses and social security numbers; and $40,000 in copied checks.

But it wasn’t until hitting “print” on the fourth machine – from Affinity Health Plan, a New York insurance company, that we obtained the most disturbing documents: 300 pages of individual medical records. They included everything from drug prescriptions, to blood test results, to a cancer diagnosis. A potentially serious breach of federal privacy law.

“You’re talking about potentially ruining someone’s life,” said Ira Winkler. “Where they could suffer serious social repercussions.”

Winkler is a former analyst for the National Security Agency and a leading expert on digital security.

“You have to take some basic responsibility and know that these copiers are actually computers that need to be cleaned up,” Winkler said.

If you own a digital copier you owe it to yourself and your customers to read the full article. Don’t let your electronics compromise your security.

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Intoducing the CW San Diego Community

CW San Diego is pleased to announce the grand opening of our forum, The CW San Diego Community.

We are providing the forum as a place for our customers and others who may be interested in learning more about ink and laser printers, as well as computers, to ask questions and share knowledge.

Initially we have set up categories based on the most frequent questions we are asked by our customers on a daily basis. Obviously most of the questions they have center around printers and cartridges, but since most printers are attached to computers, they frequently have questions regarding computers as well.

I have worked as a help desk tech for both Gateway computers and D-Link and have been involved in PC help forums for over 7 years. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned in that time, and a forum is the most practical method to accomplish that. You can search for a particular topic years after it was first posted. Topic titles make finding specific information much easier.

Some of you may have looked into forums before only to be turned off by the attitudes of the other members. There are may poorly moderated forums on the internet. We will do our best to make sure that our forum remains a family-friendly site where no one has to feel intimidated or hesitant to ask any question they have.

I hope any of you who are interested will check out our forum and join in the conversations. A forum is only as dynamic as its members, so for a while things may seem rather dull there. This will change with the addition of more members. Please invite your friends, family and co-workers to join up and become contributors.

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Solving hardware issues with software (drivers)

2008 nme - 024 - chuck trying to install lexma...
Image by bpende via Flickr

One practice we frequently employed on help desks was to insist that the caller first go and download and install the latest driver for their hardware before we attempted to troubleshoot their issue.

This wasn’t done to get them off the phone. It was a valid attempt to solve their issue.

The disk that comes with your printer was most likely created months before your printer was packaged and sent to the retail store where you bought it. By the time you go to install the drivers on the disk into your computer they could be over a year old. During that year other owners reported issues they had to the printer manufacturer, the manufacturer’s engineers re-wrote the drivers to correct those problems, and the manufacturer made these updated drivers available on their website. Windows 7′s recent release will also have caused new drivers to be written in order for your printer to work with this new operating system.

This is why we recommend that when you encounter odd behavior or other issues with your printer, before you do anything else in an attempt to fix those issues, go to the manufacturer’s website, look for the Support section and download and install the latest drivers for your printer and operating system. That alone may very well solve your problems.

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