Business in Vancouver: News that works for you

    Strydent Inksaver

    by Alan Zisman (c) 2002 First published in Toronto Computes ,  January, 2003

    Early in the 20th century, King Gillette established his company's name and market share by selling razors cheap. He made his company's fortune selling the replacement blades.

    Printers seem to get cheaper and cheaper to buy, selling for as little as $79 or so. But all that means is that when it's time to replace the ink cartridges, you can easily end up paying more for a set of ink cartridges than you did for your printer.

    Sales of replacement ink cartridges total over $17 billion a year; Hewlett-Packard's ink cartridge sales equal that company's profits. Consumers looking for savings on ink have generated $3 billion worth of sales of no-name brand cartridges and refillable kits.

    Strydent Inksaver packageIf you're unhappy with an ink-guzzling printer, Strydent Software can help. The 35-person Burnaby, B.C.-based company offers a $52 (about the cost of one ink cartridge) InkSaver utility, which works with the printer drivers of many (but not all -- check the company Web site to see if your printer is supported) popular printer models, to allow users to fine-tune their printer's ink consumption.

    By default, most printers let users choose between standard (and in some cases high) and draft mode, saving on ink but also resulting in noticeably poorer print quality. The InkSaver installer prints out a test page, showing the effect of different levels of ink use for both text and graphics. Users can pick the levels they prefer, separately for the black and colour cartridges. The program allows users to either confirm the ink settings for each print job, or to set them once and forget about them. A clever calculator built into the dialogue box shows how much money is saved on ink costs.

    Inksaver dialogueObviously, putting less ink on a page will be noticeable, but I found that on my text-heavy print-outs, settings saving 25 to 40 per cent of the ink were hard to distinguish from pages printed with no ink-reduction. Photo printing, however, showed a noticeable loss of quality with anything more than a minimal reduction in ink use.

    Test it for yourself -- Strydent offers a downloadable 15-day free trial version.

    More INFO
    US$35 (about CDN$52)
    Strydent Software

    Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
    20 MB available hard drive space

    List of compatible printers is available on the Web site.

    Buy Strydent Inksaver from

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan