Maintaining workplace comfort

Maintaining workplace comfort

Everyone's in the office for longer these days, aren't they? The standard nine-to-five a thing of the past, it's becoming increasingly common for workers to be putting in ten-hour shifts or even more just to get stuff done.

But while all this extra time sat at the desk is likely to make your employer think the world of you, it can't be all that good for your health.

And that's not just your mental health but your physical health too. Sitting down for long periods can sap your energy, straining joints and muscles and being an all-round not-very-good-thing.

Thankfully, help is at hand. We're no experts, but here's some useful ways you can ensure your body and mind stay fresh at work.


Give me a break

Breaks will be factored in to your working day by your employer but you can also make sure you keep yourself supple and alert by taking little mini breaks throughout the day.

Now, we're in no way suggesting you skive off, just make sure you get a minute to stretch your legs here and there.

Why not stick your printer at the other end of the room – an excuse to go for an extended jaunt whenever you need a print-out, get the blood circulating. Or head for a quick walk outside. It might only be for a few minutes, but you'd be amazed at how fresh you'll feel.


Stretch!

Turn the office into your very own gym! Why not practice a few simple exercises – some pulls, push-ups, press-ups and stretches.

You could do it after your lunch or as you approach the mid-afternoon. If you're short of space in the office, have you thought about joining a gym close to work and nipping out on your lunch?


Switch it up

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. To that end, sitting at the desk all day isn't good for you. Think about the tasks you can do to get you out of your seat. Offer to collect the mail from the foyer or answer the phone.


De-stress

Struggling to maintain a decent work-life balance? Work getting a little too much? There are lots of things you can do to aid your mental wellbeing.

Have you thought about cycling to work? Great idea – gets you out and about and freshens you up ahead of the working day.

If the office politics is all getting a bit too much, how about a swift pint after work with a colleague – have a good moan.

If you feel you'd like to see your family a little more, consider asking your employer if you can work from home. Lots of companies are offering flexible working these days.

These are little things – but you'd be really surprised at how they can make your working day that bit more bearable.

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How to clean up spilled ink

3 Common Printer Problems and How to Fix Them

Printer ink is lovely stuff – when it's on paper making its glorious marks and providing you with that print-out of your first novel about pirates, the perfect recipe for yoghurt scones you waited so long to find or those holiday snaps from Thailand you kept meaning to make hard copies of.

But ink on your nice new carpet? Not so much.

Unless you're going for an interesting, arty new type of carpet design (and who are we to judge?), the chances are that if you've managed to put ink on a carpet this was not intentional and you have our sympathy.

Make yourself some bubbly water using a dash of Fairy Liquid (other mythical-being-based liquids are available!). But don't try to find a rubber duck to play with at this point – there'll be plenty of opportunity for that later.

In order to do this, we recommend taking the cool water from the cold tap. Please follow this route, rather than waiting for hot tap water to cool down. Likewise boiling a kettle, then putting ice cubes into the freshly boiled water until it reaches the right temperature is not recommended.

Honestly, you're best off using the cold tap (we're here to help).

Facing up to the pool of ink, get rid of any puddled ink without adding water, until you're left with just the patch that needs the aid of a little of the wet stuff. However, don't make the ink patch bigger than it was before at this point.

It's now a case of doing your best with the remaining ink via the revolutionary method of a dampened cloth.

If you're lucky, a little bit of elbow grease will mean that your carpet is spared the embarrassment of taking on a new hue that might not suit it!

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Ink cartridge full... Printer says no

Ink cartridge full. Printer says no

Sometimes - and beat us, we don't know why this happens - ink cartridges suddenly decide to start playing up.

If you find that your prints are blotchy and jarred, but the cartridge isn't empty, your beloved printer may have fallen prey to patchy ink syndrome (OK we made that condition up, but you get the gist).

Here's some possible reasons for patchy ink even when your cartridge isn't anywhere near empty.

You've just changed your ink or toner cartridge

On buying a new ink cartridge, it might not work when you first put it into the printer. This can be for a number of reasons – it's a new cartridge, for example, or there's a problem with the print head.

The best thing to do is give the ink cartridges a right good shake first off - honestly, this usually works! But if it doesn't, it could be for one of these other reasons.

There's something up with the print head

Problems with print heads usually happen when old cartridges are taken out, because air can enter the print head, disrupting the ink flow.  However, this isn't a biggie.

Nearly all printers will have a 'clean print head' function built in to them - have a read through your printer's manual or fiddle around on the menu screen (that's what we'd do) to find out how you can access it.

The clean print head utility flushes the fresh ink through – you might find you need to run it a few times, though.  Another issue is that you might find there's something lodged in the print head somewhere that's affecting a proper flow of ink.  Grab hold of some tweezers and remove the offending blockage.

Remember too that print heads are sensitive, so make sure you treat them with care.

You're neglecting your printer

Have you fallen out with your printer? Haven't spoken to her for a while? Not printing regularly is a common cause of problem prints because the ink can dry up.

You don't have to start printing like a madman, but consider running a few sample prints every couple of weeks or so, just to keep things ticking over.

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How schools can set up a printer recycling initiative

How schools can set up a printer recycling initiative

Want to set up a recycling initiative at your school but not sure how to get going? Well we've put together a little guide that gives you some pointers.


Why recycle?

Why recycle at all? Simple: it's great for the environment. And it's a particularly good idea for schools to encourage recycling because it instils some green practices in young people from an early age.


Getting started

Get people involved

A project such as a recycling programme requires support from all over the school – from senior management, to chefs, to parents and pupils.

Find out who's passionate about recycling in your school and hold an initial meeting. From there, a good idea is to assemble a core team and assign them specific roles.

A great way to get pupils involved is to appointing recycling 'champions' – say one pupil for each year group who can be the mouthpiece of the project.

Think about involving parents too – you could promote the scheme to them via a newsletter and encourage pupils to tell their mums and dads about it.


What will you recycle?

Decide what you can recycle. Think printers, ink and toner cartridges, other plastics, paper, batteries and clothing.


Get some equipment

Now you need some kit. Recycling bins can be bought quite cheaply and you might even be able to negotiate something with your council or waste management provider.

Some signage and posters would be good too, and you could even consider some branded clothing for your recycling champions?


Roll it out

OK  - you've got your team, you know what you can recycle and you've got the equipment to do it – it's action stations.

Consider either a recycling point in every room or, if resources are a little tight, placed at key parts of your school. There will be places where the number of bits for recycling are high – such as computer and printer room and, of course, classrooms.

Another good idea is to put both rubbish bins and recycling bins together – to encourage people to recycle at the same time they come to throw something away.


Timetable

Ensure you set up a rota so that your recycling bins are emptied on a regular basis. One idea might be to ask your recycling champions to organise a team of recyclers to do this – another great way to get pupils involved.

You could even consider a month-long trial to gauge the success of the project. This way, you'll be able to work out if you need to make an changes – such as more recycling bins or better promotion of the initiative.

Implementing a recycling programme in school requires a bit of initial hard work, but the benefits really pay off. You'll go from a school that throws away most of its rubbish to one that recycles almost everything it can.

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OEM cartridge prices 'rising quickly'

OEM cartridge prices 'rising quickly'

Have you noticed that buying ink cartridges from brand-name manufacturers has got rather expensive recently?

The price of ink cartridges from OEMs (that's original equipment manufacturers to you and me) is rising at a steady pace, according to a new study by tech website PCWorld, with Lexmark and Kodak identified as the main offenders.

According to PC World's Melissa Riofrio, between 2009 and today, the cost-per-page of some manufacturers' inks has risen by as much as 30 per cent.

 "About eight months ago, I began noticing that ink cartridge prices for some models were going up – sometimes sharply," she wrote.

"When I dug deeper, I also saw that the price increases seemed to be selective: Some inks went up; others stayed the same; and one even dipped slightly."

 

Biggest hikes

The study found that Lexmark and Kodak were responsible for the biggest rise in price hikes, with Epson also pushing up the cost of its colour inks.

"Meanwhile, HP seems to be nudging ink costs upward in its newer models," Ms Riofrio said.

PCWorld based its findings on its reviews of printers, when it also prices-in the cost of the cartridges.

Emerging in a positive light out of the review was Kodak, whose inks remain among the least expensive on the market.

However, Ms Riofrio found that within the last year the company has raised prices on all of its supplies with big jumps in the cost of black ink.

 

Of the two other big vendors, Brother and Dell, the study couldn’t find sufficient data.

"Brother's inks are sold by third parties, and their prices can vary widely. Dell's prices seem to be stable for the few printers we've reviewed; however, their inks tend to be among the priciest in cost per page," Ms Diofrio said.

So is there any end to this apparent spot of inkflation (sorry...)? In the current climate, it would seem not.

Printer makers know they make their money on consumables, so it may be some time before they start to come down.


One alternative is to think about refilled, recycled and remanufactured inks. Browse our store to see what we sell and take a look at our feature that discusses their differences.

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Don't leave your holiday photos on the computer

Don't leave your holiday photos on the computer

Digital cameras are amazing inventions and have made being a keen amateur photographer that little bit easier.

There's no more waiting weeks for your pics only to find they are all blurry or that your thumb was in front of the lens, you can snap and delete, snap and delete until you have an image you are happy with. 

But then what happens to these perfect images? More often than not we just leave them languishing on the memory card or if they are lucky they may get put in a folder on the family PC or uploaded into a digital album on Facebook. 

We think that's a bit of a shame and wish that more people (ourselves included!) took the time and effort to get photos printed to pop in frames or albums so they can be shared and enjoyed rather than forgotten about. 

And it's so easy to get the photos printed off – you can even do it in your own home and if you invest in some proper photo printer paper no one will know the difference. 

We've got packs of premium glossy photo quality paper for as little as £1.79 a pack if you multi-buy ten or more. And let's face it, most people probably have a good few years worth of images stored up!

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Tell us what you think!

Tell us what you think!

Love us? Hate us? Somewhere in between? That's OK - your feedback is really important to us, and we accept it all here at INKredible - however it comes.

So no matter what you want to tell us - that we're fantastic, that we're sexy (steady on now), that we could do a bit better, we always want to hear from you.

At the moment we've nearly 2,000 reviews from real customers, the majority of whom tell us they're really, really happy with our service (you can see all the most recent feedback on our homepage).

We love to hear from our community of customers and we're always open to new ideas. And we work through all feedback that comes through to us, ensuring we address any issues that come up.

How to leave feedback
Shortly after you've received your order you will receive an email from our friends over at eKomi asking what you think of us, simply follow the instructions on the email to let us know.

Alternatively simply click on the 'feedback' tab that sits across the right-hand side of each page on our website. From there, you can report an error or leave general feedback with us.

The main things we're interested in are:

That your order was processed with care, quickly and efficiently, and that you got it in super-quick time
Site navigation – is it easy to work your way around the INKredible site? It should be! But if not, we want to know why
Support – we're working hard to create a dedicated support section – so our site is also a go-to support centre for printer and consumables queries. That's because we want you come to use for useful ink, toner and printer information –as well as buying your consumable with us


Alternatively
If there's something else you'd like to talk to use about, or you just prefer it this way, give us a ring or fill out an online form.
And if you're looking for a refund, check this blog out that tells you how to go about it.

Go on, tell us what you think. We're big boys, we can handle it!

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Best practice: Getting the most from your printer

Best practice: Getting the most from your printer

Printers - they cost a ruddy arm and a leg, don't they? All the more reason to keep them in tip-top shape then! While it might be easy to simply place your printer on the desktop and leave it untouched, a little best practice and TLC can make your printer last well into its old age, says Tom Coley.

General care and maintenance

While there are some online guides that suggest you should be as fastidious when it comes to cleaning your printer as when you brush your teeth, at INKredible we're not so demanding.

We recognise that you can't be cleaning your device every five minutes - which is why a little regular care to keep things nicely ticking over is more important than any kind of obsessive maintenance.

A good marker is to give your printer a once-over every month or so. Just a general inspection and a spring clean.

Get hold of some proper printer cleaner or even a printer cleaning kit. While it might be tempting just to stick some washing up liquid in a bucket and use a cloth, a little investment in a proper cleaning product is a good idea. And if you use it sparingly, it should last ages.

Stick some printer solution on a cloth and wipe the outside of your printer – and remember to always turn your printer off at the mains before you clean it or look inside it.

Perform a simple maintenance check by opening the hood and checking all the inside parts are looking OK. You can also clean these parts too – we recommend consulting the printer manufacturer's guidelines for how best to clean its inner parts though.

And when your printer isn't in use, there's lots of printer covers you can buy to keep your machine snug as a bug!

Getting what you want from your printer – prints and photos

Right – on to the business end of things. Making sure your printer is printing as effectively as possible.

You'd be surprised how a little tinkering can help you really improve your prints.

Optimising for photo printing

How to make your photo prints better? It's really not that difficult – you've got nearly all you need at your fingertips.

While it's easy just to bring up a photo and send it to print on default settings, there are a number of adjustments you can make to your printer's settings that can really help.

Access the settings panel and take a look at things like quality, resolution, format, size, and colour and see how they affect your print-outs – maybe even print a few sample pages to compare differences.

As an example – take a look at the different printing modes you can use. For standard mono prints you're best off  with 'draft' or 'standard' mode (its name depending on printer but you get the gist). But by switching to 'best' or 'optimum' you'll notice a big difference.

And you needn't use up loads of unnecessary ink. When it comes to printing something standard, switch back to draft mode and you'll recoup a bit of ink.

We also have a range of guides on printer and monitor calibration we think you'll find useful – why not check them out.

Technical issues

Sadly, printers occasionally break down or decide to stop working randomly. But before you pick up your printer and throw it through the nearest window, hang on a sec – you will probably find the problem is entirely fixable.

Take a look at our dedicated set of support topics – we're pretty sure you'll find a guide that'll troubleshoot your problem.

Software updates and online support

Keep an eye out on your printer manufacturer's website for any important updates that are released.

One of the most important are printer drivers, which help your computer communicate with your printer – so they're really key when it comes to photo printing. These are released fairly regularly, so be sure to check now and again. You'll find driver updates really do improve the productivity of your printer in the long run.

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Need a refund? No problemo

Need a refund? No problemo

Need a refund, huh? OK – straight to the back of the queue!

Nah – we're not like that at INKredible. While we make it our key priority to ensure all our products are shipped on time and in perfect working order, we know that on very rare occasions the odd one does slip through the net.

We want you to stay with us as customers – which is why excellent service, before and after purchase, is at the heart of all we do.

So here's a useful guide to what you can do if something's not quite right with your INKredible order.

 

Technical issue 

You hook up your new ink cartridge to your brand new printer, send a document to print and…there's a click, a funny whirr and a sort-of strange clacking sound. Apparently it's all a bit, well, broken. 

While your product might be faulty, don't rule out a technical issue. We'd encourage you first to take a look at our blog, FAQ and help sections. There's plenty of information on here covering a range of topics – from printer calibration to paper jams. 

It might be there's some useful bit of troubleshooting info on there that you can use to sort it all out and be back printing quality prints and documents in no time!

It really is faulty

OK, that odd whirr, annoying clack and funny click really do mean there's something wrong. 

No worries. Our super-friendly team (yep, even at 5pm on a Friday!) will be more than happy to assist you with any problems. Give them a bell on 0844 804 00 88 or fill out the online form here

They might be able to diagnose the problem. If not, they'll be happy to sort out a refund for you. Here's our ethos: If we can't identify of fix the problem you will be given the choice of a full refund or replacement goods. Can't say fairer than that. You won't pay an additional postage costs either. 

Change of heart 

Absolutely no problem. We often buy stuff we don't actually need (thinking of the toastie machine that's lying dormant in the INKredible kitchen). 

If you order the wrong product or change your mind and decide you don't want it, you're entitled to replacements or a refund to spend on more goodies.

 

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Printer security tips

Printer security tips

Think your printer isn't susceptible to security breaches? Think again, argues Tom Coley.

Printers aren't always the first device people think about when it comes to security protection – desktops, tablets and mobiles are more of a target, right?

Well, you'd be surprised, making it important that you take simple steps to protect the security of your printing set-up, whether you're a small business or a home user. 

We take a look through some of the possible threats and what you can do to combat the problem and protect your private data.


Possible threats

Did you know that your printer might, just like a computer, have a hard drive? Yep, it could, and it could have lots of sensitive information stored on it.

While it's unusual for a simple budget printer to have an internal storage system, it's possible that a sophisticated multifunction might – and here we have a potential security leak.

Last year, a news team in the US bought some used printers and reported all kinds of personal data stored on them.

The more advanced machines out there use internal hard drives to store data, meaning they could hold details of your print jobs, scans and faxes.

While this in itself might seem insignificant, if you throw out your printer, sell it or, unfortunately, it gets stolen, you could be unwittingly handing its new owner a wealth of personal information.

Now, if you're just printing out birthday invitations then you might not be too concerned, but what if you use your printer to produce your tax return, or write personal letters you wouldn't want anyone else to see?

 

In businesses, the problem can be exacerbated, especially if a company uses a network to host its bank of printers.

Here, if your network is left 'open', it could be open season for anyone wishing to gain access to your infrastructure. And if you've just been printing your annual accounts, that's unlikely to make you very happy.

There are other threats, too. The emergence of the cloud has given rise to a number of apps that allow users to send documents to print via the internet. While this is to be welcomed – it means you can print from more or less anywhere from a variety of devices –  it means your printer is accessible from the internet by, potentially, anyone.

 

So what can you do?

Because the issue of printer security is something of a neglected topic, it's not surprising many printer users simply don't think about the security of their device.

And if you don't print 'sensitive' documents, then you might not need to give it any more thought.

However, if you're interested in protecting your printer, take a look at the following tips:

First thing to do is find out if your printer actually has a hard drive. This can be a little like looking for a needle in a haystack though – the best way is to ask the printer maker. Failing that, your printer's manual might be able to tell you.

If it does, there are a number of things you can do to make your device secure. If the hard drive is removable, you can simply open up the printer and take it out. If selling the printer, you could simply destroy the hard drive.

Alternatively, and if you've got a bit of technical nous, you could connect the hard drive to a PC and remove any files. This is a good idea if you want to 'clean' your printer on a regular basis.

When it comes to networks, one simple way to protect these is to implement a password system. This would make your infrastructure much harder to crack.

Importantly, ensure you change the password on a regular basis – as you're supposed to with your email accounts. (No, we don't either...)

While it might seem like all this is a bit too much like hard work, if you print sensitive documents often it simply makes good sense to ensure the information is protected.

 

You don't want every man and his dog knowing about your private life - so why let them.

 

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