Cheap Ink? Say It's So!

Prints for Pennies

Illustration: Gordon Studer
The Buzz: Line up all the pages you could print using a gallon of ink, and you'd get almost as far as you would on a gallon of gasoline. Unfortunately, that gallon of ink would cost upwards of $3500. And you thought gas prices were out of control. Well, Kodak aims to change that with its new line of EasyShare all-in-one inkjet printers that make use of cheaper pigment-based ink and special paper. (For a detailed discussion of Kodak's reentry into the full-size printer market, see Danny Allen's Print Shop column, "Kodak Announces New Multifunction Inkjet Printers.") Kodak says a color cartridge for one of the new models will go for $15, or a little over half the cost of most competing inks. That should drive the cost of printing a 4 by 6 photo down from 25 cents to around 10 cents. A black ink cartridge good for 300 pages will retail for $10, compared with competing offerings priced at about $17.

Bottom Line: We'll have to wait and see how the output looks before we can render a final verdict; still, any news of cheaper printer ink--from a company as solid as Kodak, no less--is always welcome.

External PCI Express

The Buzz: Thanks to a new PCI Express spec, your next graphics card might reside in a box outside your PC. This February, the PCI Express Special Interest Group approved its first external cabling specification, which means system builders can bring the full speed of PCI Express x16 to external peripherals up to 10 feet away. With high-end graphics boards approaching 200 watts per card, the power and cooling demands they put on a system have become enormous. Gamers should quickly embrace this technology to move high-end graphics setups outside the PC case--even though such solutions could cost as much as $1200. External graphics boxes, with cooling and a power supply built in, should start arriving this year, yielding some interesting new designs.

Bottom Line: Imagine having a one-box PVR upgrade with a tuner and a hard drive, or a Mac Mini-size PC that morphs into a gaming rig, thanks to external graphics. External PCI Express should make both of them possible.

Campaigning 2.0

The Buzz: Bloggers, Internet polling, and MoveOn.org each had their moment in the sun during 2004's presidential election. Three years later, it's clear the Internet will play an even larger role in the 2008 campaign. Staff bloggers now are nearly a requirement for presidential campaigns. And with socially filtered news sites and a burgeoning political blogosphere ready to seize on any misstep (and YouTube around to make the gaffes available in full audiovisual glory), the stakes at any public appearance have never been higher.

Bottom Line: If you thought political debate couldn't get any more high-minded, just wait till the first text message from a campaign leaks: OMG LOL, you call that policy?!

What's Next For Windows

Having finally shipped Windows Vista after years of development, Microsoft may feel its programmers are due a nice, long vacation. Hence, perhaps, the code names for the next major releases on the Windows road map: Fiji and Vienna. Microsoft won't say much about them, but observers point to Fiji as an interim release--either a service pack for Vista slated for the end of the year, or a larger Vista revision set for 2008. Vista's true successor won't arrive until 2009 at the very earliest, when Microsoft tentatively plans to roll out Vienna. According to Windows watcher Paul Thurrot, Vienna will be 64-bit only and should have a new Internet Explorer (designed by the team that created Office 2007's ribbon), an increased focus on virtualization, and (finally) the long-delayed file system update known as WinFS.

Here\Now

  1. Coolit Eliminator: Self-contained processor water cooling system installs in 10 minutes.
  2. Clipmarks: Grab the best bits of a Web page to blog about or save for later.
  3. Cuts: This beta online video editor allows you to remix clips from YouTube, Google, and MySpace.
  4. Dual-flip: Samsung's SCH-u740 dual-hinge cell phone is one of the cooler handsets to hit Verizon in years.
  5. Ning: Ever wanted to have your own social network? Ning will let you build one.

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