Designed for on-demand poster, wall décor and indoor display graphics applications, the Epson SureColor P10000 and P20000 stand out among Epson’s family of Pro-Graphics printers by setting a new benchmark for high-production imaging excellence. Incorporating Epson's latest imaging technologies, they include the all-new, high-performance 2.6" Epson PrecisionCore MicroTFP printhead and next-generation Epson UltraChrome PRO 9-color pigment ink set. Capable of printing high-quality images at phenomenal production speeds, the SureColor P10000/ P20000 are ideal for high-volume printmaking.
Great Savings Through September 30, 2018:
Purchase an Epson SureColor P10000 44 inch production printer and you will receive a $750.00 instant rebate and a free second year warranty extension - for a total savings of $2,675.00 off the retail price!
Purchase an Epson SureColor P20000 64 inch production printer and you will receive a $1750.00 instant rebate and a free second year warranty extension - for a total savings of $4,175.00 off the retail price!
Buy 3 packages or rolls of Epson Signature Worthy and/ or Legacy media - including the popular Luster, Cold and Hot Press, Exhibition Fiber, most Epson canvases and all of the Legacy media - and get reimbursed for the cost the least expensive item via mail-in rebate. For complete details, please download the Epson rebate form for this promotion.
For a listing of eligible Epson Signature Worthy media, please click this link.
This offer is valid through September 30, 2018!
Fast and Affordable Desktop and Notebook PCs
(Top) We've identified a few PC desktops and notebooks that provide the excellent performance at a reasonable price. They have either AMD Ryzen or Intel 8th generation processors. And they all have solid state drives that give an extra performance boost.
The base model desktop in this list is a small form factor computer - the Lenovo ThinkCentre M715 - it includes an AMD Ryzen 7-1700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 13,813, 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $999.00.
Another Ryzen small form factor is the Lenovo ThinkCentre M715 - it includes an AMD Ryzen 7-1700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 13,813, 8GB of memory, a 512GB SSD and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,089.00.
A small form factor PC with an 8th generation Intel i7 processor is the HP EliteDesk 800 - that includes an Intel i7-8700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 15,222, 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,219.00.
A tower PC with an 8th generation Intel i7 is the Dell Optiplex 7060 - that includes an Intel i7-8700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 15,222, 16GB of memory, a 256GB SSD and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,239.00.
A tower PC with an 8th generation Intel i7 is the HP EliteDesk 800 - that includes an Intel i7-8700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 15,222, 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,249.00.
A new workstation class tower with lots of free bays and PCIe slots is the Lenovo ThinkStation P330 - that includes an Intel i7-8700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 15,222, 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,109.00.
A faster workstation class tower is the Lenovo ThinkStation P330 - that includes an Intel i7-8700K, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 15,974, 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,109.00.
Lenovo ThinkPad E580 that includes an Intel i7-8550U, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 8,114, 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display and a 1 year warranty. It's currently priced at $979.00
HP ProBook 450 G5 that includes an Intel i7-8550U, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 8,114, 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display and a 1 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,009.00
HP ZBook Mobile Workstation 15V G5 that includes an Intel i7-8750H, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 12,549, 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display and a 1 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,289.00
Dell Latitude 5590 that includes an Intel i7-8550U, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 9,175, 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display and a 1 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,319.00
HP ProBook 650 G5 that includes an Intel i7-8850H, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 13,293, 16GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display and a 3 year warranty. It's currently priced at $1,589.00
In 1996, Rose Stevens decided that she had had enough of her job as an insurance underwriter and that it was time for a career change. She started traveling to area craft fairs selling jigsaw puzzles out of a 10' X 10' tent. Since then Piece Time Puzzles, LLC has continued to grow in her brother-in-law’s barn on Route 4 in Northwood, New Hampshire.
After much discussion and planning, her husband, Mark, built a roller press so that they could manufacture their own line of puzzles, including Custom Puzzles from snapshots. Using Epson wide format printers to print the puzzles, the Piece Time Puzzles brand of custom puzzles began rolling off the press in the fall of 2005. Since then, Mark and Rose have been busy expanding the manufacturing end of the puzzle business by offering more sizes (up to 20 x 28 inches) and images. By working with local artists and photographers, Rose has been able to license hundreds of new puzzle images to the delight of puzzle-lovers all over the country.
What started as Rose’s hobby to relax after work has turned into a flourishing family business, even Maude, their standard poodle, enjoys coming to work in the morning. You can visit the shop and see for yourself how nifty puzzles can be. You can watch as puzzles are printed, mounted, cut and packaged or test your skills by trying the brainteasers that are on display. And, don’t forget to look at all of the jigsaw puzzles while you’re at Piece Time Puzzles!
Kenny Seeman is a long time customer at Tastar, moving from being a Heavy Metal musician, to working with very heavy metals, to doing the YouTube Heavy Metal Bar-B-Que Channel, that is flavored with a great dose of Pittsburghese. There's no better entertainment and enjoyment than barbecuing during a hot Pittsburgh summer.
As Kenny says on his channel:
"My channel,... just as the name says…. a mix of Heavy Metal... and Barbecue, the way I like it.
Heavy Metal…. LOUD and FAST!!!!! …..and Barbecue… LOW and SLOW!
This channel first started out with pictures. I just wanted to document the different techniques that I was using at a particular time. It has evolved into a video channel... and a channel that many people have taken the time to watch. This was intended solely for entertainment for me and a few of my friends, but we welcome anyone. All I'm doing is experimenting! I'm not saying…… do this…. or try this. I'm just saying ….This is what I'm having fun doing right now! There are plenty of channels out there that show you the proper and correct way to barbecue…… check them out! Me…I'm just doing My thing! HEAVY METAL STYLE!!!!!!!!!!"
Epson EcoTank Printers - Save up to 80% on Ink Costs!
There are a lot of reasons to upgrade your computer's hard disk drive (HDD) to a solid-state drive (SSD) - here are three:
Faster everything: SSDs can read and write information up to 10x faster than a mechanical hard disk drive - that means faster boot up, application launch times, application performance and data-retrieval.
Increased durability: SSDs are more resistant to shock, vibration, and movement - making them well-suited for portable devices that are subject to sudden knocks and bumps.
Improved efficiency: Since SSDs don't have moving parts, they require less energy to operate. Less energy = increased battery life = awesome.
From TJ (one of our customers, who has a 4 year old i7 desktop PC that we upgraded to an SSD):
"This computer is running like you put a turbo kit on a Lamborghini engine and shoved it in a Honda Civic! Thank you guys so much for everything you have done for me on this!"
He's an accomplished photojournalist - the credits on his website support this: "awards from organizations including Pictures of the Year International, Society of Professional Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association, National Headliners Awards, the Society for News Design, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, the Northern Short Course, the Southern Short Course, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Military Reporters and Editors Association, and the Western Pennsylvania Press Club. He was awarded Photographer of the Year by the News Photographer Association of Greater Pittsburgh four times and most recently was honored with the Keystone Press Awards 2016 Distinguished Visual Award from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association."
And, his most recent adventure is the role that he had in creating a film about the importance of language in basic human survival. The film, created by Duolingo, a Pittsburgh, PA based organization that provides a free science-based language education platform, premiered its first film, "Something Like Home" on Tuesday, June 19, at Pittsburgh's Kelly Strayhorn Theater. The documentary explores the role and importance that language plays in the lives of refugees from Syria.
Mr. Merriman has done a lot with and for his profession. We wish him continued success.
Epson America, a global leader in printing technology, and CIT Direct Capital, the national digital small business lending unit of CIT Group, announced a partnership to offer financing for commercial and digital print customers. This partnership will allow CIT Direct Capital to provide Epson customers a primary source of financing through a single point of contact. This will simplify Epson’s financing process by streamlining communication between equipment manufacturers, dealers and funding sources, creating a more straightforward customer experience.
“Epson strives to provide our customers with every avenue to success and provide support on all aspects of the purchase, from selecting the equipment, purchasing, maintenance, and warranty,” said Mark Mathews, vice president, Epson America, Inc. “Partnering with CIT Direct Capital provides the ability for Epson to offer a variety of acquisition methods to our customers, ensuring they can select the method that best fits their financial and business needs.”
• No money down: purchase your equipment today without impacting your cash flow.
• $99 payments for 6 months: out-of-pocket cost = $594 in first 6 months*.
• Flexible terms (12-72 months): find the monthly payment that works for your business.
(*First payment of $99 due in 30 days, followed by 5 additional $99 monthly payments. First full payment occurs in the seventh month and will include document fees. Total out-of-pocket cost of $594 in first 6 months. Offer available through June 30, 2018.)
Click this link to go to your CIT Direct Capital online application. Or, call us for more information.
Epson SureColor P5000 Achieves Imaging Excellence
(Top) 17-inch Desktop Photo Printer Awarded Accolades from Top Industry Associations and Publications
Epson continues to set the bar for professional imaging excellence with its award winning 17-inch Epson SureColor® P5000. Since going on sale in January of this year, the SureColor P5000 is designed to deliver enhanced performance, reliability and professional image quality for desktop photography, fine art, graphic design, and proofing applications. Over the past year, the SureColor P5000 has received a range of accolades from top photography associations and outlets, underscoring its impact on today’s photography and graphic design workflows. Highlights include:
TIPA Award: Best Photo Printer – Widely recognized as the most coveted photo and imaging awards worldwide
Professional Photographer Magazine: Hot Ones 2017 Product – Official magazine of Professional Photographers of America, recognizes the printer as one of the 2017 Hot Products for photographers
Rangefinder Magazine: Editors’ Choice 2017 Buyer’s Guide – Award-winning monthly magazine, and the official publication of Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), highlights the printer as a gear of the year for 2017
Digital Photo Pro Magazine: Editors’ Choice Best Photo Printer – A trusted source for the latest news on photography, the outlet recognized the printer in its annual Gear of the Year roundup and awarded it Editor’s Choice for best photo printer.
Now through September 30, 2018, save up to $450.00 on an Epson SureColor P5000 printer. Click this link for eligible printers or download the Epson rebate form for this offer.
The Less You Pay for a Printer, the More You Pay for Ink.
(Top) A review of Epson inkjet photo printers is a great example of this.
Off-the-Wall Graphics stands out when it comes to expert knowledge and reliable, excellent performance in custom silkscreen printing, embroidery and color separations. Located in Greensburg, PA, the company is owned and managed by husband and wife team, Steve and Anita Kozinko. Steve is the screen print manager and the color separation and screen creation artist. Unique in his ability to separate jobs into the best color combinations for the screen printing process, he rarely uses standard CMYK colors traditionally used for offset printing. With their precise Epson SureColor T3270 printer, Steve generates screens up to 80 lines per inch that are printed using water-based, discharge or standard inks and - voila! His output equals works of art.
The equally talented Anita supervises the embroidery department. A prominent bead artist, her works have been exhibited nationally and regionally. She was named a finalist in the 2017 BeadDreams annual competition for her entry of Mandalas - a bead embroidered adult coloring book, and she received the Craft Award for her “Ancient Lights” at this year's Westmoreland Art Nationals Exhibition.
Along with their production team they continually provide exceptional service to businesses, non-profit organizations and schools. We've been pleased to serve Off-the-Wall Graphics for 20 of its 30 plus years in business.
Update Your Epson Wide-Format Printer Firmware
(Top) Epson has announced important firmware updates for the Webconfig feature in certain Professional Imaging Printer products. This update addresses a vulnerability that may compromise the security of the printer’s web browser. The CVE-ID for this vulnerability is CVE-2017-6443 and you can learn more about it on the CVE website.
Epson Stylus Pro WT7900, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson SureColor F2000, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 4900, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 7900, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 9900, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 7890, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 9890, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 4880, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 4450, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 11880, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro GS6000, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 3800, all models, all previous firmware versions
Epson Stylus Pro 3880, all models, all previous firmware versions
(Top) Five words come to mind to describe Artists Image Resource (AIR), located on the North Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Educate. Inspire. Stimulate. Experience. Create. Whether one is an established artist, a novice printer, or a person hungry to whet their creative appetite, AIR is the go-to facility locally, regionally and nationally for printmaking and is equipped to produce relief, intaglio, lithography, screen printing and digital printing projects. Its mantra ~ Production – Education – Community ~ is evident throughout the artist operated, non profit print and imaging organization. Buzzing activity of resident artists, students and community visitors is constant and print artworks can be viewed in progress or hanging on walls throughout its space. Go on a studio tour, sign up for a workshop or take an in depth, refresher tutorial and experience first hand what this extraordinary laboratory offers.
Executive and Artistic Director, Robert Beckman, enthusiastically talks about resident artist Ricardo Ruiz’s work in progress, describing one step of the process.
Can't transport your students or community group to AIR. . . they’ll come to you! Mobile printing units allow participants to learn all aspects of the photographic silkscreen process.
Ben Page is AIR's in-house printer extraordinaire. Here, he explains the intaglio process.
Examples of printmaker works decorate the walls of AIR adding interest, color and voice.
Epson T-Series Printers Join Epson's Brighter Futures Program
Special education discounts are available to K - 12 and higher education institutions for purchases of Epson's SureColor T-Series T3270 (24 inches wide), T5270 (36 inch), and T7270 (44 inch) printers.
The Epson T-Series printers are incredibly versatile and cover a wide variety of printing needs including posters (to promote football games, for example), maps, engineering drawings, banners, and even clear film for screen printing, at top of the line speeds. And, by utilizing Epson’s Brighter Futures program specifically designed for education, you can get significant savings off the regular price for any of the SureColor T-series models:
To visit our Epson T-Series overview page, please click this link (note: prices shown on the overview page are standard T-Series prices and don't include Epson's Brighter Futures discounts).
Please call us for additional information on Epson's Brighter Futures Program!
Ed Massery – Pittsburgh Architectural Photographer
(Top) From its rich past to a modern, bright future, architectural design is abundant, noteworthy and flourishing in Pittsburgh. To successfully showcase design aesthetics, both external and internal, of the many buildings and structures throughout the city is a formidable feat. Working as an architectural photographer for over 27 years, Pittsburgher Ed Massery has taken on the challenge with passion, skill and mastery.
Benedum Trees building roof, photograph by Ed Massery, 2017.
The Gateway Station is the jewel in Pittsburgh Transit Authority's light rail system. It was photographed by Ed Massery, 2012.
Omni William Penn Hotel lobby, photograph by Ed Massery, 2003.
Windows 10 Pro Desktop PCs for Business
(Top) We've identified a few PCs that have Windows 10 Pro installed and provide the best performance for your dollar. And, they all have 3 year manufacturer's warranties.
If you want a Solid State Drive rather than a mechanical hard drive and a 7th generation Intel processor, then check out this HP ProDesk 600 G3 Micro Tower - it includes an Intel Core i5-7500, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 7,822, 8GB of memory and a 256GB drive. It's currently priced at $779.00.
Or, step up to a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor with a HP ProDesk 600 G3 SFF PC - it includes an Intel Core i7-7700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 10,959, 8GB of memory and a 256GB drive. It's currently priced at $859.00.
The equivalent Dell with a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor would be a Dell Optiplex 5050 SFF PC - it includes an Intel Core i7-7700, with a CPU Benchmark rating of 10,959, 8GB of memory and a 256GB drive. It's currently priced at $859.00.
Get one of the first AMD Ryzen desktops - a SFF Lenovo ThinkCentre M715s that is running a Ryzen 7 1700 processor and a reasonably fast NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 video controller with 2GB of memory. The new AMD Ryzen provides a CPU benchmark rating of 13,813 at an unheard of low price. The Lenovo M715s currently priced at $999.00 (and it's a special order product that will take a couple of weeks to ship).
If you want a tower PC, with lots of room for internal expansion, the HP EliteDesk 800 G3 Tower - is a great choice - it comes with a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 4 memory slots that will support up to 64GB of memory, free drive bays and M2 slots, and 4 PCIe slots. It's currently priced at $1,029.00.
Get a workstation class PC, the Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tower - it comes with a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700K processor (CPU Benchmark 12,174), 16GB of memory and 4 memory slots that will support up to 64GB of memory, free drive bays and M2 slots, and 4 PCIe slots. It's currently priced at $1,219.00.
ANCIENT INK – Photographs by Mark Perrott
(Top) Tattoo ornamentation in America has come a long way since the early 19th century. While previously ignored and considered to be on the fringe of society, tattoos have reached an accepted, aesthetic level that is celebrated throughout mainstream America.
Photographer Mark Perrott has spent several decades documenting tattooed Americans. He began his study in 1979 at Island Avenue Tattoo in Pittsburgh, PA, and has explored tattoo parlors all across America. Coming up this month at the Erie Art Museum, Bacon Gallery, is a show of Perrott's current series, ANCIENT INK. Mark focuses his camera on the now increasing tribe of highly decorated and graying Americans, introducing the viewer to dozens of individuals, including Jim and Marge.
Pittsburgh native Mark Perrott has worked as a professional photographer for the past fifty years. In addition to his commercial work, which includes portraiture and photography for annual reports, Perrott has spent his life making photographs that document Pittsburgh’s citizens and its rich industrial landscape. In the early eighties, he gave special attention to the life and death struggle of steel in the Mon Valley, with a special focus on the Jones & Laughlin steel mill and its Blast Furnace Department, informally known as “Eliza.” Photographs from this project were used to create the book ELIZA, published in 1989 by Howell Press. In 1999, he published HOPE ABANDONED, a four-year investigation of Eastern State Penitentiary, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2013, he published his third book, E BLOCK, an extended photo essay on Western Penitentiary. Perrot's photographs are included in numerous museum collections, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Remembering Pittsburgh - Photos by David Aschkenas
A lot has changed in Pittsburgh over the last 40 years - the city has changed from an industrial center commonly known as the Steel City, to a technology center with high tech companies and universities populating the area.
Photographer David Aschkenas will be presenting Pittsburgh as it was with a series of black and white photographs shot between 1978 and 1982. His show, Remembering Pittsburgh, works by David Aschkenas, will be opening on April 7, 2017, at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Lantern Gallery. (And, as David mentioned, it's an opportunity to check out black and white prints on Epson's Legacy Platine paper.)
David Aschkenas has been a photographer for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in publications such as Time, Men’s Health, Good Housekeeping, Stern More, Marie Claire, PC World, Der Spiegel, Pittsburgh Quarterly, among others. Aschkenas’s work is held in numerous collections, including the Carnegie Museum of Arts, Pittsburgh, PA; The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts; University of Alaska Museum, Fairbanks, AK; the Polaroid Corporation; The Howard Heinz Endowment and The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA.
Epson Poster Paper Production
(Top) Epson has a new, and inexpensive paper - Poster Paper Production - that is perfect for posters, signs and displays. And, it's available in longer rolls - either 200 ft. or 175 ft., so you can run long jobs with less downtime for reloading paper. A 24 inch x 200 ft. roll of 175gsm paper costs less than 22 cents per square foot - vs. 43 cents per square foot for Epson's Semigloss 170gsm paper. Poster Paper Production is available in both 175gsm (7 mil) and 210gsm (9 mil) weights, and in 17, 24, 36, 44 and 60 inch widths.
Click this link for a listing of Epson's Poster Paper Production's available sizes and weights. And, if you would like printed samples of the paper, please give us a call.
If you are looking for a high volume printer, you can save up to $2,500.00 on Epson's new SureColor P10000 and P20000 printers. Click this link to see Epson's production printers.
Or, if you want a printer that is fast, inexpensive and great for signage, you can save up to $1,700.00 on Epson's SureColor T-Series 5-color printers. Click this link to see Epson's T-Series printers.
New Epson SureColor P5000 Series Printers
(Top) The Epson SureColor P5000 printers are the anticipated replacement for the Stylus Pro 4900. The new P5000's incorporate a number of improvements, including:
• Refined printer design - improved dust and static control for reduced printhead nozzle maintenance
• Improved Black density - higher-density Black pigments for a wider contrast ratio and enhanced clarity for both color and black-and-white prints
• Exceptional print permanence - offers next-generation pigment ink technology for up to twice the overall print permanence than the previous generation of ink
• Remarkable detail - Epson PrecisionCore TFP printhead delivers high print speeds with 360 nozzles per color channel, with variable-size ink droplets as small as 3.5 picoliters
And, the printers are available in 3 configurations:
• Standard Edition - 10-color UltraChrome HDX Ink set features Orange and Green and three-level Black inks supporting advanced black-and-white photographic printing
• Commercial Edition - includes an all-new Violet ink (in place of Light Light Black) to deliver an industry-best 99 percent PANTONE® PLUS FORMULA GUIDE solid-coated color matching, ideal for commercial and flexographic proofing applications.
• Designer Edition - offers all the features of the Standard Edition, plus it includes EFI® Fiery® eXpress for Epson, an industry-leading software RIP with true Adobe® PostScript® 3™ for accurate CMYK and spot color printing.
(Top) We've assembled a line-up of lower cost color accurate displays - that provide 100% sRGB and/ or Adobe RGB color accuracy. The are Asus, BenQ or Dell brand displays - not the big names like Eizo or NEC, but the displays do provide great value and great color. Click this link for our listing of color accurate displays at affordable prices.
Best Current PC Values
(Top) We've singled out a few PC's that currently provide the best performance for your dollar. They are all Windows 7 Pro computers (that include a Windows 8 or Windows 10 upgrade in the box), and they all have 3 year manufacturer's warranties.
Dell Optiplex 3040 - great for basic business computing - it includes a fast Intel Core i5-6500 processor, 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. And, for the next couple of weeks, it's selling for $569.00.
If you want a great entry level workstation, check out the new HP Z240 Workstation - it comes with a reasonably fast E3-1245V5 3.5Ghz Xeon processor (CPU Benchmark of 10,385) and it includes a 256GB PCIe SSD and 8GB of memory. It's currently priced at $1,119.00.
Or, if you want a faster workstation, the Lenovo ThinkStation P410 - is a great choice - it comes with a fast Xeon E5-1650V4 processor that clocks in at 13,509 on the CPU Benchmark scale (vs. 9,951 for an i7-6700), 16GB of memory, and it includes an NVidia Quadro M2000 video card with 4GB of memory. It's currently priced at $1,869.00.
Epson SureColor P800 Sample Prints
(Top) We've been busy printing samples on our Epson SureColor P800 printer. We've been using some great test photos and printing on Epson Legacy papers - Baryta, Etching, Fiber Rag and Platine. And, we've been printing on Hahnemühle media as well - Baryta FB, Daguerre Canvas, FineArt Pearl, German Etching®, Photo Rag® Baryta, etc. We've been using the manufacturer's profiles for the printing, and the results have been outstanding.
If you would like a sample print, please call us and we'll send it out to you - you'll be able to see what the combination of a great printer and great paper can do.
Microsoft Pays $10K for Unauthorized Windows 10 Upgrade
(Top) Last Month, Microsoft paid a California travel agent $10,000 after she won a judgment in small claims court by successfully arguing that an unauthorized upgrade to Windows 10 crippled her work PC... Read the complete article at computerworld.com.
Malware from Microsoft!
(Top) Microsoft has gotten really outrageous with it's Windows 10 upgrade offer - it's now tricking people into upgrading who don't want any part of Windows 10. This is really upsetting - everyone that I know who uses a PC has bought their computer - they own it - but, Microsoft is acting like they own your computer and that they can do whatever they want to do with it - like forcing a Windows 10 upgrade whether you like it or not!
For complete details about this new Microsoft scam, read the article at pcworld.com!
And, remember that, if you haven't upgraded to Windows 10, you can use the free GWX Control Panel or Never 10 to get rid of this annoying malware from Microsoft.
Have You Upgraded to Windows 10?
(Top) We are old fashioned and don't like to do upgrades just because they are available - especially to a "free" operating system that bugs you to send money to Microsoft and does a much more thorough job of communicating what you are doing to Microsoft after you upgrade. Here are a few of tips that should help if you do choose to upgrade.
Turn off Windows 10 Peer-to-Peer updates and App Store software downloads - the Microsoft update service that uses your PC to provide updates to other Windows 10 computers. Follow the steps in this How-To-Geek article to disable the update sharing.
To get a more familiar look to your Windows 10 installation, install Classic Shell, available at this link. You'll get a more comprehensive and usable Start menu.
Replace the missing software DVD player with a popular free player - VLC media player.
Windows 10, by default is pretty invasive - it generously provides advertising from Microsoft, watches everything that you do, freely shares your wireless network, etc. You can read this PC World article about Microsoft's intrusiveness. And, you can download Win10Privacy to automate setting privacy settings.
If you just can't deal with your Windows 10 upgrade, and have been using it for less than 30 days, follow the steps in this Teching It Easy article to roll back to your previous operating system.
And, finally, if you haven't upgraded to Windows 10, you can use the free GWX Control Panel to get rid of the annoying and constant upgrade reminders. Or, you can get Never 10 from Gibson Research Corporation.
Ricoh Printers - Low Cost Per Copy
(Top) Buyers Lab tests show that many Ricoh printers cost significantly less to operate which is one reason why they "highly recommended" all six of these printer models.
Buyers Lab® testing shows Ricoh printers can provide significant savings over the competitive average. Saving 4¢ per print equates to a saving $20 every 500 prints. Download a PDF with this information. Or, download a review of a Buyers Lab® report on the Ricoh SP C252dn and the SP252sf printers.
New Epson Wide Format Printers Are Here!
(Top) We've got great prices on the new Epson SureColor P-Series Wide Format printers, with instant discounts up to $2,000.00!
• Next Generation Pigment Ink Technology - all new pigments for outstanding color performance and Improved Resin Encapsulation Technology for superior gloss uniformity
• Photo Black pigment 1.5 times more dense than the previous generation ink set, along with significant improvements to the overall contrast ratio and optical clarity
• Featuring completely reformulated pigment technology for improved print permanence, and up to twice the overall print permanence versus the previous generation ink set
• Latest PrecisionCore® TFP® print head with new ink repellent surface coating for reduced nozzle clogging
• New scheduled print head maintenance cycles - ideal for intermittent usage environments
• New Precision Dot advanced screening for accurate color and smooth tonal transitions
(Top) Buy 3 rolls of qualifying Epson Exhibition Canvas roll media and get reimbursed by Epson for the cost of the least expensive roll (excluding tax). Save up to 50% off list price on popular Epson Canvas - Matte, Satin and Gloss. For complete details, please download the Epson rebate form for this promotion. Click this link for a listing of eligible Epson Exhibition Canvas roll media!
Great Rebates on New Epson P600 and P800 Printers
(Top) Buy an Epson SureColor P600 or P800 printer and get a $200.00 mail-in rebate from Epson!
The SureColor P600, which replaces the Stylus Photo R3000, is a 13 inch wide printer that includes the all new Epson Ultrachrome HD ink set, provides sheet and roll media handling, and complete connectivity including wireless, Ethernet and USB.
SureColor P800 is a highly anticipated replacement for the Stylus Pro 3880. The 17 inch wide printer includes all new Epson Ultrachrome HD inks that provide vivid color, superior black density and improved print longevity. Versatile media handling improves borderless printing and includes an option roll feed adapter.
"Microsoft wants you to pay for Solitaire, again, in Windows 10. Netflix charges you $7.99 per month for thousands of streaming movies and TV shows. Spotify, Slacker, Rdio and others charge about $10 per month for unlimited music. And Microsoft? They want you to pay $1.50 per month to remove ads from Solitaire."
EFI Warns Not to Upgrade to Windows 10
(Top) From an EFI email blast (read more at this link):
"Fiery servers running Windows® 7 or Windows 8.1 will not support the Windows 10 upgrade directly on the server. Please do not install Windows 10 directly on your Fiery server.
If the Fiery server is upgraded to Windows 10, it will not operate and the system will have to be rebuilt from original software disks or backup images.
Microsoft announced that a Windows 10 upgrade can be performed through Windows Updates starting July 29th. A "Get Windows 10" notification may pop up on your Fiery server asking you to upgrade to Windows 10. Please dismiss the notification."
We've actually been hearing a few good things about Windows 10, but we would provide the same advice. If Windows 10 will break a Fiery server, it could very easily break other software that is being used. Our advice is to not be an early adopter - let the problems and their resolutions be discovered and resolved before upgrading.
Hahnemühle's Comparable Ilford Papers
(Top) Hahnemühle has two sheets that are similar to popular Ilford papers:
Photo Silk Baryta 310 gsm (at this link on Hahnemuhle's website) compares well with Ilford Gold Fiber Silk. Photo Silk Baryta 310, features the look and feel of a traditional baryta photo paper.
Photo Pearl 310 gsm (at this link on Hahnemuhle's website) is close to Ilford Smooth Pearl with a slightly different white point. It's very close and anyone who has used the Ilford will have no problem using the Hahnemuhle Photo Pearl 310.
Until September 30, you can take advantage of our Private Sale on these sheets and rolls and save 10% - Click this link for complete details!
Best Color Printer Values
(Top) Printer manufacturers generally follow the rule that says that the less that you pay for a printer, the more that you pay for consumables. Because of introductory rebates, HP has broken this rule and is offering OfficeJet Enterprise printers at tremendous prices that are very frugal with supplies. Our calculations show that these printers cost 1.4 cents per black copy and 5.1 cents per color copy (you can see detailed costs per copy in our website listing for these printers).
(as low as 899.00 with a qualified trade-in and supplies purchase) - at .7 cents per black copy and 3.8 cents per color copy.
Cleaning Products that Help Wide Format Printers Run Well
(Top) We've added a few Ink2image cleaning products that will help to keep your Epson wide format printer in great shape. Ink2image's Lyson Dead Head Cleaning Fluid is designed to flush out inks and dissolve dried ink deposits. You can check out our selection of these cleaning products at this link.
Detours for Local Customers
(Top) We've added alternate route maps that will help our local customers traveling from the Liberty Tubes avoid congestion caused by the Rt. 51 and Rt. 88 construction. To view the alternate routes, click this link.
Epson Photo Paper Sale!
(Top) Stock up and save on Epson photo papers in sheets and rolls - including Exhibition Fiber, Luster, Glossy, Semimatte, and Metallic! Buy three packages of qualifying Epson Photo Paper and get reimbursed by Epson for the cost of the least expensive package (excluding tax).
For a complete listing of eligible items, please Click this link. Up to 9 claims can be made per customer address! Offer ends on July 31, 2015.
Epson Pano Awards
(Top) The Epson International Pano Awards showcases the work of panoramic photographers worldwide and is the largest competition for panoramic photography. Advances in digital photography and editing software has resulted in a surge in the popularity of image stitching, especially in the panoramic format. Panoramic film photography also remains alive and well.
There is a prize pool of $50,000.00, and the entry fee per image is $20.00 (or less for students, etc.). Click this link for more information!
Check Out Our New Ink and Toner Finders
(Top) If you are looking for ink or toner for your printer, check out our new Ink and Toner finders. You can use them to easily find inks or toners that work with your printer. We currently list printers that we have sold or that we recommend to customers. If you have suggestions for other printers, please let us know.
Save 25 Percent on ColorBurst RIP Software
(Top) Save 25 percent off list price on all Colorburst RIP SKU's - both the ColorBurst OverDrive RIP (Mac OS and Windows) and the ColorBurst Pro RIP (Windows only). Get PostScript RIP support for EPS, PS and PDF files, Pantone Color Matching, nesting, cropping, step and repeat and a host of other features at the best price ever.
To take advantage of this offer, enter coupon code cb25 in the Gift Redemption Code box as you checkout. For a complete listing of eligible items for this offer, please click this link.
Apple updates the Mac mini
(Top) It looks like Apple has once again done what is best for Apple, and has left their customers with less value and choice than ever.
The October, 2014 Mac mini is an updated version of the previous mini (updated in October, 2012). It includes the latest generation Intel Haswell processors, the latest on-board Intel HD 5000 or Iris Graphics, Thunderbolt 2, and USB 3.0. The October, 2012 models included previous generation Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 CPUs, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Thuderbolt (1), USB 2.0 and FireWire. And, the 2014 Mac mini's start at $499.00 vs. $599.00 for the 2012's.
It sounds like a great deal - you get all of the latest technology rolled into a very small package - really nice updates to Thunderbolt 2 and much better graphics. But, you are being forced into the Apple non-repairable, throw-away model - the 2014 mini's memory isn't user upgradeable, making the $499.00 base model price very deceiving. 1. the base model comes with 4GB of memory that can't be upgraded, barely enough to boot a new computer, 2. it has a low power and very slow Core i5 processor (CPU Benchmark of 3651 vs. 3804 for the 2012 base model), and 3. it comes with a slow 500GB mechanical hard drive. And, if you aren't satisfied with it's performance in a year or so, you can throw it away, because it can't be upgraded.
On the high-end, the 2014 mini is even less of a bargain. A 2014 Dual-Core i7 (CPU Benchmark of 5068) model with 16GB of memory and a 1TB fusion drive clocks in at $1399.00 (the top-of-the line model with 1TB PCIe storage and AppleCare is $2298.00!). A 2012 Quad-Core i7 (CPU Benchmark of 8328) model with a 500GB SSD drive, a 1TB storage drive and 16GB of memory (with user installed upgrades) would cost around $1250.00. I'm sure that users would love to have Intel Iris Graphics and Thunderbolt 2. But, why force them to get the improvements by charging more money for a machine that is 40 percent slower in processing horsepower?
Finally, if you are looking at the 2014 Mac mini, include AppleCare in your purchase. Since the machines aren't upgradeable, if you need a new high-end motherboard, you will need to buy the model that corresponds to your mini - i.e., you'll need to buy a high-end one with a Core-i7 processor and 16GB of soldered memory. (Funny, adding that extra $99.00 AppleCare cost brings the base model price within $1.00 of the 2012 base model - which we felt didn't need AppleCare.)
Graph Expo Show Specials on Epson 7900 and 9900 Printers
(Top) Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and you will receive a $750.00 instant rebate plus a Graph Expo Show Special rebate of $500.00 - for a total rebate of $1250.00. Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 and you will receive a $1000.00 instant rebate plus a Graph Expo Show Special rebate of $750.00 - for a total rebate of $1750.00.
Sale on New Inkjet Media from Epson and Hahnemühle
(Top) Check out new inkjet media from Epson and Hahnemühle and save 10 percent off our already low prices. The new Epson Metallic Photo Papers, available in luster and gloss finishes, add a sophisticated degree of intensity to your prints. The Hahnemühle papers include their new Metallic Canvas, with an extraordinary metallic gleam and a pearlescent gloss - and Photo Silk Baryta, an excellent replacement for the discontinued Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk.
(Top) [5/1/14 update: Microsoft has released patches for fixing this vulnerability - per Adrienne Hall, General Manager, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft, "We believe, and take a huge amount of pride that, among widely used browsers, IE is the safest in the world due to its secure development and ability to protect customers, even in the face of cyber criminals who want to break it. This means that when we saw the first reports about this vulnerability we said fix it, fix it fast, and fix it for all our customers. So we did. The update that does this goes live today at 10 a.m. PDT [5/1/14]." This fix is available for Microsoft XP users as well as for users of Microsoft's current operating systems, and can be downloaded by using the Automatic Updates functionality of the operating system.]
By now, you probably have heard the news of the latest vulnerability to strike Windows computers. If you are using the most popular browser, Internet Explorer (IE) you should switch to a current version of another browser, like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. And, no matter what browser you are using, you should update Adobe Flash to its latest version or disable it, since the vulnerability depends on Flash.
The latest flaw leaves users open to attack from hackers who can install malware on your system and hijack your computer. Microsoft reports that a patch will not be available until May 13.
If you are using Windows XP, the news is even worse. Microsoft will not release a patch for XP users since it stopped supporting XP earlier this month. As predicted, with no technical assistance and security updates, XP users will be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. For more information about the end of XP and recommended system replacements, click here.
Announcements from Adobe
(Top) "At Adobe, we’ve always been steadfast in our commitment to providing you with state-of-the-art creative tools. That’s why, effective June 1, we're making Adobe Creative Cloud your exclusive source for all future creative licensing. This means that Adobe Creative Suite 6 will be discontinued under our TLP and CLP licensing programs. All other Adobe products available under volume licensing, like Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Presenter, will be unaffected by this change."
Beginning June 1, 2014, Adobe will implement standard, non-promotional pricing for Creative Cloud for teams for the commercial and government segments. Pricing policies for both the complete and single app plans have been set for new and migration seats.
The new standard pricing will be consistent across the channel and adobe.com, and is as follows:
Creative Cloud for teams complete (list price): $69.99
Creative Cloud for teams complete (introductory price): $49.99 (with up to 2-yr price lock)
Creative Cloud for teams single app (list price): $29.99
Creative Cloud for teams single app (introductory price): $19.99 (with up to 2-yr price lock)
Upgrade to OS X Mavericks - It's Free!
(Top) Upgrade to Mavericks - You Get What You Pay For!
We do a lot of Mac support in our shop - and felt that we needed to voice our opinion about this operating system.
Why to like it:
It's a free upgrade for Mac users running OS X 10.6 and above. And Macs built in 2007 and newer will run the operating system.
On relatively new Macs, it actually seems like it's a good system - like on Macs that were originally sold with OS 10.7 or 10.8 installed. And, it provides new features for home users that improve iPhone and iPad integration.
Why not to like it:
If you have an older Mac and/or older peripherals, it will probably break something. Some examples:
•External USB, Firewire and Thunderbolt drives can lose their data when plugged into a computer running Mavericks. When this does occur, there is no fix to recover the lost data.
•The Mavericks OS, running on older iMacs and MacBook Pros, too frequently boots to a black or white screen with just a cursor. The fix is to wipe the computer and re-install the operating system and everything else that was running on it.
•Mavericks doesn't support older printers or scanners. One fix is to install Parallels or Fusion and run older programs and drivers in Windows. Neither Parallels, Fusion nor Windows are free programs. Another fix is to buy new printers and scanners - they aren't free either.
•Mavericks has a significant color management bugs in Safari and in professional applications including Aperture and Lightroom. As of today, there aren't fixes for these problems.
Our recommendation - if you have an older Mac and you want to upgrade your operating system, pay 19.95 for the upgrade to 10.8, and forget about upgrading to OS X Mavericks. You'll more than likely find that it will be a less expensive choice. You still might have compatibility issues with older peripherals or software, since, like Mavericks, 10.8 doesn't support Rosetta. But, you won't have data loss, re-installation or color management issues.
Microsoft Windows XP Support Ends on April 8, 2014
Over the last 12 years, Windows XP has had a great life—it was Microsoft's first contemporary operating system and is still being used on almost 30 percent of currently operating computers. In April, Microsoft will stop providing support for Windows XP. This means that Microsoft won't release security updates for XP that combat new security threats, that they won't update Windows Defender or Windows Security Essentials virus definitions and that they might remove the update services for XP as well.
Since it's less expensive for companies to support fewer operating systems, other companies will probably drop support for Windows XP as well. Possible examples are:
-Free antivirus providers, like Avira, will soon stop providing updates for XP users
-Adobe not providing security updates for Flash
-Oracle not providing security updates for Java
-Printer manufacturers not providing XP printer drivers for new printers
-Software companies not providing XP compatible versions of new software releases
-Web browsers, in addition to Internet Explorer, not updating to accommodate updates to web programming protocols.
Apple, which has a much shorter product life cycle than Windows, made the same transition with the move to Intel processors. Older Macs that don't have Intel processors can't run the latest web sites, can't use the latest printers and can't run the latest versions of software. The same type of obsolescence will occur relatively quickly with Windows XP.
Windows XP is more vulnerable to viruses than Windows 7 (three times more vulnerable) and Windows 8 (ten times more vulnerable).
Infection rate (CCM) by operating system and service pack in the fourth quarter of 2012 as reported in the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report volume 14.
Many industry watchers believe as the end-of-life nears cyber criminals may even step up their rates of attack and that “black hat” attackers may hold back exploit codes for release after the end date in April. (Sheldon, 2012 and AppSense)
Windows XP PC's are old enough to be replaced with new computers. The last copies of Windows XP were sold in October, 2010 (Tastar sold it's last XP PC in 2009), so any PC running XP is most likely more than five years old, an age where important components like motherboards and hard drives, are also heading toward end-of-life.
Windows 7 Pro, which is still the predominant operating system (running on approximately 48 percent of PC's), is readily available as a free downgrade with the purchase of a Windows 8 PC. Computers are technically sold with Windows 8, but with Windows 7 pre-installed. One advantage of Windows 7 over Windows 8 is that it will run XP Mode, where you can use older, XP compatible software. Another advantage is that it still maintains most of the look and feel of Windows XP.
Click here for a great selection of business PC's that are running Windows 7.
So, what should you do?
While XP has had a great run, its time to move on to a newer operating system. By sticking with XP, some say the question is not if you will get exploited, but when. The best choice would be to migrate away from Windows XP to a current operating system. Keeping antivirus software up-to-date will be little help if new exploits to the operating system are developed. If there are XP desktops remaining in your network, they should be used in isolated situations that don't require an active connection to the internet.
Feel free to contact us if you need assistance in making the move from Windows XP. We can help.
This image is from a marketing email sent to us by HP on January 19, 2014.
tastarsupply.com sells computers designed for business - to check out our selection of what we feel are the best values in business computers - that are running Windows 7 Pro - click this link. Note: all of our Windows 7 Pro computers come with a Windows 8 license, too.
Apple’s Vision of Equality
(Top) Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, recently spoke at Auburn University about equality, right in tune with President Obama's push for greater equality in America. I find Cook’s equality platform to be ironic considering the way Apple treats its resellers, customers and its base country.
For over 20 years, Tastar Data Systems has been a member of the Apple Consultants network. We facilitate sales of Apple equipment by referring customers to an independent Apple reseller. One of our customers has been waiting two weeks for a MacBook, which on the Apple web site shows it as available to ship in 24 hours. The reseller’s response to us concerning the availability of this computer is troubling, "All Apple does is blow smoke right now. They are really messing with resellers this holiday season." Where's the equality in this relationship?
A Senate committee labeled Apple’s tax evasion this year as the Holy Grail of tax avoidance--its efforts have shielded $74 billion in profits from U.S. corporate taxation. Good for Apple, bad for everyone else who has to pitch in to cover the share of taxes that it is avoiding.
Several years ago, I was discussing an issue with our credit card processor and commented about how great it was to see that Wal-Mart was getting such great credit card processing rates. The representative pointed out that Wal-Mart’s rates are subsidized by everyone else who didn't get these favorable rates. Now that I am so much smarter, I now can see that Apple's tax avoidance strategies mean that I'm being forced to pay its share of taxes. Equality?
Apple's new iMacs have a repair rating of 3 out of 10 by iFixit--a great source for Apple parts. The previous iMacs that they replaced had a 7 out of 10 score and the new MacBook Pro's with Retina displays have an astonishing low 1 out of 10 score.
It appears Apple is designing these computers to be throw-away devices. If you buy the three-year AppleCare warranty, you can simply throw it away if it breaks after the warranty expires because it will be too costly to repair. Even worse is if you take the risk and decline the three-year AppleCare warranty. Is this policy good for consumers or is it good for Apple?
While we have been long supporters of Apple, Tim Cook’s vision of equality is troubling to the future of Apple and its customers.
Documenting the Dome: A Photographer's View of the Civic Arena
In 1961, Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena made history when it opened as the first major-sports venue in the world with a stainless steel retractable roof. An architectural marvel, the arena was most notably home to the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, but in its history hosted thousands of concerts from the Beatles to Elvis Presley political rallies, circuses and many other sporting events including wrestling, tennis, indoor soccer, NCAA basketball games, figure skating and much more. Fifty years later in September 2011, it made history again as it was demolished.
“No one had ever taken a building down of this type," notes David Aschkenas, an award-winning Pittsburgh photographer who was granted special access to capture its demise. Equipped with a hard hat and a safety vest, David spent nearly a year taking more than 10,000 photos of the dismantling of the famed silver dome.
“Because of asbestos, the arena could not be imploded,” said David. “The demolition crews had to carefully cut through the steel to dismantle the dome.”
David’s work can be seen permanently at Consol Energy Center, the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins; in a newly released book Arena: Remembering the Igloo; and beginning next month, at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 707 Penn Gallery.
Five minutes with David Aschkenas.
How did you get started as a photographer?
After studying film at Penn State, I moved to Boston where my roommate was a photographer. I saw a print being developed in a basement darkroom that convinced me that still photography was the way to go. As an impatient person, I liked the idea of instantly capturing something vs. working in film where it took months to produce a final product. From there, I became consumed and learned everything I could about photography.
Do you still work with film?
I was late to embrace the digital photography movement, but when I got my hands on the Nikon D3, I was amazed at the quality. Since then, I have sold all of my film cameras.
What printers do you use?
At home I have an Epson Stylus Pro 7800. If I need to print something larger than 24”, like I did for my upcoming exhibit, I like having the option to go to Tastar to use the Epson Stylus Pro 9900.
What is your best tip for photographers who do their own printing?
Calibrate your monitor. Often people ask me how many times it took to get a certain photo to print perfectly. I tell them once. I calibrate my monitor every week and know exactly how the colors will appear in print. There is no guesswork.
Favorite photography assignment?
The best photo assignments are the self assigned ones, like the Civic Arena project or another self assigned project that I'm currently working on: photographing the Allegheny County Courthouse designed by Henry Hobson Richardson.
Guarding against the CryptoLocker Virus
(Top) No doubt you’ve probably heard about CryptoLocker, an extremely fast spreading virus that's hitting Windows users. We have directly come across several infections, including one Mac user who was using Parallels to run Windows applications.
Usually downloaded through email, CryptoLocker is ransomware that encrypts certain types of files and then attempts to get infected users to purchase a decrypting tool (using bitcoins) in order to regain access to their files. There’s a lot of chatter online on whether or not you should pay the ransom, and whether or not paying it will allow you to recover damaged files. If you pony up the cash within 72 hours, the cost is around $300, but if you wait, the price increases to 10 bitcoins, which is approximately $2,290.
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your valuable data from this destructive virus. You've probably heard most of these recommendations before, but they are worth repeating in light of this virus. And added bonus--they are less expensive than paying a ransom to recover your own files.
1. Make sure you have a good backup system in place. If your files are backed up, then paying a ransom is not an issue.
2. Use antivirus software. Enough said. We recommend Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security for networks and Symantec's Norton Internet Security for individual users. For additional information about anti-virus software, check out these articles: techradar.com's recommendations for the best free antivirus software (we don't like free...) or pcmag.com's review of antivirus software (sort the listing by Editor's Choice to see current recommendations).
3. Don’t open suspicious emails. Look closely at emails before you click on a link or download a file. Better yet, don’t click on a link. Just go directly to the company’s web site. The hackers have been known to disguise the malware in emails allegedly sent from USPS, ADP, XEROX and ironically, McAfee.
For more information about this malware and how to protect against it, click here.
Please don’t hesitate to call us if you need advice on setting up a secure backup system or installing antivirus software.
Backup Solutions - Is a NAS for you?
(Top) You’ve probably heard it a million times about the need to back up your files, but it’s something that is often overlooked until you have a computer crash. That’s when we get the panicked call.
It’s expensive and time consuming to try and recover lost data. A University of Texas study reported that 94 percent of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive—43 percent never re-open and 51 percent close within two years.
To help you avoid a crisis situation, we are going to discuss in a four-part series, the various backup methods. This week’s topic is NAS—Network Attached Storage. Other topics will include cloud storage, servers and hard drives.
What’s a NAS?
In the late 2000s, several manufacturers started marketing NASs – Network Attached Storage. These devices serve the role of much more than storage with lots of features to increase productivity and simplify networking. Unlike a server, they come complete with robust software to help you manage the various functions. At this time, most clients use NASs as a server, but there are a whole host of other functions that users can take advantage of.
Tastar focuses on Synology devices, one of the industry’s leading manufacturers. See below for how you can benefit from a NAS, whether at the office or at home. Then give us a call for a recommendation for the right NAS to meet your needs.
With a NAS, you can back up your files easily whether you are on a PC or a MAC. With flexible, easy-to-use software, you can automate the backup function effortlessly and customize it to your individual needs.
A NAS device can serve as a centralized storage device for just one or several computers in an office. Depending on the model you select, some NASs can be expanded to add additional storage bays.
Most NASs use RAID technology (Redundant Array of Independent Disks or Inexpensive Disks). RAID storage uses multiple disks to improve overall performance, add data protection via redundancy and increase storage capacity in a system.
In addition, NAS devices can back themselves up to external disks, a remotely located NAS or to cloud services.
Jim Marshall, Vice President and General Manager of Slavia Printing Company notes that the Synology system they use allowed them to eliminate its cumbersome tape backup system. “We use our NAS to store all of our prepress jobs. No longer do we have a big server and tape drives. And it is so much faster.”
One of the best functions of a NAS is the ability to store and share files. Ideal for business environments or even within your home, a NAS gives you a cross platform server that allows you to easily share Mac, Windows and Linux files with co-workers or access them from other computers within your office.
For photographers, Synology’s Photo Station software lets you share photos directly with clients and colleagues with or without password protection. You can send clients a link allowing them to either download or simply view photos.
To see how Photo Station can help photographers organize, store and share photos click here.
Web & FTP Server
Your NAS can be used as a Web server and includes built-in PHP and MySQL, ideal for web site staging and development. In addition, you can use it as your FTP server for remote file uploads and downloads.
While we love to sell as many as printers as possible, a NAS allows multiple computers to print to a central USB printer.
Whether you have one computer linked to your NAS or dozens, you will find reliable security options, such as encrypted access, IP blocking and other protective features to ensure that your data is secure. Additionally, you can manage user and group access rights on shared folders to ensure that information is available only to those who need it.
With a NAS, you can create your own personal cloud allowing you to freely and safely access your NAS from a remote device. Apps for the iPhone, iPads and Android allow you to easily connect to your NAS and manage your files.
Compatible with thousands of IP camera models, most Synology models support real-time monitoring, video and audio recording and playback with a wide range of customizable settings. You can also install apps on your mobile devices to monitor cameras anytime, anywhere, for total surveillance.
If you think a Synology NAS could be the right backup solution for you, now is the time to buy. Synology is offering rebates on a number of models until November 30, 2013. Click here.
Potential issues with OX X Mavericks and External Drives
(Top) As with just about every Mac OS upgrade, compatibility issues seem to crop up. Many who have made the move to OS X Mavericks and use Western Digital and/or LaCie external hard drives reportedly are experiencing loss of data.
Western Digital is urging customers to take steps to protect data by uninstalling certain software applications. Read more here.
CNET has addressed the issue and has recommendations as well.
Before upgrading to OS X Mavericks, please take the appropriate steps to back up your data to another device. Or better yet, wait until compatibility issues have been ironed out.
Meet Ken Doo - The Happy Lawyer
(Top) What’s the difference between a lawyer and a photographer? Unfortunately, there are no cliché lawyer jokes that answer the question. Simply put, a photographer is much happier according to Ken Doo, a loyal Tastar customer.
Although as a child he enjoyed spending time with his father in his darkroom, Ken left a small rural community in central California to study at the University of California, Los Angeles. He later obtained the degree of Juris Doctorate at the University of California, Davis.
With a law degree in hand, his next move took him even further away from his California roots. Ken joined the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp and was stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas. After several years, he left the military and returned to California working as a deputy district attorney prosecuting criminal cases for Monterey County.
After seven years, Ken changed careers from criminal prosecutor to single parent. Becoming disillusioned with the law, he turned his childhood fascination with photography into a career with the launch of Ken Doo Photography. Although his love of photography began with medium format film, Ken quickly found his niche using a Phase One medium format digital back.
Despite the advice of other professionals, Ken didn’t focus on one style of photography. He was having too much fun doing it all: portraits, landscapes, weddings, engagements, corporate events, and studio work. Asked to pinpoint his favorite, he finally fessed up to portraiture because of how much he enjoys working with people.
His passion for photography has translated to multiple awards for his work. Ken is the recipient of more than 25 Accolades of Excellence in Photography in categories ranging from fashion to weddings to landscapes.
Ken’s interest in producing the best prints of his own work launched a separate business, Carmel Fine Art Printing and Reproduction. “I think of myself as a photographer first, but with my expertise in printing, this business has taken on a life of its own,” notes Ken. Now he produces fine art prints, canvas prints, greeting cards, banners and small commercial print jobs for clients and other photographers.
From traveling to Alaska to photograph grizzly bears to capturing the love of a newly married couple, Ken has found that photography – even producing portraits of the very judges that he argued in front of – makes this lawyer happy. There is so much more to life than a well-paying job. Ken is quick to point out that, "Life is short. And I consider myself extremely lucky to have a career pursuing my passion while being there for my sons 100%."
Bigger is Better
“If you are investing in a printer, buy a bigger printer than what you think you will need. I ended up selling my first printer, an Epson 7800, mere months after I bought it because it was too small. The 9800 was a much more capable printer. I've since upgraded to an Epson 9900. I can take on more jobs and generate more business with a larger printer. Keep in mind that if you want to produce gallery wraps, you’ll need to accommodate for the wrap, which means a wider format printer.
Awash in Color
“You need to entrench yourself in color management. I’ve spent a lot of time creating custom profiles. People who have the same printers don’t get the same results as I do. Over the years, I’ve had people ask me for my profiles because they are pretty darn good.”
Weathering the Storm
“Years ago when I first started out, I was told I was doing it all wrong. I needed to specialize. When the recession hit, photographers were told to diversify. Fortunately, my earlier diversification is what helped my business in a slow economy.”
Also, I think it's important to be involved in your community. I'm active with swimming and water polo, taking on coaching responsibilities and photographing sports for the local high school. It allows me to be active with my sons and give back to the community, while keeping my name out there."
Photoshop Alternatives - Can Anyone Replace the Leader?
(Top) Let's face it. Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard when it comes to photo editing. It's hard to beat its impressive line-up of tools and features. With Adobe's new business model, the Creative Cloud, causing a small uproar, many loyal Photoshop users are considering alternatives.
You certainly can hang on to your current version of Photoshop, make the move to the Creative Cloud or take a gander at a few free or very inexpensive options. The one issue with alternatives is that if you need to work in the CMYK color space for pre-press work, Photoshop is still your best bet.
If you find that Photoshop is overkill for what you use it for, you may want to take advantage of a free trial to test out some of these alternatives.
If you are interested in what other photographers are pondering, you can check out some of the lively discussions on Luminous Landscape or at Creative Bloq about this subject.
Adobe Photoshop Cost: 699.00, Platform: Mac and Windows, Our Rating: *****
GIMP Cost: Free, Platform: Mac and Windows, Our Rating: **
GIMP, which stands for the GNU Image Manipulation Project, is probably one of the most popular alternatives. This free, widely distributed software offers a powerful suite of tools for retouching, image composition and image authoring. While it has similar functionality as Photoshop, it isn't as polished and its interface is a tad clunky. GIMP offers limited CMYK support and relies on a plug- in by Separate+ for color management functions. On the plus side, there is an active community of users, a dozen or so how-to books and a vast plug-ins library. Best of all, it's free. But if you are going to use it regularly, consider making a donation.
Corel PaintShop Pro X6 Cost: 79.99, Platform: Windows, Our Rating: ***
Available in a standard and ultimate versions, Corel PaintShop Pro X6 is a great alternative, but only if you are a Windows user. While it doesn't have all the high end editing features of Photoshop, it certainly has come a long way and has much to offer including the ability to work with layers. As with most Photoshop alternatives, PaintShop Pro does not support working directly in the CMYK color space, but does offers CMYK conversion, channel splitting and more. At less than $100, you may be willing to sacrifice a few features for some extra money in your bank account.
Aperture Cost: 79.99, Platform: Mac, Our Rating: *
An Apple product, Aperture takes iPhoto to the next level. And as you probably guessed, it doesn't work with the Windows operating system. You get the ability to work with RAW formats and a decent selection of plug-ins, including a handful from Topaz Labs. Unfortunately, Aperture is heavy on organizing tools but light on editing features making it suitable for very simple photo editing.
Picture Window Pro Cost: 89.99, Platform: Windows, Our Rating: *
Called serious software for serious photographers, Picture Window Pro, by Digital Light & Color, offers a wide variety of photo manipulation and retouching tools, transformations (its version of effects) and the ability to create ICC color profiles for many cameras and scanners. They offer a free trial version with the full-blown version priced at a modest $89.99
Adobe Photoshop Elements Platform: Mac and Windows, Our Rating: ***
Adobe touts Photoshop Elements as the top selling consumer photo editing software. Note the wording…consumer. If you are a pro, Elements may be a little basic for you. While you may appreciate the familiar interface, Elements is a much simpler version of Photoshop that allows you to quickly edit images. At $99.99 (and on sale right now for much less), Elements gives you many tools to clean up, organize and enhance photos.
Pixelmator Cost: 14.95, Platform: Mac, Our Rating: *
At a bargain price, Pixelmator gives users a variety of tools for fast and easy photo editing. You can work with layers, masks and add a variety of effects. A bonus is that you can open Photoshop files. The software has a proofing tool that allows you to preview images in CMYK.
Liz Reed - Capturing the Beauty of Nature
(Top) As owner of Gallery in the Square in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Liz Reed exhibited and sold the artwork of others while putting her own artistic ambitions on hold. “I was frustrated not being able to do my own art full time,” said Liz, who holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon.
In 2006, after 25 years in the gallery business, when an ideal buyer cropped up, Liz took the opportunity to sell her beloved gallery. Since then, Liz’s passion for art has blossomed in several ways. She runs Elizabeth Reed Garden Design helping individuals, municipalities and corporations as a garden designer. Spending time in gardens naturally lends itself to her other business, Elizabeth Reed Photography. While there are many photographers who focus on flowers and plants, Liz takes it to a new level. Her artwork is a dynamic combination of photography and scanning.
“I am constantly picking up flowers and plant materials and nearly always have my camera in the car,” notes Liz. “While image capture on a scanner is not new, I like to experiment with layering.”
While Liz prints much of her artwork at home, she likes to visit Tastar Data’s ColorCentral to experiment with new papers and to output larger prints. “I used to get my large images printed commercially, but it’s great to be able to come to Tastar to use a printer that is properly calibrated, try out new papers and have complete control over the output.”
When Liz is not in the garden or her studio, she’s busy exhibiting at art shows in Pennsylvania and Florida, where she resides for several months in the winter. She also sells her beautiful creations on her Etsy web site.
Tastar Data’s ColorCentral is a demonstration room allowing customers to test new papers, RIP software and equipment such as the Epson T-5000 and Stylus Pro 9900 . The room is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and can be reserved by calling us at 412-884-8077.
Digital Color Printing - and Print Envelopes, too!
In conjunction with the Harry Guckert Co., a Pittsburgh based graphic arts dealer, we've packaged a high-quality tabloid size Ricoh laser printer with a custom designed envelope feeder. The system will feed a wide range of media - from post cards, heavy weight stock and envelopes, including standard No. 10's up to 9 x 12 catalog envelopes.
The Ricoh laser printer delivers exceptional full-color digital printing at up to 1200 dpi. The printer is driven by a true Adobe® PostScript® 3™ RIP and supports Pantone color tables as well as standard and custom ICC profiles. The Ricoh brings something else to the table - it's less expensive to run than other printers in it's class - up to 50 percent less expensive than the equivalent Okidata printer, and up to 20 percent less expensive than the Xante ILLUMINA digital color press.
If you're a printing company, and have moved to digital printing, you can supplement your "big iron" digital printers with our printer - feeder combo - and run envelopes, small stock and other hard to feed items that are difficult and time consuming to run on large copy systems.
(Top) Many customers have asked what the difference is between the Epson Natural Canvas and the Epson Exhibition Canvas. Yes, we can tell you that the Natural Canvas is lighter than the Exhibition Canvas, but we thought it would be best to have an end-user put it to the test.
We had Gary Gardner of Krishna Ministry do a comparison of the Natural Canvas versus the Exhibition Canvas that he normally prints on. As background, Gary uses traditional stretcher bars versus gallery wraps.
Natural canvas: 19 mil
Exhibition canvas: 23 mil
Advantage: Exhibition Canvas (At least for Gary. See reviews on The Luminous Landscape by others who like the thinness of the Natural Canvas.)
Natural canvas: Any coating for this canvas can be rolled on, which saves money.
Exhibition canvas: Semigloss has to be sprayed and gloss has a difficult time taking any coating. When canvas is sprayed, there is a lot of overspray which equals lost money.
Advantage: Natural Canvas
Natural canvas: When coated, the thinner canvas has a tendency to crack when stretched at the edges.
Exhibition canvas: Does not crack at the edges.
Advantage: Exhibition Canvas
Natural canvas: Appears to be the same as the Epson Premium canvas. (Standard canvas from a few years ago.)
Exhibition canvas: Colors appear more rich when coated.
Advantage: Exhibition Canvas
Natural canvas: This canvas doesn't curl very much and is thinner. If you haven't used your printer in a while, you can just stick the canvas in without worrying about the printhead striking the edge of canvas.
Exhibition canvas: This canvas has a tendency to curl without use. The platen gap has to be increased to "Wider" before printing. The printhead sometimes can strike the edge of the canvas causing a malfunction in the printer.
Advantage: Natural Canvas
Natural canvas: With a roll of 44" wide by 40' canvas, this canvas will shrink after printing on the 40' long side. On a 36" x 48" printing, the 48" side will shrink as much a .5" to .75" during printing.
Exhibition canvas: Does not shrink
Advantage: Exhibition Canvas
Natural canvas: More expensive
Exhibition canvas: Less expensive
Advantage: Exhibition Canvas
If you've made the switch to the Natural Canvas, let us know what you think of its performance.
Power problems. Are you prepared?
(Top) While bad weather can be a minor inconvenience--our parking lot and the roads surrounding our building flooded this summer—at times it can strike a fatal blow to your business. A University of Texas study reported that 94 percent of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive—43 percent never re-open and 51 percent close within two years. That’s scary.
Whether it is weather-related or caused by an electrical problem, a sudden power surge and/or prolonged power outage can wreak havoc not only on your equipment, but on your bottom line when you take into consideration downtime, recovery time and data loss.
If you are like many people we know, you have your computer plugged directly into a wall outlet or an inexpensive multiple outlet strip. This offers absolutely no protection against electrical problems.
We offer UPSs from CyberPower because we feel they are very affordable, reliable and have a longer warranty than other UPSs on the market. In addition, CyberPower offers its Connected Equipment Guarantee on many of its products. This is a limited insurance policy that covers any damaged or destroyed equipment that was properly configured and connected to the UPS.
Surge protector vs. UPS
Understandably many folks are confused between what a surge protector does versus a UPS. We’ll explain, but first let’s talk about power strips. These are inexpensive devices that let you plug in multiple devices. They do not provide any protection against electrical spikes or power outages.
Surge protectors allow you to plug in multiple items and also offer protection from electrical surges and spikes. They regulate electrical currents and eliminate line interference—as they increase in price, they provide faster response times and more robust protection. Though a power surge can happen faster than the blink of an eye, the results can be devastating if you are not using a surge protector. It is important to note that surge protectors do NOT safeguard your equipment against a loss of power.
A UPS functions as a surge protector as well as a battery backup and allows you to continue on even if the power is out. More importantly, the added run time lets you save work, safely close applications and shut down computers and servers—protecting you from data loss. Most units can even power down your system safely and automatically in the case of a prolonged power outage. As the unit cost rises, you get longer run times, more robust protection and even power conditioning so that your equipment will not be subjected to normal power fluctuations.
In our opinion, your business is worth the added investment in a UPS and/or surge protector.
We've added HP desktops that use the new Intel 4th generation Core processors (Haswell) to our PC lineup - they don't get better battery life (they're desktops!), but they do provide excellent value and take advantage of the strengths of the new processors.
The new Intel HD Graphics 4600 provides performance improvements of up to 100 percent over the previous generation HD Graphics 4000. The HD 4600 isn't the best choice for heavy duty gaming, but it will provide a performance boost for applications that take advantage of graphic processors - the way that Adobe Photoshop CS6 uses its Mercury Graphics Engine.
And, the Haswell processors provide a modest performance improvement over the previous generation. For example, a Haswell i7-4770, 3.4GHz processor scores 9996 on the PassMark® CPU benchmark, while the previous generation i7-3770, 3.4GHz processor scores 9431.
The HP PCs that we've added to our website are loaded with Window 7 Pro 64-bit (through downgrade rights from Windows 8).
In summary, the HP PCs offer definite improvements at similar price points to previous models, while also providing the advantages of Windows 7 Pro.
Click this link to see our new HP Haswell desktops (As with everything that we add to tastarsupply.com, we've only listed the models that we consider to be the best value.).
How Photographer Robert Strovers Creates Gorgeous Prints
(Top) Maybe you've admired his work in the Fairmont Hotel Pittsburgh or in many PNC buildings or in its Corporate Art Collection or perhaps UPMC buildings and facilities all over the city of Pittsburgh. While he's made his mark in Pittsburgh, today you'll find photographer Robert Strovers deep in the heart of Texas taking photos of everything from old cars to architectural details on old Spanish style buildings.
His favorite paper is the Hahnemuhle Museum Etching, Rob notes, "It has a beautiful slightly textured matte surface with substantial weight making it a hands down favorite paper for medium and large prints. Framers love this paper too because of the weight - it lays and mounts nicely and doesn't buckle or dimple."
Another recent favorite that he's using for select images is Hahnemuhle's Photo Rag Satin. "When I use it for black and white prints, I get a very low luster satin finish where there is ink while the white space areas remain matte. This really gives beautiful depth and dimension to the print."
His best printing tip? "Learn to calibrate your system so the monitor matches your printer. Use the manufacturer's profile for a given paper or learn to create your own custom profile. When doing custom printing for other artists and photographers nothing pleases me more than for them to say "WOW" when they watch the print come off the printer."
Rob notes, "Finding Tastar when I did saved me many dollars in shipping, lost time from waiting and the support was invaluable. Much of my studio setup includes items from Tastar: X-Rite ColorMunki, software, my RAID configured data storage hardware, the de-roller I use for taking the curl out of the roll papers and the nice heavy duty straight edge rulers and the cutting mats for work table tops."
The Cadillac of films is now on sale. Or maybe we should say Mercedes, Lexus or Porsche. Regardless of what cliche you use, you only get the best when you buy Kimoto. Kimoto delivers a higher DMAX than competing films and provides you with consistent, high quality results.
As a Tastar customer, you can save 10 percent on all Kimoto inkjet and laser films (for a total savings of up to 45 percent off list price!) with our current private sale. Simply enter coupon code: kimoto10 in the Gift Redemption Code box as you checkout. Click this link for eligible Kimoto film products.
Adobe Creative Cloud™ - What's to Like?
(Top) Adobe Creative Cloud™. A Change in the Future of Software?
"The only thing constant in life is change." François de La Rochefoucauld
Unless you live under a rock, you know that Adobe has made some big changes to its business model with the introduction of the Adobe Creative Cloud™. A move that has been inspired by what is good for Adobe, not by what is good for Adobe's customers.
While we applaud change and innovation, we’re not clapping for Adobe's latest brainchild and neither are many of its users.
For photographers who just use Photoshop, and maybe Lightroom, and not the full array of Adobe products, the Cloud is an expensive proposition. No longer will users be able to decide when they want to upgrade to a new software version. With the Cloud you will be forced to pay for upgrades you may or may not need.
For printing companies, this new variable update cycle subscription service is causing a lot of head scratching in the area of compatibility with customer files and the compatibility of plug-ins. For people who rely, and have paid handsomely, for plug-ins for their Adobe programs, the question is whether or not the plug-ins will work without having a fixed update cycle.
And, for companies with the need for two or three Adobe products - like Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, they will be forced to rent access to the entire suite of products rather than paying for a much smaller selection, and will be forced to increase their annual payments to Adobe by up to 50 percent.
We’ve been monitoring this situation, and hope that Adobe will see that this is not the best scenario for many of its users. You can follow some interesting conversations on this topic by following a CreativeCow thread this link or a PrintPlanet thread this link. And, you can sign a petition asking Adobe to eliminate the mandatory Creative Cloud subscription model at this link. Hopefully, Adobe will get its head out the cloud and listen to the feedback from its loyal customers.
Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 Instant Rebates!
(Top) Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and you will receive an instant rebate of $750.00. Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 and you will receive an instant rebate of $1,000.00. For eligible printers, please click this link.
Offers expire on October 31, 2013.
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 Rebates
(Top) • Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 4900 Standard Edition printer by October 31, 2013, and you will be eligible to receive a $150.00 rebate or a 1 year warranty extension from Epson!
• Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 4900 Designer Edition printer by October 31, 2013, and you will be eligible to receive a $300.00 rebate or a 1 year warranty extension from Epson!
• For a complete listing of eligible items for these offers, please click this link.
Epson Stylus Pro 9890 Instant Rebates
(Top) Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 9890 and you will receive a $1000.00 instant rebate.
Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 9890 Designer Edition printer and you will receive a $1,000.00 instant rebate.
(Top) Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 11880 printer by October 31, 2013, and you will receive a $2000.00 instant rebate. For eligible 11880 printers, please click this link.
Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Rebates
(Top) • Purchase an Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Standard Edition by October 31, 2013 and you will be eligible for a $200.00 rebate or, purchase an Epson 3880 Signature Worthy or Designer Edition printer by September 30, 2013, and you will be eligible to receive a $250.00 rebate from Epson.
• For eligible Stylus Pro 3880 printers, please click this link for complete details!
Epson Stylus Photo R2000, R2880 and R3000 Rebates
(Top) Buy an Epson Stylus Photo R2000 and you will be eligible to receive a $75.00 rebate from Epson. Please click this link for complete details!
Buy an Epson Stylus Photo R2880 and you will be eligible to receive a $75.00 rebate from Epson. Please click this link for complete details!
Buy an Epson Stylus Photo R3000 and you will be eligible to receive a $150.00 rebate from Epson. Please click this link for complete details!
Offers expire on August 31, 2013.
HP Laser Toners - $30.00 Gift Card with Purchase of 2
(Top) Receive a $30.00 Gift Card from HP with the purchase of two (2) identical select Original HP LaserJet print cartridges during the promotion period at the same time, on the same invoice. Please click this link for eligible products. This offer expires on September 30, 2013.
Receive a Gift Card with HP Ink Purchase
(Top) Receive a $15.00 Kohl's Gift Card with the purchase of $99.00 in eligible Original HP ink cartridges at the same time, on the same invoice. Please click this link for eligible products. This offer expires on September 30, 2013.
The Guest Login Button Is Gone
(Top) Well, we've finally demoted our "unique" Guest Login button to the website graveyard. If you aren't familiar with our site, using our Guest Login provided an easy way to check our pricing without the need to log in and place items in your shopping cart (as is pretty common at other sites with Minimum Advertised Price restrictions). Unfortunately, it also provided a lot of consternation among users - because it was easy to be confused by the "fake" Guest account and a real tastarsupply account.
In its place, we've added a Check Price flyout everywhere a product is displayed. If you would like to know what your actual price will be for a particular item, just head for the Check Price button and the actual price will fly out when you hover over it. Since it's a new feature, we've been finding long lists of products and flying down the column of Check Price buttons to watch them flyout.
In any case, thanks for your support of tastarsupply - if you have any feedback on our simplified functionality, contact us!
There is a very serious hard drive shortage that will significantly affect end-users. In addition to the death and suffering being endured by the people affected by the floods in Thailand, Western Digital's hard drive factory (that produces 60 percent of their hard drives) is shut down from flooding, and a large number of component manufacturers based in Thailand are shut down as well. Per a distributor sales rep that I spoke to, there is a 60 to 90 day lead time from the start of production to the packaging the finished product, so the shortage isn't going to end before the beginning of next year.
This will affect internal hard drives, external hard drives and network attached storage systems. And, the hard drive shortage is now hitting the PC market, too. Per one of our suppliers, some large equipment brokers are buying up existing PC inventory at distributors. The theory is that these guys are going to hoard inventory to drive up prices and then sell at a nice profit. We bought some Corei7 HP's three of weeks ago, and today, they are $100.00 more expensive than they were (approximately $900 vs. $800). And, our distributor said that they couldn't guarantee whether the current price would hold for 1 day or a week, and that the situation won't clear up for the remainder of the year at best. They also said that manufacturers were cancelling existing PO's from distribution and that the manufacturers weren't able to commit to deliveries.
Our company has been in the technology business for 16 years, and we have always seen continuous price drops. For the near term, re. hard drives and computers, the old status quo ain't going to be happening for a while.
Why Buy from tastarsupply?
(Top) Well, for starters, we're nice people and, more importantly, we have an incessant desire to make your buying experience at our store as good as you have ever experienced. More...
Displays and Accessories for Accurate Color
(Top) Check out tastarsupply's selection of LCD displays that are capable of getting close to or exceeding the Adobe RGB color gamut. And check out display calibrators that we believe will allow you to economically and effectively achieve rock-solid color accuracy. More...
We've Moved to a New Web Server
(Top) We've moved tastarsupply to a faster web server and also have updated our credit card processing service. As usual, the transition was "relatively" easy - with a few exceptions. After a lot of testing, we believe that we have resolved all of the transfer issues. If, however, you notice any problems with the functionality of our website, please let us know! Thank you for supporting tastarsupply!
Final installment - Part 5 of 5 Color Reproduction: the Pressroom
(Top) We've just added the fifth and final part of this 5 part series by Dan Remaley, Process Control Consultant. In this article, Dan finally gets to the point of Process Control - getting accurate color from the pressroom. This article can be downloaded on our Dan Remaley page.
Power Protection is Worth the Investment
(Top) Our building was hit by some type of power spike or voltage drop last week - we heard a loud pop that came from outside of the building, the lights dimmed for a few seconds and circuit breakers tripped. It took a little while to figure out why the breakers were tripping - they were being overloaded by blown out surge protectors and battery backups. For that few second hit, we lost 5 surge suppressors and 2 battery backups (and we're still wondering about the ones that didn't blow out) - the units were fried enough to trip the circuit breakers that they were connected to.
Luckily, we protect all of our computers and electronics with either Uninterruptible Power Supplies or with good quality surge protectors. We lost about 400.00 worth of power protection equipment from our one minute power malfunction, but we saved thousands of dollars and countless installation hours by protecting our computers and printers. A lot of the businesses that we visit just plug computers into the wall or into multiple outlet strips that don't provide surge protection. From our personal experience, it's not worth short-cutting the protection of equipment that keeps a business in business.
Just added - Part 4 of 5 Color Reproduction: Film and Plates
(Top) We've just added the fourth part of this 5 part series by Dan Remaley, Process Control Consultant. In this article, Dan discusses film and plates and the evolution to Computer to Plate (CTP) systems. This article can be downloaded on our Dan Remaley page.
We've Moved to a New Web Hosting Company
(Top) We would like to apologize for the hiccups over the last couple of days. For the past few years, tastarsupply.com has been running on the web servers of a one person hosting company - run by a guy who was very helpful to get the site running in its early days. But, at some point last year, he just vanished into the cloud. Because tastarsupply was running on a powerful new server, and because we had prepaid for hosting, we stuck it out. Well, it seems that a few of days ago, the final pieces of his hosting company fell apart, and we had to pick up and move. Luckily, we were relatively good with backups, and after some code tweaking, we were back in business on our new host. Today was a bit bumpy, but thanks to customer feedback, we worked through the problems that people encountered. If you do notice any remaining problems with the site, we would love to hear from you. And, thanks for supporting tastarsupply.com (and good luck Jim, wherever you are!).
Part 3 of 5 Color Reproduction: Color Proofing
(Top) We've just added the third part of this 5 part series by Dan Remaley, Process Control Consultant. In this article, Dan compares and defines Soft Proofing, Copier and/ or laser proofing and Contract Proofs. This article can be downloaded on our Dan Remaley page.
ColorMunki Confusion - Design vs. Photo
(Top) There are two versions of the ColorMunki - a version for Photographers and another for Graphic Designers. Some of the differences:
Product Color: Photo version is Black, Design version is White Product License: Photo version is licensed for unlimited computers, Design version is licensed for 3 computers (pretty significant for larger shops!) Optimizing Printer Profiles: the Photo version uses representative images to fine-tune printer profiles, the Design version uses representative spot colors rather than photos. Digital Pouch: the Photo version includes the capability to use ViewSafe Image Transport to send images, Design version does not include this capability
And, of course, the software suite of each is oriented to either the Design or the Photographic target audience, so there are other differences between the two versions. We have been working with the ColorMunki Design and have made RGB profiles for an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 and CMYK profiles for the ColorBurst RIP. It is an easy to use instrument and does a very good job - it's a great entry level device that will provide the ability to get predictable color control.
Part 2 of 5 Color Reproduction: Scanning
(Top) We've just added the second part of this 5 part series by Dan Remaley, Process Control Consultant. Dan takes a look at the scanning process and the use of Photoshop, and explains the importance of Tone Reproduction, Gray Balance and Color Correction. This article can be downloaded on our Dan Remaley page.
Buy 3, Get 1 Free on Epson Cold and Hot Press Paper
(Top) Buy 3 boxes of qualifying Epson Cold Press or Hot Press Fine Art Paper and get reimbursed for the cost of 1 package via rebate. For complete details, please download the Epson rebate form for this promotion from our Document Downloads area.
For a complete listing of eligible Cold Press or Hot Press Fine Art Paper, please click this link. Offer valid through March 31, 2010.
Dan Remaley: Process Control Consultant
(Top) For a good while, the staff at Tastar has been working with Dan Remaley, a Pittsburgh based Process Controls Consultant. With Dan's help, we've been developing and refining our knowledge of pre-press and press related proofing solutions.
Because we believe in his approach to using Gray Balance as the fundamental method for maintaining accurate color in the printing process, we've posted a collection of his articles at this link. You can contact Dan at 412-889-7643 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative Professionals: Beware of Snow Leopard
(Top) Everyone complains about Microsoft and compatibility issues, but Apple charges forward without much regard for the effects that their new operating systems have on their user base - and it always seems that creative professionals are the most ignored group. And, they've done it again with Snow Leopard - and made changes that affect postscript fonts, monitor gamma, Adobe Acrobat and possibly other areas of the operating system. For a quick summary of the problems, the folks at design-tools.com have done a weekly podcast - available at this link. Their advice: creative professionals should avoid Snow Leopard until these issues have been fixed by Apple.
Initial Impressions of the New Apple iMacs
(Top) Oops, here goes our prejudice - of course we like Macs! In our opinion, the new iMacs are outstanding - most of the reviews that I have read state that they are evolutionary, not revolutionary. True. But, there is an accumulation of new features that really makes them a work horse desktop workstation rather than a big, non-portable notebook. We generally didn't recommend iMac's in a production environment and only did when a user couldn't afford a Mac Pro. But the new models have changed the equation. They are powerful enough to be real workstations - the high-end models sport either an Intel Core i5 or i7 (the reviews aren't out yet, but I'll bet that they out perform some Mac Pro models), and they'll hold up to 16GB of memory. The new LED backlit LCD displays are workstation quality and size - either providing 1920 x 1080 pixels on the 21.5 inch models or 2560 x 1440 pixels on the 27 inch models (read goodbye Apple 30 inch display). Get a 3 year AppleCare warranty and you'll get 3 good years of utility out of your iMac for much less than a Mac Pro workstation. Of course, the downside is the same lack of expandability and flexibility as in the past, that will preclude an iMac from being a good choice in some situations. But, if the shoe does fit, wear it!
Initial Impressions of Windows 7
(Top) These opinions are from a very non-technical perspective and are based on my experiences at a Windows 7 Pro load fest as well as a review of information from other early Windows 7 users. I have talked to a few Mac and Windows tech's that have actually had good experiences with the operating system and think that it is a dramatic move forward. However, my opinion is that, in the simplest terms - if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck, i.e. it seems to be an awful lot like Vista. A refined Vista maybe, a more capable Vista, a less annoying Vista and hopefully a better performing Vista - but it still maintains the look and feel of Vista. My initial experience running it using the latest build of Parallels on a MacBook Pro is that I wouldn't want to actually use it for anything of importance - good old XP Pro continues to run circles around it. So, general disappointment, after a long build-up to the actual release, is the mood at Tastar.
However, if you really want to get a new PC, we have updated most of the PC's on our website to reflect the availability of the new Windows 7 operating system and have added some nice Intel Core i5 and i7 systems running 64-bit Windows 7. And, since Windows 7 will be able to virtualize XP Pro out of the box, the 64-bit version shouldn't have Vista's compatibility issues. To check out our current PC offerings, please click this link.
New FREE SHIPPING policy - effective immediately.
(Top) FREE SHIPPING is available for orders shipping within the lower 48 United States that are over $150.00. However, some items at tastarsupply.com are not eligible for free shipping (and are clearly marked). Your shopping cart must consist entirely of items that qualify for free shipping to be eligible for our free shipping promotion. If any non-eligible items are in your cart, the entire order will be subject to shipping charges (a simple solution to this limitation would be to add non-qualifying items to a separate order). Enjoy FREE SHIPPING at tastarsupply.com!
Welcome to the wonderful world of Malware - for Mac users, too.
(Top) We spend a lot of time fighting PC viruses in our shop, but generally don't worry about, or see any problems with, Apple Macs. But, it really seems that times are changing and the hackers are beginning to notice the Apple platform. Check out this link on the Sophos Security blog - and, even if you are a Mac user, please use caution when you're on the internet (don't allow software to install on your Mac if you aren't absolutely sure of its origin). Even though we generally don't recommend it, it may be time to consider using anti-virus software on your Mac.
Save Big with Epson Bulk Roll Media
(Top) Stock up and save with Epson bulk packs, only from tastarsupply.com - multi-box bundles of Epson's most popular roll papers - at amazingly good prices. You can save big on select rolls of Epson's Photo Glossy Photo Paper, Premium SemiGloss and SemiMatte papers, Premium Luster Photo Paper, Enhanced Matte and even Somerset Velvet and Textured Fine Art papers. And, all of these bulk items qualify for tastarsupply's free shipping, too. Click this link for a listing of available bulk packs.
(Top) We've updated our informational downloads page by improving its appearance and by adding some new material - like the Printing to Gray Balance article that was submitted by industry consultant Dan Remaley. Click this link to check out the latest downloads. And, if you have content that you feel would be interesting to our website guests, please contact us and we'll be happy to post it.
Version 6.5 of Wasatch SoftRIP Now Available
(Top) Version 6.5 is the newest upgrade to the robust Wasatch SoftRIP that includes new features and updates to some of the previous features that make Wasatch a powerful RIP solution for screen printers and other graphic arts professionals.
New features include the Wasatch Cost Estimator that can help you take control of your production costs by accurately estimating the cost of every print that you produce.
SoftRIP version 6.5 includes improvements to Wasatch's Precision Stochastic Screens halftone method (PSS). This update combines the advantages of Error Diffusion with the full speed and other quality advantages of PSS.
And, this release provides a greatly expanded suite of ICC input profiles, in RGB, CMYK, Web Coated SWOP and others, making it more convenient than ever to match a wide variety of industry-standard color responses.
Please click this link to check out the lastest Wasatch RIP products available at tastarsupply.com
Check Out ColorBurst RIP version 9 for Windows
(Top) ColorBurst RIP version 9 is now available for the windows operating system. The new PC version adds support for the Epson 7900 and 9900 printers and improves the functionality and feel of the ColorBurst Windows versions. Improvements to the Pro version of the RIP are the most dramatic - with the addition of a job list that can be used to build layouts that allow cropping, scaling, rotation and tiling. The standard version of the RIP, the queue series (X-Photo and X-Proof), includes a much improved Environment Manager and improved processing power when used with today's multi-core processors. And, both versions include an improved Spectral Vision Pro that provides the ability to produce great ICC profiles and color accurate "environments" without the need to purchase additional software.
If you are a photographer, a ColorBurst RIP using ProPhoto RGB based profiles in conjunction with Epson Stylus Pro printers can be used to create wide gamut prints that have the flair and vibrancy of your original photography. If you are a graphic designer or printer, you can build color accurate profiles that you can rely on to get accurate results on press.
If you are looking at the Windows version of the ColorBurst RIP, it's now better than ever. If you own already own a copy of the ColorBurst RIP, check out the ColorBurst website for great deals on upgrades to the latest version. For more information on version 9 of the RIP, or to download a demo version, visit theColorBurst website. For a list of ColorBurst RIP versions available at tastarsupply.com, please click this link.
Tastar ColorCentral Color Lab
(Top) Our new color lab - Tastar ColorCentral - is up and running. Very simply, the lab allows us to make sure that we know what we are doing - so that we can provide informed and accurate opinions to our customers when they are making purchasing decisions. We don't believe in smoke and mirrors, sales speak or hustling the deal of the century. We believe in knowing the products that we sell and providing advice that best fits your needs. And, our ColorCentral lab helps us to fulfill that objective.
(Top) I just want to complain... As a technology company, Tastar Data Systems works really hard to make sure that we offer products to our customers that provide the best quality possible at reasonable price points. We don't focus on super high-end products that sell for premium prices, but focus on a mid-range selection that we feel provides good value and utility. Lately, we have been getting burned by reputedly good quality companies that don't support their customers or their products.
One example is Acer. Tastar been selling Acer products for a while now - in terms of price, they are definitely on the low end. What we have liked is that their products are generally good quality and we've had very few issues with them. However, we sold a few AcerPower 1000 computers (and didn't sell the 3 year warranty with them, so the default 1 year warranty was in effect). At the time they seemed to be nicely designed small form factor computers with a lot of power at a good price point.
A little over a year later, they are starting to fail, and based on what we found on Google, the ones that we sold aren't the only ones that are failing. It seems that Acer used bad capacitors in their manufacturing and/or didn't do a good job with heat dissipation in their design - and that lots of other AcerPower 1000's that are a similar age are failing, too. Acer, instead of acknowledging either a manufacturing issue or poor design, is charging as much as $400.00 to repair these almost new but out-of-warranty computers.
Apple, by contrast, manufactured iMacs that had similar problems and Apple voluntarily extended the warranty to 3 years (with a lot of pressure from consumers, I'm sure) to compensate for it's design problems.
You'll still find a few Acer computers on our web site - ones that we believe meet our value - price point critera (always buy the 3 year extended warranty!). But we prefer to sell Advantec's Proteon brand - assembled in Massachusetts with Intel branded components and with 3 year warranties. And, Advantec stands behind the quality of the products that they sell.
You'll also find Acer LCD displays on the site - they are very competitively priced, they include a standard 3 year warranty, and we've had very few problems with them. And, if they do fail, replacing one is a simple plug-in of the replacement unit - as opposed to the complexity of moving from one computer to another.
We discontinued building computers about 3 years ago. When we were doing it, we tried to use the best quality components that we could find. We settled on the Asus brand because of their excellent reputation and because of easy access to their tech support department. One of the models that we focused on was the Vintage series - a barebones system (case, motherboard and CD drive pre-assembled) that was nicely designed and cost effective. Well, a little over 3 years later, these units are failing - about 30 percent of them have died at this point. Unfortunately, the response from Asus has been that it's too bad that our product isn't holding up - but there is nothing that we can or will do about it. They won't even repair them as an out-of-warranty repair for a fee!
If you were running a small business, and wanted to get a 5 year life out of your computers (these computers were generally 3GHz P4's that are still very good performers in a general business environment), you would be pretty unhappy with a response like that. We were, too.
D-Link was always one of our favorite brands - and we started selling D-Link routers as soon as they were available (in fact, one of the ones that is running in our shop is a D-Link DI-704 that is at least 7 years old). One of our better selling D-Link routers was their RangeBooster wireless G router, the WBR-2310. From our experience, most of these routers last from 6 months to 18 months, and the ones that do fail generally fail just after the D-Link 1 year warranty has expired. We've had no luck working with D-Link on these quality problems. They have been totally inflexible about replacing one specific unit that failed a week after the expiration of the warranty. How can their older products be so good while their newer ones are so unreliable?
We have switched primarily to TrendNet as our preferred brand for this stuff - their products have 3 year or longer warranties and they have easy to access tech support. We still like to sell D-Link switches, which haven't had the same problems, and which also carry longer warranties.
Technology price points have been driven so low by fierce competition that poor quality and reliability are becoming the norm. If you go out and buy that Acer, Dell or WalMart PC for 299.00, or notebook for 499.00, then you should expect to get very little utility and value from the purchase. You should also expect to have lots of problems and little or no long-term support from the manufacturer.
The extended problem is that, even if you spend more than the rock bottom price, quality is still a crap shoot. I believe that this is happening because of the decline in the quality of the final product as well its basic building blocks (like capacitors, like circuit boards, like hard drives (like tainted milk)). The whole mess is less and less reliable because of the downward pressure on costs and selling price. And, it really doesn't help when product manufacturers don't have true concern for their customers as one of their primary business goals.
I guess the bottom line is that there is no good conclusion to this rant - I'm just angry with the current state of affairs. But maybe, along with our new Democratic president, we will be able to have some hope for change in the future. Ed.
Macintosh Performance Guide
(Top) The Macintosh Performance Guide for Digital Photographers & Performance Addicts by Lloyd L Chambers is a great reference for getting the most from your Macintosh. Mr. Chambers discusses general performance tuning, getting the best performance from Photoshop and hard drive operation and performance. (Generally I don't agree with most discussions of these subjects, but, this presentation is right on -Ed.) It's a great reference for a Mac power user or a person contemplating the purchase of a Mac (with good advice about not wasting money on the purchase).
(Top) Effective immediately - you can recycle genuine Epson 110ml or 220ml cartridges (that are used in Epson Stylus Pro 4000, 4800, 4880, 7600, 7800, 7880, 9600, 9800 and 9880 printers) - help our environment and save on future purchases at tastarsupply! Click this link for complete details!
Photos from the American Society of Media Photographers Meeting
(Top) tastarsupply demonstrated Epson wide format printers, color accurate displays, a wide range of paper and other exciting stuff at the October 21 meeting of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers. Check out some photo highlights of this meeting at this link.
Epson announces myEpsonPrinter.com
(Top) Epson America, Inc.has announced the public beta of myEpsonPrinter.com, a unique Web-based printer information and management system. Owners of Epson Stylus Pro X880 series and Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 printers can manage and monitor their printer virtually in real-time.
Key features include ink tracking and media consumption, management of printers at remote locations, robust report generation, access to intelligent technical support, and management of end users
New at tastarsupply - Member Classifieds
(Top) We're putting the finishing touches on our new Member Classifieds Ad section - an area where our registered members can submit free classified ad listings. If you are a registered member at tastarsupply and have some used digital equipment that you would like to sell - a printer, an older computer that you would like to sell to upgrade to a current one, memory cards from a previous camera, etc., etc., feel free to submit an ad. To add a listing, log in and then go to your My Account page and click on the Submit a New Classified Ad link. Once approved, your ad will be displayed for 30 days - at no charge.
(Top) We've added a Product Reviews section to our website - registered customers can now add product reviews that will be available to other customers. We've realized that product reviews are a great way to get some extra information or provide some feedback on a product with which you have hands on experience. Please take advantage of this new feature and help other people benefit from your experience - we'll take the good along with the bad to help our customers make informed decisions about their purchases (just go to the detailed information page for a product and click the Write A Review button at the bottom of the page).
Kimoto Inkjet and Laser Films are now available
(Top) We are happy to announce the addition of the Kimoto Tech lineup of polyester Laser and Inkjet films for generating film positives and negatives. In our in-house tests, we have consistently generated film densities of over 3.2 using the Kimoto UC5 clear film with UltraChrome K3 inks. Please check out tastarsupply's offerings by clicking this link. You'll find a nice selection of sheets of Kimoto laser films as well as rolls and sheets of inkjet films. And, you'll get Kimoto Tech high quality products at our great introductory pricing!
Check Out Our Computer to Polyester Plate Systems
(Top) tastarsupply is happy to announce the addition of the GenieX line of polyester printing plates to our store. We've also added a couple of great packages, too - that include a C96 series Okidata printer, GenieX plates, plate cleaner, fountain solution additive, etc. - everything that you need to produce great quality polyester laser plates from your computer. And, with our package deal, you'll get a great solution for providing high quality short run 4 color printing, too! Please click this link for a listing of platemaking packages and GenieX plates.
Send us an email or call us at 412-884-8077 to request a sample plate - try one to see how they perform on your press. If you run KimotoSetter plates, Hurst SmartPlates, Genie Laser Plates or Xante Myriad plates, you should have everything that you need to do a test run.
Unbelievable savings on the Epson Stylus Pro 11880
(Top) For a limited time, save up to $3,000.00 on the Epson Stylus Pro 11880 printer. For complete details, please download the rebate form for this offer. Offer expires on March 31, 2009.
Welcome aboard to the Wasatch SoftRIP family
(Top) After a thorough review of the RIP, we found that it fit well into our line of products. And, we agree with Wasatch - it's sophisticated software made easy. With simple setup, intuitive workflow, and powerful printing controls, SoftRIP saves you time and money while producing excellent quality color. Whatever your printing goals, you will succeed with SoftRIP.
One of the very strong features of SoftRIP is its ability to print separations to clear film using standard Epson inksets - in our tests we have repeatedly achieved a dMax over 3.2.
Please check out tastarsupply's offerings by clicking this link - you'll find several versions of the SoftRIP as well as specially priced Screen Printer bundles that include the SoftRIP and an Epson Stylus Pro printer complete with a package of clear film.
New Epson Stylus Pro '880 series printers are shipping
(Top) The new Epson Stylus Pro 4880, 7880, 9880 and 11880 printers are now shipping. We have recently received our 9880 demo unit and will be working with it - doing profiles and tests of the new Epson papers. If you are in the Western Pennsylvania area and would like to check it out, please let us know!
Fall specials on popular Apple products...
(Top) For a limited time, get special prices on Apple White and Black MacBooks, Mac Mini's and the striking new anodized aluminum iMac. tastarsupply has configured these models with an extra 1GB of memory (for a total of 2GB) for the list price of the standard 1GB model. And, get special prices on Apple's great new iPod Nano - 8GB Black. Available through November 30, 2007 (some quantities are limited). For a listing of these special deals, please click this link.
New part numbers for Epson 4800, 7800 and 9800 inks
(Top) As part of the evolution to the new Stylus Pro "880" series printers with Vivid Magenta inks, Epson has revised the part numbers for the existing 4800, 7800 and 9800 inks. For a listing of the new ink part numbers, please click this link. Please note that the Vivid Magenta inks are compatible with the new 4880, 7880 and 9880 printers only.
Tools that will help to keep your Mac in great shape...
(Top) tastarsupply has assembled a toolbox of items that will help to keep your Mac in top condition - and we've lowered our prices on these tools to make them as affordable as possible. For a listing, including our favorite freeware and shareware utilities, please click this link.
Check out the Bienfang De-Roller and other helpful tools.
(Top) tastarsupply has added a few items that will increase your wide-format printing pleasure, including the Bienfang De-Roller print de-curling and flattening system and the safe and convenient ImageEdge Cutting System. For a product listing, please click this link.