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Articles of Interest
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Liz Reed - Capturing the Beauty of Nature
09/10/2013

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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!
09/02/2013

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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.

For more information, please Click this link.


Product review: Epson Natural Canvas
08/30/2013

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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.

Thickness
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.)

Coating
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

Stretching
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

Dynamic range
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

Printing
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

Shrinkage
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

Pricing
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?
08/23/2013

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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.

Fortunately, companies can take a number of steps to protect their data—we’ll cover data backup in another article—but one of the easiest ways is to protect all your computers and valuable electronics with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) or with a quality surge protector.

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.


HP Desktops with Intel Haswell CPUs Now Available
08/05/2013

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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
07/30/2013

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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.

Even though he's not close to home, Rob has remained a loyal Tastar customer. He prints on an Epson 9890 and uses a variety of acid-free papers to showcase his work including Museo Silver Rag, Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, Hahnemuhle Museum Etching and Epson's Exhibition Fiber.

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."

Check out Rob's diverse styles at artisticpursuits.net.



Kimoto Inkjet and Laser Film up to 45 Percent Off!
07/25/2013

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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?
07/20/2013

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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!
07/01/2013

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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
07/01/2013

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  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
07/01/2013

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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.

For eligible printers, please click this link.

Offers expire on October 31, 2013.


Epson Stylus Pro 11880 Instant Rebate
07/01/2013

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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.

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