Getting to Know Your PC – Part 3

a basic inkjet printerWe've all seen printers around the office, they've become a staple of modern computing. Most of us are also familiar with the subsection of Murphy's Law dealing with printers: whenever you need to print, no matter how recently the ink or toner was changed, it's out now, and you have to hunt down the replacement and change it out...also, you're magically out of paper, too. Printers have come a long way, believe it or not, in the last 20 years, and they can vary widely in their capabilities and functions, but your basic home printer is fairly standard. Printers used to connect to an LPT, or parallel, port on your computer, and some still do, though it's almost unheard of for home-use printers (for information about parallel ports, see my post on Getting to Know Your PC - Part 2). Nowadays it's pretty much either USB or wired/wirelessly networked (if you forgot what USB is or does, you can brush up in our last article or, if you're somewhat more ambitious, Wikipedia). Wired/wirelessly networked printers are available to anybody connected to your home network. The USB connection of a printer links it directly to only one computer; however, that computer can share it's printer connection, allowing anybody on the network to print to the USB-connected printer whenever the computer (the one connected to the printer) is on. Apart from how they connect to the computer, printers are broken down into two main types: ink and laser. Ink-based printers use liquid ink cartriges  

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