Inkjet printer used to diagnose diabetes

September 16, 2014

inkjetdiabetesA team of researchers created a diabetes testing system using an inkjet printer.

The Conversation reported on Tsinghua University’s Yifei Zhang and colleagues, who published results from an experiment in the Chemical Communications journal regarding their work on turning an inkjet printer “into a chemistry lab and us[ing] it to diagnose diabetes”.

The site notes that inkjet printers are “an astonishing feat of precision engineering”, due to their ability to “achieve more than a million different hues and shades” from “mere nanolitres” of ink with “pinpoint accuracy”, and Yifei and his team have “exploit[ed] that precision engineering” to “screen millions of different chemical reactions”.

The team had been “trying to understand reaction pathways in living things”, with chemical processes in living organisms “controlled by a cascade of reactions” that are “mediated by […] enzymes” in a procedure similar to “workers on a production line”, in this case creating molecules. Reconstructing the process is “difficult” outside of a living cell, with a “vast number of reactions” monitored at once using 96-well plates – small containers of a “unique combination of chemicals”.

Whilst these reactions “might be set up manually” or by an “expensive robot”, the process is often slow, and so the team used a printer for its cheaper operation, replacing the inks with “solutions of enzymes” to create a device “that has the potential to dispense more than a million different reaction mixtures”. The coloured reaction products were printed directly onto paper, with higher-intensity colours showing “which reaction mixtures worked best”.

As potential applications “extend beyond curiosity-driven research”, the team loaded the printer’s cartridges with enzymes that could “indicate the presence of glucose in a sample”, with glucose in urine “an indication of diabetes”, with the site predicting a future “where a trip to the doctors results in a printout of, quite literally, your urine and some enzymes alongside, after 30 seconds or so, a diagnosis and the prescription”.

Researchers have previously used inkjet printers to print living cells, as well as eye cells, and recently computer memory was printed onto paper through an inkjet printer.

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Printer hacked to run video game

September 16, 2014

Credit: Context IS

Credit: Context IS

Canon Pixma printer’s security flaws highlighted by security researcher, who was able to run the video game Doom on the device’s hardware.

BBC News reported that security researcher Michael Jordon took four months to hack into a Canon Pixma printer and run the Doom videogame on its hardware, with the hack demonstrating security issues many printers have.

The Canon Pixma range, as with most other printers, can be accessed via the internet to enable users to check on the device’s status, but Jordon, who works for Context Information Security, found that this function had not been adequately secured by Canon as he explained that “the web interface has no user name or password on it”; meaning that anyone would be able to access the device’s status once they find it using a search engine.

The article states that “thousands of potentially vulnerable Pixma printers” are “already discoverable online” via search engines such as Shodan, although “there is no evidence that anyone is attacking printers” using the same method as Jordon.

Jordon found that the issue with the printer’s remote access feature was that hackers would be able to update the printer’s firmware via the interface, despite the firmware being encrypted, as “it was possible to crack this protection system to reveal the core computer code”. It was also found that by “reverse engineering” Canon’s encryption system, Jordon was able to write his own firmware which “the printer should accept […] as authentic”. As a result, he was able to run the 1993 videogame, Doom, on the printer.

Jordon explained that while the printer’s colour palette wasn’t quite up to scratch, “the game is recognisably Doom”, adding that “the printer has a 32-bit Arm processor, 10mb of memory and even the screen is the right size […] I had all the bits, but it was a coding problem to get it all running together”.

Months of coding was involved in order to get the game running, as “the printer’s firmware lacked functions provided by the operating system on any PC or other device it was running on” and so the game needed to be converted “so it coped with the internal idiosyncrasies of the printer”.

Jordon said: “The colour palette is still not quite right […] but it proves the point and it runs quite quickly, though it’s not optimised.”

Canon commented on Jordon’s blog about the work that it intended “to provide a fix as quickly as is feasible” to prevent further hacks to its Pixma printers; with this reportedly set to involve “adding a user name and password field to the web interface for future Pixma printers and issuing an update for existing owners to add the same feature”.

The Recycler has reported on numerous printer security breaches in the past, with HP forced to issue a critical security update to patch a security problem with its LaserJet Pro printers last year and the OEM recently launching a portfolio of printer products and services designed to offer devices with the same level of security as PCs and servers.

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HP fined for bribing Russian officials

September 15, 2014

hpOEM pleads guilty to bribing Russian Prosecutor General’s Office in order to secure $42 million contract.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that HP has been fined $58 million (€45 million) in the US after it admitted that its Russian subsidiary had “made illegal payments of at least $9 million (€7 million) in Russia” as it aimed to “secure a lucrative contract” worth $42 million (€32.5 million).

The OEM pleaded guilty to using “slush funds, buyback schemes and shell companies” to win the contract, which would have seen the company “supply computers and other technological products” to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office.

According to the statement, Russian officials used the money for “travel, luxury cars, jewellery, clothing and furniture” among other things; although it did not say when the incident occurred.

While HP and other multinational companies that had also bribed Russian officials have not “faced any legal trouble in Russia so far”, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) means that companies that do business in the US are “legally responsible for corruption abroad”; with “numerous multinational corporations” admitting to violating the FCPA in Russia since 2010, including Siemens, Daimler and Pfizer.

In Russia, agencies that have reportedly accepted bribes from such companies, in addition to the Prosecutor General’s Office, include the customs authorities, the Interior Ministry, the Health Ministry and the Federal Guard Service; none of which have faced any legal action in the country.

The Recycler reported in April that HP subsidiaries had also been fined for bribing officials in Poland and Mexico, in addition to Russia; with the OEM facing a total of $108 million (€83.5 million) in fines for all three countries.

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HP launches two new inkjet machines

September 15, 2014

The OEM released two AIOs.

HP's OfficeJet Pro 6830

HP’s OfficeJet Pro 6830

ITWire reported on a range of new products from HP, including two new AIOs, the 7640 e-AIO and the OfficeJet Pro 6380 e-AIO, both under the Envy brand. The 7640 features print speeds of 14ppm in monochrome and nine ppm in colour as well as wireless connectivity, NFC (near-field communication) technology and mobile printing compatibility.

The 7640 is said to be at the “top end of the home budget” at $229 (€176), and uses HP’s Tri-colour cartridges alongside a separate black cartridge, with two lower-specified models available as well – the 5640, at $149 (€115), and the 5530, at $119 (€91), to “cover all bases” for consumers.

The OfficeJet Pro 6830 meanwhile features print speeds of 18ppm in monochrome and 10ppm in colour, with a 15,000 page monthly duty cycle alongside four separate inkjet cartridges. The device, the site adds, is “aimed at small workgroups that want internet connectivity and e-print compatibility”, and uses four separate inkjet cartridges “for better economy” at a price of $229 (€176).

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UK businesses unaware of new waste laws

September 12, 2014

Recycling-Bins-780x585Survey finds 90 percent of UK businesses are “completely unaware” of new changes to waste disposal law, putting them at risk of being fined.

The survey, conducted by BusinessWaste.co.uk, involved 1,700 small businesses in the UK, with just 10 percent of business owners found to have any knowledge of the imminent changes to waste laws in England and Wales, which will come into force from January 2015 and will require businesses to significantly alter their waste management processes.

The amendment to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 will mean that businesses in England and Wales will be legally obliged to ensure the separate storage and collection of paper, glass, metal and plastic waste; with those who fail to comply faced with potentially unlimited fines.

Following a summary conviction in a magistrate’s court, businesses could face a fine of £5,000 ($8,100/€6,300); but for more serious offences that are heard in a crown court, businesses could face “totally unlimited” fines.

Alex Wignall, Customer Services Manager at BusinessWaste.co.uk, commented: “It is shocking that 90 percent of the businesses we spoke to had no idea that these changes are set to come into law very soon. The cost of not complying with these new regulations could be catastrophic for businesses – small businesses in particular.

“Businesses don’t have much time left to implement these changes, so if they aren’t separating their recyclables already then they really need to start right now. If they don’t, they could find themselves being slapped with unlimited fines by the courts, something which can obviously cause huge damage to any business involved.”

The new legislation originated from the EU Waste Framework Directive, and means that co-mingling recyclables with non-recyclable waste types will become a criminal offence. However, mixing recyclable waste types together will still be categorised as separation and will be permitted. The new waste regulations resemble those already in force across Scotland.

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HP elaborates on printer security releases

September 11, 2014

HP M630

HP M630

Portfolio of products and services designed to offer same level of security to printers as seen in personal computers and servers.

Financial Post reported on the potential printers have to act as a “hacker’s gateway” to a computer network, and that as a result, HP has announced a portfolio of products and services to ensure that printers have the same level of protection as personal computers and servers.

The article notes that printers and MFDs are “often neglected in corporate security features”, with Ed Wingate, Vice President of Solutions, HP LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions, explaining that despite this, “they and other embedded devices are frequently a gateway to the network for hackers” but applying the same level of security to them as computers and servers has been “historically difficult”.

In a survey by Quocirca, 90 percent of respondents reportedly indicated that they have had some form of security breach through printing; whether it was simply a confidential document being left in a printer’s output tray, or a print job being sent to the wrong device.

Michael Howard, Worldwide Security Practice Lead for LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions at HP, highlighted the need to recognise that “these are not your parent’s printers […] they are not just terminals hanging off a PC”, rather, they may contain hard drives holding sensitive data that is “often unencrypted”. However, he noted that the hard disks in HP’s LaserJet portfolio “have been encrypted since 2008”, with encryption becoming “standard in 2010” and tools offered by the OEM to “retrofit older models”.

HP’s new products and services, which The Recycler previously reported on, come as part of the company’s new branding for its printing offerings, HP JetAdvantage, which “encompasses not only security, but all facets if document workflow and printing”. The portfolio includes the LaserJet Enterprise Flow MFP M630, which has print speeds of 60ppm, an encrypted hard drive and the ability to “send encrypted email and generate encrypted PDF files”. The device is available in Canada this autumn at a price of CA$3,149 (US$2,870/€2,220).

Two further devices announced are part of the LaserJet Pro series – the M201 and M225 – priced as CA$229 (US$209/€161) and CA$329 (US$300/€232) respectively. Both devices are monochrome and compatible with HP’s Imaging and Printing Security Center (IPSC), with the M201 being a “basic” LaserJet printer designed for “telecommuters or remote offices”; while the M225 is an MFC.

Meanwhile, HP’s JetAdvantage Pull Print software will be released in North America on 5 November, bringing “security advantages larger enterprises have enjoyed to small and medium businesses”. Users will be able to use a cloud-based service to print via the HP cloud as well as retrieve documents from “the printer of their choice” after entering their credentials and selecting the job from “a personalised encrypted print queue”. Documents are automatically erased if they are held for over three days and haven’t been deleted manually to ensure that they remain secure.

HP Secure Content Management and Monitoring, meanwhile, will be released in February 2015 as an extension of HP Autonomy Information Governance tools, and will “monitor and audit all information flowing through an HP MFC” by detecting confidential information such as credit card numbers in documents and “flagging it for administrator attention”.

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Xerox introduces new light production printer

September 10, 2014

Xerox C60 C70Colour C60/C70 printer offers “cost-effective option” for a range of printing needs.

Xerox announced the release of its new Colour C60/C70 light production printer, which the OEM stated is “suitable in any print environment”; from print shops and in-plant operations, to agencies, small businesses and manufacturers.

The device is able to print a wide range of applications, including rugged polyester labels, menus, signs, vinyl window clings, magnets and marketing brochures. It offers “sharp, consistent and accurate” image quality; with a resolution of 2400 by 2400 dpi, along with “enhanced front-to-back registration accuracy” and a number of finishing options such as stapling, hole-punching, folding and face trimming.

Xerox added that a “first” for this type of device is the C60/C70’s ability to print on linen for applications like event planning, appliques and embellishments, with Xerox’s Emulsion Aggregation PDF file (EA) toner able to manage the “traditionally difficult” peaks and valleys in linen and other specialty substrates due to its “unique ultra low-melt” technology.

Further features of the device include print speeds of up to 70ppm in colour and 75ppm in monochrome; a choice of four print servers/controllers from Xerox and EFI that “enhance productivity, reduce time-intensive tasks and deliver high impact vibrant images”; variable-data capabilities for personalised applications; and pre-programmed workflow solutions for job accounting, security, monitoring and tracking.

Furthermore, the device boasts quality and graphic arts certifications, including IDEAlliance Certified Digital Press System, Gracol, Fogra offset and Pantone certified.

Available for immediate ordering, the Xerox Colour C60/C70 is priced at $34,900 (€27,000).

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Cartridge World Slough offers postal service

September 10, 2014

Ian Chai, owner of Cartridge World Slough

Ian Chai, owner of Cartridge World Slough

Parcels2Post service said to offer potential savings of up to two thirds on cost of posting parcels up to 15 kilograms in weight.

Cartridge World Slough announced that its customers will have the benefit of using the new Parcels2Post service, enabling them to use a touch screen terminal, similar to a cashpoint machine or self-service till, to send parcels anywhere in the world via a global network of carriers. Payment can be made by credit or debit card prior to the item being dropped into a secure post box ready for collection and sending.

The service is part of B2C Europe, said to be “one of the fastest growing parcel distributors in the UK”, and uses the benefits of volume discounts and “intelligent parcel routing” to reduce postage costs, creating “a keenly competitive parcel post service”.

Ian Chai, Owner of Cartridge World Slough, commented: “At Cartridge World Slough, we’re always looking to save our customers’ money – both business and retail. Our range of great value inkjet and laser printer cartridges offer savings of up to 30 percent [compared to OEM cartridges]. Our new parcel service is another way of offering quality at a significantly lower cost.”

He added: “I see this service being of benefit to the growing numbers of internet shoppers and eBay users. It also offers additional savings for small businesses that are VAT registered. Our high street location and six days a week opening makes it a realistic and money saving alternative to the post office. And of course, traceability is built into the service, so customers have complete peace of mind.”

Meanwhile, Parcels2Post’s Chief Operating Office, Jon Bunston, said: “Our new service has been two years in development and extensively tested. We’ve used customer feedback to perfect it. The service has been so well received that we are now ready to expand it to other locations – of which Cartridge World Slough is the first. Their location and commitment to customer service, makes them an ideal retail partner to work with.”

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Printlife hires new Sales Director

September 10, 2014

The company has appointed Christian Flögel as Sales Director.

Christian Flögel

Christian Flögel

Flögel has joined Printlife after a 15-year career in the aftermarket, including three years as a Business Development Manager at Static Control and seven years as a General Manager at InkTec. The company noted that he has gained “extensive experience in different sales channels” before taking up his new role at Printlife, which states it is an “emerging company” in the industry.

The company, which has been in existence since 2006, became a GmbH this year for “a more stable base in Germany”, and has three production plants based in Drumersheim staffed by 25 employees, with an annual production capacity of 240,000 toner cartridges. Printllife also describes itself as a “pure outsourcing operation for other recyclers and trading companies with their own brands. We do not have any own brand[s] and we are not dealing in [the] B2C business”.

Flögel commented: “Printlife was my next logical step in the industry. It is a company in [my] home [town] Baden, and the convincing quality of our products [was] known to me for a long time.” He will work alongside Managing Director Pascal Kaindl and Business Development Manager Antonion Perales – who is based in Barcelona – to support customers from southern Europe.

Kaindl also stated: “Our strength is the speed in our R&D, therefore we need to have qualified sales people to communicate this with our customer network.“ Printlife noted that it is also “working closely with a big manufacturer of components”, and “strongly” respects others’ intellectual property, with some of its cartridges certified under the Blue Angel, LGA and Nordic Swan accreditations, and new models including replacements for the CS and CX originals.

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Sexism prevalent in UK tech industry

September 9, 2014

INPE0988Survey finds 71 percent of women working in the tech industry label sexism as an industry problem.

A survey conducted by UK online accounting firm Crunch Accounting has found that 43 percent of female respondents who work in the tech or IT industries have witnessed or experienced sexism in the workplace, with 71 percent labelling it as an industry issue.

500 IT workers from across the UK were polled between 1 and 22 July 2014 about their experiences relating to sexism and gender discrimination, with views differing between male and female workers. Over half of female respondents described the workplace sexism problem as ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’, compared to 32 percent of male respondents. Meanwhile, 28 percent of male respondents indicated their belief that sexism was not a problem in the tech sector, compared to 14 percent of female respondents.

The problem worsens as it was found that just 45 percent of respondents said they would report a sexist act to management, while 29 percent said they would leave the issue unreported and 26 percent said they were unsure if they would take the issue further.

Commenting on the findings, Laurence Barry, Development Manager at Crunch Accounting, said: “There is a serious shortage of skilled tech workers in this country and yet we may be discouraging half the potential candidates from a sustained career in this industry with outdated sexism. It is a problem that the entire industry needs to address. That needs to start with all tech workers, male and female, taking responsibility for reporting and responding to any sexism they experience in the workplace and with managers treating it as a serious problem.

“We also need more women in STEM education at all levels, so that the tech industries are recruiting higher numbers of female STEM graduates. This leads to a virtuous circle, because the more women we have in technology the more we see how false that gender gap is and we breakdown those barriers.”

He added: “We are seeing huge growth in female entrepreneurship amongst our clients and have a growing number of women in our Development department at Crunch, so I think we can see a very bright future where sexism in the tech industry is just a distant memory. But we still have work to do, as an industry, to achieve that.”

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