The Inquirer-Home

Expiry on HP printer cartridges hacked

Letters and conspiracies
Wed Apr 30 2003, 22:32
HP inkjet cartridges have built in expiry dates

MAYBE THIS is a one off and won't work for everyone, but it might be worth a try. Recently my black cartridge on my old trusty hp 720C ran out. I was expecting it to, it had been in there for three years. On wandering round Akihabara I found some reduced because "the sell by date had expired" cartridges". Being cheap I bought a couple. When I got home and tried them out they wouldn't work, but being the inquisitive type (in addition to being cheap) I spent a little while ripping my hair out figuring what was wrong. After about an hour and a half I started to physically compare the old and new cartridge ..... and ......the copper pin layout on the new one was different. There was an extra pin! Scratched the pin off and voila. Sneaky hp.



Subject: HP inkjet cartridges have built-in expiry dates

I guess these printer companies aren't content with charging astronomical amounts for ink. It's just ink! It's everywhere! Why does HP, Epson, Canon, etc. sell ink at such high rates? To top that off, HP wants to rip you off even more if you try to conserve it. Something has to be done about these companies who virtually sell dust for a fortune. No wonder cheaper ink refill alternatives are becoming more and more popular. I'm sure the big guys already know about the cheap inks, but they're just trying to hold on as long as they can to their current prices to maintain their balance sheets.



Subject: cartridge expiry

just to say that expiry dates on HP printers is nothing new! My aged DeskJet2000 uses these for its cartridges and printheads. Except in cases of very old bulk supplies I can't see that anyone who uses such a (heavy-duty) printer would ever notice this problem. Rather, they notice its tendency to eat through cartridges at break-neck speed (mine's done 110,000 pages - thank god for refills...)

It's perhaps a sign of how invisible the expiry dates are that I no longer have *any* way of knowing what they are. The printer has only a parallel port connection, and Win2000 / WinXP don't allow the full bidirectional parallel communication that allowed the Win98 driver to report back on cartridge status. Not even the printed status sheets (which tell you everything else, even how many pages each individual cartridge and printhead have printed) bother to mention the expiry date.



Subject: HP Print carts expiring

I just read your article about HP Ink jet print cartridges expiring. I totally agree that this practice is outrageous and should be stopped. I am IT Support for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am also HP, Lexmark, IBM, Compaq and Dell certified. I have no allegiance to any of these companies but I feel replacing HP printers with Lexmark is even a bigger mistake. I will not go into detail why besides what I feel is obvious.

Another subject that I think should be brought into the light is the practice of selling ink refills. If you agree that HP (and others) have on board chips to measure the ink and monitor the date then how do you refill them and make them work. I think the person who comes out with a working cartridge that can be refilled and still look go to the printer he could get rich over night!

I think these people selling these kits should be stopped or made to inform buyers that "Refilling some ink carriages may NOT work due to expirations built into them by the manufacturers." Don't you think so?



Subject: Re: HP Printer Cartridge Expiry

Is this really a story? "We bought way more ink cartridges than we could use anywhere near close to the expiration date, to get a better price, and now, 2 years after the printed expiration date we can't use them." Bulk-purchasing of perishable goods is something that *MANY* businesses have to manage -- buying more to increase their quantity discount, while limiting loss due to spoilage.

"Waiter, my milk is sour!" "Yeah, we bought a huge quantity to save you money. Drink up!"

From what you said in the story, the printed expiration date is 2.5 years after the build date, but the "hard" expiration date (where the printer will no longer use the cartridge) is 4.5 years. Or it will expire after it's sat in the printer for 2.5 years. I'm shocked that someone wouldn't find that reasonable.

I've recently been thinking of using one of my HP inkjet printers to print some color flyers for a project. However, in thinking about it I know that I'll probably have to spend $50 to replace the ink cartridges. This was before I heard anything about the cartridges having an expiration date on them, and I'm not sure that these have the circuitry to prevent the use. The simple fact is that the printer has been sitting with the ink cartridge installed, in my garage, for around 2 years now...

I would be shocked if I could get the cartridges to work well after that time sitting... I can't imagine someone being shocked that a 2.5 to 4.5 year old cartridge is saying that it's time to replace it.

"We're switching to Lexmark, even though we think they have the same problem."

Ahh, it all becomes clear. These people are *NOT* reasonable.



Subject: Epson's Inkjet Ethics Just as Bad as HP

I recently ran out of black ink for my Epson Stylus 760, and right when I replaced the ink in the unit with a brand new cartridge, my color cartridge ran out before I was even able to align the new head. I hardly ever use color, so I figured it wasn't a big goes on, right? Wrong.

I couldn't get the color ink cartridge error message to go away when I printed, so I visited Epson's website to find a way around this. That's where I found out that there is no work around for this. Epson specifically designed their printers so that they would NOT operate with an empty color ink cartridge, even though my print options were set to black and white.

I called tech support, and when I asked the agent if this was indeed true, his reply was that this was a _color_ inkjet, and it is meant to operate in color and that it was not his position about arguing what it should and should not do (I got the feeling this wasn't the first time he had this argument). I was totally astounded, and after a few terse words between us, I threw the phone down in disbelief.

Not only is this extremely unethical and immoral, but it seems to me that this should be in violation of some sort of consumer rights law? I'm so furious about this, though I'm sure I'm not alone.

I might as well buy my printers from Microsoft.

Jonathan Cunningham


Subject: Is the FTC on its way to dismantling JEDEC?

Bill Teel is the Editor of Hedge Fund Confidential. He owns Rambus shares.
Guess that explains the article. Inateresting read. Funny how lawyers try to turn things around.

Thw whole purpose of Commitiees like JDEC is to develope new standards free of patents or at least well defined royalties. Let a company like Rambuss participate and steal ideas then present them as their own is exactly what this was set up to prevent.

Rambus had a duty when it withdrew to state it intended to seek patents on some of the information they were discussing and this was the purpose of their withdrawal. Instead they let the standard come into existance then tried to collect royalties. This is fraud. If Rambuss wins it will make new standard commities impossible not the other way around.

I do not own Rambus or any other memory stock.

Steve Angell


Mr.Teels analysis of the FTC vs Rambus poor at best.
He attempts to play one branch of the government against another,FTC vs US Patent Office, while claiming that his special interest,Rambus, is the victim.
Rambus filed a patent application in 1990 that resulted in 31 patents.
When were the patents awarded ?
How much influence did Rambus wield during the time they were a member of JEDEC ?
Rambus and Intel had a cozy relationship ,could the power of that consortium sway the outcome of the JEDEC standards ?
If Rambus DRAM and the Pentium 4 combination had not been brutalized by the competition would this investigation even be taking place ?
I think not.
Rambus is playing smoke and mirrors to appear the victim and flout the rules of the SDO at the same time.
May they bubn in eternal damnation.



Subject: Is the FTC on its way to dismantling JEDEC?

Quite aside from the fact that your title has nothing whatsoever to do with the story, I find all thus legal posturing out of place in a journal like this.

All these generalities have nothing whatsoever to do with the case in question as I understand it. To wit: Did RAMBUS acquire advance info on a coming standard and later adapt their patent application to INCLUDE that standard? It is one thing to say that they invented something and yet another to say that they deliberately stole the idea and sold it to the patent office as their own.

In order to do the latter they would require a LOT more than an IDEA or concept. They would have to know enough about the proposed standard to GUARANTEE that their patent, when it was awarded 4 or more YEARS later, would contain enough technical detail that the new standard would definately INFRINGE on the patent.

IF they did the latter there ought to be plenty of circumstantial info in the patent application itself.

So why bring all this HYPOTHETICAL rigamarole about what MIGHT happen in the future into play? There's only one reason I can see: They are trying to scare future members of JEDEC into not joining.

In other words, it's the LAWYERS.who are trying to blackmail JEDEC into backing down. The FTC has nothing to do with it.

The next question that arises is : Have any of the present JEDEC memhers objected to this provision? They have their own lawyers, and I'm sure if they saw any such overreaching danger, they would warn their cliemts and start filing motions post haste.

Yet none of that has occured to my knowledge.

My conclusion: It's all BS and tedious, repititious BS at that.




Subject: Sun/JBoss Cold War heats up as JavaOne conference nears

It would have been nice if you mentioned that is inviting everybody to discuss the J2EE compliance stuff in an open forum.

Ideally post deviantions from the spec there. I think then they will be adressed soon.



Subject: Pro-RIAA rant letter! Problems?!

While I may agree that file-swapping is an infringing use copyrighted material Randy Hubbard states that recording a television program with a VCR is an infringement of the copyright. I believe his assertion is incorrect. Recording each episode of "The Simpsons" for my personal library and research into the hidden meanings encoded in the variations of the opening credits is not an infringement of the copyright and, thus, not illegal. Even when I later publish a book exposing and cataloging the various subliminal messages and hidden meanings over the entire run of the show (to date), I still will not have infringed on the copyright. Furthermore, when I record a video of myself explaining the meaning of the hidden messages in the opening credits of each episode followed by the entire episode on the same tape, I still will not have infringed on the copyright. I could even show the tape to my friends in the privacy of my home just for laughs. However, if I offer to make a copy for a friend of various episodes in my vast library, allow the distribution of my video with the episode included (whether for profit or not) or simply charge admission for people to see it in my home, then I have infringed on the copyright.

The concept of copyright is not the perpetual ownership of the idea, process or artwork. Rather it is the concept of protection of the idea, process or artwork for a period of time during which the copyright holder alone should receive the financial gain from showing and/or licensing the work. I am not required to wait for "The Simpsons" reruns to see my favorite show again. Since I recorded it when it was originally broadcast I am free to view it again and again in the comfort of my home, legally. This is called fair use. The copyright holder received their payment from the advertisers at the time of broadcast.

The situation is fundamentally the same with recorded music. However, problems arose when the DMCA defined infringement as any attempt to access or transfer the copyrighted material outside the format of the original distribution of the work. Unfortunately, the DMCA says that if the CD is copy-protected that I am breaking the law by bypassing the protection to make copies for my personal use. Even though, sometimes, the only "bypass" involved using a black felt marker on the outside 1/16 of an inch of the CD. Oh, and any CD that won't play on my computer CD drive goes straight back to the store for a refund. If they try to refuse the return, I'll dispute the charge on my credit card and the retailer will expend 10 times the amount of the revenue lost on my CD purchase learning that the credit card company will side with me.

When I purchase a CD, I believe I should be entitled to listen to it in any format that suits me. First, I make a gold CDR backup of the CD because gold CDRs will last longer than the original CD which can corrode and become unreadable in under 20 years with less-than-average use. Next, I rip it to MP3 and burn the entire album to an MP3 archive CD. Once in a while I will make a compilation WAV or MP3 CD of material with a common theme or genre (rebellion, jazz, melancholy, of course, great arias). Additionally, I may load the MP3 to a solid-state playback device for listening during activities that might disrupt cassette and CD playback (horseback riding, motocross, riding rollercoasters, etc.). Not one of the aforementioned uses of the copyrighted material I licensed (through CD purchase) should be considered infringing.

I feel for the small label artists who earn a cut of each record sold...starting at record # 1. The effect of file swapping on them is dramatic and immediate. I even feel for the mega-label artists who are on tour 50 weeks at a time to earn back their advance from the label even though their album has sold 1 million copies. That is why I don't engage in file swapping which is an infringing use of a copyrighted work (getting something for nothing). I don't feel for the large recording industry labels and executives that twist and obfuscate the record contract terms and financial conditions with the intention of never having to pay the artists a dime after the front money. Have you ever heard of an artist whose royalty payments increased after the label collected all of their promos, fees and recouped their investment without the necessity of spending money on an attorney and an independent royalty audit (think $50K)? I think file-swapping craze is the public's reaction to more and more industry restrictions on use of material--kind of like flipping the bird at the industry moguls.

The industry is right to be concerned. The public is speaking the one of the two languages they understand--money and lawsuits. They will either adapt the business model, crush file swapping through legal action (which has additional ramifications) or go the way of the dinosaurs.

OK, that was too damn much time on something I just don't feel that strongly about....



Subject: Chinese cybercafe owners jailed

The Chinese cybercafe owners should have received life in prison. Such a tragedy never would have happened if the two owners respected government authorities. This tragedy is one more example and an ever present reminder of the internet's self-indulgence and subversive influence from unregulated western expression.

The Chinese police should have been given full trust to protect the cafe's business and ANY potential problems. Government can not allow individuals to establish their own means of protection. The only bars to be built should be for those who dare take the law into their own hands.

The current Chinese government has made great strides in human rights and prosperity. Soon they will become a global leader in technological innovation. Cybercafes and the lawless pollution rampant on the internet should have rigid regulations for the protection and security of the Chinese homeland.



Subject: Music Piracy....

Hi there - I'll try and make this quick... I have work to do too you know!

1 - People pirate music because it is easy and "natural". To the industry sharing == piracy to the individual NOT sharing == miserable bastard.

2 - If I knew cash from music sales was actually going to the artist(s) I would be far happier buying it - if I can I will buy DIRECT from an artist (e.g. at a gig, from their OWN webshite etc).

3 - If CD's were cheaper I'd buy more - I do not like paying 15 quid for a CD. TBH I do most of my music shopping at places like SelectaDisc (Berrick Street for those in the know in Soho) - cheap with an excellent range - older CDs and back catalogue items can be had for 5 to 10 quid - GUESS WHAT!!! When I go into this shop I don't buy 1 CD at 15.99 I buy 3,4 or 5 CD's at 5 to 10 pounds each - yes I know that adds to more more but the encouragement to buy provided by impulse purchase prices is incredible! Plus I know I have a good few hours of listening to do.

4 - There is now an enormous back catalogue of music - I may be a 30 something Goth but at the Prism Multimedia shop up the road I can buy Johnny Cash's greatest hits for 3.99 - now that is amazing value.. so I bought it - and some Elvis and some Little Richard (I likes me rock n' roll) - The back catalogue problem is obviously a huge one for record companies (an increasingly dead concept) these (often dead) artists are cutting into the sales of modern artists (usually living but in the case of Girls Aloud I have yet to come to a conclusion). Classical music has an even bigger problem here as the works are often the same (e.g. Messiah) performed by different artists. Once a classic recording has been made (with good fidelity) why go back and do the same thing again? There are reasons but few that encourage sales.

Penultimately to back up some of these assertions it is interesting to witness the rise and rise of "alternative" (bogus phrase) music such as Metal, Death Metal, Goth, Techno, Garage House etc. More music is produced but to a smaller audience - the total audience is growing however.

Ultimately - there are a lot of artists and I suspect the days of 1,2,3 million selling singles have pretty much gone. There are now more artists, more genres and more listeners - artists can not expect to sell as many records as the Beatles but then consumers have more choice. Warhol was right - many more artists well have 15 minutes of fame. That still means there are 35064 fame slots per year.... nice!

So... where was the InterWeb in all of this? It is a cheap and convenient way of getting music to customers in places you would never imagine sending a CD to without a huge P&P markup.

If modern music lacks anything it is credibility and style - you can't buy class you know.....

Email address supplied


Subject: Opteron will fail... discuss....

I think AMD may have timed their entry in to the 64bit world (almost) perfectly.

Most 64bit (address space) chips out there cost a bundle - this will probably not be the case with AMD who insist on competing on price. Currently I can get 1Gig of DDR2700 for 70 pounds (35 quid a stick).

I can max out a P4 or Athlon box with only 210 pounds (if it had that many memory slots). This is plain silly.

Computers generally sell on having bigger numbers than their competitors. Athlon64 (desktop variant) will be able to sell machines with more than 3gig of RAM (you can't do more than this on a PC anyway cos' device IO is generally memory mapped these days). Who knows... perhaps memory will be down to 40 or 50 quid a gig by the time Athlon64 appears. 1 Gig modules would be very nice.



Subject: Athlon 64: The processor that wasn't there?

I think you've hit the nail on the head. First, look at how the Athlon 64 was supposed to differ from the Opteron:

- less cache
- single DDR instead of dual DDR memory (according to most reports I have seen, but not all)
- no multiprocessor capability

P4 (and Barton) are already shipping with 512Kb L2 cache. Only a low-end processor has 256Kb L2 cache these days - and Athlon XP will fill that slot for some time anyway - so an Athlon 64 with less than 512k cache would make little sense.

Second, P4 chipsets supporting dual DDR memory are available. An Athlon 64 supporting single DDR would not be a viable competitor in the high-end desktop or games market.

Third, look at the Opteron prices. $300 at the bottom end is in the same ball-park as the top-end Athlon XP and P4.

All of which means that a viable Athlon 64 would have a die only a little smaller than the Opteron, have only a few less pins, and be sold for only a little less. So why produce Opteron and Athlon 64 separately? Far better surely to introduce a crippled Opteron in which some of the HT links and half the cache are disabled (incidentally increasing the die yield, because some dies that have too many cache errors to work as full Opterons can be sold as the desktop version).

BTW one use for 64-bit computing that hasn't been mentioned by The Inquirer is software validation. We use automated reasoning (AR) technology to prove that software is bug-free. This application very processor and memory intensive and we are struggling to validate our largest project in a 2Gb address space. Itanic doesn't look like the right solution because AR is an integer application and Itanic only shines in floating point stuff, but Opteron should fit the bill nicely.

David Crocker


I think you're absolutely right! The Opteron will be produced as a cut-down version with a 256MB L2 cache and touted as the Athlon64.

After all, we've been told for months now that AMD would produce a lower-end Hammer (it's a good name and they should keep it!) with only 256K and this would be touted as the value-chip (a.k.a. Paris). I just took this to mean the replacement for the Duron and then Athlon XP (or Thorton chips if you prefer).

We all know that AMD can disable half of the onboard cache anyway (as they can with Barton) so it would make things cheaper in terms of production costs too. Why have two production processes going simultaneously when you can just have the one and cripple half the chips by disabling half the L2 cache (a la Celeron)?

John Parlato


Seriously, I thought of that myself & further that if A64 plays out that way, it could really damage AMD's standing in the market .... you've heard the 'old saw' .. you can only go so far on bullshit .... which vapourware surely is ... surely the big first tier players will be shy on tagging their reputations with a partner that can't deliver the goods *shrug*



You make some very good points. I would buy an Opteron desktop system today if there was a good motherboard available for the Opteron from ASUS. I don't see the point of the entire "Socket 754" thing. Dual-channel DDR seems much better for everyone. The Opteron looks like a startingly-good chip that really deserves something better than life in a server rack. I hope AMD is able to sell into the server market with it but I doubt that they will be very successful. Server customers will always buy "Intel" regardless of cost, performance, or reliability and that is just the way it is. A relative always bought horrible cars from "General Motors" and never would have even considered one of those cars from "Ford" or "Chrysler" or "BMW" or "Mercedes" which were just not trustworthy or something. Go figure.



Interesting theory, but minor in the great scheme of things. As long as I can get my Nforce3 x86-64 rig for a decent price, I don't care too much what they call it or the marchitecture of the thing. I was planning on buying an Opteron anyway, as I figured at least a few intrepid Taiwanese mobo makers would offer workstation/desktop mobo's for it. Needless to say, the NF3 is a pleasant surprise.



Subject: Athlon 64: The processor that wasn't there? ECC memory.

That sounds fine, Opteron currently needs ECC memory. I have no doubt though that they could redo the memory controller, but then they would still have two lines of processors.




Share this:

blog comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to INQ newsletters

Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ

INQ Poll

Heartbleed bug discovered in OpenSSL

Have you reacted to Heartbleed?