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For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5 • The Register

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Printer ink continues to rank as one of the most expensive liquids around with a litre of the home office essential costing the same as a very high-end bottle of bubbly or an oak-aged Cognac.

Consumer advocate Which? has found that ink bought from printer manufactures can be up to 286 per cent more expensive than third-party alternatives.

Dipping its nib in one inkwell before delicately wiping off the excess on some blotting paper, Which? found that a multipack of colour ink (cyan, magenta, yellow) for the WorkForce WF-7210DTW printer costs £75.49 from Epson.

“This works out at an astonishing £2,410 a litre – or £1,369 for a pint,” said Which?.

The consumer outfit also reported that since the Epson printer also requires a separate Epson black cartridge for £31.99, it takes the combined cost of replacement inks for the Workforce printer to a wallet-busting £107.98.

On the other hand, if people ditched the brand and opted for a full set of black and colour inks from a reputable third-party supplier, it would cost just £10.99 – less than a tenth of the price.

Printing has become essential for plenty of workers holed up at home during the pandemic. The survey by Which? of 10,000 consumers found 54 per cent use their printer at least once a week. Which? said it estimates an inkjet cartridge would need to be replaced three times a year.

The report discovered tactics used by the big vendors to promote the use of “approved”, “original”, and “guaranteed” ink supplies.

It found Epson devices, for example, flagging up a “non-genuine ink detected” message on its LCD screen when using a non-Epson cartridge, and HP printers are actively blocking customers from using non-HP supplies.

Adam French, a consumer rights champion at Which?, reckons this situation is simply unacceptable.

“Printer ink shouldn’t cost more than a bottle of high-end Champagne or Chanel No. 5,” said French. “We’ve found that there are lots of third-party products that are outperforming their branded counterparts at a fraction of the cost.”

In a rallying call to consumers he said that third-party ink should be a personal choice and not “dictated by the make of your printer.”

“Which? will continue to make consumers aware of the staggering cost differences between own-brand and third-party inks and give people the information they need to buy the best ink for their printer,” he said.

Which is exactly what the Consumers Association said almost 20 years ago when it reported that printer ink cost around £1,700 a litre. Then – as now – the Consumer Association advised consumers to steer clear of brand-name printer cartridges and pick cheaper alternatives instead.

The survey by Which? found that 16 third party brands beat the big brands in terms of ink prices.

Epson wasn’t the only printer biz to be singled out for sky-high ink prices. Canon, and HP were fingered too.

For its part, Epson said customers “should be offered choice… to meet their printing needs” and listed a number of options including its EcoTank systems and a monthly Ink Subscription service.

And in a nod to anyone looking to save money by using a third party, Epson said: “Finally, as non-genuine inks are not designed or tested by Epson we cannot guarantee that these inks will not damage the printer. Whilst Epson does not prevent the use of non-Epson inks, we believe that it is reasonable, indeed responsible, that a warning is displayed as any damage caused by the use of the inks may invalidate the warranty.”

As part of its investigation, Which? found that some HP printers use a system called “dynamic security” which recognises cartridges that use non-HP chips and stops them from working.

HP has tried to battle against third party ink makers trying to capture supplies sales by overhauling the model of its printer business: by shifting to ink tanks printers that come pre-loaded with supplies for an estimated timeframe; or by selling the printer hardware for more upfront and allowing biz customers or consumers to buy the supplies they want.

In response to Which?, HP said it “offers quality, sustainable and secure print supplies with a range of options for customers to choose from, including HP Instant Ink – a convenient printing subscription service with over 9 million users that can save UK customers up to 70 per cent on ink costs, with ink plans starting at £0.99 per month.”

Reg readers may remember the kerfuffle around HP’s Instant Ink. The free plan was reinstated, sort of. For existing customers.

Over at Canon, a spokesperson said third-party ink products can work with its printers, but the “technology inside is designed to function correctly with our genuine inks which are formulated specifically to work with Canon technology.”

“Customers are encouraged to use genuine inks to ensure the longevity of their printer, and also to ensure that their final prints are of a standard we deem Canon quality. In addition, the use of third party inks invalidates the warranty of the printer.”

With almost four in ten (39 per cent) people saying that they do not use third-party cartridges because of fears that they might not work with their printer, it might go some way to explain why more than half (56 per cent) of the consumers quizzed said they persist with using potentially pricey original-branded cartridges despite cheaper alternatives being available. ®

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Most IPv6 DNS queries sent to Chinese resolvers fail • The Register

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China’s DNS resolvers fail two thirds of the time when handling queries for IPv6 addresses, and botch one in eight queries for IPv4, according to a group of Chinese academics.

As explained in a paper titled “A deep dive into DNS behavior and query failures” and summarized in a blog post at APNIC (the Asia Pacific’s regional internet address registry), the authors worked with log files describing 2.8 billion anonymized DNS queries processed at Chinese ISPs.

Among the paper’s findings:

  • 86.2 percent of queries were for A records – the record for a resource with an IPv4 address;
  • 10.4 percent were for AAAA records that point to resources with an IPv6 address;
  • 93.1 percent of queries for A records succeeded;
  • 35.8 percent of requests for AAAA records succeeded.

The researchers – led by professor Zhenyu Li and Donghui Yang, both from the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences – suggest the reason for the low success rate of AAAA record queries is poor performance by some Chinese players.

One outfit, 114DNS, succeeded with just 14.5 percent of AAAA queries. Alibaba Group’s AliDNS succeeded 54.3 percent of the time – more than Google or Cisco’s OpenDNS, which were found to resolve 43.4 percent and 49.2 percent of AAAA queries respectively.

A fifth of DNS resolvers never succeed at handling IPv6 AAAA queries.

“Overall, A and MX queries are successfully resolved most frequently, while AAAA and PTR manifest lower success rates,” the summary reads. “Specifically, the failure rate of AAAA queries is surprisingly over 64.2 percent — two out of three AAAA queries failed.”

“We also found the success rates for new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) were lower than that of well-established domains, primarily because of the prevalence of malicious domains,” wrote professor Li.

However the researchers did not identity why DNS resolution rates are so low, especially for AAAA queries. Nor do they mention what the poor IPv6 resolution rates mean for China’s plans for mass adoption of IPv6 by 2030.

The blog post recommends users adopt “a larger negative caching time-to-live for AAAA records associated with domains that only map to IPv4 addresses reliably.” Checking DNS resolvers’ success rates is also suggested ahead of making a choice of DNS provider. ®

OpenDNS mess

In other DNS-related news, Cisco’s OpenDNS service today wobbled for a few hours in North America.

WeWork offices, wherein some of our vultures toil, experienced network problems, as did at least one university. We’ve also heard reports that the incident impacted email security guardian Spamhaus.

The issue was resolved without Cisco offering any explanation for the incident.



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Wayflyer co-founder backs US fintech start-up Arc

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Jack Pierse, co-founder of Dublin-based unicorn Wayflyer, was one of the many backers of Arc’s $20m Series A round.

The co-founder of one of Ireland’s tech unicorns has invested in a US company developing tools for start-up financing.

Wayflyer’s Jack Pierse was one of several investors who joined Arc’s $20m Series A funding round. The round was led by Left Lane Capital, which is also an investor in Wayflyer.

Other investors included Clocktower Technology Ventures, Torch Capital, Atalaya, Bain Capital Ventures, Soma, Alumni Ventures, Dreamers VC, NFX, Y Combinator and the founders of Plaid, Column, Chargebee, Vouch and Jeeves.

Like Dublin-headquartered Wayflyer, which reached unicorn status earlier this year following a $150m Series B round that valued the company at $1.6bn, Arc is merging technology and finance together.

Wayflyer’s platform provides e-commerce merchants with financing and marketing analytics tools to help them access working capital, improve cash flow and drive sales. It was founded in 2019 by Pierse and Aidan Corbett.

Arc, meanwhile, is focused on providing software start-ups with financial products and tools. It was launched in January 2022 and graduated from the Y Combinator start-up accelerator programme in March.

“We are building the number one digital bank for software start-ups,” said co-founder and CEO Don Muir.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with this talented group of investors who bring relevant experience transforming fintech and SaaS start-ups into market-leading platforms,” he said.

He added that the capital from this funding round will enable the company to build and scale its products “to meet the digital banking needs of a new generation of software-driven businesses”.

The San Francisco-based start-up now supports more than 1,000 high-growth software start-ups, providing them with funding options and financial tools to scale faster. It offers a cash management account and financial analytics to drive growth.

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Simon Taylor: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Comedy

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Asking someone to list the funniest things they’ve ever seen on the internet should be an official tool for psychological evaluation. I imagine a therapist could determine their client is severely sociopathic just by knowing that they don’t erupt into spasms of unstoppable laughter when watching videos of squirrels riding tiny jet skis. I mean, come on.

So below is a rather intimate insight into my psyche in the form of viral videos. Let’s put me in the therapist’s chair, shall we?

1. I Smell Like Beef

What were your first words? I think what gets me about this video is the repetition. It’s as if this toddler is trying to communicate a whole range of emotions and human experiences with the one sentence she knows. Bellissimo.

2. This animal documentary narration

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Let’s get away from narrators who sound like they are reading a textbook. This clip features the kind of enthusiasm I want in a nature documentary. The woman here is legitimately enthralled by the bird mating ritual and I desperately want her to have her own series on the Discovery Channel.

3. Game Changer

This is my favourite gameshow of all time. The game changes every episode, but in this one, they require the players to improvise a scene given to them in the moment. I’ll say no more other than the comedic timing of these actors is impeccable.

4. Off to school

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Get this kid a comedy special. She has more character than a Disney movie. I wish I was this excited to go to school when I was a kid. Plus, she has quite a repertoire of dance moves.

5. This TikTok duet

I’m not one for cringe comedy and I’m certainly not into teasing people. However, the comedic enginuity of this video is just so impressive you can’t help but cackle. Keep in mind when watching that each new video is a completely independent person adding their own idea to the gag. I’m in awe of this global collaboration.

6. Nathan Fielder: the best burger in Los Angeles

Nathan Fielder’s new show The Rehearsal is big right now, but his first show, Nathan For You, was on Comedy Central a few years back. Fielder is brilliant at staying deadpan during the ridiculous scenarios he creates. This is just a part of one episode, but damn it is hilariously awkward.

7. A dad impersonates his daughter

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I don’t use TikTok. I like to wait three months to see which videos are so funny they make their way on to my Instagram feed. I’m glad this one did. The father’s performance in this video is Oscar-worthy, in my opinion, and the daughter is a great sport for posting it.

8. Trying to be quiet at 2am

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By the time I get home from doing gigs, my wife is already asleep. This video demonstrates exactly why I’ve given up on trying to have a snack before bed or even get a glass of water. Ridiculous and yet relatable.

9. Gambler cat

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I love a friendly game of poker, but damn, I would lose to this cat.

10. Am I pregnant?

For someone who has had books published, I’m a terrible speller. If it weren’t for autocorrect and a team of underpaid editors, this article wouldn’t be about the “internet” but probably the “interest”. Hearing how so many people tried to spell the word pregnant is cathartic and gut-bustingly funny.



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