CCS-Digital September 2020 Newsletter
Welcome to the CCS-Digital newsletter. Inside you will learn a number of things to improve your online experience, from scams to avoid, useful free software, discounts and deals available online and more.
The discount code of spring18 (upper or lower case) will give you 5% off orders of $20 and up.
We are no longer sending out email reminders of the newsletter.
As you are probably aware, if someone makes a purchase from a site, that site has the right to add them to their mailing list. This is not considered spam as long as there is an easy way to opt out. We do NOT add people to our mailing list unless they specifically request it. The email for our newsletter contains no ads, just a link to the newsletter online. It also begins by saying one can be removed from the list just by replying with remove.
Despite this, a few morons signed up for the discount and then reported us for spam. A few sites (AOL, Yahoo) will block a site or even an entire server on the basis of 2 or 3 spam complaints. Customers emailed us with questions and our replies were blocked because of the complaints of a few morons. On top of that, we could not even remove them from our list because in some cases their emails were forwarded to other IDs and the complaining ID was not even on our list.
Then there are the actual spammers who spoof IDs. Someone called to complain that she received 200 emails from bestinkandtoner.com. We never send mail from that domain. Some spammer spoofed that ID (which is very easy to do and there is no way for us to prevent it). It did NOT go through our server. A knowledgeable person can look at the email headers and figure out where it really came from. But AOL, Yahoo and other lazy companies don't bother. If it says Bestinkandtoner, then Bestinkandtoner must be blocked. I wonder how much spam is sent from AOL and Yahoo IDs and how they would feel if other ISPs blocked all their email over it.
So we will not be sending out any emails about the newsletter to cut down on complaints. You can visit this link at the beginning of each month to see the latest newsletter. It still won't solve the issue of spoofing.
Get money back on almost every purchase you make!
Join Rakuten for free and get $10 off your first qualifying purchase and a percentage back on subsequent qualifying purchases. No fees, no minimums, totally free! I have been a member for almost a year now and it's nice to get those paypal payments for doing nothing except buying things I would have otherwise bought anyway. Join Rakuten
Reduced Shipping Costs and Time on Canadian Orders
We located a supplier in Canada who will ship directly to Canadian customers. This will reduce both the shipping cost and the amount of time it will take to arrive. For credit card orders, you should see a lower total than what the website showed, once your order has been processed. For paypal orders, you should get a refund of the difference. If you want to know what your order will cost before placing it, choose Other Payment Methods. We will get notification of the order and reply with a total. You can then decide to proceed using paypal, credit card or other payment method.
Excerpt from Bloomberg article on HP
The HP 63 Tri-color ink cartridge retails for $28.99 at Staples. Stuffed with foam sponges drenched in a fraction of an ounce of cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes, that ink, which needs a refill every 165 pages, is ridiculously valuable. The solvents and pigments HP scientists concocted were so overpriced that the company could afford to sell its hardware at steep losses and make it up in ink and toner sales. The 1,000-liter vats of ink at HP’s manufacturing hubs might as well have been filled with Dom Pérignon.
Far from the grand vision of the HP Way, the executive team spent a significant portion of its research and development budget on ways to make its printers less compatible with other companies’ cartridges. An HP spokesperson says the company doesn’t prevent the use of refilled cartridges that have a genuine HP chip. (Not true. HP sued companies which were refilling their cartridges but lost)
In February 2019, HP projected its first decline in quarterly printer supplies revenue in years. This wasn’t some isolated issue. A critical mass of fed-up customers finally seemed to be sick enough of HP’s high cartridge prices to try generic ink resellers or, in some cases, counterfeiters.
Compatible Epson Cartridges Nearly Impossible to Find
We have been warning people for months that it will become very difficult to get Epson compatible cartridges. Customs has been stopping shipments from entering the country. Epson has been going after suppliers. Covid has also hurt imports. Our biggest suppliers stopped providing Epson cartridges. We have removed some models from our site and prices on other models are moving up. Don't wait for the last minute.
Now is the time to get a printer
Just about all the printer companies are jumping on the rip-off bandwagon where every printer needs a different cartridge. It used to be that a company would release 5 or 10 new printers a year and all would use the same cartridges. By making each printer use a different one, they know that the market for any one cartridge model will be limited so compatible manufacturers won't bother to make it. On top of that, they issue firmware upgrades via the Internet so even if you find a compatible cartridge, if you allow the upgrade to run, it will stop working. HP has put expiration dates into the chips so they will stop working. Epson has put unique serial numbers and doesn't allow the same number to be used twice. This has made their new cartridges very expensive.
For these reasons, we urge people to get one of the "older" printers now - the ones which still work with compatible cartridges or a new printer from Canon or Brother who have not yet jumped on the rip-off bandwagon. Otherwise you will be paying a fortune for ink. There are printers where the ink cost as much or more than the printer itself. HP and Epson have some inkjets where the cartridges are over $100 a set. HP has at least one where cartridges are $400!.
Right now the best inkjet is the Canon Maxify MB2720, currently $100 which uses cartridges in the $5 range. These cartridges are about 3x the size of standard cartridges (hence the name maxify) with about 1,000 page yield. Details on Best Printers. So far it seems the Canon models are not subject to the Epson firmware upgrade scam which follows but it's always a good idea to reject any upgrades a printer company tries to foist on you.
Texas AG May Sue Epson Over Dirty Tricks
I was a staunch advocate for Epson products for over 20 years but no longer. If you want all the details, you can read Epson dirty tricks.
Beware the firmware upgrade
Epson releases firmware upgrades which are sent to you via the net. All these do is prevent compatible cartridges from working. With single-use cartridges, most people use them within a few months of purchase so by the time the upgrade arrives, they are used. (Though we do get customers who hold them for months and then complain later - after running an upgrade - why they don't work. This is why our "official" warranty is 60 days. It's impossible to protect people from their own actions.) With refillable cartridges, people expect to use them for a long time. Then they run the upgrade which renders the cartridges useless.
Need a speaker for a user's group?
I have given online presentations to users' groups. If you have a group which meets regularly who would be interested in hearing about computer-related topics, drop me a line.
New Scam Bypasses Paypal and Credit Card Protection
I wanted to warn people about a new fraud which gets past paypal and credit cards. Someone sets up a fraudulent site like http://wansionlineshop.com/ offering items about 20-40%% below regular prices. The customer pays (as my daughter did) using a credit card through paypal, believing the promises of "protection." The first thing to happen is the seller raises the charge by 15% after payment has been made. When we contacted paypal, they said the charge was made as an authorization - not a charge - so the seller can change it. This is done without the buyer's knowledge or consent. When faced with this scam, paypal immediately refunded the extra charge, but not the original charge. I would think that when faced with proof of fraud, they would shut down the account and refund everything but that is not how they work.
After 8 days go by with no proof of shipping, we added to the dispute asking for a full refund. Seller then posted a tracking number of an item shipped that day. Several days later, tracking shows item was delivered, only we didn't get it. We called the Post Office and were told it was sent to a completely different address. Paypal says too bad, it shows delivered. We asked them why they don't make the seller show proof of where it was sent. Paypal's own terms say you must ship to the confirmed address. This proof is very easy for the seller to obtain. USPS Click-N-ship, stamps.com, endicia etc can all generate a report showing the tracking number and the address.
We then contacted the credit card. They said as long it shows a tracking number, seller is covered unless WE can prove we didn't get it. We would have been better off lying and saying we received an empty box. The local Post Office refused to give us that letter. Due to these rules, a scammer can ship an empty box to a confederate or to a random apartment building and then use that tracking number to "prove" he shipped out the order and the buyer gets scammed. Paypal, the credit card and the post office don't care.
I contacted the USPIS (Inspection Service) where one can report fraud and filled out a form. A few days later, I called them. The representative was friendly and agreed to send us an email stating that package was not sent to our address. Based on this, Paypal refunded the payment.
Inspirational, amazing and fun
Jews donate more than helf the plasma used for corona virus treatment
heroic 6-year-old mauled saving little sister from vicious dog
heart-melting moment toddler born without a hand meets an adult with the same condition
black man wrongly incarcerated previously, pulls white officer from burning car
police officers lift car off a man with seconds to spare
another story the media won't cover - police officers helping black family down on their luck
and another: unemployed black woman donates her $100 lottery winnings to officer shot in line of duty. gofundme page raises over $19,000 for her
young boy wins bike and gives it to neighbor who doesn't have one
little boy helps elderly woman up the stairs
restaurant forced to close gives money to another restaurant
Restaurant CEO forgoes his 800k salary and adds 5 million to cover employees during corona
5-year-old sets up lemonade stand to help injured firefighter. raises over $3k
10-year-old sells her paintings for thousands of dollars and donates it
college student plays piano while browsing at antique store. owner gifts him with $3000 Steinway
school principal does a great send-up of Cant Touch This for corona
Country Time sends out $100 "stimulus" checks to lemonade stands shut down by Covid
hero cop pulls wheelchair bound man off tracks seconds before train passes
contractor makes sweet gesture to 6-year-old "assistant"
wife gets job as dishwasher to visit husband with dementia in nursing home
black teenager helps elderly woman shop
teenager cleans street after BLM protest. ends up with a car and college scholarship
Landlord gives his student tenants a "good tenant" bonus
Anonymous donor pays off over $8 million in student debt for over 400 students
innocent man jailed for 4 years now friends with the cop who framed him
man uses lucky coin to win 4 million dollar lottery TWICE
man who won $22 million shares with friend keeping promise made in 1992
would you hire the cheapest art "restorer" to work on a multi-million dollar painting?
what was ordered vs what was received
cgi has come a long way
amazing 3d art
artist creates paintings in Excel
new app reminds parents to look up from their phones and check if their kids are alive
zoo penguins entertained by bubble maker
dad photoshops photos to match kids drawings
some really funny kid comments
the freedom cafe where employees do what they want
Israeli startup creates plant-based steak on 3D printers
vegetable orchestra: all the instruments of this orchestra are made of vegetables. what isn't used is cooked into soup and served to the audience
did you know there were so many different kinds of bats?
the size of large animals - bigger than you thought
amazing medical breakthroughs
knee jell can replace cartilage
Until next time, have a great month!