Smart ways to reduce print costs and protect passwords

Even though I buy recycled and remanufactured printer cartridges, I’m still stunned by the cost. So short of shoplifting, I’ll try practically anything to save ink.

There are two tricks I use. The first isn’t perfect, but it won’t cost you a thing.

When I print from a Web site, I always highlight the material on the page that I want to print and choose Selection in the print dialog box. That way chances are good I won’t get stuck printing everything on the page.

Unfortunately, chances are also good that I’ll pick up stuff I don’t want–like a graphic. I might also end up printing an extra page with the tail end of the Web page, say, the “contact us” info.

Two Printer Tools
So the second trick is to use a utility to ensure that doesn’t happen. True, it’ll cost about the same as buying an inkjet cartridge. But the programs I talk about here give you a preview of exactly what will print, and let you delete specific pages before they’re sent to the printer. And both tools have trial versions, so you can see whether they’ll work for you before paying for them.

The first program is FinePrint, the $50 tool I’ve used for almost a decade. It has a plethora of features, including a way to use a two-, four-, or eight-up layout, which is ideal for printing drafts.

The other program is GreenPrint, which costs $35. Among other things, it lets you transform any page you’re about to print into a PDF document. It also uses special fonts that fit more text on a page–without making it difficult to read. Kirk Steers explains how to save money with this nifty-sounding print utility.

While you’re reading, take a look at a free Internet-based printing tool from Hewlett-Packard. Read “A New Way to Print Any Document on the Road“ for details.
Dig This: Have you ever thought of using a piranha as a garden clipping tool? Me too, lots of times. But after watching this video, I’ve decided against it.
Dig This, Too: Watch how a deer and a motorcycle luck out. [Caution: sound.]

Useful, Free Tools to Manage Your Passwords
I’m a RoboForm fan, to the extent that I’d give up a browser if it was incompatible with the program. Read “RoboForm Eliminates Password Post-Its“ to learn about the program.
I encourage you to download the free version to try it out. I’ve seen the Pro version (RoboForm Pro Password Manager & Form Filler) for as low as $24 online. I can guarantee that once you get through the short learning curve, you’ll rely on RoboForm the way I do.

If you’re not willing to open your wallet, you might want to try KeePass. It’s free, open source, and has many of RoboForm’s functions.

Here’s something profound: “The more complex you make your passwords, the harder they are to crack… but the harder they are to remember.” That’s from the makers of CloakPass, a smart, free utility that handles the job of making your simple-to-remember password something extraordinarily difficult for a hacker to break.

Here’s how it works: Head for a Web site that requires a login. Type an easy-to-remember password into the password field–say, stevebass–and hit Enter. CloakPass automatically transforms your simple password into a difficult-to-hack version. No matter when you visit the site, provided CloakPass is in your system tray, your simple password is transformed into something like Zf12#$6KYb8.

Once you get start using the program, you’ll find it most useful on those sacred sites like banks, PayPal, eBay–anywhere where your concern level is high. For the rest, I recommend using RoboForm.

I tried the free version of CloakPass. The Standard version is $20 and the Pro version is $30; each provides extra features, such as symbols like @#%*. You might not find these extras necessary, unless, of course, you work for the FBI or NSA.

Read the CloakPass Getting Started page and FAQ to get a better idea how the program works. Dig This: Have a deadline? Forget about it. If you start playing Bloxorz, you’ll kiss the rest of the day good-bye. (BTW, level one’s a snap. It’s downhill from there.)
Steve Bass writes PC World’s monthly “Hassle-Free PC” column and is the author of PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things About Your Personal Computer, available from O’Reilly. He also writes PC World’s daily Tips & Tweaks blog.

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