Printers 101 : Things You Should Know Before Buying Printers

No device has had a more significant impact on society and our daily lives as we progress forward in the 21st century. Believe it or not, printers have found their way into every part of our day-to-day jobs.

Whether it is in our homes or our workspace, printers fulfill different purposes. Simply put, we can’t imagine a day to go by where we don’t require them.

However, buying this item is no easy task. Our article will inform you about things you should know before buying printers. There are just so many options to choose from and a wide variety of types in the current market.

You need to know their function and specialties to get a fair idea of which version will suit your needs the best.

So, without any further ado, let’s get right down to it. Continue reading and soon enough you will become an expert on printers!

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What Is Printer?

A printer is an attachment to a PC or a stand-alone tool that helps you create hard copies of documents. It has made our lives more convenient and comfortable than ever before. Using it helps us save a lot of time and effort. A house with a printer rarely has to worry about wasting time writing things on paper manually.

A printer is quite versatile, as it can easily create a ton of different documents. It uses ink cartridges and paper to automatically create copies of files you have on your electronic devices.

You can insert inks of different colors into it to create colorful documents, too. Its versatility makes it an absolute necessity in places like schools and offices.

Also, you can connect to printers in different ways. The more recent versions of these devices are fully wireless, and you can connect several devices to them simultaneously. Over time, this tool has become more convenient and accessible to everyone.

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Different Uses of Printer

Initially, the use of a printer can seem very simple- printing information onto paper. However, the main distinction comes into the variety of documents you can create it with. Here are just some of the uses printers can be used to accomplish.

i. Schoolwork

Printers are an absolute live saver for students worldwide. You can’t imagine a student who gets happy at the idea of having to write an extended essay. But now, with the help of printers, they can simply type it into a doc file and print it on paper.

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Furthermore, this product is also an excellent option for making creative school projects.

ii. Corporate Requirements

You will rarely find an office in the 21st century that does not have a host of printers. It’s a great tool to have around for creating documents on the go.

From retrieving reports from the PC to making quick applications, corporates find it a welcome addition to their office inventory. It certainly has saved a lot of interns from slaving away for hours.

iii. Digital Purchases

In recent times, technological advancements have made our lives easy. This scenario is the most visible in the case of purchasing tickets. People do not have to wait for hours in a line to buy a train ticket or movie tickets.

Printers make this process super convenient, as users can create hard copies of the tickets from the convenience of their home and use them effortlessly.

Different Types Of Printer

Over time, printers have become sophisticated and versatile pieces of technology. It has undergone many upgrades, and now there are tons of types and options from which you can choose.

However, not all of them are suitable for fulfilling all purposes. Below are all the types of printers available and their specialties to help you understand which will serve you best.

I. Types of Printer Based on Modern Print Technology

Our first classification of printers includes the ones that are the latest among their competitors. These are top-of-the-line items with a plethora of features and versatile activities. Its primary focus is to execute as many tasks as possible while making the process extremely convenient.

  • Toner-Based Printers

Toner-based printers are all about control and accuracy. It uses a unique color cartridge that utilizes plastics that are granulated instead of conventional ink. And it has a powdery texture in comparison to the liquid feel of its predecessor. The substance gathers into a printing drum which is charged before being applied.

Everything You Need to Know About Printers

Furthermore, the print sets better into the paper, as the pages go through pre-heating for the ink to place more conveniently. Lasers play a pivotal role in this variation, as they help print the electrostatic charge of the color drum. It creates perfect color palettes due to the involvement of a four-cartridge setup.

  • Liquid Inkjet Printers

One of the most popular printer versions in recent times happens to be the liquid inkjet printers. They are pretty affordable and can execute multiple tasks with excellent efficiency. Moreover, they are superior and more progressive because of their precision in transferring ink to paper without missing spots.

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Liquid inkjet printers are a great companion for both office work and school projects. It employs the use of ink cartridges to create professional documents and fun presentations simultaneously.

Users can opt between black and white printouts and color prints while using this product. It has become a staple for people of all ages.

  • Solid Ink Printers

Solid ink printers are an unorthodox yet excellent variation useful for just about any purpose. Unlike traditional printers, it prefers to use wax instead of the more traditional liquid inks.

It has a unique working process that helps the color to set better into the paper than its competitors’. This printer has been a popular choice for many since its introduction in the mid-’90s.

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Printers of this sort employ the use of wax drums over ink cartridges. It goes through a complex method that starts with breaking the wax into ink within a drum. Then the liquid goes to the printer from the drum. This extra procedure results in more vivid colors on the pages and makes the documents pop out better.

  • Dye-Sublimation Printers

One of the greatest testaments to the wonders of technological advancement is the dye-sublimation printer. It takes a component like dye, something initially made for clothing, and makes clever use of it on paper.

And it doesn’t have to hit the printing process’s liquid stage to complete and beautifully embeds itself into pages effortlessly.

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Dye-sublimation printers are the most premium options you can get for photographic use. It’s the best option for making visual items like cloth prints and ID cards.

This printer uses YMCKO as support to properly imprint the colors into the surface. The use of thermal transfer printing makes it more effective and keeps the print longer on the pages.

  • Thermal Printers

Closing of this category is a variation that creates excellent projects by using the wonders of heat- thermal printers. You will need thermal paper, a very special parchment that can absorb heat properly, for this device to work smoothly.

Its specific heating technique makes it one of the most accurate options out there in the present market.


Structurally, a thermal printer is very different from the other versions. Its components aren’t something you will find in your run-of-the-mill printer.

It relies on a thermal head, a platen, and a spring to function correctly and creates stellar results. Therefore, its pieces are not as available as those of the other variants.

II. Types of Printers Based on Obsolete and Special-Purpose Printing Technologies

Now that we have explored all the latest types of printers out there, it is time to look into the ones that have become a rarity. The reason it will take you a good while to find these options is their oddball purposes or outdated functionality.

However, they are still undefeated in the activities they are meant to accomplish and deserve a thorough description.

  • Impact Printers

Perhaps the most ancient version of this tool, the impact printer, is something very few people will remember. Its uses are very limited in the present day and age, and most of the versions you will find nowadays are non-impact models.

Everything You Need to Know About Printers

This unit derives its name from its printing process, which is the impact on an ink ribbon by a metallic head.

Impact printers might not be something that you will consider keeping at home, but many stationary stores and libraries still use them. They are excellent for making carbon copies. So, if plain documentation is your only purpose, you can confidently place your trust in it.

  • Typewriter-Derived Printers

Many people might have written off the good old typewriter, but it still remains the number one choice for old-school writers. Many people are already familiar with the ‘click-click’ printing noise that this device emits when printing away on paper.

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The typewriter-derived printers are basically an electrical version of the main device that is controllable by a computer.

You might think that a typewriter-derived printer might not be a practical option for you. However, it remains one of the more popular choices for those who prefer the classical typing methods. It is incredibly reliable in making pin-point document print and can help you type out official papers effortlessly.

  • Teletype-Derived Printers

Although it has a similar operation mode as the typewriter-derived printer, the teletype-derived printer is an obsolete model. This tool was very popular during the 40s for sending messages efficiently from one location to another.

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Its primary purpose is to write telegrams. The item was pivotal as a support tool to mainframe computers way back in the late 19th century.

Teletype-derived printers played an essential role in data storage as well. They helped to decipher information for local printing. One of the most redeemable qualities of this unit was its ability to communicate using a plethora of attachments.

However, its enormous size and operation time makes it an impractical option now.

  • Daisy Wheel Printers

The next version we are covering hails from the family of impact printers. Daisy wheel printers are known for creating excellent print media with the help of their many preset glyphs.

They are superior to the more premium options of its time in case of presenting results. It was a viral attachment for gadgets, including electronic typewriters and computers back in the ‘70s.

Daisy wheel printers were the talk of the town back in the 80s. Their premium-quality printing abilities made them an excellent choice for office use. The daisy flower-like structure makes them a memorable device among all the different printer types.

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  • Dot-Matrix Printers

Dot-matrix printer is yet another ancient edition of the tool that has gone out of date over time. Its specialty was its ability to print information onto paper with the help of dot matrixes.

These small components help to apply ink with relatively high accuracy. Print heads are a crucial component of this tool. They create documents with their movements.

Among all the types of printers, this edition has a relatively low repertoire of uses. It cannot create documents or projects that demand high resolutions. Furthermore, it is extremely slow and takes up too much time to work on one single piece of paper.

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  • Line Printers

If you were born in the ‘80s, then you probably know all about the line printer. These behemoths were all the rage back then, as printing houses were stacked with them.

They were excellent options for making newspapers and magazines. An impressive printing speed of 600 lines within a minute makes it a popular choice for mass printing.

Line printers are perfect for writing official documents, as they specialize in focusing on every line specifically. It finishes each line individually before moving onto the next. Its greatest fallback is its size, which makes it impossible to host it in personal spaces like homes.

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  • Liquid Ink Electrostatic Printers

Among all the obsolete printers out there, liquid ink electrostatic printers were the first of their kind that had technological integration. Electrostatic current goes into spraying ink onto the paper for more in-depth print quality. Therefore, it provided better results than any of the other versions at that time.

Paper plays an equally important role in liquid ink electrostatic printers. They are specially made for these units through immersion in chemicals. This procedure ensures that the paper attracts and soaks in the ink better. Color printing is also very smooth because it can play with primary colors and create a nice mix.

  • Plotters

Closing off this section is a tool that many believe isn’t a printer. However, its functions are eerily similar to that of a printer, making it an unorthodox edition of it. Plotters are the pipe dream for a graphics designer. It can visualize and bring to reality almost any static content they can create on a PC.

Everything You Need to Know About Printers

A plotter printer can be more versatile in terms of use because of the different components it employs. Various writing equipment like pens and markers create projects on paper instead of dots that most printers use.

Therefore, it’s able to create continuous lines on pages which increases its efficiency. Its popularity came to an end after printers with wide-format modes came into existence.

III. Some Other Printers

Our third and final category is a list of printers that do not fall into any other category. They are relatively unorthodox, either in structure or in purpose. Unless you have a requirement that only these versions can fulfill, there is little chance you will be buying them.

  • 3D Printers

Undoubtedly the most unique and mesmerizing editions out there, 3D printers ooze of futuristic qualities that are bound to excite you. Imagine a tool that can bring a miniature model of your imaging to life. Well, that is precisely what you will be getting with this product.

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The possibilities are simply boundless, and your imagination only limits its capabilities.

3D printers are excellent choices for use in both homes and professional spaces. Sit back and relax, because this item can bring to life almost all of your projects.

It can also use various colors when printing models. Instead of paper, it employs plastic for a 3D layout. The only fallback of this item is its relatively high expense, making it a rare thing currently.

  • LED Printers

A distant cousin of the thermal printer, the LED printer uses an element of technology to upgrade its printing capacities. It uses the wonders of light for a more vibrant result. Flashes of the pulse by the LED bar of this unit allow it to create documents or imprint pictures at a fast rate.

what features should you look for in a printer?

Many people prefer LED printers because of their efficiency and seamless function. The minimization of the requirement for moving components makes it more effective in printing documents and pictures better onto paper.

Furthermore, the lack of such pieces also prevents the tool from straining out quickly, decreasing possible maintenance expenses.

  • A3 Printers

Ideally, people prefer printing on A2 papers. It is the standard size for official documents and school assignments. However, many folks require a bigger page for printing. A3 printers are perfect for that category of users. This variation is generally used for printing tabloids and other colossal material.

  • All-in-One or Multifunction Printer

There aren’t many printers out there that can fulfill every possible purpose of its kind. However, this edition is one of the rarest exceptions, as its primary identity is its versatility. A multifunction printer can efficiently print out any document or material within a short time effortlessly, other than one or two functions.

Everything You Need to Know About Printers

  • Laser Printers

When it comes to accuracy and precision, no other printer can beat this unit. A laser printer is a highly efficient and quick solution for those who require high-quality printouts instantly.

It uses lasers to heat up and imprint ink onto pages at a moment’s notice, ensuring that no damage is done to the paper simultaneously.

  • Business Inkjet Printers

A perfect choice for workhorses and corporates alike, business inkjet printers are an absolute necessity for professional workspaces nowadays. It can produce extremely tidy documents with total accuracy and precision.

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Users can alternate between two-tone and color modes to customize their creations and make them stand out.

What Type of Printer Do You Need?

Among all the printer variations available, the type you will require depends on the purpose you will be using it for. In most cases, people use it for school projects and office work.

Therefore, there are several options you can settle for depending on how much you are willing to spend. Its quality and efficiency will change accordingly.

Out of the many versions, the one that comes to mind instantly is inkjet printers. They are incredibly affordable and efficient in accomplishing the most common tasks.

It is also convenient for adding to your setup because it takes up very little space. Simply place it on a desk, and you will be able to connect it to a plethora of devices.

Another excellent choice for printer type is solid ink printers. They are useful for producing the most beautiful documents. Its best quality is its ability to create deep and long-lasting prints.

You will be able to use it for a number of tasks. Furthermore, they are relevantly less expensive to maintain due to the use of ink packs.

Best Brands of Printers In The Market

There’s a lot of debate regarding the supremacy of brands in the case of making printers. However, the answer is not so simple. Different brands specialize in a singular printer version, with none of them completely dominating the current market.

You will find one brand to outshine all else depending on the work you will be doing with your printer.

i. Brother Printers

Starting off our top contenders is a brand that is synonymous with printers. Brother has been making printers for a couple of years now, and the Japanese company is famous throughout the world.

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It specializes in increasing the convenience of users when it comes to such tools. Buying one of their devices means that you are set for a long time.

Its premium options feature factors like top-quality flatbed scanners and sheet feed scanners. These components significantly contribute to printing multiple pages simultaneously.

It can hold a remarkable capacity of ink at a time, efficient for printing with both color and black-and-white options. Its detailed imaging makes for an excellent experience in printing photos.

ii. Epson Printers

Epson is undoubtedly one of the dominating brands in printer manufacturing. They’ve been making these devices since 1964. And they are now recognized worldwide for their excellent craftsmanship.

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The brand sports an extensive series of models capable of catering to a wide variety of needs, ranging from household use to office use.

One of the most remarkable qualities of Epson printers is the substitution of ink cartridges with refillable ink tanks, which significantly helps to cut down costs.

This integration has resulted in many believing the brand to be an economical and budget-friendly option. Epson also features an iPrint app that helps you operate and maintain the printer remotely.

iii. Canon Printers

Don’t get confused. Canon might be one of the frontrunners in making excellent cameras and DSLRs, but they are a market leader for printers, too. The brand sports a wide variety that includes inkjet and laser printers. Photographers are in love with Canon’s Pixma because of its ability to print pictures in sharp detail.

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Unlike other printers, you won’t have to worry about excessive cartridge expenses when using Canon’s printers. These items feature a unique super tank ink method that helps to maximize the print amount from cartridges.

Although Canon’s units aren’t Bluetooth compatible yet, it does have the SELPHY app for effortless wireless operation.

The Price Range of Printers

There’s no reason to feel intimidated when you’re buying a printer. They aren’t as expensive as you expect such electronics items to be. There are quite a few options that are available at an affordable rate.

However, the price will vary according to the type of unit. Here is a probable list of different types of this product according to its classification.

i. Laser Printers

Laser printers are the most common printers out there. However, there are drastic differences in the price range. The reason behind this is the scale and model of the item in question.

You will find these items to be available in a price range starting from USD 200. However, the price can increase up to USD 1000 if you plan to buy a heavy-set version.

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ii. Label Printers

Label printers have a wide price range. The amount varies from brand to brand. However, you need to keep in mind that this item type is pretty one-dimensional and essentially serves a singular purpose.

Therefore, it’s impractical to buy this device in a high price range. Its price can go up to over USD 500, but you can find relatively inexpensive options within USD 100 too.

iii. Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are at the forefront of their category. All the recent updates in these printers are related to the user interface or performance. Thus, its price range varies according to the number of features it accommodates.

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If you want a humble unit, you can buy it for as little as USD 100. The hi-tech options can go over USD 300 as well.

Printer Accessories – Components of Printer

There are various attachments out there that can significantly amplify your experience of using a printer and make it more convenient. Given below are some of the most popular printer accessories in the current market.

  • Printer Cabinet

Printer cabinets are an excellent feature to have in your workspace. It’s a chest of drawers that you can store your printer in and operate with ease. It can easily accommodate the size of the device and prevent dust from accumulating.

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Furthermore, it helps keep your workstation neat and clean, being an excellent organizing tool.

  • Ink Pump

Ink pumps are excellent tools for maintaining the quality of the ink in your printer. It keeps the liquid from stagnating and ensures a steady stream into the device. You won’t have to worry about your cartridges ever becoming dry if you have one of these at hand. Furthermore, it prevents leaks and protects the printer.

  • Fuser Roller

Fuser rollers are an essential accessory of a printer. You will need it if you want to get any printing done at all with the device. It’s usually available in sets of two. The first portion remains heated to properly imprint the ink onto paper, while the second one becomes functional if you require duplex printing.

  • Printer Gear

Another absolute necessity for a printer, you cannot get a properly constructed tool without printer gears. These small bits and pieces hold up the entire structure of the unit.

Furthermore, its movements play a key role in ensuring the smooth function and flow of the item. It’s always best to keep a few spare pieces in your hands if the printer starts to show problems.

printer gadget

  • Fuser Assembly

Fuser assembly is an essential printer accessory for later editions. You will need a high-quality option if you want to get high-quality printouts. This component uses pressure and heat to properly infuse toner powder into the page for a high-quality print. You won’t be able to use a printer without it.

  • Ink Cartridges

By now, you probably understand how vital an ink cartridge is to a printer. It is one of the two essential accessories you will require for the device to yield any results. Ink cartridges are the carriers of color in the machine. They have varying capacities and come in different shapes as well for specific printers.

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  • Drum Cartridge

A drum cartridge is the bulkier older sibling of an ink cartridge. Not all printer types can accommodate this attachment. It is a more economical alternative because of its high storage capacity. You will be able to use it for a longer time without having to worry about frequent replacements.

  • Printer Adapter

If you live in a house with minimal electricity flow or an unstable voltage, then the printer adapter will be an absolute godsend for you. Printers often require a high current flow or a specific energy amount to function smoothly.

printer power adopter

A printer adapter is necessary in this case, as it controls the electricity flow and ensures smooth energy transfer.

  • Printer Consumable

The term ‘printer consumables’ might sound like an unknown object to you. However, anyone who has ever used a printer is already very familiar with it. The accessories printers require for creating materials are printer consumables. These include print cartridges, toner, laser toner, and ribbons.

  • Printer Ribbon

A printer ribbon is a nifty accessory that plays a huge role in putting ink to paper. It basically looks like a ball of glossy colored paper. Its main purpose is to create a smooth transition in color for printing out vibrant documents.

Refurbished Printers – The Reuse Type of Printer

A refurbished printer is a second-hand item. However, a key factor about this unit is that some or all of its parts have been replaced with newer ones to remain functional. Refurbished printers are more affordable than brand new ones. However, certain pitfalls come with buying these units.

second hand printer

Refurbished printers are suitable options for accomplishing basic tasks. You can easily create documents and notes using them. Some are even able to execute color printouts.

However, they are incredibly unreliable. Furthermore, these commodities do not have any warranty, which makes them a risky investment. Therefore, it’s best to approach with caution.

Where To Buy Printers?

Currently, there are loads of shops from which you can purchase a printer. Any establishment with a technology section normally sells these devices. Here are 3 platforms from where you can explore a wide variety of this item and buy a suitable one.

  • Tech Shops

One of the best ways to buy a printer is through a thorough inspection. It is the most accurate way of testing its qualities and understanding if it will serve your needs the best. No other platforms will suit your needs as well as tech shops from this standpoint.

You can physically observe and test the unit’s various features and settle on an appropriate pick.

  • Online Shops

If you want to buy a printer at an affordable rate with as little hassle as possible, then it’s best to browse in online shops. You can sit at the comfort of your own home and go through different options in the various online shopping sites.

The features are correctly stated there, and you can compare prices effortlessly too. Once you settle on a purchase, the site will deliver the device to your doorstep.

  • C2C Sites

C2C sites are an excellent platform for buying both brand new and refurbished printers. Websites like eBay are excellent options for purchasing these units at an affordable rate. Many platforms like this even allow you to place bids or bargain with the seller to come to a mutually beneficial price.

How Do 3D Printers Work?

One of the most eye-raising and exciting technologies of recent times is 3D printers. The idea of creating a fully scalable model of an object was unimaginable even a few years back.

Therefore, it’s quite normal that you are curious about how such a product works. Well, here are the following steps through which a 3D printer functions.

The very first thing that you will need to know about a 3D printer is how similar it is to a regular inkjet printer. Just because it works with plastic instead of paper doesn’t necessarily mean that the construction process is different. The method 3D printers employ is known as Fused Depositional Modeling or FDM.

How Do 3D Printers Work?

Just like regular printing, 3D printing happens over a couple of layers. And just like the flow of information, construction of the pieces occurs from the bottom to the top. It takes a few hours, but the construction becomes complete and it represents a perfect depiction of the digital 3D CAD drawing.

Some Common Questions People Generally Ask For

Q: Why do I need a 3D printer?

Ans: A 3D printer can substantially upgrade your presentation ability. A 3D model of an object or an idea can easily outshine a text-based presentation. Furthermore, it will highly increase your potential of creating unique projects because of its structure-creating abilities.

Q: Where can I recycle printers?

Ans: One of the most effective and beneficial methods of recycling printers is by reselling them. Printer components are very expensive. You can sell them off at a good rate. There are loads of superstores like Best Buy that have recycling programs. You can always drop them off there as well.

Q: How do I add printers on mac?

Ans: Mac actually has a more user-friendly interface than any of its competitors. Therefore, you will be able to connect it to a printer relatively effortlessly.

Simply access the Apple menu and click on system preferences. Go ahead and click on ‘Printers and Scanners.’ Clicking on it will reveal an ‘Add’ option, select it and choose the default option.

A list of printers will drop down. Select one and click add. It will connect to the device automatically.

Q: How long do printers last?

Ans: A printer can last for as long as 5 years at a stretch. However, if you maintain it properly and keep it in check, it can last for a longer time. One thing you will have to keep in mind is that no amount of upkeep will keep it everlasting as you will need an upgraded version eventually.

Q: Why do printers stop working?

Ans: There is no need to panic if your printer stops working out of the blue. The main reason printers do not work is if they run out of supplies. These include paper, ink, and toner. A lack of any of these might present you with an error message and a quick restocking can fix the issue.

Final Thoughts

Printers have become a part and parcel of our daily lives. We require its help throughout various phases of our lives. Now that you have finished reading the article, we are confident that you are well-informed about everything you need to know about printers.

You will now easily be able to identify its different variations and operate them with ease.


Alice covers platforms, policy and big tech at Printer Reviews. Prior to rejoining here, Alice was Senior Technology Editor of the TechDen. Alice first joined PrinterReviews in 2021. Before joining, he was the Tech Editor of the Daily Dot and a reporter and deputy editor at ReadWeb.

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