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Issue #296: March 24, 2013

Q: My HP PSC 1601 All in One printer will not print.  A message is displayed stating “remove and check right cartridge.” I followed the instruction and because I am not a printer tech I simply wiped the contacts and replaced the cartridge, all to no avail. Because the cartridge had been recently purchased I returned it to the retailer (generic ink store in Fort Walton Beach) and was given a replacement, It too does not function.

Do you have any idea of what could be the problem and is it possible that it could be repaired at a cost less than buying a new printer?

David D.
Sterling Heights, Michigan

A: I have had mixed luck with using 3rd-party ink or toner in printers that I maintain.  In one case, an aftermarket ink cartridge jammed up the print head of an Epson Stylus Photo printer so badly I couldn’t get it unclogged.  I’ve also had laser toner cartridges fail after only a few dozen pages.  The more cynical people I talk to will make the case that the printer manufacturers intentionally design their product to fail when you use ink or toner not made by the company.  That may or may not be true, but just try and actually prove it.  Nevertheless, I have countless stories like yours of printers that fail after a few pages with a non-branded cartridge, and then magically begin working again when a “genuine” one is installed.  I happen to know that HP puts some undocumented controls in almost all of their products that you might use to get around a problem like this.  If you do a full reset of the printer to clear its internal memory, you might eliminate the printer’s knowledge that the cartridge you are using was detected as bad.  To do the reset, unplug the printer’s power cord, then press and hold the OK and CANCEL buttons on the front panel while plugging it back in.  Hold the buttons until you see the words “Deriv Clear” on the screen, then release them.  If the printer marks the cartridge bad again, you might just have a bad cartridge.  If the store you bought it from is worth shopping at, they should stand behind their product and replace it.  Again.

Q: I receive a lot of emails with text and/or pictures that have been forwarded many times, thus a bunch of blue lines on the left side. I’d like to eliminate them before I forward. I searched your column’s database for a way to get rid of them and found “Issue #72: December 7, 2008”. Your advice was to select the text and click on the “Decrease Indent” button on the toolbar. I am using Mozilla’s Thunderbird as my email program, and there is no “Decrease Indent” button on any of the available toolbars. Can you help me eliminate these unsightly and useless lines?

Jim J.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: First of all, Jim, thank-you for using the column archive at  I keep wanting to expand the website, but I’m never quite sure if it’s getting used enough to justify putting the time into it.  I’ve got some ideas for useful content to put out there, and I’m always looking for feedback from the readers to see what you Geeks want.  Okay, on to your problem.

For those of you not in the know, Thunderbird is an e-mail client, much like Outlook Express, or Windows Live Mail.  The big difference is that it’s not owned by Microsoft.  I’m personally not a user of Thunderbird, but I know it has a very loyal following among those who do use it.  I did some looking around, and on the website of SoftPedia (Thunderbird’s vendor) I located some screenshots.  You can view them at  In screenshot number 5 I can clearly see the Increase Indent and Decrease Indent buttons in the formatting toolbar immediately above the e-mail body.  They are the third and fourth buttons in the third button group.  I also looked up the keyboard shortcut for you: Hit Ctrl+[ to decrease indent.  All that having been said, while doing research for you, I also came across some discussions that made it seem to appear that in Thunderbird this whole “decrease indent” function might not eliminate the multiple levels of quotations, which is really what you’re trying to accomplish.  Some of those discussions were not particularly current, so if you find that decreasing the indent in Thunderbird doesn’t eliminate the lines, perhaps another Geek out there who happens to be a Thunderbird user knows how to do it.  As always, feel free to head over to and join the discussion to share with the group!

2 Responses to “Issue #296: March 24, 2013”

  • GEORGEC22 says:

    I never forward an email without first cleaning it up. I follow a procedure that I think will work for any email service. ( I use AOL)

    I right click and “select all” Then I click “copy”

    Next I open my word processor (I use Microsoft Word) and past the email in that. The word processor automatically removed all of the email specific lines, indentations, etc. I then also erase all addresses and other superfluous information. At that point all I have left is the basic email.

    I then copy this and paste to my new email.

    Very simple and straight forward..

    • The Geek says:

      Here’s something even easier for you, George: Find the control in your e-mail editor for switching from HTML format to plain-text. A plain-text message cannot hold all the formatting commands, blue lines, etc. Once they’re gone, you can change it back to HTML for additional editing, if you wish.

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