Q Some time ago you wrote about a black-only printer in response to someone who wanted to save on ink. I'd like to cut down on my ink usage and expense and would appreciate an update on this.

A What I recommended was a monochrome (black-only) laser printer. Because it doesn't use ink, you obviously won't have that expense -- although the toner unit will need to be replaced once in a while.

The operative phrase here is "once in a while," and it usually works out to be a long time, years in some cases. Given the cost of ink, a $75 laser printer is an investment that will pay for itself quickly. You will also get quieter operation and smudge-proof, better looking black-and-white printouts.

If you need to print in color at home, have two printers. Get a color all-in-one for scanning and color printing, and the laser for everything else.

I have done this for years, and it works great. It seems that ink always runs out at the worst time and that the color you need happens to be the one that you don't have in reserve. Some all-in-ones won't scan unless all the colors have a working ink cartridge -- holding your scanner hostage to force you to buy ink.

Adding a laser printer saves money and makes home printing hassle-free.

Camera works with Mac

Q We recently bought a Samsung TL350 digital camera. I opened the box and read through the start-up manual, and I'm concerned. It talks about loading pictures onto a PC but not onto a Mac. I searched the issue online and found a discussion board full of people who could not get the camera to interface with their Mac. I don't want a camera that can't easily work with the Mac. Do you know if this is a problem?

A I tested my TL350 with several Macs, and it worked fine. Without seeing the specific message board I can't know for sure what the problems were, but it has been a nonissue for my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard.

No matter what digital camera or camcorder you own, you really should use a card reader rather than connect the camera, unless connecting it is necessary for firmware updates. Using a card reader saves your battery for picture taking and also is safer. If you connect your camera and the battery dies while pictures are downloading, you could corrupt the data on the card and lose all of your pictures.

You can get a good card reader for less than $10, and using it is simplicity itself. Just take the card out, put in the reader and connect it to your computer to download your pictures. You can also use the card reader to move files onto the card from your computer.

This is how I updated the firmware on my TL350, using my Mac, in fact. I downloaded the file to the desktop, dragged it onto the memory card, and put it in the camera for updating.

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