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Author Topic: Bummed about the Z3100 44"  (Read 2674 times)
Mark Lindquist
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« on: January 23, 2013, 01:47:56 PM »
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I was soooo happy when I got the Z3100 44" printer.  Everything was awesome with exception of a few known issues.  A few years go by and poof! the timing belt issue comes screaming to the fore.  Guess it must have been year 3 because my warranty had run out.  I tried to get the HP repair guy to come out on the weekend and he said he was happy to take a look, but when he finally got back to me, he had retired and was moving to a retirement community.

Well shucks.  I just can't believe it.  I ordered a replacement belt, but I've been so bummed out about it, I just don't have it in me to spend all that time tearing the thing down to replace a glorified gilmer belt that shouldn't have failed in the first place.  How is that engineers figured this planned obsolescence piece of wonder out?

Anybody else have the same issue, and how have you dealt with it?

I haven't been on here in a long time, mainly because I became so discouraged with the printer.  I've lost the link to a video on changing the belt, so if anyone would care to share, that would be most helpful.

Sorry for the mini-rant, but again, shucks, this really really hurts!

-ML
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joeeskow
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 02:06:57 PM »
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One of our members of LuLa made this Youtube video. Hope it helps you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U56v6y0FDh4
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Mark Lindquist
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 02:29:35 PM »
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Thanks Joe - that's the one I was looking for, but I thought I remembered there being one for a 44", although I know they're basically the same.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 06:41:31 PM »
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Identical procedure - just a longer belt Wink  It's not hard, you are really overplaying it.
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namartinnz
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 08:41:43 PM »
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I did the belt change on my Z3100 44" this time last year using the great video Kaleria made. Just prepare with the right tools, take you're time on each step and you'll be right as rain.

Neal.
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 08:54:39 PM »
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I helped design that printer in 1996.  So its been outdated when it was released.  The 3200 which was to replace the 3100 very soon after it released. 

Its time for you to get something newer.  There were problems with the 3100 because they didn't put everything in it due to pressure in the company. 

They had the technology but didn't want to really compete in the Pro printer world.  And I'm quoting the higher ups in HP

The shame is that they had the expertise to really contend. " They could have been a contender"

No guts no Glory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Mark Lindquist
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 09:30:44 PM »
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I helped design that printer in 1996.  So its been outdated when it was released.  The 3200 which was to replace the 3100 very soon after it released. 

Its time for you to get something newer.  There were problems with the 3100 because they didn't put everything in it due to pressure in the company. 

They had the technology but didn't want to really compete in the Pro printer world.  And I'm quoting the higher ups in HP

The shame is that they had the expertise to really contend. " They could have been a contender"

No guts no Glory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very forthcoming of you to respond so candidly, Tim - thanks very much.  You are absolutely right - they could have been a contender.  What a shame.  They soured a lot of people who invested n the Z3100, and they've lost potential future customers.  A shame that political aspects such as what you indicate can take down such a great idea.  Seems like every HP printer I've had (and that's 3 different ones) each have design flaws that were built in which torpedoed their product after a certain amount of time.  In my book, that's called planned obsolescence.

What is your view of the 3200?  Same issues, ultimately, due to company philosophy?

What printer would you recommend?

Thanks again, Tim -  Mark
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 11:06:10 PM »
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Yes, until HP.  The only American Printer Company wakes up and smells the coffee and moves into Fine Art instead of the graphics industry.  AS I told them and all other inkjet companies the same printer can be used for both.  There is no reason for a printer to be one or the other.  Fine art needs more of everything where as graphics needs less and more speed to some extent.  

I've been asking for a 24 inch roll and sheet feeder.  That feeds from the back so the paper does not have to bend or curl.  It would be a great portfolio maker that most photographers would love to own.  Including me.  But no luck so far.  Having been inventing in the inkjet pigment process from the very first print.  You would think they would listen but its run by the Japanese instead of the American division.
They need to listen to the users and look at how and why we need the printers to function.  

 I would look at the Canon 8400 its what I use and have been very happy with it.  The cost per sq foot is amazing and speed is very high and precise.  BUt both Canon and Epson are very good.

Nothing is as good as an inkjet print properly printed on the right medium.
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zippski
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 11:57:11 PM »
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I'm starting on year five with my z3100-24.  I bought it just after the z3200 was released for a huuuuge discount.  I had 4 years of flawless print operation (I'm a low volume printer), then, suddenly, the belt issue arose last fall.  it was not unexpected, but still discouraging.

Luckily, Google is my friend, and I quickly located a highly ranked HP commercial service shop about an hour away They still exist; I live in Niagara and the shop I contacted was in Mississauga.  I had them order me a belt (from the US, of course).

Anyway, I'm fairly mechanically-oriented, but I wanted to watch the tech guy service the machine the first time.  The guy was an absolute genius with the printer (he's been working on them for years).  It took him *5* solid hours (without a single break) to change the belt, and do a complete service and cleaning on the machine. Best $800.00 I ever spent.

He told me that the machine should easily last another 5 years.  No wear at all.  Other than the belt, there was/is no reason to upgrade.

Planned obsolesence is great for companies producing consumer/trendy junk, but these printers were designed for business, and the company bottom line.  If the output is great from your z3100 (and it's every bit as good as any off-the-shelf printer today), $800.00 for 5 years is pretty cheap pro-rated annually in comparison to how much enjoyment I get out of the printer.

But, I'm a contrarian.  I still use a Blackberry, and ...shudder....still shoot with an Olympus E-5 and a full (and I do mean full) set of Olympus Super High Grade 4/3 lenses.

I'm just happy to avoid swapping inks, cleaning clogs, and being blissfully unaware of the need to create, calibrate and load paper profiles due the built-in spectrometer.

Leigh
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Damir
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 01:39:11 AM »
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I agree with you. I love my Z3100 for many reasons, I have EPSON switched off for two years now.
Z is saving time and money, and my nerves. EPSON is wasting time, and money, and especialy my nerves!
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 03:15:46 AM »
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I'm just happy to avoid swapping inks, cleaning clogs, and being blissfully unaware of the need to create, calibrate and load paper profiles due the built-in spectrometer.

Leigh
zippski   


Right. Exchanged the two belts on the two Zs I have not so long ago and a head carriage board. Cleaned the machines thoroughly. Replaced 10 of the 12 heads too in the total 10 years of use. Together less than $800. Low volume printing here, that is correct but so many users are in that category. The Z3200 Color Center profiling software and the Z3200 ink set has been a good improvement for color printing compared to the Z3100, The Z3100 still is one of the best B&W printers. You can not get another wide format printer with an integrated spectrometer + profiling package that is that affordable and in my case that reliable. True I can sum up at least 10 improvements possible but nothing so fundamental that I would blame HP for delivering an inferior product 6 and 4 years ago. It is still in many ways a smart machine, an excellent design. When the Z3100 was introduced the HP people at the Photokina booth considered Canon as their competition, not Epson. I think they were right, it may not be so far yet but I see Epson diverting its attention to other markets where piëzo heads have an advantage and Canon taking over this market with their fast thermal heads. HP's attention wanders everywhere and often not succesfully but the Zs themselves are not to blame. Maybe we can expect something again from HP's Barcelona R&D as the new HP  Officejet Pro X development must be finished now, page wide thermal head array to spit out 70 A4 pages a minute with CMYK pigment ink, 6 picoliter droplet. Available next month. The Lomond Evojet (Memjet technology) does about the same but can only work with dye inks and there seem to be issues in practice.

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.

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Damir
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2013, 05:27:30 AM »
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Exactly

Good products can stand the test of time. Doing upgrades just for sake of upgrade is modern way. Mark II, Mark III, Mark IV...

I am even satisfied with red output of Z3100, maybe beacuse I don't have syntetic colors in my prints, therefore I did not upgrade to 3200, and especially due to the fact that 70% of my printing is B&W.
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Mark Lindquist
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2013, 09:35:22 AM »
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Yes, until HP.  The only American Printer Company wakes up and smells the coffee and moves into Fine Art instead of the graphics industry.  Nothing is as good as an inkjet print properly printed on the right medium.

Agreed, Tim.  And nothing is as good for the on and off fine art printer as a built-in spectrometer....

I'm starting on year five with my z3100-24.  Anyway, I'm fairly mechanically-oriented, but I wanted to watch the tech guy service the machine the first time.  The guy was an absolute genius with the printer (he's been working on them for years).  It took him *5* solid hours (without a single break) to change the belt, and do a complete service and cleaning on the machine. Best $800.00 I ever spent.

He told me that the machine should easily last another 5 years.  No wear at all.  Other than the belt, there was/is no reason to upgrade.

Planned obsolesence is great for companies producing consumer/trendy junk, but these printers were designed for business, and the company bottom line.  If the output is great from your z3100 (and it's every bit as good as any off-the-shelf printer today), $800.00 for 5 years is pretty cheap pro-rated annually in comparison to how much enjoyment I get out of the printer.

I'm just happy to avoid swapping inks, cleaning clogs, and being blissfully unaware of the need to create, calibrate and load paper profiles due the built-in spectrometer.

Leigh
zippski   

Yes, well said, Leigh.  In principle, I agree, mostly, but I'm still seriously miffed at the company putting in a piece of XXXX belt, which is the Achilles heel of the printer... I'm mean 5 hours to change a frigging belt?  Take the motor out to change the oil territory, that...

Right. Exchanged the two belts on the two Zs I have not so long ago and a head carriage board. Cleaned the machines thoroughly. Replaced 10 of the 12 heads too in the total 10 years of use. Together less than $800. Low volume printing here, that is correct but so many users are in that category. The Z3200 Color Center profiling software and the Z3200 ink set has been a good improvement for color printing compared to the Z3100, The Z3100 still is one of the best B&W printers. You can not get another wide format printer with an integrated spectrometer + profiling package that is that affordable and in my case that reliable. True I can sum up at least 10 improvements possible but nothing so fundamental that I would blame HP for delivering an inferior product 6 and 4 years ago. It is still in many ways a smart machine, an excellent design. When the Z3100 was introduced the HP people at the Photokina booth considered Canon as their competition, not Epson. I think they were right, it may not be so far yet but I see Epson diverting its attention to other markets where piëzo heads have an advantage and Canon taking over this market with their fast thermal heads. HP's attention wanders everywhere and often not succesfully but the Zs themselves are not to blame. Maybe we can expect something again from HP's Barcelona R&D as the new HP  Officejet Pro X development must be finished now, page wide thermal head array to spit out 70 A4 pages a minute with CMYK pigment ink, 6 picoliter droplet. Available next month. The Lomond Evojet (Memjet technology) does about the same but can only work with dye inks and there seem to be issues in practice.

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst 

Damir, I hear you.  Ernst, always good to hear from you.  I respect your opinions and your viewpoints.  I agree that there is no better "hassle-free" printer, but then there is this belt issue which is inexcusable.  They made such a huge deal about the hi-tech aspects of this printer with initial sales hype, but have utterly dropped the ball on these kinds of issues.  $800 to change a belt, requiring 5 hours and a complete tear down.  Seriously?  They should be ashamed, or at least provide a "re-call" or "fix" for it at their cost, the way high-end camera companies such as Nikon and Canon have done to resolve design flaw issues.  Those companies want to KEEP their customers.

Met vriendelijke groet, Mark

All in all, I think everyone agrees that the built-in spectrometer was and still is the stroke of genius for this printer and that it was revolutionary at the time.  Why won't HP own up to this serious, serious design flaw and at least give a break in terms of repair?  This belt thing is "the elephant in the room" regarding this printer.  A crappy, quickly degrading belt that degrades, in some cases within just three years, and requires fully "open-heart surgery" to repair?  The principle of this just grates on me.  Forced entropy.  Talk about being hard on the nerves.  Any ease of use, any operational innovation is completely negated because of this hideous, insidious glaring design flaw.  Normally I would apologize for such a rant, but I don't often rant.  When I do, it's for good reason.  I've said I liked the printer, and I do, but it also sucks, big time because of crap like the belt issue.

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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2013, 10:55:19 AM »
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That belt exchange, for some necessary after 2 years of use, for others after 5 years and the part not more expensive than $30 Euro. I considered that a price winning lottery ticket compared to the issues with Epson x900 heads that cost way more, are harder to get and have an unpredictable lifetime though are considered to last the lifetime of the printer. Yes, the printer has to be taken apart but that also gives you the chance to clean and lubricate the machine for the next period of use and I am not that optimistic that it will run here for another 5 years, extending it to 7 years total would be way more than I expected. The head carrier board was something like $90, peanuts in my opinion and I got it within a week. Right if the formatter goes belly up and I can not get a refurbished unit of say $600 but have to get a new one at $1300 then I would look for a Canon iPF8400. The Designjets all have the belt issue, third party supplies show quite a market for them. If you look for Designjet 5000 and 5500 parts you will see the same. You could think that they have a bad design but it is more like they were so damned popular because they were true workhorses and easy to support. Secondhand prices showed that too.

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.
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Mark Lindquist
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2013, 11:38:00 AM »
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I hear you Ernst -
Good points, of course, but consider the issue of a timing belt in a VW Jetta Diesel.  It needs to be changed at about 90,000 miles and the company clearly advertises this in the owner's manual.  When changing it, often a water pump and special lubrication is a good idea because of having access.  This is a known, and expected issue, and they certainly don't go around with their heads in the sand about it.

All of the fixes you speak of are "work-arounds" which really should have been addressed in the design phase.  If the belt is the Achilles heel, then why not have looked into a better solution or a better product than a really inferior rubbery belt that disintegrates so easily, especially when it is a known issue?!

Sorry Ernst, as much as I understand and respect your ingenuity and cleverness in keeping the patient alive, I just can't abide the crap this company has pulled on unsuspecting customers, particularly as it is in fact a long time known issue.

Then there is that overarching aspect of the integral spectrometer... guess every rose has it's thorns, eh?  (meaning the spectrometer is what makes this printer "a rose"...)

Pitty none of these companies can get this stuff right.  Leads me to believe they just don't want to.  Hmmm.  Planned obsolescence?  Just go buy a new one.  Fuhgedaboudit.

Met vriendelijke groet, Mark
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Colorwave
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2013, 12:40:23 PM »
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Another long time Z3100 user here.  I'm probably a rather high volume user, and my printer has served me well.  I'm on my third belt now.  It's a very poor part of the design, but I'd choose it over an ink guzzling Epson anytime.  For the record, the belt issue is not specific to this printer line.  I know other HP wide format printers that have the same exact problem. 
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Justan
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2013, 09:28:14 AM »
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I wasn’t thrilled with the belt replacement but it was a fairly easy if protracted task. In my printer’s case, I replaced the belt after about 4 years, but it should have been done after 3 about years.

For me the bigger issue leading to the replacement started about a year or so before, where the belt started to disintegrate and drop bits of itself onto the printing media, which were then immediately covered by ink only to fall off a moment later and leave tidy little white spots where-ever the bit of belt landed. That cost me to toss a bunch of works and then to buy a touch up pen kit. Grrr.

I agree the belt is a stinking bad design element of the printer. First because of the disintegration which was difficult to track down to the belt. Next because HP clearly doesn’t GAS about this planned obsolesce, the solution is either a service contract or the willingness to blow off a day doing the replacement.

The good news was that doing the replacement provided an opportunity to thoroughly clean and re-lube. I was amazed at how much ink, dust, belt fragments and random hairs accumulated inside of the printer.

I don’t know of a solution for the belt other than to re-design so that a chain is used rather than a belt. All plastic compounds decay over time. The more stress and flexing they do, the faster they decay. This is not stated as a defense but simply acknowledging the reality of the materials used.

Of course, HP now only sells their PS version of Z3200 in the USA, and, in  addition, they’ve stopped selling 2 packs of inks. Perhaps they are leaning toward discontinuing this line of printer……………….?
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Mark Lindquist
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2013, 09:58:18 AM »
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Thanks for your comments Justan,

I think that perhaps a wider, and thicker, heavier duty belt might have been a better decision.  That belt is so thin and small, and no doubt made from inferior material that it just doesn't work.  on a 17" printer, maybe that belt scale would have been appropriate, but the stretching and flexing on a 44"?  Nope - won't scale.

It would not surprise me either, that HP discontinues this line.  That is typically their way.  Problems with a printer?  Just quit - walk away.

Oh well.
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deanwork
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« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2013, 07:10:55 PM »
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I have both the Z3100, like about 6 years old now and the Canon 8300 and they produce pretty much identical prints. The Z has better dmax though and smoother gloss rendition on many papers, especially rc. Of course it is slower, but has radically greater permanence than the Epson HDR or VM inksets for color.

There is no way any Epson printer that I've ever had, and I've owned about 7 big ones, could have been so trouble free for all these years, never a clog, never a headache ever.

Yes I replaced the belt twice ( the weak link in this design  as we all know) over that time but I had sense enough to keep it in warranty which costs half the price of what I have to pay Canon for the warranty. I took the guy less than an hour to replace the belt and I had no issues afterward.

Look I like all these machines. Hp has obviously decided that the "fine art" large format market is a tiny fraction of the commercial and design market so the bean counters say move on.  They are way too big and scattered to be an innovative company unfortunately. This is what happens when you make way too many products and have a short attention span.

 But that team in Spain did a damn good job of designing those first Z printers. We met some of those guys in NY and they wanted to know what we users thought. You could tell they really did want to know what the end user thought.  I've never once heard that come out of an Epson reps mouth.  When I think how long my personal color work will last when printed on the non-oba Canson media, I thank myself every day for buying this one. And, we set it up very easily with only two people. The only heads I've ever replaced cost $60.00 and last as long as the Canon heads that cost $400.00 and the dither is even better.

My feeling after using the Z all this time is that not only could they have been a contender, but they could have won.  Winning that market to them was not a priority and I don't even know why then got into it in the first place. And yes, HP throws away great engineers like most companies throw out the trash. I hate to say it but that is typical for big American hardware corporations that have a short term agenda rather than a long term plan.

john
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Mark Lindquist
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« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2013, 09:16:04 PM »
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Well said, John.  Agreed.

-Mark
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