Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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May 2006, Week 5 -- Stamps and Labels

 LabelWriter Duo

 

 

 

   We just got the latest and greatest label printer from Dymo last week, and by golly, it IS the latest and greatest.

   Dymo has been making these small desktop label printers for a couple of decades or so, and they've always been expensive: around $200. That's expensive compared with printing labels from your regular printer. The tiny label printers sure are convenient, though; they can print your company logo along with a return address.

 

   While earlier Dymo versions were content to print labels you could stick on envelopes and packages, this one, the LabelWriter Duo, also prints stamps. These are real stamps, authorized by the U.S. Postal Service through a service called Endicia. You can sign up either at the Endicia Web site (www.Endicia.com), or the Dymo site (www.dymo.com). If you buy the Dymo LabelWriter Duo printer, you pay for only the stamps, otherwise there's a minimum fee of $10 a month.

 

 

 

   The Duo ("duo" because it prints both stamps and labels) has some interesting features. For one, it's a thermal printer, so it never needs ink. Thermal printers have been around a long time, and they work fine, using a heated print-head to register letters on specially treated paper. That means you don't have to buy ink, but you do have to buy thermal paper rolls.

 

 

 

   Some of these thermal paper rolls allow you to print white lettering on black labels, and others produce blue or red type on white labels. Typical prices run around $20 for a roll of 700 white address labels, more or less for other quantities and special colors.

 

 

 

 Well, color us sort of enchanted with this thing. We may never go to the post office again. we can also print to-do notes and important phone numbers and stick them on the computer monitor frame. (Isn't that waht everybody does?) The Dymo can be used with either PCs or Macs.  

   

 

   If you don't care about printing your own stamps, Seiko makes a small label printer that we found at newegg.com for $81.

 

 

 

Wirleess Presenter

Wireless Presenter

 

   The Presto WMS 100 Image Wireless Projector Adaptor lets the user control a digital projector from anywhere in a fairly large room: good for presentations.

 

   The device attaches to the projector, so it can receive wireless signals from a laptop or any other PC that is wireless-enabled. You can surf the Web and project the results onto a large screen.

 

   Others with wireless laptops can also use the device to project images from their own computers onto the large viewing screen, one sender at a time. The list price is $280 from www.newsoftinc.com.

 

 

 

Free Skype Out

 

 

 

   This is being publicized all over, but in case you missed it, here's the new freebie deal from Skype.

 

 

 

   Skype is an Internet phone service, and for the rest of this year (2006) you can make free phone calls to and from regular land-line phones in the United States and Canada. Calls to other Skype users have always been free, and calls to other countries typically run 2 or 3 cents a minute. To get the software and more information, visit the Web site at www.skype.com.

 

 

 

Internuts

 

 

 

  www.kbears.com: Another new educational site for children. It can't match the recent AOL site KOLjunior.com for sheer bravura and content, but it has good stuff and is worth visiting. It has pictures and coloring books of more dinosaurs than we ever heard of, plus odd facts about everything, nice games and sample music from many countries. All free.

 

 

Picture it Postage

  www.allsafetravel.com: Find out what's safe and what's not before you travel abroad. This site has over a thousand links to advisories from the U.S. State Department and government agencies of other countries, as well as info from private sources. We looked up Costa Rica just for the fun of it and found you can carry photocopies of your passport as you travel around the country, leaving the real one behind in a safe place.

 

  www.pictureitpostage.com: These are not your father's postage stamps. For a couple of years now you could print official U.S. postage stamps with your own pictures, but you couldn't promote your business. Now you can print stamps with a company logo, Web site or product picture. The cost is higher than regular postage -- around 90 cents a stamp instead of 39, but we threw caution to the wind and bought a sheet.

 

 

 

Travel Adapter

 

 

 

   Travel season is coming up, and one of the regular worries many travelers have is voltage variations as you move between countries. We just got a travel adapter from Targus (www.targus.com) for $20. It has nested plugs in a compact set that covers electrical outlets in 120 countries. Should be enough.

 

 

 

Digital Photo Frame

 

 

 

   We couldn't think of a market for this, but maybe you can.

 

 

Digital Picture Frame

   We received a Digital Picture Frame for review from Edge Technology. Plug a camera memory card into one or both of two slots and you can view the photos on a 3 1/2-by-6-inch screen. The photos display either singly or as a slide show. If you first put the camera card into your computer and drag MP3 files onto it, you'll get music with your slideshow. You can also display video clips.

 

   The display has numerous controls and does not need to be connected to a computer. Some of the controls provide editing features for contrast, brightness, etc., and you can operate them by remote control. The list price is $150 from www.edgetechcorp.com. Everything worked all right; we just couldn't figure out who would want or need one.

 


 

 

NOTE: Readers can search several years of columns at the "On Computers" Web site: www.oncomp.com. You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at bobschwab@aol.com and Joy Schwabach at joydee@oncomp.com.