Epson LabelWorks LW-600P App-enabled, Portable Label Printer by Donald Burr

Epson Labelworks Portable Labeler

  • Getting organized!
  • Examples:
  • Label cables/power bricks to match them up with the devices they belong to
  • Label drawers that store various types of cables/other objects
  • Label file folders
  • The solution: a labeler!
  • But they really suck!
    • Lousy little rubbery keyboards
    • Tiny, faint, barely visible display
    • Very limited selection of fonts, no capability for images, etc.
  • Enter the Epson LabelWorks LW-600P App-enabled, Portable Label Printer!
  • Description
    • 6x5x2 inches
    • Fairly heavy (about 1.5 lbs, but that’s with batteries in it)
    • Large door on the side of the machine where you load the tape cartridges
    • Windows on both the side and front of the device, let you see what kind of cartridge you have loaded
    • Connections on the rear for power and USB
    • No keyboard or display – that’s because it’s app enabled!
  • Features
    • Can print on labels between from 1’4″ wide to 1″ wide
    • Can print over USB from Windows and Macs
    • Can print from mobile devices over Bluetooth
    • App supports text, graphics, and barcodes (both 2D and 3D)
    • Single line or multiline text, variable font and font size, and can add a border
  • Pros
    • Wide variety of label types are available
    • Standard stick-on labels
    • Extra strong adhesive labels
    • Cable wrap labels
    • Different colors (including clear)
  • Printer knows what size of label is inserted (so you can’t print on the wrong size)
  • Printer can be powered either by AC or battery
  • App supports many different label types (plain old text, graphics, barcodes, etc.)
  • App comes with a lot of standard labels (warning/safety labels, etc.)
  • A lot of customizability in the app
    • Use images from their clip art library, or use your own
    • The conversion to B&W for your own images is very customizable
  • Excellent build quality (even though it’s made of plastic, it’s very tough plastic and it feels solid)
  • Cons
    • Cartridges can’t be hot-swapped (means you have to turn it off/on, and then reconnect the Bluetooth)
    • The app can get a bit wonky
    • Not iPhone 6/6+ optimized (I’m sure they’re working on it)
    • Sometimes gets into a mode where all the menu choices disappear
    • Somewhat clunky and weirdly organized UI
    • Sometimes doesn’t detect the printer – only happened to me once, and fixing it was as simple as force-quitting and relaunching the app
  • Price
    • At $100 it is a bit steep compared to most dedicated labelers ($10-30) but compared to higher end systems ($50-70) it is competitively priced considering the customizability and features
    • Label cassettes are a bit pricy (around $25 a pop) but they do last a long time
  • Summary
    • A great, solidly built and versatile labeler that makes really nice looking labels
    • The app is a bit wonky but it works reasonably well in general, and I’m sure the glitches will be fixed
    • This thing has other uses too
    • Luggage tags, “if this item is lost, contact me” tags, conference badges, etc.
    • Labels with barcodes!
    • Product labels (i.e. if you are a small time retail store)
    • QR codes that advertise your website or whatever, that you can stick on flyers, promotional materials, etc.
  • Check it out at the link in the show notes
  • Also be sure and check out if you are at all curious about anime, manga, Japan, culture, food, travel, etc.
  • George from Tulsa Reviews 3 Android Devices

    George from Tulsa here to give you a brief overview of three Android devices I recently purchased.

    Nvidia Shield Tablet

    The Nvidia Shield Tablet is a serious gaming machine and showpiece for Nvidia’s connected gaming network. It’s also the fastest Android tablet on the market today, surpassing even Google’s flagship Nexus 9. I’m not a gamer, think Atari 2600, and bought the 32 GB LTE Shield to connect my camera card, copy off Olympus format RAW files, and edit them using the Android App Photo Mate R2. I hadn’t even installed Portal and the Half Life Series Nvidia promoted as draws to buy the Shield. But on Thanksgiving Day my visiting younger generation saw the Shield, and begged. Then disappeared into gameland.

    The Shield’s form factor is much like the familiar Nexus 7, just a bit bigger. It offers a 1920 x 1200 screen, dual front facing stereo speakers, and even a subwoofer. Leave your Bluetooth at home. There’s a Stylus and Apps that use it. My daughter, the art school graduate, reports the Stylus works pretty well, but isn’t a threat to replace her Wacom Cintiq Android Tablet.

    I upgraded my Shield to Android 5.0 “Lollipop” before setting it up. After using Android L on that device, I blocked its install on my Nexus 5 phone and 7 tablet. Maybe someday, not yet. It is too bright, I’m not a fan of card based notifications throughout, and prefer the ease of accessing settings on the older KitKat. KitKat is faster.

    The Shield came unlocked, with an ATT SIM. I had no trouble activating it on T-Mobile as a 3 GB $10 a month add to our existing plan.

    Lisa at MobileTechReview did her usual thorough review of the Shield when it first released.  If anything I’ve said about the Shield captures your interest, refer to Allison’s Show Notes for a Link to Lisa’s review.

    Amazon Fire HD6 Tablet

    Amazon’s Fire HD 6 tablet is cheap, really cheap, priced as low as $99. It’s also quite good, if a bit heavy. I bought one because I’ve been carrying last year’s far more powerful HDX 7 in a pouch while I walk so I can listen as Amazon’s superb Text to Speech reads Kindle eBooks. The HD 6 is running Fire OS 4.5.1, a much improved version of Amazon’s Android Fork. Its physical controls are easier to operate by touch than the more expensive HDX. Overall, an amazing device—for the price point.

    After I bought the HD 6, I thought how much better it would be if smaller and lighter. Like, say, phone sized.

    And no sooner did I make that wish than Amazon delivered, putting the 32 GB Fire Phone LTE unlocked GSM on sale for $199, and throwing in a year of Prime worth $100.

    Amazon Fire Phone

    Really nice macro photo of a Christmas tree bulb from the Fire Phone

    It’s no wonder the Fire Phone was a giant Fail. It’s UI isn’t good, depending on four battery sucking cameras to track a user’s face and present context sensitive menus. The Fire Phone is hot to the touch in default mode, and munched its battery fast. I turned all that stuff that Amazon calls “dynamic perspective” OFF which saves much processing and battery, but leaves holes in the UI. I had to use the built in MayDay Help Feature to find Audiobook menus that stopped appearing without the tilt response that’s part of “dynamic perspective.”

    It’s just too bad. The Fire Phone, minus the bizarre dynamic perspective cameras and UI, is a solid device with good performance. The camera is a 13 megapixel with optical stabilization and an f2.0 lens. Its side firing stereo speakers have good separation, work ok in a quiet room, are best for straight voice, but won’t inspire owners to leave the Bluetooth behind.

    To wrap up, if you’re interested in serious and mobile gaming, the Shield currently has no real competition. If you’re open to Android, and want Android’s best performance, it’s the Shield.

    At the current unlocked price of $449, though that does include the year of Prime, I don’t see how Amazon will sell any of the Fire Phones stuffed into its warehouses. I know this may not be fair, but I just can’t see relying on that device as a communication tool.

    There are better tablets than the Fire 6. But there’s simply nothing else for sale today that’s competent, pleasant to use, so portable, and which offers so very much entertainment value for so little money.

    Get the 16 GB version, consider Amazon’s “All You Want” $9.99 a month Kindle Unlimited with tens thousands of books and audio books, and with the addition of Amazon Prime, music streaming and cloud storage.

    If there’s any Amazon-branded gear that interests you, watch for daily deals. Seems there’s always something on, er, “Fire Sale” this Holiday Season.

    Amazon Fire TV Stick Lights it Up

    01_fireTV_boxHooked up to our TV we’ve got a TiVo, a Mac mini, an AppleTV, a Roku, and a Chromecast but when Donald Burr tipped me off that the Fire TV Stick was coming out and for 2 days Prime members could get it for $20 (normally $39), I immediately had Steve check to see if we had any open HDMI ports left on our receiver. In the search for the holy grail of TV watching, we added the Fire TV Stick to our arsenal when it arrived today.

    Now what problem do I hope the Fire TV Stick will solve for us? We already get Netflix on every device we own, including our toaster I think. We get Amazon Video on the Roku that works really well. We haven’t done the Plex thing to play our movies (yet) but a few of our devices will do that when I get around to it. The AppleTV is great for renting movies and watching the keynotes and we use Airplay every single day to fling video podcasts to the TV, but I hate that little remote with a passion and it doesn’t get Amazon. I love the remote for the Roku. It fits so nicely in my hand and it’s much easier to turn on subtitles than it is on the AppleTV. Unfortunately it shows me what I’ve watched on Netflix in the reverse order of the AppleTV so I get confused easily. I don’t do much but Netflix and Amazon with it but the experience is good. The Chromecast is more of a novelty item. When I do launch it, I get confused looking for the remote till I remember there IS no remote. For us it’s like Airplay but harder to figure out, so the Chromecast is not much use to us.

    Continue reading “Amazon Fire TV Stick Lights it Up”

    Why You Need to Know How Your VPN Works

    Olympus Wi-Fi Camera

    Olympus Image Share iconI droned on and on about my choice of a new mirrorless camera a few months back, and in the end I chose a camera from Olympus called the E-M10. One of my favorite features of this camera is that it has built in Wi-Fi. I can tap Wi-Fi on the screen, and my iOS devices can connect to it to choose individual photos to suck in so I can shoot them off to social media sites. It’s much more convenient the Eye-Fi card method where EVERY photo sucks into your iOS device. You can also control the camera from your iOS device, zooming, changing settings and even taking photos, all from the App called OI.Share, which stands for Olympus Image Share.

    When I got my new iPhone 6 I installed OI.Share on it but for the life of me I couldn’t get it to work with my camera’s Wi-Fi. The phone could see the Wi-Fi hotspot of the camera, and it could connect to it just fine, but I couldn’t get OI.Share to talk to the camera. I tried it on my friend Diane’s iPhone 5 (who has the same camera and the same software installed) just to make sure it wasn’t my camera being the pest, and it worked fine on her phone. She suggested maybe it was an iPhone 6 problem, so we installed OI.Share on our good friend Pat Dengler’s iPhone (AKA yourmacdoctor). Again, it worked just fine on Pat’s iPhone controlling my camera.

    Continue reading “Why You Need to Know How Your VPN Works”

    New York City!

    Statue of Liberty against a deep blue skyI’ve talked quite a few times about how much I love the Internet and how many new friends Steve and I have made and new experiences we’ve had as a result of the Internet. Because of the Internet and podcasting, we met Don McAllister and became good friends. Eventually he gave my name to Captain Neil who ran the Mac Geek Cruises and I got a gig on the trip in Australia. On the Mac Geek Cruise we met Devon and Maryanne who live in New Zealand and ended up going there this year for their wedding. You remember Maryanne – she’s the professor who messes with your memories who was on the show a while back. Well Devon and Maryanne are working in New York City for five months. We figured it would be easier to visit them in New York than flying again to New Zealand, so last week Steve and I hopped on a plane to New York City!

    I have to say that I never ever wanted to go there. Everyone told me it was extraordinary but my vision of what it was like was firmly cemented by real facts mixed with TV and movie fiction. A long time ago, NYC was a terrifying place with drug dealers and pimps in Times Square and murders and other violence in Central Park and that the subway was a horrifying nightmare. Even though people explained to me that in the last 30 years it had been cleaned up and was super cool and fun, I just couldn’t get that impression out of my head. At best I pictured it with dirty streets, super crowded, and definitely dangerous. I also pictured the monster alien from Men in Black eating the back of the subway.

    Continue reading “New York City!”

    Can a Tile Help You Find Lost Items? (by Steve Sheridan)

    four tiles in the box with instructionsHi Allison, this is Steve back with a product review. The gadget I am reviewing today is the Tile and its associated iOS application, appropriately called TheTileApp.

    Let’s start with the problem to be solved. Nearly everyone I know has either lost or misplaced a personal item at some point in their lives. For some of us *raises hand sheepishly* this problem occurs frequently. This is a common problem that is really begging for a solution.

    Tile started as a Kickstarter project back in 2013 to specifically address this problem. I contributed to the Kickstarter project two months ago, back in late September and I just received my package of four Tile devices. The Kickstarter project was quite successful and the Tile is now available to purchase at their website at a cost of $25 for one Tile, $70 for four, or $80 for eight Tiles.

    Continue reading “Can a Tile Help You Find Lost Items? (by Steve Sheridan)”

    Why You DO Want Notifications On Your Wrist

    Microsoft Band showing notificationsJust about everyone on earth is writing about wearables right now from the Fitbits of old to the Pebbles of ten minutes ago to the Android Wears of today and the Apple Watch of tomorrow. I have an observation to make about the need for notifications on our wrists.

    I hear a lot of people talking about how the LAST thing they want is to have notifications popping up on their wrist constantly distracting them from whatever they’re doing. I was in this camp thinking that my ADD is bad enough, why would I want to make it worse. But I’ve been listening carefully to people who’ve been wearing these devices and I’ve noticed a thread of brilliance coming through.

    The people who have worn the Android Wear watches, like Andy Ihnatko with the Moto 360, and Chris Ashley with the Microsoft Band have noted one really huge thing about notifications. It’s not that you get notifications and act on them, it’s that you can tell the ones you DON’T have to act on. Let’s say you get 20 notifications in an hour. 19 of those don’t require your attention, so 19 times out of 20 you flick your wrist and then look away. If you had gotten those same 19 notifications on your phone or tablet or computer, you would have looked at them, and then realized something good was happening on Twitter, or seen an interesting article to read on Reddit, or felt like you were being productive by cleaning out your inbox. You would have been distracted, where on your wrist, you can’t be distracted unless it actually is an interesting notification.

    I walk for about an hour every afternoon and while I’m listening to podcasts and enjoying the scenery, I’m constantly hearing dings and bells coming over my headphones. 99% of these are Google Plus, or direct tweets, but once in a while it might be Steve or one of my kids really needing my attention. I would love to not have to pull my iPhone out of my Spi-belt just to see that I don’t need to respond.

    Next time you think about notifications on your wrist, think about the ones you DON’T have to respond to and how much more productive you would be if you could confirm they’re not important with the flick of your wrist.

    Mac mini: Happiness, Disaster, Relief

    Mac mini pictureThis weekend Steve and I traveled to see his parents to upgrade his mom from a white MacBook to a brand shiny new Mac mini. I love working with Merlee because she’s so clever and quick. She has her own way of doing things like any of us but she really listens to me before deciding whether she’s going to take my advice. As you know, I’ve been trying to convince both of them to use a password manager for ages, but they haven’t budged on that. I even converted myself to 1Password partly so that I could be able to give them good support on it if I ever talked them into it. Their main concern is the cloud, so having a tool that can live only locally was why 1Password was the right tool for them.

    Continue reading “Mac mini: Happiness, Disaster, Relief”

    Sometimes, All You Have to Do is Ask

    dollar symbol with arrow pointing downDo you have a recurring bill going on that just seems like it’s more than it should be? I would encourage you to call the company and simply ask them to lower the price. You would think that this wouldn’t work but I can swear that it does. Sometimes you do have to play a little bit of chicken with the companies but it’s amazing how often it works.

    Years ago Time Warner sent us a notice saying that they were increasing our rate by something like $30 a month. I called them on the phone and simply said, “No, you’re not.” I explained to the woman that answered that it would be expedient if she simply moved me up to her manager right away. When the manager got on line I politely explained that I had options (Verizon FiOS was available to me). She took a look at my account, asked me what was important to me in my TV and Internet service. In about 5 minutes, not only were we not paying $30 more per month, we were paying $15 LESS per month. All I did was ask.

    Continue reading “Sometimes, All You Have to Do is Ask”

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