I just want to print a fracking mailing label. How hard can that be? People do it every day. I’ve done it. Maybe. It’s been awhile. 10 DVDs. 10 DVD/CD mailing envelopes. I need 10 mailing labels to go with 10 addresses. Life should be so simple and easy.
I was helping Bambi work on a DVD multimedia project. When it was done at the end of the day on Monday, Bambi asked if I’d print the labels and get the DVD mailers ready for the post office.
This little scenario is repeated at least twenty eleven times a second all over the country, right? Labels. How hard can it be?
“Bambi, where’s the addresses,” I yell toward the kitchen (she’s always in there). “Print the labels using my laptop. Here’s the list of names,” she says to sounds of catsup squirting on a four-layer sandwich. There’s a reason her photos are portrait (landscape would be too revealing).
I’ve got the mailing envelopes, DVDs, Avery mailing labels to match, and 10 names. How hard could it be to squeeze the names from her laptop.
I could have timed this whole thing with a calendar.
First, what should I use to print the labels? Microsoft Word? Uh uh. I don’t do Windows. Yes, Word isn’t Windows, per se, but it’s from the same folks. No Word. How about… hmmm. What’s left?
Digging through Bambi’s PowerBook Applications folder, here’s what I find: SOHO Labels and Envelopes. Mail Factory. Microsoft Word. AppleWorks. Label Printer Pro. Hey, that should do it. Choose one (except Word).
I chose poorly.
AppleWorks. The set up time to do labels looked to be about a week. I haven’t used AppleWorks in awhile but I didn’t have time to set up the database, enter the addresses, etc.
What else? Label Printer Pro sounds OK. I’m almost there…
“Almost” is one of those words that just doesn’t fit with some situations. You can’t be ‘almost pregnant’ for example. While LPP looked promising, I could not find the Avery 8164 shipping label size among the presets. Design your own, Alex. How hard can it be?
30-minutes later I’m checking out Mail Factory from BeLight Software. Now this is a nifty application. Mac-like. Simple interface. “Bambi, where’s your friggin’ serial number for Mail Factory.” I’m never gonna get this done. It’d be faster to do it by hand.
“It’s not on the laptop,” she screaches between munches from the kitchen. “Try something else,” Bambi uttered. I could hear pieces of chopped chicken fall from her mouth to the plate below.
SOHO Labels & Envelopes to the rescue. This is a very sweet little application. What’s it do? What I needed at the time. Labels.
Bambi’s total mailing label processing time, including initial pauses, clicks, and final look of disdain aimed in my direction? About 17 seconds.”It also integrates with AddressBook, so finding the addresses was easy. It took awhile to make sure I had Avery 8164, but the whole process of getting it up wasn’t more than a few minutes. OK, 20 minutes. I read Help files, OK?
What’s nice about SOHO Labels and Envelopes is how simple it is to design and layout labels or print up envelopes. These bulky DVD/CD mailing envelopes weren’t going through the printer, so doing labels was the task. Graphics are built-in. Every label I could think of was in the list, including the 8164.
Hot dog! Alexis, you’re on a roll. So, let’s add the bar code to the address and do a test printing. You know, just to be sure. Uh oh. The bar code printed ON the address, not under it.
20-minutes later I simply decided to drop the bar code altogether and just go with the return address at the top and the main address in the middle. That worked. Now, how do I get 10 addresses selected. Set the number of prints to 8 (maximum for the 8164), click the arrow key after each address, and we’re ready to print.
All that took less than an hour using Bambi’s laptop. OK, so I read some of her email. Labels & Envelopes is a breeze to set up and from what I could tell it does every label you’ve ever heard of, and most that Bambi’s heard.
“Alex, are you done with the labels? It’s been almost an hour. What’s up?” said Bambi as she waddled in from the kitchen.
I told her I’d tried AppleWorks, Mail Factory, Label Printer Pro, but finally settled on Chronos’ SOHO Labels and Prints. “Here they are, sweetie. Ready to print,” I cooed as I showed her my on-screen handy work.
Bambi leaned over the PowerBook to look at my work. With little more than a pause, she clicked on the Group in AddressBook that had the 10 names and addresses in question, then selected Print from the File menu. I was about to object that I had it already figured out how to do labels with Labels & Envelopes…
Then she clicked Standard in the Print dialog box, selected Avery, then 8164, and clicked Print. Total label processing time, including initial pauses, clicks, and final look of disdain, about 17 seconds.
A few seconds after that, the first page of labels was spilling out of the printer.
No doubt about it. I gotta look at that OS X Tiger for Dummies book.