- The Washington Times - Monday, March 11, 2002

When I was a kid, once, I got my hands on a Dymo labeler you know, the thing with a metal dial you used to spell out words, embossed one character at a time on plastic tape. I had fun for hours, although my father wasn't overly pleased with the amount of tape consumed or the ensuing mess.
Call me weird, but I'll bet you (or someone in close proximity to you) had the same fun. Maybe more than once.
Those labelers are still around, in a modified form: they require batteries now, have miniature keyboards and print, not emboss, characters on various kinds of labeling tape. Such is progress, I guess.
One happy byproduct of the change in Dymo's products is the Dymo LabelWriter 330 Turbo, a $250 device that hooks up to your PC or Mac via the USB port and can produce labels from more than 40 different styles, including, the maker says, "address, Internet postage, shipping, file folder, disk, video, name badge, cassette, [and] ZIP disk" labels.
Dymo, like any conscientious seller, promotes its products and does so well at a Web site, www.dymo.com. That's also the place to download a free copy of the firm's "Address Fixer" utility, which works with Microsoft Word, Outlook and several other programs to check and correct domestic mailing addresses with the U.S. Postal Service's preferred nomenclature and ZIP-Plus-4 mailing codes.
But no amount of hype could prepare me for the absolute delight that the LabelWriter 330 Turbo turned out to be. Setup is incredibly simple, operation a breeze, and the results are stunning, almost beyond description. If you do anything at work, home or in a home office that involves mailing, postage, labeling, addressing, the simple fact is that you must you really must get to a store and check this product out carefully. It could end up changing your life.
Setup involved loading and configuring the software (in my case, using Windows XP, it was a two-step download from the Dymo Web site, then installing first the drivers for the device and then the labeling software itself. Attach the label printer to the USB port (a serial option is also available), load some labels and you're ready to go.
In loading labels, the process is about as simple as it gets: put the desired roll on a spool and drop it in much like the "set-it-and-forget" process TV pitchman Ron Popeil uses in selling his rotisseries. The labels feed into a slot containing the thermal print head and can be advanced by one label with a front panel button or removed by lifting a switch on the inside. Writing about these steps is more complicated than the actual process, making it easy to switch labels without major waste.
Once loaded, the fun begins: print a label and you'll see black-ink characters that are as sharp as anything coming from the 1200-dpi Samsung ML-1450 laser printer that sits on my desk. Yet, the Dymo LabelWriter 330 Turbo uses no ribbon, no ink cartridge, no laser toner, nothing other than thermal heat to "burn" the image into the label, yet does so with such clarity that it's amazing.
Within seconds of setting up the Label Writer I was printing an address label with a perfect, PostNet bar-coded address; within minutes, I was churning out "Internet postage" from Stamps.com in a three-part label containing my return address, the recipient's address and the postage indicia, all of which conform to USPS standards. There was no need to take whatever paper was in my printer out to insert a sheet of labels, no worry about the labels misprinting, no hassles at all: the LabelWriter worked quickly and cleanly.
The software supplied with the Dymo LabelWriter is easy to follow, and contains an abundance of templates for the various label types. Of perhaps particular interested in security-conscious Washington these days is the ability to integrate pictures and names into visitor labels or badges, and Dymo offers labels that are valid for 24 hours from printing, after which an "expired" symbol appears.
Available online from Dymo as well as at Washington-area stores including Micro Center, Office Depot and Staples, this is a product bound to delight many, making their work easier. It's earned a permanent spot on my desk, as I suspect it will on many.

Write to Mark Kellner in care of The Washington Times, Business Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; send e-mail to [email protected], or visit the writer's Web page, www.kellner2000.com. Talk back live to Mr. Kellner on www.adrenalineradio.com every Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. EST.

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