Day: October 19, 2014

The Most Important Invention of the 20th Century

Ladies and Gentlemen! Please join me in honoring the winner of the World’s Most Important Invention of the 20th Century!

Our candidates, first. In no particular order, I give you:

  • Automobiles
  • Airplanes
  • Antibiotics
  • Computers
  • The Internet

And the winner is…

A write-in candidate! It is the Fast Forward button on the remote!

(more…)

DYMO LabelWriter 4XL on Ubuntu

Call me a freak: I don’t like writing on envelopes. I dislike the way it feels when you push on an envelope already stuffed and sealed, I don’t like making a mistake and having to unseal and restuff. And let’s not even talk about the days when you have to send out a bunch of mailers – thankfully that’s become less common these days.

So I got myself a Brother label printer. It’s one of those dual purpose printers you can use to label, say, an envelope, but you can also print the address on an envelope. The problem: I had to enter every single label by hand, print it, and then go on to the next one.

There was a USB connection, and there was software that allowed you to print to the label printer. But of course it ran only under Windows. I could have used Wine… Wait, no: I used Wine to make it print, but it crashed consistently, like a great many hardware-dependent software does in an emulation.

Enters Woot, that had a phenomenal sale on one of the top model label printers, the DYMO LabelWriter 4XL. Where 4XL stands for 4 (their top series of personal label printers) and XL (as in the size of labels that thing can print – which also happens to be 4″).

I had already researched enough to know that DYMO was open-source friendly-ish. There was a published CUPS driver, and software floating around. Woot is an Amazon company, so I trusted them to take the thing back if it didn’t work as promised.

Well, the printer arrived today and I am already writing an article about it. So you already know how hard it can be to get it to work: less than 30 minutes. Even less if you read this article!

(more…)