Zazzle-ing Holiday Greetings
November 25, 2005
With Christmas right on the horizon, I’m starting to plan what I’ll be buying for people, to whom on the mainland I’ll be shipping things, and the Christmas cards I’ll be sending out.
This year I’ll be sending out my cards and packages with my own customized stamps.
I found an online service called Zazzle, and it allows you to make your own useable postage stamps. You can use your own favorite photos or licensed images from Zazzle’s collection to make your own stamps along with personalized text. This is the first time the U.S. Postal Service is allowing consumers to fully design their own stamps. This whole concept makes sending this year’s Christmas cards and packages more interesting than just sending the usual stamps from the post office. It also may be a great gift idea.
To get started with ZazzleStamps you need to create a free account, then upload your selected pictures, or use Zazzle’s licensed images, which include Disney characters, Harvey Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox’s Family Guy, Robots, Neopets, The Pemberton & Oaks Collection, Zodiac Girlz, Build-A-Bear workshop, The Library of Congress and more.
In addition, if you think your pictures are really good, you can become a contributor to Zazzle and make your images public. If your image(s) are selected by other Zazzle users, you earn royalties on each purchase. Zazzle is actually considered a home to individual artists, photographers, designers and creative consumers worldwide. The galleries are growing rapidly, and include more than 500,000 unique user-created products available.
ZazzleStamps come in sheets of 20 and you can purchase them in denominations of 23 cents for postcards, 37 cents for First Class and all the way up to $3.85 for Priority Mail. That way, you won’t have to worry about standing in a long line at the post office for those boxes you need to send out. The prices per sheet vary depending on how many you order. For example, one sheet of 37-cent stamps costs $16.99 (46 cents/stamp), but if you order two-nine sheets, it will cost you $14.99 (41 cents/stamp), and the prices are lowered with bulk orders. It’s a small price to pay for your own real postage stamp!
Zazzle also allows you to create customized apparel, posters and cards. The company has been around since 1999 when it began pioneering new printing technologies, then in 2003 created the website to grow its online community.
Create your own stamps at Zazzle, log onto www.zazzle.com
Watch Television On Your PSP. You may remember my recent story about the Slingbox, the device that allows you to watch your television from your computer anywhere.
Now Sony has a toy you can use to watch television from your PSP (PlayStation Portable) in addition to your PC (as long as you have an Internet connection).
Sony’s LocationFree was showcased at the recent local Sony Expo, and it allows you to stream television or movies from home to your PSP anywhere in the world. All you need to do is connect your home A/V components (television, DVD player, digital recorder) and Internet high-speed connection to your LocationFree Base Station and you’re all set from the home front. For the road, you just need to make sure your PSP has the correct software update (2.5 or later - downloadable at www.us.playstation.com/psp/) and connect it to the nearest hotspot, then click on the LocationFree icon on your PSP to start streaming your favorite television programs.
However, you have to make sure your connection is at least 300 kilobits per second to work properly.
From the convenience of your PSP, you can completely control your LocationFree from the road, including changing channels and pausing and recording with the onscreen universal remote. This is also excellent for use around the house if you’re too lazy to move, and you just want to watch television or your DVR’s recorded programs from the comfort of your bed with your PSP.
If you have an older LocationFree Base Station, you need to make sure it has a software version of 2.000 or later to work with your PSP. The Base Station is included with the purchase of a LocationFree TV or LocationFree Player Pak. Also make sure you have a good-sized Memory Stick Pro Duo for your PSP to store the required codes to allow you to use your PSP as a remote control.
If you want the stability and larger size of a monitor to look at when you’re controlling your LocationFree at home, you can use the 12-inch LF-X11 LocationFree TV monitor. It allows you access to the Base Station directly. The monitor and the LocationFree Player Pak (includes Base Station and software) are sold separately.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on a LocationFree. It opens up a whole new world for what I can do with my PSP. What will be next?
To try it for yourself, the Player Pak runs about $350 and the 12-inch monitor around $1,500 from Shirokiya, Pure Digital or online at www.sony.com
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