• Dymo declines

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    #2516073

    HARDWARE By Will Fastie One of my favorite brands is headed for extinction. I don’t think I’ve ever been as dismayed with a Christmas gift as I was a
    [See the full post at: Dymo declines]

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    • #2516093

      Good one! Dave Jones also talked about this some time ago (EEVblog 1462 – Why Dymo Label Printers SUCK!).

      The bigger picture is indeed more scarier. We’re in the initial process of moving our main line of business to ‘the cloud’. One of my biggest fears for ‘cloud’ is simple – move to the cloud and you’re no longer in control of your own business. Seen it when we moved from on-premise Exact accounting and project management to the cloud-version. The cloud-version being a dumbed-down version compared to the on-premises version. Sure, it gets the job done, but there’s no obvious advantage over the on-premise version.

      And that’s going to happen (or already happened) to all cloud applications  – you don’t have a choice in features. Google being a good example. Over the years, they killed many applications in a matter of months, just because. “The alternative is much better!”, they say. And maybe it is, but that’s not the problem. I just happen to like application X and now YOU are forcing me to use something else.

      Microsoft is another good example with Windows 11. Just ditch a whole bunch of features people happen to like, just because.

      Another problem is ‘subscription’. We’re in the AEC business. Many years ago, most of our work was done using Autodesk AutoCAD. You bought a license you could use indefinitely. And when a new version came around, you could choose whether to upgrade or not. A new release without compelling new features? Nah, we skip this one. So in short, Autodesk had to invest in just enough enhancements or new features for people to buy it. Which is tricky if you want a steady income. And then there was the new CEO who adored the Adobe subscription model. And implemented it in his own company, albeit a bit ‘different’. Everything is subscription now, no ‘perpetual’ licenses anymore. The result is a steady income for Autodesk, which is nice for them. It also means there’s no longer an incentive to actually invest in their software titles. People use it anyway and hey, if you don’t like it, go shop with the competition. Which is rather involved taking the learning curve into account.

      For Autodesk Revit, which is the workhorse of today, development became so staggeringly slow, a bunch of big architectural firms wrote an open letter to Autodesk to display their concerns about Revit. That seems to have had some effect, since a couple of much wanted features where implemented the last couple of years. Nice, but not the big steps needed by the industry.

      I’m not optimistic for the future. It seems like the hay-days for software have already passed many years ago?

      7 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2516120

        Microsoft is another good example with Windows 11. Just ditch a whole bunch of features people happen to like, just because.

        Which whole bunch of features have been ditched with Windows 11?

        (Live tiles and Timeline are the only ones I’ve missed, but not much.)

        Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.1192 + Microsoft 365/Edge

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2516162

      From the article:

      Microsoft, Apple, Google, and — sadly — Dymo are setting the rules for us, not catering to our needs or even our whims.

      That is why I avoid products from the first three of those companies. I left Windows for Linux, never used anything from Apple, and my phone is “deGoogled.”

      Google’s the toughest one of the three to avoid. While I don’t use Android (proper), Chrome, Google Search (directly… I still use StartPage occasionally when DDG fails), or any of the various services that are tied in to Google accounts, I still have to leave Google scripts enabled in the browser, or many sites out there simply won’t work.

      I do have a Dymo label maker… the kind you mentioned in the beginning, with the wheel that embosses into the plastic tape when you squeeze the trigger.

      Software quality is dropping; to replace that, we’ve become a permanent beta-tester class.

      This has indeed become the trend.

      What has gone on with Windows 10 is the most obvious example of the above, but as the Dymo saga demonstrates, it is far from being the only one.

      Microsoft dropped their professional QA department to save some cash, pressing consumers into the role of beta testers for software they paid for. Consumers are offered up as cannon fodder for the benefit of enterprise customers, who are the recipients of the benefit of all of that involuntary beta testing. The enterprise customers can pay directly using a subscription model, while consumers pay monthly by providing beta services for which they are not paid, and via the other means of monetization MS inflicts on them.

      Across the industry, the “buy once, use forever” (or at least until obsolete) model is being chucked in favor of the subscription model. That recurring revenue stream is mighty tempting, leading to some laughably obnoxious business decisions, like carmakers trying to charge a subscription fee for people to be able to use the heating elements in the seats of the car they already paid for.

      If you tolerate it, you will just keep getting more of the same.

       

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2516176

      That is why I avoid products from the first three of those companies.

      It’s easy to say, but more difficult to do. Whether Linux or macOS, my work to produce the newsletter would be less efficient owing to apps I can’t get for those alternatives.

      • #2516890

        It’s easy to say, but more difficult to do. Whether Linux or macOS, my work to produce the newsletter would be less efficient owing to apps I can’t get for those alternatives.

        Certainly much more easily said than done for many.

        MS spent decades making Windows the essential OS, keeping the field clear of any truly viable alternatives. I used Windows as my only OS from 3.0 in 1990 through 2015 and, until I saw where MS was going with 10, I had no reason to think about moving. I’d still be using it now if 10 had been more in line with 7 or XP.

        When Nadella-era Microsoft decided to do what they now do, lots of people had the impulse to leave, but ultimately found the effort required to be too great, as MS had intended. And because of that, they remained on Windows despite the negatives and that ensured that those software tools people need are still Windows-only, since that is where their users still are.

        It’s the same with all the tech giants. They pull these stunts because they can.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

    • #2516182

      Article was very on point and relevant. Off hand, I can think of 3 examples of “new, improved” software being worse than the previous version.

      1. iTunes (on a PC) used to allow you to organize your apps into categories. Very easy to do on a PC and using a mouse or touch pad. Now it’s gone. The only way to (re-)organize your icons on a iPhone or iPad is to do it manually on the device, which is slow and prone to errors.
      2. The latest version of Microsoft Edge shows all the open tabs when you use Alt-Tab to rotate thru your active windows. No way to change it or go back to previous implementation. This adds clutter and is more difficult to use. Oh, and I won’t mention that using Edge’s Collections does not let you create a new collection with all currently open tabs You must add them to a collection one by one.
      3. OneDrive. I still don’t understand it (all of the  variations and uses) and am often perplexed when an icon on one laptop is mysteriously sent to the Recycle Bin.
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      • #2516238

        The latest version of Microsoft Edge shows all the open tabs when you use Alt-Tab to rotate thru your active windows. No way to change it or go back to previous implementation. This adds clutter and is more difficult to use.

        That can be changed in Windows Settings:

        Edge-tabs-AltTab

        Oh, and I won’t mention that using Edge’s Collections does not let you create a new collection with all currently open tabs You must add them to a collection one by one.

        That’s available via a right-click on the tab bar:

        Add-all-tabs-to-collection

        Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.1192 + Microsoft 365/Edge

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        • #2517892

          Thx for the Edge Alt-Tab fix.
          I’m on Win10 and don’t see “add all tabs to Collection”

      • #2523271

        Example 4 – Windows 11.  I have been using it on my travel/troubleshooting laptop since it was a leaked beta version.  I have changed a few things to make it more like the Windows 10 on my tower computer, but I have concluded that, despite all of Microsoft prating its superior security features, it is yet another Vista or Windows 8, make to appeal to people who play video games, use a computer casually, or dote on the tarted up sparkly desktop.  Microsoft itself has placed ever more emphasis on gaming with its looming acquistion of Activision and it brand new API to make games run faster and better with PCI-Express SSDs.  Hello, Microsoft!  There are millions of use that want Windows to be an operating system that supports our mundane work habits and not much else.  I just had to rant again.

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    • #2516307

      Anyone have a recommendation of what to use instead of Dymo?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2516483

        Completely agree with the original posting.  I’m particularly interested in alternatives to Dymo’s LabelWriter Duo, which prints to both paper labels and tapes, which don’t fade the way paper labels do.

      • #2518071

        I might suggest the Seiko Instruments (SII) Smart Label SLP 620, street price around $80, with reasonably priced labels. (https://siibusinessproducts.com/store/) I’ve been using this label printer and its predecessors for about 15 years. I use copy-paste to create labels so can’t comment on the Outlook/Excel/etc. interfaces, but they’re listed on the site so might be worth looking into. The software has been very stable for the last 5-6 or so years. Takes a bit of trial-and-error to get used to as some Windows standard editing operations don’t always work the way you expect, but it’s easy to figure out.

        One suggestion so you don’t have to find out the hard way like I did: If you store labels for a long period of time and like to keep your house warm, put them in a moisture-proof container and keep them in the fridge.

      • #2523980

        Rollo makes a good printer.   Labels are a little harder to find, but they are out there

    • #2516381

      But we’ve become trapped as a result. Microsoft, Apple, Google, and — sadly — Dymo are setting the rules for us, not catering to our needs or even our whims.

      This sounds like a good argument not just for open source programming for existing devices, but open sourced hardware and driver development. As with the Twitter to Mastodon exodus, there will come a tipping point where public outrage will open up a niche. Hopefully there will be people to fill many of the niches the tech companies are creating by their arrogance toward customers.

      But it’s far easier to create an open source project from scratch than to reverse-engineer existing products and software. So the innovation in open source hardware may need to come out of a complete rethinking of product and software design, not just trying to free existing tech from the clutches of arrogant corporations.

      With Twitter we got lucky — Mastodon already existed, quietly, for a long time. We may not get so lucky with other tech we may one day wish to replace with something open sourced.

      -- rc primak

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    • #2516388

      Your column hit home with me. Thanks for taking the time to describe how the laws of entropy (“you only think things can’t get worse”) apply to the world that PC users live in.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2516418

      Amen Will: This Dymo situation illustrates the endgame. The company is not strengthening the brand with more and better products. Instead, it’s providing fewer capabilities, lost features, and lower performance. At the same time, it’s trying to lock us in.

      There is an epidemic of lost consciousness regarding Customer Service  throughout cyberland and throughout our culture, Amazon being a notable exception. Bezos should buy Dymo!

      Thanks for the great article.  Keep ’em coming!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2516437

      If the idea of continuing to use the Dymo labelwriter appeals to you, I would suggest looking for a 400 or 450 Turbo on ebay (there are a few new, unused ones) and finding version 8.5 of the Label software (maybe wayback machine).

      You’ll have a newer labelwriter that hopefully will last awhile and the software is basically the same as you’ve been using with the ability to grab from Outlook contacts.

      Sometimes, we just have to make do as the right product is probably never going to appear.

      BTW, the one thing that the 400/450 Turbowriter does not have is a network connection, which it looks like the 330 and the 550 both have.

      -Marc

    • #2516550

      BTW, the one thing that the 400/450 Turbowriter does not have is a network connection, which it looks like the 330 and the 550 both have.

      Absolutely correct. That was another reason I upgraded to the 330 Turbo and I made sure the network port was on the new model I chose.

    • #2516566

      I bought a LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo in May 2020.
      I couldn’t get “Dymo Connect” to connect to anything – because I don’t use Outlook. My email is the web client for .att mail and Dymo Connect won’t connect to that. What I use the label writer for is usually not in my contacts list anyway. I couldn’t add addresses to Dymo Connect. A call to tech support and they told me I could use the older “Dymo Label” software to manually add addresses. I downloaded Dymo Label v.8 and it works fine. I have to lookup the +4 zip codes on the USPS website so the barcode will print correctly, but other than that, the label writer works fine.

      But when this one dies, I guess I’ll have to see if another company makes something similar, since it seems support for Dymo is dying as well.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2516598

      I also have a 550, sitting in the original box, mine for over a year. Exact same level of frustation but exacerbated by the fact that I am an Apple user, my wife is a Windows user, and we BOTH struggle to use it.

      Very well articulated and well researched article.

      IMHO, the world of “print” in general needs to be wholly re-invented.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2516718

      I have a new piece of info, from a reader who was sandbagged by the Dymo 550 Turbo. His company has been using an older model with a CNC machine, the software for which prints directly to the printer. In other words, in that situation he’s not using Dymo Label at all. What he discovered was that the 550 would not print to old “genuine” Dymo labels without the RFID.

      This means that the printer itself is refusing to respond unless the hardware sees the RFID.

      I haven’t confirmed this yet (I should have thought to do the test), but I took this report seriously. The reader’s company had cartons of older labels. The 550 was returned, and the company then bought an older model that would accept its huge stockpile of labels.

      He wrote that when the label supply diminishes, the company will seek a solution from a different vendor.

    • #2516721

      You’ll have a newer labelwriter that hopefully will last awhile and the software is basically the same as you’ve been using with the ability to grab from Outlook contacts.

      My 330 Turbo is fine. It’s not failing and there is no sign of trouble. It’s the Dymo Label software that is failing. Key to that failure is its sudden inability to grab Outlook contacts, but the Dymo add-ins for MS Office apps are also not working.

    • #2517073

      like carmakers trying to charge a subscription fee for people to be able to use the heating elements in the seats of the car they already paid for.

      Good that you left Windows. Windows 12 will be subscription base from the leaked version so far.  MS will be making it like Office 365 and charge for every little thing to get more money.

      • #2517120

        I have yet to see any corroboration of that.  Until it’s fact, we are not in the disinformation business here on the site.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

    • #2517246

      I read the piece on Dymo with empathy (and sympathy).  I had a similar reaction to the graphics program I use, PrintShop from Broderbund.   I upgraded from an earlier version that I had been using for, it seems like, a dozen years.  The old version had a flaw whereby, when printing, it multiplied the number of copies you selected.  In other words, you specify 2 copies, it prints 4. Select 3 copies it print 9 and so on.  I bought the new version thinking I would gain some features and get rid of the print glitch.  The new version, as far as I can tell, has no new features. It still has the print glitch and still cannot output the graphic as a pdf, but does have a slightly better workaround for that.

      The two Photoshop-like internal photo editors are exactly the same.  The graphics are the same except, in the old program, the “extras” were free.

      Whenever I contact support (the new version also locks up when I try to format text), the answer comes the next day from the same guy so I assume the Support Department is Rafi.

    • #2517458

      I agree, the Dymo Connect software is definitely a step backward. It really does not like a 4K (3840 by 2400) resolution. The label sample opens to a TINY image and I have to up the size from 100% to 300% to read it! Very difficult to navigate. I use a Dymo Twin Turbo 450 and it works with older labels and, so far, Dymo Connect.

    • #2523272

      I use a Dymo Labelwriter Turbo 400, USB only.  My usage is more casual than yours, especially because I use UPS/USPS/Fedex web sites to print large shipping labels.  Still it is handy to have and works OK with Dymo Label v8.7.1.  Thanks for the warning.  I will avoid newer models and the newer cheesy Dymo software.

    • #2523989

      I did not see it mentioned in any of the other comments about the new protected Dymo 550, but I read elsewhere that you really cannot get away with wrapping your aftermarket labels on the Dymo spool with the RFID device.  It seems that the chip embedded in the RFID device not only knows what kind of label it is, it also knows how many labels were on that spool.  It counts down as each label is printed.  So once it has counted down to zero, you cannot print any more of your aftermarket labels that are still wrapped on that spool – it refuses to give the printer the needed handshake permission to print any more from that spool. Simply stated, you have exceeded the quantity of labels that belong on that RFID spool. That core is now useless.

      So, the developers who previously put the needed features into the Dymo software seem to have been replaced with new developers who know how to make it a proprietary device that will only work with the Dymo brand labels. Obviously a new priority for the company.

      I agree that based on this move, they will soon be a footnote in history.  I purchased a Rollo label printer.  Wide open – no special software required – print from any application (although you do have to tell your application what size labels you are using).

    • #2524260

      I have the Dymo LabelWriterWireless.  I use DLS8Setup.8.7.3 for the Dymo interface under Windows 7 & 10.  I don’t use Windows 11 as yet.  Works fine.  This model doesn’t use an RFiD chip.

      Just another data point to add to your Dymo info.  Great article also.  I’ll keep using this model as long as it continues to work for me.  I don’t use Outlook so I don’t know about that functionality but I do get the bar code on each address label.

      Tony Sarni

      Moderator Edit: E-mail address removed. Please do not include personal information in your posts.

       

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