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Home Printing Or Online Printing Services: What’s The Best Way To Print Photos?

Home Printing Or Online Printing Services: What’s The Best Way To Print Photos?

When it comes to printing your digital photos, you have two options: develop and print your photos at home, or utilize local or online printing services. Practically speaking, for someone who only needs to print occasionally, using printing services may seem like the better and more cost-efficient option. Maintaining your own photo printer at home, however, may actually be beneficial. With home printing, you can control and manage every single detail of the process, from resources to cost, whenever you print.

Online printing services (also referred as e-printing, digital printing, print-on-demand, etc.) are typically touted as the best way to print just about anything, which is basically true. They are very flexible, allowing customers to choose from a variety of packages starting from around $0.10-$1.00, depending on the quality and materials used. And you have a wide variety of photo or specialty paper at your fingertips. Home printing, on the other hand, can be limiting, whether we like to admit it or not. The output you can get will depend on whatever resources you can afford to have in stock. Thus, if you need a really professional-looking document, then you better have the right supplies at hand.

You may now be wondering: Why I shouldn’t dump my print buddy and switch to those printing services? Hold on, guys! Both ways have good and bad points. We just have to weigh a few things up here before you make any moves.

Home Printing: What Can It Do For Me?

Look at your own printer, but don’t get sentimental. Just imagine how simple it makes everything for you. Plain text, reports, graphics, office files, business documents, photos and images are just some materials that it can produce. Some consumers even consider it as an investment to have a printer. The initial cost of such devices is fairly low nowadays, ranging from $135-$500+ (based on the review posted in CNET by Calvin Yu, entitled Best Photo Inkjet Printers).

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Of course, there are supplies you need to buy first, like paper media and printer ink. However, in general, the overall cost per page of printing at home is much cheaper than the combined cost of charges that you have to pay for any printing services. Plus, you don’t have to walk through all the necessary processes involved in ordering online. You also don’t have to wait until the package gets delivered to your doorstep, even if it is just a day or two (unless you’re willing to drive to the store for a pickup).

Here’s another noteworthy advantage of home printing: with the right tool — I mean with a really competitive photo inkjet printer that can match up with the quality of prints one can get from a printing service — there’s no need for you to spend a couple of bucks per print when you can print with almost the same quality at the comfort of your home. That ultimately leads to the question: Which printer to choose? Well, that depends on your demands. Again consider it as an investment. A high-end model may run to a couple of hundred dollars more, simply because of extra features. So, first check the level of quality it can produce, as features and functionality may follow.

Printing Services: Why Should I Choose Them?

Firstly, let’s feature some of the best printing service providers that everyone talks about in the print industry. Here are some of the well-known online digital printing services you might want to look at:

SnapFish – Owned by Hewlett-Packard and membership is free. It offers storage, manageability and quality combined. It has a wide selection of photo gift categories, including calendars, posters, mugs, stationery, blankets, and clothing, as well as products and accessories for home and office. Pricing starts at $0.09 per print.

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ShutterFly – Has an online community blog for members, where showcasing and learning awesome print projects are possible. Members can have a personal space (blog/site with a personalized URL) to host their own gallery with unlimited space. Plus network sharing is one of its fun features. Typical digital prints and photo gifts are covered. Pricing starts at $0.15 per print.

SmugMug – Recommended for photographers. It provides your own gallery, which can be viewed publicly or exclusively. Be sociable with your networks via the Like, Tweet, and Bookmark buttons for each photo. It’s more than just a digital photo printing service. Pricing starts at $0.19 per print.

York Photo – It requires membership and is more like a social networking site, rather than a printing service. Covering all basic digital prints and photo gifts, like playing cards, homewares and home décor. Pricing starts at $0.08 per print.

These four services come under the digital photo printing services category, which also includes:

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  • RitzPix
  • Walgreens Photo Center
  • Walmart Photo Center
  • Sam’s Club Digital Photo Center
  • Costco Photo Center (Requires membership starting at $55)

And here’s a shortlist of the top competing online printing services currently available to choose from:

  • U Printing
  • FedEx Office
  • Next Day Flyers
  • Vista Print
  • Mimeo
  • Overnight Prints
  • Print Place
  • Print Pelican
  • 48Hour Print
  • PS Print

Note that online printing services may cover fewer categories and features when compared to digital photo printing services with a wider scope. Online printing services are best suited for printing standard business documents and marketing materials. Whereas, digital photo printing services, as the name itself implies, are bound to satisfy the specific needs of digital photography.

Online Printing Services: Tax And Shipping Cost

Tax and shipping charges are applied on top of the total purchase amount of prints you ordered. So to give you an idea, let’s use SnapFish’s shipping standards and product pricing (prices were originally taken from their official website). Shipping and handling fees vary from different online printing services.

In SnapFish, once an order has been placed, order processing takes 2-4 business days. Orders using standard shipping take 3-4 business days, so your order should be at your doorstep in 5-8 business days.

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For pricing, here’s a table of the calculated shipping cost for a 4×6 print order. Take note that state and local sales tax will be applied to all orders.


Standard
Price (each)
2-day
Price (each)
Overnight
Price (each)
Canada
Price (each)
International
Price (each)
1-5 prints 99¢ $8.99 $10.99 $1.99 $4.99

 

Quality-wise, these online photo printing services are indeed reliable, but can be costly and time-consuming. Should you need better print quality than you think your own printer can possibly deliver, then I guess it won’t hurt to spend your hard-earned money on some online printing services once in a while. Furthermore, a dedicated photo-inkjet printer comes with limitations. Most cannot print on mugs and shirts, for example! Primarily, it is the quality that you’re after, not to mention the perks that come with all these great services.

Now in light of all this new information, have you thought of putting up your own online printing service? Kidding aside, home printing can also perform some of the options being offered by websites. On top of printing out photos, having your own inkjet printer allows you to print business documents or school reports. A home printer is more than capable of fulfilling most of your needs. You just have to learn how to use it properly to fit to your preferences.

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Last Updated on November 3, 2020

20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

  • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
  • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
  • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

1. Todoist

    Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

    Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

    If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

    Download: Todoist

    2. 1Password

      You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

      1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

      You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

      Download: 1Password

      3. Bear

        Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

        It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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        Download: Bear

        4. Hazel

          Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

          For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

          Download: noodlesoft

          5. Alfred

            Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

            For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

            It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

            Download: Alfred

            6. TextExpander

              TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

              For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

              An individual account is $3.33 per month.

              Download: TextExpander

              7. Backblaze

                If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                Download: Backblaze

                8. Keyboard Maestro

                  Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                  Download: Keyboard Maestro

                  9. Snagit

                    There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                    Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                    10. Bartender

                      Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                      If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                      Download: Bartender

                      11. Otter

                      Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                      Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                      Download: Otter

                      12. Flux

                        Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                        Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                        Download: Flux

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                        13. PDFpen

                        If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                        PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                        Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                        14. OmniFocus

                          OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                          It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                          A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                          Download: OmniFocus

                          15. Franz

                            It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                            Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                            Download: Franz

                            16. MindNode

                              If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                              The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                              Download: MindNode

                              17. Focus

                                The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                Download: Focus

                                18. CleanMyMac

                                  Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                  Download: CleanMyMac

                                  19. Grammarly

                                    A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                    This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                    A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                    Download: Grammarly

                                    Focus To Do

                                      Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                      There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                      Download: Focus To Do

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                      Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                      More to Boost Productivity

                                      Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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