Simply Postage

SAN FRANCISCO (03/28/2000) - Nothing measures one's commitment to the maxim "time is money" like paying for a service that's free but potentially time-consuming. For example, if you routinely make trips to the post office to purchase postage, you may find it more expedient to pay a surcharge for the convenience of printing postage from your Mac. You now have the opportunity to do just that with Neopost's Simply Postage 1.0.

When you buy Simply Postage, you get a CD-ROM and a manual. After you register the software, Neopost ships you a Simply Postage printer as well as a roll of 100 blank stamps. Your Simply Postage account comes with $50 worth of "free" postage-the $50 you paid for the program. For an additional $40, Neopost includes a small scale-capable of weighing items up to 4 pounds-that connects to the Simply Postage printer. The printer connects to a Mac's serial or USB port and includes a serial-to-USB adapter.

Printing postage is easy: just launch the Simply Postage application, click on the Create A Stamp button, enter the weight of the item you wish to mail, select the postage rate (domestic first-class letter or priority mail, for example), type the destination zip code, and click on the Print Now button. If you have the scale attached, you can click on the Get Item Weight From Scale option, and the program enters the weight and the price of postage. Within seconds, the printer rolls out a self-adhesive stamp about the size of a small shipping label. If you need a stamp with a value you've previously defined-33 cents, for example-you simply push a button on the printer. This works whether or not you have the Mac turned on.

Neopost makes no money from the hardware; you pay for the service and consumables. The company charges a monthly service fee of $9.95 (charged to your credit card or deducted from your bank account), $5 every time you purchase postage (the machine holds up to $500 worth), and $7 for a roll of 100 blank stamps (discounted if you purchase two or more rolls). A Purchase Postage button in the software logs you onto the Neopost server, downloads the desired postage to the printer, and debits your account. Federal regulations require the auditing of the printer every 90 days-a service provided via Neopost's Web site.

Our original test unit failed to work, but the follow-up one performed flawlessly. Our only complaints about Simply Postage are that the stamps are quite large and the printer isn't networkable-you can print stamps only from the Mac to which you attach it.

Macworld's Buying Advice

The Simply Postage printer works as advertised, and the software is easy to use. If you're a SOHO user who can afford this kind of convenience, Simply Postage is simply marvelous.

RATING: 4.0 mice

PROS: Fast; easy to use.

CONS: Not networkable; large stamps.

COMPANY: Neopost (877/397-8267,

LIST PRICE: $50, plus $9.95 per month and additional ongoing fees.

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