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An "Amazing" Way to Send Photos and Cards

by Nick Anis

The other day I was in Costco and I noticed you can get greeting cards and envelopes with your photo and very short message for about $1.10 each including the cost of postage.  It's a good price and in quantity it goes down to about $.87 each.  But you have limited choices in terms of art and design, you have to address the cards yourself, and get them to the post office.

When I was at the mega computer show in Las Vegas, COMDEX I came across an exciting new service from a startup company based in Phoenix, Amazing Mail.  This service (http://www.amazingmail.com) allows you to upload any photograph or image (like a screen from your computer) or choose from a library of pre-designed greeting cards, add quite a large personalized message and some personalized accents, and schedule the card to be mailed to an addressee you specify automatically.

The beauty of this service is that you can be on vacation somewhere, take some snap shots with your digital camera and go online and upload the photo have it printed, mailed and delivered to your friends or family before you even get back. And this great service costs $.99 or less including postage.  The price drops to about $.79 in quantity.  I bought a block of cards so I can send them throughout the year.

I have programmed birthday and anniversary cards to be sent for all my immediate family members and I've sent out a whole batch of invitation and thank you cards.  I've also used the service to send pictures to friends who aren't that computer savvy … because instead of going online to view the photo they just go to their mailbox and there it is.

AmazingMail.com provides users with a free software tool, ez-pix for capturing screens.  There is also an easy to use Greeting Card Showcase with Birthday, Anniversary, Invitations, Wedding, Thank You, Love, Hanukkah, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and other Special Occasions and Holidays.

You can make a post card in four easy steps and view it online before you give it the final go ahead to be printed and mailed on the date you specify.  An AmazingMail.com postcard measures 6 inches by 9 inches.  According to the company your postcard is printed on a state-of-the-art process-color printing press with real ink and coated glossy stock like your typical postcard.  The print resolution is 800 dots per inch with 4 layers of ink creating solid fields and vibrant colors.  The image side can be in color or black-and-white.  If you wish you can print text only (which you upload as 6 inche by 9 inch image).  The colors will be as you specified except for the return address, delivery address, and postal information, which will be in black ink due to postal regulations.

AmazingMail.com also provides you with your own confidential address book and an easy to way to choose who and when to mail cards to.  You are sent an email when your card is printed and mailed and you can check the status of our account while online.  Amazing mail also offers integration with a FREE clip art service which includes keyword searching.  The service is new and it's off to a good start.  Future improvements I would like to see include an ability to modify an order than hasn't been printed and mailed yet, a longer message, more control over the font and type size of the message, a larger assortment in the greeting card gallery (although the gallery has quite a nice assortment … what can I say I'm greedy), and a way to seamlessly look up addresses and zip codes and capture them into your address book.  But improvements or not, it's a good service and I'm sold on it.  And at $1.10 a card (mailed) you will be two.  To try the service (they will give you a FREE card) point your browser to http://www.amazingmail.com.

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Nick Anis is a food, wine, and travel and technology writer with over 24 books in print published by McGraw-Hill, Random House, Bantam, Ziff-Davis, Tab, and others. Nick's articles have appeared in The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, West Coast Media, The Family Publications Group, The Weekly News, and Travel-Watch.  His beats include food, travel, snow and waters sports, entertainment, family recreation, consumer electronics, home improvement, and automotive.  He is responsible for the Restaurant Row Ethnic Dining Guide, co-published by the Long Beach Press Telegram.  Nick is an accomplished downhill skier, PADI certified SCUBA diver, and when he's not sitting on his butt goofing off, enjoys a variety of active recreation including tennis, riding motorcycles, ATVs, wave runners, snow machines, horses, skeet and trap shooting he's also taken a stab at riding camels, donkeys, elephants, ostriches, lamas, dolphins, Reindeer, bulls, mechanical bulls, and buffalo.  Nick is a member (A Secretary/Treasurer) of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), a member of the North American Snow Sports Journalist Association (NASJA), Computer Press Association, The Writer's Guild, and listed in Books in Print, Media Map, and Press Access.  You can reach Nick at Editor@Travel-Watch.com.


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