time sink 42

Joe Greco jgreco at ns.sol.net
Fri Feb 17 00:06:55 UTC 2012

> ok, this is horribly pragmatic, but it's real.  yesterday i was in the
> westin playing rack and stack for five hours.  an horrifyingly large
> amount of my time was spent trying to peel apart labels made on my
> portable brother label tape maker, yes peeling the backing from a little
> label so remote hands could easily confirm a server they were going to
> attack.
> is there a trick?  is there a (not expensive) different labeling machine
> or technique i should use?

I hate all the newer Brother labelmakers I've seen - pretty much for this
very reason.  I've never found a good method for quickly and reliably
removing the backings for them.

We have a bunch of older Brother PT-20's that use the TC-20 tape.  This
is a generally awesome but a little limited labelmaker.  It's a bit big,
but it does offer a nicer keyboard than most current devices.  The three
maybe-gotchas all involve the tape being a multipart tape:  you have a
sticky backing on which the lettering is printed, which is then covered
with a very resilient plastic laminate covering, all pressed together/
assembled inside the tape cartridge as part of the printing process.

1) Sometimes, when removing the labels, the plastic laminate cover will
   delaminate from the sticky tape - leaving a peeling-it-off nightmare.
   In all fairness, the types of surface that this happens on typically
   cause Brother TZ-style labels to shred too.  I have never fully
   identified the types of surfaces involved, but some plastics seem to
   be the biggest trouble.

2) Occasionally, with age, we've seen short sections (~.5cm) delaminate
   and leave a little "loop" or "bubble" in the middle of a label. 
   Usually in hot/humid environments.

3) Due to the lamination technique, the label is very springy and cannot
   be used for cable markings.

Other than these occasional issues, we have been exceedingly pleased with
the PT-20's for many years, perhaps as many as 20 years now.  They're
great for marking all sorts of things, from file folders to electronic

I would avoid the newer Brother units I've seen in favor of some of the
other units people have mentioned, but for inexpensive basic server
marking, I still really like the PT-20's.

... JG
Joe Greco - sol.net Network Services - Milwaukee, WI - http://www.sol.net
"We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I
won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN)
With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.

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