One Thing Windows Has That OS X Doesn't (Yet)

by Matthew Russell

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I'm an all or nothing kind of guy -- bipolar almost -- when it comes to what I like and dislike. I usually either love it or hate it, and if you know me at all, you know that OS X is something that I absolutely love. But Windows has one very creative feature going for it that precipitates jealousy within my soul. I'm talking about "File, Print FedEx Kinko's". And it's not even a Windows feature, per se.

"What, are you for real?" you might be thinking. Well, let me explain: I read -- a lot -- and it takes a ton of paper to feed my insatiable hunger for Cocoa and OS X developer docs. Whether it's because I'm just old school or because I'm an active reader, I still prefer to print the old fashioned way. If I can't scribble, highlight, write notes in the margins, and then clutter up my desk with the resulting mess that accumulates, I don't feel like I'm learning anything.

So every week or two I head down to FedEx Kinko's and get some stuff printed and bound. Being used to paying $50+ for good books back during the days that shall not be named, I feel like this is quite the bargain. For less than $20, I can now tailor an extensive compilation to exactly what I need at the time and get it nicely bound -- a timeless treasure for any bookshelf.

I really think Apple and Kinko’s should get on this. It could present a win-win for both of them. And before you ask, here's fodder for the commercial:

Someone is in a hurry, and they're rushing down to Kinko's with some work they need done there. Meanwhile, somebody else is back in their office clicking "File, Print FedEx Kinko's" from the comfort of their own PowerBook or G5 workstation. Ultimately, the "File, Print FedEx Kinko's" person wins because the other person gets stuck in traffic along the way. (Opening scene from Office Space anyone?)

The commercial ends with a catchy phrase that makes Apple and FedEx Kinko's both look good, they give away an iPod to every 1,000th person that uses the service for some period of time, and the world is once again a better place because of good business.

FedEx Kinkos says that they want feedback, so let's give it to them. Even if the feature won't help you right now, it'll help us (and might help you later.)

How much longer must I make two trips to print and get my documents bound? Are we still not "mainstream" enough or what?


2005-09-16 11:01:12
kinko's mac support...
...bites. i used to be the Desktop Publishing guy at a Kinko's in Madison. I was one of the last to be allowed to use a Mac to do the work.

Even so, I love Kinko's. Generally, I'm a Starbucks-boycotting, local-business-supporting stalwart, but it's hard to beat the services Kinko's offers. I've found that a pretty good alternative to File > Print Kinko's is to find the email address for your local branch (on the Kinko's website) and email the file with explicit instructions and your phone number. Ask them to call you back to complete the order. Then all you have to do is go pick it up.

2005-09-16 11:06:17
web app
It sounds like this is just a web-app, or an extension to the send-to-fax feature in windows. It shouldn't be too hard to implement something similar.
2005-09-16 11:07:41
kinko's mac support...
Looks like this might be a good place to take advantage of Automator, becuase at least for me, my order is always the same: print double sided, black and white, use cardstock and cover with those plastic sheets.

Now, if I could set up an account so that I don't have to wait in line and pay when I do the pickup, that would truly be almost as good.

But I still think FedEx Kinko's needs to recognize and give us some support. They could only win. Their technicians don't need to know anything except that it's a PDF...and we can all print PDFs.

2005-09-16 11:09:38
web app
Yea, I think you're right...and that's why I don't understand why they don't take the initiative to put together a simple little app, or at least publish a protocol so that someone else can.
2005-09-16 12:50:51
Why not just use a script and PDF Services, like this one..
2005-09-16 12:58:07
so figure it out
Not to sound rude but if you want this functionality bad enough I'm sure you can figure it out. Get Http fiddler up and running on a windows box and capture what is going through. I wouldn't expect this to be platform specific inheriently.

Then you can use all those Mac specific developer docs to code up your own app!

2005-09-16 13:02:54
Ever heard of Print(fu)?
Check out this service Print(fu) ( , it's fast & a lot cheaper than Kinko's. All you do is upload a PDF, they print it, bind it & mail it to you.

There's even an Automator action ( and a PDF Service ( . I use it all the time & love it.

2005-09-16 13:41:01
well, I could if I really wanted, but ...
Sure, I could figure it out, and so could anyone else who wanted to sink enough time hacking around with it. But that's not really my point (and I'd rather spend my time doing other things with my developer docs anyway).

My point is really more of a rant than a point: FedEx Kinko's is a pretty sweet company that has absolutely nothing to lose by having an engineer code up solution. So why don't they? Do they not care? Do they not think the few days it would take someone to code it up is worth the trouble (surely that wouldn't be the case), do they not have a grip on how the market shares are changing? Doesn't it at least seem odd to you that they're not trying to tap the other markets?
Does it really take extensive market analysis on something this simple to conclude that you can make money?

So really my question is at what point will they think that the Mac community is important enough that they'll extend their services to us?

I agree that the printfu service that some others have mentioned is pretty durn slick, and I'm gonna try it. Getting back to economics, printfu is also an interesting miniature case study -- Kinkos isn't feeding a demand that's obviously there, so someone else steps in and taps that market. How big of a market is it, and what is FedEx Kinko's missing out on? I love that kind of stuff.

2005-09-16 13:50:38
Ever heard of Print(fu)? that's good work.
2005-09-17 14:49:00
there are many things that windows has that OS X doesn"t .. yet
yep there are other things has that Windows has that OS X doesn"t at least yet. And Vista will be no different it looks like
here is a small list I made

Viruses-Installed-Spyware-Trojans-Ad-aware (V-I-S-T-A)

Sorry I couldn't resist...

2005-09-26 10:16:50
No 50" Plasma TV For Me
Before I realized that "File, Print FedEx Kinko's" was a Windows only service, I signed up for it on their site...and got opted into their mailing list. Today I received spam from them with this link in it:

It's an offer to win a 50" Plasma TV. Guess us Mac users are not eligible for winning nice TVs.

Talk about rubbing salt into the wound.