Esquire Expires

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 Jun 30, 2009

 

Esquire E-Ink CoverLast October I picked up a copy of Esquire’s 75th Anniversary edition which featured an E-Ink electronic paper display embedded in the cover. With moving words and flashing images this experimental magazine cover was meant to attract attention and explore the possibilities surrounding electronic paper display technology and the publishing industry.

 

The magazine sat on my desk for a couple days and quickly attracted the attention of a few co-workers. Before long, we started an office pool — placing bets on the day that the magazine’s batteries would die and the display would expire.

 

According to Esquire.com, the electronics and batteries used for the E-Ink cover were manufactured in China, flown to Dallas, shipped in a refrigerated truck to Mexico where the covers were assembled by hand, and shipped back to Kentucky, home of one of R.R. Donnelly’s magazine printing plants. Retrofitted equipment was then used to bind the special covers to the rest of the magazine before it was distributed across the country. Esquire originally estimated that once activated, the batteries used to power the flashing E-Ink display would last 90 days. In actuality, my copy of Esquire magazine lived for nearly 250 days, exceeding my expectations and destroying my chance of winning the pool. The expiration of Esquire magazine got me thinking about the viability of electronic paper. Read more »

Oce takes ReproDesk to low-end

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 Jun 26, 2009

I recently got a briefing on a new low-end version of Oce’s Repro Desk software solution called Repro Desk Studio, for the low-end of the wide format technical document printing market in general and its low-end digital PlotWave printers in particular. The new software brings high-end functionality such as print and device management and print job accounting to small and mid-volume wide format technical environments for a fraction (about 25%) of the cost of Repro Desk Professional.

One of the things I like about Repro Desk Studio is that within the print management feature, which lets users indicate which device they would like to print to, there is the option to push print jobs to predetermined external reprographics companies. This seems like a good example of Oce designing its software with its important user and reprographics customers in mind. Oce suggested that Repro Desk Studio would be ideal for environments that print less than 200,000 square feet per month.

Oce has a lot of software capabilities and a deep understanding of technical document workflows, so Repro Desk Studio is well designed to ease these processes in low-and mid-voluem environments. While the price reflects a deep discount off of the Professional version of Repro Desk, some of this same functionality is provided by 3rd-party solutions like Ratio Software at lower prices.

Oce never really tries to be the price leader, instead focusing on overall productivity. The overall Repro Desk Studio package (functionality & price) seems to fit the Oce approach and expertise, while also addressing the low-end of the market where the company has not been historically strong.

The End of Kodachrome and What It Tells Us About Quality

Jim Hamilton
 Jun 23, 2009

I woke up this morning with a line from an old Paul Simon song stuck in my head and I’m sure I’m not the only aging Baby Boomer who began their day humming “Momma don’t take my Kodachrome away.” Kodak’s announcement that it would stop manufacturing its iconic Kodachrome film is important today mainly as a symbol of the demise of the photographic film market, but it does have other implications. It is an example of how times have changed, and specifically, how a higher quality method of capturing and reproducing photographs has lost out to a method that offers lower (but sufficient) quality as well as numerous other advantages that ultimately outweighed quality alone. Read more »

Print 09 Media Days: Day 2

Jim Hamilton
 Jun 17, 2009

Day 2 of Media Days (see my Day 1 write-up of Media Days) included presentations from Xerox, Henkel, RISO, Lake Image Systems, Konica Minolta, and manroland (displayed below in the order in which they were presented): Read more »

Print 09 Media Days: Day 1

Jim Hamilton
 

If you are wondering why there has been a flurry of Print 09 announcements over the past day or so, there’s a reason. Today was the first day of a two-day Print 09 pre-briefing event called Media Days. Forty-nine press and journalists from all over the world are gathered in downtown Chicago to listen to fourteen organizations talk about their Print 09 plans. Eight companies presented their plans today and another six will present tomorrow. The organizations that are participating are DiMS!, EFI, GASC (the Graphic Arts Show Company), Henkel, Kodak, Konica Minolta, Lake Image Systems, manroland, MGI, Presstek, the Print Council, Ricoh, RISO, and Xerox. Read more »

Prisco to sell HP Industrial Wide Format solutions

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 Jun 16, 2009

Last week HP announced that it has signed Prisco Digital as a distribution partner in the United States. Under the terms of the deal, Prisco Digital will sell the HP-Scitex industrial inkjet solutions which include high-speed solvent and UV-curable inkjet printers. Prisco already sells the Agfa Anapurna UV-curable line but the Agfa printers are slower and smaller than the HP-Scitex industrial solutions.

This is a very important development for the wide format digital printing market and for HP because the signing of Prisco has to be considered a key element to HP’s strategy to build a wide format industrial business within the commercial print segment which Prisco primarily serves. HP has already started the necessary portfolio education and sales training of the Prisco sales force of about 80 in the United States.

The ability to develop relationships like this one with Prisco is another example of how HP, with its considerable resources and portfolio, has the ability to expand its capacity to serve additional market segments. Perhaps it also helps that the current President of Prisco Digital, Steve Zunde, once ran ScitexVision, which is now known as HP-Scitex.

Covering the Gamut from Monochrome to Five or More Colors

Jim Hamilton
 Jun 15, 2009

A recent press release from Océ caught my eye (“Aviation Information Leader Jeppesen Selects Océ ColorStream 10050 Systems to Print Critical Flight Data Products“). I found the news intriguing for a couple of reasons. First, Jeppesen is a high-profile HP Indigo account and second, the capabilities of Océ’s Color Stream 10000 series present an interesting mix of monochrome, spot, and process color capabilities. I wanted to get a better understanding of how Jeppesen intended to use the product, particularly since the numbering of the product mentioned in the release (the 10050) indicated that this was a five-color model. So I spoke with some people at Océ who are familiar with the application and what I learned about this site speaks to the evolving use of monochrome, spot, and process color digital, as well as the trend toward moving pre-printed color forms from offset to a full digital “white paper in, color document out” workflow. Read more »

Get on the DAM Boat!

Other Posts
 Jun 3, 2009

Bryan Yeager and I spent Monday of this week at the Henry Stewart DAM Symposium in NYC. For those unfamiliar with the space, digital asset management (DAM) technologies are used to manage multimedia assets such as images, digital photos, audio, video, 3D renderings, and Flash-like animation. We’ll be posting video InfoCasts with vendors from the event this and next week as well as a more detailed analysis for clients.

Why should you care about DAM?

InfoTrends research in 2006 indicated that over 25% of ALL business content is in multimedia form, excluding presentation formats that often embed this media. Read more »

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