Thursday, November 30, 2006


NFL, P&G, Counting Surfers, That Excel Bug is Elsewhere, Bad Data, Other Stuff

Monday's column has been submitted... the common wisdom about postal rate increases affecting print shipments significantly to the downside is debunked. I know I'll get letters. The data actually suggest the opposite.

Saw this coming a mile away... is going to start broadcasting games on the Internet
Major League Baseball did the same this year on MLB.TV

P&G is allocating more money to mobile marketing... it's now a legitimate spending category

They're still having trouble counting the number of people on the Internet, and Newsweek has documented the chase and its problems. And there's a terminology problem... in our industry UV is a way of drying ink, but in the Internet business, it's "unique visitors." How can we keep this straight... even when we say "go to the web," printers think of a press, but their kids think it means to go surfing.
Each of the major measuring firms is eager to point out its rivals' flaws. Omniture's measures are based on technology that counts computers, not people—an approach that can lead to double-counting of UVs (for example, when the same user contacts a Web site from work and then from home). On the other hand, since panel data by definition are extrapolations, the counts produced by Net-Ratings and comScore can be substantially off, Web-site publishers say. "Where you get into craziness is taking 10 different numbers and trying to figure out which is correct," says Peter Daboll, Yahoo's chief insight officer. "What we're looking for is consistency within each vendor." Industry groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Media Research Council have been aggressively trying to establish measurement guidelines. As in counting couch potatoes, totaling up UVs will require wanna-be Nielsens in cyberspace to keep an eye peeled for the details.
The other day I posted an Excel file that Excel gets wrong because it has a bug.
Other products have failed the test as well.
WordPerfect Office Quattro Pro = PASSED
Google online spreadsheet = PASSED
Thinkfree online spreadsheet = PASSED
Zoho online spreadsheet = PASSED
GNUmeric open source spreadsheet = FAILED
Evermore Office spreadsheet = FAILED
Ability Office = FAILED
602PC Suite = PASSED
goBeProductive Suite = PASSED
Softmaker Planmaker = FAILED
For the ones that failed, it almost makes you wonder if they've pirated MSFT's buggy code! I've written to Tony Bove (author of "Just Say No to Microsoft") to see if he's had results from yet other suites. I don't have EasyOffice or LotusSmartSuite handy.

I had to transfer about 500GB of data to a 1 terabyte external drive and found that my Windows systems could not "see" it. I tried it on 3 of them. My two Linux computers could see it, but could not perform any file functions on it. It turns out it was formatted as a Mac drive. Stumped, I Internet searched my way to software called "MacDrive" which allowed a 5-day free trial. The product worked, and did so very well. Info is at and the free download is at

I'm always on the lookout for articles that describe "bad data" and how they got that way. The WSJ "Numbers Guy" column is always good in that regard. Here he tackles the misinterpreted number that 1 in 166 kids suffers from autism. One thing he does not mention is the incentive school districts have to identify kids with a variety of maladies to qualify for extra Federal dollars. Here, statistics with monetary incentives tend to create greater incidences. The result is that solving the right problem with the right approaches becomes difficult. In the case of the article, the 1 in 166 is justified based on new definitions and only in its proper context, but it rolls up so many categories that one has to wonder if it does anyone any good other than the shock value that has proved itself lucrative in fundraising.

Speaking of cutting through junk data, I have always loved the site that gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to medical and various homeopathic things. It's amazing how few things that people assume are true, especially homeopathic approaches, actually survive clinical trials; this site documents them. There's also my favorite science site And as far as urban legends go, is quite good, especially in checking out some of those chain letters about viruses that new computer users send about with such paranoia and panic. A quick visit to Snopes is all it takes to see if it's real or not.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Ben is Uncomfortable; GDP Revised; New Blogs; Catalogs; Free B2B Guide; Stock Photo Trouble; MSFT Nervous About Tux the Penguin

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke spoke on Tuesday, and used the words "uncomfortably high" to describe inflation. The Fed has overtightened, so look for things to be slow and only mildly positive for the first half of 2007.
Inflation, which picked up earlier this year, has been somewhat better behaved of late. Overall inflation was pushed up this spring by a surge in energy prices, but the recent declines in energy prices have largely reversed those effects. Price inflation for consumer goods and services excluding energy and food, the so-called core inflation rate, has also moderated a bit in the past few months. But the level of the core inflation rate remains uncomfortably high. Over the next year or so, the economy appears likely to expand at a moderate rate, close to or modestly below the economy's long-run sustainable pace. Core inflation is expected to slow gradually from its recent level, reflecting the reduced impetus from high prices of energy and other commodities, contained inflation expectations, and perhaps further reductions in the rate of increase of shelter costs and some easing in the pressures on capital and labor resources.

3Q GDP was revised up from +1.6% to +2.2%. Don't be surprised if it gets revised down to +2.0% for the final figure. I knew +1.6% was too low based on things like the ISM reports. These revisions are not trivial. Being off the way they were means the government couldn't detect only $750 billion. That's all. Kind of like the 810,000 workers the BLS missed counting over the last year.

Two new print blogs: Randy Davidson has launched and tied it to the still growing I often comment to postings there. Randy tells me that traffic is steadily increasing faster than he expected. Industry consultant and trainer Peter Muir has started his Bizucate blog at , where he focuses on stimulating ideas and creating customer-directed change. After I meet or have a meal with Peter, my head always hurts from all of the ideas. I'm still surprised how many people read this blog. In a lot of ways it's not a blog at all, but my "cyber-refrigerator." I post things here like one might put them on the kitchen fridge with a magnet, because I'm always losing things and references otherwise.

Some recent catalog business articles
About LL Bean
Associated Press

Google's translation capability is something deserving to be made fun of for its entertaining problems with idioms and jargon... and also great awe as it is a true wonder of what technology can do. Here are some overseas printing site links using the Google translation to what we affectionately call "Googlish"
Graphiline (French) (German)

B2B Marketing magazine has issued their annual Marketers Resource Guide, and it's free as a PDF. It lists top agencies of all types. Contents list is below
Top 100 B-to-B Advertisers — Page 4
Top 50 B-to-B Internet Advertisers — Page 7
Top B-to-B Agencies — Page 10
Interactive Agencies — Page 15
Direct Marketing Agencies — Page 16
List Managers — Page 20
List Compilers — Page 24
Data Cleansers — Page 26
Data Segmentation Vendors — Page 28
Analytics Vendors/Web Analytics Vendors — Page 30
E-Mail Resources — Page 32
Search Engine Marketer Resources — Page 37
Event Services — Page 38
Event Designers/Producers — Page 41
Media Power 50 — Page 44
Online Publishers — Page 50
BtoB's Who's Who— Page 51

Anheuser Busch will be spending 10% of its ad budget in 2007 online, taking it mainly from broadcast TV. It's starting, with 8 Internet "channels" as part of its plan

A mostly negative Ubuntu review. I'm still thrilled to have something non-Windows and non-Apple that works so reliably; I've been really impressed. I'm sticking with it.

Stock photography has its downside: it can be used over and over and over again... in the strangest places
The ad from Key Bank portrayed a heart-warming family moment: a dad pointing out something on his laptop to his smiling young daughter as she leans over his shoulder. In fact, the scene may have been a little too charming. The same image appears in a recent marketing brochure -- from Bank of America.

Microsoft is getting feisty about Linux, so it must be hurting or worrying them. The have to see the non-developed markets slipping away from them. How can you complain about piracy when people use open source software. Easy: complain that the open source software infringes in MSFT intellectual property.

With all the penguin stuff that's out this year because of Happy Feet and last year's March of the Penguins, you'd think the Linux supporters would be making a bigger deal about things. After all, Tux the Penguin is the official symbol for Linux.

Microsoft's Vista (and Office2007) will have some pretty stringent end user agreements that will be enforced by the software itself. It will undoubtedly cause problems. This article cites them and the case law involved.
The terms of the Vista EULA, like the current EULA related to the Windows Genuine Advantage, allows Microsoft to unilaterally decide that you have breached the terms of the agreement, and they can essentially disable the software, and possibly deny you access to critical files on your computer without benefit of proof, hearing, testimony, or judicial intervention.
In fact, if Microsoft is wrong, and your software is, in fact, properly licensed, you probably will be forced to buy a license to another copy of the operating system from Microsoft just to be able to get access to your files, and then you can sue Microsoft for the original license fee. Even then, you wont be able to get any damages from Microsoft, and may not even be able to get the cost of the first license back.

The French government is starting a switch to Linux, worth watching throughout the continent.

StarOffice, the enhanced version of OpenOffice will now be part of some really plush inflight services on Singapore Airlines

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


NAA Hides Downturn in Newspaper Online Ad Revenue in Plain Sight; American Business Media Almost Gets It Exactly Right; PDF Alternatives

The news media made much of the NAA's press release
that said how strong newspaper Internet revenues are. Unsaid in the release, but on their site is the real data. Online ad revenues actually DROPPED from $667 million to $638 million. Before that gets blamed on seasonality (July and Aug are typically slow in newspapers), this is the first time that there has been any quarter-to-quarter decline EVER since they started measuring it.

The trade association American Business Media has published as small booklet "The Business Media Proposition. It was announced in a press release a couple of weeks ago.
I can't help but compare it to the Print Council ( and not, as we well know) brochure issued at GraphExpo. The difference is night and day. I'll just accentuate the positive: the ABM's booklet is concise, informative and speaks communicators' language. It is almost totally objective. A business person, new or experienced, can get something out of reading it. Most of all, it explains why and how different media work together, as it recognizes that the business communications market is far different than it used to be. It's a fine job, and well worth emulating, not just for the printing industry, but for many industries.
One thing not to emulate is that the booket is $10 on their e-store. First, the store is incredibly hard to find on their site, so here's the link:
Second, there should be a downloadable PDF of such a fine effort. The idea is to infect minds with these ideas, I would think, especially when this is so well done. They're missing the opportunity to reach a much larger audience by not having such an excellent promo piece like this online. I've written to them asking for a link to one, and will post it if they decide to do so.

Sure, I say that Office2007 might be the last of its kind... and the WSJ says that Vista might be the last rollout of its kind...

Tired of the length of time it takes for Acrobat Reader or Acrobat itself takes to open a PDF or a PDF web page? Jump over to FoxIt Reader. It's stunningly fast and quite good
I'm a big fan of making PDFs with OpenOffice, but you of course need other programs that don't have built-in PDF capabilities. PDF Creator does a great job

Monday, November 27, 2006


Mailbox, a Dying Breed; ChiComms Start Blogging; Major US Newspaper Sings 'O, Canada!'; Just Say No to MSFT... It Can Be Done

Street corner mailboxes are a casualty of the Internet age, or so the USPS claims. They're also a casualty of electronic funds transfer, credit cards, cell phones, telephones, and a whole host of other things.

China's Communist party... starts blogging!

Long rumored, the SF Chronicle has now agreed to outsourcing its printing to Transcontinental starting in 2009
Editor & Publisher

No wonder did not want to sell an e-book reader-- they will be selling their own!

The $100 laptop emerges in Thailand

Marketting trends to watch for consumers, business, the media

Remember I mentioned I was using the latest version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system? There's an interview with the man behind it at

Finally, I got to finishing Tony Bove’s fascinating book “Just Say No To Microsoft.” In it, he details numerous reasons and ways to avoid Microsoft software. This is not the rant of a software conspiracy theorist, of which geekdom has too many. Nor is it against proprietary software, as many computer enthusiasts and users are (even my beloved new toy, Ubuntu operating system based on Linux, but I find that I need a few small proprietary products to make it really sing... until those products go open source).

As he started the review of problems with Microsoft software, especially Word, I found myself nodding to almost every single one of them. I had suffered every problem... the crashes, misbehaving formatting, etc., he described. Since I have used every office suite, even the most obscure, and have now settled on OpenOffice for the bulk of my work, the lack of problems in my writing tasks has been noticeable. Every version of Word past 2000, for example, crashes on startup because of my Logitech mouse. No other word processing program does. Just this past weekend, I had to load Outlook because I purchased a Dell Axim PDA that runs Windows MobilePC. The mere loading changed my default e-mail settings from Eudora to Outlook and from AvantBrowser to Internet Explorer. I had to load the software three times, as a matter of fact. Ugh! ...and my Handspring Visor worked straight out of the box six years ago! I should have stuck with Palm!

He documents a calculation error in Excel that I was able to duplicate, which should make one very wary of any logical tests that are in an Excel sheet. Even the extremely basic Google spreadsheet gets the calculation correctly. I've posted the file at; it'll be there until 12/10/06.

Here’s the book
Here’s his blog

With all that is going on in software and connectivity, I firmly believe that Office2007 will be the last substantial release of the product line from Microsoft. Too much is changing, and they know it: in emerging markets, open source software is growing as the best solution to piracy. The old desire that the network should be the computer is being pushed by Google, especially, and will become commonplace in other services as well. Desktops and notebooks are in trend to become very thin clients, with connectivity and basic programs and some data storage, with heavy lifting of data to be done by networks. Just think of how e-mail has destroyed word processing: who sends letters anymore? We’re all sending plain text files to each other and no longer care about margins, hyphenation, spacing, and other aspects of what used to be core parts of a secretarial school curriculum. Who would have thought that of all things, Powerpoint, would become the primary reason to have an office suite. There are many substitutions for word processing and spreadsheets, but there are very few good substitutes for Powerpoint, and none, other than OpenOffice Impress, are on the horizon.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Milton Friedman Obits, Wal-Mart, Internet & Old Media, Fun Stuff

Good obit of Milton Friedman in NY Times

Barron's Gene Epstein writes about Friedman

Interview of Milton and Rose Friedman from July 2006

Mises Institute remembrance of Friedman

Why Wal-Mart is important

Internet ad revenue surpasses $4 billion

Internet ad potential is underestimated, according to Yahoo! CEO Semel

Yahoo! makes deal with major newspapers re: classifieds

Are magazines dead?
No, they're not dead, they're just pining for the fjords

How new and old media can work together

Online video seen taking broadcast TV dollars
The study predicted that a particularly marked increase would take place next year, when budgets for online advertising are expected to rise by an average of 42 per cent compared to 2006.

Sure you want to upgrade to Vista and/or Office2007?
Skip all this licensing stuff. Go to open source software instead. Ubuntu Linux is my new toy, and it works just great. Got an old computer at home? Give Ubuntu a shot and you may not have to replace it at all.

Ad Age Global Marketers Report
Global Players (executives) report

Latest toy: USB turntable... gosh, saves time and many hassles. And it works great!

Someone should ban this site as obscene

30 Rock might be the best-written new TV show on this year. It takes some great shots at corporate management (especially GE, since it owns NBC) but this past week took some very funny shots at product placement.
My favorite line was the management gobbledygook about increasing sales... whoops... I mean "upward revenue stream dynamics."
show video

Friday, November 17, 2006


The Kodak Video is Back

It's not on YouTube that we know of, but it has been shown at DICE.
I was told that the "cojones" comment was out but the "big fat makeready" and "kick their a**" comments are still in. The Animal House line "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part" was wrong... the really futile and stupid gestures can obviously be repeated again and again.
My original post is at
... and the comments still apply. The most offensive thing is the "big fat makeready" comment, referring to Kodak's history of constantly downsizing and making really bad acquisitions. Again, those were real employees, with real families that the company led on and let go, not even counting the investors who got taken in at those times. So what if some of the bar-room adolescent rant was removed from the video... it's still a dumb video that does not do Kodak any good.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


ad:tech Wrap=Up, Internet and Small Biz, Big Plans for Cell Phones, Response Rates

ad:tech wrap-up by Marketing Sherpa
Fast Company blog posting
Kevin Ryan, founder of DoubleClick, spoke at ad:tech in a speech titled "1996 vs. 2006: The Web Then and Now". I've requested full text or a download.
Ad revenue went from $270 million to more than $12 billion. Bandwidth prices went down from $1000/mbps to a measly $20/mbps. Expensive software and hardware has become open source software and almost free hardware. Mr. Ryan believes that mobile advertising and IPTV is the future.

Using the Internet to reach small businesses

Samsung has big plans for cell phone features

Telephone and e-mail have the highest response rates, according to the Direct Marketing Association
Press release
· Direct Order & Fundraising: For direct marketers whose primary objective was to solicit direct-order sales or motivate customers to make a contribution, Catalog (2.30%) and Direct Mail (2.18%) produced the highest response rates.
· Lead Generation: Telephone (2.60%) and E-mail (2.45%) produced the highest response rates for direct marketers whose primary objective was to generate leads.
·Traffic Building: Catalog (10.34%) and Telephone (7.83%) have the highest response rates for traffic building, although these figures are based on a small sample of only five campaigns for Catalog and four campaigns for Telephone.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Download this Now: The State of the Internet Report, and other news...

Meeker State of the Internet report has been updated, and is as usual, essential reading

ad:tech in NY was a smashing success with record attendance. Yet virtually no one from our industry goes.

Folio: article about RRD/Banta

MOD-PAC reports losses... well, so much for that big, profitable packaging business. I never knew how that myth got started, but file it under "the grass is always greener on the other side."

Spam levels up, way up.

World now has 2.6 billion cell phone users, and therefore more people who can eventually download content.

The World Band and PriceWaterhouseCoopers issued a report about taxation that compares ease of tax payment with economic growth. It's amazing how many undeveloped countries have tax systems that are so incredibly injurious to their own economic growth and scare capital away.

This was funny. As one who was warned not to go on a low carb diet and then ends up losing 50 pounds and have my blood tests become better than any medication ever did, this article was a pleasure to see. Those low fat diets? The do nothing except lower your HDL and increase triglycerides. Nix the bread and pass the turkey pepperoni please...,1,1064638.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Great Morgan Stanley Report (It's Free!), ad:tech, eBooks in Schools, the Election, CFO Salary Windfall

Morgan Stanley report on Internet advertising. The great eBay vs. newspaper classifieds chart has been updated. It's on page 25, and as startling as ever.

ad:tech is in New York this week, and already the provoking comments and articles have started

The new has a posting about our industry's AWOL status at ad:tech in NYC
Nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way... but Randy's heard this complaint from me before. Great, so now there's two of us. Wow... our grassroots movement has doubled.

E-Books in schools; sometimes, it has to go to a vote! Funny, where are the people in the associations who are supposed to make us aware of these kinds of government things? Not a peep out of the book or printing associations about this. This is the first I've heard about anything called "SCORM"
e-book story

Agencies creating content and advertising beyond their typical range

Verizon is in talks with YouTube for video over cell phones. Note that Google just bought YouTube. Also note that the cell phone is a horrible way to view videos... when you're over 50, as I am... and the vision is starting to be affected. But also remember many cell phones are really ear pieces wirelessly linked to PDAs.... and video on PDAs can actually work!

I know people will ask about the election and its effect on the economy. The Senate and House Republicans got what they deserved for bad leadership and a loss of the values that got them elected. They became inside-the-beltway and got used to being in power so much so that they squandered it. Frist was a horrible majority leader who got nothing done. Hastert always seemed lost. It also goes to show that mid-term elections are often the times of greatest change. Remember this, however, and that is that Fed actions are a far bigger determinant of economic conditions than fiscal policy, especially in the short term. The bigger issue is that income and corporate taxes need to be renewed, otherwise they just return to prior levels with no action necessary. Paradoxically, the stock market does very well under Democratic control of Congress. Cynically, the higher degree of regulations on business that emerge from such controls (even Sarbanes-Oxley, which was way overdone) creates barriers the big businesses use to block competitors. Big business loves regulations, especially when they can lobby to have it work against competitors. In the past, this would have been a time to be in outright fear of protectionism. Big business is too connected worldwide and benefitting too much from international operations for the new Congress to do anything that will stop that. Sure, they'll have hearings and press conferences, but U.S. jobs are so dependent on trade that nothing serious will get done in the long run. (Remember, it was Bush43 who pushed for the steel tariffs, which hurt the economy rather significantly at the time). Small business usually does poorly under Democratic control (remember, whichever party runs the House runs the Federal budget; you don't need the Presidency to run the country from a financial perspective). We may have changed parties, but bluster and the photo-op will still be in office. Buy big company stocks. Sell Vistaprint and Staples. (please don't take stock advice from someone who is unlicensed or unqualified to give it, notably yours truly, but this would be the theme, in my mind).

Look at this good economic news, and then try to explain why an incumbent could not run on them (you can't):
•GDP positive for 20 qtrs, averaging +3% (real dollars)
•ISM manufacturing index positive for 54 mo
•ISM non-manufacturing index positive for 56 mo
•Largest employed workforce in history: 145.3 million, +2.4 million in the last year
–Last month +427,000 new jobs in household survey
–BLS corrects itself: has been undercounting by +810,000 jobs
–averaging +79,000 net new businesses per month
•Household wealth $53T, +7% (current dollars)
•Personal income +8.6% (current dollars)
•Corporate profits +18% (current dollars)
•Tax collections
–Corporate +27% (up more than 50% than corporate profits) (current dollars)
–Individual +13% (up more than 50% than personal income) (current dollars)
•Exports +8% (current dollars)
•Conference Board September consumer confidence index 104 vs. 87

Why arent these reported? I still think it's journalistic bias: "the economy can't be doing well if the newspaper I'm working for is laying off people." It's the exact opposite of the Internet boom reporting, where the economic data was as good, and often not as good, but publishing was booming, so it was reported as unprecedented incredible growth when it was not.

One note about tax collections: the Congressional Budget Office has a horrible (that's worse than bad) of forecasting tax collections. Tax cuts increase collections. The CBO is not allowed, by law, to include that assumption in its budgets. Just as Robert Rubin, Clinton's treasury secretary, whose plan to cut the capital gains tax led to a windfall of revenues. Every tax cut produces increased revenues, from Coolidge, to Kennedy, Reagan, post-1996 Clinton, to Bush. How Congress squanders those increased revenues is a different matter. Assuming the tax cuts expire, look for the deficit to increase as the CBO cannot, by law, assume that increased tax rates affect people's economic behavior. Also remember, that Congress inflation-adjusts, and adds additional increases, automatically to its budgets, under its baseline budgeting procedures, a luxury which no business or no family has a similar luxury. Reductions in rates of growth are called "cuts" inside the beltway. This could get out of hand, unexpectedly. Keep an eye out for it.

Again, of all of the Washington officials, Ben Bernanke is the one to watch. If the tax cuts expire, one hopes that the Fed will loosen the money supply to counteract them.

Also remember that demographic trends are more powerful than any Congress. More than 70% of U.S. households now own equities, directly or indirectly. Congress is very much aware of that. The electorate is getting older, and income from savings and investments will become more important than ever. Taxing them away is not in an incumbent's best interests.

Speaking of Sarbanes-Oxley, its byzantine laws have created a windfall of CFO salaries.

Bloomberg news reports " Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG led declines in the Stoxx 600, sliding 8.1 percent to 33.78 euros. The world's largest printing-machine maker lost the most in five months after reporting worse-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings." Yup, that buyback was really important.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Cenveo Ethics Issue?, Gannett Wakes Up, Other Neat Stuff

Election day: vote early and often. I always think of Aunt Rosie on this day. If the person running was Italian, she would vote for them. That was easy in the Bronx. Everyone who knew her misses her, especially the big Christmas Eve dinners.

Story about Banta and Stephanie Streeter. Loved the next to last paragraph:
It's not known if or to what degree Burton invested in Banta, but a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission says the Cenveo board waived its ethics code to let some directors and officers invest in Banta while the company was pursuing it. Banta's share price closed Friday at $52.03, up 53% since Burton first disclosed his intentions toward Banta on Aug. 9.
Mr. Burton may have made more money causing the run-up than he could have by owning it. He still needs to acquire something or sell CVO. He's not used to losing. Wonder what's next.
Here's the link to the SEC document

Gannett is modernizing its newsrooms to be 24/7... what took them so long?

DoubleClick CEO: “The Internet is a Huge Disruptive Force on the Print World”

Another story about skepticism regarding web metrics

WTT put my column about graphic communications on its "free" side... enjoy...

Political online advertising down.
Seems like when it's local, it's print, when it's national, it's online. May have played a bigger than typical role in the recent rise in print volume.

Heidelberg still buying back its stock for whatever reason they're doing it, it's still not the best idea for stockholders in my mind. But my vote doesn't matter.

E-book software that would just send me bonkers
Thought this was interesting:
"The Sony Reader, which our people have examined, is due to be a flop, just as with all the other dedicated hardware readers--totally the wrong business plan for the Internet age," comments Michael Hart, cofounder of Project Gutenberg, a site that makes free public-domain texts available as e-books. "The difference is that there are a billion new cell phones made every year--nothing like that for any other such devices."

Kodak's performance is becoming less bad. Some analysts think the crossover between their digital and analog business is now getting onto the favorable side.

Who cares about the $100 laptop :)) -- the $99 computer may be here for Christmas

The OpenOffice fans get really riled up when you forget them. I'm using the StarOffice version -- and use M$FT Office less and less... and when I shift Linux, I will barely use it.

Speaking of Linux, this "chooser" helps determine which OS is the best for your needs

Monday, November 06, 2006


P&G Switching to MORE PRINT!... Newspaper Troubles, and Lots More Stuff

P&G reallocates budget to add more.... PRINT!! The results of this media reallocation are right out of the book What Sticks, which, sure enough, is mentioned in the article. Note the comment about e-mail campaigns as having "little or no media cost."
P&G is realizing it's oversubscribed to TV, and is pouring more money into print... As it reduced TV spending, P&G hiked spending on national magazines 22.3% and outlays on all print 23.9%. The medium now commands 28.2% of P&G's $1.6 billion first-half outlay, up 3.5 percentage points from a year ago... Most P&G brands are now in their second or third years of using marketing-mix models extensively, and that's generally the time by which marketers who use models to fine-tune media plans generally have made the biggest reallocations they're going to make...The shift to print is far more broad-based, though, focused heavily so far this year on P&G's big-spending beauty brands, Olay and Pantene... P&G also has continued to do more direct marketing, with the second big double-digit increase in as many years for its fiscal year ended June 30. But most of that shift is going toward e-mail programs that have little or no media cost, said John Cummings, whose DBM/Scan service tracks database-marketing programs by package-goods marketers... Overall, P&G mailings and e-mailings increased 48% to 469 in the 12 months ended in June, following a 35% increase the year before, he said. As a whole, the package-goods and drug marketers he tracks boosted mailings and e-mailings 32% in the year ended in June.But beyond pricing, many marketers are coming around to see more value in magazines, if not newspapers, said Rex Briggs, CEO of Marketing Evolution and co-author of the ROI tome "What Sticks."

CNN reports that there are now 100 million web sites. Should we be surprised? It could only be possible with Google. Otherwise many web sites would go undiscovered.

Political spending on media has been quite strong, perhaps a primary reason for recent print rise. This will be part of Thursday's PFC Perspective discussion.

Randy Davidson has posted some very interesting cmments about Consolidated Graphics on his printceo blog

Speaking of blogs, Peter Muir has started one

NYT report about direct mail. For sure this is the top of the market when newspapers start paying attention to this; most of the trends they cite have already moderated and result is less print than used before (i.e., catalog has fewer pages when it shifts to direct mail campaigns and used more e-commerce)

Printing scents has been mentioned as something that would keep print viable. Imagine, though, all of those competing scents on store shelves. It's like the gauntlet you have to run in a department store to avoid getting sprayed.
Of course this reminded me of smell-o-vision

Hayden Printing in Spokane, WA has gone from 0 to 60+ employees in just four years

First class mail headed down... are we surprised?

Houston Chronicle doesn't like the Sony e-book reader
Cute title: "Sony uses novel approach"... i guess it's the real article, then!

Headline: manufacturers turn pessimistic. Not in the headline: only 60 respondents. I guess the optimists were too busy!
TV networks experimenting with streaming video in every possible way

Marketers still demanding reliable Internet traffic data
Funny... when I read about this kind of story in newspapers, I just chuckle, after their circulation fraud problems of the past few years. It's one thing to figure out how many people go to a web site, but when you fudge the number of copies sold... well,... I guess counting real things is just as hard for some people as it is for cyber things.

Newspaper revenues... supposedly it will take 30 years for Internet revenue to be 50%. Yes, another person who knows how to extend straight lines using Excel.
also reported at

Record newspaper Internet use. The Newspaper Association of America really gets it. They have a great site, and they know that new media is where it's at.

Newspaper circulation falls... no surprise... as reported in the NY Times whose shoddy reporting has done a good job of losing their audience. Amazing how that rag NY Post has changed itself over the years to pass the NY Daily News. The post was a really bad afternoon paper when I grew up in the NYC area. Now I'd rather pick it up than the NYT or the NYDN. The New York Sun is even making progress. I remember all kinds of failed startups in NYC, even when Newsday tried to get into the market and failed.

American Business Media has posted video from its various conferences. This association gets it too.

More laments about newspapers,0,1241459.story?coll=chi-business-hed

$100 laptop about to be released
The project is facinating.
The official one-laptop-per-child page
This may be one of the most important initiatives to stimulate the use of non-print media that has been seen to date. Yet, I suspect no one in the printing business knows about it.

Microsoft and Novell are now cooperating about Linux
I've been playing with two Linux distributions lately, and my favorite, Ubuntu, is definitely ready for prime time. It will become my operating system of choice soon... it already is on my notebook. I love Ubuntu. I was using Xandros, but Ubuntu is just plain wonderful.... and free.
The $100 laptop uses a version of Fedora Linux

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Printing Shipments, BN-CVO-RRD, CGX

September printing shipments were up +$198 million compared to September 2005, an increase of +2.4%. This was the fifth month in a row of increased shipments. On an inflation-adjusted basis, it was the second month of real increase in shipments, up by +$36 million in inflation-adjusted dollars. August's current dollar shipments were revised higher as well, by $5 million, making August's rise $302 million, or +3.8%.

September is the first month of commercial printing's most important quarter. The September-November period traditionally represents more than 26% of the industry's shipments for the year.

For the year-to-date, current dollar shipments are up +0.4%, and real shipments are down -3.2%

Re: Banta selling to RRD, it certainly is disappointing that it happened, but that was the best port in the storm. Both companies can consolidate well from a conceptual standpoint, but it always works out on paper best, and takes two or three times as long in real life. Burton needs to merge with somebody, so I wonder who's next?

Consolidated Graphics is making a big deal about their earnings, but their bottom line is still only 6% of sales.

I've got loads of things to post that I'm still working on... some of the stuff coming out this week in media news has been rather impressive, and the meatiest stuff is under everyone's radar. Will post Friday or Saturday.

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