Miyerkules, Marso 26, 2014

Adding Up the Costs of Magazine Printing

One of the greatest hurdles to launching your own magazine is the cost of printing. Many journalists and editors are taking to the web for magazine layouts, cutting out that cost altogether, but there is something about the feel of glossy pages that just can't be replicated online. For purists who simply must have a traditional magazine, here is a breakdown of the decisions that affect your printing costs, and how you can save major money.

Paper Quality

The paper you choose for printing has a huge affect on your costs. There are three choices you make for your paper- the weight, grade, and stock.
  • Paper weight refers to the thickness of the paper, and ranges from 38-100 for text pages and 60-140 for covers. Thicker paper is more durable and professional, but is also significantly more expensive.
  • Paper grade measures the "whiteness" of the paper, and ranges from 1 to 5 (1 being the whitest). Most magazines are printed on paper grade 3, but you can save by going down to 4 or 5.
  • Paper stock can be glossy, dull, or matte. Magazines tend to choose glossy paper, but at a significant expense. 
There are also coatings you can use to finish the publication which affect the paper quality. Gloss UV and Matte UV provide different finishes as well as protection from fading. Varnish is a slightly less glossy finish that can save you a bit, although pages are more likely to fade than when finished with Gloss UV.

Printer

Choosing the right printer can be the biggest cost savings of all. Some printers offer you a low cost but cut corners on quality, while others can save you money in other ways. Talk to your printer and see samples before deciding. Modern Litho is a great example of a publisher that works with small magazines to print affordably.

Bindings

The typical magazine-style binding is perfect-bound, which creates a square edge on the side of the magazine. Other bindings include saddle-bound (stapled) and spiral-bound, which can save you some money as compared to perfect-bound.

Trim Size

Trim size refers to the finished size of the magazine. Larger paper obviously costs more money than standard size, but smaller is not always cheaper. Be sure to choose standard sizes that are regularly available, because an irregular size may require special ordering or additional cutting costs.

Advertising

The advertisers that you get are the most significant way to offset printing costs. Remember that cutting corners on things like paper quality may affect the advertisers you get, so be sure to appeal to advertisers and readers at the same time as you save money. This article helps to find advertisers for a first time printing.

Biyernes, Mayo 10, 2013

What Type Of Customer Service Solution Is Right For My Business

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
In order to ensure customer loyalty to your business you need to practice good customer service methods. There are many different ways that a business can provide professional assistance to their customers. Communicating with customers through a call center, email messages, online chat, or through social media websites allows the business owners to have an up close and personal relationship with their target audience. This allows the company to understand what the most current needs and demands are for the people who purchase their products and services the most.

In order to find out what type of customer service solution would work best for your own personal business, you need to first analyze the type of business that you own. If you own a small business that sells products through an online marketplace, then you would probably benefit more from online customer service solutions than by using a call center. Since your customers are already using the internet while they are browsing your website or placing an order, it would only be convenient for them to be able to ask questions or file a complaint in the same area. Adding access to a live chat window or a simple email form to your company’s website will help you to stay informed on what your customer’s think about your products and your quality of service.

Call centers are good customer service options for businesses that can afford the extra cost to pay representatives to answer calls. While most consumers these days own a personal computer or have access to the internet on their phone or other device, there are still some individuals who do not, or those who do not wish to use their computer for business transactions. Call centers allow you to reach out to these customers. It is a method that many consumers prefer even if other customer service solutions are available to them because they have the opportunity to speak one on one with a live person.

Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have changed the way that small and large businesses conduct their marketing strategies. They have also changed the relationship between businesses and consumers. Companies that have Facebook accounts are able to post new information about their products and other related topics on their page. Customers who have liked their page have the ability to comment and join in on a conversation with a business representative. This method of customer service greatly benefits both the business and the customer because they are able to converse in a casual way that doesn't seem as much like a sales pitch.

Linggo, Marso 31, 2013

Nikon D2Xs SLR Camera

Buying the right digital camera can often be a very daunting task. First you want to make sure that you’re buying a quality name, and a camera that fits your experience and expertise.

With the Nikon D2Xs SLR, you’re getting a camera that’s completely powerful and dynamic enough to impress the most fanatic digitalphotographers.

Of course one of the most important aspects of this camera is the fact that you get a whopping 12.4 megapixels, letting you get huge prints that will be so impressive you’ll wonder in amazement how in the world that you took the pictures yourself. Your pictures will be sharp in detail and contain potently vibrant colors. The 12.4 megapixels also comes with the coveted and highly intelligent DX Format CMOS Sensor for even more crystal clear clarity.

To enhance photo quality even more the D2Xs offers an 11 area TTL Auto Focus System – which includes Single Area setting (or manual setting), Dynamic Area, Group Dynamic, and Dynamic Area with Closest Subject Priority. Having all of these choices, in your auto focus feature, means that you’ll no longer have any excuse for being out of focus on a shot again.

Let’s not forget about the 1,005-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering II where your camera uses in-camera sensors to get the best focus on the shot as possible, and bringing out all of the true colors of your subjects in high detail and true to life brilliance.

Naturally, you’ll love checking out all of your images on the large 2.5 inch LCD Display screen on your D2Xs. This is where you’ll be able to review all of your photos as well as zip through all of your menu functions quickly and easily, while at the same time being able to read the text quite simply because of the large text.

This LCD Screen also has a wide 170 degree angle viewing angle which has also been factory calibrated to have consistent coloring.

Are you someone who likes to shoot action photography? You won’t have to worry about missing the action one bit because of the five frames per second shooting capacity, as well as the ability to amp up your shooting speed even more – at up to eight frames per second – when you switch to the lower resolution 6.8 megapixel setting.

This is amazingly fast and will capture just about any action that you wish to capture. You’ll be able to capture the first track meet as your child comes across the finish line, or the first touch down right on the line. It’s tremendous what you can do with this camera.

When it comes down to color, the Nikon D2Xs has got you covered in a grand way. With the Next Generation Color Reproduction Engine within this camera, it gives this camera the ability to create images that are accurate and completely natural looking. This means that you get realistic color reproduction where the transitions from color to color are completely true to life, and not manufactured looking.

Fundamentally, when you invest in a Nikon camera you know that you’re getting a high quality camera backed by a great name in the industry. When you invest in a Nikon D2Xs SLR Digital Camera you’re getting a tremendous value with tons of great features that will have you taking professional grade photos in no time flat. Everything you’ll need is within this camera right now.

Miyerkules, Marso 13, 2013

Wishlist for Google Reader

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Google Reader is the most popular feed reader available today, and while this is true, unfortunately, it does not reflect perfection. With the quality of Google’s search and Gmail, I expect more effort with Google Reader. The following are a few suggestions, and most of these ideas can be added with relative ease.  It is only a question of when Google will do it.

Folders or Tags? Why Must This Be So Ridiculous?

Google, please clarify what method of organization you are using within Google Reader. There are many odd references to “tags” and “folders” within the application. A storage scheme based on folders would allow you to place a feed inside of a folder, but tags offer the ability to assign multiple identifiers to any particular feed. That being said, obviously Google Reader has gone with the latter choice. Take five to ten minutes of your time to fix this already as this is a pretty silly issue to begin with.

Arduous Tag Management

Regardless of what Google calls them, the management of tags can be a pain at times. The interface for managing them is a something that could be a bit more intuitive. It requires too many clicks to accomplish things in its current state.

Here are some issues I have with the the way it is done now:
  • It is not possible to delete a tag without going into the settings menu
  • The task of reassigning tags to multiple items is somewhat time consuming
  • Creating a tag requires you to actually have a feed item selected or imported

Google, take a day or two, create some fancy Ajax code, and implement a way to better manage those tags. It is so bad at times that I actually export all my feeds to another application, rearrange them as I see fit, and import them back into Google Reader.  It is an unnecessary amount of work.  I do understand that this is a feature that, perhaps, only the more hardcore users would understand and utilize, but it is still important.

Quasi Content

There are too many times when I am looking through my subscriptions and end up noticing items that are very similar–i.e. the same story being reported multiple times. For someone who subscribes to many news, tech, and web 2.0 sources, it can get really messy at times.

Gizmodo might have just broke an important news story about an iPhone update to version 1.1.4. Naturally, Engadget, Crave, PC World, and others would end up writing about it within a few hours. Gizmodo broke the story, and I would appreciate it if only that particular item appeared as a result with the others given less priority. The more feeds that a person is subscribed to, the more he or she would appreciate a feature like this.

A simple implementation of this feature would look for keywords within the title and content to determine what is being discussed. When similar keywords are present–e.g. Apple, iPhone, smartphone apps, update, 1.1.4, release date, etc.–within multiple feed items, Google Reader should know that this content is just being reported over and over again by different sources. By placing emphasis on which source had written the story first, it help keep things clean.

Sure, it is an ambitious project to add this feature, but if I was working at Google and managing the Google Reader project, something like this would be right up my alley. Google should thrive on features like this. It should be created, labeled as experimental, and placed under the “view settings” menu. Besides, beyond search being added late last year, what has the company done for Google Reader lately?

Supplemental “Mark As Read” Options

Several fellow bloggers I follow, including Jeff and Amit Agarwalm, enjoy using FeedDemon, and I should mention that it is now completely free as of last month. I end up bouncing back and forth between that and Google Reader.  One of the great feature about FeedDemon is the ability to mark items that are older than a certain time period as read.

I tend to pass on those items that are older than 24 hours, and with FeedDemon, it requires only a few clicks to mark everything older than 24 hours, 48 hours or 5 days as read. With Google Reader, items tend to load up pretty fast, and this is especially true if you miss a day or two of checking feeds. I end up sometimes accidentally skipping recent items while using the “mark all as read” feature with Google Reader. This would be something that all users would appreciate.

Final Thoughts

Besides my suggestion for filtering items that are similar, it should only require a day or two of programming to implement these ideas. Google has been slacking off with Google Reader. It is obviously because Google Reader does not generate money for the company, so why would they be bothered with dedicating resources to it? This is simply a request, and if you get around to it, Google, please find a way to make some of these ideas a reality in the future.

Sabado, Pebrero 23, 2013

Speaking Geek

I work for an IT services company in beautiful Myrtle Beach...and I love clichés.  Yes, they are overused but many of them are so true.  Let’s take for example this cliché; “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid then open it and remove all doubt.”  In my previous blog I stated that I do not know everything there is to know about computers and there is not anyone out there that does know it all although some like to think they do.  If you are not an IT person or Geek then let me give you a few pointers that will help you when talking to one.    

I usually tell people that there are no stupid questions but sometimes I’m just being nice.  But I only say that to the that tell me they don’t know anything about computers.  
 
When the operating system (good old MS Windows in most cases) screws up, it could be so many different things.  If you get an error message write it down or better yet print it out if you have that capability.   Try to be very specific when talking to a tech support person; don’t add any additional information they don’t need.  If they are a good tech support person they will know what questions to ask. Next post I’ll have some funny help desk calls!

Huwebes, Nobyembre 29, 2012

Firefox Extension: FireFTP



FireFTP, is an extension, which gives Firefox browser the capability to act as an interactive FTP manager like WSFTP, etc..

FireFTP opens in a Tab and has two panes representing the local and the remote machine. Drag and drop files from one side to the other to initiate file transfer. It supports PASSIVE mode of transfer too.

The interface supports managing multiple accounts and most of the features that any simple FTP program would have.  It has a status bar which displays commands and their output as they are being executed by the remote computer.

For those webmasters who are also tasked with SEO and PPC and all kinds of other tasks, this plugin is a real lifesaver!

Martes, Oktubre 30, 2012

The Extent of Supplier Risk

BMW 350i
BMW 350i (Photo credit: Daniel Photos)
With the economic challenges many companies are now focused on concerns that key suppliers will not deliver due to financial challenges. These challenges are extremely real, and the extent of these dependencies trickles throughout the supply chain. As an example, if you're an AS/RS system integrator, but rely on one or two high volume partners, your entire business can hit the wall if the economy grinds them to a halt in production. Or, to take it a step further, what if their suppliers, or suppliers' suppliers run into issues?Well what happens when a Volcano in Iceland erupts and shuts down your supply chain? That’s exactly what happened to BMW and many other companies impacted by the recent eruption.

Sitting at an airport when this all comes crashing down really brings this moment to light when you have a first hand look at the issues they are facing. It seems lots of focus around supplier risk is mostly quantitative, around quality or financial data. This is undoubtedly key to the set of metrics around assessing your supplier risk. However how much contingency planning are you doing around these types of unforeseen disruptions?

I am sure no company could have predicted a volcanic eruption but could BMW and others have planned for a prolonged delay in air cargo deliveries? The ability to discover alternative sources of supply in an emergency situation should be a component of your supplier risk program. We can all be hopeful that the ashes coming from Iceland will eventually subside. The key is to make sure when the big one hits your supply chain will not turn to ashes.