Tuesday, December 09, 2008

YouTube - The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name

YouTube - The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name

Saw The Ting Tings on a DirecTV special yesterday, they had our 2-year old dancing wildly (she's good!) and the 8-year old pounding out the beat. Quirky vocalizations reminiscent of B52s and Talking Heads, just great!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The MagCloud publisher experience, phase 1


Thanks to Bill Holland for the reference :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Underground Art School, Passing You a Note

Wow! I like where this magazine is going.

"Here we are, first issue (or class session)! This issue is designed like a note we'd like to hand to you. It's a little bit of an introduction from us. Mainly, it's a TYPOGRAPHIC BONANZA to get you riled up to live and make. Then, we will leave it up to you to create a statement."

MagCloud | Magazine Underground Art School | Issue Passing You a Note

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Luscious Garage in SF

I think I finally found a garage I would enjoy patronizing.
The fig tree and the philodendron are the first things that meet the eye in the repair bay of Luscious Garage. Then the two Toyota Priuses come into focus — one with a slightly dented rear door, the other on a lift with two tires off and rusty brake rotors exposed. Then comes the eerie sense that something is missing: grime.
San Francisco Journal - At Specialty Garage, Making Hybrids Even Greener - NYTimes.com:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Campaign sleepover w/Little Mermaid

Obama Groove, originally uploaded by jurvetson.

Steve Jurvetson had lunch w/Joe Biden today, and solicited questions to ask via his Flickr photostream. This answer was not quite to the reader's question, but I love it anyway:

“Well, let me share a story. On the second day of the convention, my young granddaughter Finnegan came to me in the hotel and said “we need a sleepover.” I had promised her a tent and all when we got back, so I told her that it would have to wait a few days. “Well, no, I mean now. Barack’s kids have already talked to Barack. Can you pull the beds out of the room and we’ll put in mats, and have pizza and popcorn and Little Mermaid.” So Barack’s two daughters, two of Michelle’s brother’s children, my 11 year old nephew and two grandkids all had a sleepover. When I looked in the room and saw all those black and white children cuddled up together, it tells me more about what the core of this election is about. I knew we had made the right decision. We have become genuinely close friends.”

Many thanks to our roving reporter!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Scott Adams tells us how he draws a comic strip

Maybe some budding cartoonists using MagCloud can get a tip or two from Dilbert creator Scott Adams over on his dilbert.com blog:
Most syndicated cartoonists still draw on paper, then scan the art and e-mail it to their syndication company. They're going to be pissed when they see this video and realize how much extra work they have been doing.
Read the whole article and find a link to the video: Scott Adams Blog: Cartoonist Tools 10/08/2008.

The video is ok, but would be more compelling and drive more sales if 1. there was a narration, and 2. it was posted to YouTube rather than being held captive on the Amazon page.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Manufacturing a book, circa 1947

Love this!

Edit: the Vimeo version I found was deleted, updated to one I found on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Magazine: Go Away Come Home

This new magazine documenting the Seattle band Spanish for 100's last two summer tours is fantastic, and even better with the band's music in the background!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Enabling storytelling

Jonathan Saunders is one of the first to take the plunge as a publisher on MagCloud.

i like to tell stories: Stories, Now Touchable.: "the printer is still in beta, but has been helpful in addressing my concerns and honestly reacted well to all my thoughts and attention to detail. i am a stickler or pain in the ass, so i was impressed with the good effort the printers have put forth."

He's a pain in the ass? Sure, but the kind who is a perfect Beta user. He's let us glimpse his process for creating a quality product, and that won't only help him reach his own objectives, it's going to help future MagCloud publishers everywhere. Thanks, Jonathan!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Putting the "New" in "Best New Magazines"

There has been a fair bit of blogging about MagCloud since we went public last month, and most of the attention is on our print on demand fulfillment of magazines. Yes, HP is well positioned to provide this service given we are a market leader in commercial digital print with our Indigo presses, and thousands of print service provider customers worldwide. I have no doubt the HP machine of R&D and marketing will continue to win in the POD marketplace.

But at MagCloud we are really doing something a bit different than POD. We're lowering the barriers to access POD services to enable whole new categories of publications. Our tagline is, after all, The Best New Magazines. My colleague Nathan provides a perfect example: what he likes to call a "reference magazine." We're all familiar with reference books: bulky and generally expensive tomes that provide critical information you need to refer to repeatedly. Online search engines have replaced the need for many hardcopy references, but Nathan's Color Thesaurus cannot be so replaced.

Not only is Nathan's reference magazine a valuable compilation of the results of an online color naming experiment (what words do people use to describe specific colors?); when published via MagCloud it also provides an excellent wysiwyg color reference to use when producing a MagCloud magazine!

Read more about Nathan's magazine on his Mostly Color Perception blog: Digital Pages Are Different.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

More on the technical metric, "suckiness"

Derek graciously provides one answer to the question in my blog's tagline.
According to Powazek, the current business model for magazine publishing “sucks”, as about 70 percent of printed magazines are unsold.
MagCloud, print-on-demand service for magazine publishing launched - sfnblog

Friday, June 27, 2008

design for mankind: best. news. ever.

Thanks, MagCloud, and Mankind Mag's lovely advertisers [to be revealed on Monday] for making my dreams come true! -- design for mankind: best. news. ever.
Wow, to be someone's best. news. ever. is a dream come true. MagCloud couldn't be more proud! I wish my blog had more than 3 readers so I could send some more love back.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

MagCloud publisher invitations

For those folks who have requested MagCloud publisher invitations, thanks! Just wanted to let everyone know that we've received a few ;-), and are churning through them as quickly as we can. We're not running a secret MagCloud Idol competition with a panel of judges, so if you haven't heard back yet there is no need to worry that we've deemed you unworthy. We're simply trying to ramp up reliably and predictably; we're accepting invite requests somewhat randomly to try to sample many different types of publishers, with a bias toward first-come, first-get.

For all our new Beta users, publishers and non-publishers, thank you on behalf of the MagCloud team. Never have I seen such supportive bug reports :-). Can't tell you how much that helps as we're stomping the bugs.

If you have an existing account and want to use an invitation to upgrade it to have publisher capabilities: when you click on the accept invitation link, look for the link highlighted below.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

POD goes Mag | photostream

POD goes Mag | photostream:
I guess that a lot of people are about to find out that producing issue one is fun. Producing issue two is easier and a bit less fun. Producing issues four and on is plain hard work. But somebody will make a success of it. And good luck to them.
Oh, so true. Giving anyone access to magazine printing and distribution services does not mean anyone can make a living publishing magazines. There was at one time a similar giddiness about AdSense ("wow! I can make money from my blog!") and eBay ("wow! I can make money selling my junk!"). Only a small percentage of people ultimately figure out how to make a living from the new opportunity.

However the rest of us still benefit, though perhaps in more incremental ways, from the more efficient marketplace that results. Personally I can't wait, assuming MagCloud can take hold, to see the opportunities that emerge for independent designers, illustrators, writers, photographers et al. (Pixish provides an early glimpse of that future, I think.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

MagCloud Shipped

MagCloud Shipped, originally uploaded by fraying.

I've printed dozens of prototype mags in-house over the past months, it's been fun. Only about two weeks ago did I order my first issue and have it mailed to me at home.

Totally different experience! Somehow having that sucker come in my mailbox, with postage on it and stuck in a bag, felt very different. Reminded me of the excitement I'd have as a kid waiting for new stickers to show up.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Coming soon...no more!

Coming soon, originally uploaded by aefitzhugh.

MagCloud.com has been launched in conjunction with the humongous Drupa commercial printing show in Dusseldorf, Germany. HP supposedly has 20 presses running on the show floor (!), it is a truly massive event (held every four years, called by some "the printing olympics").

Fortunately we've managed to keep MC a soft launch. Being able to bury it under all the hardware and usual commercial print talk of Drupa is a blessing. In time I hope it will be clear to all that we're breaking more than a few traditions in commercial printing, and changing magazine publishing in dramatic ways. But we've got a ton of work ahead of us still. I hope to share more in the coming weeks, especially about the amazing folks who have enabled us to get this far.

I got my first MC mag in the mail just last week, and despite the dozens of mags I've gotten off the presses as "inside jobs", it was incredibly satisfying to pull a copy out of the mailbox, wrapped in plastic, my name and address on the back. Damn that's sweet.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Microsoft Pro Photo: Geotagging Goes Mainstream

I had to give up on Virgil in 2005 after 4-5 years due to lack of, well, not lack of interest, but lack of will on behalf of HP's product divisions to do anything with it . For a company struggling to differentiate our offerings in digital imaging, particularly digital cameras, you would've thought they'd be all over geotagging and location. Unless you're familiar with Rules of Life in a BigCo, that is :-(.

I've been happy to watch Flickr bring geotagging to the masses, but have remained disappointed at how little they've integrated location into normal Flickr functions like tagging, search and more (and especially disappointed in Y! Trip Planner's inability to exploit it; c'mon, could anything be more obvious?). So at Flickr, location is mostly about pushpins on a map, and you still have to go out of your way to do things like location-based search instead of having them seamlessly integrated into your photo browsing experience.

I'm thrilled to see Microsoft's Pro Photo Tools (Microsoft Pro Photo: Geotagging Goes Mainstream) with a few geotagging features I prototyped in Virgil, and also implementations of things I filed disclosures on. Most notably the idea of using a time-offset controlling slider in combination with a tracklog and geotagged photos to interactively position the photos correctly. One of my disclosures went a bit further to describe what I never showed I could implement: automatically determine the error in your camera's clock setting based on spatial clustering of mapped photos and assumptions about photo-taking behavior vs. movement. The key assumption? How many photos do you take when you are moving? I'll let you figure out the rest :-).

The first version of Virgil was built atop MS MapPoint (800MB desktop version!), then later on their MapPoint web services -- both well before mapping was a thought over at the Googleplex or Y!. MS knew there was value in location, had it locked up really, and fumbled the ball right to Google & Y! by not moving MapPoint forward quickly enough. I'll be glad to see them recover some of the leadership they demonstrated in the past -- but they'll need to stick with it.

Can't wait to download Pro Photo and give it a whirl. Will post a review when I get to it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wanted: print magazine publisher wannabes

Do you have high value content you've always wanted to publish in print, but never knew where to start? Do you have a likely distribution in the 100s or 1000s?

I have a limited number of invites to an innovative magazine publishing service in private Beta. Sign up over on MagCloud, and include a brief message about why you think MagCloud will be good for you. Don't know what MagCloud is? Nobody does -- but tell us what you need. There will be a few of you who fortuitously fit our current limited feature set and can start right away in the private Beta. Others will be free to play as soon as we open up for business, which we hope will be Real Soon Now (TM).

ps -- The ideal publisher will have no fear of producing a press ready PDF (but probably should!); MagCloud uses HP Indigo digital presses for awesome full color output.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

HAPA rocks

Spent a week in Oahu a while back, and was delighted to hear HAPA playing in lobbies everywhere while there! A friend convinced me to go see them in Santa Cruz a bit over 10 years ago and their live show was f*ing amazing. It ain't their live show by any means (despite the tasty solo Flanagan offers at the start), but here's a good fix: their classic "Haleakala Ku Hanohano" (lyrics).

HAPA lives at http://www.hapa.com/

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Revolutionary White Reflectance Standard for Metrology

Colleagues know I can be cynical and skeptical about some of the work coming out of HP Labs. Finally something to be proud of:

Revolutionary White Reflectance Standard for Metrology: "Figure 1. Pressed halon (left) compared to the proposed new white standard (right)."


"Once the standard has reached the end of its useful lifetime, it must be disposed of. This is one of the key strengths of this standard in that the disposal is achieved by ingestion. There may be variation in the exact number of standards that can be disposed of at once, but current experiments by the authors show that up to five white standards can easily be disposed of at once while other sources have shown that this number could be as high as seven. This is fairly close to the 51 gram manufacturer recommended serving size. The targets are suitable for use in compost piles or can be given to children."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Creativity and disruptiveness in a borg company

This snippet from a book quoted in an article in the context of the reorganization we are undergoing in HP Labs really hits home:
In their last chapter, the authors concluded: 'Breakthroughs have come from creative teams that were ignored by their organizations, supported only belatedly by their organizations, misunderstood by their organizations, even assaulted by their organizations. Breakthroughs can emerge just as readily from no organization at all.'
I think *every* project I've worked on in HP and HP Labs since 1996 is summed up by that statement :-). It took me a while to come to terms with this, but now it actually energizes me to have a project in that position. If I'm not ignored, supported only belatedly, and not assaulted by my organization, I take it as a sign that I'm not being creative enough. Ironically the article's author, and I take it some in management, think this is a bug and not a feature. It's not for everyone, but it's how I've evolved to exist in a mega-corporation amidst its unrelenting homogenizing forces.

FYI, for more on the HP Labs reorg, read the whole article at: EETimes.com - Commentary: Will eHarmony work for R&D match-making?

Monday, March 10, 2008

HP's new inkjet web press

I must begin by reminding the reader that "web" in this context refers to a roll-fed printing press, not our dear WWW of cyberspace fame :-).

HP Targets Multi-billion Dollar Graphics Arts Market with New Digital Printing Technologies: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance:
New products and technologies are being previewed this week at a Tel Aviv event for customers, partners, press and analysts. Highlights include:

* A high-speed 30-inch (762-mm) inkjet platform for high-volume production of books, transactional/transpromotional mail, direct marketing materials and newspapers.
If it works, this is a real game-changer in commercial printing. More info on the press:

Leveraging its $1.4 billion investment in Scalable Printing Technology, HP introduced the HP Inkjet Web Press (http://www.hp.com/go/inkjetwebpress), a high-speed color digital printing platform that increases productivity and lowers the cost of printing for the high-volume commercial market.


Capable of printing in full color on rolls up to 30 inches wide at 400 feet per minute (122 m/min.), the HP Inkjet Web Press is compatible with a wide range of uncoated media to enable efficient printing of book signatures, full broadsheet newspapers and other documents.
400ft/min @ 30" wide -- I want to see the ink delivery system on this puppy! Driving ink at that rate through ridiculously small nozzles, reliably and durably, takes some serious rocket science.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Coding Horror: Douchebaggery

The funniest thing about this fantastic post by Jeff Atwood, Coding Horror: Douchebaggery, is the number of inflammatory comments to it showing a decided inability to recognize irony. Slashdotters can be *so* entertaining.

I'm a longtime fanboy of Jeff, but I'm pissed that he stole, yes STOLE, my oft-used assessment of computing platforms: "They all suck." Of course he has never met me or heard me, but I do say that all the time :-).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Online ads in a socially networked Web

Esther still hasn't gotten HuffPo to expose a feed of only her articles so I can't simply share this on my Google Reader shared items (oh, the pain of having to actually submit my own blog post). Good thing she put out a pointer on her flickr feed. Anyhow, nice article re: online advertising in the emerging social Web world -- and a bit ominous for GOOG, IMO.
While the spotlight in the online world focuses on Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft, the long-term news is happening closer to home - where users interact among themselves through the Web and through online social networks. Companies with agendas mutter about user 'privacy' as they jockey to promote or prevent industry consolidation - but the privacy discussion will change from 'protection by the authorities' to self-determination as users learn to take control over their own data online. As they spread their 'presence' online, they are looking not for privacy, but for recognition as individuals, by friends and by vendors.
Get the rest of the story at Esther Dyson: Release 0.9: Don't Cry For Me, MicroHoogle!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Coding Horror: The Trouble with PDFs

Over the past few years I've refrained from posting my own rant, tentatively titled "PDF is the problem, not the solution". I was a bit surprised to see a similar rant coming from one of my favorite developer blogs:
But I have a problem with PDF files (Coding Horror: The Trouble with PDFs)
Jeff Atwood lays out a few of his issues with PDF, and the reader comments include a more extensive and lively discussion of others'. I think most people confuse PDF with a web format, but a few of the commenters have it right: PDF is a print publishing format, but one which is reasonably friendly to web-based distribution. It is not a suitable web publishing format for so many of the reasons listed in Jeff's post and the reader comments, but it is fine as a print format for web distribution.

My rant is actually a bit different from Jeff's, coming from the perspective of commercial digital printing. PDF is a major inhibitor to the development of dynamic, data-driven print because of its static nature. (Regarding "dynamic data", what I mean is a content formatting process equivalent to what happens on virtually every web site today, where each page is generated dynamically and customized to certain context). PDF was not designed to support dynamic data, but that is the future of print publishing. PDF is good at what it does, but the market needs to be re-educated about PDF and the constraints it imposes: it is not an adequate solution to the production of high value customized digital print. Commercial print is stuck in the dark ages, perhaps the only major information-centric industry that has not been transformed by the Web.

Dynamic commercial digital print is a huge market opportunity, so you can bet this problem will be solved. But I'd also bet that today's PDF will only be a footnote in the solution.