Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where to find me

I've started posting my original material on Medium. You can find me at My regular posts are consolidated at

See you there...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paper vs e-readers: which causes more eye strain?

I've been a member of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology since the early 90's.  That's not to say I understand most of what is published in their Journal, the JIST published quarterly.  But I have the utmost respect for the imaging scientists that are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of displays, cameras, printers, and readers.  And every once in a while I come across a research paper that even I can understand.

Such is the case with an article from the newest JIST studying the effect of different reading media on eye fatigue. Sonomi Inoue and Makoto Omodani from Tokai University in Japan set up the study.  Here's the premise:

Emerging progress in electronic display technologies has
already produced high performance television displays with
large and flat screens. Display technologies seem to have al-
ready successfully received customer satisfaction as television
screens. On the other hand, customers are often complaining
about displays as document screens. We still generally prefer
reading on paper than on electronic displays. Eye fatigue
is one of general disadvantages of reading on displays. Eye
fatigue is an essential subject to be solved for electronic

Inoue and Omodani looked at paper, electronic paper, and displays for their research.  They were looking to test the hypothesis that the digital display is the reason for eye fatigue when reading text. What they found was that the "impact of reading style"--whether the book was hand-held or stationary--had a big impact on eye fatigue.

The authors discovered earlier "a tendency that the hand-held reading style, regardless of reading medium, offer readers a favorable impression in terms of readability and fatigue" and sought to quantify that finding.  After determining now to measure eye fatigue they set out to see what they could find.

Their conclusions?
  1. The free condition for media handling offers lower fatigue (statistically significant) than the fixed condition, regardless of the medium.
  2. The media (reflective/emissive) showed no significant difference in terms of eye fatigue
  3. Electronic media that can be hand held are expected to reduce eye fatigue.
If you want to read a bit more about the science behind your reading pleasure you can find the entire article here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Samsung Partners with Blurb for Unique Native Photo Printing App. From @whattheythink

Last month, Blurb announced a global partnership with Samsung for auto-creating photo books and magazines on the company’s new GALAXY S 4 smartphone, available today from T-Mobile and later this week from other carriers. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Blurb SVP Bruce Watermann who shared details about the app and his thoughts about mobile and print in general.

By Cary Sherburne
Published: April 24, 2013
In mid-March, we noted the announcement by Blurb of its global partnership with Samsung to provide an app that makes it easy for consumers to auto-create photo books and magazines. This is another great example of the opportunities created by today’s mobile and digital world that ultimately will extend the life and value of printed materials.  Bruce Watermann explains, and also shares his thoughts about the future of print.
WTT:  This is a very exciting announcement.  As I understand it, this is the biggest smartphone launch yet for Samsung, with millions of Galaxy S 4 phones expected to be sold.
BW:  Yes, the official launch is today, April 24th, with T-Mobile and other carriers including Sprint and AT&T to following in a few days.
WTT:  Tell us about the photo book app that will be native with the phone.
BW:  It is called Story Album, and it was developed by Samsung. Samsung developed the software that lays out the albums and prepares images for publication in book form, either digital or printed.  We created the cloud-based app that handles the rendering, transactionpayment processing in seven currencies, printing, and shipping to 70 countriesfor printed book. sThe app will be pre-installed in the Galaxy S 4 phone and is slated for other Samsung mobile devices later this year.
WTT:  Why do you think Samsung was interested in developing an app for printed photo books?
BW:  This phone has a 5” inch screen and a 13 megapixel camera as well as a number of other great features. There is a lot of opportunity to do stuff with that camera and with the phone, and I believe Samsung wanted to give its customers way to do more with all of their photos, the opportunity to not only capture the images, but quickly and easily commemorate special life events in a much more permanent way.
WTT:  This phone has a 5” screen.  Sounds big …
BW:  It is definitely big, but a lot of people seem to be okay with it.  I think Samsung is really looking ahead and thinking about phones being a traveling computer.  Certainly from the perspective of making a book, the larger screen is a good thing. That extra inch of screen space is significant if you are going to use it as a creation, rather than just a consumption, device.
WTT:  Once someone creates a book in Story Album and decides to print, what happens?
BW:  Our cloud-based back-end app takes over and prepares the file for printing.  Users have the option of choosing a 7x7” book, which is already a standard Blurb size, or a 5x5” book which is exclusive to Samsung, kind of like a “brag book” size. The smaller book will be perfect bound and a 20-page book will sell for $8.95 plus a nominal shipping fee. The larger book has a choice of either soft cover or hard cover, what we call an “ImageWrap.” We use UPS Mail Innovations for shipping which keeps the shipping costs down. Standard production is four days, but we are working on a number of options we think will enable us to bring that number down. Shipping time depends on the customer’s location around the world,but runs 6-12 days
WTT:  Your release references a network of six printing locations, which I assume are partners.  Where will these books initially be printed and on what equipment?
BW:  Our official statement about our printing network is that we utilize six printing facilities on three different continents shipping to more than 70 countries with transactions in seven currencies and eight languages.  Our confidentiality agreements with our partners preclude us from disclosing who those partners are.  However, the books initially will be printed on an HP Indigo 10000, and the application has been optimized for that device.  This gives us the level of quality we need, and the sheet size gives us the multiple-up capability that drives the individual unit cost down to what we consider to be a consumer sweet spot, where it is an easy decision for the user to buy the printed book once they have assembled it.
WTT:  I am sure you must have done some volume projections.
BW:  We believe that mobile devices will soon become the standard for personal creation as well as consumption. But how quickly that happens is anyone’s guess. News reports indicate that Samsung expects to ship 4X the number of these phones as compared to the S3, which was their most successful phone to date when they released it. This is pretty quickly going to become the biggest smartphone launch in the world. Of course, the photo book app will not ramp up to full speed on day one, but we initially have a dedicated HP Indigo 10000 to handle the volume if we need it. We have also worked closely with HP during the development process. They have been terrific to work with, helping us ensure that we optimize the app for that press and that we can fast-track new equipment as needed.  We are upset up to increase global capacity quickly as demand grows.
WTT:  Is this an application you expect to see move to inkjet?
BW:  With consumers who choose to create printed items, there are two key criteria for success: quality and price.  Right now, the HP Indigo has the quality we need, and the sheet size and other factors allow us to address the price criterion.  I think inkjet will play a role as it continues to evolve both in terms of quality and the availability and cost of substrates.
WTT:  Do you expect to see similar offerings from other phone manufacturers?
BW:  If this is successful, you have to think that others will copy it. But keep in mind that it is a lot of work to carry this off.  It is not just a matter of building an app. For the digital books, it is easier, but for printed products, you have to work out all of the logistics, and that is what we excel at, and why Samsung chose us as their partner. Since the beginning, we have been a global company and we already ship to all of the countries that are important to them. As the smartphone moves toward becoming the primary computer for many people, especially the 35 years and below age group, we will also be looking at how we can create new solutions with partners.  You will see more from us on the mobile front moving forward.
WTT:  I think many in the printing industry see mobile communications, or electronic communications in general, as a threat.  What message would you have for them?
BW:  Generally speaking, we still don’t have at a leadership level in the printing industry people from the mobile and internet generation.  The average age at Blurb is 29 years old, and that keeps me grounded with respect to what’s coming. I think sometimes the printing business tries to force its way in instead of doing the things that come naturally.  That happened with personalization and transpromo, and it is easy to go overboard with service providers believing that is the Holy Grail.  As this generation moves higher into the organizations, they will begin to see the natural way print fits into the ecosystem, and that’s when the rubber meets the road.  Unfortunately, we are a little ways off from that, but it will be exciting.  When I started with Corbis in 1993, there was no digital stock photography to be downloaded, or even shipped on CDs.  It was all transparencies.  That doesn’t even exist anymore; that transition is complete. The bottom line is that print has to be always good; it can’t be just okay. These consumers will consider it a waste if the quality isn’t good. There is a business around that, and you have to tip your hat to the fact that some things deserve to go digital and they don’t deserve to go to print. In transitional situations like this, there are always opportunities, but there are, unfortunately, casualties as well.
WTT:  So looking out a few months or years?
BW:  People will be willing to pay for print because it will be more rare, but the quality has to be good.  Look at the Xerox iGen4 with its matte toner as an example.  That’s a great product and the quality is really nice.  The fact that print is going to become more valuable will enable people to do more research to continue to bring innovative products to market.  The digital technology will continue to be better and increasingly consistent. Keep in mind that that future audience, people who are now 35 and younger, are not going through ads in the newspaper; that’s not how they find things.
I recently received a catalog from Home Depot with high end home products.  I could not believe the quality and the accuracy of the color swatches. Even five or six years ago, would you trust something you get in the mail with color accuracy?  These are spot on. The fact that people are now giving that kind of thought to these printed products is a sea change.  I’m bullish about the future of the industry and the benefits this transition can bring. While the transition that is underway has been tough on printing businesses, those who learn to monetize print in this new environment will be successful, and there are already a number of companies who have done that.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

RIP Efi Arazi, the "Father of Israeli Hi-Tech".

Efi Arazi died today. The "Father of Israeli Hi-Tech", Efi had a great influence on a generation of print innovators.  I'd like to remember him in this post for two industries that heavily influenced my career; commercial photofinishing and stock photography.

In the pre-digital age, photo-finishers were nearly 100% silver halide-based.  "Photographic quality" was the standard and other color solutions were far inferior.  But in the late 80's an improving color laser technology represented by the Canon CLC 500 offered professionals the first "good enough" color quality in a much faster turn time and lower price than photographic prints.  But the CLC 500 was still just a color copier in many ways, with accessories like slide carousel changers the only real hat tip to production speeds.  Enter EFI.  Efi Arazi's company created print controllers for digital devices like the CLC 500, allowing for printing from multiple "workstations", which were just very basic PCs or Macs.  Suddenly commercial photo-finishers had a new production tool from which they could turn around color prints in minutes rather than hours as well as creating a pre-RIPped queue for upcoming jobs.  It was truly a major breakthrough for the photo industry and proved that digital technologies were really the wave of the future and drove the growth of high-volume scanning via technologies like Kodak PhotoCD.

But before Efi disrupted the color copy business, he was key in developing the first CCD scanner.  Taking learnings from his work at MIT and with NASA, his company Scitex, the first Israeli high-tech firm, created many innovations for the commercial printing industry.  But the CCD scanner is what changed the stock photography industry forever.

Before the Scitex SmartScanners arrived, getting photographic imagery to print required a tedious and expensive process using drum scanners and oils.  The cost for dropping photos into your printed piece often ran over $250.  Using CCD technology to capture slices of the image via a two-dimensional array, flatbed and transparency scanners were born.

Once it was possible to remove much of the labor costs from the scanning process, Scitex continued to innovate in speeding up the workflow while continuing to improve the quality of the resulting files.  Today this technology is the backbone of any digital scanning device.

For my old company Corbis, this allowed for our grand scheme of building a multi-million image digital library that was the gateway for today's stock photography business.  The cost-per-scan could be reduced greatly, and with a significant improvement in quality over the floundering PhotoCD. Over much wailing and gnashing of teeth from commercial printers who used scanning as a profit center, digital stock photography became the norm.  

While Efi is gone, his legacy lives on for me in the many, many friends I have made that were directly touched by his genius.  To my colleagues who were so influenced by him who are now spread out around the print business, and those that have moved on to other industries, he lives on through you.  We truly have lived through a golden age of innovation, driven in a very big part by a small country in the Middle East.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The digital/analog dichotomy

What's old is new.  We've all heard that before but what does it mean? My wife loves old appliances and furnishings because of the inherent quality of construction and classic style. Lapels get skinny, lapels get wide. You can buy a mobile phone headset that is simply an old school handset.

The more things get digital the more call for analog. Is that just conjecture or fact?  In the visual communications sector I can give a bit of guidance there.

It's hard to believe but in 1994 if you wanted to license a photo to use in your ad campaign you would call a stock photography agency, they would research their files -- and I mean real files, as in file cabinets --, send you transparencies that were duplicates of the photographer's original, and after you made your choice you would take it to the designer who would have it scanned at high resolution for the final print use.  That was the world before companies like PhotoDisc, Corbis, and DigitalStock began scanning images en masse and creating online libraries where you could search for what you needed on your own online.  I lived both sides of that equation, running a professional photo lab that specialized in high-quality duplicates but also taking the archive of the company that became Corbis from 5000 to 1,000,000 images in two years.   At Corbis we were writing the rules of production and storage as we went along but 13 years after I left the company my favorite project was working with David Alexander, founder of A&I in Los Angeles, as we curated the Bettmann Archive to find cool, old negatives that would make good art photos suitable for framing.  We both felt early on that as photography continued to get more digital there would be a valuable market for the real and tangible. We were right.

Spring forward to last month and the announcement of the new Samsung Galaxy S 4. It is a marvel of technology, with all of the linear improvements in speed and resolution you would expect along with some new high-profile features like eye-tracking. But what feature did Samsung announce as part of their new 13 megapixel camera? An option for physical book and magazine output powered by Blurb.

Blurb has always been a dichotomy.  A Web 2.0 company that was founded as the investment markets were heating up post-bust, we were without a doubt "new media" and ecommerce but with an initial product and strategy that was solidly analog.  That strategy was once again confirmed with the announcement that Samsung had chosen Blurb as their global partner.

With ebooks many of the best user experiences are those that most closely match analog.  At Blurb we're always looking for ways to make our ebook offering what our users need to encourage creativity and authorship. There will continue to be progress on that front, but with the new will always be strong reference to the old.  Yes, print usage will continue to diminish over the coming years and rightfully so. Physical, disposable, limited-life content like news and research should live in the digital realm.  But as we spend more and more time looking at pixels on a screen, the reflective experience will remain live and well -- and valuable.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Are Ebooks Really Books? From @Forbes


In one sense, ebooks are books in that they deliver a certain kind of information of a certain length and scope in one place using mostly (if not entirely) the written word. In another sense, ebooks are more like software.

Two important ways:

– Once the first copy of an ebook is produced, creating a nearly infinite amount of copies is free or very cheap and takes a few seconds; with books, creating that second copy takes some time and effort
– The thing the consumer gets when purchasing a book (a physical object with information contained in it) is not what most consumers gets when “buying” an ebook: license access to a piece of software with information in it

In both of those ways, ebooks are much more like software than what we generally think of as a book.

Semantics aside, why is this important?

“Digital books are triggering tectonic shifts in education,” writes Digital Book World blogger Beth Bacon. More school systems are buying electronic devices for their students and experimenting — if not embracing — ebooks and digital content in the learning process. For these schools with huge budgets to apply to the problem of educating their pupils, ebooks are much more like software.

When the school buys them, they don’t get a physical object that can be easily shared and reused; and, on the other hand, that needs to be stored and accounted for physically and maintained. What they do get is this new kind of thing that they need to manage (pieces of software) across another new kind of thing (hundreds or thousands of devices).

Read on here......

I'm off balance.

I have too much stuff in my wallet. I'm off balance and it's not because I've got so much cash that I'm carrying around. It's that I have too much plastic. But for the life of me I can't cut back. I need help.

Here's my issue. I travel a bit for work and I don't like having stuff for home and stuff for on-the-road. I'd forget to substitute and end up missing something I really need. I already have a separate card holder for of my various affinity memberships that lives in my travel backpack. I'm talking about the stuff I really need.

So what's in there?
  1. Drivers license
  2. Primary credit card (AmEx Platinum--the frequent traveler's best friend)
  3. Secondary credit card (Alaska Airlines Visa--for places that don't take AmEx, and there are quite a few)
  4. HSA Visa (to administer my health savings account--used for all prescriptions and medical expenses)
  5. Corporate AmEx (for things like company entertainment and reoccurring charges)
  6. Seattle Public Library card
  7. Health club membership card
  8. Checking account debit card
  9. Petco Pals card (the tiny version)
  10. QFC grocery card (the tiny version)
  11. AAA card (I have a 1952 International pick-up and you ever know when it may decide to quit)
  12. Car2Go membership card (when you need it you've got to have it!)
  13. Zipcar zipcard (ditto as above)
  14. Voters registration card
  15. Health insurance card
  16. Prescription insurance card
  17. Dental insurance card
  18. Auto insurance card
  19. Arboretum Foundation membership card (for discounts at nurseries)
  20. Starbucks Gold card

So you see my problem. My back hurts even thinking about it. I've thought about weaning off a couple of the credit cards but where do you leave them? I already hide cards from Barney's NY, Nordstrom and Macy's and you know what? I never have them when need them so I always have the hassle of having the clerk look up my info.

OK, maybe take out the AAA card as long as I have my number in my phone. Voter's registration? Seems un-American to not carry it. And until places like Starbucks can consistently work via mobile app scanning I'm not comfortable going all digital. So do I live with the rear-pocket weight and bulk or is there a solution? I'm open to ideas but here is my requirement. I carry three things always. My keys, my iPhone5, my wallet. I don't want a fourth.

Suggestions encouraged.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Gets BlurbPowered™

Blurb and Samsung partner to power mobile book creation.

Samsung’s pre-installed Story Album photo function allows users to instantly create professional-quality printed photo books from their Galaxy S 4 camera images.
This BlurbPowered™ partnership enables “everyday authors” to connect directly to Blurb’s global book publishing and fulfillment platform.

Print beautiful Blurb books directly from the new Samsung Galaxy S 4

Everyday moments become lasting memories with the BlurbPowered™ Story Album from Samsung.
  • Great-looking books are simple to make – create stunning layouts with the Story Album's automatic photo formatting.
  • Include captions, dates, and more and then preview and order directly from the Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
  • Choose from 7 x 7 inch softcover or hardcover – or the new 5 x 5 softcover, exclusively for Samsung Galaxy S 4 owners.
For more information please visit:

Monday, March 11, 2013

SXSW 2013: Self-Publishing, David Carr and the ‘Theology of Free’. From @PublishersWkly

Despite a year at SXSW Interactive that seems to have both a big spurt in attendance and fewer book publishing focused panels, there were still some useful discussions of the evolution of publishing in the digital era and its financial underpinnings. PW senior news editor Rachel Deahl moderated a lively discussion of the issues around self-publishing—from pricing to readers to misconceptions—while once again the New York Time’s David Carr managed to make some sense of monetization, online content and the future of getting paid.

Called Self-Publishing in the Age of E, Deahl’s panel featured bestselling self (and now conventionally) published novelist Hugh Howey, author of the bestselling sci-fi series Wool, Erin Brown, a former St. Martin’s and HarperCollins editor and now an Austin based freelance editor, and literary agent Kirby Kim of William Morris Endeavor. It didn’t take long to get to core issues around self-publishing: quality, the seemingly ever-growing sales of e-books and the role of conventional publishers at time when many authors have grasped that they have other options—and sometimes more lucrative options.

Originally published by small press, Howey quickly decided to go the self-publishing route generating an enormous word of mouth following that turned his books into e-book bestsellers on Amazon. Indeed Howey said at one point he was generating $30,000 to $40,000 a month in sales and selling hundreds of thousands of e-books. His mantra is “build your audience and the editors and agents will come.” Responding to Deahl’s question about pricing Howey didn’t hesitate: “Free is the best price,” he said, “but Amazon wouldn’t let me give them away, so I priced them at 99 cents.” In fact, he acknowledged that his book are “underpriced,” but “its all about building an audience.”

Read on here.....

Monday, March 4, 2013

Polaroid Socialmatic Camera: A Retro Instagram-Style Dream. From @RWW

If you're still mourning the death of the Polaroid camera, cheer up - your favorite bit of retro technology is being reinvented for 2014. A company called Socialmatic just reached a deal to launch a line of Polaroid-branded instant digital cameras next year - and it's playing up the natural intersection of Instagram and retro instant photography
The concept design makes the camera resemble one big Instagram logo - without the word "Instagram." There's a screen around back for editing and adding photo filters and a little slot on the side that actually prints your Insta-masterworks. The camera, to be manufactured by Polaroid partner C&A Marketing, will sport a 4.3-inch screen, Wi-Fi and 3G mobile broadband support, as well as 16GB of expandable photo storage, though the rest of the details are scarce. For more photos, you can check out Socialmatic's image gallery.
Even if the finished product (and mock-up) are a little silly, the idea sure beats Polaroid's other recent bid for relevance, which was an absurd plan to open branded brick-and-mortar photo printing stores.
Socialmatic might have an uphill battle cozying up with Instagram enough to use its logo on the project, but my fingers are crossed for anything that can bring the Instagram era full circle - and back to its humble, instant printing roots. 

Original article and more photos here

Friday, March 1, 2013

Trusted Friend Is Top Book Discovery Tool. From @galleycat

Goodreads recently asked 1,000 members of the social network publishing’s burning question: What convinced you to read the book?
They revealed the results at the Tools of Change (TOC) conference (chart embedded above). Overwhelmingly, most readers relied on real life conversations: “trusted friend,” “everybody was talking about it” and “book club” were the top answers. Here’s more about the survey:
“Discovery” is a huge topic in the publishing industry, especially as more and more books are published each year. For this presentation, we took a different tack. Rather than just ask a general “How do you discover books?” question, we went to recent readers of two popular books on Goodreads and asked: “What convinced you to read this book?” The two choices were Gone Girl (which was the most reviewed book on Goodreads in 2012 and the winner of the Mystery & Thriller category in the 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards) and The Night Circus (a debut novel from 2011, which was a finalist in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards).
Here’s the complete slideshow from the TOC presentation…

Thursday, February 28, 2013

On working remotely.

After the announcement last Friday from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer that will effectively end telecommuting at the company I've been thinking again about the pluses and minuses of the whole working out of a home office thing.  I haven't worked out of a regular office since the Spring of 2000 so I have a bit of perspective on the issue.  And it may not be what you would expect.

First off, my situation at Blurb is quite unique.  From the beginning my role was to act as liaison between Blurb, our print partners (now global), and our key suppliers.  That meant going to where the action was, either at the printing location, at a trade show, or at the supplier's headquarters.  I was not only remote from our San Francisco base but often on the road away from my Seattle home.

So the idea of moving my family to a new location only to be absent from there for much of the time is a non-starter.  I even included a provision in my employment contract with a pre-negotiated resolution if the time came that my position would be required to move away from the Northwest.

Years of first managing remote employees around the world and then being remote myself prepared me well on how to manage the sensitive situation I had entered.  To be a successful remote worker takes a bit extra when it comes to making sure it's easy to be contacted, being an expert listener and interrupter on phone conferences, and in general just sensitive to the fact that you need to adapt to others rather than vice versa.

I actually agree pretty much with Yahoo's change of policy.  There are a lot of things that don't happen well when one or more of the key people are not live in the office.  And I expect that more often than not the remote workers don't have all it takes to make this lifestyle work for both the employer and the employee.  So here are a few tips on how to work successfully as a remote based on my personal experience.

  1. Always be available.  Always. Weekends. After-hours. Get used to responding quickly. Use your mobile phone as your office phone. As I like to tell folks "It's like I'm in the same building you are but I'm on a floor the elevator doesn't go to."  I'm always reachable.
  2. Use instant messaging and Skype liberally.  Don't make folks pick up the phone to ask you simple, quick questions.  Also this is your "water-cooler" to keep up with events at the home office that you may otherwise miss.
  3. Be teleconference pro.  Don't expect that everyone will know how to set up a teleconference, especially if you are the only one remote in the meeting.  Set up an account with and always be ready to make a conference bridge on a moments notice.
  4. Be a good listener. When you are remote that means not being distracted.  Listening to proceedings of a meeting via phone, especially with a big group, is a skill.  Don't do email.  Don't start browsing the web for even a few seconds because that's when someone will say, "So Bruce, what do you think?"
  5. Learn how and when to interrupt. Just get used to it, you won't get the chance to chime in with your pithy remarks anymore. But when you need to be heard be ready to jump in, talk for a few seconds and briefly stop to make sure your aren't talking over someone else, and get right to your point.
  6. Working remotely can hinder your upward mobility. It's not impossible to move up the corporate ladder while working outside of the main office but it's a much tougher task.
  7. If you work out of your home office make that place "work only". You need to separate work and home life.  If you don't have a private room to use figure out a way to separate how you interact with your space for work versus non-work.
  8. "Walk home from work."  I'll credit my wife for this one.  When I'm in Seattle we are both at-home workers.  When it's time to end the work day we get outside and walk for a half-hour.  It makes a clean break from work.
  9. Never get up and go right to work.  I've worked out of my home office for 13 years and I have never got out of bed and headed directly to my home office.  I always start my day as if I was leaving the house with a shower and shave.  And, please, don't work in your pajamas or sweats.
  10. Know when you need to be at headquarters.  This is a subtle skill but it's really important.  Have your finger firmly on the pulse of what is going on at the home office and trust your gut when you feel you need to be there live.
  11. Don't rub it in.  A lot of folks would love to have the option of working from home but most jobs are not best suited to do so.  So don't make a big deal of it. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Stock Photography, Updated for the Art Set. From @TheCut

For Marco Roso, an editor of the post-Internet lifestyle publication called DIS Magazine, stock photography has become an art form — albeit one lacking imagination: "Over the last five or ten years, these [images] have been influencing our culture in terms of everybody borrowing them," he said. And Lauren Boyle, a second DIS editor, noted that these images aren't just purchased to use in ad campaigns; in some cases, they guide the entire creative process. "Before [they] even decide, This is the girl we're going to shoot, this is the look, this is the location, and the mood, they're sourcing from stock images. It's constantly recycling the same thing," she added. A few weeks ago, Boyle peered behind her at the sets occupying the main room of the Suzanne Geiss Company gallery, where she and Roso had wrapped a shoot for, their new stock photography site. To her left, models in shapewear followed boxes of pizza into a crowded hair, makeup, and dressing room.

DIS and friends — including artists Harry Griffin, Frank Benson, and Ian Cheng — rotated in and out of the Soho space for three weeks, along with passersbys, to produce enough material for a fully functioning stock-photo site, which launched February 18 (the show closed Saturday). "The New Wholesome," one of the first shoots, directed by (two more) DIS editors, Solomon Chase and David Toro, was based on taking the images a person would get upon searching the word wholesome, like "vegetables, appliances, mothers, families," Chase said, and "mixing them in different ways. We did wholesome-looking Asian women making out on top of a washing machine with a lot of cash."

True to stock-photo form, Chase made nearly identical pictures, but kept swapping models, so the same images would be available with, say, a white woman or a black man: "There's a boy with long hair and a couple of black women who were bald ... Like who BIC'd their heads and they had wigs and wigs off." He went on, "In each situation, it's applicable to different clients in a way, even though probably a lot of them aren't applicable to anyone." DIS's "Smiling at Art" plays on the stock-photo trope of people smiling at art, while Benson's "iChiaroscuro" revises the light/dark contrasts of chiaroscuro using iPads. Shawn Maximo's "Neighboring Interests" portrays familiar scenarios (like falling asleep in class) with surreal aesthetics. 

Now that DISImages is online (with a comprehensive search and tagging system), Boyle hopes the photos will be bought and downloaded as art, and also to accompany editorial pieces and in the commercial world. "It takes away that elitism of artists creating images because anyone can buy one," she said. "It could be sold a hundred times, so it's infinite, indefinite." Click ahead to see some of DIS's new stock options.

America’s Long Fashion’s Night Out Epidemic Finally Over
 Take a look at the slideshow here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Turn the Publishing Industry Upside Down, with Seth Godin. From @motleyfool

The video below is taken from an interview that Motley Fool analyst Brendan Byrnes recently had with Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception. Godin is also a talented public speaker, marketing guru, blogger, entrepreneur, and respected thought leader.

Seth's forward-thinking and contrarian views are critical considerations for finding success in life, business, and investing.

It's the same approach our own chief investment officer, Andy Cross, took when selecting The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013. I invite you to uncover his market-beating thinking in this new free report. Just click here now for instant access

Friday, February 8, 2013

LinkedIn eyes future as professional publishing hub. From @cnet

LinkedIn spent much of 2012 transforming itself into a place where workers could stay and play a while -- a strategy that paid off handsomely. But the year ahead will be all about making the site the preferred destination for professional content, a transition that could make Wall Street's darling even more bewitching.

The professional network today reported earnings that blew the Street's socks off, so to speak. LinkedIn's stock is trading up close to 10 percent on the after-hours market because the company floored everyone with fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 35 cents, revenue of $303.6 million, and net income of $11.5 million.
Then in a call with investors and analysts, CEO Jeff Weiner upped the company's long-term sex appeal with this statement: "One of the things that we're increasingly focused on in 2013 is going to be the opportunity to support content marketing."

Wait, what? What's sexy about content marketing, you ask? Money -- and potentially lots of it.

Read on here.....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A complete photography guide on iOS. From @TUAW

The Photo Guide bills itself as the most comprehensive guide to photography on the App Store and I am inclined to agree. This US$4.99 app is a 250 MB download stuffed with information on all aspects of digital photography. The guide covers cameras, from point-and-shoot to DSLRs, with plenty of info on the capabilities of the cameras built into each iOS device. There's information on filters, composition, HDR photography, lighting, you name it.

Aside from all that great information, The Photo Guide also has several nice features. For example, there are many sample photos that you can tap to enlarge and examine closely. The app keeps track of what you've read and what you haven't, and features a very comprehensive search function. As in any photo book, there are a lot of technical terms. Those are hyperlinked to definitions and explanations.
The app deals with cameras and shooting more than post processing. If The Photo Guide is missing anything, I would have liked to see some videos demonstrating various concepts in the 'How-To' section.

While this guide is aimed at beginning photographers, there is much useful information for the more seasoned amateur.We've looked at other guides here at TUAW, such as Master your DSLR Camera which is $4.99 and there is the free Photography 101 that includes some nice videos.
I don't hesitate to recommend The Photo Guide to digital photographers. It took a lot of work to put this information together in one place. The photo examples are excellent, and the text is concise and clear.

The Photo Guide requires iOS 5 or greater and is optimized for the iPhone 5. It is a universal app, and works happily on most modern iOS devices.

See a gallery of screen shots here...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is the Perfect e-Reader Screen Size? From @Goodereader

During the last few years we have seen a number of e-readers hit the market in various sizes. Many companies tend to offer different devices to boost their portfolio and cater to a wider market. With so many different sized screens out there, providing unique experiences, what size is the best?

Read on and vote here....

Monday, January 21, 2013

Considering Self-Publishing? Don't Bother, Unless You Follow Guy Kawasaki's Advice. From @kathycaprino and @forbes

Recently, I had the enormous pleasure of chatting with Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of, founding partner of Garage Technology Ventures, and former Chief Evangelist for Apple.  Guy is the author of ten books, including Enchantment, Reality Check, and Rules for Revolutionaries.  If you haven’t followed Guy’s writing and blog, you’re truly missing out.  He’s utterly brilliant, wise, iconoclastic, brutally frank, and downright hilarious.

And if you’re considering self-publishing a book, make the first resource you read Guy’s new book APE: Author- Publisher – Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book co-written by Shawn Welch.

I don’t recommend resources lightly, but as one who worked in traditional publishing for years and had my own book Breakdown, Breakthrough published traditionally, I believe Guy’s new book is a true winner, full of practical, realistic solutions, strategies and tips for self-publishers.

In 2011 the publisher of Guy’s New York Times bestseller, Enchantment, could not fill an order for 500 ebook copies of the book. Because of this experience, Guy self-published his next book, What the Plus!: Google+ For the Rest of Us and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process.  He decided to learn as much as he could about successful self-publishing, and share his knowledge with all those who want to venture into the self-publishing arena.

I asked Guy about the process of self-publishing, what he’s learned from it, and also what makes it worthwhile to write a book in the first place.

1)   Why write a book in the first place?

2)  Your karmic scoreboard 

3) Artisanal publishing  (vs. self-publishing) – the new trend in publishing

4)  How to know if your book is worthwhile?

5)  Are you ready to engage in artisanal publishing?

Find the answers here..... 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why Printed Books Will Never Die. From @catone and @mashable

Measured en masse, the stack of "books I want to read" that sits precariously on the edge of a built-in bookshelf in my dining room just about eclipses 5,000 pages. The shelf is full to bursting with titles I hope to consume at some indeterminate point in the future.

It would be a lot easier to manage if I just downloaded all those books to an iPad or Kindle. None are hard to find editions that would be unavailable in a digital format, and a few are recent hardcover releases, heavy and unwieldy.

But there's something about print that I can't give up. There's something about holding a book in your hand and the visceral act of physically turning a page that, for me at least, can't be matched with pixels on a screen.

Yet the writing appears to be on the wall: E-books are slowly subsuming the printed format as the preferred vehicle on which people read books. E-books topped print sales for the first time in 2011, a trend that continued into 2012. Just this month, Bexar County, Texas announced plans for the nation's first electronic-only library. A recent study from Scholastic found that the percentage of children who have read an e-book has nearly doubled since 2010 to almost half of all kids aged 9 to 17, while the number who say they'll continue to read books in print instead of electronically declined from 66% to 58%.

The hits keep coming.

For those who prefer their books printed in ink on paper, that sounds depressing. But perhaps there is reason to hope that e-books and print books could have a bright future together, because for all the great things e-books accomplish — convenience, selection, portability, multimedia — there are still some fundamental qualities they will simply never possess.

Books have physical beauty.

Books have provenance.

Printed books are collectible.

Books are nostalgic.

Read on here.....




Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Norman Jean Roy Thinks Digital Ruined Fashion Photography. From @TheCut

Photographer Norman Jean Roy shoots for two of the world’s most high-profile clients, Vogue and Vanity Fair. And whether on set with Hilary Swank and Joan Smalls or producing more personal, socially conscious work with the Somaly Mam Foundation, Jean Roy captures engaging, highly memorable shots of his subjects.

Though primarily identified as a fashion photographer, Jean Roy describes his work as portraiture. "A great portrait needs to first grab you and then let you sit in there and continue to draw you in. [Whereas] with a lot of fashion photography, it really hits you hard and then it slowly fades away," he told the Cut. "To me, that's the fundamental difference between a great photograph and a great picture." When we stopped by Jean Roy's West Village studio to speak about sixteen of his most iconic works, he added, "It's a real wrestling match always [having to] work and make a living in one of, quite possibly, the most self-absorbed industries in the world." In the slideshow ahead, Jean Roy talks about making portraits of George W. Bush, Cate Blanchett, Florence Welch, and others.

What has been the result of a more democratized world of photography?
If you look back even fifteen years ago, fashion photography was fun, lively, and full of humanity. I'm hoping to God the younger generation coming out now is going to be able to recapture that. It's where creativity lives. It's certainly not in the digital process, and it's certainly not in the team effort. The team effort works when all of the people come together in assembling an image.

And you usually shoot on film.
When you shoot film, you don't have the luxury of seeing every single image coming out. And because of that, you stay very focused. Everything [becomes] hyperreal, so when you get it, you get it another time, and another time after that just to make sure you got it. As a result, you have a much better version of, I think, the moment. That's much more real, honest, and broken, too.

Part of a perfect image is that it is imperfect. With digital photography, it's very easy to perfect the image. You kill the image when you perfect it. You basically suck the life out of it. An image, to me, lives when you can look at it and it's just slightly off. Like, when you put a primary red and primary green together, you have that vibrancy between the two. A great photograph, not a great picture, needs to have that vibration. It would be very easy to take any one of my photographs and I can tell you where I could have fixed this and fixed that.

Read the entire interview with James Lim here

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why do e-books cost so much? Here's the answer, and why e-book prices may be falling in the future. From @CSMonitor

Here’s a question I got on our Facebook page. Maybe you’ve wondered about it too.

Why do your Kindle books cost more than a paperback copy? The Kindle version of Life or Debt on Amazon costs $9.73, but they’re selling the paperback for as little as $6.00. Since e-books should cost much less to produce, why do they cost more to buy? This seems unfair, especially when you’re writing about how to save money to pay off debt.
- Ted

The first time I attempted to answer this question, I quoted an article called "Why Do eBooks Cost So Much? (A Publisher’s Perspective)" by Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Here’s how he justified the high cost of e-books…

…physical manufacturing and distribution expenses cost less than you think. Some people assume that these two items represent the bulk of a book’s costs. They don’t. Together, they account for about 12 percent of a physical book’s retail price. So eliminating these costs doesn’t do much to reduce the overall cost structure.

Even if this is accurate, shouldn’t the price of e-books be 12 percent lower than physical copies? No, he insists, because there are other costs associated exclusively with e-books, like formatting them to fit e-readers. He goes on to say…

“The elimination of manufacturing and distribution costs are being offset by retail price reductions and the additional costs I have outlined. The good news is that we are making about the same margins, regardless of whether we sell the book in physical form or digital.”

Despite this publisher’s claim, the reason e-books are as expensive, or even more expensive, than traditional books isn’t because they cost as much to produce and distribute. Anyone who produces anything digital that was formerly physical knows digital is cheaper. A website is cheaper than a newspaper. A digital version of a video costs less to deliver than a tape. An e-book costs less than a physical book. Anyone suggesting otherwise, like this publishing executive, probably has a dog in the fight.

If you want a single answer to why e-books are more expensive, it’s in the last few words of this publishing CEO’s explanation: ”The good news is, we are making about the same margins, regardless of whether we sell the book in physical form or digital.”

The lion’s share of the retail price of a book, whether in digital or physical form, is going to the publisher. And what’s good news for him is bad news for you. Want cheaper books? Eliminate the fattest fingers in the pie – the publisher’s.

Read on here....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

They prefer print: E-books yet to rack up big sales at college bookstores. From @jconline

The start of the Purdue University spring semester brings with it the ringing and beeps from cash registers tallying up a major expense for students — textbooks.

Though some students could slash their bills — possibly in half — if they opted for e-books, which are basically downloadable texts viewable on a computer or handheld device, the majority still chose the traditional paper tome.

Chemistry major Megan Moore said Tuesday while shopping at University Bookstore in West Lafayette that even in this digital age, she likes using highlighter pens, bending pages and writing notes in heavy, hardcover texts. Moore bought a digital text last semester and is certain it was also her last.

“I like to be able to flip through it,” she said. “And I want to keep the book. For some of these classes, especially if it’s your major, you are going to want the books so you can go back and check something. You might need it next year. It costs more but it’s worth it.”

Read on here.....

Friday, January 4, 2013

The e-book had its moment, but sales are slowing. Readers still want to turn those crisp, bound pages. From @WSJ

A 2012 survey revealed that just 16% of Americans have actually purchased an e-book.

Lovers of ink and paper, take heart. Reports of the death of the printed book may be exaggerated.

Ever since Amazon introduced its popular Kindle e-reader five years ago, pundits have assumed that the future of book publishing is digital. Opinions about the speed of the shift from page to screen have varied. But the consensus has been that digitization, having had its way with music and photographs and maps, would in due course have its way with books as well. By 2015, one media maven predicted a few years back, traditional books would be gone.

Half a decade into the e-book revolution, though, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.

How attached are Americans to old-fashioned books? Just look at the results of a Pew Research Center survey released last month. The report showed that the percentage of adults who have read an e-book rose modestly over the past year, from 16% to 23%. But it also revealed that fully 89% of regular book readers said that they had read at least one printed book during the preceding 12 months. Only 30% reported reading even a single e-book in the past year.

What's more, the Association of American Publishers reported that the annual growth rate for e-book sales fell abruptly during 2012, to about 34%. That's still a healthy clip, but it is a sharp decline from the triple-digit growth rates of the preceding four years.

The initial e-book explosion is starting to look like an aberration. The technology's early adopters, a small but enthusiastic bunch, made the move to e-books quickly and in a concentrated period. Further converts will be harder to come by. A 2012 survey by Bowker Market Research revealed that just 16% of Americans have actually purchased an e-book and that a whopping 59% say they have "no interest" in buying one.

Meanwhile, the shift from e-readers to tablets may also be dampening e-book purchases. Sales of e-readers plunged 36% in 2012, according to estimates from IHS iSuppli, while tablet sales exploded. When forced to compete with the easy pleasures of games, videos and Facebook on devices like the iPad and the Kindle Fire, e-books lose a lot of their allure. The fact that an e-book can't be sold or given away after it's read also reduces the perceived value of the product.

Beyond the practical reasons for the decline in e-book growth, something deeper may be going on. We may have misjudged the nature of the electronic book.

From the start, e-book purchases have skewed disproportionately toward fiction, with novels representing close to two-thirds of sales. Digital best-seller lists are dominated in particular by genre novels, like thrillers and romances. Screen reading seems particularly well-suited to the kind of light entertainments that have traditionally been sold in supermarkets and airports as mass-market paperbacks.

These are, by design, the most disposable of books. We read them quickly and have no desire to hang onto them after we've turned the last page. We may even be a little embarrassed to be seen reading them, which makes anonymous digital versions all the more appealing. The "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon probably wouldn't have happened if e-books didn't exist.

Readers of weightier fare, including literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, have been less inclined to go digital. They seem to prefer the heft and durability, the tactile pleasures, of what we still call "real books"—the kind you can set on a shelf.

E-books, in other words, may turn out to be just another format—an even lighter-weight, more disposable paperback. That would fit with the discovery that once people start buying digital books, they don't necessarily stop buying printed ones. In fact, according to Pew, nearly 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical volumes. The two forms seem to serve different purposes.

Having survived 500 years of technological upheaval, Gutenberg's invention may withstand the digital onslaught as well. There's something about a crisply printed, tightly bound book that we don't seem eager to let go of.

—Mr. Carr is the author of "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains."

Original article can be found here......

"In the end, who holds the content that you value?” B&N's Strategy Is Questioned as Holiday Nook Sales Decline. From @NYTimes


For Barnes & Noble, the digital future is not what it used to be.
After a year spent signaling its commitment to build its business through its Nook division, Barnes & Noble on Thursday announced disappointing holiday sales figures, with steep declines that underscored the challenge it faces in transforming from its traditional retail format.
Retail sales from the company’s bookstores and its Web site,, decreased 10.9 percent from the comparable nine-week holiday period a year earlier, to $1.2 billion, the company reported. More worrisome for the long-term future of the company, sales in the Nook unit that includes e-readers, tablets, digital content and accessories decreased 12.6 percent over the same period, to $311 million.
“They are not selling the devices, they are not selling books and traffic is down,” said Mike Shatzkin, the founder and chief executive of Idea Logical, a consultant to publishers. “I’m looking for an optimistic sign and not seeing one. It is concerning.”
The results, covering a period that ended Dec. 29, are a sobering development for the nation’s largest bookstore chain. The declines occurred during what is supposed to be peak buying season. And the Nook unit’s sagging fortunes came despite a 13 percent increase in sales of digital content, suggesting that it is the tepid demand for Nook devices that is dragging down the unit’s performance.
Read on here....