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EFI Encourages Employees to Participate in New 'HomeShare' Work-From-Home Program

FOSTER CITY, Calif. - EFI, a world leader in customer-focused printing innovation, today announced the establishment of the EFI HomeShare remote employment program, which gives employees the flexibility of working from home combined with the traditional collaboration and socialization of a traditional office environment. Based on the popular 'RideShare' commuter program, HomeShare lets employees open up their homes to dozens of coworkers living in the same area.

"We closely followed the recent debate regarding the productivity impact of employees working from home, taking into account the important balance between work environment flexibility and in-person team work, and I'm glad that we found a way for employees to get the best of both worlds," said EFI CEO Guy Gecht. "We often talk about getting to know our customers better, but we don't always develop the ability for our team to get close to each other."

If an employee wants to work remotely they just log into the company intranet, select a HomeShare location, and "go to work" at their coworker's home. "I found that when I was at home I was thinkingand talking about work a lot anyway," said Gecht. "So the fact that 20 of my co-workers are in my living room everyday when I wake up is rather convenient."

"I feel like we can collaborate a lot more in a shared work-from-home setting," said Thomas Foolery, an EFI employee who lives near EFI's Foster City headquarters. Under the HomeShare program, Foolery will commute to a co-worker's home in Oakland, across the San Francisco Bay. "This new program will give me all of the advantages of working remotely, as well as the daily interactions with my peers and the ability to get to know them and their families a lot better."

EFI's HomeShare program begins on April 1st, 2013. EFI will provide a special program launch kit that will include, among other things, recipes for employees to prepare meals together.

Giant Asterisk Headed Toward Earth

LEXINGTON, KY - A giant asterisk is hurtling toward earth. NASA predicts that impact will occur on April 1 somewhere near WhatTheyThink headquarters.

A mere asteroid estimated at 55 feet in diameter exploded on Feb. 15 over Chelyabinsk, Russia, generating shock waves that shattered windows and damaged buildings.

This new object is more dangerous than a bullet. And even more than a dingbat. This new cosmic visitor could wipe out all footnotes and set academic publishing ahead by decades.

We live in an active solar system with potentially hazardous objects passing through our neighborhood with surprising frequency. NASA says the most deadly is the Comic Sans asterisk. The much maligned font will now get its revenge.

NASA has found and is tracking about 95 percent of the largest objects flying near Earth, those that are 2,000 points or larger in diameter.

"An asterisk of that size could plausibly end civilization," White House science advisor Dr Basal Metabolism told legislators. For the first time in history, the earth could be wiped out by a glyph.

Congress takes up DOPA

WASHINGTON, DC - In light of the Supreme Court's efforts to finally resolve the issues around DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), Congress is now looking at the next big issue they can take on, since they seem to have run out of important things to talk about, without upsetting constituents or their own fund raising efforts.

We are happy to be the first to report that DOPA, or the Defense of Print Act will be one of the next hot pieces of legislation to make it to Congress. According to Julie Riccio, Director of Government Affairs for the Printing Industries of America, "I, along with other lobbyists, was approached by the Speaker of the House, who was frantically looking for non controversial bills to bring to his caucus and ultimately to the floor of the House". After considerable discussion, the Speaker was able to finally whittle down the list of suggested bills to include DOPA.

According to the information leaked to this reporter, DOPA will mandate that any electronic form or publication produced by the government for publication in eMedia is also made available in print in large quantities. The act calls for the building of a new warehouse in central Nevada to store these documents. It is rumored that the site will be in Yucca Mountain, to ensure that the printed documents are protected from theft. This will be a real boon to the printing industry.

"We are very excited to get the attention of the Congress at this important time in the history of print", says Riccio. This new effort should ensure that despite the projections of Dr. Joseph Webb, Director of Economics and Research for WhatTheyThink, and respected industry curmudgeon, that print will now grow to levels not seen since the 1990's.

Study Proves Print Buyers Strongly Prefer Getting Equipment Lists with Stapled Business Cards Left with Front Desk than Any Other Medium

In a stunning new study from the Print Sales Performance Study Group, it was shown that print buyers strongly preferred getting equipment lists from printing sales representatives than any other form of advertising. Furthermore, stapling a business card to the list left at the client's front desk was by far the strongest means of distribution.

The results of this study strongly refute reports about use of social media, e-commerce, and Web sites as pushed by industry pundits. The results also contradict industry common wisdom that "consultative sales" was a needed shift for future success.

The director of the Print Sales Performance Study Group, Tabitha ("Tab") U. Lader, said "the survey was unequivocal. You can't dispute the data. Numbers don't lie." Ms. Lader said that the survey was done "over lunch" at a "special meeting" of print sales representatives with a minimum of 30 years sales experience. "The six of us took a poll, dropped out the meaningless responses, and tabulated the results. We figured our results were just as good as any of the other stuff you see around out there, especially that Dr. Joe crap. Everyone knows that guy's data analysis 'software' is just a dartboard and a Magic 8 Ball and he just makes it up as he goes along."

New Ream500 from GM Runs on Paper; 87 No-Emission Miles Per Duplex Sheet

General Motors this week announced a new engine that runs on office paper without producing harmful emissions. The engine includes a shredding mechanism that uses the energy from turning rear axles. The paper is then vaporized using a proprietary patented process that is emission-free. The system works best with two-sided prints.

There have been problems getting consistent feeds of the paper into the new engine. A spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA) said that driver assistance services from their affiliated stations will now include paper jam clearance. "Every company had a person whose only notable skill seemed to be how to figure out where a paper jam was. In our Wichita office, it was Carol from accounting. Now it turns out that Carol will have a new career riding with some of our automotive specialists to deliver roadside assistance. Carol is looking forward to getting out from her cubicle where she spent most of the day commenting on YouTube cat videos on her Facebook page and helping our members in this special way."

The idea of a car that runs on paper is confusing to proponents of paperless initiatives. A spokesman for Google said, "Our encouragement for paperless offices may have been a mistake. Our research team is now looking at software that will prevent search results from being viewed on screen. All online searches will print out at least 20 pages of search results. Imagine! A 10-sheet, 20-page search result printout yields 1,740 emission-free miles."

Lobbyists in Washington are already active to be sure that corn producing states will still receive ethanol subsidies. "Paper should have ethanol for the good of the country," said a source close to a Congressional subcommittee member.

Plans from GM were revealed in a press conference yesterday. The system runs on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper only; a version that ran on 8-1/2 x 14-inch paper ran into legal problems. A European design, called the Ream500-A4 would be released at a later time, and an 11 x 17-inch SUV design is currently in development. The company said that it was investigating if the car could be adapted to run on credit card and bank statements. "After we've spent all that money saving the banks, the least they could do is to supply the American people with paper statements again."

Other automotive manufacturers are keeping an eye on GM's progress. Toyota has already released a prototype of a compact sedan with a rice paper-based engine code-named "The Pulpmobile" which it plans to show at the International Auto Show next January. Mercedes is rumored to be working on a model that runs only on coated card stock. Yugo is also looking to get back into the market by developing a model that runs on tissue paper and pizza boxes, although will be limited to 50 mph (or 80 km/h). China is very interested in the technology as a way to cut its legendary air pollution. A spokesman for the Chinese government says, "We will have the best design in the marketplace once we figure out how to adapt someone else's design and stay ahead of the U.S. patent attorneys."

AARP to Cosponsor Young Print Professionals Network

In order to address the growing need to attract young people into the printing industry, a group of industry leaders has founded the Young Print Professionals Network (YPPN), which will provide news, information, resources, and networking opportunities. The group has attracted some notable sponsors in and out of the industry. "We're proud to announce that AARP has signed on as a Gold Level sponsor," says YPPN's founder Larry Oldman, 56. "To keep our industry thriving and bring in new ideas, we really need to appeal to youth. The YPPN's outreach programs will attempt to draw those 50- and 60-year-olds we need to stay vital."

"Having the AARP sign on is a great boon to us," says VP of Outreach Bertram Elder, 62. "Access to their membership gives us a whole new potential pool of future industry leaders, the new blood-and hips-we desperately need. We need to baldly-er, I mean boldly-go where no trade group has gone before."

Not everyone in the industry is on board with the idea. "I think it's childish," said Dwayne Parrie, principal of Albany, Ga.'s Ye Olde Print Shoppe.

The first-ever annual meeting of the YPPN will take place in conjunction with Print 13. "We're going to have prominent keynote speakers, a cocktail reception, and drawings for prizes," says Oldman. Such as? "We haven't decided yet," says Oldman with a shrug. "Depends."

AARP's sponsorship only applies to the lower 48 state and Alaska, as Hawaii is not in continent.

Going Green to Feature All-Recycled Content

In an effort to practice what we preach (and vice versa), effective April 1, 2013, WhatTheyThink's Going Green environmental sustainability blog will include 100% recycled content.

Says Going Green Managing Editor Richard Romano, "Contrary to what the statements printed on your electric bill would have you believe, electronic media have a substantial negative environmental impact. Pixels are not pure! So by reusing those pixels, we will be doing our part to make our own electronic media more sustainable."

A recent study published in the academic journal Bark & Bristles found that electronic content that contains at least 50% post-consumer waste has much less of an impact on the environment than "virgin" electronic content.

"If you look at the data, it shows that virgin pixels use much more of the random, indeterminate units we invented for this study than does recycled electronic content," says Arthur Tree of Seattle's Rainforest University and Fair Trade Coffee Emporium, the lead researcher.

"Since Romano's blog posts are a 100% waste, this move by Going Green can only help the environment that much more," added one anonymous commenter.

In a related story, Seattle's Whole Computers all-natural electronic equipment superstore has announced its new initiative to recover, reuse, and recycle used pixels. "We discovered that you can put Silly Putty on your computer screen and peel off used pixels," said Dotty Matrix, founder of Whole Computers. "If you save the putty and bring it in to our special Used Pixel Recycling kiosks, we'll give you a 10% off your next purchase of any of our organic toner or inkjet inks."

Georgia Carwash Installs First Drive-Through Wide-Format Printer

Sudz, an automotive service station and carwash based in Albany, Ga., has developed the new PrintDriver 1000, a system that converts traditional carwash equipment into a high-speed wide-format solution ideal for the fast-growing vehicle graphics market. With the new system, no longer do vehicle graphics installers have to output on vinyl or other materials and then laboriously cut and apply them to the vehicle.

"You just drive right in and it prints right on the car," says Jeff Waterman, owner of LA Sudz. "The ink is fast-drying, and you've got a fully imaged vehicle in the time it would take to get a carwash."

Print quality in Best Quality mode is 1440x720 dpi. "We excel at printing fine detail because, well, we are the auto detailing experts."

Drivers hand the carwash attendant a thumb drive or other removable media containing the file to be output, which is then uploaded to carwash's RIP and processed while the interior is being vacuumed. The car then moves through the system just like any other carwash. "We can also do undercoating, but hand waxing is extra."

The only drawback to the system is that after getting the vehicle printed, it inevitably rains.

Sudz OEMed the printheads from SmallHeads, Inc., whose printheads were also used by an equipment manufacturer that recently beta-tested a system for imaging directly on human flesh for semi-permanent tattoos. The printheads were installed in a retrofitted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device, and as the mechanism rotated around the imagee, an image of his or her choosing-a mermaid, a heart that says "mother," a red dragon-was printed in under three minutes. The non-impact device replaced an earlier digital tattooing system that used traditional tattoo needles installed in the MRI device.

"The carnage was unimaginable," said Ricardo "Tattoo" Villechaize, president of SmallHeads. "The inkjet approach is far superior."

Meanwhile, Sudz is also leveraging its drive-through printer to offer a new service: customized car printing. Consumers have become familiar with the discounted carwash offers that are presented on a gas pump's display as they are filling up their tanks. Sudz's pump displays now read "Carwash? Yes/No" as well as "Mural? Photo? Designer Logo?" Selecting Yes, customers are offered choices through Sudz's relationship with autografix.com. Customers can also have their drivers license picture enlarged and printed on their car's front hood via a connection to state DMV offices. "Forty-eight states have agreed," says William Barty, VP of marketing, "but we're still waiting for results from Florida, and we just heard about some extra fees that some legislators in Illinois are looking for."

Imagesetter Found Dead at 21; Was Last of Its Kind

Biologists from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) this week announced the death of what they believe was the last imagesetter left in the wild. Nicknamed "Lonesome George," it was discovered four years ago in the prepress department of Galapagos Printing, an Albany, Ga.-based commercial shop. Lonesome George had been acquired by the company in 1992, and led a healthy, satisfying, and productive life throughout the 1990s, until the company acquired first computer-to-plate, and, more recently, digital printing equipment. Since 2004, George has languished in a dusty corner until the RIT biologists visited the shop in 2009, and sought to protect the mighty beast. Over the next four years, they made many ultimately unsuccessful attempts to have the imagesetter mate.

Lonesome George was believed to have been about 21 years old at the time of his death, not particularly old for printing and prepress equipment-experts expected him to live for another 15 or 20 years.

"It is a very sad story for all of us," said Phil M. Setter, a national park ranger, guide, and head of Galapagos' prepress department. "We were expecting to have George another 20 years, but he ultimately succumbed to the loss of his ecosystem, and the difficulty in procuring consumables." Mr. Setter gazed sadly at George's now-empty corner and the heart-shaped box of film that the RIT biologists had hoped would entice him to produce an heir with a female platesetter. "It feels kind of empty."

Galapagos Printing plans to investigate the cause of death. Lonesome George's death serves as a reminder that it is so important to protect printing and prepress equipment, large and small, digital and analog, in a world where up to 100 models a day are pushed into extinction.

Printers Get Cost-Effective Approach to Participate in Growing 3D Market

Commercial printers have been very curious about the 3D market, its opportunities, and the technologies. The process of replicating 3D images does not have to be limited to digital media, but certain analog approaches may offer a cost-effective method that fits easily into traditional workflows with limited waste and startup training. There is also a hybrid approach, where a digital image is created, a prototype is output using additive 3D printers, and then further copies are made using the less expensive analog approach.

A video of a manufacturing prototype of the device can be seen on YouTube

The company plans to display the product at Print 13 in Chicago in the new "VaporWare Now!" Pavilion

One of the limitations of 3D printing technology is that the output items are rigid and not flexible. "An analog approach has great benefits here," said CEO Matt Elle. "With our products you can adjust the flexibility and texture of the output."" The company has released a commercial about the product that is being used with focus groups.

"Response has been very encouraging."

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