For printers, the most iconic exemplar of ink on paper is the $100 bill, the piece of folding money that bears the portrait of their patron saint. The scientist in Benjamin Franklin surely would have appreciated all of the technology that’s been embedded in the latest version of the C-note, unveiled by the U.S. Treasury Department last month. These features are designed to thwart counterfeiting, a crime to which the $100 note is especially prone as the nation’s most heavily circulated unit of currency. Difficult-to-reproduce images on the new bill move, morph, and change color as the note is handled. Besides flummoxing would-be providers of funny money, says the Treasury Department, the features make it possible to tell at a glance whether a bill is authentic. Details and tutorials can be found here. An article in The Wall Street Journal reported that the new treatment has raised the unit cost of producing a $100 bill from 8 cents to 11.8 cents. The Washington Post has profiled the AlphaGraphics shop in Alexandria, VA, as a case study of what can happen to current workers in a jobless economic recovery. The article notes that because a general rise in productivity is keeping hiring down as the recession ebbs, those with jobs are obliged to work harder if they want to keep them. At AlphaGraphics Old Town, says the story, this has meant longer hours, more duties, and less home life for the people who continue to work there after layoffs trimmed the roster from 12 employees to eight. “When we did have to downsize, the people that remained were the ones who could wear more than one hat,” the shop’s preflight technician is quoted as saying. But, according to the story, nobody faces more pressure to perform than owner Jay Thomas, whose workday often begins at 3:30 a.m. Thomas is quoted as saying that even though sales per employee have improved by as much as 7% since 2008, business conditions still don’t justify adding more staff. New to the graphics industry in Oregon is Paul Clements, proprietor of Inklings Sign Design in the southeastern town of Burns. Clements, who lost a job he’d held for 16 years when a local factory closed, used his severance pay to buy sign printing equipment. For six months, he also funded his start-up with the help of a $300 weekly stipend from the State’s Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), which fosters entrepreneurship among Oregonians formerly employed by industries that have moved overseas. (The program is part of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.) Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) made Clements’s story an installment of its Rural Economy Project, a series on how the state’s small businesses and communities have coped with the recession. The report, which includes a slide show, notes the strict eligibility requirements that Clements had to meet: “the state wants you to come from a town where unemployment is high; it wants you to have a higher education; to be older; and to have lost work in a dying industry.” The Daily Times of Salisbury, MD, reported last Friday’s opening of what it said is the newest business venture in the Eastern Shore town of Princess Anne: the Print & Ship facility operated by U.S. Navy Veterans Bryan and Lisa Bailey. The 1,200-sq.-ft. shop, the first tenant of a new shopping plaza in Princess Anne, has a digital color press and an assortment of binding and finishing equipment. Besides printing, services include packing, shipping, mailbox rental, bulk mailing, and graphic design. The story says that the Baileys began planning their independent, non-franchise venture two years ago upon retirement from the Navy. Bryan Bailey is quoted as saying that Print & Ship is the only company of its kind south of Salisbury on the Eastern Shore. The university in-plant that printed the original United Nations charter in 1945 has closed. UC Berkeley’s 136-year-old printing services division in Emeryville, CA, shut down on April 30, the victim, the school said, of trends that “have taken a great toll on our operations and have negatively impacted our financial viability.” A Contra Costa Times story that appeared a few days prior to the closure said that the in-plant was running a deficit of $736,000 and had lost up to 15% of its business to online print providers. Also cited were declining run lengths and a general shift of academic content from hard-copy to electronic form, including books and other publications now available on e-reading devices. Haron Abrahimi, director of printing services, is quoted as saying that the university had planned to charge the in-plant $15,000 per month in rent after selling its building. The work now will be outsourced, and about 40 people have lost their jobs. SHORT TAKES: AmeriSign & Graphics, Pewaukee, WI, was named one of the Top 10 Small Businesses of the Year by the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce, reports BizTimes Milwaukee...Susan Hausmann, owner of Fruitridge Printing in Sacramento, CA, is quoted in a Sacramento Business Journal story about the increasing difficulty of obtaining state contracts for printing and other services...In Denton, TX, the Denton Record-Chronicle reports the absorption of North Texas Mailing Services by Eagle Press, which has transferred the acquired company’s mailing operations to its 10,000-sq.-ft. headquarters.