MacInTouch Reader Reports

Mac Marginalization: Miscellaneous

Apr. 9, 2009
Apr. 10, 2009
Apr. 11, 2009
Apr. 25, 2009
Apr. 27, 2009
Apr. 29, 2009
Apr. 30, 2009
May. 9, 2009
May. 11, 2009
May. 12, 2009
May. 13, 2009
May. 14, 2009
Jul. 20, 2009
Jul. 21, 2009
Oct. 14, 2009
Mar. 16, 2010
Mar. 17, 2010
Mar. 18, 2010
Mar. 19, 2010
May. 20, 2010
Jul. 27, 2010
Jul. 28, 2010
Jul. 29, 2010
Aug. 3, 2010
Aug. 4, 2010
Aug. 5, 2010
Aug. 6, 2010
Aug. 11, 2011
Apr. 9, 2009

item.90220

Bill Cameron

I'm not sure what this means, but it could be a kind of reverse Mac Marginalization. My cousin is getting married this month, and she and her fiance registered at Macy's. I visited their registry online using Safari on my Mac, then suggested my wife take a look. She used her XP laptop.

Well, we discovered something interesting. The sale price listed for certain items was higher when my wife viewed the gift registry than when I did. (List price was the same.) We're searching from the same internet connection through our Airport network. We checked multiple times with the computers side-by-side.

We ended up choosing a 3-piece Fiesta baking bowl set, on sale on my Mac for $124.99. From my wife's PC, we'd have paid $131.99.

PC Marginalization?

Apr. 10, 2009

item.90273

Mike Viksna

Bill Cameron wrote:

"We ended up choosing a 3-piece Fiesta baking bowl set, on sale on my Mac for $124.99. From my wife's PC, we'd have paid $131.99.
PC Marginalization?"

Probably not. Did you log into the same Macy's account with both machines? Do you have different accounts? Did you clear cookies before visiting (you may not have had to log in if you've shopped there in the past).

There was a big stink about Amazon doing something similar a few years back (different prices to different customers) as well as some meat space dead tree catalog retailers. A link:
  http://writ.news.findlaw.com/ramasastry/20050620.html

item.90293

Chris Feller

This may have to do with cookies. Many sites keep tabs on which items you have viewed which can indicate your inclination towards buying that item.

If you have viewed an item previously, the price may be higher because it is assumed that if you are viewing an item multiple times, that you are already interested in purchasing it.

You may want to try clearing the cookies on your wife's XP machine and trying viewing the item again.

Apr. 11, 2009

item.90357

Bill Cameron

In follow-up to the Macy's price difference we experienced between my Mac and my wife's PC, it was the first time either of us had visited the Macy's web site, or any bridal registry web site. My wife saw a different price on her first visit than I did on mine. Neither of us have an account, of course.

Not that I *really* think there is some kind of PC Marginalization going on. I just thought it kinda nice to see something break in a Mac direction for once, even it it was only five bucks and was probably a fluke.

Apr. 25, 2009

item.91153

Tim Cimbura

Recently got a notice from Nova Development that I could upgrade my Macintosh version of Greeting Card Factory for only $19.95 to the latest version. When it arrived it was a Windows only version. Turns out that they don't have a Mac version! It didn't say anywhere in the ordering process that I was ordering an "upgrade" that wouldn't run natively on my Mac anymore. Then they want the UPC code to return it and will not refund the shipping...it didn't even come with a UPC. Argh!

Apr. 27, 2009

item.91178

MacInTouch Reader

As for Tim Cimbura's receipt of the Windows version of Greeting Card Factory it would seem an appropriate case for protesting the entire charge, including shipping, on his credit card.

Be sure to do a detailed explanation and send copies of all relevant documents, including the original email, as well as all additional emails both sent and received. A copy of any invoices, shipping orders and photos of the box would also be helpful. The photos of the box should include all surfaces to demonstrate that a UPC does not exist.

But before doing this Tim, you should contact the company, if you have not done so already, and give them an opportunity to make it right. You can telephone them at (818) 591-9600 if you so desire.

item.91193

Roger Wilco

Tim Cimbura was sold an "upgrade" for Greeting Card Factory that will not run on the Mac and now Nova Developments is unwilling to provide a full refund. Tim should contact his bank to have have the credit card charge reversed since the item supplied was not as described.

Apr. 29, 2009

item.91316

Brian Weiss [Nova Development]

Hello Tim,

I'm sorry about the trouble you had with the upgrade of Greeting Card Factory. I have taken care of your situation with a full refund to your credit card and again, I apologize for your trouble.

I want to assure you that this was a one-time issue and you won't run into this situation again.

We are 100% committed to your satisfaction and I hope this helps. I will also be sending you an email to let you know of the refund and confirm that it has gone through.

Thank you very much for your loyalty.

Sincerely,

Brian Weiss
Nova Development Customer Support

item.91328

Tim Cimbura

An update on my Greeting Card Factory comments. Posting on MacInTouch prompted their customer service to contact me and offer a full refund. I think this was the right thing to do. Hopefully, they'll have a Mac version in the future.

item.91349

Brian Weiss

[Having been slightly confused about this, as well, I wanted to note this clarification I received from the Brian Weiss who has previously contributed to MacInTouch. -Ric Ford]

[...] the "Brian Weiss" from Nova/Greeting Card Factory is not me. I've been a semi-frequent responder to MacInTouch items over the (many) years and just wanted you to know I have no connection to any commercial software company - I'm a freelance marketing writer.

Best,

The other Brian Weiss!

Apr. 30, 2009

item.91361

MacInTouch Reader

Tim Cimbura noted a problem returning a Windows only version of Greeting Card Factory. I've never had issues with Nova Development in the past. They've always had Mac versions of their clip art packages and released a MacOS X version of Print Explosion well before any other developer had a greeting card/flyer type software. Hope this was an isolated incident.

May. 9, 2009

item.91764

MacInTouch Reader

How about a little levity here at the usually serious MacInTouch forums? I ask the All-Consuming Questions here: "Where's the Chicken?" (Or the chicken coupon?)

The hoopla in cyberspeace this week is Kentucky Fried Chicken's free chicken dinner offer , bankrolled by Oprah Winfrey , that requires printing a unique coupon thru a web browser for redemption. The sordid details are at : http://www.unthinkfc.com/

The response in these economically troubled times coupled with Oprah's massive media presence has been a veritable tsunami at fried chicken joints... and those are just the folks who were able to successfully print the coupon!

KFC's free web coupon requires that you install a small software package on your computer to print the coupon , and it doesn't seem to work well for Macs. It may , in fact , be workable only with Inetrnet Explorer according to several online stories I read this AM.

KFC shacks have been swamped with folks looking for free chicken dinners, no doubt causing the franchisers to ask where the heck these customers are the rest of the year when the food ain't free. Stores have experienced long lines and severe outages of chicken. It has , in a word, been a giant SNAFU for the Colonel. I dont watch Oprah , so I can't give you her take on this.

No way would I succumb to the lure of a one time free chicken dinner if I have to install somebody's software on my Mac to do it , even if the code did work. KFC's web privacy policy is unusually vague and there is no Opt-Out. Who knows what that software is reporting and to whom , as it merrily prints your unique coupon with bar code. A new form of corporate spyware? Suckerware? Or just FastFoodWare ?

I think the offer expires tonight anyway . It was a nationwide drill in how NOT to run a web promotion, and unfortunately just another instance of us Mac users being marginalized. Maybe that was a small blessing in disguise this time. Squawk!

May. 11, 2009

item.91822

Richard Hatten

I had no problem printing the Oprah KFC coupon from Oprah's website. I clicked on the coupon link, it was displayed, I saved it as a PDF file then printed multiple copies. I don't think the Mac was marginalized at all.

item.91826

MacInTouch Reader

Had no problem printing the KFC coupon with Safari on a Mac and using it when first announced.

item.91847

David Grant

The KFC coupon software does work on a Mac (10.4.11 FireFox) but not reliably. I decided to install their software but first used Pacifist to se what was going where. It installed OK. Took multiple attempts but finally got it to print. Little Snitch prevents printing and even when it was off printing was not always successful. Their uninstall does work as everything Pacifist showed me was gone after the uninstall.

Chicken was OK but quite a bit of hassle ;-)

item.91850

Gary Hobish

Regarding the "print coupon" software marginalization:

1) I actually subscribe to a (different) company's newsletter which uses the same "coupon print" software. It has (usually) worked fine for me in Safari or Firefox under Tiger or Leopard.

2) As far as I know, Windows users have to go through the same thing, so it's not a Mac Marginalization issue.

3) Mac OR Windows, KFC screwed up pretty universally on this one...

item.91858

MacInTouch Reader

RE: the Great Chicken Caper, or KFC coupon lure

Unfortunately (for me), I have to say that this was one of the rare times that I DID step into the unknown by trying this "free chicken" offer from KFC by going to the website and following their protocol to print out the coupons. I then watched in semi-horror the trail of ambiguous steps that unfolded; getting that sinking feeling in my stomach that tells you: "You shouldn't have done this."

First, it did ask whether your were a PC or Mac user. Mac users got an applet; you could ONLY print the coupons with the bar codes from this. A dialogue showed up telling me I had to quit all other apps. Then it asked to authenticate before installing (that always raises my eyebrows). What was horrifying to me was that after it apparently had finished the download, no followup info or dialogue was given -- I had NO idea WHERE the file was that was just put on my hard drive (not in Documents, not in my Downloads folder, not my Applications folder ... none of the normal locations), no idea what the name of the file was or the TYPE of file that was just installed. Scary.

When I clicked on the button on the web page (it was either "Continue" or "Print Coupons"), the app or applet installed turned my printer ON (it was off) and started printing the coupon page. No on-screen verification followed. I believe it was on the web page that I found some small type saying that you had to run the Installer to Un-install the applet -- yeah, but where is it?? I did find an Un-install Applet in my User/Library/Application Support folder (I believe that's where I found it; it was a few days ago). I double-clicked it and it invisibly did it's thing, and I DID see the Applet then disappear. However, I could not then immediately find anything in my Trash. All too stealthy and mysterious to me, a veteran Mac guy.

I did manage to print to PDF the user license. But this was a great example of what NOT to do when it comes to informing the user/participant what to expect or what will unfold. Makes me want to fry all my Cookies -- not the chicken -- right now.

May. 12, 2009

item.91887

Gregory Tetrault

RE: the Great Chicken Caper, or KFC coupon lure

"..Mac users got an applet; you could ONLY print the coupons with the bar codes from this. A dialogue showed up telling me I had to quit all other apps. Then it asked to authenticate before installing..."

A free meal at KFC is not worth the risk that this applet may screw up your Mac. Something as simple as printing a coupon should not require that all other applications be closed. The need for such a precaution indicates to me that the applet is poorly written. I've had my system crash from poorly written Java apps and applets, so I avoid them.

May. 13, 2009

item.91927

Michael Mckee

Kevin Spencer said:

I'm sure I could "hack" a way to get it playing natively (through WMV Player or something) or just kick on Parallels. But in this age, to use a proprietary video format is practically criminal.

I think that there's a bit of misunderstanding here. The truth is that in "this age" there is no universal video format. There are open source formats like Ogg but you will need to download a plugin to run them anyway. The closest to universal is Adobe's Flash. Again you'll need a plugin. QuickTime formats like .mov? Windows users will need to download for it.

Flip4Mac is a free plugin that will allow you to view Windows media formats. It's no more a "hack" than the Flash plugin that you're probably using right now and not thinking about.

item.91935

George Wedding

Why all the fuss over printed coupons? Recently, our local Target pharmacy accepted an electronic coupon displayed on the iPhone. While standing in line, we launched Safari, registered at the appropriate Web site and displayed the coupon on the iPhone screen. I thought the retailer would scan the screen or something high tech, but they actually had a workflow for manually recording coupon codes. So, we just read her the code generated by the site registration page...it was worth the effort to save $25.

I urge smartphone owners to try and replace printed paper coupons with e-coupons when possible...However, some sort of system is needed to find and save iPhone coupons before shopping trips so that you can recall and display them while in the checkout line or better yet, transmit them to the cash register via WiFi. Or why not just do away with coupons altogether and reduce prices?

May. 14, 2009

item.92088

Pete Masterson

George Wedding asks:

Or why not just do away with coupons altogether and reduce prices?

Because not everybody uses the coupon. It keeps the average price received higher.

Coupons are supposed to encourage new trials of products from people who might not have considered it before.

Because, marketers have found that they work.

item.92097

Douglas Norton

To George Wedding:

You can take a screenshot of your coupon on your iPhone by holding down the 'Home' button and then pressing the 'Sleep/Power' button on the top of the phone. The screen shot will get added into your Photos, ready for you whenever you need it.

Jul. 20, 2009

item.96163

Bill Martin

Even after 5 or more years, BlueAnt *still* hasn't figured out how to make a Firmware upgrader that runs on OS X for their Bluetooth headsets, even the brand new Q1 and the V1.

Other firms and companies have figured this out, but not BlueAnt. Either through stupidity, lack of programming knowledge, or just no interest.

Those of us who DON'T care to hand MS a bunch of dollars just to run Windoze in order to upgrade a BlueAnt headset are just left out in the cold. When questioned about this situation, BlueAnt just doesn't bother to answer emails and continues to ignore the issue.

On their website it says to download the "zip" files, but no such thing exists, and the upgrader is an .exe file.

WTF?

Jul. 21, 2009

item.96205

David Charlap

Bill Martin wrote:

"Even after 5 or more years, BlueAnt *still* hasn't figured out how to make a Firmware upgrader that runs on OS X ... On their website it says to download the "zip" files, but no such thing exists, and the upgrader is an .exe file."

FWIW, the .exe file on their web site is a self-extracting zip file. If you rename it to 'zip' and open it with Stuffit Expander, it will unpack into a folder of files.

But that still won't help, because the updater contained within is still a Windows app.

Oct. 14, 2009

item.102416

MacInTouch Reader

The schedule program we use here is called EMS from DEA Inc.
PC only. The Mac users of this program all have use Parallels in order to use it at all.

Mar. 16, 2010

item.111064

Steven Klein

Like most fax users, I long ago switched to email, and as the tide of incoming faxes ebbed to almost nil, I cancelled my dedicated fax line. At that time, I subscribed to eFax, which offers a free tier of service in return for agreeing to receive marketing emails from them. eFax forwards faxes as files attached to emails. The files have a .efx extension, and use a custom file format that can only be read by their eFax Messenger application.

Since this was my first fax since I got my MacBook Pro, I hadn't yet installed eFax Messenger. Imagine my surprise when I checked the system requirements and I saw this:

"Messenger for Macintosh is not currently compatible with Intel-based Macintosh computers."

Apple shipped their last PowerPC-based Mac almost four years ago! Even thought Mac market share is roughly twice today what it was back then, eFax apparently doesn't think we're worth it.

Goodbye, eFax!

By the way: On those rare occasions I need to send a fax, I use the excellent PageSender faxing software. I can't say I use it often, but when I do, it works perfectly. For those who need to send or receive faxes, I can't recommend it highly enough.
  http://www.smileonmymac.com/PageSender/

Mar. 17, 2010

item.111096

Jerry Keller

The fax format sent out by eFax is an .efx file, and would need to be opened by eFax reader which does not work with Intel. But if you Save the email attachment to desktop or elsewhere, it is saved as a .tiff file, which does open in preview automatically. This retains all of the options that you would have had in the Efax application. I love Efax. Such an easy way to receive faxes.

item.111102

John C.

Regarding Steve Klein's problems with eFax Messenger:

I use eFax' free service as well. I was not thrilled with eFax Messenger from the get-go, and changed my eFax account settings to deliver faxes in TIFF format instead of EFX. It took 1 minute, and I've used Quick Look or Preview to view my faxes ever since.

item.111125

Mike Sweeney

I gave up on eFax years ago. Pagesender has been very good for the past three years I've used it to send and Rx faxes. They are pretty good about releasing minor upgrades to keep things current.

item.111134

Robert Rosenberg

Steven Klein writes:

Since this was my first fax since I got my MacBook Pro, I hadn't yet installed eFax Messenger. Imagine my surprise when I checked the system requirements and I saw this:

"Messenger for Macintosh is not currently compatible with Intel-based Macintosh computers."

All they are saying is that they do not have an Intel Native version. The current PPC version will still run on your Intel Machine - It just runs under Rosetta (PPC Emulation).

I can confirm this since I use the PPC version (dated 2004) on my Intel Machine. I agree that they should have an Intel Version out but so long a Rosetta is supported by Apple, the PPC version is still usable.

item.111140

Jay Rubin

I have eFax Messenger 3.1.10 on this very MacBook Pro. It doesn't operate natively on an Intel Mac, but it runs just fine.

item.111143

Bruce Pokras

eFax offers the option of receiving faxes in multi-page TIFF format instead of their proprietary format. You can then open the fax in Preview.

Mar. 18, 2010

item.111180

Judy Morse

Found out that I *can* send faxes from my Intel Mac with eFax!

I've been a happy eFax subscriber for several years, primarily for receiving faxes (get them as PDFs with eFax Plus). Gives me the ability to send faxes when I'm traveling and when I don't have access to a fax machine. It was disappointing to find that I could no longer use eFax Messenger to send a fax from my new MacBook Pro since the software isn't Intel-compatible.

eFax support advised me that eFax Messenger software isn't necessary to send a fax - they can be sent either by email (attach the document to be faxed and send a special email address that includes the receiving fax number) and also via the eFax website. Simple instructions. I'm happy again!

item.111193

Terrence Thompson

I've used eFax for years. It does seem to work fine.

The eFax "preferences" from the pull-down menu are extremely limited. Just click on "Help on the web" when logged into eFax and then set receive preference to PDF files or whatever you want. This works fine for me.

The eFax "preferences" from the pull-down menu are extremely limited.

eFax seems a bit expensive now for my increasingly limited use of faxes (one or two a month) so I may look for a less expensive option.

item.111203

Joshua Schwarz

I use jconnect free for faxes. It works very well. I believe they are controlled by the same people as efax. The downloaded email attachments can be opened in their free application, or as I prefer in Graphic Converter. As I think these files are really tiff-f format, I believe Graphic Converter works for efax, too.

For sending faxes, I print to pdf or scan a document to pdf and then upload it to fax zero which is still free. I don't see the point of paying a monthly fee for the occasional use of a fax service.

item.111206

Bill Planey

Those of us who have given up on land lines and use VOIP technology have special issues with faxing. I have a MagicJack and it does not officially work with a fax signal. At least I could not make it work with PageSender (setting up a dog-eating-his-own-tail configuration with the RJ-11 coming out of the Apple USB modem and into the MagicJack plugged into another USB port), but I did have success recently sending a fax using the built-in faxing capability of OS X.

It is quite possible that the kind of recipient fax machine made the difference and allowed the OS X fax function to succeed (and in this case I did not even try PageSender, so maybe it would have worked also). My point is: just try the built-in fax capabilities of OS X if you are trying to fax over VOIP technology - it might work where other software will not.

item.111217

Matthew Gallagher

Efax also offers the option of sending faxes as PDFs, which I have used for years and frankly is much easier to deal with than their proprietary files or TIFF. You change this under "account preferences" after logging in at efax.com

Mar. 19, 2010

item.111243

Ronald Rhoten

I have been using TrustFax for years, and have found it to be 100% reliable, quick, cheap and a breeze to use. All outgoing and incoming documents are simply PDF files. Their current low volume rate is $39.95 per year, 150 pages total (sent and received), and includes a US/Canada toll free fax number. It is $10/year cheaper if all you need is a local fax number. Standard I have no affiliation with etc.

May. 20, 2010

item.114788

James Earl

Carrie Bradshaw, that iconic Mac user has betrayed us!

In the sequel, Sex and the City part 2, they have inked a contract with HP to use *only* HP drek in the film. One would think that Sarah would walk on the film with *that* contract stipulation, but NOOOOOO. She sold out.

http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/movie-talk-key-character-missing-from-sex-and-the-city-2.html

Guess that's one movie I can skip this year.

Jul. 27, 2010

item.118399

David Barnett

SMS text message and call-log archiving are especially important to me.

Nokia supplies either PC-Suite or Ovi-suite depending on model of phone for accessing and manipulating data on its phones. Unfortunately these programs are Windows only.

There are some good third party solutions available for some phones. (Eg. PhoneDirector for Symbian series 40 based phones). But what about newer phones such as the Nokia X6 based on Symbian 60?

It is a great shame that Nokia can't be bothered to provide full support for the Mac. The best they can do is iSync support.

Apart from the fact that I have found iSync to be unreliable [I have lost data with it and experienced hangs] it is unfriendly and inflexible and only covers Address Book and iCal.

Jul. 28, 2010

item.118462

Ian Crew

Regarding David Barnett's question, I've been using the shareware BluePhoneElite for many years, and it provides what I think are all of the features David wants, and then some. I've used it without trouble on a number of different phones, most recently my Nokia N85 (running S60r3). See [here] for a list of phones that are compatible with BluePhoneElite.

Jul. 29, 2010

item.118487

MacInTouch Reader

I echo the recommendation of BluePhoneElite. I used to use it with my N73 and N95, and some earlier Sony Ericsson phones, and it was superb. It works ok with the iPhone, but runs up against some limitations in iOS (no SMS over bluetooth, for example), so I gave it up.

One thing I've wondered about since the first day the iPhone was introduced is why Apple doesn't provide any useful Bluetooth integration between the Mac and iPhone. What about pausing iTunes when making or receiving a call? Caller ID? SMS send/receive? Remote dialing? This is relevant both to the Mac marginalization and iOS discussions, but it seems like the perfect opportunity for Apple to provide some Mac-only integration between two of their flagship products. It's really too bad they don't, and that iOS still has limitations that prevent apps like BluePhoneElite from providing the full range of these features.

Aug. 3, 2010

item.118754

MacInTouch Reader

MyPublisher has let down Mac users big-time. Earlier this year, they sent me a promotional e-mail about a great new cover option in version 4. I happily went to their Web site and found it was not available for the Mac, which was stuck at version 3.x. I complained and was told a Mac version was in the works, they valued our business, and so on and so on. They offered me a book coupon as a consolation prize.

Today, I got an e-mail touting version 5, which includes "unlimited creative control" -- just what I've been waiting for, since their layouts are not so great. You know where this is going ... In a chat session, they said they are working on the Mac version: "... now that the 5.0 is here for PC, we will release the 4.0 version quite soon" for the Mac. So the Mac version is now two steps behind the Windoze version.

I told the chat-rep I was going to just get off their e-mail list, and instead of offering any compromise (like a coupon for a Mac book, as they did the last time I complained), they just gave me the unsubscribe link, and then didn't reply to my follow-up comments in the chat session. So I sent a follow-up e-mail; no reply yet.

So I have said goodbye to MyPublisher, since I am obviously not in their target market. This is sad, because for a while, they were fairly decent about Mac support, and their customer support for book problems was pretty good.

Aug. 4, 2010

item.118801

MacInTouch Reader

If I had to guess, MyPublisher is ported to the Mac by MacKiev or some other porting house. They do fine work but they are always one or two versions behind the Windows and here's why. I program on a very larger Windows/Mac software product. For a long time it was Windows only then it was ported to the Mac for a time being by MacKiev.

MacKiev did a fine job for us but they can only start the port after the Windows version ships i.e. the code is complete. Then a new contract has to be negotiated with them for the new port based on how much new source code was added/changed and this can take months. We ship a new version every year so by the time MacKiev gets the code to start the porting were only 8-9 months away from shipping our next release.

When MacKiev is finished with the porting we then need to do two months of QA and Beta testing. By the time it's ready to ship the next version of Windows has already shipped. It was for this reason and the cost MacKiev charges us that we decided to port all our code to Java a few years ago (write once, run many ) and now ship on multiple platforms simultaneously and in all our supported languages. It was a huge undertaking but we are really reaping the rewards now big time.

item.118807

JetJockey

I had the same experience with MyPublisher. I used them several times with generally good results. I, too, was lured back with their previous $20 promotion to try out v4.0 only to find it was Windoze only. I actually went ahead and used it under VMWare's Fusion with good results although I had to put up with a clunky Windoze interface. I agree that their customer service is excellent, but they've obviously abandoned Mac users.

As an alternative, I'd suggest Blurb. I've been using them for several years (ever since seeing them at MacWorld Expo in SFO) with excellent results. Their Mac software is very flexible and the finished product is highly professional looking. My last book was coffee-table size (not literally) and 156 pages. I had no complaints, and the price with a discount coupon was only $83. Give them a try. You won't miss MyPublisher.

item.118829

MacInTouch Reader

I'm not a fan of Blurb. What I really hated was the free ad they place on every book by way of a Blurb logo. You can have it removed but it costs $25 to remove it. Maybe others are less picky but it really annoyed me and $25 to remove it is nuts.

The final straw was when I saw a friend's wedding book made by Blurb. Pics were flat, lacked any 'punch' and the result was just very average. The cover was good and it was nicely finished but overall the quality was not that good. There's also a fair bit of negative comment about their customer service on photography forums - I know there's always two sides to a story but I'm giving them a miss.

Aug. 5, 2010

item.118862

Tracy Valleau

Here are some comments on POD [print-on-demand] printers.

There is no human intervention here... they load the files and print: garbage in - garbage out. The quality of your files is your responsibility, not theirs.

Most POD publishers use the same HP Indigo 5000 printer. It does not recognize embedded profiles, and converts everything to sRGB before printing.

Therefore, you want to do your correction in Photoshop in sRGB mode. You want to download their proofing profile, and use it to preview your images during correction. (Obviously, you need a profiled monitor as well.)

No image should be over 4000 pixels in any direction. B&W tends to muddy up on the Indigo, so boost the gamma about 10-15%. Finally, use their better grade of paper.

If you'll follow these steps, Blurb products are actually quite good. OTOH, if you just dump the files right out of the camera and send it off... well, it's a crap-shoot.

item.118887

Pete Masterson

If you want to do your own books, just use InDesign (or you can use Pages). Then output a PDF (use /X-1a) and send it off to a digital printer who uses a Xerox iGen3 or iGen4 (that's what Blurb does).

You'll pay a *lot* less and you'll have full creative control. (I admit that I'm a professional book designer -- but I can't really understand using a service like Blurb or MyPublisher. It's not really that hard....

item.118916

Kevin Lepard

To Pete Masterson

Can you suggest a printer that will do one-off or a few books prepared as a PDF as you describe at a reasonable price?

Thanks.

Kevin

Aug. 6, 2010

item.118955

Charles Reeves, Jr.

I use LightningSource for [print-on-demand], but it may be overkill for what you want. They have a setup charge of $75 ($37.50 for the cover and $37.50 for the text), plus $30 for a proof (recommended but not required), and $12 annually if you want it listed on their distribution channels (meaning it will show up in places like Amazon). But they require an ISBN, which is a killer for some folks. Minimum purchase is a block of 10, for $275. Those come from Bowker.

During setup you have to decide the paper and type of book you want (paperback or hardcover). The physical size and number of pages are determined by the PDF file you send them.

Once a title is set up anybody can order copies of the book, anything from one copy on up. Pricing depends on the type of book, whether it has a color or b/w cover, and number of pages. They do give quantity discounts, starting at 50 copies. One example: a small paperback (e.g., 5x8) with 48 to 104 pages is $2.30.

More detailed info is on lightningsource.com

And for the record, I have no connection with them other than being a satisfied customer.

Aug. 11, 2011

item.141602

Chris Brewer

Neato, maker of the great XV-11 robotic vacuum, recently released their first firmware patch, to be delivered via USB. The *only* option for installing the patch is Windows. Surprising, as I would expect that a $400 device has a higher percentage of Mac users...


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