Thursday, April 29, 2004

Wi-Fi Nerds supporting our soldiers

I am a regular reader and contributor to the Wi-Fi Planet forums. I recently came across this post from a solider in Iraq who is trying to hook up wi-fi in his tent. It seems that people were so moved by this guy's efforts to get him and his buddies hooked up so that they can e-mail their loved ones while fighting that they have offered not only advice, but equipment too.

Check out the thread:

The good and the bad of publishing your own picture book

I just received the picture books that I ordered for Mother's day from Sony's Imagestation. While I am happy with the way that they came out, I guess they weren't as good as I thought they would be.

Basically these books are hardcover bound photo albums of your digital photos where you pick the layout, background patterns, photos, and add your caption text. A 20-page book can have up to 100 photos (the available layout patterns have 1-5 photos each) and runs around $40 (but they are on sale for Mother's day.) I hope that my wife, mother, and mother-in-law like these books.

Of course, these books took two weeks to get here (I'm sure in part because of the mother's day rush) and in that time, Walt Mossberg reviewed another book publisher that was offering more attractive leather-bound books with a 50% discount - I am planning on creating one for my Grandmother's 80th Birthday with My Publisher - hopefully it will come out nicely.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Why computers, printers, and cell phones seem relatively cheap

I often say to people that the reason why seemingly large-ticket items are so cheap these days is because they will really make their money back on the accessories and services - printers are a prime example.

The HP printer mentioned above sells on HP's site for $150. Ink cartridges run $20 for black to $35 for color. This means that if you go through 3 sets of ink in a year, you've already exceeded the purchase price for the printer. I am sure that the profit margins on the printer are most definitely a lot smaller than those on the ink - why - because price isn't based on cost, it's based on value.

This is why printers don't come with USB cables, and buying one in the store can cost you significantly more (say $20-30) than finding it on ebay (say $5-10). Because we perceive that price as being reasonable for the value we're getting.

I was once privvy to an invoice sheet at a major electronics chain and learned that the margin on the $300 printer I was buying was about $30 bucks - 10% while the $20 printer cable the margin was $18 - 1000%!!!!!!

The moral of your story - save those printer cables!

New twist on some old School technology...

I was testing a new photo printer at work. And I marveled at how easy it has become at printing photos without a computer.

I simply put my memory card into the printer's card slot and printed a contact sheet. The contact sheet came out SAT style - with a multiple-choice-answer-esque circle under each photo. At the bottom of the page their were two more sets of circles - one for the number of copies and one for the page layout. by simply filling in the right circles, and selecting 'Scan proof sheet' the printer immediately started my print job. - Kickass!

The photos were beautiful, and I would highly reccomend this printer if I didn't check the ink levels after printing - two 8x10s seem to eat up 10-15% of the ink on the printer.