To Print or Not

Changing office printers' default font can save a large business, school, or institution thousands of dollars a year, according to a Dutch study. Because of their different “weights” (thickness of stroke) fonts require different amounts of ink to print. Less ink usage means fewer cartridges needed. Century Gothic, for instance, uses about 30 percent less ink than Arial, according to Printer.com (as reported by AP). Because color printers draw on expensive color cartridges even when printing in black, you can save even more money by deliberately selecting black only when printing a one color (black) document from a color printer. Logically enough, fonts with the word narrow or light in their names use less ink to print than those named bold or black. Forts with serifs (little lines at the ends of characters) also tend to be of lighter weight overall and thus less ink those without serifs (sans serif). Here’s the thing, though: those fonts that use less ink are sometimes wider, meaning less type goes on the page and more paper has to be used, potentially, to print a document. So: good for ink usage and office budgets, bad for forests. If you really want to save on ink – and paper – just don’t print at all.

Whither Flash?

Adobe added Flash to its design stable a few years back when it laid out a few billion for the Macromedia company. The movie-making product has delivered big time, revolutionizing the web (think YouTube and innumerable sites enhanced with moving graphics, like PubArts.com). But there have always been grumbles about the Adobe powerhouse – chiefly, that it is a power hog and dominates computer CPUs. Now the volume is turning up, as Apple’s newest hot gizmo, the iPad, will not support the software. Neither does the iPhone. Trouble for Adobe? There are competitors to Flash. Called the H.264 standard and HTML5 video, these options are turning heads, including those at major content producers like The New York Times and Time Inc. that are choosing it to develop dynamic or moving content for the iPad (reported in Ars Technica, 4/3/10) Re-encoding Flash videos won’t necessarily be easy or cheap, especially if one has hundreds or thousands of hours of content. The H.264 standard requires a license from MPEG LA to use, but Brightcove and other online video platforms can re-encode content for free.

One Man’s Meat

The same event can be nutritious P.R. for one organization and toxic to another. Case in point: the Greenpeace assault on Nestle’s Facebook page, a barrage of comments designed to embarrass the global conglomerate into stopping its use of palm oil, which conservationists maintain leads to the destruction of Southeast Asian rainforests and their inhabitants. (The campaign created a widely viewed video of a man opening a Nestle Twix chocolate bar  and biting into a orangutan’s bloody severed finger.) As a result of Greenpeace's “brand-jacking,” Nestle went into “damage control” mode and promised to stop buying palm oil from Sinar Mas, the big Indonesian supplier of oil to Nestle. It was  a moment of triumph for Greenpeace. “Facebook has become a hotbed for activism,” Greenpeace press officer Daniel Kessler told Joe Ciarallo of PRNewser, (4/5/10). “We have offices in 40 countries and many of our offices are participating in this campaign. Each has their own Facebook page.” More is coming. As noted on PRNewser, a blog post on Greenpeace's Web site states, “There’s no quick-PR-fix to get out of this one; Nestle is going to have to really clean up its supply chain.”  Kessler said, “They need to do supply chain analysis to make sure they’re not sourcing palm oil. PRNewser also points out that Greenpeace now has a campaign to force change at Facebook itself. The activists want the social media site to use renewable energy to run its data centers. The new group on Facebook – “We want facebook to use 100% renewable energy” -- has more than 200,000 members. Social media isn’t just for personal frivolity or a new conduit for selling – it’s proving to be a powerful tool for passionate change seekers.  The world is changing, rapidly. Corporations and institutions had better get ready by putting in place rapid-response crisis management – before the next dust-up occurs.

Tiger Woods Returns

Monday marks the return of Tiger Woods – to press conferences. The golf legend faced off today against 200 reporters in Augusta, Georgia, the site of the Master’s tournament. It was his first such appearance since he ran his SUV into a tree last Thanksgiving, and his life off a cliff. Golf took a back seat as revelations tumbled out about his serial infidelity. Then came cancelled endorsement contracts and a stint in sexual compulsion rehab (missing his son’s first birthday in the process). The media verdict: Tiger handled the barrage of questions very well, for the most part. And since the scandal has prompted scrutiny of his whole life, he was also asked about taking performance-enhancing drugs. "I've never taken any illegal drug in my life," he said. A doctor named Anthony Galea treated Woods for an injured knee in 2008 and 2009. So he was asked about his knee … it’s fine. Easy putt. Press conference humility and humor are a great way to get another whack at the ball, a fresh start -- and firms like PubArts can be a great ally in media management of all sorts. For even in a culture like ours, as obsessed with celebrity come-uppance as Woods was with cocktail waitresses, we all love a winner. And winners get back up when they fall, or are knocked, off their pedestals. That line about there being “no second acts in American lives?” ... So untrue. For now, it seems like most everyone is ready for Tiger to begin another phase in his storied career by donning once again the green blazer bestowed on the tournament’s victor. “I'm going to try to go out and win this thing,” he declared. He also indicated his wife Elin wouldn’t be in attendance.

NPR.org Rocks!

NPR.org -- National Public Radio’s website -- just won the Peabody award for distinguished broadcast journalism. Not what you’d expect from a website. But then, NPR.org isn’t just any website, just as its parent isn’t just any radio network. Both give customers what they want and need, how and when they want it. Classic, yet current in every way. NPR.org offers news, music, concerts, NPR shows, interviews, widgets on your desktop, features about culture, and more. Just no commercials.  The Peabody folks praised the “topically boundless” nature of the site: "A whole lot of things considered, from 'South Park' to North Korea, make this one of the great one-stop websites." “This award reflects more than the appeal and usefulness of NPR's website,” writes Matthew Lasar in Ars Technica (4/2/10). “It's recognition that NPR represents one of broadcast radio's few success stories over the last decade.” NPR has avoided the bankruptcy fate of thousands of stations struggling to stay relevant in the Internet age, and in fact is growing. Due in part to interest in the 2008 election, it now boasts a weekly audience of 27.5 million, an increase of 7%. According to Ars Techica, more than 900 FM radio stations are either NPR affiliates or run NPR programming. NPR stays current by such moves as developing the Public Radio Player for the iPhone – which 2.5 million subscribers use to select the shows they want to listen to (and when) at hundreds of public radio stations. Pretty nifty. There's also a mobile NPR.org (m.npr.org) and a news app for Google’s new Android. Last week, NPR debuted a way for other media services to post content to NPR as well as receive it. Most recently: content and tools for the iPad. What a great website, company, and service to the nation and our intensely interesting, and interested, world. Tune in today!
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