Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Introducing Our New Digital Press

Check this out! Our new digital press is finally here! Introducing the Indigo 3550. Stay tuned for more details on what this press can do for you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The FREE 2013 CR Print Calendar is Here!

The FREE 2013 CR Print Calendar is Here! This year we are offering you two FREE options:
1) You can order a beautifully-designed calender featuring photos from popular locations in and around the Conejo Valley.
2) You can personalize your calendar by adding your own photos.
Either way, it's FREE and our holiday gift to you. To order your calendar today, click on the FREE 2013 Calendar button on our website at

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Cyber Criminals want Your Password

Jake Nonnemaker, Axicom CEO
Following is a  re-post from CEO Tech Blog, by Jake Nonnemaker, CEO/Founder of Axicom:

"Gaining your password is the Golden Ticket to a cyber-criminal.  But why would they want your password?  Some people think that they have nothing valuable that a criminal would want so they use weak, convenient passwords.  The truth is that you have valuable treasure sitting in your inbox.

Your Email is a Gateway to Criminal Riches

You may think that it is ridiculous that a criminal wants access to your email account.  After all, your mailbox only contains some bad jokes, chain letters, and a ton of spam.  Wrong!  Don't you remember that bill reminder from your bank? If a cyber-criminal gets access to your email, they now know where you bank.  But that's okay, because your online bank account is protected by personal security questions that you only know the answers to, like your mother's maiden name, your high school mascot, or your favorite movie, right?

But wait, the criminal has full access to your mailbox so it's not much of a problem to go to Facebook and request a password reset which sends a reset code to your mailbox.  By creating a new Facebook password, the criminal now has full access to your Facebook account and can view the names of your family members, your high school you attended, and favorite books and movies.  That means that they could easily ascertain your mother's maiden name, your high school mascot and your favorite movie.  That information could allow them to access your online banking account information.

If the cyber-criminal has access to your  bank account, they can use the bill pay to send themselves a check or transfer money to one of their disposable online accounts like PayPal.  Cyber-criminals can use the same techniques to access your online credit card account and download your latest bill which contains the full credit card number.
Other Mailbox Gems

Another gem for a cyber-criminal who has access to your mailbox, is your Social Security Number (SSN).  Maybe you sent a copy of your tax return or tax prep organizer or a completed credit application, to your bank, mortgage broker, a product vendor or tax preparer.  Or you may have emailed your SSN to your spouse for one reason or another.  Perhaps you one time sent or received a copy of your credit report.  If your SSN is anywhere in your mailbox, a cyber-criminal with access to your mailbox will find it.

With your SSN, personal address, phone number and other contact info, mother's maiden name, a cyber-criminal can open up credit card accounts or bank loans in your name and start running up charges.

With access to your mailbox, they can download your address book which has the names, addresses, phone number and email addresses of all your friends and family.  These are great leads for a cyber-criminal's next victim.

Cautious Passwords

One needs to exercise much caution and forethought when choosing a password for their mailbox and Facebook.  See your mailbox through the eyes of cyber-criminal as a treasure chest and toolbox to do evil.

Your best protection is to use a long password of 12 characters or more using a complex mix of letters, numbers, and/or special characters. Plus it must be remember.  The technique I prefer is to use a phrase and substitute special characters for the spaces.  Here are some examples:


This password technique will foil most tools used by cyber-criminals, namely guessing and dictionary attacks.  They will be forced to use a brute force hack or rainbow tables.  Both techniques will be impractical because it will take too much computing power, storage and time to crack your password and they will move on to easier targets."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Does Using Paper Kill Trees?

If you receive any bills by mail, you have probably received the message that "Paper Kills Trees." If so, you are the target of a marketing campaign by NACHA, The Electronics Payment Association. In their efforts to convince people to receive and pay bills electronically, they found that the message, "Paper Kills Trees," was a strong motivator to switch to electronic bill pay. Although a large part of the public believes this message, it is far from accurate.

In understanding the environmental impact of any product or service, it is necessary to delve into the upstream and downstream impacts. In the case of paper made from wood pulp, the source of the product is trees, a 100% renewable resource. The demand for paper and other wood products insures that forests remain valuable - as forests. And in fact, the Society of American Foresters reports that forested lands in the U.S. increased by 49% from 1953 to 2006. Every year, private landowners plant 3 to 4 times as many trees as they harvest. Using paper and other wood products provides an income from these forested lands which is an economic incentive to maintain and manage them. Without this income, there is an economic incentive to convert the forests to farmland for more valuable crops or to sell it for development.

In contrast, electronic devices require minerals, metals, plastics, hydrocarbon solvents and other non-renewable resources to produce. Some of these resources are classified as "conflict metals" and their use from the Congo requires reporting to the U.S. government.

Approximately 89% of the electricity in the U.S. comes from non-renewable fossil fuels. But paper in the U.S. is made with about 60% renewable energy. Printed products have a one time carbon footprint. But electronic devices and data centers require a constant supply of electricity. Many of these centers are located where power comes from coal, some of which may be supplied through mountain top removal mining, with devastating ecological consequences.

Paper is totally recyclable and some 63.5% of all paper used in North America is recovered for recycling. In contrast, only 13.6% of electronic waste is recycled. The bulk of electronic waste is shipped overseas to be dismantled, often by processes that are unsafe for workers and surrounding communities. Some of it is burned to recover metals.

In ecological terms, using paper does not "kill" trees. Of course, there are environmental impacts from both electronic media and paper. The impacts from paper can be, and are being, reduced and minimized. An informed public can further reduce these impacts, as they can with electronic media as well. Misleading or oversimplified marketing slogans are not going to help in that effort.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Every Door Direct Mail

A year after launching its "Every Door Direct Mail" program, The USPS has unveiled a new marketing campaign designed to promote EDDM along with a suite of other services specifically targeted to small businesses. Included is the flat rate shipping program, "If it Fits, it Ships," that has been heavily promoted through TV advertising and a re-launch of the "Click-N-Ship" program now made more accessible to small businesses. The Postal Service is hoping to tap into the small business shipping market long dominated by UPS and FedEx.

We would suggest that the EDDM could be made a lot more attractive to small businesses if it were simplified even further. There are currently two versions of EDDM, EDDM and EDDM Retail. Both provide saturation mailing to city routes using a simplified address format. The post office doesn't require the name and street number since the mailing goes to every door.  EDDM Retail differs only in that you do not need a mailing permit, and mail can be taken to the front counter of the post office instead of the bulk mail platform at the back.   The USPS provides a online guide for those wishing to take advantage of the program. Click here to access the guide.

In theory, EDDM Retail allows any small business to easily and inexpensively reach every door in its specific market area. This seems an ideal marketing tool for small retailers like neighborhood restaurants, cleaners, maintenance services , etc. But there are some obstacles that may discourage potential users. Although EDDM Retail does not require a mailing permit, it does require a USPS issued Mailer ID. Also, any piece mailed through either EDDM version must fit the postal definition of a "Standard Mail Flat." This effectively rules out the 6 x 9, 4 x 6, or 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 postcard sizes that are the most popular with direct mail customers. The Standard Mail Flat must "be more than 11.5" long OR more than 6.125" high OR more than 0.25" thick," and less than 15" long or 12" high and .75" thick.

Most mailers who want to take advantage of EDDM with a postcard mailing will need to go to a minimum 6.25" x 10" postcard. But standard paper sizes of 8.5 x 11, 11 x 17, or 12 x 18 for digital printers and small presses do not readily accommodate the sizes for a Standard Mail Flat. That is, you can only get one 6.25 x 10" postcard from an 8.5 x 11" sheet as opposed to four 4.25 x 5.5 postcards from the same sheet. Because of this, any savings in postage may be lost to an additional cost for printing.

Even with this drawback, however, EDDM is a good way to promote a neighborhood business. You don't have to buy a mailing list or have the specific address of everyone you want to reach. You can outline the geographic area that is your target, and get your message out to every door in your area.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

NPR Reports on the Business of Spying on Internet Users

The following is from a story titled "How Companies are Defining Your Worth Online" broadcast on Fresh Air from WHYY and published on the web at NPR Books.

"One of the fastest-growing online businesses is the business of spying on Internet users. Using sophisticated software that tracks people's online movements through the Web, companies collect the information and sell it to advertisers.
Every time you click a link, fill out a form or visit a website, advertisers are working to collect personal information about you, says Joseph Turow, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. They then target ads to you based on that information."

Click here to read the entire article: NPR

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

U.S. Postal Service Still the Best


The Oxford Strategic Consulting firm (O.S.C.) ranks the USPS as the best among the world’s 20 largest economies. O.S.C. reviewed the postal systems based on efficiency, access to services, and public trust.

It might surprise a lot of people that the USPS is held in such high regard considering the blow dealt by internet communications and resulting financial struggles. But all postal systems within industrialized nations are facing the same challenges. When all the study factors were taken into account, the US came out on top. Factors considered included the number of people served, the number of letters and parcels delivered per employee, reliability of service and public trust.

Rounding out the top 5 were Japan, Australia, South Korea and Germany. The USPS delivers almost double the number of letters per employee as Japan, and five times as many as fifth place Germany’s Deutsche Post. China finished at the bottom of the list behind the postal services of Mexico, 14, and India, 15.

In spite of increasing use of digital communications, the postal service isn’t going away anytime soon. It is a major component of e-commerce providing fast, reliable and efficient delivery of printed material and other goods ordered online.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Karj's Myth #7

The following is an excerpt from Eric Karjaluoto's blog, Ideas on Ideas , a collection of essays on design, brands and experience. In this particular essay, Karj comments on claims occasionally made by advertising agencies, and labels them as "myths." Here is his myth number seven:

"Myth #7: Everything Needs to be Digital"

"Actually, a lot of it is digital—in that most campaigns need to eventually circle around to digital at one point or another. That said, it’s one part of a whole. Radio still works. Billboards still work. Television ads still work (sometimes). Product placement still works. Coupons still work. Newspaper ads still work. Direct mail still works. Handing out food samples at the grocery store still works."

 Eric Karjaluoto is Creative Director at smashlab.