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Welcome to the official blog of the British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA).

We look forward to sharing stories from across our network of news providers, as well as articles, links, and announcements from industry friends everywhere. Be sure to check this space often for BCYCNA updates, and to offer your feedback on community newspapers!

Municipal Election Advertising Guidelines

Published on August 20, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

electionsbc

With municipal elections coming up this Fall, the BCYCNA would like to share with you the recently-released Local Elections Campaign Financing Act from Elections BC.

In short, the rules for media outlets have not really changed; you can take as many ads as you want! The onus, and changes, are relevant for the candidates, not for the media. Just do ensure that you charge the same rate for all candidates.

The full document can be found here: ElectionsBC-Local Elections Campaign Financing Act

For now, Elections BC’s Communications department would like to specifically draw your attention to sections 44 and 45, below.

Local Elections Campaign Financing Act

Part 5 — Transparency Requirements for Local Elections and Assent Voting

Division 1 — Sponsorship of Election Advertising and Assent Voting Advertising

Advertising must include sponsorship information

44
(1) Subject to any applicable regulations, an individual or organization must not sponsor
election advertising or assent voting advertising, or transmit such advertising to the public, unless the advertising

(a)  identifies,

i.         in the case of advertising sponsored by a candidate or elector organization as part of the candidate’s or elector organization’s campaign, the name of the financial agent, or

ii.         in any other case, the name of the sponsor,

(b)  indicates that it was authorized by the identified financial agent or sponsor,

(c)   gives a telephone number, email address or mailing address at which the financial agent or sponsor may be contacted regarding the advertising,

(d)  if applicable, indicates that the sponsor is a registered third party sponsor or assent voting advertising sponsor under this Act, and

(e)  meets any other requirements established by regulation.

(2) If information is required to be provided under subsection (1),

(a)  any telephone number given must have a British Columbia area code,

(b)  any mailing address given must be within British Columbia, and

(c)   the sponsor must make available an individual to be responsible for answering questions from individuals who are directed to the telephone number, email address or mailing address.

(3) The information required under subsection (1) must be provided

(a)  in English or in a manner that is understandable to readers of English, and

(b)  if all or part of the election advertising is in a language other than English, in the other language or in a manner that is understandable to readers of that other language.

(4) For certainty, in the case of advertising that is sponsored in combination by multiple sponsors, the requirements of this section apply in relation to each sponsor.

(5) An individual or organization that contravenes this section commits an offence.

Restrictions on general voting day advertising

45

(1) An individual or organization must not sponsor or agree to sponsor election
advertising or non-election assent voting advertising that is or is to be transmitted to the public on general voting day, whether the transmission is within British Columbia or outside British Columbia.

(2) An individual or organization must not transmit election advertising or non-election assent voting advertising to the public on general voting day.

(3) Subject to section 153 (4) [prohibition on certain activities within 100 metres of voting proceedings on general voting day] of the Local Government Act and section 125 (4) of the Vancouver Charter, subsections (1) and (2) of this section do not apply in respect of the following election advertising or non-election assent voting advertising:

(a)  communication on the internet, if the communication was transmitted to the public on the internet before general voting day and was not changed before the close of general voting;

(b)  communication by means of signs, posters or banners;

(c)   communication by the distribution of pamphlets;

(d)  any other election advertising or non-election assent voting advertising prescribed by regulation.

(4) An individual or organization that contravenes this section commits an offence.

 

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Ma Murray Awards 2015

Published on August 20, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

2015-Ma-logo

It may not be on your radar yet, but perhaps it should be. The 2015 Ma Murray Awards Gala takes place on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the River Rock Casino Resort. But the contest entry period will open up in just a couple of months! So now is a great time to start thinking about some of the great work you’ve already published in 2014, and how you can ensure that your paper and your staff are among the finalists celebrated at next year’s event.

In this month’s newsletter, we’d like to focus on some of the ways you can maximize your chances of bringing home one of the coveted statues to display in your paper’s front office.

The BCYCNA Awards Gala Committee surveyed the last few years of entries and came up with a list of your “Best Odds” categories. Check it out here.

If you need a reminder of all the award categories, here is a current list. Please note that this list may be updated in the coming months.

And finally, the staff in the BCYCNA office put together a step-by-step guide on how to create a year-round electronic Scrapbook of entries. This is a new feature that lets you save your most award-worthy work directly to the online contest system site. Save yourself the trouble of rushing around looking for that elusive Feature Series you wrote, or that really powerful photo you caught… if only you could remember which issue it ran in… With this system you can upload it right to your new online scrapbook and it will be there waiting for you when it’s time to compile your entries. Read more here.

We always welcome your feedback and suggestions, and could always use new contacts for Award Sponsors, so if you have ideas, please feel free to call or email the BCYCNA office at any time.

Let’s make 2015 the best Ma Murray Awards Gala ever!

 

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Free Software – Readers Send Questions to Kevin For Honest Answers

Published on August 6, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

So much to write about, so little space. That’s my dilemma this morning.

I’ve had people writing and calling, wanting my thoughts concerning some quotes from well known industry “experts” about changes at Gannett and Scripps. Readers have been asking what I think about The Times-Picayune adding two print delivery days – that’s back up to five days a week delivery – plus returning to a full broadsheet page. Our industry must be in a free-fall. Or is it?

My dilemma doesn’t revolve around those things, however. I promised to pen a question/answer column this month and I keep my promises. I might have to write a second column later, but for now here are a few questions I’ve received over the past few weeks from readers:

Q: From Heidi, in Iowa:

Our publisher suggested I email you with an InDesign question that we have. Occasionally we will receive pre-built ads in pdf format that were built in InDesign. When we pull the PDF onto our pages in InDesign and the PDF the page to send to press sometimes a white box will appear on the ad or part of the art will be whited out.  Do you know what could be causing this?

 

INT Half Vert.indd

A: I still get asked about these white lines all the time, Heidi. Karen wrote a couple of days after you, putting it like this: “What causes the white lines in a PDF?  This inquiring mind wants to know.  I got one from a client this morning and it was loaded with them.”

These white lines come during the creation side of the PDF process. So there’s not a lot you can do to keep it from happening, other than hoping your advertiser stops sending you PDF files with white lines. I have a couple of pieces of good news for you, though.

First, these lines are due to issues with transparency. Those issues have decreased over time and are much less common than they were a few years ago. As your advertisers upgrade their software, this will happen less often. Second, these lines don’t print most of the time. They are “visual elements” that don’t exist when printed.

Should it still concern you that you have lines on your page, there are a few fixes on your end. One of the easiest is to turn off the “Smooth Line Art” option in Acrobat. A second fix is to open the PDF file in Photoshop at a high resolution (600 or higher) and save the file from there.

Slimp_Aug1

Firefox and Gimp are examples of quality open source software. Still, there’s nothing to replace inDesign, Quark, or Acrobat.

 

Q: From Jim, in Chicago:

I’ve been very happy with our NewEdit/Quark newsroom pagination set up. However, in the process of purchasing new hardware and software I learned that Baseview had priced themselves  out of our market. So we are now about to use In Copy/In Design. (We’ve purchased and installed the new Macs, and shortly will begin to switch over). Any suggestions, comments and advice you can offer in this process would be greatly appreciated.

A: First, let me congratulate you on making the move to new hardware and software. You should see a tremendous increase in productivity, after a few days of growing pains while you learn the new software.

The best advice I can give to you is to have an expert trainer come in to work with your staff for two days. Learning InDesign and InCopy is simple, with good training. Without it, I’ve seen staffs work at a snail’s pace for months and years, never really getting a grasp on how to use the software efficiently. Good trainers pay for themselves in no time.

Q: From Carrie in North Carolina: My publisher asked me to ask you if there is any open source software, in place of Adobe and Quark products, available that would work to produce our publications. So I’m asking. Is there?

A: No, Carrie. There isn’t. Sure, you could use Gimp to replace Photoshop, but anything beyond that would require a significant investment in time. There are many good open source apps out there, including OpenOffice, Inkscape and Gimp. But there is a reason Adobe and Quark products aren’t cheap. If you want to create a quality publication, investing in quality hardware and software is a necessity.

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Read All About It!

Published on July 23, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

BCYCNA President’s note: This majority of this column by Vernon Morning Star editor Glenn Mitchell appeared in his paper for its 26th anniversary. Glenn is a long-time community newspaper editor and a respected person in our industry. I felt his comments here were relevant to our industry and our membership. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. I would also love to hear your feedback on this column or any issue you feel is important to our association.   

Chuck Bennett

chuckbennett@blackpress.ca

 

Read All About It

By Glenn Mitchell

Morning Star Editor

On this occasion of The Morning Star’s 26th anniversary I have to share a story of how much has changed in the newspaper industry.

Actually I’m going to go way back to when I was a youngster in Vernon and delivering The Vancouver Sun on my green Mustang bike to the 25 or 30 people spread out over East Hill and the BX.

You see The Sun was an afternoon paper in Vancouver in the ‘70s (basically no such thing as an afternoon paper anymore) and then it was trucked up to the Interior where it became a morning paper, as in the next day’s paper. So, I got up early every day, six days a week, to deliver yesterday’s news to my customers (which meant I had to deliver on holidays like Christmas because it was the Christmas Eve paper etc.).

Although daily newspapers were bigger then and sometimes the only source of national and international news, can you imagine people paying for that service today? When if it isn’t on the Web in 15 minutes or less it’s no longer considered ‘breaking news.’ I might be exaggerating slightly.

My point is, thanks to technology, everything’s a lot faster these days and the expectations on most industries aren’t far behind and we do our best to fulfill our duties online and in print best we can.

We still get the news to the community, we just do it in a variety of ways, from newsprint to the Web, to Twitter to Facebook to…..

And thanks to digital technology we can do that better, and faster of course, than ever before. I remember when The Morning Star started, the only way we could publish colour photos in the paper was to get separations done in Kelowna, which was at least a two-day turnaround, and which also meant front page photos were planned and not exactly timely or newsworthy.

However, what hasn’t changed around here are some of the talented people who still work very hard to bring an award-winning newspaper to our North Okanagan readers three times a week. I still like the paper product the best and I know I’m not alone (check any bulletin board at a school or orthodontist office near you, or even your favourite coffee shop) – long live newspapers.

Creative consultant Deb Moore and I just celebrated 25 years with Black Press and senior reporter Richard Rolke and marketing consultant Lynnaya Filbrandt are on the verge of their silver anniversaries here at The Morning Star.

It’s dedication and experience like this, and represented by so many others here at the paper and the press plant, that helps us to keep on top of things around these parts and brings our readers a community newspaper that we hope everyone appreciates.

Some think that newspapers will one day be the victims of the Internet, kind of like video rental outlets or record stores, but the comparisons are not valid for various reasons (and, personally I’m cheering on the recent revival of the vinyl record as I still have all mine from my youth and play them regularly, and get this, my 19-year-old son is buying them and playing them too).

No. 1, the community newspaper gets delivered to your door, often for free, along with your favourite retail outlet’s weekly flyer, in a nice, neat package that’s portable, transferable to everyone in the house, and entirely recyclable (no batteries or plug-in required).

How great a deal is that? What comes to your door these days, for free? The mail, you say, not for long.

Certainly the Web has had a profound impact on newspapers, especially dailies, and is an important component, as is Facebook and Twitter and whatever else comes down the pike in the future, in communicating with our readers and offering value to our advertisers.

They say the printing press was the most important invention of the last millennium, and it’s very likely the Internet (in some shape or form) will have a similar impact on this one.

And guess what? We get to utilize these two modern miracles on a daily basis as we reach out and communicate with our communities and tell their stories via print, photographs, videos, Website, Facebook…..

How cool is that? The best of the old and the best of the new combined into one vital vehicle that’s here to record history on the run as well as help lead our respective communities into the ever-changing future.

So thanks to all the readers and advertisers for their incredible support over the years and here’s to enjoying whatever the future, technologically and otherwise, may bring our way in the North Okanagan and throughout British Columbia.

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws and How They Affect You

Published on July 23, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

spam interdit

By now, you have probably heard of the Canadian Anti-Spam law (CASL) that came into effect earlier this month. In a nutshell, this law seriously prohibits your ability to send emails to your readers and followers.

In order to send any commercial emails to anyone, you need to have their express consent. This means that your readers must willingly check off a box or click a button that says they want to receive emails from your business in the future. This affects ALL business emails, even if you aren’t trying to sell something.

However, for the next three years, you can still send emails to those who have given implied consent before July 1st 2014. Any contacts acquired after July 1st, 2014 will have a two-year grace period.

Implied consent includes anyone who:

  • Has bought something from your company in the past two years
  • Has requested information from you in the past two years
  • Has given you their information without restriction and the emails you send them are relevant to their business

This law has hit every business across Canada, and many are scrambling to figure out how they can rebuild their lists. Any organization with a clean list will be in a much stronger position than before.

Newspapers are in a unique position of being able to rebuild their list in a way that many other companies do not have access to: print advertising. Here’s an example of copy you could use for an advertisement:

“Like our articles? Send us an email at info@thisnewspaper.com with the subject ‘Subscribe me!’ for a chance to win a $500 VISA gift card and get all the latest news sent to your inbox!”

You don’t have to include a reward, but we recommend it. A message as simple as this is enough to qualify as express consent. The sooner you act, the sooner you can start growing your list and your leads from scratch.

For more information about CASL, click here.

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Advertising’s Dirty Little Secret

Published on July 7, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

By John Foust

Raleigh, NC

Advertising has a dirty little secret. Most ad managers know it, but don’t like to bring up the subject in staff meetings. Most sales people know it, but wouldn’t dare mention it in sales presentations. And most advertisers know about it, even though it rarely figures into their marketing plans.

What is this dirty little secret? Ad churn. When an ad campaign doesn’t work – or falls short of expectations – the advertiser is likely to pull out of the paper. And the sales person is faced with the challenge of finding a replacement for that lost revenue.

It’s all about expectations. In their eagerness to close the deal, sales people have a tendency to oversell the possibility of making their prospects’ phones and cash registers ring. “Just run some ads,” they say, “and you’ll expand your customer base and increase sales.” But once the ads start running, the new advertiser’s focus shifts from words (what the sales person said) to results (what the ads actually do). If the ads don’t meet expectations, other media choices become more enticing.

In my opinion, disgruntled advertisers are the primary prospects for new media outlets. If they’re unhappy with Publication A, they’ll readily consider Publication B.

Churn is expensive. I’ve heard that the costs of replacing a lost customer can be as high as ten times more than the cost of keeping an existing client. Losing one advertiser can hurt, but losing a number of advertisers can be devastating.

The days of John Wanamaker are long gone. Wanamaker, the marketing pioneer who opened Philadelphia’s first department store in 1896, famously said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Today we have Pay-Per-Click online advertising (PPC), in which advertising charges are based on response numbers.

The growth of PPC advertising is pressuring traditional media to produce measurable results for advertisers. That’s why it is increasingly important to manage expectations. Simply running ads is not enough. Those ads have to work.

There are essentially two types of advertising: image ads and response ads. Image ads are designed to build recognition and response ads are intended to generate immediate results. Unfortunately, some advertisers think that “putting their name out there” in image ads will produce customers right away. That’s possible, but not likely. When new customers don’t flood in, an advertiser might jump ship and run ads elsewhere.

On the other hand, response ads can give advertisers an immediate reading on results. The key is to make the right offer. Instead of saying, “here’s a whiz-bang benefit of using our widget,” say “here’s why you should buy our widget today.

Although image ads and response ads play different roles, both are important. Brand recognition is a good thing. And immediate response is a good thing, too.

Churn is a big concern in the advertising world. Perhaps it’s time for those ad managers who have been saying, “Sell ads” to start saying, “Sell ads that work.”

(c) Copyright 2014 by John Foust. All rights reserved.

John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. Email for information: john@johnfoust.com.

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The Adobe Cloud. Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Published on July 3, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

Boxes

Article by Kevin Slimp

I’ve written a couple of columns related to the Adobe Cloud. Still, I’m stopped several times at every speaking event by publishers wanting to know if they should upgrade.

CS6 suites are available for individual purchase via electronic software download on Adobe.com. Customers must pay with a credit card and will receive an individual serial number and download. To upgrade, buyers must already have a CS5 or 5.5 license.

Unless your paper needs to purchase a CS6 version of InDesign to match other users in the workflow, it really doesn’t make financial sense to purchase CS6 instead of subscribing to the Adobe Cloud.  Here’s my thinking:

- To purchase a full version of Creative Suite 6 Design Standard, which includes InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat, the cost is $1,299. Adobe claims an upgrade is available from CS5, but after 30 minutes, I’ve still not been able to find it on the Adobe.com site. Versions before CS5 are not upgradable.

- The cost of an individual license of InDesign CS6 is $699.

- As of this writing, Adobe is offering a promotional price of $29.99 per month for a subscription to Adobe Cloud, which includes any software newspapers might use, including InDesign, Photoshop, Muse, Illustrator, InCopy, Acrobat and dozens of other titles.

- A subscription for an individual application, such as InDesign, is $19.99 per month.

- Files from InDesign CC (Creative Cloud) can be saved so they can be opened in previous versions of InDesign.

How does this all pan out? Users can subscribe to InDes

ign CC for three years for the price of purchasing a copy of InDesign CS6. Three years is probably about the time you’d give in and subscribe to the Cloud anyway, if not sooner.

For $30 per month, anyone with CS3 or higher versions of the Creative Suite can upgrade to Creative Cloud for the next year. So for $360, you would have access to just about everything Adobe offers for twelve months.

Let’s assume the price will go up to $50 per month after a year. That adds up to $1,560 over the next three years for access to the entire Adobe Creative Cloud collection. If you purchase just Adobe InDesign (as an individual subscription) over the next three years, your cost (at $20 per month) would be about the same as purchasing InDesign CS6 today.

I know it’s confusing. But I don’t get a dime from Adobe, so I have no reason to mislead you. Here’s my official advice. Take it for what it’s worth.

Oklahoma

1. If you have Adobe CS6 and have no reason to make additional purchases (no new computers being added to the mix), then keep what you have and look into an upgrade in a year or two.

2. If you have CS5 or 5.5, consider upgrading to the $30 per month plan (for the entire CC suite) or $20 (for InDesign only), but don’t stress about it.

3. If you have CS3 or 4, go ahead and subscribe to the Creative Cloud while they are offering the $30 per month introductory pricing.

4. If you have Adobe software prior to CS3, give serious consideration to upgrading to the Creative Cloud. One of the risks of waiting too long to upgrade is that it becomes

more expensive to get software when you finally have to have it. At the moment, you should be able to subscribe to the Cloud for $50 per month (normally $70 per month).

If you use QuarkXPress, that’s a “whole ’nuther” issue. Let’s leave that for another column. For the moment, that should give you enough information to begin dealing with a potential upgrade.

One more thing: make sure your hardware can handle a software upgrade. Most of us already have hardware that can handle Adobe Creative Cloud, but be sure to check before making a purchase.

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What The Newspaper Trends Of 2014 Mean For The Industry’s Future

Published on June 24, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

By Caroline Little, NAA president & CEO

The newspaper industry has transformed in a way that we could not have imagined just a decade ago.

Across the globe, there is a renewed energy to innovate, strategize, and meet these growing opportunities and challenges. That was the theme of the World Newspapers Congress, which I had the pleasure of speaking earlier this month, and it rings very true for our industry in America.

We are already halfway through 2014. From the creative solutions and trends I am seeing, we are in an excellent position to further evolve and thrive for the rest of this year and far beyond.

Newspapers continue to command a huge audience and remain the most-trusted source of news and information. While that will not change, there has been a key shift in the way information is delivered and audience is engaged. The World Editors Forum revealed their Top 10 Trends in 2014 report and it is intriguing to explore the way those trends will impact our business.

The importance and influence of data and analytics on every part of our industry cannot be underestimated. It is only going to grow. Much has been made of recent ventures in data-focused journalism, such as statistics and data-driven predictions that will figure more and more heavily in mainstream journalism. Publishers and journalists across the country are now relying on hard metrics to assess the readership and engagement of a given story, and the more we do so, the more successful we will be as we understand what interests  drive our unique audiences and tailor our offerings accordingly.

As I’ve noted before, data plays a critical role in our increasingly personalized world. The days of a one-size-fits-all solution to news are ending, and newspapers are in a strong position to capitalize. We have enormous amounts of data at our disposal to deliver a customized news experience. The opportunity lies in analyzing and leveraging that data to create and strengthen our products for consumers and advertisers.

As we do this, we will see advertisers follow. The advertising landscape has likewise changed dramatically, as consumers now choose whether or not they view ads and insist on relevant, personalized material. Advertisers are looking for precisely targeted audiences, and newspapers’ data on user engagement and experiences will enable them to deliver exactly that.

Another trend that will significantly shape our industry is thinking about mobile strategy first, instead of it being tacked on as an after-thought. Excellent video products have become critical storytelling vehicles for newspapers, with the possibility that our quick, agile videos – perfect for mobile platforms – can challenge traditional broadcasting. Our focus in video over the next few months should focus on refining individual formulas for creating successful videos and integrating them even better with our other content offerings.

The ways in which journalists report the news may be changing but the essence of a free press is not, despite being challenged on multiple fronts around the world. We have seen journalists in Venezuela and Hungary threatened with violence or had information suppressed in the past couple of months. Here in the United States, New York Times reporter James Risen could face stiff fines or jail time for not sharing confidential sources, which shows why we need a federal shield law for reporters to be able to covering our government without fear of prosecution.

Newspapers are at the forefront of researching and planning for the explosion of wearable tech, developing and refining the types of journalism that will be most successful. The ubiquity of social media, push notifications and short-form stories for apps has created a distinct, on-the-go audience that will look for even more immediately available, “snackable” content with the influence of wearables.

However, as Reuters’ Digital News Report points out, that will create greater audience segmentation as younger generations use smartphones and tablets to constantly consume news, while more traditional offerings remain the product of choice for other generations. Newspapers are tasked with balancing and integrating strategies across each platform and generation to effectively reach every audience. Indeed, one of the biggest mistakes leaders in any industry could make today is eschewing one platform for another, trendier medium without considering how they complement each other.

As we prepare for the second half of 2014, it is encouraging to look at the amount of growth, innovation and new investment we have seen in the first half. I am proud to say that next year, the NAA will be partnering with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers in bringing the World Newspaper Congress to our hometown of Washington, D.C.

I’m eagerly anticipating where our industry will be in 12 months. With the wealth of talent and energy at our disposal, I have confidence that these trends forecast a very bright year.

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Working From Home – A Remote Office Might Be Easier Than You Think!

Published on June 4, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

Kev_John

 

I first met Mike Mathes in 2012 when he invited me to visit the North Woods of Wisconsin to speak during an annual retreat for newspaper publishers. The retreat honored Wisconsin publishers who died during the previous year. Prior to that, I had met his brother, Joe, at several association conventions where we often found ourselves on the same programs.

Mike is president of Delta Publications, a group that includes two free publications, Tempo and Verve,  and one paid newspaper, Tri-County News, in Eastern Wisconsin. Having worked with both Mike and Joe in the past, I wasn’t entirely surprised when I got an email from Mike, about assisting with a couple of technical challenges.

The first was simple enough. Like many newspapers, Delta’s publications go through the hands of multiple editors and designers before they go to press. And like in many production offices, fonts were an issue. Even though each of the computers seemingly had the same fonts on each computer, InDesign would pop up the dreaded “Font not loaded” message on a regular basis when a file created on one computer was opened on another.

The second challenge was a bit more interesting. Mike mentioned that producing their publications would be much more efficient if he, along with others who sometimes worked away from the office, could connect to the office network from remote locations. He went a little further than that. Not only did they want to connect to their servers, they wanted to be able to work from home or wherever exactly the same way they did back at the office. This meant if a staff member worked on a desktop at the office, they would have the exact same experience when working from a mobile computer at home.

He had tried, with very limited success (OK, not much success at all) to use tools like LogMeIn and Dropbox to accomplish the task, but those, while good products, don’t allow what Mike and his staff wanted. They didn’t want to take control of a computer at the office – which I do on a daily basis, but not for this purpose – or simply transfer files back and forth. Mike wanted the freedom to be able to work at home or on the road with no limitations.

I could tell this was important to Mike, and the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like something that could be accomplished remotely, without making a trip to Wisconsin.

I recruited my friend, John McNair, an IT guru at The University of Tennessee, and three weeks later, we met at my home and began the work of creating a remote office for Mike and his staff.  Fortunately, Delta has a very competent staff person, Klaudia Schnell, who worked with us from the Delta offices in Wisconsin while we worked in Tennessee.

Creating the remote office was basically a four-step process. First, we used LogMeIn to get access into each of the computers and the server at the Delta offices in Wisconsin. While inside the server, we noted information that would be needed to create a DNS entry which would allow Mike and others to access the server remotely.

Next, we used a service to create a DNS entry for the Mac Mini server from Apple. DNS is the component of the Internet which converts human-readable domain names (kevinslimp.com) into computer-readable IP addresses (66.18.125.171). It does this according to DNS zone files that reside on the server and tie a domain name to an IP address.

Once we had a DNS, John took control of the router at Delta and opened up a port (Geek note: AFP uses port 548), which allows a remote user to “forward” from the router to the server if they have the necessary credentials. For whatever reason, we kept entering that number wrong for port forwarding and finally, on the fourth try, entered the magic number and – BOOM – we were connected.

John and I literally “high-fived” on the spot. The four hours had been a complete success.

After a break for lunch, I met with Klaudia online and we discussed a couple of possibilities for fixing the font issues. She had already been experimenting with moving entire font lists from computer to computer to eliminate the issue. While we were together, we looked at a quicker approach, which involves moving particular fonts to the InDesign Fonts folder, which also worked. We took turns, her in the Delta office and me at my home on LogMeIn, moving files back and forth until we were both confident that the process would work. Klaudia volunteered to continue that process after we finished our conversation.

I heard from Mike this morning and copied this excerpt from his email to me:

“As a follow up to last week’s work, I am producing my Tri-County News layouts this morning from home, accessing our server with ease from the remote location. You have done an awesome job! Thanks to you and John.

I will also confirm that we have the font issue solved! Thanks, Klaudia. 

If I didn’t love my co-workers so much, I might never have to report to the office again!”

At first, I didn’t plan to write about the work with the Delta group. But after more thought, I realized that many of the folks who read this column are of the small, community breed of newspapers who often think such technological advances are beyond their scope or budget.

There seemed to be around 15 to 20 folks involved in the newspaper production at Delta. I’ve worked with papers as small as two staff persons, including the publisher, who felt chained to their desks because they needed to be there late at night, getting stories written and pages designed. By taking on this project – which was completed from start to finish in one day, without the expense of flying a consultant in – Mike’s group now has that ability.

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Don Cayo: B.C.’s New Recycling Scheme: Another Good Idea Done Badly

Published on June 3, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

Recycling

Photo credit: Vancouver Sun

BY DON CAYO, VANCOUVER SUN COLUMNIST MAY 17, 2014

As a political debacle, Monday’s planned implementation of B.C.’s recycling stewardship program isn’t in the same league as the ill-fated HST. The latter ignited an unstoppable firestorm, the former is being met with anger and resistance only from directly affected businesses, not the public.

But viewed from a policy perspective, the two issues — one a full-fledged fiasco, and the other what looks increasingly like a fiasco-in-progress — have more in common than you might think.

Both have taken what could be — and should be — a sound policy and mucked up badly. The problem in both cases isn’t just ill-conceived implementation, it’s political pigheadedness of first former premier Gordon Campbell and now Premier Christy Clark, in responding — or, more precisely, in not responding — to legitimate concerns.

The concept of the new waste-management program is simple and sound: People who produce garbage should pay the cost of recycling it.

This means, in the words of Multi-Material B.C., the not-for-profit established to do the provincial government’s dirty work on this, that “businesses that supply packaging and printed paper to B.C. residents will be responsible for collecting and managing these materials so they can be recycled.”

What that really means is that these aforementioned B.C. residents who are supplied with packaging and printed paper products will ultimately pay more, because businesses that don’t pass on their costs don’t survive.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this. Residents once paid, through our taxes, for municipalities to handle this stuff. Now, a portion of what we pay for products will support a business-funded, non-profit agency to do the same.

But there is a great deal wrong with the way this is playing out.

For starters, although the government and MMBC maintain this is not a tax, it might as well be. It is a government-mandated cost imposed by government to cover a government-mandated service, and its impact is identical to a tax.

When it comes to checks and balances, however, the similarities end. MMBC is accountable to neither the public nor the majority of businesses that will pay their tab, and there is no third-party oversight — such as the auditor-general who looks into tax-funded programs — to ensure value for money.

And there is no reason to expect this move to replace a tax-funded activity — municipal recycling — with a near-tax-funded activity — business recycling — is anything like the tax shift we saw when the carbon tax was implemented and income tax was correspondingly reduced. This is a new and additional expense — municipalities aren’t expected to lower their tax rates to reflect their reduced responsibilities.

So the province has created a new near-tax plus a new monopoly and, despite vague assurances they will keep an eye on things for us, it has given the monopolists pretty much a free hand. Hands up if you think this is likely to end well.

It certainly isn’t starting well.

A host of businesses, my industry included, has been crying foul for some time, maintaining this policy imposes too great a burden too soon, and with too much coercion and too little consultation.

You may take some of what business says about this with a grain of salt; it never welcomes a new tax. But dozens of firms have presented compelling cases that they are being pushed to, or even over, the wall. Coherent and credible arguments against the policy have been articulated by representatives such as like Mike Klassen of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Kelvin McCulloch, the CEO of Vancouver Island-based Buckerfields home and garden stores, who is trying to rally support to sue the government. The opposition is strong enough, consistent enough and credible enough that Clark and her colleagues should, at the very least, slow down and listen.

Making matters worse is the inexplicable decision to put MMBC in the hands of a board comprised of senior executives from Toronto-based Unilever Canada and from Toronto-based Loblaws, plus the managing director, Allen Langdon, who comes to the job from the Toronto-based Retail Council of Canada. So not only do the B.C. businesses that will feel the greatest impact have no representation on the board, they have precious little affinity with those who do.

In short, thanks to government’s ham-handling, this grand new recycling scheme has at least one too many things in common with old-fashioned garbage: It stinks.

For the full article, click here.

dcayo@vancouversun.com

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