Author Archives: Hugh Griffin

About Hugh Griffin

Former Marketing Manager, now happily retired.

“Counterfeiting Incorporated” – the World’s Largest Company

Counterfeit merchandise

Image by "DangApricot" via Wikipedia

With counterfeit products growing 30% annually, this plague is now estimated to be doing nearly $1 TRILLION dollars per year in sales. Odds are good, something in your home or office is a “knock off.” Maybe it’s that “discount pair” of sunglasses or watch you bought for 80% off. The scary part is, it may also be your food, medicine, appliances, clothing and electronic devices too.

Estimates are that 75%+ of online Viagra sales are outright fakes, worse still, some containing dangerous content. A high percentage of those “online Canadian pharmacies” are actually sites based in 3rd world nations. Fake baby formula and “products” make the news constantly now that International Govt’s have finally started responding to the threat C-Inc. presents. Hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in taxes are being lost to counterfeits, and these are a big factor in today’s economic problems.

Fake auto parts are causing accidents, knock off appliances are causing fires, and even your good old “cell phone” has become a dubious proposition. Tens of thousands of counterfeit and gray market mobile devices are being seized at US ports.

What’s a good person supposed to do? First, recognize that “if the price is too good to be true,” something’s wrong. Buying knock off handbags, watches and sunglasses is NOT a victim-less bargain, it’s costing honest, tax-paying workers their jobs. Be very wary of online purchases from unknown sellers. Watch out for “faked sites,” and when in doubt about any online “pitch” (as the wise always are), log out and go directly to that merchant or business “actual site.”

(image source)

Rag Bond versus Wood Pulp Papers

Cotton Plant

A Cotton plant in Texas (via Phil Ostroff on Flickr)

Rag bond, writing papers with cotton content, remain popular even though the popularity of 100% cotton paper has given way to 25% cotton content. The term “rag bond” comes from the use of virgin and recycled cotton fibers adding during the pulping phase of paper making. Cotton fibers are generally far longer and thus deliver a more durable paper than those made only from wood pulp ingredients.

One can argue whether “cotton” or “wood pulp” are equally “green” or “non-green,” but there’s no debating cotton is a rapidly renewable resource compared to the length of time it takes trees to mature.

Rag bond or cotton fiber paper has better archival life, generally requires less harsh chemistry to process and clean its recycled content (linens and other left-over cotton based byproducts).

In today’s world, where “smoothness” has become a ¬†differentiating quality (due to the rise of desktop printing), an entire generation has grown up knowing little to nothing about paper “finishes, tactility and durability,” and they’ve seldom seen the classic watermarked papers which defined professionalism for the generations which preceded them. And that’s a sad thing. Those who think “green” is important often don’t recognize that some of the very best and greenest papers they could use don’t come with any “paid certifications” (as these mostly evolved from ‘lesser quality papers’ trying to differentiate themselves).

Even more surprising many also fail to recognize that 25% cotton content papers actually often cost “less” than pure wood pulp papers owing to how both are sold and distributed.

The National Speakers Association Annual Meeting & George Carlin

This past weekend in Anaheim we presented our book printing expertise. As the originator of digitally printed books in any quantity almost 20 years ago, no doubt we’ll meet some self-publishers who’ve fallen prey to “self-publishing companies” (the ultimate oxymoron).

And that brings back great memories of Carlin (who I once met in DFW at an ungodly hour while we were waiting on red eye flights). Recall his old “word play” – “Hot water heater?” Nope, it heats cold water :>)

The more I watch how folks go about exploiting inexperienced self-publishers, the prouder I am that we honestly enable them. But then again, I see the same type of spin everywhere nowadays. The “Cloud” sounds so light and clean, and then I realize: it’s acres of servers in some low cost region where energy can be bought cheaply. And so it goes :>)

Hacked Off? Nope.

While it’s sad a hacker went to unusual lengths to try and prevent us from sharing of useful knowledge, oddly it’s beneficial. For one thing, it’s proof positive that “nothing online” is totally dependable, something we’ve been warning folks about for a long time. Oddly, it’s also refreshing to “start anew.” Much like a home that burns down, while one misses “things,” one is also liberated from the past.

One wonders at what point “the Cloud” (those acres of energy sucking servers pulling endless fossil fuel power) will have another “come to Jesus” moment. The question is not “if,” but when…as daily evidence of hacking of the most sophisticated systems runs rampant.

Then again, I have a real library at home, and printing doesn’t get hacked :>)