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Friday, May 24, 2013

Am I missing any good printing quotations?

T. E. Lawrence, British Army Colonel & Author, a.k.a. "Lawrence of Arabia"

“The palest ink is better than the best memory.”
- Chinese Proverb

The above quotation delighted me when it was recently published as the Forbes Thought of the Day.  I had never heard it before, and it starting me wondering if I was missing out on any other compelling sayings about printing and print.

Unfortunately, since then my research has only yielded the following relatively short list.  If you know of any other good quotations about ink, presses, printing, and the phenomenon of print, please forward them to me. 

“Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.”
- Carol Burnett (1936 - )

“He who first shortened the labor of Copyists by device of Movable Types was disbanding hired armies and cashiering most Kings and Senates, and creating a whole new Democratic world, he had invented the Art of printing.”
- Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881)

“American detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.”
- Edgar Watson Howe (1853 – 1937)

“The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.”
- T. E. Lawrence (1888 – 1935)
Wendell Phillips, Abolitionist, Advocate for Native Americans, Lawyer
“Every school boy and school girl who has arrived at the age of reflection ought to know something about the history of the art of printing.”
- Horace Mann (1796 – 1859)

“I suppose that writers should, in a way, feel flattered by the censorship laws.  They show a primitive fear and dread at the fearful magic of print.”
- John Mortimer (1923 – 2009)

“What gunpowder did for war the printing press has done for the mind.”
- Wendell Phillips (1811 – 1884)
“Nothing in fine print is ever good news.”
- Andy Rooney (1919 – 2011)

“The printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times.  Sometimes one forgets which it is.”
- E. F. Schumacher (1911 – 1977)

“The big print giveth, and the fine print taketh away.”
- Fulton J. Sheen (1895 – 1979)

“With a face like mine, I do better in print.”
- Jerry Springer (1944 - )

“Print is the sharpest and strongest weapon of our party.”
- Joseph Stalin (1878 – 1953)

“Be careful about reading health books.  You might die of a misprint.”
- Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

“Sacred to the memory of printing, the art preservative of all arts. This was first invented about the year 1440.” [Latin, “Memoriae sacrum Typographia Ars artium omnium Conservatrix Hic primum inventa Circa annum mccccxl.”]
- Unattributed Author

“We are nauseated by the sight of trivial personalities decomposing in the eternity of print.”
- Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Raise a glass to the ingenuity of Victorian printers this holiday weekend

Portrait of Queen Victoria
This weekend Canada celebrates Victoria Day (FĂȘte de la Reine in French), a federal public holiday scheduled on the last Monday before May 25th in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday.  (Canada also celebrates current reigning sovereign Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday on the same date.)

Victoria Day rates special mention in my Printing Blog because Queen Victoria's reign (1837-1901) was a time of extraordinary innovation by printers, whose inventions included:

·          Steam-powered presses for printing large numbers of pages
·          Powered lithography equipment with metal plates replacing the original limestone slabs
·          The introduction of chromolithography using multiple litho plates to produce multi-coloured impressions. 
Victorian linotype machine
Informally, even Canadians who aren't monarchists often consider Victoria Day as marking the beginning of the summer season; but the important technological advancements of Victorian printers give us cause for yet another toast.

Monday, May 13, 2013

5 new developments since Cody Wilson fired world's first fully functioning 3D-printed gun last week

Five new developments since Cody Wilson test-fired the first fully functioning 3D-printed gun (a.k.a. the “Liberator”) and released the printable file for it on the Internet last week:

1.  The file was downloaded 100,000 times in just the first two days it appeared on line.

2.  Last Thursday a letter to Mr. Wilson from the U.S. State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanded the removal of the Liberator file and other downloadable designs for printable gun parts from his Website, until the State Department decides whether or not the files’ Internet availability violates American arms export control laws called the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

3.  In compliance Mr. Wilson has removed the files from his own servers, although they have already spread to other file-sharing sites where they still remain available.  

4.  Mr. Wilson has also made the printable gun files accessible at a public library and a bookstore in Austin, Texas--which he claims entitlement to do under his organization Defense Distributed’s exemption for non-profit public domain releases of technical files designed to create a safe harbor for research and other public interest activities.

5.  Mr. Wilson is said to be weighing his further legal options and has also contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation for help in counteracting what he views as an infringement of his right to free speech.

Recent news reports:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

NDP to introduce legislation protecting Ontario workers from Vertis ex-workers’ plight

MPP Cindy Forster

On April 25, 2013 at Queen’s Park, Welland New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Cindy Forster held a news conference with a handful of ex-workers from the closed Vertis Communications plant in Fort Erie, Ontario.  Their goal was to publicize the problems faced by employees of foreign-owned companies that go out of business. 
Although the unionized ex-workers have stopped picketing the closed plant, they are still fighting to get over $2 million in pension plans, benefits, and severance packages they were denied when the U.S.-based parent company abruptly closed the plant in January. 
Vertis was granted bankruptcy status in the United States and sold its assets to Quad/Graphics, another U.S.-based company, but the deal excluded the Fort Erie plant (Vertis’s only Canadian operation) and several of its other U.S. facilities.  
Because of the circumstances of Vertis’s bankruptcy, Vertis has been successful in circumventing Canadian labour laws protecting the ex-workers' right to compensation.  The ex-workers have also been denied access to the federal Wage Income Protection Fund that pays a small amount of financial compensation to terminated employees of a Canadian company that closes without paying severance.  Appeals to the federal government from Ms. Forster, Niagara Falls Liberal MPP Kim Craitor, and Liberal Ontario Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi have failed to gain the Vertis ex-workers access to the fund.
Ms. Forster believes the provincial government should do more to prevent this kind of situation from recurring in Ontario.  Accordingly, she plans to table legislation, probably in the form of a private members’ bill, that would better protect the province's workers when a foreign-owned company closes. She says that the law might provide for the province to pay the terminated employees what they are owed, then use its powers to retrieve the money from the company.
She says such legislation existed when the NDP were last in power (from 1990 to 1995), but that the Conservative Party under former Premier Mike Harris repealed it.  Since then, one subsequent effort by the NDP to reinstate a similar law failed to gain government support.
“As foreign ownership of Canadian manufacturers continues to grow, and global financial markets continue to struggle, more and more Ontarians could be exposed to similar situations,” Ms. Forster said in a press release. “We need to take a serious look at these loopholes, and figure out the best way to protect the rights of Ontario workers.”
Recent news stories & videos:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ex-Vertis workers end Fort Erie picket line but continue fight for compensation

Bullet News Niagara reports that last week former employees of the closed Vertis Communications plant in Fort Erie, Ontario, stopped picketing outside the plant's front gates, since all the equipment has now been removed, and the few remaining employees working during the shutdown were let go on April 30.  

But the nearly 100 terminated workers are still continuing their fight for the approximately $2.7 million (roughly $27,000 each) they claim is owed to them since they were terminated without prior notice, termination pay, or severance in January, when the plant was closed.  

The closure occurred after Quad/Graphics Inc. purchased most of the assets of Vertis in October 2012, but not the Fort Erie facility.

The ex-workers are represented by the Communications, Energy and Paperworks Union of Canada (CEP).  

Through their union, the workers have tried to get at least some compensation from the Wage Income Protection Fund, a federal program meant to provide a maximum of $3,640 to Canadian workers caught up in similar cases.  But although they qualify for the fund, their claim remains unprocessed, because of a technicality:  Vertis apparently did not file for bankruptcy in Canada but rather had a Canadian court recognize the U.S. bankruptcy the company filed in December 2011.  

Rumour also has it that one of the company's former customers, a large Canadian newspaper chain that still owes the company about $2 million, is withholding payment in hopes of finding a legal means to redirect the money to the workers instead of the receiver for the company.  

Please let me know if you have any more news about recent developments.

Current news reports:  

Background to this story:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Gun Successfully Test-Fired, Named ‘The Liberator”

Further to my post of 29 April 2013 ( ), over the weekend in Austin, Texas, 25-year-old Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson and a partner have successfully test-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed gun.  In the end, they used a common hardware-store nail as a firing pin, the 16-piece firearm’s only non-printed component.  Mr. Wilson has named his creation “The Liberator” after the cheap, one-shot pistols designed to be air-dropped by the Allies over Nazi-occupied France in World War II.

Defense Distributed’s CAD file for the Liberator and its video introducing the gun are now available on line at:

Recent news reports at:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ken Lanci of Consolidated Graphics Group to run for mayor of Cleveland

More news on printers in politics:

Ken Lanci, owner, chairman, and CEO of Consolidated Graphics Group Inc., is expected to announce he is running for mayor of Cleveland at a news conference he has scheduled at his business at 12:30 p.m. on Monday.

This week he filed preliminary paperwork that allows him to raise and spend money on polling. 

Mr. Lanci is known locally for his philanthropy and for spending hundreds of thousands of his own dollars on a failed 2010 bid for Cuyahoga County executive.  (But keep in mind that even Winston Churchill lost an election.)

A nonpartisan primary will be held in Cleveland next September, from which the two candidates with the most votes will advance to the election in November.

Update on 7 May 2013:

It’s official.  As expected, on Monday Ken Lanci announced his intention to run as a Democrat in Cleveland’s 2013 mayoral election, making him the first challenger officially to enter the race against favoured two-term Democratic incumbent Frank Jackson.  Mr. Lanci says priorities of his platform will include reforming Cleveland’s substandard public-school system, reducing crime, improved public safety, and poverty reduction through job creation.

Mr. Lanci was born and raised in a housing project on Cleveland’s east side.  His press release says he rescued the family business from bankruptcy when he was only 19 and has since built and turned around many other businesses.  His current enterprise, Consolidated Graphics Group Inc., employees over 150 people.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can an equipment vendor reclaim its leased press from your shop if it objects to what you're printing?

Further to my post of 29 April/13 ), it seems that, besides issues of gun control and civil rights, Cody Wilson’s use of 3D-printing technology to manufacture firearms also raises an issue of censorship.  

The background here is that, when Mr. Wilson's organization, Defense Distributed, first started using 3D printers to make gun parts, the 3D-printer manufacturer Stratasys cancelled Mr. Wilson’s lease on one of their machines.

So does this scenario mean that if:
  1. you’re a manufacturer of printing presses, and
  2. I’m a printer, and
  3. you don’t happen to like the content of a particular job I’m running on a press that I’ve leased from you or you think the content is illegal:
Then you automatically have the legal right to pull your press out of my shop?

What does everybody think?