Our first publication was Pit Stop Magazine, a grade school attempt to publicize our Revell slot car track, which we reconfigured weekly along with the magazine. Then we attended high school where Movieland Magazine occupied our spare time, lampooning the more pretentious teachers and marrying off the good guys. We also found time for a teen advice column for the Minimon. Publishing is in our blood.
Our first program was a printer utility written in Z80 assembler for the CP/M operating system. We leaped on the Turbo Pascal bandwagon while working in dBASE II but quickly converted to C, rewriting a commercial database library for the DEC Rainbow under MS-DOS. We also had a little fun with the Radio Shack Model 100 and BASIC.
An early public domain checkbook program led to more serious cross-platform business software including accounts receivable, commercial advertising, classified advertising and press forms layout (a pagination program that output PostScript).
We also spent a good deal of time coding production systems, starting very early with the conversion of telecommunicated text using regular expressions into typeset code. An early project converted a dBASE database into a paginated book with no operator intervention while the data was being telecommunicated.
That evolved into coding tagged Quark XPress documents which ultimately were repurposed on publication as HTML files. And as XPress became the tool of choice in the mid-1990s, we developed palettes of application-specific tools to make it easy for either designers or editors of any skill level to use the program. It wasn't just a page layout tool, but it was the publication's word processor, too.
We have since authored Perl software to update MySQL databases, parse price feeds into HTML ads and use a Web interface to process images and text for publication. Our Photo Corners photography publication uses our Perl-driven content management system.
For two years in the late 1990s, we published a daily, national insurance publication on the Web. Our coverage of the State Senate hearings investigating the insurance commissioner often broke news as we competed with the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times. But we were a little head of the old media ad agencies, who were pretty sure the Web was just going to go away.
Our early online publishing efforts included extensive automatic cross referencing with hypertext links (still not as generously employed today), online classified advertising and affiliate book sales through amazon.com (in 1998).
We continue to explore new media with an emphasis on journalism without abandoning the traditional responsibilities of the fourth estate.
We are still heavily involved in text processing, primarily building publication-centric copy editing software to enforce a house style and conversion of proprietary page layout files to HTML.
That entails an increasing reliance on CSS (with which this site has been built).
It also surprising entails new applications like Apple's Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom to streamline the photo workflow. We've reviewed and use both products in our own workflow.
Almost all our processing software relies on Perl both on the server and locally. On the local end, AppleScript and Keyboard Maestro provide the GUI to many handy Perl scripts for text and image processing. Some of these (particularly copy editing software) function as plug-ins to popular and free text utilities.
Our system expertise has increasingly been employed on our own behalf as we move into providing syndicated content to various publishers.
Apart from our early Web publishing endeavor, we supplied best-selling translations of Italian literature for a unique language learning tool.
And we have written voluminously on digital photography, scanning and printing since 1998. In addition to hardware and software reviews, we edited a 10,000-word bi-weekly publication that included a hardware and software feature, a beginner and advanced column, book reviews, fun pieces and a lively letters column. The publication was especially unique in that its editor responds to every email personally.
We've continued that discussion with Photo Corners, our daily photography publication.
In addition to literary production, we've also expanded an early interest in photojournalism into a unique style of event and product photography (of which the galleries give some indication).
We shoot with both Nikon and Canon equipment using wireless flash but primarily natural light, relying on our software expertise for special effects. We're familiar with a wide range of Photoshop plug-ins, many of which we've reviewed.
See: Selected Reviews
Our business philosophy is simple. We're happy to help you publish by providing tools and skills that are beyond the reach of most small- and medium-sized publications. We appreciate the difference between the possible and the practical. And we build systems you can use right now with a short learning curve but that will grow with you -- and your audience -- tomorrow.
We bill competitively but we don't quote what we can't see or use a mythical hourly rate. We profit from using our own technology, hard work, expertise and nephews to get things done more efficiently than our competitors. You pay the same, not more or less. We will ask you what your budget is for any project you propose. If we can tailor our effort to your budget, you've got a deal.
Our early work on a weekly newsmagazine required us to wear a lot of hats. And our long years in publishing makes more valuable what each hat has to cover. Jack of all trades and master of every one, too.
But even more than that, we have an appreciation for the hard work each staff member does that makes any publication possible. Every trade matters in this business. And our help enables your staff to work more efficiently, focusing on the ball not the trade deadline.
Because we're a one-man band, we carefully budget our telephone time, relying instead on email correspondence. We maintain a surprisingly high level of availability this way. Our work takes us to a number of locations but you'll always be able to get in touch with us. Our clients feel as if we work only for them.
Use our Services Request form or email to initiate a discussion about how we can help you. You can put a pro on your team whenever you need one.
TERMS: A 50 percent deposit on the first job is required for new clients. One percent finance charge will be charged on billings unpaid after 30 days.
A note on the illustrations: We took these photos of Gustave Doré's Vase in Golden Park some years ago with a 3.1-Mp Nikon Coolpix 990.