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  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:45 am on September 1, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boris Akunin, Business card, Ephemera, , , , metal business cards, metal cards, Pimp Programmer, , , , Walker Blue Lable   

    Here’s My Card 

    I want to have a personal business card. All the cool kids have one. The thing is, as you know from reading my blog, I am a bit eccentric. Just a plain ol’ boring business card won’t do.

    I ventured forth into the depth of Interweb to find out about fancy business cards. One of the more useful articles was found on Robert Scoble’s blog, of all places. He has some good pointers.

    Unfortunately I can’t do a card that will say “go and type in Michael into google and click 47234524th page of results”. It’s because I hope that you all will link to my blog and my pagerank will improve some day.

    Another famous type of a cool business card was popularized (or even probably invented) by JWZ: his cards often had a neat title – they varied from “Scientist” to “Hacker” to “Hacker Emeritus” to “Benevolent Dictator”. I am not cool enough to pull something like that off.

    The next though that came into my mind – titanium! There are companies that make metal business cards, and you can special order titanium.

    The problem with cards like that is that they are prohibitively expensive, and since I am not
    “King of All Pimps”, I simply can’t afford them.
    By evening, Itzler could be found at Cipriani, washing down plates of crushed lobster with yet another bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue label and making sure everyone got one of his signature titanium business cards engraved with NY Confidential’s singular motto: ROCKET FUEL FOR WINNERS.

    “Michael Krakovskiy – Pimp Programmer.” Hmm, that’s won’t work either. By the way, Jonny Walker Blue Lable sucks. Any decent single malt is much, much better.

    CD Rom business cards, while cool looking, are not that useful. Their unusual shape and thickness make them hard to keep, and nobody ever puts them in a cd rom. Ever. Well, almost.

    There’s another side effect of cards like this: they don’t work in and may break slot-loading cd rom drives, like those on some macs. I know this firsthand as one certain magazine ran a promotion with a small cd in one of the issues. I hear that it broke a few car cd players.

    The funniest type of cards that I could find is the chocolate one.

    These are wildly impractical, expensive and probably don’t taste good. And unlike cd rom and metal cards can’t even be used as deadly weapons.

    I even did some digging on Wikipedia. This Victorian card made me smile. I love the caption under the engraving.

    I also found amusing the entry screen for Boris Akunin’s works. It shows calling cards (similar but not the same thing as a business card) of two of his book characters separated by 100 years. You can clearly see the decline of the art of typography today :)

    Let me know if you have any ideas, as I seem to be stuck.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:37 am on May 20, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: airline flatware, , , , Ephemera, Fishs Eddy, , Heroes of the Torah, Keeping the Faith, NBC, priest and a rabbi, , ,   

    I Don’t Know if this Qualifies as a Mitzvah 

    I am a big fan of a NBC’s failed TV show “The Restaurant“. If you remember, in the promotional clip Rocco says that 90% of restaurants fail in the first year. The author of this article claims that “the ridiculous myth about excessive restaurant failure rates is once again perpetuated and moves from industry scuttlebutt to everyday knowledge.” I don’t know the numbers seem about right to me – Rocco’s is out of business, right? I am just glad that I actually managed to go there once, eat lukewarm Italian food and have my picture taken with Rocco’s Mama.

    So, what happens with all the cups, plates and flatware from all the failed restaurants? Well, partially it’s bought by resellers, such as a wonderful little store located right at the beginning of Silicon Alley in Manhattan. It’s called Fishs Eddy and it sells a wide array of used commercial plates and flatware. For instance, have you ever wanted to steal a nice fork from an airplane? Well, Fishs Eddy sells airline flatware.

    They also sell some one of a kind items that seem to be specifically manufactured as novelties. Take these “Heroes of the Torah” tumblers:

    They seem to be made as a follow-up to a movie called Keeping the Faith, a story about a priest and a rabbi who traded “Heroes of the Torah” trading cards when they were children.

    There are of course no “Hero of the Torah” trading cards. That’s right, in real world they are called “Torah Personalities” cards. These were made in the late eighties-early nineties, and might still be manufactured. I dug up an image on eBay:

    There’s also a version called “Torah Link” that is available from torahtots.com.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:59 pm on July 16, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising options, Baseball card, blow-in technology, , , Ephemera, Fandom, , Insert, machine operator, , , Procurement, Trading cards   

    Psyops, The Non-Virtual Popunder and Stuff 

    You know those little subscription cards that fall out of magazines? They annoy the hell out of everybody. And apparently that’s why they are one of the most expensive and efficient advertising options in the print world. Same as a pop under ads online. You see, the reason they are put in magazines you already have a subscription for is the fact that they are very likely to fall out on a train, in a doctor’s waiting room, at the office or wherever good times are had. Kind of like psyop planes dropping leaflets on the enemy positions.

    But here’s the interesting part. The damned cards have a name. They are called “blow-in cards”. They are named so because apparently they are placed into magazines by puffs of compressed air. They have even more annoying comrades – the bind-in cards that are as it’s clear from the name bound together with magazine pages. The thicker bind-in cards are kind of like permanent bookmarks making it hard to find any pages with actual information on them. I often go through a magazine ripping those out before reading.

    Another interesting thing about blow-in technology is the way they make the card stay in place during the binding process. Most blow-in machines (how’s that for a profession – blow-in machine operator?) use static tacking. A special device creates a charge on the card and on the page so that they’ll stick. O’reilly books have this special binding that doesn’t work too well with regular blow-in machines, so people were complaining about blow-in cards that unintentionally became bind-ins. An interesting engineering solution followed:

    With the old system, the cards were hit with a static charge to keep them in place as the cards moved through the binding machine. Sometimes, the card would lose the charge before getting all the way though. This new machine uses a miniscule bit of glycerin that holds the card in place longer and then fully disappears.

    By the way, I have a whole collection of those O’reilly blow-in cards on the wall of my cubicle because they have those cool colophons with animals on them. I think Wrox books should have used baseball cards of developers for that purpose. With hilarious stats. That’s not a bad idea actually. Maybe they would have been better off if they had my marketing genius on their side. Still, with the money they saved on photographer’s services I am surprised that they went belly up.

    In Linebarger’s “Psychological Warfare” I’ve read about sets of leaflets used by the Allies during WWII that had numbers on them. German kids collected those as stamps because of that (any collector will understand a desire to have the complete series). Those leaflets turned out to be extremely efficient because many adult Germans with collector kids had a full set in their house where they could safely study them.

    This real world pop under kind of reminded me of banners that are being referred to as “Godzilla”, “gonzo” and “skyscraper” banners and popups. Some even have flash movies with this technology.

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