Icing Images has introduced a new line of edible ink cartridges aimed at retail bakers and cake decorators looking to print images for consumption.

US-based Icing Images explained that the PGI-250/CLI-251 edible ink cartridge series have been designed to fit the latest Canon printer models which feature a paper tray beneath the printer and a removable print head; including the MG5420 and MG5520. The company said that the cartridges also fit a number of Canon PIXMA printers.

The cartridges have been released following “extensive” testing; with Icing Images offering the Genesis Printer Package to its customers – a kit that includes the latest Canon MG5420 printer and a full set of the edible cartridges.

Explaining why it chose Canon printers for its cartridges, Icing Images said that edible printing supplies “rely on good printer design to accommodate specific needs, such as easy print head cleaning, and low risk of paper jams or misaligned printing”, adding that “all new printer models offered by Canon are thoroughly tested to be sure these needs are met”.

Deborah Coughlin, Owner of Icing Images, commented: “We are delighted to offer our customers the flexibility of working with the latest printing technology by keeping up-to-date with the necessary edible cartridge component.”

While the current edible cartridges on offer are not refillable, Icing Images said that it expects to release refillable cartridges “within the next two weeks”.

Source: www.therecycler.com

Despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices.

With consumers increasingly enamoured by tablets and larger-screen smartphones with enhanced processing power, interest in PCs has remained limited, leading to little indication of positive growth beyond replacement of existing systems, according to research firm IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

The report projected worldwide PC shipments would fall by 10.1 percent in 2013, slightly below the previous projection of 9.7 percent, and far and away the most severe yearly contraction on record.

The findings suggest what the results of a recent Nielsen survey also indicated—as consumers move towards more portable devices, they have little need to replace an aging PC system.

“Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system,” Jay Chou, senior research analyst for Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC, said in a statement. “While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device–for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones–PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available.”


While the commercial market fared slightly better, dipping just 5 percent compared with the 15 percent drop the consumer market witnessed, the report noted the long-term outlook for the two markets is not significantly different, with a small decline projected for both consumer and commercial segments in 2014 with near flat growth in the longer term.

“Despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices,” Chou continued. “As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth.”

IDC projected 314.2 million PCs would be sold worldwide in 2013, with that figure falling to 305.1 million by 2017. Desktops and portable PCs are expected to witness more robust growth in emerging markets, compared with mature markets—total PC shipments in emerging markets in 2013 are expected to reach 182.1 million, which will slowly climb to 184.3 million by 2017.

“The emergence of 2-in-1 devices designed to function in both clamshell and slate configurations–many of which will run Windows–along with Windows-based tablets themselves, is expected to provide some new volume for the Windows platform as well as the PC vendors and other parts of the traditional PC ecosystem in coming years,” Loren Loverde, vice president of Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers, said in a statement. “The Windows-based tablet market is expected to grow to 39.3 million units in 2017 from less than 7.5 million in 2013 and less than 1 million in 2011.”

Loverde also noted that relative to a PC market size of roughly 300 million units, those Windows tablets would add just a couple percent a year relative to PC growth.

Those Windows devices are projected to account for 10 percent of a combined PC and Windows tablet market by 2016–a percentage which lends credence to the idea of Windows tablets being an important growth segment for the PC ecosystem.

By Nathan Eddy

– See more at: http://www.eweek.com/small-business/pc-shipments-slide-as-consumers-turn-to-tablets-idc.html#sthash.DaCo7Tny.dpuf

More than one million units of Sony’s latest gaming console, the PlayStation 4, were sold within 24 hours of its Friday debut in the U.S. and Canada. The company had previously said that about a million of those units were preordered before launch day. The number makes it seem likely that Sony will meet its year-end goal of three million units sold worldwide — a marked contrast from 2006, when manufacturing problems kept a large number of PlayStation 3s out of consumers’ hands.

Back to School November 2013

The total back-to-school (BTS) and back-to-college market is worth $72.53 billion in the US alone. Of this, traditional school supplies, such as notebooks, folders and pens, account for $7.24 billion while electronics, including PCs and tablets, are worth $19.5 billion.
Last year, US BTS retail sales hit $30.3 billion and while the National Retail Federation (NRF) reports this year’s sales to be down sharply to $26.7 billion, each US household still spent an average of $634 on BTS this season.
And the 2013 BTS market in the UK was at least as buoyant. Figures from GfK for July-August show the UK stationery market up 3.5% by value. 
GfK says this growth continued into September, producing overall value growth in the BTS 2013 period of 4.5%, driven by sales at grocery chains which saw a value uplift of 4.6%. By volume, however, the market declined 7.9%.
In the US, figures from the NPD Weekly Retail Tracking Service show total BTS spending down 1.9% on last year at $3.39 billion for the 13 weeks to 5 October.
The biggest fall, according to research firm NPD, was at office superstores, with a 3.9% sales decline. Other retail stores’ sales slid 1.6%.
NPD Office Supplies President Lora Morsovillo says: “One bright spot was e-commerce [up 6.2% by value], but it’s such a small piece of the overall pie.”
The OP superstores’ market share also declined, according to NPD, with their slice standing at 30.2% this year on 30.8% last year. But it is a piece of pie that is still worth $1.02 billion.
“We saw a lot of activity in the office superstores to differentiate their offerings,” says Morsovillo, “particularly celebrity endorsements”.
However, she adds that choosing the right celebrity was a tricky balancing act. “There have been mixed successes on sell-through and it’s really striking when a product’s hot.”
In the UK, GfK figures show that writing instruments were strong in both retail and the business channels, with value growth of 3.9% and 5.7% respectively.
Branded products were instrumental, according to GfK, showing a value uplift of 11%, while own labels fell 11%. 
Pentel Marketing Manager Wendy Vickery confirms this, saying demand for Pentel’s EnerGel range of markers has been “record-breaking” this year.
And the US was no different. “Brands do well because of quality perceptions. We also saw growth in areas that focus on fashion with patterns and colours playing an important role,” adds Morsovillo.
Vickery comments: “Some of the biggest consumers of stationery and trendsetters are teenage girls and violet is extremely popular with this audience. We’re seeing sales of violet ink pens becoming as popular as blue now.”
“Consumers are still looking to get value for money,” adds Vickery. “This has always been the case at back-to-school time, regardless of current strains on the household budget. Value, however, doesn’t necessarily mean always choosing the cheapest product.”

University challenged
Back-to-college spending in the US is also down. “The good news is that consumers are spending, but they are doing so with cost and practicality in mind. Having splurged on their growing children’s needs last year, parents will ask their kids to reuse what they can for the upcoming school season,” NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay said in response to this year’s figures.
Last year’s US BTS and BTC sales were driven, in part, by growing demand for tablet devices and PCs, according to the NRF. The organisation estimates that $8.38 billion was spent on BTC electronics this July, down 12.6% from $9.59 billion in July 2012. 
IDC and Gartner also both reported a decline in PC sales during the BTS season this year. And, while Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in Q3 2013, unit sales were down 14.1% this year.
Despite this, NPD’s Morsovillo says: “What consumers have told us is that, while overall there was no growth in those products this year, if you break it down by age group, middle school and also junior high school did see a little bit of growth.”

Marketing class
Experian Marketing Services Head of Global Research Bill Tancer says that BTS marketing started much earlier this year, with some campaigns kicking off as early as May. But, he says, this doesn’t mean shoppers started buying earlier. 
“Shoppers are delaying their purchases till later in the season, even beyond the Labor Day weekend. Students, for example, want to wait to see what the other kids are wearing before buying,” he says.
Morsovillo says that retailers in the US started marketing BTS earlier two or three years ago. However, she adds: “A good proportion of the US had a very late start to summer climate-wise. And people just weren’t shopping for these products until the end of July. So stores weren’t seeing as much traffic as usual.” 
Vickery meanwhile points out that marketing is crucial to shoppers’ decision-making process. “Pentel has had a successful back-to-school promotion with a particularly attractive selection of offers on key products, with a strong range of consumer offers.”
She adds that while convenience is an important factor in where consumers shop, it also “varies enormously according to demographic factors”. 
“Students requiring specific products for university courses will be more likely to visit a specialist stationer or out-of-town retailer to find what they’re looking for, whereas parents of young children may be more inclined to incorporate their back-to-school purchasing within their weekly shop in the supermarket or high street,” she says.
“What all of them have in common,” she adds, “is increasing use of the internet to make their back-to-school purchasing selections.”
In the UK, online saw value growth of 18%, according to GfK, whereas traditional in-store sales only grew 3%. “Online is the area experiencing the most growth for our customers, due to the convenience and choice offered by this channel,” GfK Account Manager – Office/Stationery Panel Sarah Wheeler explains. “With online sales flourishing for stationery products in BTS 2013, this is an important area to target customers driven by the digitisation in consumer purchasing habits,” says Wheeler.
But online is not growing as strongly in the US. “I think with e-commerce, we have seen steady growth in the US,” comments Morsovillo. “But that’s not isolated to the BTS season. There is definitely room for growth.” 
Despite this, the NRF’s 2013 BTS survey shows that more US consumers are turning to the internet to save money, with 36.6% saying they will do more price comparison online. 
All channels remain important to Pentel, comments Vickery: “The high street contains many of the traditional destination stores for BTS purchases, while the independents offer the range of choice that consumers requiring specialist products are seeking. We ensure that we have a credible BTS solution for each channel.” 
Wheeler says: “BTS has seen good growth over 2013, where brands have been the key contributor. Looking forward to 2014, if this growth is to continue manufacturers and retailers need to look at gaps to expand.”
“I think it’s having the right selection of products, the right quality of products and having them at a good deal and offer value,” adds Morsovillo.
“The opportunities for Pentel are to bring innovative products to the market and explore opportunities with non-traditional routes to market, such as the internet and value retailers,” says Vickers.
As the OP industry in the northern hemisphere focuses on next year, it must be ready to embrace a more bargain-savvy set of customers. And, while the internet was an important channel this year, its growth looks likely to dominate next year’s BTS season, in the UK at least.
Manufacturers and resellers will also need to get their marketing right in the battle for brand dominance in the minds of consumers.
At the more globally focused brands and resellers meanwhile, thoughts will be turning to the start of the back-to-school season in the southern hemisphere, where marketing efforts will have already begun.


– See more at: http://www.opi.net/file/119033/under-examination.html#sthash.jPUczGUA.dpuf
– Reprinted Courtesy of www.opi.net

McKinsey Insights app for iPad



We want to share some exciting news: we have just released the McKinsey Insights app for iPad, which provides mobile access to the latest perspectives from across our industry and functional practices, the McKinsey Global Institute, and McKinsey Quarterly.

You can install the app directly from the Apple App Store. The app allows you to browse and search articles, videos, and podcasts by theme, industry, function, region, and source; to create personalized reading lists that are accessible offline; to be notified when new content is published; and to share articles instantly via e-mail and social networks.

We are delighted to be able to share the very best of our thinking in this way. The app will continue to evolve with new features, and an Android-based version will be available in early 2014.


Los Angeles: Pop star Lady Gaga is releasing a limited edition stationery line to raise money for her Born This Way Foundation.

She launched the charity earlier this year to empower youngsters and stop bullying.

She is now raising money in the back-to-school season by teaming up with U.S. store Office Depot to supply pens and other desk supplies, reports dailystar.co.uk.

The stationery line, which also includes gift cards and wristbands, features empowering slogans such as `Be Accepting` and `Be Yourself` and 25 percent of the profits will go to Gaga`s foundation.

Office Depot have committed to a guaranteed 625,000 pounds donation by the end of this year.

Source: zeenews.india.com

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — A plucky Silicon Valley company, forced to compete for talented engineers, is trying it all — recruiting billboards on Highway 101; workplace perks like treadmill workstations and foosball tables; and conference rooms named after celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Bieber.

The name of that arriviste company?


The country’s largest retailer, which for years didn’t blink at would-be competitors, is now under such a threat from Amazon that it is frantically playing catch-up by learning the technology business, including starting @WalmartLabs, its dot-com headquarters.

The two retail behemoths, one the king of the physical store and the other the conqueror of the online world, are battling over e-commerce — competing for the most talented engineers, trying to gain the upper hand in the new frontier of same-day delivery and warring over online pricing.

They want to control not just Internet shopping but all shopping. Even as Walmart pours money into technology, Amazon is building a physical presence across the nation, adding warehouses and pickup locations. Both companies’ moves indicate that they believe the future of commerce is not just stores and not just online but a combination of the two.

For the first time in decades, Walmart, which drove company after company out of business, has a competitor it sounds a little scared of.

“Don’t think for a second that Jeff Bezos is not a capitalist,” Neil M. Ashe, chief executive of Walmart Global E-Commerce, said of the belief of Mr. Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, in low prices and paper-thin margins. “They’re just playing a game, which is, ‘We’re just going to wait out the world.’ ”

Amazon declined to comment.

Although the fierce competition between Walmart and Amazon is occurring in all areas, to get the technological edge Walmart has to succeed in San Bruno.

The company has had a small presence near Silicon Valley for more than a decade, but until recently, engineers in the area barely knew it existed. It signed a lease three years ago for the San Bruno office, north of the valley — and across the street from YouTube — and is opening another this fall in Sunnyvale, home of Yahoo, in the heart of the valley. It is trying hard to prove it is one of the cool kids.

For example, at press events in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart’s headquarters, the menu tends to be ham sandwiches, chips and iced tea. At a recent event in San Bruno, it was white asparagus panna cotta with house-smoked salmon tartar, morel mushroom macaroons and charcuterie from a whole pig. Borrowing a page from Google and Twitter, the company offers hack days when engineers can work on whatever they want.

The changes are more than cosmetic, though. This year, @WalmartLabs has gone on a start-up shopping spree, buying four companies — Torbit, OneOps, Tasty Labs and Inkiru — that build things like tools to crunch data and speed up Web sites. The acquisitions included some of the start-ups’ founders and engineers, the time-honored way for Silicon Valley companies to hire the talented employees they need to build better Web and mobile tools.

Walmart has hundreds of open jobs at its office here. This summer, the company hired 150 people from companies like Yahoo and eBay.

The company’s pitch to engineers is that Walmart moves quickly and has huge problems to solve, even if it is not a nimble newcomer or a buzzworthy start-up.

“There’s big data and there’s Walmart big data,” said Ravi Raj, vice president for mobile and social products at @WalmartLabs. “Every week we release half a dozen features.”

Rick Devine, chief executive of TalentSky, a Silicon Valley recruiting firm that has recruited for the company before, said Walmart’s scale was attractive to young engineers. Still, he said, the competition is fierce.

“The kind of people they’re going to be looking for — big data and e-commerce type of people — those are the same kinds of people Silicon Valley cares about,” he said.

Amazon, which is based in Seattle, also has a Silicon Valley presence; its Lab126 research company, located a few miles from Apple’s headquarters, developed the Kindle and is working on other mobile devices. Amazon is a much bigger player online, with $74.4 billion in revenue expected for 2013. While Walmart’s total revenue is close to $500 billion, it has said it expects just a fraction of that, $10 billion, in e-commerce revenue for the year ending January 2014.

Walmart.com had 62.5 million unique visitors in August, compared with Amazon’s 133 million, according to Compete, which tracks Web use.

“Amazon is the Walmart of the post-2000 period,” said Matt Nemer, an analyst at Wells Fargo.


Claire Cain Miller reported from San Bruno, Calif., and Stephanie Clifford from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on October 20, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: To Catch Up, Walmart Moves To Amazon Turf.

The company has started a campaign to get free wide-format inkjet cartridges out in the UK, which they have done before in the USA. 

My Print Resource reports that specialist ink manufacturer Nazdar has now started a free ink cartridge campaign across the UK. The offer only applies to OEM customers that are currently using Roland and Mimaki wide-format printer cartridge inks.

Nazdar has “full confidence” in its ink solutions and “fully backs” it assertions regarding the performance of the ink. With “many happy customers” worldwide, the company has repeatedly demonstrated how its inks can “benefit” print houses and “increase their profits” without compromising “quality of output”.

As well as the USA, Nazdar inks are also manufactured in the UK, so logistically the campaign can have an “efficient” start.

On the launch of the campaign in the UK, Martin Burns, Digital Market Segment Manager at Nazdar, commented: “As a manufacturer of quality, premium ink jet inks, it’s not often we offer them for free!

“However, we recognize that the switch from OEM to alternative inks can be daunting for some and we wanted to encourage those potential users to take the first step.  Simply put, we want to offer current OEM ink users the chance to trial our inks and substantiate our claims without incurring any cost whatsoever.”

He added: “We are confident that Nazdar inks will exceed user expectations.  Being an established manufacturer of inks for both end users and printer manufacturers, we are able to offer proven ink solutions, backed up by professional service and support delivered via our comprehensive dealer network.”

Full details of the offer can be found at: http://www.nazdar.com/freecartridge.asp.

The letters are coming home from schools that weigh students as classes begin and then calculate their body mass index.

If the index is above the recommended level, a note goes home to the parents warning them that their children are considered at risk for obesity issues.

Hope Green has two children in school, she told ABC News “the last thing they need is the school to now step in. You’re too skinny, you’re too fat,” she said.

Currently 20 states from Arkansas to California to Illinois take part in the program by sending sealed letters home to parents.

Doctors argue that BMI is the best indicator of a child’s current health based on his/her height, weight and overall body structure.

But parents are afraid the letters will put more pressure on kids, many of which are already preoccupied with their body image.

Statistics say 40% of nine to ten year old girls have already been on a diet, something medical professionals say is unhealthy.

Reports say the children began calling the notes “fat letters” themselves and they have gone out to kids as young as six.

Doctors admit boys have eating disorders but the biggest concern comes from the parents of girls.

Shannon Park has two daughters and she is dead set against the measurements.

 “Their bodies are changing and then they get this number that says, ‘Oh, you know, you’re not the right number.” She finished by saying It’s just a horrible way to start womanhood.”

What do you think? Should schools do BMI measurements on the kids and send them home? 


By Rick Couri

Source: www.ajc.com 

– See more at: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/schools-sending-fat-letters-home-parents-bigger-ki/nZqC5/#sthash.BFP0S5yk.dpuf

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