50th: Long Road to Automation — From High Touch to Hi Tech
Hearing from a Hell Chromacom operator about the benefits of being a second-generation American with German parents, since the manufacturer opted not to do an English translation of the controls on the color electronic prepress systems it sold in the United States.
Laughing at the story told by a conference speaker of how he called together his company's entire prepress staff and ceremoniously cut in half the power cord on the typesetter to drive home the point that there was no turning back from desktop publishing.
This time at a conference on graphic arts training, hearing how immigrant workers in a bindery used a set of strings marked with black lines to set the trim length for books because they didn't know how to read a ruler. An innovative solution, admittedly, but still disheartening.
Wrestling with the tough questions, such as: "Is good-enough color good enough?" "Mac vs. PC, which will win the platform war?" (Does anyone still have a NeXT computer?) "Do we need halftone dots in contract proofs?"
Being on-hand at RR Donnelley's plant in Indiana for Creo Products' first big public presentation of this new thing called a digital platesetter (strictly speaking, it may not have been entirely new). From the outside, it looked like a backyard storage shed with lights added around the roof line.
Witnessing the printing industry's 15 minutes of fame in 1993 when the mainstream news media, video cameras in tow, packed the press conference room at Graph Expo in Chicago for Xerox's introduction of the VerdeFilm product, a dry processing film that eliminated silver halide. Apparently, there was a misconception about the film being suitable for consumer photography.
Who can forget the near urban legend status that developed around the story of Indigo digital press early adopters having to buy two machines and getting a live-in engineer to go with them. This was followed by people gleefully demonstrating how the ink could be easily removed from the paper using a standard pencil eraser.