[Event]: Book Machine at Harvard Bookstore, 4pm Tue, Sep 29th

On Tuesday, Harvard Bookstore will unveil its new mega-printer from On Demand Books that can spawn 300-page softcover books in around 4 minutes. The machine will be used to print any of the two million public-domain titles scanned by Google.

Tuesday, Sept 29th, 4pm, 1256 Mass Ave in Cambridge, open to public.

- More details about the tech in Wired

I guess we'll see a few Y Combinator fans there.

Movie Theater Advertising in 1920

From "The Essentials of Advertising" textbook published in the 1920s:

"The latest, and by many large distributors of merchandise regarded as one of the most important advertising mediums, is the motion picture. The popularity of motion pictures as a form of entertainment or for educational purposes is attested by the statement that there are 14,000 theaters in the United States devoted to their presentation, with daily audiences aggregating 14,000,000 persons, or over 5,000,000,000 a year. The possibility of placing an advertisement of any kind before an audience of this vast size strongly appeals to the imagination of merchants and manufacturers with products to sell.

Motion picture advertising is presented under ideal conditions. In the darkened theater the attention of the audience is centered upon the brilliantly lighted screen upon which the pictures appear, as it is the only thing that can be seen. The spectators are in a receptive mood. They are there to be entertained or instructed. When they enter the theater they leave business and household cares behind and, with open minds, are ready to receive impressions from the film productions."

- Read it on Google Books (+ iPhone version), Archive.org.

P.S. Starting next week, you can stop by the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge and have this and other titles from Google Books custom-printed and bound (see background in Wired).

The Cure Against Loud Commercials

SRS Labs, a company whose sound tech lives in many familiar devices, is bringing us something that will kill the volume difference between commercials and regular programming. The tech is called TruVolume and will come packaged in stand-alone gadgets that go between the TV set and the cable box, and as part of third-party devices (it already lives in some Samsung and Vizio TVs). Other companies working in this direction are Audyssey and Dolby.

Radio Advertising Eliminator would mute the ads altogether.

Details in WSJ, DVICE, and Sound & Vision (via).

Sketch iPhone UI with Notepod

This $17.95 Notepod set of three notebooks looks handy for sketching out your next great American iPhone app, although you can probably grab one of these stencils, drop a bunch of them on a page in, like, PowerPoint, hit the "Print" button and get something similar minus the rounded corners and extra street cred points.

Interactive Signage in 1902

Here's one clever advertising contraption "actuated by the opening and closing of the [glass] door to attract the attention of the person entering.

In order, however, to attract the attention of those who might not be attracted by the rising of the card, I provide a sounding device."

Patent #715886 awarded in 1902.

Banners, Search Ads on Retailers' Sites

Interesting. So Walmart must be making more money with the display ads it serves on its home page through the last year's deal with Yahoo than it would've made by promoting its own merchandise. The entire site served over 900M pageviews in August (Compete Pro data).

I looked at the list of the top 10 retailers, and it seems Walmart's is the only site on that list to serve third-party ads on its home page. It was a pretty big deal when Home Depot was the first large retailer to announce it would start selling ads on its site three years ago. Walmart also serves text ads on its search results pages, via Google.

And so does Target:

AdSense Ads on a Brand Site

Glasses, Gloves Simulate Geriatric Impairments

Photo: Lauren Pond for the WSJ

Wall Street Journal writes about a sensitivity training that puts marketers in the old peoples' shoes, literally: "Before walking into a Walgreens drugstore here, Todd Vang [a Walgreens VP] donned glasses that blurred his vision, slipped un-popped popcorn into his shoes and adjusted tape that bound his thumbs to his palms."

"Current store layouts present challenges for elderly shoppers, experts say. Worsening eyesight makes finding items more frustrating, arthritis complicates browsing and reduced balance intensifies the strain of stooping or reaching for products.

Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark runs the program to let retail executives experience how difficult shopping can be for older adults."

The training kits were developed by Lee Memorial Health System for its SECURE Project for Sensitivity Training. You can order a master kit for about $500 and additional sets of gloves that simulate arthritis and glasses that simulate vision under glaucoma and other impairments for between $5 and $15.

Half of Americans have poor eyesight. Over eight percent of people are also color-blind.

Here's the Project's promo video:

Visual Search for Cameras is Useless

I definitely get how Bing's new visual search can be helpful in finding products where visual features are the main differentiators -- say, purses -- but I still don't understand how it's going to help find you the right digital camera, unless it's a display of cameras' output.

Also, check out an Amazon affiliate browsegoods.com that took a similar visual search approach to online shopping a couple of years ago.

Behind The Malware Ad on NYTimes.com

The malware ad served on the pages of NYTimes.com wasn't the first such case, and not even the most prominent -- a couple of years ago, malware ads showed up on CNN and The Economist, among many other sites. Neither will it be the last, so see how it's done in this code dissection by Troy Davis. (Update on Sep 14'09: NYTimes.com has more details about the attack.)

And here's some historical perspective:

White Doors for Domino's as Pizza Landmarks

In a brilliant outdoor campaign, Domino's pizza in the Netherlands installed white doors featuring delivery phone number and equipped with doorbells for the delivery people to ring.

It's a great idea not only because of the conversation value the campaign creates, but also because of how it unbinds the delivery address from a typical pizza destination -- a home or an office; something taxi cab companies could use as well. It also establishes the brand as a public space landmark.

-- Indie Amsterdam via Springwise