Friday, March 03, 2006

megs, gigs and kilos #$@^!

Ok so I remember back in the day working out of Victory Printers, I would often chat with Naresh when he still worked at Lithocraft Industries. One of our age old chats centered around being able to design work and send it across the internet platform to other vendors and service providers for proofing and filmout. At the time it was a mere thought and possible technological switch that would kill deadlines, and time wasting for the need to burn images and files to CD, and then driving across town to drop the work off for processing.

Amazing how such a thought back in Africa 5 years ago is reality now in the States. Such e-technology has been up and running here for years. What made it soo easy to transition chats and thoughts into reality? BROADBAND. Zimbabwe still does not have the infrastructure for broadband capabilities, and "dial-up" is still the only source of ISP connection. Although 56kbps Modems are sold under the thought that a true 56kbps connection is possible - is simply untrue. The cable network and infrastructure still at best will only allow a true connection across the nation of nothing more than 28.8kbps. Frequent "booting" is the order of the day, and so for most folks who can afford a web connection and internet access, the best time connecting is after 10PM at night. The prohibitive factor then becomes = cost. Some providers are charging zw$25000.00 for very 15 minutes of connection! So, knowing the limitations of connection, this makes the transfer of data basically impossible until the issue of connectivity is resolved, which is going to cost billions, and require incredible man hours of work in putting in place fibre optic cable in major centers. What becomes more important in a difficult situation - Putting food on the table or being able to access broadband internet connectivity? You decide...

So, back to the reality of being able to send data across the web for purposes of production, proofing, filmout and design work. My brother setup our company website and added a nifty little feature that enables the transfer of huge volumes of data across a secure internet connection. Clients can design their work from the comfort of their home or office, logon to our website, drag and drop their data into our secure FTP (File Transfer Protocol) link, and within a short space of time dependant on file size, I have their work on my desktop in a matter of minutes. AMAZING! Just an example - a brochure printed both sides in full color, with high resolution graphics with an estimated file size of 120mb will transfer into our FTP server within less than 10 minutes. What makes this possible? It is the use of Broadband, unlimited internet access and the knowledge on how to make it all work. The beauty in this industry is being able to have a secure constant connection 24/7 for literally pennies on the dollar, a truly magnificent investment if transfer large files and data is required.

I often think back to how much we wanted this technology to work at Victory Printers in Zimbabwe, and wondered when it would be possible. Sadly the answer is still as dim as it was 5 years may never happen. Today, out of Artistic Printing here in the States, we are able to use technology as a silent partner to drive business to our front door, to capture the unseen client who browses the web for their requirements, it is our silent marketing agent working across the globe drawing traffic and business to itself. It seems that the closer we get to harnessing this huge leap forward in technology makes us wonder what we actually ever did without it to begin with. The internet has made life easier...BUT it should be used for the purpose for which it was intended, and not abused in the very many ways that we see today.

This is just a bit of a thought pattern that I have penned tonight, and so it may be very boring, but fear not, some good posts will be on the way soon. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, take care out there.

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