I’m giving a presentation today on Smart Publishing at the Association of Personal Historians conference in Nashville Tennessee. This post is simply for linking to the “PowerPoint” presentation (I really created it on Google Presentations through our Google Apps for your domain account). The Google presentation software is very limited but has great collaboration tools and served my needs for this presentation.

Keeping and reviewing my personal journal has always reminded me of miracles that have occurred in my life. It also helps me reflect on my day or week and make a course correction when I find myself off-track. It means a great deal to me and is the last THING I’d ever want to loose or have destroyed.

As the mainstream Internet began to get off the ground in the mid nineties, I felt very nervous about storing personal information on the web, especially my journal. Although I’ve kept a blog for over three years, and my personal information represents the first half of results for “Neal Harmon” in Google, Yahoo and MSN, I’ve been reticent to keep my personal journal online for the following reasons:

  1. I hate reading on the computer (I can’t wait for Iliad or Sony Reader to support a web-browser. I’ve been waiting for years for somebody to create a screen that doesn’t emit light.)
  2. Privacy. What if the government successfully forced FamilyLearn to release journaling information? (not that I have anything to hide…it’s just my journal is personal) Of course we’d fight it, but it could happen.
  3. My journal goes everywhere with me and doesn’t require batteries.

I’m not alone. As Jeffrey conducted a survey for pyxlin with almost 600 students at BYU and folks over at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, we discovered that 48 percent of these folks still write their personal journals by hand.

However, I realized that hand-written journals have the following significant downsides:

  1. They can be destroyed or lost very easily (37 percent of our survey said it has happened to them).
  2. No search. It’s hard to find the journal entry when I “proposed,” thumbing through multiple journals and hundreds of pages.
  3. It’s tough to make a copy to pass on to my kids.
  4. I chew on pens pretty bad every time I get my hands on one.
  5. It takes sooo much longer to write by hand than type.
  6. I can’t include photos very easily.
  7. I’m not sure my posterity would be able to find a translator for my chicken scratches.

About a year ago, for me, the benefits of the online version began to out-weigh the costs and I began keeping my personal journal online. Particularly because our company’s test product, pyxlin, allows me to do everything I love about the web (search, redundant protection, photos, etc), while cuddling up to a book when I’m sharing the proposal journal entry again with my wife (it allows you to print a beautiful hardbound book).

The only remaining risk for me is the government and I’ve decided they be bored by my journals. If you keep a journal by hand, they’ll have to supoena you and enter your home to get it. That is if you’re spouse, or sibling or anybody else in your family doesn’t stumble upon it first. :)

During our testing phase, you’d have a hardtime tearing me away from pyxlin. It’s become part of my life. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too as soon as you’re ready to make the switch from hand-written.

Thanks Prayatna for pointing out GalleyCat’s article. I know the publishing industry is undergoing fundamental changes right now and this article states that A major U.S. distributor Advanced Marketing Services is filing chapter 11 bankruptcy with over 132 million in debts to the largest U.S. publishers.

Frantz gave me the idea of hand delivering our Utah funeral home clients gifts at the beginning of this year (funeral homes have found iMemoryBook a great service for grieving families). Theron gave me a fantastic promotional product idea of giving funeral directors a frame that both represents memories and iMemoryBook and becomes useful to the director.

I had decided to take their advice but was unable to prepare the gift in advance because I’ve been sick lately and demands in sales have pulled me away from putting something together.

I started work at 6am yesterday with an appointment scheduled for 9am with Broomhead funeral home and then at 10am with Serenicare funeral home. Even though I had only three hours, I decided to purchase a frame, create a photo with a great quote to go in the frame, and then make it to the appointment 30 minutes away. Because I needed this so fast, there was no way I could even ask American Promotions to help me (they helped me with this stuff in the past but need more than 3 hours notice).

The finally quote and photo created in the GIMP.

I now run SUSE linux on my home desktop and only have Photoshop at work. I fired up the GIMP (free photo editing program) instead and whipped together a nice photo. By the time I figured the GIMP out, choose a quote and a photo and was ready to print, it was 8am. No time for one hour photo. Ahhh…I remembered Alpha Graphics receives files online and prints. A trip to their website revealed a store 5 minutes from Broomhead. “Yes!” I thought. I called, they said they’d have it done before 9am. I jumped in the car and headed for my appointment. Right by Alpha Graphics, I saw Michael’s, an Arts and Crafts store. I picked up my print and bought frames for half off. $13 later and 9 minutes late, I had a beautiful gift for the funeral home. I like the way it turned out well enough that I’m going to give it to all the other locations I’m visiting this month.

In under 3 hours and spending only $13, I gave two gifts that looked like they cost $49.95 each. It was created on free software. Printed in a flash. I love the way our world works today. This wouldn’t have been possible to pull off five years ago.

Two notes for folks:

  1. Although less expensive, the printing at Alpha Graphics didn’t look as good as printing an 8×10 at a digital photo outfit. I’m experimenting with Yahoo Photos and Wallgreens (powered by Snapfish) for printing the rest of these for the other funeral homes. I’ll let you know the quality comparison. I’d rather pay a few extra bucks for better quality.
  2. As far as online systems, Yahoo’s was smoother throughout the ordering process and finding a Target store to pick up my photos next to my next funeral home appointment was very well done. 8×10 at Yahoo was $2.89 when picked up at Target, $1.99 when ordered online. Wallgreens had more locations to choose from by seeing the locations next to my destination was difficult. I had to go to Google Maps to see where each store was in relation to my destination. Wallgreens wanted $4 for an 8×10, but when I ordered 2 on checkout, they dropped to $3 each.

Well, there, I blew 15 minutes bragging and giving you a couple tips that could give you ideas and save you a few bucks. LOL. Enjoy.