A Little More About Mimeo

A Little More About Mimeo

Drew asks that you use Mimeo if you want to print out the Wrox ASP.NET Web Matrix book.

If you've never used Mimeo. It is awesome. It is easy to install and use. It works from any application that has a printer selection dialog[1]. I've used them a couple of times. I printed out Roy Thomas Fielding thesis on Representational State Transfer (a.k.a. REST). And I've printed out Geological findings for the Arizona area. Everytime I get an awesome bound notebook delivered via FedEx.

[1] In all honesty, I've only tried Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Word. I've only done black and white printings with no complex graphics. :-) [News from the Forest]

First off, thanks for the kind review Justin!

The beauty of our client software, other than the fact that it's free, is that it really does accept print jobs from any program in Windows. You do have to be concious when printing graphics however due to DPI issues. For example, if you're printing web sites, which usually use 72dpi images geared towards monitor output only, you can't expect those images to come out looking stellar when printed as even the average home user's printer prints at 600dpi+ these days. However, this is usually not a problem since most end users who print on a regular basis are aware of DPI issues already.

The truth is, the success of our company can mainly be attributed to our client software. If you look at the online printing sector, most companies that exist[ed] (most have died) allow print files to be uploaded via the web browser. This seems like a great idea, right?? I remember the marketing cries that went something like:

"No software to install! Runs from any OS that has a web browser!"

Yeah... right. Now, consider these little factoids:

  1. They can only support a finite set of file formats.
  2. For every file format they support, they have to have a licence for the applications which print those formats.
  3. They have to write an entire architecture for actually loading the uploaded file on the OS from which the application that handles the file format came and actually print the file (hint: doesn't scale well at all). Yes, some files formats have applications on multiple platforms, like Office, but it's rare.
  4. They have to have every font that a person could possibly use licensed and installed, which is basically impossible since I could be using a font Joe Artist created and put online in my file.

The list actually goes on, but it's late so I'll stop there since I think I've illustrated my point.

Another major factor in Mimeo's success is that every single document is printed out of the same facility off of the same set of super high-performance printers which are calibrated and constantly monitored by our in-house printer technicians. Other companies will print your document in their branch office closest to you off a printer that is essentially no better than the one in your home or office. This can lead to quality defects such as color differences, alignment issues, etc. This doesn't seem too bad until you consider the scenario where you ship the same document to more than one recipient and those recipients live near two totally separate branch offices. Those recipients may get documents that look completely different from one another. Mimeo sacrifices same day delivery, essentially what you gain from branch offices, for quality control. As an added bonus, we also don't incur any of the expenses associated with running all those branch offices*.

Mimeo is about as "brick and mortar" as a company can get. We essentialy have no costs unless an order is placed, since everything in our inventory, which consists mainly of paper stock and bindings, never goes bad or out of date. A user places the order, we fulfill the order... it's just that simple. ;)

* Nor did we have to shell out who knows how much for stupid little volkswagon beetles which were used for same day delivery. Ahh... remember the Internet boom? And to think, they received way more funding than we ever have. They're dead; our sales are constantly rising. Victory sure tastes sweet! :)

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