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June 11, 2012

Nine tips for keeping yourself employable – The Ladders What would you do if you got fired today?

We’ve been receiving emails from Marc Cenedella, CEO & Founder at The Ladders for a while now and he always has some relevant and sage advice for how best to approach looking for work and opportunities in the new economy. Today’s message was about being prescient and proactive in looking for your next employer so we thought that we’d share his email with the Bauer Graphics community. Enjoy!

Nine tips for insuring against unemployment by keeping yourself employable:

Be thankful.
At the end of each workday, write down one thing you enjoyed or appreciated that day. Just send yourself an email with two sentences: “What I liked about today was how Abby handled the new client call. It makes me proud to be a part of her team.” Small bits of gratitude remind you of why you took the job in the first place, and help reinforce your willpower to handle the rough times. If you do this every day, you’ll find yourself being more appreciative for your work and your colleagues.

Show gratitude.
At the start of each workday, email one colleague, vendor, or partner, and thank them specifically for something they’ve done for you. Showing your gratitude to others is just plain nice, but it also lets others know what you enjoy and would like to see from them. It doesn’t have to be long: “Steve — just wanted to say that you did a great job at the planning meeting yesterday and I thought you handled the question about the 2013 budget cycle very professionally — Neal.” The world will become appreciative of you for being so gracious. Over time, you’ll find that makes working together a richer and more enjoyable experience.

Have an opinion.
Write one contrarian and one trend blog post on your industry per month. 350 words is all you need. That’s literally two minutes of talking out loud. You can talk for two minutes out loud, can’t you?

Become the #2 person in a local Meetup group in your area of specialty. Meetups are local groups that meet to discuss areas of common interest. There are over 100,000 Meetup topics that cover everything from Marketing to PHP to Business Law and more. Find one you like, start attending and contributing, and see how you can help organize. And if the right Meetup doesn’t exist in your town yet, you could even be the founder!

Keep up with the latest.
Read the NY Times Tech reporters Jenna Wortham and Nick Bilton — they write on cutting edge technology. Sign up for one of the services they mention and play with it for 15 minutes. You don’t have to love it — sometimes being able to explain why you don’t like a service or product is more valuable to an employer.

Get 100 followers on Twitter that you don’t know.
Interact with people in your industry and your area and build yourself a little safety net. It might take a week or it might take a year, but getting a community outside of your immediate work can actually feel very liberating.

Stay connected.
Once a year, reach out to your old bosses and let them know how you’re doing. Anybody who has invested the time, effort, and attention in getting your head screwed on straight will likely enjoy hearing how you’ve turned out (and take credit if the result is positive!)

Stay in touch.
Once a month, go to lunch with an old colleague, a former co-worker or a college classmate. Face-to-face, nacho-to-nacho, is the only way to keep true human relationships going. So break bread, grab a drink, or meet before work to share your experiences and trials.

Keep connections warm.
Go through all your contacts, e-mails, Rolodex, whatever and find fifty people from your industry that you wouldn’t ‘normally’ speak with in the next year. Assign those fifty people to the next fifty weeks — one person per week.

Each week, e-mail just that one person with a reminder that you exist and that you remember them: “Hey Jerry, I was just thinking about how great it was to meet you at the annual show in Chicago. I wonder if that re-engineering project of yours ever finished! Well, stay in touch, and let me know if you’re ever in Portland or want a few tips on the golf course/ Settlers of Catan / sample sales sites I was telling you about….”

The worst time to get up to speed on your tech skills, positive demeanor and networking chops is when you find yourself laid off or about-to-be-laid-off. So it’s important that you keep up your ability to find new employment just in case disaster strikes.

With these nine tips, and just 15 minutes a day — between meetings, between flights, in the car — you’ll keep yourself safe by purchasing the best type of unemployment insurance, employability.

May 22, 2012

NJ lawmakers may scrap troubled gift card law NJ lawmakers may scrap troubled gift card law NJ lawmakers may scrap troubled gift card law

A legislative panel is expected on Thursday to consider legislation reversing a 2010 law that allowed the state to claim the value of dormant gift cards as revenue.

The Senate Budget Committee will vote on whether to remove gift cards from the state’s unclaimed property law. The bill also would prohibit retailers from charging dormancy fees on idle cards or imposing expiration dates on their use, two consumer protection features the industry supports, according to Retail Merchants Association spokesman John Holub.

Under budget legislation signed into law two years ago, the state can lay claim to gift cards that go unused for two years. The law requires gift card sellers to obtain ZIP codes from buyers so the state can claim the value of the cards. Without such information, the value of unused cards reverts to the company or to the state in which the company is incorporated.

New Jersey projected $65 million in revenue from unused cards, travelers checks and money orders the first year the law was expanded, but retailers sued and the law has stalled. The bill being considered Thursday would ensure it isn’t implemented.

The Assembly passed a similar measure in March by a vote of 48-27 with 4 abstentions. That bill also would reinstate a 15-year abandonment period before the state can claim revenue from travelers checks and seven years before it can claim uncashed money orders. The 2010 budget cut both down to three years and trimmed the waiting period on unused gift cards to two years.

Shoppers would still be able to redeem a card after two years. But if the state had already claimed the balance, a business would have to petition the state for reimbursement.

“The governor’s changes were decidedly anti-consumer and anti-business at a time when we should be protecting both,” said South Jersey Democrat Paul Moriarty, a sponsor of the Assembly bill.

Three major players in the gift card market told The Associated Press last month they would quit doing business in New Jersey in June over difficulties complying with the new law.

Two of the companies, Blackhawk Network and InComm, are third-party providers of gift cards sold at malls, groceries and convenience stores. Both they and American Express said they couldn’t ensure compliance since their cards are sold indirectly.

Treasury Department spokesman Andy Pratt said the administration doesn’t intend to backtrack on the 2010 law.

“We’re in the process of developing regulations based on the current law that will address some of the concerns people have,” Pratt said.

Article by Angela Dellisanti
Associated Press
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

April 10, 2012

So you want to be a designer…

As a design studio in a highly creative town (Portland, Oregon USA), we get a lot of emails and personal correspondence from people asking what it takes to get started in the field of graphic design. Questions range from “what books should I be reading” to “what are some of the best schools for design” to “can I has job?”. Our response to these hails are generally the same so we’ve decided to create a blog post for all our future design prospects. We hope this post can offer some clarity into the road ahead, but this advice should be taken with a grain of salt as everybody’s path into design (or at least should be) varied and unique.

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Schools:
There aren’t any particular schools that we recommend for graphic design that don’t cost a metric-ton of money (Cal Arts). What I will say is save your money until you are absolutely sure that design is for you. If you were thinking of attending a school like the Art Institute, you should be prepared to spend a good amount of time working to put a portfolio together and working closely with your freelance competition. We know a lot of instructors at the Art Institute and have hired several designers from there, it’s not a bad place to start but it is certainly an expensive “baptismal by fire” to see if you really want to be a designer.

Our recommendation is that you should round out your education by getting a degree in applied arts and getting a few projects, in a few different mediums, under your belt. That way, you may find talents you never knew you had from welding to ceramics to video production to a thousand other disciplines that can aid your future career be it graphic design or otherwise.

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Books:
As for books to read, we’d (and I’m serious about this) start with Graphic Design for Dummies which should teach you about definitions and expectations. That series is like a ‘CliffsNotes’ for any subject and provides a basic understanding of the core concepts in design. After that, we’d recommend books on art history, anatomy, drawing techniques, printing, pairing and even magazines that focus on design principals (How).

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Tools:
Regardless of your feelings of Mac v. PC, I’d suggest getting a decent computer (at least 4GB RAM) and start working with any design programs you can. You don’t have to be working with Adobe right out of the gate as there are many alternatives to those applications these days. If you do have access to Creative Suite, you should start to familiarize yourself with Illustrator (vector) first. Photoshop is a phenomenal program but when you start working with print ready files programs you’ll need to know how to produce files as vector art and the requirements for exporting and getting those elements properly prepared for print.

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Experience:
Now, here’s the most important thing of all, in order to be a great designer, you need to get out to concerts, museums, the mall, ANYWHERE there is art on display. We’re not talking exclusively about pretty pictures, but we are saying that knowing what has resonated throughout history (museums) will definitely give you a good base to work from. Seeing posters, shirts and people at events (concerts/sporting events) should give you a good idea of what graphics work in what context. Even the mall can a great place to see both good and bad POP (point of purchase) displays and to start getting ideas for what works and what doesn’t.

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The first step towards becoming a designer should be the act of picking up a spiral bound sketch book so you can start drawing and taking notes on the world around you. As a designer, it’s your job to know what works visually and what doesn’t AND be able to echo that on to your client. Design is everywhere and they play an important part in driving sales and creating marketing efforts that build awareness and loyalty. There will always be a need for designers and GOOD designers, the ones that can separate the wheat from the chaff, the ones who have a working knowledge of history, are the ones who keep getting paid and picked up for gigs.

March 2, 2012

What is your website saying about your brand?

Jon Gelberg of Blue Fountain Media, recently wrote an article for Inc.com that how going with a template based web option might be good for the short term, but over the long haul it cheapens your brand and makes you look like you don’t take your marketing and messaging seriously.

The crux of the article was that a website goes beyond just ‘setting and forgetting’ and no matter what solution you come up with there will need to bee some thought put into the cost of maintenance, upkeep and content development.

Before any of that begins you need to start with what you want your business to say BEFORE you look to a template to decide that for you. If your business commands a bulk of your time (which it should), find a design team that shows a demonstrated understanding of what you do.

If you are thinking of getting your business online or if you are going through the process of updating your website, we highly recommend this article.

June 7, 2011

Bauer Graphics at the Wild Canyon Games!

This past weekend, Bauer Graphics attended the Wild Canyon Games at the Washington Family Ranch here in Central Oregon.  The Wild Canyon Games (WCG) is described as “the ultimate team based adventure race competition” and after this weekend the only adjective we’d add is ‘punishing’.   For three days the team at Bauer Graphics was pushed to the physical edge.   Afterwards, the only emotion we have to describe our feelings is one of gratitude.

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The 2011 Wild Canyon Games were held at a 66,000-acre facility in Central Oregon known as the Washington Family Ranch. A short 3 hour drive from Portland will get you to the town of Antelope which is where all communication to the outside world effectively ends.  For the next 30 minutes we were on loose gravel and/or dirt roads as we made our way to the entrance to the camp.   The following images show a few of the scenic overlooks and the awe-inspiring landscapes, but the actual feeling when you are there is simply indescribable.

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We signed in, received our wristbands, went to orientation and the vendor fair then spent the rest of the afternoon planning and setting our alarms for the 5am Triathlon and GeoCaching events. As we were settling into our bunks, we looked outside and saw that the night sky had exploded with stars. At 10pm, we packed up the cameras, tripod and 5 members of team Bauer Graphics and made the long journey to the top of Communication Hill (2140 ft). This hill would eventually be the last leg of our Creek2Peak journey on Sunday morning, but for now, it was doing a pretty good job of kicking our asses. The last 1/8 of a mile is nearly straight up and ends with the following view:

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There were millions of them! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many stars in my life outside of Red Dead Redemption. After catching our breath for 30 minutes we collected our things and made our way back down ending the day just after midnight.

The next day started at 4am after our bunk house had turned into a fart-n-snore factory. I packed my bag and changed into my gear and waited for the rest of the crew to get ready. By 5:30am we were off to breakfast for and then to the check ins for our respective events. Simon, Ellen and Brendan took their places at the Triathlon while Rudy, Aaron, Derek and I walked across campus to the sports facility to prepare for the Geocaching event.

For the next five hours we would be climbing the hills of the Washington Family Ranch to elevations of nearly 4000 feet. Our team broke into two teams of two; Aaron and Derek went to the hills in the west while Rudy and I went due south to find caches in the valley. What started off as a trip down into a valley turned into Rudy and I heading towards one of the highest peaks at the camp. Word of warning to all you iPhone 4 owners, trying to use the GPS unit in the phone for GeoCaching is like trying to thread a needle while sitting in the back of a truck. Get yourself a good GPS unit before heading out and get a plan of attack ready before your trek into the wilderness so you don’t end up stuck on a devil’s backbone. By “Devil’s Backbone” I mean that we had worked our way up a ridge to a point where there was a sharp, steep grade on one side and a 1500 foot cliff on the other.

After making our way back down to safety we encountered a pretty significant problem. We’d been turned around from our original position so much that we couldn’t place where we were and how to get back to camp. While the iPhone 4′s GPS couldn’t find a broad side of a cavern-sized barn, the compass app worked like a charm and after 45 minutes of additional climbing we crested a hill and saw the ranch once more. Rudy and I, humbled by our journey, were nearly silent during the entire decent into camp. Within 30 minutes Derek and Aaron returned with several cache numbers in tow. All of team Bauer was safe, sound and accounted for.

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When we left the geocache area we ran into the rest of the team who let us know that we had done much better than expected in the Triathlon event. Ellen did a great job swimming and Simon finished the mini-marathon with a respectful time but it was Brendan’s racing ability that put us over the top. In a heat of 103 riders, Brendan had finished 10th. After the first event, Bauer Graphics stood in the top 25 of overall participants at the 2011 Wild Canyon Games.

March 24, 2011

Dear everyone,

I’ve been spending a lot of time going through the Bauer Graphics blog as we prepare for our official-grand-re-launch of the site in April. Bauer Graphics has had a blog going for over five years and in that time there has been a few posts talking about personal exploration and others dealing with overcoming everyday workplace adversity. I wanted to share a few blog posts with you that sum up the atmosphere and philosophy of my myself and everyone we look to bring on at Bauer Graphics:

“You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

“We can get off of it at any time. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings, and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love.”

“You must not only condition yourself to be open and willing to receive what you want but you must also ASK FOR IT! You need to ask for what you want with total passion, intention and belief. Don’t complain or be a victim. Be positive, optimistic and full of enthusiasm and joy.”

Have a wonderful morning, afternoon and evening everyone. Looking forward to launching the new site soon.

Sincerely,

___________________________________________

Neal Bauer
Bauer Graphics, Inc.

email • neal (at) bauergraphics (dot) com
cell • 503.968.7699

http://www.bauergraphics.com/bg_capabilities.pdf

March 12, 2011

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

UPDATE: Effective March 11, and continuing through the end of the month, AT&T customers will not be charged for long distance calls to Japan. Text messages sent to Japan that originate from a U.S. number are also free of charge.

Donation

Note: Donations are accepted in Japanese Yen only. ($20 is approximately 1600 yen) Your donation must be at least 100 yen, up to 50,000 yen.

Enter Amount in JP¥

* Donations will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society and will be used to support to those affected by the earthquake in Japan

A massive 8.9/9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean nearby Northeastern Japan at around 2:46pm on March 11 (JST) causing damage with blackouts, fire and tsunami. On this page we are providing the information regarding the disaster and damage with realtime updates.

The large earthquake triggered a tsunami warning for countries all around the Pacific ocean.

Local Japan Emergency dials:
171 + 1 + line phone number to leave a message
171 + 2 + line phone number to listen to the message

Phone numbers to consult about missing persons: (Japanese language)
Iwate: 0120-801-471
Miyagi: 022-221-2000
Fukushima: 0120-510-186 / 090-8424-4207 / 090-8424-4208

You can also access Person Finder here: http://goo.gl/sagas

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February 26, 2011

Destination PlayStation

Here we are at the 11th annual Destination PlayStation event, hosted by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

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We are in the picturesque Sonoran Desert but it is a bit colder than you would expect. I’m not complaining as this desert could do with some rain and, plus, it makes walking the floor at the expo a little less muggy.

We are here for a week’s worth of meetings and planning for the next phase of Bauer Graphics and to talk all things Sony. It was a toss up for which show I would be attending (DPS or GDC) but I figured that I’d be hitting those same folks up at E3 this year so Destination Playstation won out. Plus, how can you compete with the luxurious Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort? Come on!

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Looking forward to bringing back some key partnerships this year and to start working with more companies in the game industry.

February 17, 2011

Proud sponsors of the ++Good Games podcast

This month Bauer Graphics has made an investment in the future of video games by sponsoring the ++Good Games podcast on iTunes, podOmatic and Mevio.

Over the course of 2010-2011 the team at ++Good has talked with developers and individuals that are actively pushing the craft of video games forward including Tim Schafer and Lee Petty of Double Fine Studios, Localization Specialist Thomas Lipschultz from XSeed Games as well as voice actors like Liam O’Brien and Kat Steel who have graciously joined the program.

The ++Good Games podcast has been celebrating the best games, the best developers and the greatest experiences this industry has to offer and has worked tirelessly to share what has made the games industry so exceptional these past 40 years.

We at Bauer Graphics are proud to have the opportunity to support a program that moves an imaginative industry forward and we are glad that we could help them level up.

January 26, 2011

Lego Antikythera Mechanism

This ancient machine was discovered by divers in 1908 off the coast of Antikythera. Coverd in corrosion the purpose of the device remained a mystery for almost 100 years. Through the use of X-Rays and CAT scans scientists were able learn that the device was an extremely accurate computer used by the Greeks to predict eclipses and other celestial events.

It is an analog computer with over 100 gears and 7 differential gearboxes. It is accurate to a day or two over it’s range.

Five turns of the central yellow handle advances the machine one year. The dials on the left represent the Saros cycle of lunar months. The dials on the right represent the positions of the sun and moon against the zodiac.

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