The Secret to Beating the Postage Increase


Buy your stamps for 10% off.

Yes, it’s pretty obvious I know, but 99% of the people reading this article don’t think it is possible – “isn’t it against the law for the post office to give discounts on stamps?” So what – you don’t have to buy them from the post office.

I know it sounds too good to be true, I thought so too until I figured out how to do it.

If you are like me, you have spent hours of your life poring over your expenses in every category, trying to find a place to shave off a percent or two here and there. Then you come to the postage category. You look at that solid and steadily increasing dollar amount, shed a few tears, and move on since you know there is no way to save on the actual postage itself. You can’t just stop mailing invoices or statements, and you can’t use bulk mail for them – you’re stuck.

After crying a few of those tears year after year, I read “Chapter 9: You Can Always Find 5%” from my favorite business book Fire Someone Todayand was determined to once and for all find a way to shave something off that number somehow. Everyone said it couldn’t be done – “Everyone knows there are no discounts on postage other than bulk mail.” I was more determined than ever to find a way to shave at least 5% off my postage expenses.

I talked to my post office representative, I called the postmaster, I asked the UPS guys, the mail forwarders, the bulk rate mailers, and everyone else I could think of. Then I called the local “Stamp & Coin” shop and hit pay-dirt.

It turns out that there are thousands upon thousands of people happily stockpiling stamps while completely oblivious to the fact that the vast majority of all stamps are, guess what… used as stamps, and will never be worth more than their face value. They buy every roll or book of postage issued, no matter how mass-produced they may be, hoping they will strike it rich with a bunch of collector’s items someday. Eventually they pass on and their heirs inherit tons of old postage with no special collectable value at all. They can’t use that much postage themselves, so they sell it to the local stamp and coin place at pennies on the dollar.

The beauty of the old postage is that it never loses its face value or expires. While it may be worthless as a collector’s item, it is still worth every penny printed on its face. Just like any other inventory item, the old postage purchased at a discount is often passed on at a discount. The more dollars the local shop has tied up in old postage inventory, the more likely they are to blow it out at a discount.

I went over to my local stamp and coin place and made a deal with them. They agreed to hand-apply the correct postage to my statement envelopes when they had down time if I agreed to buy my postage from them. Sounded like a no-brainer to me. They sold the postage to me for 10% off face value and applied it for free. Now I am saving 10% on all my postage and getting the labor for free in an expense category that I originally thought there wasn’t a penny to be saved in.

As a bonus, it seems like my invoices and statements are being opened more often. When my customers see the rare and often antique hand-applied postage stamps, they know a real person had to touch this envelope and not just a postage-meter or bulk mailer.

Every penny counts. On May 14th the postage rate change is a 5% increase to your competitors’ postage budgets.

Let it be the day it becomes a 10% decrease in yours.

Today’s guest blogger is Dan Pritchett, director of marketing for Logos Bible Software.

Related post: Protesting the Postage Rate Increase?

Smokers Drive Up Costs of Bibles

It used to be thatprisoners would roll an inexpensive cigarettefrom a pageout of theBible, but no longer.According to a report fromCrosswalk.com, smokers half a world away are driving up the cost of the special paper used to print Bibles.

What goes around comes around.

Smoking Curtails Bible Production

Religion Today Summaries, April 26, 2007—There are at least two good reasons to stop smoking. Number one: It may damage your health. Number two: It raises the production costs for Bibles, ASSIST News Service reports. The Chinese craving for cigarettes is responsible for rising paper costs in bible printing, according to the business manager of the German Bible Society, Felix Breidenstein. Because of the rising demand for cigarette paper in China the special thin paper used in bible printing is getting more expensive, as Breidenstein told the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The German Bible Society sells approximately 400,000 bibles per year.

I’ve always been intrigued by how our experience of the Bible is affected by the medium, which in turn is constrained by logistical factors such as the cost of paper.

The Bible has a lot of pages and yet it’s a book we carry around with us more than most other books. That means we want it to be thin and light, not big and bulky.Hence special, super-thin paper, small print, two- or three-column layout, and relatively narrow margins. All of these factors impact our interaction with the Bible in subtle or not-so subtle ways. Example: Thin pages => special no-bleed marking pens =>crocheted Bible cover with pockets to hold pens. It’s a slippery slope.

Of course, the experience of using an electronic Bible is similarly influenced by the library software used to read and search it. How cross-references or footnotes are handled, how poetry is formatted, options for notes and highlighting—all these and more contribute to the user experience, and all are subject to various constraints.

The difference is, electronic Bible publishers fret about CPU, RAM, and screen size while print Bible publishers lie awake at night worrying about how many Chinese are taking up smoking.

Update 4/27 – Smoking Bible pages actually does happen, as attested by a Bible Network News audio report about a prisoner whose chaplain asked him not to smoke the book of John. Click here to open the BNN page, then scroll down to “Texan smoked Bible passages”.

Logos for the Mac Update

Searching works! Logos Bible Software for the Mac is continuing to progress, and the latest drop has searching up and running. The screenshot also shows My Library and the Bibliography report.

For a closer look, choose the medium(900px) or large(1600px) version.

Happy Curry Day!

Today marks the 7th Annual Logos Curry Cook-Off!

The very first Logos Curry Cook-Off occurred in early April, 2001, with Rick Brannan taking top honors and Eli Evans coming in a close second. I just dug back into my email folder and found a link to photos from the First-Ever Logos Curry Contest at Rick’s website. Seems like ancient history.

Of course, curry has a great history of its own—stretching back to biblical times no less! Peter & Colleen Grove write in their work Curry, Spice & All Things Nice,

“The earliest known recipe for meat in spicy sauce with bread appeared on tablets found near Babylon in Mesopotamia, written in cuniform text as discovered by the Sumerians, and dated around 1700 B.C., probably as an offering to the god Marduk.”

Curry is Cooking!In the first English cookbook, published in 1390, the word cury denotes cooking.

Our curry is enjoyed for its own sake, with no religious connotations except a prayer before the meal. But perhaps the Ancient Near East connection explains why we at Logos love curry so much! (I will be concerned, however, if Vincent Setterholm and Mike Heiser team up to decode the Sumerian cuneiform and enter Marduk Curry next year.)

The Grove book has a chapter devoted to the origins of curry, which includesan extensive discussion of the etymology of the word curry, the lineage of this noble food, and the following delightful poem by Thackeray. The authors introduce the poem thus:

“In 1780 the first commercial curry powder appeared and in 1846 its fame was assured when William Makepeace Thackeray wrote a ‘Poem to Curry’ in his ‘Kitchen Melodies’.”

Curry

Three pounds of veal my darling girl prepares,And chops it nicely into little squares; Five onions next prures the little minx (The biggest are the best, her Samiwel thinks), And Epping butter nearly half a pound, And stews them in a pan until they’re brown’d. What’s next my dexterous little girl will do? She pops the meat into the savoury stew, With curry-powder table-spoonfuls three, And milk a pint (the richest that may be), And, when the dish has stewed for half an hour, A lemon’s ready juice she’ll o’er it pour. Then, bless her! Then she gives the luscious pot A very gentle boil – and serves quite hot. PS – Beef, mutton, rabbit, if you wish, Lobsters, or prawns, or any kind fish,Are fit to make a CURRY. ‘Tis, when done, A dish for Emperors to feed upon.

New Blogs and Old

Two new Logos-related blogs were launched recently.

Bob Pritchett, Logos president and CEO, has a new blog at BobPritchett.com that joins his Fire Someone Today blog and occasional contributions right here at the Logos Blog. His new blog is subtitled “Business, technology, and Logos Bible Software.”

In his introductory post, Bob writes:

I believe in blogging, and I want to do it well. Especially the raw, open blogging that makes some organizations transparent and approachable.

So be sure to check out Bob’s new blog and subscribe.

Original Expression is a new blog started by Bill Nienhuis, director of publisher relations at Logos. Billtravels a lot to meet with publishers and negotiate licenses for new books. His blog’s byline is “Book publishing, ePublishing, and everything in between.” Recent posts have focused on his time at the London Book Fair.

Rick Brannan, an information architect in our design and editorial department, is still going strong with Ricoblog and also runs and posts regularly to the PastoralEpistles blog. Rick blogsa lot about the Greek New Testament, from text critical matters to orthography, from exegetical questions to the latest book he’s reading.

Links & RSS Info

Here are links to various “personal blogs” from Logos employees. Additionalinfo about RSS feeds (e.g., what are they and how do I use them?) and links to Logos feeds can be found at the Logos and RSS page.

Bob Pritchett, president and CEOFireSomeoneToday- Subscribe! RSSBobPritchett.comSubscribe! RSS
Rick Brannan, design and editorialRicoblog- Subscribe! RSSPastoralEpistles.com- Subscribe! RSS
Bill Nienhuis, director, publisher relations officeOriginalExpression - Subscribe! RSS

Social Experiment at Amazon

It looks like Amazon.com is doing an experiment in social tagging. UnSpun beta allows users to create lists of anything they want, associate links with each item, then open up the list to the community of Internet users to rank and comment.

One of the most popular lists at UnSpun right nowis titled Best Blogs about Biblical Studies. It lists 65 blogs that deal with biblical studies issues. It’s worth visiting as you will probably find some new blogs or sites to check out.

The way their ranking system works is that visitors can “vote” for items on the list by clicking the up or down arrows as shown below (see the “click” pointer).

If you click the Your Ranking link and sign in, you can create your own ranking of some or all of the items in the original list.

Just click the left-pointing arrow to move items to your list (as shown below). This impacts their spot in the Community Ranking even more than the simple up or down vote.

Check it out and show your support for the LogosBlog if you are so inclined.

Other UnSpun lists that may be of interest:

Muppets in Middle-Earth (Frivolity at Logos)


Last Friday, Ken Smith, general manager of electronic publishing services at Logos and author of a number of blog posts, conceived of an idea for a new Muppets movie: The Muppets inMiddle-Earth. That’s right, a muppet cast for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings!

During the lunch hour, Ken sent an office wide email that began:

“I got to thinking about which Muppet characters I would cast into which LOTR roles and decided it would be a fun little diversion to share with anyone who wanted to give their opinion.”

When somebody throws down the gauntlet like that, what can you do but rise to the challenge?

A number of people did so, resultingin the following consensus cast list for The Muppets in Middle-Earth (with comments from Ken Smith). Feel free to leave your own nominations, cheers or jeers in the comments section!

Frodo: Kermit Sam: Fozzie Bear Gandalf: Big Bird Aragorn: Kermit (There was no clear second choice) Legolas: Gonzo Gimli: Tie between Rizzo the Rat and Cookie Monster Merry/Pippin: Ernie/Bert Gollum: Tie between Oscar the Grouch and Animal Galadriel: Janice Arwen: Miss Piggy Elrond: Tie between Dr. Teeth and Sam the Eagle (Sam definitely has Elrond’s permanent scowl) Saruman: Tie between Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Count von Count Eowyn: Miss Piggy (dual-role? I think she could handle it.) Wormtongue: Rizzo the Rat Orcs: Animal, Sweetums Black Riders: Count von Count, Statler & Waldorf

No consensus (see below):Bilbo, Boromir, Faramir, Theoden, Eomer

Not on the original list: Treebeard: Big Bird Cave Troll: Sweetums

Here are other nominations, with comments from those who submitted them:

Frodo: Grover, Fozzie Bear

Sam: Scooter, Elmo, Grover

Gandalf: Sam the Eagle, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Swedish ChefRowlf (with a dorky hat)John Denver (if he were still alive–maybe some CGI magic?)

Aragorn: Floyd, Big Bird, RowlfGrover (with possible appearance by Super Grover)Here I would cast a live-action actor, say, Christopher Walken

Legolas: Janice, Grover, Elmo, Floyd

Gimli: Sweetums (muh-nah-muh-nah), Fozzie Bear, Gonzo

Merry/Pippen: Gonzo/Rizzo the Rat, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew/Beaker

Gollum: Beaker

Galadriel: Miss Piggy, Camilla the Chicken

Arwen: Sam the Eagle in a wig

Elrond: Elmo, Grover, Big Bird

Bilbo: Swedish Chef, Gonzo, Cookie Monster, Telly, FloydStatler… or Waldorf (they could switch off, like Mary Kate and Ashley did)

Boromir: Statler, Cookie Monster, Zoot, Scooter, Bert

Faramir: Waldorf, Rowlf, Grover, Ernie

Saruman: Statler

Theoden: Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Rowlf

Eomer: Rowlf, Elmo, Robin the frog, Gobo (Fraggle Rock)

Eowyn: Janice, Camilla the Chicken, Mokey (Fraggle Rock)

Wormtongue: Beaker, Waldorf, Oscar the Grouch, Marvin Suggs

Orcs: Oscar the Grouch, Clifford, Bobo, Floyd, Dr. Teeth, Pepe the PrawnOne Million Swedish Chefs (Just picture it…)

Black Riders: Sam the Eagle, Zoot, The Fragglesthe purple siamese twin monsters from Sesame StreetGonzo (fell beasts, chickens, same difference)

Other fun comments:

Aside from the hobbits listed above, all the other hobbits would have to be those aliens from Sesame Street that just walked around saying “yip-yip-yip-yip yuuuuuup“.

I know that having the Swedish Chef as Gandalf is bizarre, but just think how funny it would be to hear him shouting out lines like “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!“

At the end, we find out that that … Sauron … is … really …

… ELMO!

Logos 3 Wins Industry Achievement Award

Logos Bible Software 3was honored with the Community’s Choice Award at the WSA technology industry event Wednesday night in Seattle.

Farecast.com won Consumer Product of the Year (we were a finalist in that category), and they definitely deserve it, so congrats to them!

It was great to see Logos recognized at a gathering of more than 1,000 of the industry’s finest, including people from Microsoft, Google (though I didn’t see any), the Puget Sound Business Journal, Farecast, WhitePages.com and many other Washington State businesses.

When accepting the award, Bob said that when he and Kiernon left Microsoft to start Logos, they traded down in terms of the size of the user base but traded up in terms of the passion and loyalty of users. I heartily agree.

According to the event brochure, the Community Choice Award is “perhaps the most coveted of the WSA Industry Achievement Awards.” We certainly owe it to our community of users, who are the best in the world (and no doubt coveted by some of the other companies at the event).

Thanks for your passion for Bible study and Logos Bible Software!

Logos for the Mac Update

(This progress update from Bob Pritchett was sent last week to the Logos for the Mac email list and posted here.)

Help us promote Logos for the Mac with a banner on your site!

Good news! Logos Bible Software for the Mac continues to progress. This week we saw searches running and the first reports completed.

The full search syntax and the Passage Guide are underway, and we’re expecting to see features come online at a faster pace, now that so much of the underlying infrastructure is in place.

Below is another example of the weekly progress report.

Date: Mar. 13, 2007Weekly Status Report

Executive summary of the overall progress of the project:

1. We have received feedback on the licensing area and the specified areas are changed and will be reflected in the next build. The next Build will be Milestone A1. The date for this delivery willbe determined after the onsite meeting at Logos on Mar.14, 2007.

2. The weekly meeting will be onsite at Logos at 11 am.

3. Book Display Status:

  • Status bar work is completed
  • Starburst animation is completed
  • Citation will be completed by Mar. 14, 2007
  • Final copy/paste work will begin Mar. 15, 2007

4. Reports Status:

  • Company Info is complete*
  • About This Resource is complete*
  • Passage Guide is under development
  • Company Info is under development
  • NOTE: * – right-click menu and event bridges from the C++ code does not exist in anyreport at the moment

—-Bob Pritchett – bob@logos.comLogos Bible Software – www.logos.com1313 Commercial St. – Bellingham, WA 98225-4307(360) 527-1700 – Fax (350) 527-1707

400 Posts and Some Housekeeping

Well, this is actually the 404th post since the Logos Blog was birthed way back in July 2005. Which makes last week’s Seeing Double post #400. If you’re counting.

I got inspired today to do a little housekeeping on the blog because I was trying to isolate a bunch of tutorial-style posts for a co-worker and it was more painful than it should have been.

So in order to make this trove of usefulpast posts more easily accessible to all our blog readers, I added a new category called Tutorialand two subcategories: Using Booksand Using Tools & Reports.You’ll see links to these categories in the right-hand column of the main page at http://blog.logos.com.

Thetop-level Tutorial category contains 99 posts that are substantially how-to in nature—posts with steps you can follow and a takeaway that you can use to inform your use of Logos Bible Software.

Almost half of these tutorial posts are syntax-related. Since some readers are very into syntax and others aren’tin the least,I created the two subcategories to narrow things down still further.

Using Tools & Reportscontains tips and tutorials for using features of the digital library, excluding syntax searching. Here you’ll find tips on searching, library management, time-saving shortcuts, and in-depth reviews of specific tools and reports.

The tutorials in theUsing Bookssubcategory are focused less on library features and more on the features of individual books, such as the reverse interlinear Bibles.

If you see some posts you think shouldn’t be included in the “tutorials” categories or run across others that should be but aren’t, please drop a comment on this post.

To cap this off, here are a few gems from the distant past that I rediscovered in my travels today. If you’re new to the blog (or are memory challenged) you’ll find more good stuff like this in the category archives that will help you do better, more efficient Bible study.

  • About This Resource(September 2005) – In which you’ll hear Eli Evans say, “an apple is an apple, and an orange is an orange.” In this series of posts, Eli also explains what in the world a datatype is and how to use all the juicy information in the About This Resource window.
  • Mouse Gestures (August 2005) – Bob Pritchett reveals what he calls a “hidden feature” inside the app…but one that you’ll love if ever you start using it.
  • Bible Word Study Report(May 2006) -A9-part series by Rick Brannan that does show-and-tell on every feature of the super-cool Bible Word Study report.
  • Syntax Search Example: Relative Pronouns(April 2006) – A foundational syntax tutorial post in which Rick Brannan reveals the secret wisdom thatenables usto attain a higher level of syntax searching: “The structure of the query matches the structure of the hit.”
  • Words, Words Everywhere and Every One a Link! (January 2006) – A three-part series by yours truly (Daniel Foster)that shows how every word in Logos Bible Software is a link to something. Double-click words anywhere in the system and something cool happens.