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Archive for August, 2010
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
To effectively manage your health care plan, you should take steps now to make sure that your plan meets new requirements to protect your company from “shared responsibility” penalties and to protect your employees from “individual responsibility” penalties.
If you purchase a traditional health insurance product in which the insurer plays claims and takes on the risk, then it is recommended that you verify that your plan is a qualified benefit. By October 2010, plans will need to meet new requirements relating to lifetime/annual limits, recessions, and excess waiting periods. Plans will need to allow individuals up to the age of 26 to be listed as dependents.
The alternative is to self-insure, where by the employer can form an ERISA plan in which the employer pays claims, manages risk and will likely only use an insurance company to administer claims and offer stop-loss insurance for high cost claims. Self insured plans will shield the employer from both state coverage mandates and the new health insurance tax, but there are risks involved. The employer will be responsible for ensuring that the plan meets all the new requirements, and if the plan’s costs per beneficiary exceed certain amounts after 2017, then the plan sponsor will be fined by the “Cadillac tax.”
But what about the Exchange. Little is known about how these exchanges will operate, but employers will have the option of offering Exchange plans to their employees. Small employees will be eligible at the outset, and states may allow large employers to participate starting in 2017.
Stay tuned for more developments!
Submitted by Marci Kinter
Thursday, August 19th, 2010
I know that a lot of the screenprint community uses Photoshop for direct separations output without a RIP. This has been ongoing for quite some time as Photoshop has always had in the print dialog box, a button called “Screen”. In CS4 when the print dialog box pops up, you have under the “output” section, 5 buttons to the right side. Background, border, bleed, screens and transfers. The output process involved outputting the channels as screens to a given output device. This screen feature allows one to change both the dot shape, angle and frequency of a spot or cmyk channel for output sans RIP.
If you have already upgraded to CS5 you may have noticed this “Screen” feature omission, you for sure noticed this feature missing, if this was your “go to” method to make film separations.
There is a work around that seems to supply the missing screen buttons functionality.
Choose your channel or spot color and from the menu choose
Image > Mode > Bitmap > Method > Halftone Screen
Then you can choose frequency, angle and dot shape as in the previous Photoshop print dialog box. The Pixelate and Sketch halftone methods as workarounds won’t get you where you need to go. If printing from Photoshop is an issue, you can save the Photoshop file as a pdf, open in Acrobat and print (use advanced printing) as a bitmap.
I’m not sure what possessed Adobe to jettison this function. I’m guessing that they just didn’t know who was using that function in the print dialog box, and how many people were actually using it.
You can be heard and the Adobe Forums is the place to voice an opinion (great place to post/look for information). Sign up and search the forums for “Chris Cox”. Send him a message stating why you want this feature back. I’m not guaranteeing anything, I’m just just pointing a way to shake the tree.
Jeff Burton SGIA Staff
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
SGIA’s recent Market Trends Survey Report presented detailed information about the markets specialty imaging companies are accessing and the strategies they are using to gain a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. This analysis breaks the information into two distinct communities – graphics producers and garment decorators – and follows market trends between 2007 and 2010. Further, it lists the top ten growing and declining markets, based on the responses of survey participants. A sample is presented here.
For graphics producers, both retail and corporate branding have shown significant growth in the past four years. Further, work for government and government contractors has increased significantly in the past few years. Overall, most markets have shown measurable increases since 2007, with some showing slight declines in the last year, due perhaps to economic conditions. The top five markets for graphics producers were retail stores, corporate branding, ad agencies, non-profits and food services.
Survey respondents were asked to indicate the health of the markets they serve, indicating whether the markets were either growing or declining. The top five growing markets for graphics producers were retail stores, health care institutions, environmental graphics, corporate branding and interior decoration. The top five declining markets were exhibit manufacture, ad agencies, non-profits, educational institutions and manufacturing OEM.
Non-profits and organizations, educational institutions and athletic teams have shown significant gains in the past few years, and corporate branding continues to be a strong market. Many more companies report business-to-consumer work, due perhaps to market-driven diversification. Printing for retail stores has shown a significant decline over the past few years, due perhaps to work moving off-shore. The top five markets for garment decorators were non-profits, educational institutions, corporate branding, athletic teams and business-to-consumer.
Survey respondents were asked to indicate the health of the markets they serve, indicating whether the markets were either growing or declining. The top five growing markets for garment decorators were retail stores, interior decorators and designers, corporate branding, government and government contractors, and ad agencies. The top ten declining markets were transit advertising, interior decorators and designers, health care institutions, educational institutions and non-profits.
SGIA members can view the complete 2010 Market Trends Survey Report at SGIA.org, Keyword: Survey.
Submitted by: Dan Marx, SGIA