Thursday, 23 December 2010

Happy Christmas

I was going through some old files and came across this cartoon Christmas card we (with the help of the late great Keith Gidlow) did for Printpak in the early 1990's.

Have a great Christmas, and a prosperous New Year - and don't forget our Christmas Quiz at

best wishes

Richard Fergusson

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Barmecide Feast

I came across an unusual expression the other day. A Barmecide feast. I actually had to look it up. It refers to a tale from Arabian Nights where a beggar is entertained by a rich man (Barmecide) who promised him a feast, but instead put a series of imaginary dishes before him. It means something that doesn’t live up to expectations.

I sometimes wonder if software doesn’t sometimes feel a little bit like that. In a complex world like printing, management software has to walk a fine divide between being so simple that it doesn’t satisfy your need, or so complex that you can’t make it work, which is no less disappointing.
I think what makes it worse is that whatever system you pick, there has to be a certain amount of input from you, which can seem a bit daunting. So you hover on the brink, unwilling to commit yourself, and thereby get more frustrated.

If you look at the original Arabian Nights story, though, you’ll see that in the end, after pretending to eat the imaginary meal, the beggar finally does receive not only a real feast but a further twenty years’ unstinted hospitality.

So in software terms, we could translate the moral into ‘take the plunge and it will pay dividends in the end’.

It's interesting how relevant old stories can be – even in the 21st century.

Warm regards

Richard Fergusson