PRINTER PROJECT BLOGLET  . . .  Updated on a weeklyish basis.

May 20, 2005. Everyone's prints are in the mail! Domestic orders were sent Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation.

May 8, 2005. Charter subscribers who placed their order in the first half of April and specified which print(s) they want, as well as a size,  should have their prints in the mail by the end of the week.

April 29, 2005.
Now that equipment and supplies are laid in (with the exception of mailing tubes, which are on the way), we're excited about pulling prints for our charter subscribers. But first you need to tell us what size you'd like, and which prints you want. To do this, send an e-mail with PRINT SIZE in the subject line. We're using HP Premium Plus satin photo paper, which comes in giant (and expensive) rolls 24 inches wide and 50 feet long.

If your image is rectangular (not square), it will have a large dimension and a small dimension. The small dimension cannot be bigger than 24 inches (paper) or 23 inches for the image itself — there's a half-inch border on every side. The large dimension would be determined by the proportions of the image. If the image is twice as wide as it is tall, the biggest print you could get is 24 by 48 inches. If you feel like doing the math, you can right-click on the image, then click "properties" and look at the pixel dimensions to determine the proportions.

This green 1958 Cadillac, for example, is 888 x 400 pixels: It is 2.22 times as wide as it is tall. The biggest print you could get is 53.2 inches by 24 inches. (That's paper size; with half-inch margins, the image size would be 52.2 by 23 inches.) To keep things simple, you could request "as large as possible" or specify just one dimension: "I'd like it to be 20 inches wide" or "make it 15 inches tall." Or you can be very specific: "I'd like the image to be 26.3 inches wide and 12.7 inches tall with a three-inch margin on the left, top and right, and a six-inch margin on the bottom." The margins are useful for protection during shipping, and need to be there if you plan to have your print matted. Most of these will look best with a two- or three-inch single or double mat. (A half-inch margin is enough for any size mat.)

A word of caution: Think carefully before asking for a print "as large as possible." Two feet by three feet is really big — maybe not the most suitable size unless you are decorating a bar or retail space, or if you have a housemate or spouse who might object to a billboard over the sofa. Plus it would cost hundreds of dollars to frame. Personally I think 24 inches as the maximum (as opposed to minimum) dimension works best for a lot of these images, especially if you plan to enjoy them up close, not from across the room.

We've added four images (069 thru 072) to the list of available large-format prints  [DH 5:59 p.m.]

April 20, 2005. The printer arrived today along with a 50-foot roll of paper via FedEx Freight. It is humongous — shipping weight with stand, 155 lbs. We'll be spending the rest of today (at least) setting it up. [DH  4:10 p.m.]

April 13, 2005.
We've ordered the printer, which should be here sometime next week. And we've paid our taxes. And bought two new computers. All for you! Please, won't you give until it hurts? [DH 4:45 p.m.]

April 9, 2005.
To get ready for the large-format printer, we needed more computing and storage horsepower than our trusty five-year-old Dell could provide. After a week of running back and forth to the neighborhood computer-geek emporiums, everything is in place and all hooked up. To the right is Beauty, a Sony Vaio tower running Windows XP Home on a 3 gigahertz Pentium 4 hyperthreading processor with 1.5 gigabytes of RAM and 320 gigabytes of physical storage. And on the left is The Beast, a Sony Vaio tower running Windows XP Professional on a 3.4 gHz Pentium 4 processor with hyperthreading, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 1.2 terabytes of physical storage on an internal RAID5 array. Photoshop has never been zippier, let me tell you. [DH 3:15 p.m.]

April 5, 2005.
The 8 x 10 prints have begun to arrive in our charter subscribers' mailboxes. A shamelessly self-promotional sampling of unsolicited comments:

       — John Hendricks, Silver Spring, Md., founder and CEO, Discovery Communications/The Discovery Channel.

"It's wonderful! Thank you for all those prints! They're just beautiful."
                                                                — Illustrator Joan Auclair, New Hartford, Conn.

"They all look spectacular. I am looking forward to getting the large format print when you have it."
                                                                            — Andrew Edwards, New York

"Wow. You could sell these for big bucks!"
                                                             — Ken Booth, editor in chief, Alabama Live (                                                    

"They look great. The color is really vibrant on that nice thick paper."
                                                    — Richard Eccleston, creative director, Automobile magazine

"Hope you got some extra orders from north of the border. The prints are fantastic, thank you."
                                                                        — Bill Blake, Richmond, British Columbia

April 1, 2005.
  Everyone's 8x10 prints were mailed today, First Class with Delivery Confirmation. Let me know what you think! After you remove your prints from the mailing tube they should flatten out after a few hours. If not, put them under something flat and heavy overnight. In preparation for the big printer, we're installing some new computer gear over the weekend, which probably means no e-mail or Web site updates until Monday or Tuesday. [DH 4:40 p.m. EDT]

March 31, 2005.
  The Project is well over halfway toward its goal, so we'll be ordering the printer sometime in the coming week. To those of you who have signed up as charter subscribers, thanks to everyone. Your sample prints will be going out today and tomorrow in the mail. (An unexpected challenge has been finding mailing tubes. The ones you get may be a little oversize. But we have half a gross on order.) Please let me know what you think about the 8x10's. I'm hoping the positive reaction will spur more people to sign up. And if at any time you change your mind, just return the print in the original mailing tube and I'll be happy to refund your contribution. [DH 1:35 p.m. EDT]

March 29, 2005.
To specify which print you'd like, you can use the "send a message to the seller" field of the PayPal form, or you can e-mail me separately when the time comes to make a choice. The selection of available images may grow a little by then. And you can always change your mind. Among our charter subscribers, the biggest benefactor so far is John Hendricks, CEO and founder of Discovery Communications / The Discovery Channel. We also have the Creative Director of Automobile magazine on board. Thanks to everyone who has reserved a print.

March 27, 2005.
Over the past five years we've gotten a lot of e-mails asking, How do I order a print? And our answer has always been, We don't sell prints. Which of course had us thinking about selling prints. And now we're about to take the plunge. To gauge interest in this project before the equipment arrives (and, yes, to help pay for the equipment), we're giving charter subscribers a chance to reserve a print at a hefty discount. For every $50 you chip in until the end of April, you'll get the large-format print of your choice (24 inches by up to 50 inches; $55 for Canada, $65 for other countries) from our available stock of high-resolution images, a list 0f which is posted here. (Once we get the printer — a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 130 — the price per print will go up quite a bit. So $50 is a real deal for a nice giclee print with six-color ink on satin-finish, archival-quality photo paper.) And in the meantime, right now, we'll send you an 8-by-10-inch print, on HP Premium Plus satin-finish photo paper, of this red 1955 Chrysler, as a preview of bigger and better things to come. We've run a few of these off as a test, from the 64 MB high-resolution master file of this image, and they are gorgeous. So if you want prints, click the button above. Online payments are via PayPal, which is owned by eBay. In case you're wondering who is at the receiving end, your Webmaster here is David Hall in Fairfax, Virginia. By day I'm an editor at the Washington Post newspaper. My nights are spent slaving over a hot scanner.