Inside HP Labs: 8 cool projects

On tap: A color thesaurus, photonics, and book and magazine publishing

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HP Labs' MagCloud project

Anyone can become a magazine publisher using

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MagCloud, another publishing venture, also uses what HP calls a "bits to atoms" process. Any "publisher" can create a magazine using their own software such as Adobe InDesign, then upload the files to and sell subscriptions. When a customer orders a subscription, HP prints the issue on demand and mails it out.

The magazine industry -- despite reports of its demise -- is actually burgeoning when it comes to specialized magazines. Consumers spend about $80 billion per year on magazines, and about $56 billion is spent on advertising. MagCloud taps into this market with titles for foodies in New Hampshire or a retro video game magazine for Nintendo fans.


HP Labs' CloudPrint project

CloudPrint allows you to send documents to a virtual print server in the cloud.

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Bernardo Huberman is in charge of the social computing lab and an HP Fellow. His latest project is called CloudPrint, and it allows anyone to send a file -- such as a Word document or photo -- to a print queue "in the cloud," where it is held until you can print the file locally. A mobile user could print a document to the cloud, then receive it on his smartphone. Users can create a queue of documents from any device and send it to a virtual printer. The system, currently in beta, uses a code that you can type in to retrieve and print any stored document.

John Brandon is a veteran of the computing industry, having worked as an IT manager for 10 years and a tech journalist for another 10. He is a regular contributor to Computerworld and can be reached at

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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