2006-08-18 / Community

'Cereal Box News' A Computer Innovation

By Roseanne Honan

A patent-pending computer program that provides an alternative to standard email, created by locals Rick Horan and Bill Hanson, premiered last month through a children's newsletter created by the duo and their company, PushPrint LLC.

The PushPrint system, in development for three years, is a new concept in computer delivery technology. While pop-ups and spam emails can pollute computer screens and pile up in email boxes, PrintPush technology singles out what you want and ask for. "It's the ultimate filtering system. It's totally controllable; what is requested and signed up for, and all up to the subscriber's control," said Horan.

Horan and Hanson launched PushPrint with a newsletter geared for children less than 10 years of age. Dubbed "Cereal Box News," the mini-magazine is designed as a quick morning read for kids at the breakfast table. Writers create different newsletters, chock full of informative tidbits, puzzles and other learning activities. "It stimulates people in small doses everyday," said Horan, referring to the newsletter's quick-read style.

Bill Hanson and Rick Horan
Bill Hanson and Rick Horan The PushPrint program is installed to an individual computer and its printer, and prints out information daily through a free website subscription. All the subscriber needs to do is turn the computer on and their requested information prints out for them automatically. The print-outs are formatted through Adobe PDF files, which can be downloaded for free. An XP-version is needed to support the technology.

The first newsletter debuted through their website, CerealBox News.com, on July 17, and according to Horan and Hanson, several hundred people have already signed up for the free subscription.

The newsletter's aim is for children to receive informative learning material in a supervised and controlled environment. Cereal Box News plans to cater to a child's individual hobbies and interests, where each subscription would provide an individual selection of topics that creates a personalized newsletter printout.

Both Hanson and Horan have combined backgrounds in computers, business and technology, and have founded and ran several companies dealing with computer programming, textile manufacturing and consulting.

They see a potential in the Push Print technology and its "tremendous educational component" merging with the education system, and envision student's homework assignments, reminders or other bulletins sent to home printers.

Hanson and Horan also believe that direct printing through a PC can carry over to other fields, and Cereal Box News is the "proof of concept" that the company was looking for to test-drive the technology.

They plan on working toward cornering a market in financial publications, technology newsletters, and other information that piques the interest of consumers. Other possibilities include contracts, invoices, photographs and business plans sent through the printer, which are just some of the suggestions from the PushPrint website, making fax machines obsolete.

A key component to PushPrint's success is sponsorship. The major feature of PushPrint that can appeal to sponsors and consumers alike is the 100% virus free protection guarantee, setting it apart from emails that can be sent from unknown sites. Consumers also have the benefit of picking what they want sent to them, while sponsors know their product ads and information are physically produced and a hard copy is received by subscribers. "It's a built-in audience for your product, where you don't have to proactively get it," said Hanson, with Horan adding, ""It's something real, a hard copy. There's more impact."

They believe the beauty of the system is the built-in track of the subscriber base, and the relative ease of tapping different sponsors to get the best response from consumers. An example is the "cereal box" theme of their current newsletter service, where sponsors such as Kellogg's and Post could benefit. The company is also in talks with National Geographic for sponsorship input, and the newsletter is currently advertised and used at the McDonald's on Beach 92 Street in Rockaway Beach as placemats to entertain pint-sized diners.

There seems to be no limit to what PushPrint technology can do. Hanson and Horan feel confident that their delivery system can accommodate customers in the thousands or millions. PushPrint, according to them, is a "scaleable-server" that can be adjusted to fulfill the needs of sponsors and subscribers.

Looking towards the future, Hanson and Horan have put thought into designing a stand-alone Push Print device to print out materials.

While they have their sights set on branching out with the PushPrint technology, the company is primarily focused on making Cereal Box News a success. And with the current response the newsletter has gotten so far, it's the beginning of a revolutionary computer innovation from PushPrint LLC.

For more information about Cereal Box News, visit their website at www.cerealboxnews.com; for more on PushPrint technology or sponsorship, visit www.PushPrint.com.

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