Sunday, February 23, 2014

MediaWeek (V8, N8): Amazon Work Practices, Medical Information, London Romance, Lending eBooks, Newspaper Paywall +More

Over at Salon Simon Head suggests Amazon is worse than WalMart.
As at Walmart, Amazon achieves this with a regime of workplace pressure, in which targets for the unpacking, movement, and repackaging of goods are relentlessly increased to levels where employees have to struggle to meet their targets and where older and less dextrous employees will begin to fail. As at Walmart, there is a pervasive “three strikes and you’re out” culture, and when these marginal employees acquire too many demerits (“points”), they are fired.
Amazon’s system of employee monitoring is the most oppressive I have ever come across and combines state-of-the-art surveillance technology with the system of “functional foreman,” introduced by Taylor in the workshops of the Pennsylvania machine-tool industry in the 1890s. In a fine piece of investigative reporting for the London Financial Times, economics correspondent Sarah O’Connor describes how, at Amazon’s center at Rugeley, England, Amazon tags its employees with personal sat-nav (satellite navigation) computers that tell them the route they must travel to shelve consignments of goods, but also set target times for their warehouse journeys and then measure whether targets are met.
All this information is available to management in real time, and if an employee is behind schedule she will receive a text message pointing this out and telling her to reach her targets or suffer the consequences. At Amazon’s depot in Allentown, Pennsylvania (of which more later), Kate Salasky worked shifts of up to eleven hours a day, mostly spent walking the length and breadth of the warehouse. In March 2011 she received a warning message from her manager, saying that she had been found unproductive during several minutes of her shift, and she was eventually fired. This employee tagging is now in operation at Amazon centers worldwide.

Author Robin Cook penned an item in the WSJ about digital medical information will save us:
The brave new world of digital medicine is coming about by the convergence of three rapidly evolving technologies: IT, or informational technology, involving wireless signaling, cloud computing and, most particularly, the spread of ever more sophisticated smartphones; medical applications of nanotechnology; and the progressively lower cost and availability of genome sequencing.
Today, all the physiological data monitored in a hospital intensive-care unit—including ECG, blood pressure, pulse, oxygenation, sugar level, breathing rate and body temperature—can be recorded and analyzed continuously in real time on a smartphone. A small piece of hardware, either the size of a cellphone, or one integrated with a cellphone, held against your body, functions as an ultrasound device. It can deliver information instantly to you or anyone you designate, and the information rivals that collected in a physician's office or hospital setting. It can do so when you are experiencing specific symptoms—no appointment necessary—and at virtually no additional cost.
Thanks to more than 20 Silicon Valley startups and advances in microfluidic technology, smartphones will soon be able to function as a mobile, real-time resource for rapidly obtaining all the studies done currently in a medical laboratory, including chemistries, blood values and microbiological studies. A device worn on the wrist, called Visi, has been approved by the FDA for hospital use that can measure your heart's electrical activity, respiratory rate, blood oxygen and blood pressure (without a cuff), and transmit the data wirelessly. Many other such devices are coming out that could be used by patients in their own homes.
Mind the Gap in London: Where's the romance? (More Intelligent):
Romance, generally, is not something London does well. Paris, Rome and New York, yes: the boulevards, the ruins, the fountains, the caf├ęs, the autumn leaves: even, for heaven's sake, rude waiters and the steam from the manhole covers. But, London: the river's too wide, the parks uninspired, the weather too grey: where is there in London to weep and linger over, memory pricked? Oh, it has a certain grandeur, and, even sometimes, a rough charm, a brusque wink in the bustle; but where is the love?
Or so it seemed until the recent revelations about one of the announcements at Embankment underground station. In the unfathomable ways of transport authorities, the northbound Northern Line platform at Embankment had become the last place on the entire system where the spoken version of the famous warning—"Mind the Gap"—could be heard. And so it was that the widow of the man who made the recording began to make special journeys to listen to it, and remember; until, inevitably, it was replaced by a digitised announcement, leaving the widow to write and ask for a recording.
Etymology of swearing.  Where do the words come from? (NewRepublic)

"The Girl who" titles (NewYork)

Consortia begins experiment to inter-library lend e-Books (Chronicle)
The Greater Western Library Alliance, a consortium of 33 academic libraries, came up with the idea. Developers at Texas Tech University and the University of Hawaii-Manoa, both members of the alliance, created the software, and the publisher Springer agreed to let its e-books be guinea pigs in the experiment.
Scheduled to begin in March, the pilot will run for a year. If it works well enough, the library alliance hopes to make Occam’s Reader available to other academic libraries and perhaps to persuade other publishers to join in.
Joni M. Blake, the alliance’s executive director, says the idea for Occam’s Reader dates to a meeting a few years ago. "People got to talking and saying, What are we doing? We’re buying all these e-books with licenses that say we can’t lend them to our consortial friends and neighbors."
Everyone agreed that had to change. But nobody had built a good-enough software platform for lending e-books. Other groups, including the Triangle Research Libraries Network, had tried, only to be tripped up by problems like how to respect copyright while giving designated borrowers access to only the specific books they wanted.
CJR takes a look at the London Times paywall and suggest it may be working:
One problem with the “newspapers have more readers than ever” notion, is that most of those readers click on a link, leave after 20 seconds, and don’t come back. They’re worth virtually nothing unless you can ramp up the scale, which tends to happen by going for the lowest common denominator. Indeed, in saying about the Sidebar of Shame, “Don’t confuse Mail Online with a business based on professional journalism,” Darcey sounds like Audit Chief Dean Starkman, who’s argued that paywalls necessarily bring a quality imperative while the free model tends to push the other way.
Subscribers, on the other hand, are loyal readers who spend lots of time and attention with one paper. Total time spent with a newspaper’s website is far, far below the time spent with its print editions.
But core readers are different online. The Times says its digital subscribers spend 40 minutes with it online, just shy of the 44 minutes print readers spend (though Sunday digital usage is still well below Sunday paper dwell time). That’s a big deal for advertisers and means The Times can charge exponentially more for each digital reader than it could with a clicks model.
The unanswered question, though, is how much digital ad revenue The Times is foregoing with its hard paywall and how a meter model would fare instead.
From twitter this week:
Here’s An Actual 3D Indoor Map Of A Room Captured With Google’s Project Tango Phone
Finally! How to walk across Dublin without passing a pub.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo: Arizona Desert 1992

Saguaro cactus from the desert around Scottsdale Arizona.  The channels in their trunk help to push the wind up and over the plant so that they don't topple over.  Learn something every day here at PND.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Slideshare presentations: Value Chain, Predictions, Speaking

I have 16 presentations on and they send me a weekly (excessive) update on their activity. 

I would like to know who these people are.  
This presentation below always amazes me.  It was done in 1996 to help my fellow PriceWaterhouse (before the Coopers) consultants understand the publishing industry.  It is very out of date and I have actually been contemplating a revision but the downloads continue.  A number of years ago I walked into a client's office and one of the staffers had it up on their screen and they were busy making notes.
Here is the complete list of presentations with their stats.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MediaWeek (V8, N 7); Rain in Fiction, Library of Congress Holdings, MOOCs, Adobe Killer + More

There's a lot of rain about in England at the moment. (Guardian)
Some of these books began their lives in water: English literature has for centuries courted the rain. The Canterbury Tales, the first great epic of English daily life, starts out with the sweet showers of April which bathe the dry land. This first shower is an alluringly sensual one, piercing the earth, finding its way into every bodily "veyne" of plants and people alike. If Mediterranean writers found their hot dry climate conducive to love songs, the English were not going to miss out on the competing erotic potential of rain. For Edmund Spenser, too, launching The Faerie Queene from a standing start as Una and the Redcrosse Knight go gently "pricking on the plain", rain is the beginning of narrative. Weather breaks into the stillness: "The day with clouds was sudden overcast, / And angry Jove a hideous storm of rain / Did pour." The change has been made; the action begun. Moving to shelter, the protagonists find themselves in Faerieland, with adventure springing up around them. These rainy beginnings loosen language and storytelling into life. Rain, being rained on, and finding shelter will become central subjects and structuring principles of British writing.
But things get much wetter than benign April showers. Even A Midsummer Night's Dream, so often chosen by directors for staging on warm evenings in the park, promises no such thing as balmy entertainment. The play's imagery of midsummer is not headily hot but confusingly sodden. A personal quarrel between Titania and Oberon has leaked out to become an atmospheric disturbance, legible in the winds and the cold and the rheumatic dampness of the air. There was foul weather in 1594 and drowned summers in the two years following. Titania's images were apt when the play was first performed – "The fold stands empty in the drowned field … The nine men's morris is filled up with mud" – and are no less apt today. We have all seen work and games thwarted, rotting crops in puddled fields and rain stopping play.

The Library of Congress reported on its activities during 2013 (LoC):
  • Recorded a total of 158,007,115 physical items in the collections:
  • 23,592,066 cataloged books in the Library of Congress classification system
  • 13,344,477 books in large type and raised characters, incunabula (books printed before 1501), monographs and serials, music, bound newspapers, pamphlets, technical reports and other print material
    • 121,070,572 items in the nonclassified (special) collections, including:
    • 3,530,036 audio materials (discs, tapes, talking books and other recorded formats)
    • 68,971,722 manuscripts
    • 5,507,706 maps
    • 16,816,894 microforms
    • 1,697,513 moving images (film, television broadcasts, DVDs)
    • 6,751,212 items of sheet music
    • 14,472,273 visual materials, as follows:
    • 13,728,116 photographs
    • 104,879 posters
    • 639,278 prints and drawings
    • 3,323,216 other (including machine-readable collections)
  • Welcomed more than 1.6 million onsite visitors and recorded 84 million visits and more than 519 million page-views on the Library’s web properties. 
  • At year’s end, the Library’s online primary-source files totaled 45.2 million.
From IHE, Stanford are beginning to see some success from MOOCs:
The most significant change, however, “is that the course is now explicitly about participation, not about getting a good grade at the end,” Devlin said. He has stopped short of giving students points for a task such as posting on the forum, saying he wants students to appreciate the rush of solving problems that at first glance seemed impossible. “What I’m looking for is intrinsic rewards,” he said.
Devlin said he has also changed what it means to complete his MOOC. To earn a certificate of completion in one of the previous versions, students had to score 60 percent or higher on a final exam. Now, students who are consuming the lecture materials and interacting with their peers can still experience “valuable learning, even if they haven’t solved a single math problem,” he said. After the standard eight weeks, students are also invited to join a two-week “Test Flight” program, which challenges them to apply the “mathematically-based thinking skills” they have learned in the course to math itself.
When "news" isn't current (CJR):
Other educators agree that assessing the timeliness and contemporary relevance of a piece of content is a foundational concept in news literacy. “The issue of recirculating content relates to several information trends and important news literacy lessons,” says Peter Adams, senior vice president for educational programs at the News Literacy Project, also via email. “It often comes up in discussions and lessons with students about viral content and the need to use specific fact checking tools (like reverse image search, which can show you how long an image has been circulating).”
Over at the Good E-Book reader "Adobe has killed e-Readers"
Adobe has issued a proclamation that starting in July, the vast majority of e-reader apps and hardware devices will not be able to read purchased eBooks anymore.
This announcement stems from a massive upgrade to the encryption system Adobe has implemented in their new Digital Editions 3.0 and will have reverberating effects on ePub books all over the world. Unless thousands of app developers and e-reader companies update their firmware and programming, customers will basically be unable to read books they have legitimately purchased. In effect, Adobe is killing eBooks and e-readers.

Is Self Publishing killing anything? (Guardian):
Publishers are now racing to recapture the digital ebook market from self-published authors, particularly in pivotal genres like science fiction, fantasy and romance that have proved so popular with ebook readers. New digital-only imprints like Hydra seem designed to compete in that space, but it's an open question why any author would sign deals that have been staunchly challenged by professional writers' organisations. The more natural strategy seems to be for major publishers to cherry-pick the most successful self-published authors and promote them to genuine bestseller status, as they have done with EL James and Hugh Howey. The "hybrid" author, who retains control of ebook rights while signing print-only publishing deals, may now become the new standard for publishing.
From the PND Twitter feed:
Strong, interesting female characters are the secret of House of Cards’ success
Classic films reimagined by Federico Babina – in pictures  
Reader's Digest sold for £1
Piers Morgan was questioned by Scotland Yard's hacking squad
Sid Caesar - The German General
Library contest has teens create video trailers for books

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BISG Report: Student Attitudes toward Content.

From BISG:
The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has just relased the first report in its annual two-part study, Student Attitudes toward Content in Higher Education, available for purchase here.
Now in its fourth year, this study provides trend information and analysis about the ways the traditional print textbook is changing to reflect technological innovation and (or sometimes in spite of) student preferences.  Each volume is published annually in two parts: the first each February, reflecting surveys completed the previous fall, and the second each July, reflecting surveys completed in the spring.
Nadine Vassallo, Project Manager, Research & Information said, “Today's students are becoming increasingly flexible about their course materials selections, and more open to new product innovations than ever before. BISG's Student Attitudes survey provides the data, analysis, and guidance publishers need to anticipate challenges and identify emerging opportunities in the higher ed space."
New findings from Volume 4, Report 1, include the following major shifts in content use trends:
·        From October 2010 to October 2013, the percentage of students who report that their courses require “no formal course materials” increased from 4% to 11%. This change in perception suggests students are becoming more flexible about what they consider “required,” and increasingly substitute alternative materials for those assigned by faculty – or avoiding purchase altogether.
·        Required content as reported by students continues to evolve away from one or more core textbooks toward new digital alternatives, although open educational resources have yet have to show an impact.
·        Despite low sales numbers, interest in tablet versions of textbooks is quite strong, especially among students who have already purchased an e-book. Students prefer tablet versions of textbooks over PDF replicas or even print textbooks, assuming at least a 25% lower cost. This finding supports other research suggesting students' willingness to adopt digital formats increases significantly with exposure.
·        Some 17% of students reported renting textbooks for their courses. This is down slightly from almost 19% last spring. In October 2013, about 75% of respondents reported they were either somewhat or very satisfied with their rental experience.
For the first time, the Student Attitudes survey was supplemented by interviews with higher education administrators from leading institutions including the University of Kentucky, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University System of Ohio. This panel of was asked to comment on some of the key strategies, issues, and opportunities they face as instructional technologies continue to evolve for a more contextual analysis of the trends in content delivery.
The report, available as dynamic online access via Real-Time Reporting* or as broad stand-alone PDF summary reports, provides practical guidance to companies working to refine their business strategies and better serve an ever-changing higher education marketplace.  More information is available here.
Student Attitudes toward Content in Higher Education was prepared by the Book Industry Study Group, Inc., with reporting and editorial content by Steve Paxhia and John Parsons. Portions of this information were provided by Nielsen Books & Consumers and used with permission of the Nielsen Company.

Monday, February 10, 2014

MediaWeek (V8, N6) The Troubles Archive, Dickens, Open Access Models, Innovation in Scholarly Publishing +More

This story broke last year but it remains a intense story about how to capture for posterity difficult and traumatic recent history.  In this case an oral history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the archive established at Boston College. (Chronicle)
Mr. O’Neill, head of the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College, might have seemed a surprising partner in such a risky venture. His was a world of manuscripts and manicured campuses. But he also had extensive connections in Ireland, traveling in both the north and the south to develop one of the most comprehensive collections of Irish literature and history in the world. Now, with peace in the air, he was looking to fill a gap in the Burns Library, focusing on the recent political history of Northern Ireland. When Mr. Moloney, Northern Ireland editor for The Sunday Tribune, heard of the librarian’s interest, he proposed an archive collecting the stories of former paramilitary members at “the cutting edge of the conflict.”
Thirteen years later the three men would have vastly different recollections of their first meeting. The two Irishmen walked away from dinner thinking that Mr. O’Neill would not pursue the project unless he could assure them that its secrecy was legally protected. Mr. O’Neill insists he would never have made such a blanket promise.
But all agree on one point. In those heady, early days, when talk of reconciliation dominated public discussion in Northern Ireland, none of them imagined their project would get caught up in an international criminal investigation into a four-decade-old murder. How that happened is a tale of grand ambitions undermined by insular decision-making and careless oversight.
I've been trying to get through the Dickens books I haven't read (currently reading Tale of Two Cities and last year Bleak House) and from the New Republic is a rehash from 1933.  (New Republic)
In short, as everybody who has read him will admit, Dickens can stand a good deal of cutting. But Dickens has been abridged before, and nobody cried blasphemy; it is quite true that most people who have read “David Copperfield,” “Nicholas Nickleby” or “Oliver Twist” have read them only in a juvenile abridgment. What Mr. Graves has done, however, is more than merely cut away adipose tissue and supernumerary tear-glands: in order to shorten the length without sacrificing the continuity he has rewritten the whole book. His version is “not an abridgment for schools, but a rewriting for the ordinary reader”; and therein lies his crime. But none of the famous scenes or dialogues or characters is lacking. In fact, you cannot tell what is lacking until you read the chapter of the original which Mr. Graves has appended as contrast with his own version. Then you will see that what is missing will never be missed. If you were to read “The Real David Copperfield” without knowing what impious hands had been laid on it, your inevitable comment would be: “I had forgotten what a good book ‘David Copperfield’ is!”
Looking to show a willingness to accommodate new revenue models, Academic and Scientific publishers have been experimenting.  Last week IOP announced an 'open access' model with an Austrian consortium (THE):

The agreement between the Institute of Physics’s publishing arm; the Austrian Science Fund; library consortium the Austrian Academic Consortium and the Austrian Central Library for Physics at the University of Vienna will see the Austrian Science Fund cover the article fees for every author it funds to publish open access with the Institute.
In exchange, the publisher has agreed to lower the cost of accessing its journals for participating members of the Austrian Academic Consortium in proportion to the extra funding it receives from article fees.
Last week the UK’s universities and science minister David Willetts called on publishers to give a boost to the take-up of journal-provided gold open access by reaching such price offsetting agreements with individual universities, ensuring that their total expenditure on journals did not increase.
A long article on innovation in scholarly publishing from the LA Review of Books:
To make sure humanities scholarship thrives, it is crucial that we cut through the fog of pixel dust–induced illusion to the practical realities of what digital technology offers to scholarship. Among the prevailing misconceptions about digital production of any kind is that it is cheap, permanent yet somehow immaterial, and that it is done by “machines” — that is, with little human labor. We could add to this another pervasive two-part misperception, that “everything” is digitized and that everything digital is available on Google. Each of these views is profoundly inaccurate. Costs of production and maintenance (or, to use the current grant-required buzzword, sustainability) are much greater with digital objects than print. Every aspect of the old-school publishing work cycle — acquisition (highly skilled and highly valued/paid labor), editing (ditto), reviewing, fact-checking, design, production, promotion, and distribution (all ditto) — remains in place in the digital environment. The only change is in the form of the final production, which becomes a matter of servers, licenses, files, delivery, and platform-specific or platform-agnostic design instead of presses, paper, binding, and so on. The fact that the print object is removed means the single obvious revenue-producing part of the work cycle is eliminated, replaced with a dubious business model of digital sales that as yet doesn’t seem to work well for most authors, and even less well for scholarly monographs.

From Twitter:
CJR Be the next Ezra Klein!
Twitter is offering a small number of research institutions access to its public and historic data  
ONIX 3.0 Raises Standard for Ebook Metadata, By Graham Bell, Chief Data Architect at EDItEUR /bookbusinessmag  

Friday, February 07, 2014

Photo Friday: Another Blurb Book

Since it is Friday and last weeks post got so many views I thought I would add another Blurb book but this one I did for my in-laws.  My father in law spent a few years in the army in 1956-8 or so and was stationed in Iceland.  These images have stood up well considering they were in the basement for 20+ years.  (Blurb Bookstore)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Media Banker's Annual Trend Reports

From Berkery Noyes:
2013 Key Highlights
  • The most active financial sponsor was Vista Equity Partners with eighteen transactions in 2013. This included four deals with disclosed values over $500 million.
  • Four of the top ten highest value private equity deals in 2013 occurred in the Finance segment. The largest of these was Hellman & Friedman's acquisition of Applied Systems from Bain Capital for $1.8 billion in the Insurance subsector.
  • TPG Capital was the most active private equity firm in the Health segment with eight transactions in 2013.
2013 Key Trends
  • Total transaction volume in 2013 decreased by twelve percent over 2012, from 512 to 453. However, when compared to 2011, volume in 2013 underwent a four percent increase.
  • Total transaction value in 2013 declined by six percent over 2012, from $43.71 billion to $41.13 billion.
  • The median revenue multiple increased from 1.8x in 2012 to 2.3x in 2013. The median EBITDA multiple improved from 9.8x in 2012 to 11.5x in 2013.
  • In terms of secondary buyouts, or transactions completed between private equity firms, deal volume in 2013 decreased by 27 percent over 2012. This followed a 34 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.
From Whitestone Group:  Who's buying whom report (pdf)

MediaBankers (pdf)
Information Services are part of the media sector and offer business-oriented packages of news, data, insights and software tools that companies use to make decisions that drive their business. This whitepaper examines M&A activity in the Information Services industry from January 2011 through September 2013 and provides insight into the following:
  • Which deals were the largest?
  • Who are the most active buyers?
  • Which segments of information services are the most robust for M&A?
  • How does M&A volume break down by geography?
  • What are the drivers of M&A in this sector?
From the Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc.(pdf)
2013 saw 14 transactions at $1 billion+ in value, with four of the top five in the Marketing & Interactive Services sector. The largest deal of the year was the $21.9 billion merger of Publicis and Omnicom, expected to close in the first half of next year. The top five also included the acquisitions of email marketer Exact Target by, sports marketing agency IMG Worldwide by William Morris and Silver Lake, and shopper marketing group Valassis Communications by Harland Clarke, a unit of MacAndrews & Forbes. The only top five deal outside of marketing was the acquisition of Springer Science+Business Media by BC Partners.

The remaining top 30 deals were well diversified across sectors, including Database & Information Services with four deals, the largest being IHS’s $1.4 billion acquisition of R.L. Polk & Co.; Marketing & Interactive Services with another six deals; B2C Online Media & Technology with three deals, led by Yahoo’s $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr; Exhibitions & Conferences with three deals, the largest being Onex Corporation’s $950 million acquisition of Nielsen Expositions (a JEGI transaction); Healthcare Information & Technology with three deals, including Roper Industries’ $1.0 billion acquisition of Managed Healthcare Associates; Mobile Media & Technology with three deals, the largest being Baidu’s $1.8 billion acquisition of 91 Wireless Websoft; Education Information & Technology with two more deals; and Consumer Magazines with one deal, the Funke Mediengruppe $1.2 billion acquisition of Axel Springer’s Regional Magazines, Program Guides & Newspapers.
Veronis Suhler Stevenson Forecast (subscription)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

BISG Launches Research Study into Subscription Models

From the BISG and we are excited that the Publishing Technology business unit PCG is helping with the research.

Study of subscription models for published content to be the industry's first
The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is pleased to announce a major new research initiative to study subscription models of selling published content.
Given the success of digital subscription services in the film, television, and music industries, publishing industry stakeholders have wondered how and when these services will affect book content distribution. While the range of possible models is vast, it is unclear whether the current needs and trends suggest a ”Netflix” model with a deep and broad catalog or whether more focused verticals will continue to develop. And what are the attitudes of agents, authors, publishers, and librarians toward these new distribution models? What factors will motivate or dissuade them from participating?
To answer these questions, BISG has contracted with Ted Hill of THA Consulting working with Emilie Delquie of Publishers Communications Group (PCG), a division of Publishing Technology, to conduct a research study to identify the various business models employed by US-based digital content subscription services. This research will provide a clear picture of how content producers and others in the publishing value chain are reacting to these new forces in the marketplace.
“There is enough interest in and activity around digital subscription models right now,” said BISG executive director Len Vlahos, “that it became clear to us that research was warranted. We’re delighted to be working with Ted Hill and PCG on this project and look forward to what will be the first really comprehensive look at this landscape.”
A report of the findings will be published in summer 2014, with preliminary findings presented at BISG’s Making Information Pay Conference at IDPF’s Digital Book 2014 at BEA.
Safari Books Online, the on-demand digital learning library for technology, digital media, and business professionals, has joined as the lead Sponsor for BISG's subscription research survey. Other Sponsors to date include Wiley, the American Library Association, and Sally Dedecker Enterprises. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jeanette Zwart at For more information about the Subscription Research Study, email Nadine Vassallo at