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I’m in Denver this week to attend the AIGA Design Conference and took some time yesterday afternoon to walk around the city and see the sights. I was actually raised in Denver but can barely recognize this city as the background of my youth. Denver has truly transformed from a lazy cattle town into a full-fledged metropolis where design and creativity can be found around every corner.

What most intrigued me was the vast number and variety of large-scale art projects the city has recently adopted. From the adorable to the abstract, I thought I would share the story behind a few of these projects that I found around the convention center

Blue BearBlue Bear: perhaps my favorite sculpture in Denver, this charming 40-foot bear took residence outside the Colorado Convention Center in an effort by city planners to create “a sense of place”. Designed by Lawrence Argent and originally entitled “I See What You Mean”, this piece is quickly becoming renowned as a Denver landmark.

The Dancers“The Aliens”: Officially titled “The Dancers”, this abstract piece is as unpopular with Denver residents as Blue Bear is popular. Designed by Jonathan Borofsky, these sculptures cost $1.5 million initially and have probably cost the city of Denver another $1.5 million in clean-up costs as a result of the chronic graffiti the sculptures attract.

The Yearling: Originally commissioned for an elementary school in upper Manhattan, the sculpture by Donald Lipski has since taken residence in front of the downtown Denver public library and can be seen directly from the children’s book section.

Scottish Angus Cow and Calf: This sculpture was recently placed on the lawn outside Denver’s new art museum (a large-scale art project in itself). Designed by Dan Ostermiller, this sculpture was voted the “Best Climbable Art” by the Westword and is a nice reminder that Denver will always have some elements of the cowtown it used to be.

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Are you someone who has to, as Mike Manzano eloquently put it, “sit in front of monitors 30 hours a day”? What font do you use?

If you make a poor choice, you’ll know, but if your choice isn’t giving you a headache you probably think it’s totally fine. Luckily this is well-trodden territory so I can give you some suggestions based on a few blog posts documenting actual experience.

Coding Horror not only has a nice discussion of the selected font, but a good looking sample pile of code to show you what it will ACTUALLY look like. What a good idea!

There’s a big nice review at as well, and a nice preview page of each font.

Roy Osherove has a quick entry on his .NET blog about font choices and links to a pretty in-depth preview page with tons of options.

Of course since someone (Roy) made a recommendation, someone else ( completely disagrees.

Keith Devens has a bit in his wiki about programming fonts and links all over the place. Even if you have a font you like, check out this wiki, it’s got some very interesting looking pages on it!

There’s an older thread on the Joel On Software message board which discusses this too.

What I really like about all of these links is that most of them are blog posts with comments which means everyrone else can pipe up with their own opinion and it’s fascinating to see the opinions all in one place go from “I never thought to use a different font” to “6pt terminal is the way”. Plus, virtually all of the commenters are helpful in pointing out their faves and linking them and reasonably discussing why they are partial to that one.

Most of them seem to enjoy the Proggy fonts, and I can’t really find anyone defending Oloron.

When I write HTML (which is about the only “coding” I spend any serious time on), I usually use a standard sans serif and I’m partial to Andale Mono as far as fixed width goes. I don’t care so much if it is fixed width or not, I’m almost always in either TextWrangler or BBEdit and the color context for the code I’m using is all I really need.

Do you have a favorite? Did I miss it? I’m sure our engineers would like to find the perfect coding font so if you think you’ve got it please post it in the comments!

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MacUser LogoThis past August Extensis released Portfolio 8.5, an anticipated upgrade to our popular digital asset management solution. So far, we’ve received some outstanding support for the product family including a recent review from MacUser Magazine. Portfolio Server’s integration with Adobe CS3 is really pushing this product as a must have solution for creative professionals. MacUser awarded Portfolio a 4 out of 5 mouse rating MacUser 4/5 Mouse Rating Logo in its recent September issue.

You can access the review in its entirety here.

“Extensis – once famed for its Photoshop and QuarkXPress plug-ins – has slowly transformed into a company dedicated to font and asset management. This is the first big upgrade to the workgroup version of Portfolio, its flagship digital asset management program, for well over a year, but the wait – at least for Adobe CS3 users – appears to have been worthwhile….”

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Extensis, a Celartem companyWe occasionally post about new opportunities at Extensis. At this time, we currently have two rare openings in our UK office, one for a Sales Engineer and the other for a Channel Sales Manager.

The Extensis UK team is a relatively small group of fun, motivated people in Northampton who work as hard as they like to play — I hear that there’s even an office conkers tournament coming up soon.

If you think  that your talents would add to our group, please check out the job descriptions and apply here.

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Portland Mac Users Group meeting - Kelly Guimont speakingLast night I went to the monthly Portland Mac Users Group (PMUG) Meeting and gave a talk. I was their featured speaker (really! Check out the sign!) and talked about font management and also talked about asset management. I showed off some best practices in each area and then gave demos of both Portfolio and Suitcase Fusion. I answered questions about our software, and at the end of my presentation the audience kindly smiled for a couple of group photos, which I have included below.

If you have a Mac, and you love your Mac, or you just want to learn more, see if there’s a User Group in your area. Sometimes they put together events that are fun and interesting, for example: Coming up near the end of October, our own PMUG is putting on Mac Camp, a weekend at Silver Falls State Park, full of knowledge and networking and unabashed geekery. Plus, you know, Silver Falls.

I had a lovely time last night, everyone was really nice to me and nobody fell asleep while I gave my talk so I think it went reasonably well (I think raffling off two copies of Portfolio might have helped that out though!). If you’re local, check out PMUG-they meet the second Monday of the month in the EcoTrust Building. I’d like to thank PMUG for having me last night, it was fun to get to talk to Mac enthusiasts, and any chance I get to offer knowledge and tips to people who will directly benefit (especially on my platform of choice) is always something I am glad to do.

And now, as promised, group shots of my fantastic audience!

pmug-left.jpg pmug-right.jpg

A generous donation

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Nicole and Anna - kidney donationPeople do beautiful and charitable things every day. You’ve probably seen the Liberty Mutual Insurance advertisement that focuses on the Pay It Forward model where one little act of kindness leads down the road to another and another ad infinitum.

Very soon, one of us at Extensis will be making an impressive and inspiring gift to her best friend. Sometime this November, Public Relations Manager, Nicole Andergard will be donating a kidney to her best friend Anna Lytle.

Their story is an incredible one. Having known each other for over twenty years they grew up practically as sisters. Having exhausted familial possibilities of a source of a healthy kidney, Nicole volunteered to be tested for donation compatibility. Incredibly, out of many people tested, the tests proved that Nicole was a very compatible match, and the best candidate for transplant.

All of us at Extensis have been pulling for Nicole and Anna during the testing phase of the process. We’re now anxiously awaiting the surgery date, and will be with her the entire way.

You can also follow their entire journey at Nicole’s One Kidney’s Journey blog. My favorite post so far includes a bit about writing on her stomach with an eyeliner pencil – it had me laughing as well as inspired.

If you’re also inspired and would like to know more about organ and tissue donation, check out the US Government’s site on organ donation. One thing that you can do this week is let your family know your wishes. It’s more than just putting a designation on your drivers license. Telling your family as well as putting it in writing makes it easier and in the event of an untimely accident, and makes it much more likely that you’ll be able to help many people in need.


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This Friday I want to talk about risk. Consider this my attempt a little bit of original content.Calgary Tower

What got me thinking about risk was a conversation the development team was having last week about taking a risk and potentially moving our Macintosh development environment to Leopard.

My thought regarding this switch is we’ll get a jump on potentially adding new Leopard only features to “unnamed next generation font management product”. (Yes, I can’t say the name yet, someday soon.)

Others on the team were worried about the risk – we’d have to switch all our engineering machines to Leopard, switch our build machine environment to Leopard, and figure out something called ‘weak linking’. The other risk is that we are shipping ‘soon’ in development time. Switching your entire tool chain close to releasing a product isn’t a good idea – unless you want to add a Leopard only feature.

All these seemed surmountable to me, worth the risk for the ability to use new features in Leopard to do some really innovative things in a font manager. There are some cool things that can be done still in this genre of software. I’ll leave you in suspense on our decision, as I’ve learned not to promise any features publicly until they are actually done! 🙂

In general I do believe risk taking is good – I don’t think humans as a species would have survived if we didn’t take risks. There had to be someone out there who said “hey, you build the rocket to the moon, and I’ll be the first person on the ride off this rock“. You name it, I believe we’ve bettered ourselves because of our risk taking. How did anyone ever get married without taking that first risk – “will you go out with me”?

Now, you designers reading – I’m sure you take risks, correct? If a client wanted a design for a website, you’d listen to their requirements, and probably produce two versions, one that is status quo, and one that pushes the envelope, takes risks in the design. I bet a lot of the time the client likes the risky one, right? I’d love to hear if I’m right or not, feel free to leave your risk stories.

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Trajan Sucks

There’s a contingent of folks on the University of Kansas campus who are really unhappy with the “upgrades” to the sports uniforms. Previously the Jayhawks used the font in this image, an arc-serifed face that is distinctive and sets U of K apart from all those big block lettered schools.

Well, to help standardize the “brand” of U of K, the university has decided to use Trajan as the font on all the uniforms.

According to reports, it was a local firm-Portland based LandreyMorrow-who came up with the branding, and the athletic department followed along.

It wouldn’t matter except that the graphic above is available on a shirt, and you can get a red version too, since U of K students are rebelling against this “update” for their teams. You can find out more at the site, set up specifically to protest this injustice that has been perpetrated against the students.

Personally I hope it works and they prevail. Look at that font! You don’t have to use Trajan or Times or something. Look at the White Sox! Look at the Yankees! Look at Trajan and tell me that says National Champion to you.

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Warning IconCRASH! BOOM! BANG!! Darn it! There went your application, and that project you were working on. Nuts… But, you’re a pro and you save your work ever 5 minutes, so it’s not a total disaster, right?

What’s this? You’re suddenly greeted by a Problem Report for the offending application. What’s this all about? Who cares, what good will this do? Actually, it is pretty helpful. Let’s take a quick look at a Crash Report and see what they’re all about. One thing I want to say is that Extensis does look at and use your crash reports to help identify problems, trends and other issues. Please put in a few comments to help us better utilize your report. It’s very helpful to get a personal input, something other than just the code.

Apple has a pretty good reference page about the CrashReporter. (

From this we can see when the crash happened, what application was reporting the crash, what version of software and version of the operating system. One thing to know, is that often the crash report is thrown by an application that crashed, but it may not be the application that caused the crash. Often there are underlying processes or other applications that can crash that will bring down other applications. Frequently I see crash reports for Suitcase Fusion that show that what really caused the problem was the Apple Type Services (ATS), or some other operating system level process. Often other applications (in this case Suitcase Fusion) was waiting for a response from ATS and there was a failure. This in turn caused Suitcase Fusion to close unexpectedly.

Looking at the actual Crash Report shows you some really good information:

First is the basic information:

BugReporter Report
Date: [Tue Oct 2 20:22:09 2007]
Bundle ID: [com.extensis.suitcase]
Version: [12.1]
Problem: [Suitcase crashed when I opened Microsoft Word 2004.] Crash Log: [********** Crash Log
Host Name: pkrummenacker.local
Date/Time: 2007-10-03 10:23:08 0700
OS Version: 10.3.9 (Build 7W98)
Report Version: 2

Next is the Process Information:
The next part of the crash log contains information about the process that crashed,

Command: Suitcase Fusion
Path: /Applications/Extensis Suitcase Fusion/Suitcase Fusion
Version: 12.1.6 (12.1.6)
PID: 342
Thread: 0

Exception Information:
The third part of a crash log shows information about the processor exception that was the immediate cause of the crash.

Exception: EXC_BAD_ACCESS (0x0001)
Codes: KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS (0x0001) at 0x05a08000

Backtrace Information

The fourth part of the crash log, which displays a backtrace for all of the threads in the crashed process, is typically the most interesting.

Thread 0 Crashed:
0 ATS 0x96b7a9f4 FixPostScriptName 0x128
1 ATS 0x96b79580 FOGetNameInternal 0x2a4
2 ATS 0x96b6ae58 _eFOGetName 0x288
3 ATS 0x96b6abac FOGetName 0x60
4 0x91659c7c ATSUGetIndFontName 0xa0

So, without getting any more technical, let it suffice to say that sending in your crash reports is very helpful and we do look at them. It’s through problems that people report that we are able to find problems that weren’t discovered in testing, or issues that might be the result of a new update in another application or a operating system update. So, send them in, make some comments and rest assured that they are helpful.

– Paul Krummenacker
Technical Support Manager, Extensis

Accidentally random

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State GDP

  • Quick link here.
  • This map shows the economic output of US states and equates this to the GDP of other nations. I’ve run across it so many times, and studied it, that I thought it was a good pass-along.
  • Here are the top 10:

California = France 

Texas = Canada 

Florida = S. Korea

Illinois = Mexico

New Jersey = Russia

Ohio = Australia

New York = Brazil

Pennsylvania = Netherlands

Georgia = Switzerland

North Carolina = Sweden

The UK and Germany are conspicuously missing. Probably too big for any single state. Looks like we at Extensis are Israeli, except those in our Sao Paulo office. We also have some good friends based in France. You?

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