At the end of the calendar year and coming to the holiday season it’s become typical for Extensis to have a series of company parties. Normally we have a number of smaller parties for each different office location as arranging a global party for everyone simply isn’t feasible.
The holiday party isn’t just based around dining and alcohol but arranging a semi-competitive fun activity for everyone, and this year in Europe we busied ourselves with a Clay Pigeon Shoot in rural Northamptonshire.
The day started off early on a chilly Saturday morning as we met for a traditional English breakfast at the Courteenhall Shooting School in Northamptonshire. After breakfast we then broke into two small groups and spent the morning under the expert tuition of John Trailing and his colleague Mick, who taught us in turns the basics of aiming and shooting shotguns. The targets we were using were ‘clays’ which were despatched towards us from a wide range of traps, designed to mimic different paths of birds in flight. (Please note that no wildlife was hurt in this activity and that a ‘Clay Pigeon’ is exactly that and best described as a ceramic disc that measures about 10cm (3.9 inches) sent skywards from a mechanical device called a ‘trap’ on the instruction of the participant.
After lunch and warming ourselves up we then spent the afternoon in a competition to find Extensis Top Gun 2007. The competition was set over a range of targets with 5 shots at each. The winner was Claire who in the competition only missed 4 shots. Claire was very gracious in her victory reminding us that it was the taking part and not the winning that was important, which was easy for her to say as she walked off with the trophy. This was a good victory made even the more remarkable by the fact that Claire was unable to close her left eye in aiming the gun and was forced to wear an eye-patch during the day making her look a little like a pirate. Well done Cap’n and Season’s Greetings to all.
When I was a kid, my favorite morning activity was to sit down at breakfast with my dad and read “the funnies”… otherwise known as, the comics section of the newspaper. Something about starting the morning off with a chuckle always seemed to set the day off on the right foot. With that in mind, below is a font-related funny from one of my favorite publications, the Onion.
Although the majority of the article is satiric, the author does include a reference to a real-life person who played an important role in the history of typography. If you recognize the reference, post this person’s contribution to typography in the comment section to prove you are a font trivia god/godess.
*Special thanks to one of our engineers, Micah Grigonis for forwarding the article.
In case you weren’t aware, there’s a great Mac software developer right here in Portland, not too far from Extensis called Panic, makers of Transmit, Coda, and Unision, not to mention the hijinks they get up to with another of my favorites (though non-local), the IconFactory. Together they make Candybar which allows you to organize your icons and trick out your system in all sorts of glorious ways. (Full Disclosure: I have an unhealthy thing for icons and desktop pictures and such.)
Anyway, when you are a company like Panic and you make not only really functional things, but really pretty things, you can end up with some imitators-people hoping to cash in on looking a little like you, or improving their UI to look more like yours. Some people can’t be bothered with expending any effort and they just plain use your stuff wholesale. Well this happened to Panic enough times they put up a whole section of their site for it: The Rip-Off Express. I enjoy the commentary myself, but I also find it interesting how many of these are listed on their page! They don’t even track it really, they say on the site these all come from customers.
I read things like this and I wonder how often this happens to other companies-I know people steal the page layout and such from Apple often, but I think about smaller places, like Panic and Iconfactory and I wonder if you’re someone in between Apple and Panic (like Extensis, for example) how much this happens to you and you don’t even know about it.
Have you seen things like this? Send me some links, and they don’t have to be Extensis ones.
It’s a brisk, overcast morning here in Portland. The coffee is steaming in my cup, as I munch on my Caribou Coffee Chocolate Mocha bar, listening to some harsh guitar rock by Buckethead. Nothing like a little thrash guitar to get the blood flowing.
I’m a little fuzzy this morning because I was up late last night (early this morning) recovering data from my cousin’s brand new Vista PC that has decided that it will not boot into Windows. I’ve been reminded yet again of the critical need for people to backup their data, regularly.
My cousin is a budding professional photographer and is making her start into the business doing senior photos and weddings. Like many new startup companies, she’s limited on funds and has to make some hard choices as to what new equipment to buy. Fortunately she has new computers and an external hard drive that she has been doing backups on. Unfortunately, her external hard drive was full and she was waiting for a new one for Christmas, so her backups had lapsed.
The good news is I was able to get all the data off her hard drive. Now we just need to reload the OS, I guess, or have her buy a Mac, but even that wouldn’t have prevented a corrupt OS.
It was this experience that drove home the concept to her of reliable, automatic backups. This is a concept that if I could do one thing before I die, it would be to have everybody doing regular backups of their critical data. Many a time I’ve had a customer call into technical support and say that they were having a crisis and we needed to help them undo the problems. Many times, the only option is to roll back to the last backup. No recent backup = world of hurt.
So while most IT departments have regular backup programs, with an automated systems and schedules, this is not usually the case with the small workgroup, or individual. So, do yourself and me a favor, burn a few DVD’s to backup your system tonight. Ask yourself, what is your time worth per hour of lost productivity? I think you’ll see that the cost of a few DVD’s is a cheap investment.
For a more permanent solution for my cousin we’re looking into either a Firewire RAID system, or at least a large external drive that automatically backs up everything every night. I’ve implemented the external drive solution for my wife, my in-laws as well as my parents. Last thing I want is for my mother to call me and tell me her 20 years of family history research is gone, or for my wife’s patient information is AWOL. To say nothing of the year of financial information that was eaten by a failed drive at the in-laws farm.
Backups are critical for the creative community. Back up your font collection so you have a known good set of fonts if / when you have font corruption problems or archiving off old client projects so you can free up space on your hard drive. Having a library of standard templates, fonts, logos, forms and other standard business tools is essential. Don’t forget that the IRS wants you to keep your financial records for up to 5 years.
And don’t forget to backup your iTunes collection. Some mornings strong coffee and a little Buckethead is the only answer.
December 18th, 2007 by Amanda Paull
When talking about our new Type Server, we get this question a lot: “What’s under the hood?”
Where do I start? As Mac OS X is to the world of operating systems, the new Type Server is shaping up to be the same for the font management world – a powerful product that is easy to use with a beautiful interface.
In general, the driving rule that every team member has followed during development is very simple, “Be a great IT citizen.” This means that all of the choices that we made along the way, from server traffic to ease of installation and setup all followed this rule.
In addition, the Type Server is being built from the ground-up using industry-proven technologies. This allows us to focus on what we know best: the business of managing fonts.
The server is a J2EE environment utilizing embedded SQL. But if you’re not a whiz, don’t let that scare you off. You don’t need a PhD in IT to install and use the Type Server. The installers are logical and easy to use, even if you don’t have an in-house administrator. With this in mind, here are the facts:
- Modern server architecture: Open source foundation, JAVA-driven application server, web service enabled
- Web-based administration (see screen shot below)
- An Adobe FLEX application for user-management
- SOAP-based communication (http/xml) between the client and server
- Optional SQL database embedded on the server
- Optional external databases: MSSQL, etc.
- ACL-based permission
- Active Directory integration
- Enabled with server-based command line tools model.
If you’re intrigued, please be sure to visit us at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco in January. We will be showing off the new Type Server in the Extensis booth. Until then, stay tuned to Manage This for more info.
As always, if there is something you want to hear about, please drop me a line.
Looking carefully into their rainbow colored crystal ball, the prognosticators over at Pantone have seen the future, and it’s a purple one. Well, not so much purple, but a “Blue Iris” future. According to the press release: “Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement.”
If taken in astrological terms, using spectrographic analysis items that are moving away from us give off a distinct “red shift,” while those coming towards us present a “blue shift.” So, I take this news that good things will be coming my way quickly in the year 2008. I’m giddy with anticipation.
For more info, check out the press release here.
Was going through my Inbox last night and came across this gem that I had previously overlooked. The UK publication, IT-Enquirer recently published a 40 page report comparing the three major editorial workflow systems on the market – Quark Publishing System version 7, Softcare’s K4 and WoodWing Software’s Smart Connection Enterprise. Both K4 and Smart Connection Enterprise are built to work with Adobe InDesign and InCopy in contrast to the Quark solution.
In the past the IT-Enquirer has tilted heavily toward the Quark publishing solutions, and this review contains no big surprises in that respect. Though, that does not necessarily mean that this report should be neglected. It does go through the majority of the salient points about each of the solutions, and is definitely a worthy read if you are considering the implementation of a text-driven workflow system.
December 14th, 2007 by Jim Kidwell
Macworld San Francisco 2008 is quickly approaching. As with many years past, Extensis will be there in full force. And this year, you won’t want to miss it. We’ll be demonstrating the powerful features of next-generation Type Server, the Leopard-ready Suitcase Fusion as well as our reliable asset manager, Extensis Portfolio.
Here’s all of the pertinent info:
What: Macworld 2008, the premier event for Mac aficionados.
When: January 15-18th
Where: Extensis Booth 1020, Moscone Center South Exhibit Hall, San Francisco, CA
Stay tuned to Manage This for your opportunity to score some free exhibit hall passes in the upcoming weeks. Of course, we’ll also have continued coverage of all things Macworld as we’re blogging from the show floor. There’s always something new and interesting going on to report.
We’ve done that in the past, as Jim mentions in this post. But recently I’ve ran across two more examples that are pretty cool.
The first I found is at Coudal Partners Swap Meet site. They talk about a map of Chicago, but if you follow the links you end up at Ork Posters. Ork creates maps of different cities using text to map and describe the neighbourhoods of the city. Check out the very cool Manhattan poster to the right. Since I noticed this earlier in the week, they’ve sold out of a few of them. Once again, I’m late to the party.
The other example I noticed was courtesy of my friends in my homeland of Canada – Veer. I follow their Twitter feed, and this popped up on Tuesday.
Once again, if you follow the links, you’ll find that design students from the Cleveland Institute Of Art took part in a contest where they picked a location in Cleveland, and then a typeface from Veer, and then created those locations in type.
Oh – I decided to bail on my ‘controversial’ post.. it’s Christmas time, right? Time to be pleasant to your fellow human. BTW, have you seen what I’ve been working on for the past year?
Today we released a free update for the Suitcase Server X1 client that improves compatibility with the newest release of Mac OS X. This update is recommended for all Suitcase Server X1 client users, whether or not you are upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) now or later.
This release includes the following improvements:
- Updates to ensure maximum compatibility with Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard). To provide effective font activation, Suitcase X1 now automatically disables two Font Book 2.1 preferences, in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). The preferences, “Automatic font activation” and “Alert me when system fonts change” can conflict with a professional font manager.
- The installer for this release includes plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator CS2, CS3, and Adobe InDesign CS2, CS3, as well as an XTension for QuarkXPress 7.
The client is available in English, French or German.
To download the new installer, please visit the Suitcase Server X1 page.