The temperature hit 99 degrees Fahrenheit this past weekend in Portland. So, to escape the heat as well as celebrate our anniversary, my wife and I took a short jaunt out to the Oregon coast. I took the opportunity to take a few photos of some typography in use on the coast. Most of these photos were taken in Newport, Oregon.
If you’re a Microsoft Office 2004 for Macintosh user like me, Microsoft has just shown us some love.
You may be using the older version of Microsoft Office for many reasons – corporate policy, budget for upgrades, etc. Yet, you have probably already received files created by the newer versions of Microsoft Office for Mac or Windows that don’t look anything like what you’ve seen before. Typically the extension for these new files ends in the letter ‘X’ that indicates that the files is an “Open XML” file.
This week Microsoft released a file converter that allows users of Office 2004 to convert, open and edit files saved in Open XML format. It’s a handy feature that will allow me to stay in the loop until I get the chance to fully upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Office.
Check it out over on Microsoft’s Mac site, Mactopia.
June 26th, 2008 by Jim Kidwell
Got an interest in typography as well as a a poker face that could bluff the socks off of your grandmother? Well, have we found something for you!
Type foundry P22 has produced yet another deck of playing cards featuring some really fine type.
Designed by a wide variety of guest artists, selected through a competition, this deck has some pretty nifty type that will keep your friends amazed. Well, they may be amazed that you purchased these over those naked lady cards that you favored in high school, but I digress. Heck, who doesn’t appreciate the fine curves of a nice swash? I sure do!
I’m not sharing any breaking news, but George Carlin has left the building, and I will miss him.
No matter how you feel about him or about his work, George Carlin has made a mark in American culture and history.
Not only did he make interesting comedy, but he also made some legal case law. The 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, regarding government regulation of “indecent” material on the public airwaves. This all stemmed from a 1973 broadcast of “Seven Dirty Words“.
One thing about George, he made me think. Even comedy sketches he did in the early 1970′s still seem timely and humorous in 2008.
One of my favorite (and family friendly) sketches he had was Al Sleet, the “hippie-dippie weatherman”
“Tonight’s forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening,
with some widely-scattered light towards morning.”
And in closing, I think George was right with his theory on life being backwards.
“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time.
What do you get at the end of it? A death!
You know I love these things-creative and seemingly useless. But if it gets you talking/blogging, then isn’t it valuable? Well, we could get into the merits of marketing techniques, but that’s not nearly as much fun as Logobama.
Upload an image, pick your background and foreground colors, and this tool will deliver you many different sizes to save up to twitter, youtube, myspace, digg, facebook, etc.
You might think it is frivolous- and it is. It is also VERY good marketing.
(Image courtesy of Kidrobot. His name in Muno Yo Gabba Gabba.)
Everyone gets themselves into a jam from time to time. Heck, I’m the guy that’s constantly trying to make my software do things that it just wasn’t initially designed to do. And thus, we all run into problems. Lucky for you, we provide free technical support for all of our registered users. Give us a call or shoot us an email and we’ll get back to you.
If you’re like me, and you occasionally push the limits of your software, or if you like to chat about Extensis software, take a moment to check out our user-to-user forums. We’ve set this place for you to talk about each of our products, including the brand-spanking new Universal Type Server.
We also monitor the forums, so if we see that a topic is coming up over and over, it may be something that we’ll consider adding or changing in new versions of the software. No guarantees, but we definitely do listen and care about the needs and feature requests from our users.
June 20th, 2008 by Cindy Valladares
As you probably know by now, this week we released our new font management server, Universal Type Server. In preparation for the launch of this product, I recently went on a press tour to the East Coast and Europe. While in London, I saw many “To Let” signs posted outside of buildings and homes. For us in the Western hemisphere, we see signs that read “For Rent”, so it got me thinking about the different terminology we often used for conveying the same information.
This becomes particularly important when working collaboratively with individuals, as is the case when using a Workgroup Digital Asset Management solution such as Portfolio. How do we make sure that the terminology we use to tag our assets (images, video, audio, PDFs, etc) appropriately describes the content in it, so that anybody searching for those assets can easily find what they’re looking for?
The biggest fears organizations face when looking at a DAM solution is that they don’t know how to get started, or they’re afraid they’re going to “get it wrong”. Successful DAM implementations start by understanding the way we currently do things. Once we understand how our existing processes work, we would then create the desired workflow – the specific set of tasks performed by various individuals to complete a procedure. A successful workflow will be built with the involvement of all stakeholders, so that users can understand the logic behind how we manage our assets. It needs to be practical and consistent, so that it is adopted throughout the organization.
Let’s also discuss some of the commonly used terms we utilize when organizing, managing and distributing digital assets. When talking about databases, your schema is the framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. When talking about Portfolio, it is your structure, the list of fields (such as: date, author, name, subject, etc) that you would like your catalogs to contain. Organizations may have hundreds of criteria, but only a few may be required to be used. We recommend that you organize your fields in three buckets:
- Crucial information. Information you need to have about your assets. Make this a mandatory field for anyone cataloguing your digital files.
- Nice to have information. Data that you would prefer to have, but not essential in your workflow.
- Information that you could live without, but it does not hurt to capture.
Once your catalog structure has been determined, you can focus on the values that make up your criteria, the words we’re going to use to populate those fields. There are two ways to approach this:
- One of them is taxonomy, a technique of creating classifications, using a controlled vocabulary. It is hierarchical in nature, and represents information about your assets or metadata (data about your data).
- The second method is folksonomy. Unlike taxonomy, folksonomy uses a collaborative method to categorize your metadata, where freely chosen keywords are used instead of a controlled vocabulary. Many organizations prefer not to use folksonomy, as it creates inconsistencies in the classification of information (kitty versus cat; product SKU versus product part number).
So why bother with schema, taxonomy, folksonomy and metadata? Because the organizations that we represent possess large amounts of digital assets. Assets because they are much more than simple files. They’re important and costly and we need to centrally store, quickly search, and easily share them with others. We care about all these DAM buzzwords, because we need to have a strategy that helps us achieve our business goals. We need to be able to respond faster than our competitors, be more flexible with our solutions, and more successful than ever before. We need to be extremely organized and managed.
So go and explore the world of digital asset management.
June 19th, 2008 by Jim Kidwell
Practically all subjects were covered at Ignite Portland 3 last night, from how to build a nuclear reactor to the most successful techniques to teach your robot slaves to do your bidding.
We were proud to sponsor this great event for the third time. It’s a really fun way to quickly learn a bit about a wide range of subjects – some of which you may never have though to seek out!
I’ve uploaded a whole slew of videos of many of the speeches from last night. So if you weren’t able to make it, check out a few of them. If you watch only one or two, I’d recommend Sharon Greenfield’s presentation on “Fracking Robots, Dude!”
And, the crazy antics of Philip Kerman with his “Don’t Get Mad, Make a Video” were definitely up my alley:
I’m proud to announce that Universal Type Server is now shipping. Everything is live and ready for you to download it and take it for a test drive. Set up your own type server, add some clients, and see how managing your font library with Universal Type Server can help your workflow.
All of our trial downloads function for 30 days, and Universal Type Server is no exception. We think that after you’ve had a chance to use it, you’ll be extremely happy with the results.
As always, if you have any questions about which Universal Type Server package is right for your organization, we highly recommend that you talk with one of our sales representatives. Give one of them a call.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is one of the main global entities that strives to educate people about software piracy. Most people know that copying a software program from a friend, or swapping serial numbers is basically piracy. But what about your fonts? Though fonts are also software, they don’t typically have their own installer, and may even be installed automatically along with another application. But, just because you don’t need to enter a serial number to use a font doesn’t mean that you can freely copy from machine to machine.
You may think that the risk is minimal for copying and using pirated fonts, but the risk is real. A recent search of a Dutch printing company found unlicensed fonts worth over $68,000 on their network. The damage to your company’s reputation and bottom line can be real. It’s best to check all of your software, including fonts, for licenses, and then track your usage for compliance. Of course, we’ve built in very robust license tracking features into Universal Type Server that can help you get compliant and stay that way.
To help software users better understand and educate others in about the importance of paying attention to the company’s font library, the BSA recently published a Font Licensing Guide (PDF) titled “From Arial to Zapf Dingbats, How font licensing is critical to your communications.” This guide gives a brief overview of typography, fonts, and their overall importance in your daily workflow.
If you’re in the position of educating your employers about the importance of licensing all of your company’s software assets, this document will surely help get the ball rolling. You may also find a white paper that we recently published helpful in making your case – Maintaining Control and Compliance in a Font-Intensive Workflow, The Case for Enterprise Font Management (PDF). Written by publishing technology guru Chuck Weger, this document can help you sell the idea of font management within your organization.
If you’re not totally burnt out on font licensing yet, for some additional information, take a moment to check out the the recent series of posts on this blog where we examine the importance and scope of font licenses. It’s a nebulous and changing world.
- Just what does that font license mean to you? – Part one
- Part two – Converting fonts from one format to another
- Part three – Fonts and the web, internet, and beyond