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We’ve changed our look. Yup, after a year and a half with our “tornado” blog banner, we’ve updgraded to an entirely new banner. I’m very pleased with how the new banner changes the look of the blog.

As you can imagine, with any creative project there are always a number of ideas that are thrown around that are never used. We thought that it would be fun to open the door into the lofty, gilded room where our designers work and show you some of the blog banner mockups that were created by the team along the way. It’s an interesting view into the design process.

Manage This Extensis blog header

This was the first, plain option

A second try at the blog header that includes some graphic elements

The Extensis blog header mockup of chairs with a sunbeam motif

Extensis Blog header mockup including hands in green

Orange Hands in a Manage This header mockup

Orange Swirl Extensis Blog Banner mockup

Manage This blog header mockup with green stripes

New July 2008 Manage This Extensis Community Blog header

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Enter here for a chance to win a free all conference pass to Campus Technology 2008

We’re giving away one free all-conference pass to the Campus Technology 2008 (valued at $700) to one lucky winner. To enter, all that you’ve gotta do is submit your favorite campus mascot in the comments on this post.

Campus Technology 2008 provides the most up-to-date information on the new tools, technologies and services—and how they are working right now, on real campuses throughout the country. Leading innovators and experts in technology for higher education guide faculty, instructional designers, eLearning program managers, information technologists, and campus administrators into the new realm of teaching and learning in a Web 2.0 world.

Event: Campus Technology 2008
Date: July 28-31, 2008
Location: Westin Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA

We’ll be choosing winners at random from all of the comments that we receive on this post.

We will also be giving away:

  • Copies of Portfolio 8.5 and Suitcase Fusion
  • Starbucks cards
  • Posters

So, be sure to leave a quick comment with your favorite campus mascot on this post for your chance to win!

Be sure to use your correct email so that we can contact you of your prize. Your email is not visible to other blog readers, and we promise not to sell or use your email for any other use than this contest.

We will close the contest at 8:00 a.m. PST this Thursday, July 24th and notify the winners immediately.

NOTE: Does not include airfare or hotel. This is just a pass to the conference.

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After seeing Jim’s previous post showcasing the typography in use on the Oregon coast, I was interested to discover that Typetours are available in certain European cities. These tours allow you to look at cities from a different angle, while examining a variety of typo/graphic forms, including street typography, type on walls, shop windows, churches etc. Typetours are currently available in London, Rimini, Birmingham and Amsterdam.

While I was in Italy this week (showcasing Universal Type Server), I decided to take my own type tour in Milan and examine the typography that can be found, in what many people class as the fashion capital of the World.

Shop sign typography

Street sign typography

An example of the typography in use in Milan

Typography used at one of Milan's many restaurants

An example of Milan's historic typography

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These are all the tools I found on my desk this morning.

I have a problem, I’ll admit it, right here, publicly before all of you… I am addicted to tools.  Tools you get at the hardware store, tools you make yourself, tools you download off the internet, I’m a tool guy. I’ve got everything from Safety Torx bits (in the T5 through T30 size), bolt cutters, 38 different screwdrivers, a high lift jack, 8 automotive jack stands, a spool of 16 gauge wire and even a 3 foot section of railroad track.  If for some reason I don’t have the tool, I will try and find an excuse to buy it or make it.

There is no task that I can look at and NOT think about which tool would be the right tool for the job. Everything from repairing a flat tire on my scooter to removing a stripped out screw or even pulling Category 5e cable through a 30 foot run of conduit, there has to be some device to make the job easier, faster or do the work better.

When anybody needs a tool, I’m usually the first person they call or email.  While I have a full spectrum of regular store bought tools I also have a certain mix of home brew tools.  I have a few things that what would be considered, to some people, as junk, but when used in the right way are better than any ‘Official Volkswagen Tool Number –  VAG1582 ver. 2′ .  My personal favorite improvised tool is an old ice pick, not a climbing type, but the old wooden handled type that people would use for chipping off chunks of ice from the big block in the bottom of an icebox, back before everybody had refrigerators.

Technical support of software can be very similar. There are a host of ‘tools’ that people can use to save the day and fix their problems. One such tool that we help customers use every day is Font Doctor. This handy little utility will fix broken fonts, organize fonts, clean font caches as well as give you detailed information on your fonts. This tool is by far the most helpful tool you can have for overcoming many of your everyday font problems.

Another group of useful tools that we use for helping customers are FTP utilities. There are times when you need to upload a file or files to have Technical Support look at the problem. While you CAN get to FTP from the command line, or via ‘Connect to Server’, an FTP utility makes the job infinitely easier.  You get the benefits of having a GUI to see what is going on, you can also save your connection information.  Later on if you need to send more files or retrieve a fixed file, you won’t have to search for that sticky note with the login information. We suggest Cyberduck to customers.

TinkerTool is yet another fantastic little application. It gives the Mac user access to additional preference settings that Apple has built into Mac OS X.  Using it can allow you to activate hidden features in the operating system and even features that are built into the applications that are delivered with Mac OS X.

Software has a wide spectrum of home brew tools. I would venture that almost all software has grown out of something that somebody made for themselves to try and fix their own personal problem. Something as basic as an Automator task, or as complex as a stored procedure or triggers in your database could be considered the ‘ultimate’ home brew tool. Don’t be afraid to dabble, give it a try, research it on the web, as a friend. Don’t overlook the Extensis Forums, we hope that fellow users are sharing information, tips and tricks .

So take the time to explore, talk to others and experiment. And, don’t throw that wire hanger out! Did you know, with that you can make a DIN tool to help remove a car stereo out the dash of your VW.

(Cue the music from Sanford and Son!)

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Extensis Sales Engineer, Chris Stevens shows off one of his favorite new features in Universal Type Server – the ability to create a set of all of the fonts in your document from the design application.

The Universal Type Server auto-activation plug-ins place a “Make Document Set” command in the menus of Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and QuarkXPress that allows users to create a set of fonts without ever opening up the Universal Type Client.

Download a demo of Universal Type Server from the Extensis website.

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