January 30th, 2009 by Claire Taylor
A useful buyers guide was featured in the latest issue of MacUser, which in the magazines own words, listed the who’s who of top products. The article featured top-five ratings for products, ranging from video editing and DTP software to printers and monitors. The great news is that Suitcase Fusion 2 and Universal Type Server were listed in the top-five publishing tools category. We were delighted to have not just one, but two of our Font Management products rated in the top five, alongside InDesign CS4, QuarkXPress 8 and Acrobat 9 Pro.
For other useful articles, including reviews of both Universal Type Server and Suitcase Fusion 2, check out the MacUser website. If you would prefer to test Suitcase Fusion 2 or Universal Type Server yourself, please visit the Extensis website to download a 30 day, fully functional trial.
January 29th, 2009 by Kelly Guimont
Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you need a good way to measure something, or need a tip on how to get something done efficiently. Generally this sort of thing is called a rule of thumb. Things that are handy, like US paper money is 6 1/8″ long so if you have to measure, it’s two bucks a foot. A deck of cards is about a 3 oz measure of meat. And there are lots more at Rules of Thumb which aims to be the most comprehensive source of Rules of Thumb on the web.
I like rules of thumb and I think it’s because my grandfather used to use them for EVERYthing. Late April was a good time to get your car worked on because the weather’s nicer so people don’t seem to treat it so urgently, plus taxes are due in the middle of April so a lot of folks don’t have the cash for it. Another favorite of mine was the temperature one: count cricket chirps for 15 seconds and then add 40 to that number and you have a pretty good idea of the temperature (in Fahrenheit) outside.
Knowing things like this can come in really handy, and it seems like a lot of that has been lost (I don’t know if anyone I know would have the faintest idea about when to get their car fixed) but it seems like something that should generally get passed on. So bookmark some reference sites and ask your grandparents or parents about their rules of thumb. Leave me your favorites below, I’m always on the lookout for more!
January 28th, 2009 by Paul Krummenacker
Studies show that people who backup their font servers on a regular basis sleep better, smile more and possibly have less gray hair. Backing up your font server database is associated with a lower prevalence of screaming and more successful creative work environments.
As a font user that last thing you want to have to worry about is losing your entire font collection that you have taken hours to organize, classify, group and distribute. Creative users have bigger problems to solve, witty slogans to pen, artwork to source and lots of money to deposit in the bank.
Extensis’ Universal Type Server is designed right out of the gate to automatically back up your font database. All your hard work, lovingly preserved, stored carefully and ready at a moment’s notice to keep your office running at peak proficiency.
Both Universal Type Server Professional and Universal Type Server Lite are automatically designed to automatically back up your font database, users, workgroups and server information. Small server and large corporate installs will benefit from this automatic loss prevention.
From the moment you install Universal Type Server, the product is automatically set to back up every Sunday at 2am. You don’t even need to think about it, Universal Type Server is already watching your back. You can set your own backup interval and times to best fit your needs, these are easily configured under the administrative interface.
Universal Type Server creates a new backup file each time it backs up your entire set up. All your data is safely kept in a single, date stamped TAR file. TAR is a standardized file format that has been in use for over 20 years. (TAR File Format) .
You can also have Universal Type Server create a manual backup. A good time to use a manual backup is before you import a large collection of fonts or create a new set of users, or do any major changes on your server. Backups are fast, easy and helps protect you if you change your mind and want to roll back to where you were before your changes.
One of the single most important things you can do with your backups is to keep copies archived and stored off site. In the highly unlikely event that Skylab falls onto your office, you’ll be able to restore your data and be back and running.
Universal Type Server, it not only keeps your fonts safe, it also helps you sleep better at night.
January 26th, 2009 by Cindy Valladares
Anybody who works in a font-intensive workflow knows how time-consuming font problems can be. Whether you’re in a design, print or publishing environment, you may face many challenges with managing fonts in your workgroups. These challenges are unique to a workgroup environment and cannot be addressed by stand-alone, desktop font management solutions. Here are the ten most important items that server-based font management solution should provide:
Live Collaborative System – A true client/server font manager allows users to benefit from working in a shared environment. It maintains a “central base” from which to store, organize, control and share fonts for a virtually unlimited number of users. For example, if a user applies metadata to a font (such as classification or foundry), the changes are made directly on the server data, which allows other users to automatically benefit from the changes. If users are allowed to make changes, but those changes are not shared with others and rather kept on client machines independent of the server, then it’s pretty much acting as a stand-alone system “glued” to a server software.
Font License Compliance Mechanism – Surprise, surprise! Fonts are intellectual property and protected by copyright laws. A good font management system offers organizations complete control over who has access to fonts. Choose a solution that allows you to control how fonts are delivered to (and removed from) user machines. The more fonts that exist on client machines, the more font licenses your organization needs to buy – these difficult economic times call for better budgetary planning and limiting our liability.
Flexibility and Control When Managing Users – A good server-based font management system gives you the flexibility to adapt to your organizational needs. You must be able to choose who gets what, when and how based on each user’s individual needs. A good font management solution allows you to:
- Allow you to manage your users and integrate with other systems
- Organize your users in groups
- Create roles for the most common types of job functions
- Choose how often client synchronizes with each user
- Provide granular permissions for maximum flexibility.
- Allow administrators to have the flexibility to perform their duties from anywhere with a web-based interface for managing users, fonts and server maintenance.
Productive and Uninterrupted Work Environment – A good font manager not only is a power house for the IT administrator, but also provides an intuitive interface so that users use it with ease. Users see the right fonts for their projects, and have them when they need them. Users are not interrupted with server-related messages and errors – updates occur in the background, silently, so as not to disturb the user in any way.
Ability to Back Up Your Data – A good system allows you to automatically create back-ups of your fonts and font metadata. Administrators must be able to schedule how often data is backed up, in order to minimize downtime and in case of disaster recovery, get back up and running quickly.
Efficiency – A good font management system updates fonts in an incremental way, replicating only what has changed. There is no need to re-distribute all fonts to all users when only one new font has been added. Work smarter and faster!
Real Mobility – Server data must follow the user from machine to machine. If users log in from another machine, their same environment (fonts, sets, groups, metadata) should be available to them. This is how a true client-server solution behaves, avoiding the need to recreate and redistribute your fonts just because you’re using a different machine than your own.
Easy Deployment and Serialization – A good font manager provides client and server software that is easy to install. Integrated installers with all components (including plug-ins) must be part of the package installer. It does not require you to serialize the clients separately – who would want to visit each client machine? Administrators must be able to enter a single serialization number that controls the server functionality plus the number of user seats in one single location.
Protection for Adding and Collecting Fonts – Organizations are liable for fonts that exist on users machines. A good font management system provides administrators the ability to choose who is allowed to introduce fonts into a workflow, and when. It also has some safeguards in place to prevent users from “borrowing” fonts. Although some users need the ability to collect fonts for output for production reasons, other users do not need this ability. It also has a mechanism that prevents corrupt or rogue fonts from entering your workflow. A good system checks fonts before adding them to the workgroup, and helps repair fonts if necessary.
Professional Font Auto-Activation – Users need to be equipped with professional auto-activation plug-ins for the most current and popular creative applications. These plug-ins must correctly identify and activate the right font when it is needed for a document, and keep users from spending valuable time searching for missing fonts.
January 23rd, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
We recently made a whole batch of new videos showing off the features of our digital asset management product, Extensis Portfolio. While they have yet to go live on our main site, I thought that you might like to see one of them.
This first video goes over the Portfolio client user interface. It’s a good starting point if you’re new to asset management and Portfolio.
I’ll post more videos to the blog in the coming weeks.
Have you ever spent time at Yay!Monday? It’s a neat site that showcases all manner of images, and you can click on the image and go off to that person’s site and see more of their work. As you can probably guess by the name of that site, it’s only updated on Mondays.
Well thanks to my friend and local blogger The Silicon Florist, I discovered two interesting things about Yay!Monday. First, I discovered that Chris Kalani, who is behind Yay!Monday, is in Vancouver WA, which is right next to Portland (for those who aren’t local). Then I also found out that apparently Yay!Monday wasn’t enough so now there is also Yay!Everyday which will feature submissions from folks specially selected to contribute.
This is really interesting to me because there appears to be a nice mix of contributors so you never know what you’ll get next. And of course there’s always the chance I’ll get a random illustration or photograph that happens to involve things I really like. Such as Tim Burton movies. I found this image on Yay!Everyday, and at first it doesn’t seem all that interesting (if you’re me and know the person on the right is the director of a film featuring the person on the left). But look closer. See the expression on the kid’s face? Is that because he’s covered in chocolate or because he’s standing next to Tim Burton? Who knows?
So if you are one of the few who likes Mondays because that’s when Yay!Monday is updated, now you can look forward to each day. If you have a stash of bookmarks for design and/or inspiration, you can certainly add these to that folder. And if you live or work in the Portland/Vancouver area, take an extra measure of enjoyment in the “Surf Locally” aspect of the site.
For those of you interested in digital asset management for higher education, listen up! Extensis is hosting two events in the month of February that will highlight DAM best practices using Portfolio 8.5.
The physical, one-day event will be held at Harvard University on February 19th and will highlight Yale University’s Pamela Patterson. The event will include case studies, roundtables and workflow discussions.
For those that are unable to attend the physical event, don’t worry as Extensis is also hosting a free webcast on February 12th. For more details on registration and logistics on either event, see the Extensis press release here.
As a marketer, I appreciate the coordination, timing and attention to detail that went into this ‘product launch’. Because, honestly, that’s what it is. The Obama administration is re-branding our government. Or at least that appears to be their plan.
Just hours ago- almost simultaneous with the swearing in, the static, old-school white house site was ‘Obama-ized’ with a full relaunch, including a White House blog.This is not your (founding) father’s White House.
Most prominently, of course, is the design surrounding President Barack Obama’s campaign. Shepard Fairey / Obey created the first iconic red, white and blue poster image.
Now Paste magazine has created a nifty online tool that allows you to make your own icon, using only your webcam or an uploaded image. I think that my cat deserves her own cool icon.
January 19th, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
Yup, kinetic typography is entirely and officially mainstream now. My mother-in-law just sent me a link to a recent Starbucks advertisement that’s promoting a coffee giveaway in return for donating some of your time for national service this week. It’s a great idea for Starbucks to promote themselves and philanthropy in this way.
The ad features MC Yogi and is in fact quite catchy. Check it out.
[Thanks for the tip Kim!]