April 28th, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
We know that everyone likes to be introduced to software in different ways. Some like to install software and play with it themselves, while others prefer to see a product demonstration. A while back we started a series of online webcasts that show how our products can be used in a variety of installations. I’ve given a number of them on the Portfolio product line, and we’ve also had a number of very well attended webcasts for Suitcase Fusion 2 and Universal Type Server.
This next week, our product marketing manager, Cindy Valladares will be giving our next webcast about Server-based font management. If you’re interested in viewing the live webcast, here are the details:
What: Server-based workgroup font management with Universal Type Server
When: Tuesday, May 5th, 11:00 a.m. PST, 2:00 p.m. EST
Register: click here to register for the webcast.
If you won’t be able to attend, you can also view many of our past webcasts on-demand from the Extensis website. This webcast will also be available as a recording after it occurs.
In the quest for a high-quality sans serif font, designers have been opting to select Helvetica for many of their applications. Well, then comes along Arial. A young upstart created for Microsoft that was designed primarily to fit into the slot created by Helvetica. Now, many years after it’s introduction, it’s definitely made inroads into the design community. Many would say that it’s a lesser-quality typeface, but I’m more of a “to each his own” kinda guy, and won’t be judging the merits either way. I prefer to just let them battle it out, letterform by letterform. You can take on the role of Helvetica in this online game.
I’m rooting for ya! HA-CHA!
April 23rd, 2009 by Claire Taylor
When I was a child I used to play a game where I would try to make shapes out of the clouds in the sky. Well, Rhett Dashwood turned that game on its head and spent time searching Google Maps hoping to discover land formations or buildings resembling letter forms. Here are some of the letters Rhett was able to find in just one state in Australia. My favorite has to be the letter J.
What other strange places have you spotted typography?
You know that a topic has gone full circle when it bubbles up into the mainstream. It took a while before the technologies of blogging and Twitter hit the mainstream. Now, they are both commonly used by individuals, corporations and beyond. I suppose that though time and exposure, any topic can bubble up beyond those with a special interest into the mainstream.
That’s exactly what has happened to the debate surrounding the typeface Comic Sans. Yup, the ubiquitous font that’s on all of our Windows machines, that has long been the subject of debate with design-nerds, is now a topic that you can chat over with your family at the dinner table. It’s been codified in the Wall Street Journal, so you have our permission to argue its merits with Uncle Bob at the family reunion. You can even point him to any of the myriad of websites that publicly express their love or disdain for it. For example:
Heck, check out the response that a design blog got for their April Fools day joke of changing all of the type on their site to Comic Sans.
Maybe you can even convince someone that Comic Sans is an expression of the “evil of typographic ignorance.” And while you’re at it, feel free to let them know how much a font manager like Suitcase Fusion 2 could help manage the thousands of other fonts that they’ll be using instead of Comic Sans.
I’ve always loved a good Rube Goldberg setup. I don’t know whether these guys have too much time on their hands, or just had one too many Red Bulls during a latenight project. I had many a late night in the Photography Lab in college that turned to the weird side of things, so I’m betting on the latter. Go for Rube Goldberg!
Mark has been well-known member of the Portfolio community since the late ’90s and is based in the UK. Initially an ordinary user of Portfolio, he has leveraged that experience and since 2001 has been a consultant specializing in Extensis Portfolio solutions. He is also the author of the community resource, PortfolioFAQ.
What makes you so passionate about digital asset management?
There’s something very enjoyable about bringing order from chaos, and seeing the pleasure people get – let alone the efficiency – people get from being able to find their assets at last. Happily, DAM tasks are never quite the same each time around, so for someone who likes solving problems, it’s ideal as there’s always an issue to be resolved.
What is the most common digital asset management issue reported to you by your clients?
Gaining control over their assets; removing duplicates, avoiding work being re-done because of ‘lost’ original versions, cutting down the time to find the right file, giving controlled wider access to assets, reducing support effort needed. Be they large organisations or individuals, the core DAM problems at outset tend to be the same
What changes have you seen in the digital asset management market in the last five years?
Greater use of web interfaces avoiding the need for client deployment and training – ideal for those only using the asset base as a source; Extensis Portfolio NetPublish is popular in this context. Digital camera uptake and digital processing workflows have increased awareness and use of metadata. The new breed of digital processing apps (like Lightroom) have entered the DAM arena causing some confusion as to what they’re for but have proved not to be longterm DAM tools as some thought they might.
How do you think the digital asset management market will change in the next five years?
Improvement in metadata support – better defined standards, Unicode support (accents, other alphabets), redaction tools, etc., will help to start to deliver on the currently unfulfilled promise of metadata in multi-application workflows.
When and how did you first become involved with Extensis?
Circa ‘96. A small Windows-based start-up using Mac-based designers – not fun! The x-platform aspect of Portfolio and free browser that ran from a CD was a real lifesaver; at the time other solutions were either single OS only, had no browser(s) or did but charged for them. Being able to send CDs of assets, with additional metadata in an FDB, really boosted turnaround time on the production side of things. Asking lots of questions about the app as a user taught me a lot about the app, which I shared back with the community, originally in the old Extensis forums and then in 2001 via my FAQ. Around the same time people started asking me to help with Portfolio projects and I moved into consulting on Portfolio and DAM solutions.
When did you first use Portfolio?
In about 1996, I tried out v3 and ended up buying the just-launched version. I’ve since used Portfolio Server from v5 onwards, PortWeb v4 through v6, and NetPublish since it’s introduction alongside v7.
What is your favourite feature of the Portfolio software suite?
Originally the CD & browser aspects (see above). FolderSync’s evolution as server- based AutoSync is great, especially once you’ve got your system organised. Favourite new thing? As a consultant, v8.5.2’s ‘Save Catalog Type…’ is a real boost; I can do a lot of catalogue configuration and save out a new ‘catalog type’ to send to a client, I’ll never get to visit and know the catalogue they make from it will have the correct starting layout. If you customise a lot, you’ll know the time that could take before the feature was added.
In your opinion, what makes Portfolio stand out from the competition?
Ease of use/installation and scalability. New users are regularly surprised at how quickly a working Portfolio system can be up and running. This enables them to get started today instead of getting mired in endless planning. Installations can start with a little as one client and scale right through to a full SQL back end according to their needs and budget, without significant change being made to data catalogued thus far.
What services do you offer Portfolio customers?
Software installation/configuration. Portfolio workflow design and consultation. Pre and post DAM adoption audit. NetPublish configuration & template customisation. Scripiting & integration. Support. Training. [PC & Mac]
If you would like to find out more about the services offerred by Mark, please visit:Shoantel. You’ll also find Mark’s expertise at the free resource PortfolioFAQ, and in the Extensis User-to-User forums.
April 15th, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
If you’re one of many people who are still using your Mac with an older version of Mac OS X, you’re not alone. Our most recent update to Suitcase Fusion 2 added compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger, to bring the the newest font management features to those of you who for whatever reason aren’t ready to update.
To show you all of these new features, and how they work with Tiger, we’ve scheduled a webcast next week. Cindy Valladares will demonstrate the new features, and show you how they can help with your workflow.
The webcast is FREE, but we do ask that you register in advance.
- Date: April 21, 2009
- Time: 11:00 a.m. PST, 2:00 p.m. EST
James Dempsey of The Graphic Mac shared this one with me not too long ago, and it’s too funny to not pass on. For all of you who have obsessed about getting your business card “just right” this is a not so subtle reminder that it’s very possible to go too far.
We all know that newspapers in many markets are unforuntately on the decline. With the proliferation of information available on the internet, and rising expectations for speedy delivery of information, news that’s printed on good old paper just isn’t as desirable. Lay the worldwide economic downturn on top of this already slippery situation, a you get newspaper editors who are scambling for new sources of revenue. We’ve already seen advertisements that are designed to look like main content in magazines across the US.
Now, with the last week’s LA Times, that same trend has been applied to the cover of the newspaper. An advertisment for the new NBC drama “Southland” graces the bottom of the front page, but in addition, this display ad is accompanied by a “news” story about the show.
I’ve always known that information is malleable, and even though we’ve had a long history of objective news coverage in the US, true objectivity is nearly impossible to achieve. I suppose that what makes me sad is that while it’s an attempt to draw in more money into dwindling coffers, it does so directly at the expense and cheapening of the real news.
So, by doing this, I’d argue that readers are easily left questioning the integrity of other areas of the paper. Perhaps asking if there are other unknown influences in stories. I’d argue that this type of advertising effort pushes the line of what many readers will put up with.
Apparently the staff is equally perterbed, and over 100 of them have signed a petition indicating their displeasure. If I were an employee, I’d be equally disturbed.
All that I can say is that hopefully management will consider the repurcussions before selling any of these types of advertisements in the future – despite how attractive the revenue is from it.
April 9th, 2009 by Claire Taylor
Our client/server font management solution, Universal Type Server has been nominated in the Best Creative Design Software Category, alongside products including QuarkXPress 8 and Photoshop CS4. As you can see we are in good company so it’s likely to be a close call, although I know where my vote would go! )
The winners will be announced at the Macworld Awards ceremony, which are being held on the 18th June at the prestigious Honorable Artillery Company (HAC) in London. Hopefully it will be our lucky night!