February 15th, 2007 by Jim Kidwell
So, you’ve decided that you need to keep better track of files. Trying to manage everything through the Macintosh Finder or the Windows Explorer just isn’t cutting it any more. You’ve done your research and found out there’s this thing called digital asset management software that can help you get over your file tracking nightmares.
When you’ve chosen your solution (we happen to like Portfolio) the next step in the process is to convince the powers-that-be that the investment will amount to more than just giving you a new tool in your arsenal.
To help you talk to your boss, we’ve developed the following Top 10 list of reasons that your boss will come to love asset management, and be willing to invest in it.
- Self Service.
The creative team is no longer interrupted by image and document requests from other departments. Now the other departments can locate the file by themselves, and the creative team can concentrate on getting their work done.
- Asset reuse.
With an asset management system, reusing files becomes effortless. Assets no longer need to be recreated when the original can’t be located.
When users spend less time looking for source files, the creative team can spend more time doing what they do best, creating new materials.
- Branding consistency.
By implementing a NetPublish site, users can make sure that only the most current assets are distributed to all end users. This can help eliminate the misuse of out-of-date assets, and quickly propagate updated collateral.
- It saves money.
The old adage of “time is money” still holds true today. A streamlined workflow cuts downtime and creates more billable hours. Portfolio has a high, proven return on investment (ROI).
- It strengthens client relationships.
Professional-looking, password-protected web portals for clients can be created with Portfolio NetPublish. This way, delivering files for review becomes almost automatic.
- Enhanced communication
Clients and teams around the world can access files in real-time on the web and across platforms.
- Saves space.
There’s no need to copy the same files over and over – creative users won’t bog-down the email and the network by emailing large files anymore. Plus, files that don’t need to be on our server can be easily archived to CD/DVD, while previews of the archived files are still available in the system.
- It’s a dashboard.
An asset management system allows users to easily search and view patterns and relationships between all cataloged files, without having to dig into folder-after-folder in the operating system.
- It’s automatic.
When files are cataloged, they are added to a sophisticated database that tracks all kinds of metadata about the files, and allows users to search for files across multiple servers and drives, even if they are stored offline.
February 9th, 2007 by Jim Kidwell
Recently, I pointed out the new Microsoft Photo Info tool that gives you the ability to view and edit a variety of metadata commonly embedded into digital photographs.
Well, it appears that a number of issues have been identified relating to editing metadata and the potential corruption of Nikon RAW files with the Photo Info Tool. For the time being, Microsoft recommends that you exercise caution (read: don’t do it, for the love of Pete, stay away from that keyboard!) when Nikon RAW editing files with the Photo Imaging Tool.
The same issue also happens when editing metadata directly with Windows Vista, but might affect quite a few more file types. (My bet is that the Photo Info Tool DLL was built directly into Vista). So, Microsoft also recommends that you don’t edit metadata with Photo Acquisition Wizard, the Windows Photo Gallery or directly from the Windows Explorer. See this knowledge base article for the complete details.
Focus on Imaging is Europe’s biggest annual imaging show is scheduled for February 25th-28th this year. The show includes everything from cameras and hardware to digital asset management software and output devices. Whether you are a professional image maker or processor, a buyer of image making equipment or a keen hobbyist, Focus on Imaging will have something for you.
We’ll be attending the show, so if you plan on being in Birmingham, be sure to swing by stand L24 to see our Portfolio 8 Digital Asset Management Solution presentation.
Microsoft just released a new tool to help users edit the metadata embedded in many photo files. The Microsoft Photo Info tool basically adds an item to the right-click menu. You can select one or more items at a time and update the embedded metadata by choosing Photo Info from the right-click menu.
I tried it out, and was impressed with the variety of IPTC, EXIF and other metadata available. It’s nice to have another location from which to view and modify this information. If you do end up modifying any metadata with this tool, be sure to use the Update command in Portfolio (Item > Update) to extract any newly updated information and store that new info in your Portfolio catalog.
Right now, the tool supports the following file types: JPEG, TIFF, WDP, HDP (HD Photo), NEF, CR2, and CRW.
Items to note:
- To install, you must running Microsoft Window XP or Vista.
- You must have Microsoft’s “Genuine Windows Advantage” software installed.
- You must also have Microsoft’s .NET Framework 2.0 runtime installed.
- You must visit the install link with Internet Explorer (or another browser that supports Active X controls. Personally, I use Firefox, and am never too pleased when I’m forced to use a different browser.)
December 21st, 2006 by Jim Kidwell
If you’re a Portfolio user, you already know that there are many ways to manage your files directly with the Portfolio application. Even with the powerful functions that come built-in to Portfolio, there may be times where you might like to further extend the abilities of Portfolio, or automate a somewhat repetitive task.
To help you accomplish these tasks, we’ve made Portfolio script-able with Visual Basic on Windows and AppleScript on the Mac. For example, you could use this ability to add an automated email every time something is added to Portfolio, or you could create a utility that automatically creates a new gallery on a weekly basis of all new items.
To get started, you’ll need to already know how to script with Visual Basic or AppleScript. To learn more about the scripting languages, see the Microsoft and Apple sites. Once you’ve got that covered, download the Visual Basic Guide or the AppleScript Guide and get scripting!
Note: On Windows you will also need to install the Visual Basic Scripting Type Library before creating and running custom scripts.
In Technical Support, we talk to a lot of people who are currently unhappy. If you think about it, nobody calls Tech Support to say “Hey, everything is just fine and I am THRILLED with your software!” We only get to talk to people on a deadline, in a crisis, or at the end of their technical rope-all temporary situations, but all can be frustrating. Here are some tips that can make your phone call or email a bit easier for everyone. (These are all based on actual calls and emails that Technical Support deals with on a regular basis.)
* Be Prepared. This isn’t just for Boy Scouts! There are lots of things you can do ahead of time to see if you have an issue that is so easy to solve you don’t even need to make the call. See if the manual has your answer first, check our website for the latest updates to the software you have, make sure your OS updates are all applied, and maybe see if our forums have an answer for you. I talk to a fair number of people having trouble with something and their issue was fixed in an update. Also make sure the software in question is registered with us, this is how we find you in our system so we can record the call. While we’re talking about being prepared, it’s also probably a good idea to have your software installed and make sure you don’t have to be someplace in 10 minutes.
* Be at your machine. I know this sort of falls under being prepared too, but you’d be surprised how many calls we get from people in the car, from work about a home computer, etc etc. Seriously-if you aren’t in front of the machine there is a good chance some vital piece of info we need is something you don’t have. And how can we suggest anything that might help if you can’t try it while we’re on the phone with you? Not to mention that a lot of issues (particularly font issues) are something we have to try a little process of elimination with. If you simply cannot be at your machine during our support hours, our email form is open 24/7.
* Tell me more. We like things like version numbers, exact error messages, screenshots, any bit of insight you can give us is useful. Remember, we can’t see your computer, so we are relying on you to be our eyes and ears into the world of weird technical juju. Let me be the judge of irrelevant info, I’ll ask you what I need to know if you haven’t already told me.
* We are mechanics, but for computers. Sometimes I find it easiest to make analogies to cars. Would you call a mechanic and say “My car makes this kind of thumpy noise, what’s wrong?” If they ask whether you have a car or truck, Ford or Chevy, those are vaulable pieces of troubleshooting info-would you call a mechanic at all if you didn’t know you had a 1999 Chevy S-10 with a 4.3 Liter V6? My hunch is no. And just like a mechanic, I probably need to know more than just “thumpy noise” in order to diagnose you accurately. So when you talk to Tech Support, think of us like a mechanic-what would you tell them?
* I did not break your computer. This sounds really elementary, but if you think that, you would be shocked (shocked!) at how many people call and yell at us as though we personally made their machine crash or their fonts go bad. I know you’re frustrated and I know exactly what you’re going through, I really do, but really, showing me a teeny tiny bit of courtesy will go a very long way towards making this easier on everyone.
* If you know, or don’t know, say so. Don’t pretend you know all about your machine if you don’t, but don’t pretend to be clueless if you aren’t, either. Be up front about your cluelessness if you have it-you are my favorite type of caller. I know to go slowly, and I know I might need me to help you a bit more. If you’re upfront with how much you know, I can cater my directions to your skill level. If you aren’t super technical, I can go slowly, and help you through things so we can get you all sorted out. If you are very tech savvy, I can speed through the simple steps and not spend a lot of time telling you what you probably already know. If we understand each other better, we can more quickly get to the root of your problems and more importantly, get you back to work.
I know that nobody enjoys calling Tech Support. It means something has gone terribly wrong and you’re unable to fix it. We’ve got the same goal as you do, to get you up and running as quickly as possible, and these tips should make your Technical Support experience a happy one for everybody. 🙂