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Destination ImagiNationWe work with a wide variety of organizations at Extensis – from the largest Fortune 500 companies to sole proprietorships. In addition to for-profit companies, we also work with a wide variety of non-profit groups who each pursue causes close to their hearts.

We recently donated our Extensis Portfolio software to a group who works to foster creativity in young people. The group, Destination ImagiNation® organizes competitive events that allow students to work on problem-solving and creative skills.

I asked Wayne Kurtzman who volunteers as the Web Team Lead for Destination ImagiNation to tell us a little about his organization and how they utilize Extensis Portfolio to help them with their events.

“My team of volunteer photographers have the unique job of capturing the world’s largest student creativity tournament, Destination ImagiNation Global Finals. The top student creativity teams from most states and various countries advance through various tournaments to Global Finals.

Destination ImagiNation, or “DI” is a non-profit, school-friendly program where teams of up to seven students solve complex Challenges that incorporate core school subjects with a focus that is based in Technical and Mechanical Design, Structural and Architectural Design, Science, Theatrical/Literary/Fine Arts, Improvisation, Research, or International Studies – or a blend of several disciplines. This is the ultimate “kids hands-on; adults hands-off” program, as all the ideas, planning and execution must be done solely by the students.

No team solution is the same – an insane task for the photographers and videographers (and is part of the fun!). Their pictures must tell the story of Global Finals and DI – and transcend language, as many teams come from non-English speaking countries.

When we arrive at the University of Tennessee, host site for the 8,000+ students at Global Finals, we have a matter of hours to setup and test the infrastructure before the first photos start coming in. This requires us to use Portfolio to help us get everything done. Here’s our basic workflow:

  1. The photographer shoots, then catalogs the images with Portfolio using the Copy/Move/Rename feature to uploads their photos from their camera’s flash drive to a shared drive.
  2. From the large batch of images added to the catalog, the photographer uses Portfolio to create a gallery of images that are worthy to publish on the web.
  3. For the selected images, the photographer adds pertinent metadata: a full description of the images including school, city, state/province and country of children in the photo – no small feat with thousands of children at an event!
  4. When the photographer is satisfied that the gallery of images is ready for publication, the photographer then renames the gallery to start with an underscore. This puts it at the top of the list of galleries, and indicates to the editors that the gallery is ready for the next step.
  5. The editor takes the gallery of original images. as well as the preview images created by Extensis Portfolio, and implements a custom CSS for a web page that is compatible with the Linux web server.
  6. The entire package of images, preview, originals and HTML is then FTP’ed to the site and linked.

In addition to the competition, many other events ranging from speakers to an alumni meeting to sponsor showcases all add to the positive atmosphere where creativity is expected – and needs to be captured, cataloged, captioned and published. Quickly.

The down side of the methodology is tweaking something requires the album be republished and uploaded again. The team, made up of professional, amateur and talented program alumni, has gotten very good at getting their photos right the first time. Now, less than 0.05% of photos ever need adjustments to the text, image or otherwise.

The up side is huge: We have well organized photos with tags that can be easily recalled when making marketing collateral, need a web site image or a photo for a sponsor.

After the evening shoots (around midnight), the day’s photos are reviewed to see if we missed any good ones in our rush to get new content to the web.

During the event itself, has over 10,000 unique visitor sessions an hour from families and classrooms around the US and the world. We compliment the photos with several live video streams, including that of opening and closing ceremonies.

Destination Imagination Global Finals 2008We’re proud to help Destination ImagiNation with this event and wish everyone involved the best of success. If you’re interested in the event, be sure to check out the event site and volunteer opportunities.

  • What: Destination ImagiNation Global Finals
  • Web:
  • When: May 21st through May 24th
  • Where: University of Tennessee
  • To Volunteer: click here

For photos of last year’s event check out

More information about Destination ImagiNation can be found at

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aiga-logo1.gifHello out there in Extensis Blog land!  I wanted to give everyone a quick update on an upcoming event that promises to be quite interesting for you creative and/or eco-friendly types:

At the end of March, AIGA is hosting their annual Y Conference (March 27-29 to be exact).  The Y Conference was created to explore the “why” of design and  features multi-disciplinary designers, commentators, and authors.  This year’s conference has been labeled “Seeds of Change” and will examine how individuals, communities, nations, and the world are developing new paradigms for a more healthy and sustainable culture.  Check it out if you think you can spare a trip to San Diego this month! 

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Extensis named as one of the 100 companies that matter in knowledge managemenet by KM WorldFor the second year running, Extensis has been named one of the “100 Companies that Matter in Knowledge Management” by KMWorld. This prestigious annual list was selected by the editorial staff, KM-industry practitioners, theorists, customers and analysts. You can read the complete list of featured companies in the March 2008 issue of KMWorld Magazine or you can read the article and complete list of companies here.

If you have access to the print publication, check out the March issue and see if you can find our fearless leader, Brian Berson, on the cover. Think of it as a less colorful version of Where’s Waldo.

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new home page artA lot of peole don’t know this- but (years ago) was spawned from Extensis. They took (I kid you not) some of our best inhouse talent and applied their skills to this new venture. That was…1999? 2000? We coexisted in the same office space for a few years. Then business happens, they were sold and we parted ways (sniff sniff).

Anyhoo, since then the site has grown in popularity and in content, but the basic site designed remained pretty much the same. Until today, when they launched a shiny new site. Editor extraordinaire Terry Stone wrote a piece about the site design. I like the section on the right that features the most popular articles as well as the editor’s picks.

This has always been a great resource for creatives. Now it is also a beautiful one, as well. Check it out.

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Yes, just in time for Valentines day we’re happy to present our typography dating game. Find out which fonts go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and which couples repel like oil and water. How well do you think our friends Papyrus and Stencil get along?

Extensis Type Matching - the font dating game

You can also take a quiz to find out your own type. Are you a straight and to the point Helvetica type, or are you more of a Comic Sans person? Take the quiz and find out.

You can even get your own little graphic and embed it into your blog, MySpace page, or forum. For example, I’m apparently an American Typewriter kinda guy:

Typecast Yourself!

Check it out.

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Howdy – long time no write! I’ve been busy fixing bugs on the Universal Type Client.. but I’m back!

Have you ever given back to your community? We’re always so busy with life and getting our daily to-do lists done, and we never seem to have time to give back to the community. This is one area where I think Extensis does pretty well.

How you ask?

For one, sponsoring Ignite Portland. I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Adrienne Fritz (a speaker), and she asked me a pretty pointed question – do we get our money’s worth on sponsoring? I thought a bit before answering, and my answer was probably not. Sponsoring an event like Ignite Portland isn’t about ROI, but about helping your community. It’s about helping Portland become just as known for technology and hipness as Silicon Valley.

Kelly at Ignite Portland

Kelly Trying The Stage Out At Ignite Portland – The rest of my pictures.

The second way is allowing me to run CocoaHeads Portland. Extensis allows me to use our big conference room, and gives me a budget for food for a monthly meeting of Cocoa developers in the Portland area. There is no ROI for this. I suppose it might make us look hip, but to me it’s all about building our local community of developers.

My challenge to you – if your company is all about ROI – push to do something for your community.

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