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MacUser Five Mouse Rating

There is nothing mousy about receiving MacUser’s perfect five mouse rating for Suitcase Fusion 2. This month, two premier Mac-focused publications, Macworld and MacUser, have published favorable reviews on Suitcase Fusion 2:

Keith Martin from MacUser says, “The real icing on the cake, and what sets this version of Suitcase ahead of the pack, is the preview features it offers.”

While James Dempsey of Macworld states, “To my delight, Fusion 2 has done a remarkable job in stability, speed and usability.”

Thank you competition!

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I’m excited today- glowing even.

It is a great day when a competitor badmouths you in the headline of a press release.  Perhaps that sounds like an odd thing to say. But it’s a sign that you have them rattled. There is also the publicity and inquiries this generates.  Not a bad outcome—for us.

I’d be kidding if I said that all competitors are the same. Of course, there is a difference between the ethical ones and those that are not.  We have several competitors whom I respect tremendously- they produce good products and rely on their strengths.

Every so often you get a competitor that does it differently. They focus so much on YOU and so little on themselves- not unlike a political campaign (sorry for the reference, I know we have national burn-out on this topic…). The politician chanting hate messages is not usually the most credible.

As Bill says on the ÜberEye Marketing Blog:

“I’ve always felt that calling out your competition brings your own company down a notch on the customer trust totem pole. Whenever I hear one company bashing another I find myself looking for the ulterior motive…”

There is a rule that helps honorable people sleep well: tell the truth. Make great products, support them well, be honest about who you are and what you offer and  ”let the best man win.” I simply believe that being genuine is honorable- and respects the intellect of your customer. And from a marketing standpoint- people’s respect for your company is a reflection on your brand, your product and ultimately your employees. As Tom Peters says: integrity is a sustainable competitive advantage.

In the end, what you have to believe is that most people know the difference between the wobbly, squeaky wheel in the slow lane and the quiet, efficient one that long since zoomed ahead leaving it in the dust.

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I am an absolute nut for this show. I began watching it when it first started (hidden in plain sight on AMC)- and was immediately struck by the art direction of the opening credits. Enthralling. Original. Enviable.

But as you watch the show you notice all the other nuance that defines the era- and one of those things is the typography. Often you will see their type choice chosen for a particular advertising pitch. I noticed a few typefaces last season that looked…too recent to be consistent with the show’s era. Alas, I am not a guru of face recognition on the spot, but someone is….

Mark Simonson wrote a great post on it this week. Kudos to him. Take a look.

And if you love design, type, art, or quality television- you have to give Mad Men a try.

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There are those things the you can hardly believe someone spent the time and money to research, because the outcome is so obvious. This is one of those.

“A study by the University of Michigan suggests that typography plays a role in influencing diners.” Fascinating. Tell me more.

Yes, indeed, they have proven that small changes in menu fonts can have significant impact on diners’ perceptions of quality, taste and perceived value.

Researchers fashioned their own identical menus- one in Arial and one in Mistral and tested them against different groups. The ‘mistral’ groups believed the dishes had a much longer prep time and required much more skill (= worth more $).

As one of the researchers points out, fancy fonts may indicate you are sophisticated, but this may not be the best fit for a simple BBQ joint.

You can read a brief write-up here.

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Universal Type Server received a 5-star Editors\' Choice AwardUniversal Type Server continues to gain respect and positive editorial favor. The September issue of Macworld UK hit news stands this week and includes a perfect five star rating for Universal Type Server. Additionally, the publication tagged Universal Type Server with an Editor’s Choice honor.

Macworld’s Buying Advice: “We suspect that in the development of both Universal Type Server and Universal Type Client, the team from Extensis talked to a broad cross-section of its user-base; even more miraculously, it appear to have listened.  The result is a product that is powerful and scalable yet easy to use. A definite winner.”

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The iPhone looks so small compared to the NewtonThinking back I guess my fascination with gadgets and gizmos started with my brother’s calculator. In May 1979, and at his request, he received for his birthday a Commodore PR100. I remember helping my parents with the gift-wrap. The one feature that got me really interested in it was the fact that it was a programmable calculator. One of the programs in the tutorial was to randomly display numbers from 1 < 6. I recall attempting to play a game of ‘Monopoly’, the calculator replacing the traditional rolling of the die. It soon broke into farce however since it wasn’t possible to easily pause the numbers when negotiating the purchase of the ‘Electric Company’, and ‘Monopoly’ as you soon discover, is a game best played with two dice. With my birthday due later in the year, I argued the case for a second ‘PR100’ birthday gift (to take the role of the second die). My parents stalwartly refused declaring that one was sufficient.

Several ‘Casio’ calculators and numerous electronic watches later and in 1996 my love of gadgets came to a peak as I bought an ‘Apple Newton Message Pad 120’ (complete with the optional external AC adaptor). One neat feature that proved to be pretty useful was the fact that the Newton could ‘audibly play’ the telephone/fax number you wanted to dial through an integral speaker. An interesting experiment at the time proved that by placing the Newton’s speaker near to the mouthpiece of an old analogue telephone had the effect of making your finger redundant when dialing the number. Later on I discovered by chance the same feature made it possible to connect to another number without having to pay (when using a public phone box connected to a non-digital telephone exchange). Perhaps if Apple had highlighted this feature in their marketing the Newton would have been more than just an executive toy.

I got my first mobile phone, a Nokia 6110 shortly after. In terms of it’s dimensions the phone itself seemed almost as long as the Newton but much fatter. (Sadly, I don’t have it anymore but then it proved so uncomfortable to carry around that pretty much everyone I knew, myself included, started to wear what we affectionately called ‘utility belts’ these were little pouches especially designed to accommodate bulky phones. If I’d tried to attach my Newton to my belt I’m sure my trousers’ would have fallen down. The physical size of the Newton was a real disadvantage and despite version 2.0 of the Newton’s OS allowing users to switch from portrait to landscape mode, which benefited the stylus user and facilitated the attempted spelling of three syllable words. It was time for a change.

By 1997 I’d saved up enough money to buy the smaller Psion Organizer (series 5) to replace the Newton. I’d tired quickly of the Newton’s ‘innovative stylus technology with hand writing recognition’ (read: gimmicky) to realize that actually a keyboard was best. The Newton wasn’t able to keep up with the speed of my typing. The Psion I remember really did have a great little Qwerty keyboard but then within a couple of months I was starting to regret the purchase – a colleague showed me his Palm Pilot that allowed him to access his email account. It was pretty cool on the connectivity front since it had network synchronization over TCP/IP. Connectivity was becoming more important and the Palm Pilot was really the leader since it also had an optional 14.4 modem. Palm at the time was a subsidiary of US Robotics; the future for Palm on the connectivity front looked promising. Then disaster; within a few months US Robotics were themselves acquired by 3Com.

Such was the pace of change and consolidation in the PDA market at this time that shortly after I’d saved enough to buy a Palm Pilot other friends had migrated to use Handspring Visors, another new PDA but this time one that had a USB port which meant that connectivity with a desktop computer was event better. Handspring was set up by the original developers of the PalmPilot who deserted after 3Com stepped in. The Handspring Visor used the same PalmOS but the actual units were still pretty large by comparison to mobile phone technology which was getting smaller and smaller.

Tired with the utility belt and the cost of replacing stylus after stylus I got myself a Samsung phone which was not only cheap but looking back also ridiculously small for normal sized fingers. That was a mistake as the functionality of the phone didn’t really live up to much. It was after all simply a phone but so small I kept dialing the wrong number. The next few years I switched, swapped, up-graded, side-graded in my searching for the elusive perfect ‘smart-phones’ I changed rapidly from Nokia, to Sony Ericsson, back to Nokia, to Motorola and then in 2004 back to Sony Ericsson with the introduction of the P910. In my quest for ‘smart-phone utopia’ I was happier with the P910 than I was with it’s successor, the P990i where connectivity was a bigger problem. Despite Sony Ericsson stating that the phone was going to ‘sync’ with MacOS I never managed to get it working and couldn’t even get the Bluetooth to connect to my existing Sony Ericsson hands-free headset. It then developed a loose battery connection so that every time it rang (when on vibrate) it would turn itself off. It came with a spare stylus but loosing two in one week I soon realised that I needed to change again. The other thing that annoyed me was that Sony Ericsson would change the AC power connector (seemingly with each new model) and so I ended up with 3 or 4 redundant phone chargers all with slightly different connections.

In 2007 I got my first BlackBerry, a Blackberry Pearl 8110. I could actually charge it with my old Motorola chargers since they both shared the same mini USB connecter. It is a great phone and a good smart device but not perfect. Whilst it physically connected to my Mac it still didn’t ‘Sync’ without the use of a 3rd-party bit of software called ‘The Missing Sync for BlackBerry’. Whilst it is a great bit of software I’ve often thought that really the manufacturer should be developing the connectivity software not a third party.

Last week my new iPhone 3G arrived. It connects to our VPN and our Exchange Server = Neat! It allows me to zoom into email attachments and read them; It shows me the contacts I add on my PC within seconds (without duplication). It’s early days but it looks promising, working well with fewer glitches than anything else I’ve tried… Hopefully I’ll not be able to loose the stylus (since it’s actually my finger) and best of all, I can now take pictures of my two children having fun whilst dancing to the sound of my MP3 collection.

Whilst there’s no handwriting recognition one other important bit of über coolness is that I can administrate the Universal Type Server running on my MacBook Pro just using my iPhone. The only things I think that are missing from the iPhone is Adobe Flash for Safari – when Flash eventually comes out for the iPhone I’ll be able to administrate the Universal Type Server User Management Application too!

Soon, you\'ll be able to administer Universal Type Server from an iPhone

Almost forgot, if someone reading this could develop an iPhone App that mimics the random throwing of dice I’d like to finish that game of Monopoly.

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X-Ray Universal Type Server Review

If you are a QuarkXPress enthusiast, you are probably already familiar with X-Ray Magazine, it’s a cornucopia of information for desktop-publishing, design and printing experts.

X-Ray Magazine recently completed a very comprehensive review of Universal Type Server and posted it on their site. If you’re interested to see what others have to say about our newest solution, swing on over for a deeper understanding of how Universal Type Server can solve your Server-based font management issues. Universal Type Server: When 1+1=3

Extensis on Twitter

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Extensis is on Twitter - it\'s an inconsistent service, but we\'re here nonethelessAs communication methods continue to evolve, we’re moving forward to stay right there with you.

About a year and a half ago, we started this blog as a different method to share what’s happening at Extensis. Shortly prior to that, we also relaunched the Extensis forums as a place where you can discuss Extensis products and how to implement and use them with other customers.

Well, now we’re up and running with the newest method of communication, Twitter (our username is what else, “extensis”). This “tweet” stream will contain interesting items, yet things that might not be worthy of a full post on the blog, as well as links to all of our blog posts (via Twitterfeed).

We also want to know what’s going on in the world of our customers and friends, so if you’re following me, I’ll definitely want to follow you. I promise that we’ll keep it interesting and informative. So you won’t be hearing every time we have leftover pizza in the main kitchen, but you will get intersting news about fonts, font management, graphic design, digital archives and digital asset management.

To sign up for a twitter account and follow us, hop on over to Twitter.

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Logobama logo using KidrobotYou know I love these things-creative and seemingly useless. But if it gets you talking/blogging, then isn’t it valuable? Well, we could get into the merits of marketing techniques, but that’s not nearly as much fun as Logobama.

Upload an image, pick your background and foreground colors, and this tool will deliver you many different sizes to save up to twitter, youtube, myspace, digg, facebook, etc. custom image

You might think it is frivolous- and it is. It is also VERY good marketing.

(Image courtesy of Kidrobot. His name in Muno Yo Gabba Gabba.)

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Here’s a nice little bit of viral marketing for Intel. You can create your own movie trailer by just entering a tiny bit of text.

This is the one that I whipped up for Universal Type Server in a few seconds. It makes Universal Type Server look like a futuristic space station that will save you from an impending meteor strike. In reality, it’ll help protect your workflow from rogue fonts and ensure that you’re always using the right typeface in that important document. Though, I think that I’ll request that we add a raygun feature to the next release, just in case.

Since the movie automatically plays, check it out after the jump.

[Tip of the hat to Marisela for the link to MySoftwareFilm.]

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