November 29th, 2010 by Jim Kidwell
Today we released an update to our most popularly downloaded document, the Font Management in Mac OS X Best Practices Guide. This document covers the myriad of locations that fonts can be stored by Mac OS X, which fonts are absolutely required for the operating system to function properly, and instructions about how to best clean up the your machine.
Download the most current version of the Font Management Best Practices Guide from the Extensis website.
Today’s tip is on simple navigation around the mac’s hard disk. Most problems in life can be reduced down to “a simple matter of semantics”; a synonym falls from the heavens and eureka, surprise, voila, hallelujah! We understand each other!
In Tech Support, we often help mac customers consolidate their fonts into a central location or delete a bad preference file. But a semantic gap can block even the simplest task if I’m talkin apples and you’re talkin oranges:
Tech Support: Double click on your hard disk to open up the “Finder” and go to your “Home” folder.
Customer: Uh, what’s the “Finder”?
Tech Support: The application that launches when you double click on your hard disk to help you “find” things.
Customer: Eureka !
Tech Support: So then go to your “Home” folder.
Customer: Uh, what’s my “Home” folder?
Tech Support: The folder with the little house icon that probably has your name on it, where you keep all your personal files.
Customer: You mean in applications?
Tech Support: No.
Customer: Is that in the System folder?
Tech Support: No. It’s in the Users folder.
Customer: I don’t think I have a “Users” folder. I’m the only user on my mac.
Tech Support: You still have a “Users” folder. Double click on your hard drive and the Users folder is right there : Applications, Library, System, Users
Customer: [several minutes later] Voila! I found it!
Tech Support: Hallelujah!
As you can see, your “Home” folder is your “User” folder. Its located at:
[hard disk]/Users/[your name]
Nine times out of ten when you are workin on your mac, you are within your “Home” folder. See the cute little house icon? That’s why its called the “Home” folder and “Home” sounds more user friendly than “User Account”.
If you share your mac with a co worker or a family member then they have their own “Home” folder too. This is how your mac keeps your files separate and secure from prying eyes. Example: Boris and Natasha share a mac. When Boris logs into the mac, he has access to the files in his “Home” folder named “Boris”. When he saves a file named “Top Secret File.txt” to his desktop, it is saved to :
[hard disk]/Users/Boris/Desktop/Top Secret File.txt
When Natasha logs into the mac later that day, she has access to all the files in her “Home” folder named “Natasha”. Even though she is a spy and would love to see what devious plans Boris is up to, she cannot see his files because she cannot get into his “Home” folder without his password. Foiled! Foiled again!
So what’s the “Finder”?
The “Finder” is such a fundamental part of Mac OS X that we forget it’s there, but it’s an application just like Mail or Safari with its own preferences and commands. It’s the equivalent of “Windows Explorer” on Microsoft Windows, and simply helps you navigate around and “find” your files and folders.
The Finder is always running even if you’re not aware of its presence. It doesn’t live in your Applications or Utilities folder as you might think. Its tucked away safely in:
. . . so you don’t accidentally delete it. Lots of essential programs live here as well like Dock (provides quick access to things you use often), Installer (used when you install new applications), Archive Utility (used to “compress” i.e. zip and unzip files) and Software Update (used to update your mac applications automatically). Together all these little programs form the “core” experience of the operating system that we know and love as OS X.
Now, you know where to find the “Finder” and that you are almost always at “Home” on your mac.
Some additional semantic equivalents (Mac OS X to Windows):
- Finder = Windows Explorer
- Mac HD = “C” drive
- Control click = Right click
- Dock = Task bar
- Get Info = Properties
- Apple Menu = Start Menu
- System/Library/Fonts = C:\WINDOWS\Fonts
- System Preferences = Control Panel
- Applications = Programs
- Terminal = cmd
- Alias = Shortcut
- Sleep = Standby
- Log Out = Log Off
- Quit = Exit
Keyboard Differences (Mac OS X to Windows)
- Control = Control
- Option = Alt
- Command or “Apple” = Option or “Windows”
- Return = Enter
I’m happy to announce that Suitcase Fusion 2 has been nominated for a MacUser award in the “Print Publishing of the Year” category.
Products in this category are drawn from the everything that has been reviewed in the last 12 months of MacUser magazine.
The winners (and runners up) will be announced at the MacUser Awards, held at the London Zoo on October 22, 2009.
As they say for Oscar nominations, it’s an honor to just be nominated, and we’ll be very happy if we win in this category. We’ll keep you posted.
For those who are wondering, here is our (abbreviated) plan regarding Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) compatibility:
- Updated version of Suitcase Fusion 2 (Mac) is expected within 30 days of Snow Leopard shipping.
- Updated versions of Universal Type Server 2 components are expected within 30-60 days.
- Updated versions of Portfolio 9 Server and clients are expected within 30-60 days.
- Portfolio 8.5.4 client and standalone are compatible with Snow Leopard.
- Portfolio Server 8.5.4 is not supported under Snow Leopard.
We will post more detailed information on our web site shortly.
June 3rd, 2009 by Thomas Phinney
One of the enhancements in the upcoming Universal Type Server 2.0 is the new Directory Integration Module (DIM to its friends), which we’re giving away at no additional charge for the first six months. I’m excited about it because it dramatically simplifies user management, and offers the option of Single Sign-on (SSO), which makes lives easier for users while enhancing network security.
What the heck is “directory integration,” you may ask? Basically, some organizations, and virtually all large ones, manage users and groups on their network with a centralized LDAP directory service such as Microsoft’s Active Directory, or Apple’s Open Directory. Type Server 2.0 can integrate with these services so as to automatically populate the Type Server database with network user accounts from the LDAP directory.
How does it actually work? You (or the person setting up your Universal Type Server) simply enter the DIM serial number to unlock the functionality which is already there in your Type Server. Then you connect to your Active Directory or Open Directory domain from the Universal Type Server User Management web interface, and set up workgroup mappings which permit users on the network to use Type Server. The web interface makes it easy to browse your directory tree, browse just groups or users, or search by name. You can put individual network user accounts into Type Server workgroups, or map directory groups (such as Active Directory security or distribution groups) to Type Server workgroups.
Once you set this up, it isn’t just a one-time import; Type Server will regularly check for changes to your directory service and update itself! So your IT administrator can add a network user to a directory service group, and they will automatically show up in the appropriate Type Server workgroup; or if users are removed from the mapped directory service group, they will be removed from the corresponding Type Server workgroup. Also, mappings can be associated with Type Server roles; members of one security group in your AD server can be mapped to a workgroup as Font Administrators, while members in another are mapped to the same Type Server workgroup as regular users.
If you take advantage of the option to use Kerberos technology to allow Single Sign-on (SSO), the Directory Integration Module makes things simpler for users, too. Instead of having a separate log-in for Type Server clients, users simply log into the network, and their Type Server client automatically gets logged in for them. That’s one less password to remember and login to deal with.
Kerberos is the industry-standard secure network authentication protocol, preferred by both Apple (Open Directory) and Microsoft (Active Directory). It’s highly secure in part because passwords are never sent over the wire to Type Server; users establish their identity when they log into their client machines.
Secure, always in sync, easier to administer, easier to use: Four good reasons for people doing server-based font management to check out the Directory Integration Module in Universal Type Server 2.0.
(Thanks are due to my colleague Chris Corbell, who led the programming of this module, for his contributions to my little write-up.)
Thanks to all of you who visited the Extensis booth and saw our numerous presentations at Create Chaos 2008 in Orlando two weeks ago. In case there were any sessions that you missed, the organizers have put up a number of the session hand-outs on the event site here.
In case you missed one of the Extensis-sponsored sessions, here are the handouts that were included in our sessions.
- Maintaining Control and Compliance in a Font Intensive Workflow session included our Case for Enterprise Font Management white paper (PDF).
- Our early morning Font Management Best Practices in Mac OS X session includes our Font Management Best Practices Guide (PDF).
- The Digital Asset Management Best Practices session included our Managing Your Creative Assets Best Practices Guide (PDF).
- The Suitcase Fusion 2 Preview session didn’t include any handouts, but covered all of the material that’s now included on the Suitcase Fusion 2 pages of our site. Be sure to check out the many videos, and download the product yourself to test it out yourself, free for 30 days.
Once again, thanks for visiting our booth, and we look forward to seeing you at a future event.
Today we released the newest version of our single-user font manager for Mac OS X, Suitcase Fusion 2. This release contains a whole slew of new features that we’re sure that you’ll find helpful and fun to use.
The following are the most prominent new features in Suitcase Fusion 2.
- Built for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)
- Based on the Universal Type Client code base.
- The Suitcase Fusion Core™ keeps fonts active even when the Suitcase Fusion 2 is not running.
- Auto-activation plug-in installation is now a breeze with the Plug-in install options built into Suitcase Fusion 2.
- To ensure a trouble-free workflow, the auto-activation plug-ins contain new features, including the ability to create document sets as well as check document fonts.
- Selective global auto-activation allows you to select which applications to have Suitcase Fusion 2 automatically activate fonts.
- Updated auto-activation plug-ins now include an XTension for QuarkXPress 8 and plug-ins for Adobe InDesign and Illustrator CS4.
- Improved search options allow you to quickly locate fonts using very granular font information.
- Smart Sets dynamically filter and display fonts based on your own custom settings.
- Font libraries allow you to organize fonts the way that you want.
- A portable Font Vault allows you to quickly backup your entire font collection, easily switch to an entirely different database, and even move your Font Vault to another drive.
System font management
- Improved system font management features help you avoid font conflicts and other problems with system fonts.
- Easy identification helps you disable unnecessary fonts in your system folders.
- Enhanced font preview options, including automatic encoding detection for most Roman and non-Roman languages.
- Floating previews allow you to preview fonts as transparent document overlays.
- Easily customized previews allow you to quickly display preview text as you want it.
- Glyph View Window allows you to inspect the glyphs of a selected font and compare them to any other font in Suitcase Fusion 2.
Font corruption checking and repair
- Enhanced font corruption detection and repair.
For more info, check out the Extensis website:
Some people resist change.
We’re not those guys.
In June we launched Universal Type Server- built from the ground up: all new architecture, all new open source technology, all new UI. Now we’ve taken that same backend technology to the desktop. What you get is a better, faster, funner (?) Suitcase Fusion. Think of the first time you saw a 3D movie. It’s still a movie- but a totally different experience at the same time.
The new back-end means this is not just your average upgrade with some new features. The SQL-database makes it very stable with (much) faster searching, browsing and activation. In addition, a new component- the “core”- is always running in the background- ensuring consistent font management even if you don’t launch the UI. This saves you a LOT of system resources.
Plus, it was built specifically for Leopard and as a result can take advantage of all the whiz-bang capabilities of Leopard: smoother display and high-quality rendering makes the previews truly awesome.
The all-new auto-activation plug-ins are the stars of the production. These are completely re-built as well. Yes, they still leverage FontSense for precise matching and yes, they will auto-activate fonts in linked and embedded objects. But they now also communicate with the core meaning you are have 24/7 activation AND deactivation (why would you not put away your toys to keep the room available for others?).
Suitcase Fusion 2 is planned to ship with the following auto-activation plug-ins:
- Illustrator and InDesign for Adobe CS3 (and beyond)
- QuarkXPress 7 and 8
There’s a lot more- this does not even touch the new UI and whizzy features. So I’ll save that for the next post.
In the meantime, keep your eyes open for the ‘preview’.
Suitcase Fusion 2 premieres Fall 2008.
If you’re a Microsoft Office 2004 for Macintosh user like me, Microsoft has just shown us some love.
You may be using the older version of Microsoft Office for many reasons – corporate policy, budget for upgrades, etc. Yet, you have probably already received files created by the newer versions of Microsoft Office for Mac or Windows that don’t look anything like what you’ve seen before. Typically the extension for these new files ends in the letter ‘X’ that indicates that the files is an “Open XML” file.
This week Microsoft released a file converter that allows users of Office 2004 to convert, open and edit files saved in Open XML format. It’s a handy feature that will allow me to stay in the loop until I get the chance to fully upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Office.
Check it out over on Microsoft’s Mac site, Mactopia.
Whether you’re working on Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5 (Leopard), if you’ve got more than a few fonts, font management can quickly become a critical part of your daily workflow. Too many fonts can cause your application menus to take forever to load, and even cause some application instability.
To help you navigate through all of the locations where fonts can be installed in Mac OS X, as well as whip your fonts into shape, we’ve created a Best Practices Guide. This document will help you clean up your font directories and help you get started with a font manager, such as Suitcase Fusion.
We’ve updated this guide to contain lists of all of the critical Mac OS X fonts for Tiger and Leopard, so you’ll be able to confidently remove fonts that were installed on the system, and only use the fonts that you prefer.
Download the font management best practices guide from the Extensis website.