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If you’re in IT at an institution of higher learning, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Educause, the nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

This year Extensis will be participating in the Educause Expo at the annual conference, and we’d like to invite you to stop by our booth. We will be demonstrating our digital asset management and font management product lines.

If you’re interested to see how Extensis Portfolio Server can be used to manage your digital assets, or to better understand how Universal Type Server can help you maintain font compliance in your educational institution, drop by booth 353 in the Exhibit Hall and say hello!

While you’re at the booth, scan your badge for a chance to win an iPad!

We’ll be there starting with the opening reception from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18th.


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Meet Russell Cheung, one of the UK’s resident Extensis experts.

Russell is the UK’s Senior System Engineer and has been with Extensis for 11 years. Part of his role is to visit Extensis users and provide Professional Services ranging from optimising and configuring their UTS or Portfolio Server set-up and workflow, to training administrators and end users on the finer points of DAM and font management.

In order to give more of an insight into Professional Services and what it entails, Russell has answered a few questions for us…

What is the largest number of assets you have ever encountered?
8 million images ( and counting ) for Portfolio Server and about 80,000 fonts for UTS.

What’s a typical day like when carrying out Professional Services?

  • Arrive on site slightly early so I have time to check for any urgent emails whilst waiting at reception
  • Spend up to 30 mins with IT person and head of creative to go over objectives and process for the day
  • Check server hardware and OS environment to ensure that it meets pre-requisites
  • Install UTS or Portfolio Server software and any required third party add ons
  • Test the connection between client and server
  • Train the IT administrator on UTS / Portfolio Server administration interface and functionality. This is a chance for them to discuss detailed and specific aspects like security and performance tweaking.
  • Grab some lunch and get a chance to explore the surroundings if I’m working in somewhere like a museum or gallery.
  • Train the end users on what they need to know to use the software to full capabilities. Try and ensure that I leave their site with something that’s fully working, that they can easily build on, and that their users will have the confidence to work with.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever come across?
Hundreds of digital images of dead and diseased wild animals and farm animals all needing to be catalogued. Some poor technician had to place the corpses on the flatbed scanner.

What’s the most difficult problem you’ve ever had to resolve?
Getting through the traffic on the way home is always the hardest part!

In what kind of companies have you implemented Extensis software?
Museums, scientific bodies, charitable bodies, retail, financial bodies, and government agencies.

Why should someone invest in Extensis Professional Services?
We have extensive experience in cross platform ( Mac + Windows ) environments which really helps if an organisation has a strong Windows based IT dept but little experience with Macs, or has a lot of Macs deployed across the company but have little experience of dealing with server based applications. We also have hands on experience with desktop applications like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign so we can provide training from the perspective of the desktop users as well.

About Professional Services
Extensis’ Professional Services packages are designed to complement both our font and DAM server products and are delivered by an Extensis Certified Systems Expert. They maximise return on software investment by combining Extensis’ expertise with technology, processes, and people into an complete solution within a few days.

More information about Extensis Profesional Services


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It’s been less than a year since the last release of Portfolio Server, but the development team at Extensis has been hard at work and today we’re introducing the latest version of our digital asset management software Portfolio Server 10!

Catalog Anything. Find Everything.

Portfolio Server has always been about quickly finding the right files, and in version 10 it’s all about finding any type of file from anywhere. Portfolio Server now has comprehensive support for video files and a new Tablet template for NetPublish that’s optimized for the iPad. We’ve also made the easiest DAM software available even easier to use with custom views in the web client, a new batch find feature for searching for a list of values, and a fast create PDF contact sheet option.

Better, Faster, Stronger

Cataloging thousands or millions of files can take some time, and if you add video to the mix processing takes even longer. That’s why one area we focused on was performance. Portfolio Server 10 processes files faster than ever before with an optimized media engine meaning you can catalog files, batch convert, rename, generate PDF contact sheets, and embed metadata in record time. And if you’re looking for seriously high-performance speed, check out the new NetMediaMAX which uses the computing power of multiple computers to form a media engine cluster (think “DAM supercomputer” built out of 2 or more inexpensive computers).

Admiration for Administration

Power users and IT pros will love the powerful yet simple administration options we’ve added. Support for Active Directory and Open Directory makes the system easier to administer in corporate environments. You can take greater control of the visual representation of files by applying custom thumbnails and preview images for any file. There’s also a new permission to allow Editor and Reader level users to download alternative formats via the presets menu while restricting access to high-res originals.

Upgrades

If you’re a current ASA subscriber for Portfolio Server you’ll receive your serial numbers and download links for version 10 in a few days. We also offer upgrade pricing from past versions of Portfolio Server – just contact us for more info.

For more information on Portfolio Server 10 head over to the Portfolio Server page, check out the “what’s new” page, or read our press release.


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Not long ago, we treated servers like celestial beasts. Cavernous rooms or entire floors would be sacrificed for them to work their magic. Vast amounts of power and air conditioning would be provided to cool their mood lest we were to suffer the wrath of a system crash. Battalions of the most qualified staff would be deployed to monitor and appease their health, feeding them copious amounts of backup tapes, tractor feed paper and very expensive software, sometimes off the shelf, often custom written.

Nowadays we can purchase equivalently powered server hardware that require a fraction of the resources at a fraction of the price. Apple sells Mac minis preinstalled with OS X Server. NAS devices which used to be manufactured by IT giants like Sun Microsystems and IBM are now available from your local computer retailer.

The dwarfing of server technology means that even the smallest companies and organizations can now implement server based technologies like web application servers, video streaming and remote access without needing to commit the same financial and human resources required several years ago.

What can get overlooked sometimes are best practice procedures that still apply to both large and small-scale server installations to ensure optimal performance and availability for all users.

Extensis Universal Type Server and Portfolio Server customers can benefit by implementing some of these procedures as both fonts and media files are critical resources for their daily workflow.

1. Provide a backup power and surge protection

It goes without saying that without power, servers won’t run. In a power failure situation that could render Universal Type Server or Portfolio Server unavailable. The Universal Type Client automatically goes into an offline mode when the server is unavailable, and client users have access to the fonts cached on their machine. With the server offline, Portfolio client users won’t have access to anything on the server.

Sudden power failures can also result in critical data loss or data corruption. This could mean having to spend time restoring backups or recreating jobs.

Using a UPS device (uninterruptible power supply), ensures that your server has immediate backup power available so that there is enough time to perform a graceful shutdown or keep things running until the main power comes back online.

In addition, some UPS devices also offer surge protection from electrical spikes. This prevents damage to the sensitive electrical parts inside your server.

2. Ensure optimal disk performance

Servers are most commonly used for distributing digital files like images, documents and fonts to users within a network. This can put a lot of workload on hard drives that can sometimes results in mechanical failure that can result in data loss and company downtime.

By implementing a RAID solution (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) you can both optimize the speed of the data being read and written to the disks and build failure tolerance which prevents data loss or corruption should a hard disk failure occur. There are many different types of RAID solutions on the market including some external devices that can connected via Firewire or USB without the need to open the server’s casing.

3. Remember to backup

Backing up data can be performed manually on a scheduled basis or automated through software or in conjunction with external devices like Apple’s Time Machine.  Most of us know that backing up data is easy to perform but quite often we know ( to our cost ) that’s it’s also easy to forget.

Universal Type Server contains an automated internal backup system that creates a TAR backup of the complete server data including fonts, users and permissions. As part of any backup strategy, it’s important to remember to occasionally move a copy of any backup files to a remote location as an extra layer of protection to cover cases of catastrophic failure.


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In the electronic era, change is inevitable. None more so than with software and operating systems.

All companies at some point in time have to deal with upgrading hardware which often, in turn means upgrading their software. For some companies, the process can be daunting since it often involves migrating over data from old software packages, installing the new software on multiple machines and training staff on how to use the new software. All of this can take time and resources away from the core business activities.

When it comes to fonts however, the basic fonts that most of our customer use regularly haven’t changed much but the software and hardware required to work with these fonts have changed dramatically. For some companies, realising that things need to move on can be a daunting experience especially if you have been reliant on the same technology for several years.

Hopefully we will provide some reassurance for those who have concerns about upgrading to Universal Type Server. So let’s delve into common fears about upgrading your font server.

Fear! – “We can’t afford to take our current font server offline!”

Fear Not! – You can run or test Universal Type Server + Portfolio Server in parallel with Suitcase Server / Font Reserve Server / legacy Portfolio Server but usually not with the same hardware.

Fear! – “I need a lot more than 30 days to evaluate this software!”

Fear Not! – Our corporate sales team would be more than happy to provide an extension to a current trial period if you need more time. Please be aware that the demo period starts from the date of installation not first usage therefore we do not recommend installing prior to taking leave or knowing that you have other priority projects that would clash with the evaluation period.

Fear! – “It’s going to take so much work to rebuild our old font sets and user groups again.”

Fear Not! – We have migration tools that can automatically extract font sets and workgroups from Suitcase Server X1 and Font Reserve Server. We can also provide advice and guidance on migrating from older server products or from our standalone font products. In regards to user accounts, these can either be imported from a tab delimited text file or better still, imported from an Active / Open Directory server and directly mapped and synchronised to a Universal Type Server workgroup.

Fear! – “We don’t have any spare computers to install Universal Type Server on right now!”

Fear Not! – If a separate machine is not immediately available for evaluation purposes you can install and evaluate our server applications on a virtual machine. Please note that although we don’t officially endorse running our applications under virtualised machines several of our largest customers have been running our applications within virtualised machines successfully for several years.

Fear! – “I don’t want to have to set up my font server again after the evaluation period is over”

Fear Not! – Migrating the font database over from a trial installation to a live server is very straightforward. You just need to use the Server Administration Web interface to create a single backup file, then copy over and restore it on your live server.

Fear! – “My IT department are suspicious about this software and don’t understand why we need this!”

Fear Not! – Universal Type Server is built with proven technology. It uses JBoss and Jetty web applications for it’s server web management and user management interface which means you can configure and manage most of the server from any Flash enabled web browser. No desktop software is required to perform server administration duties like log checking or backup and restore operations.


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This week we released a v9.1.2 update for our Portfolio Server digital asset management software and NetMediaMAX image processing engine.

The new version adds support for additional Camera Raw formats, enhanced Adobe DNG thumbnail and rendering support, and several performance and stability improvements for the Server, Web Client, and NetMediaMAX.

If you’re using Portfolio Server 9, you will want to get this update. Note that this update is for the Server and Media Engine only, requires OpenOffice.org v3.2 on the Server and Media Engine(s), and that Desktop Clients should all be running the existing 9.1.1 version.

If you don’t own Portfolio Server 9 you can try it out for free. If you’re a Portfolio standalone user, check out the updated camera raw and DNG support in the recent 8.5.5 update.

Portfolio Server update downloads and release notes available here:
http://www.extensis.com/en/support/updates/PS-9-1-2.jsp


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Extensis Digital Asset Management Best Practices GuideThere are many things to consider when selecting a digital asset manager. Selecting a piece of software that will potentially touch many, if not all members of your organization can be a daunting task.

The folks over at CMS Wire have been publishing some very fine content lately on their blog. Recently, they posted a guide of Six Things to Consider When Selecting a DAM solution. If you’re in the market for a digital asset manager for your office, the article mentions a number of concerns that we’ve been sharing with customers over the years. These include:

  • Setting project goals, expectations and responsibility
  • Evaluating the digital asset management solution on site, before purchase
  • Establishing an effective workflow

In addition to reading this post, I highly recommend checking out our Digital Asset Management Best Practices Guide. This guide covers all of these concerns and more in detail.

If you’ve already thought through what you need, and are ready to bring a proposal to your boss, a while back we published a handy list of Top 10 Ways to Sell Digital Asset Management to your Boss. Hopefully this will help arm you with good arguments for your DAM solution (we hope that it’s Portfolio Server!).


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Extensis software webcastsA few upcoming webcasts to note, this time for those of you who speak French and German.

On January 20th and 21st, we’ll be demonstrating how NetMediaMAX can assist in image processing workflows.

NetMediaMAX allows users to:

  • Create composite PDF proofs from various files without opening multiple applications.
  • Batch resize your images, convert to a different file format and resize for Web usage and save your preferences.
  • Deliver digital files via self-service web portals and allow others to export low-res files of the originals on-the-fly.
  • Automatically create multiple derivatives of your originals and even apply destructive watermarks for protection.

Register for one of our two webcasts. Choose the appropriate event based on language:

Extensis products are localized so that they run in many different languages. For most of our products, we support English, French, German and Japanese languages. In addition, we are working to expand the language support for many of our products to include Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.


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Portfolio NetMediaMAX for digitial asset managementLast week we released a new addition to our digital asset management product line, Portfolio NetMediaMAX. This Thursday we’ll be demonstrating how NetMediaMAX assist in image processing workflows.

NetMediaMAX allows users to:

  • Create composite PDF proofs from various files without opening multiple applications.
  • Batch resize your images, convert to a different file format and resize for Web usage and save your preferences.
  • Deliver digital files via self-service web portals and allow others to export low-res files of the originals on-the-fly.
  • Automatically create multiple derivatives of your originals and even apply destructive watermarks for protection.

Register for one of our two webcasts. Choose the appropriate event based on your location.

European Webcast

  • Thursday, December 3, 2009
  • 10 a.m. GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), 11 a.m. CET (Central European Time)
  • Register Here

North American Webcast

  • Thursday, December 3, 2009
  • 11:00 a.m. PST (Pacific Standard Time) / 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)
  • Register Here

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Universal Type Server is compatible with Windows 7 and Snow LeopardToday we released an update to our server-based font management solution, Universal Type Server.

This update includes:

  • Deeper font compliance management: administrator can see who added which font to which workgroup and reverse those actions.
  • Active Directory flexibility: administrator can now exclude individual users from distribution group mappings.
  • Enhanced user management allows easier batch application of settings and refined filtering of users.
  • Simplified network password perfect for smaller teams (using optional LDAP bind authentication).
  • Mac OS X v 10.6 (Snow Leopard) compatibility for client and server.
  • Windows 7 compatibility for Universal Type Client.
  • TrueType Collection font support.
  • Improved font corruption screening.
  • New command line scripting tool for automation and integration.
  • New optional MySQL external database module (chargeable add-on component for Universal Type Server Professional only).
  • Directory integration with Active Directory and Open Directory is now a standard feature of Universal Type Server Professional.
  • Improved overall performance of client synchronization and working with font sets.

If you have a current annual service agreement (ASA) for server-based font management, this update is provided at no cost. If you do not have a current ASA, please contact your corporate sales representative for upgrade or purchase pricing.


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