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Wednesday we announced that Universal Type Server is now available for order on our site. The product will be released and ready for download in the coming week, but if you’re chomping at the bit to know what’s inside, we’ve created a series of videos.

The first video shows the Universal Type Client. This is where you add, remove, activate and manage your fonts.

The second video shows the first of two server administration interfaces. Both of which are accessed using a web browser. The first allows you to perform low-level server functions, such as backup and restore, port configuration and starting and stopping the server.

The final video shows the the other server administration web interface. This interface allows you to quickly add and configure users and workgroups. It’s here where you import users and configure how each user can utilize the system through permissions and settings. To help speed up the process you can configure roles that allow you to apply settings to many users at once.

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Universal Type Server font managment software for workgroups

Are you looking for a good solution for the font mess in your office? Are ascenders and descenders getting stuck in your sweater? Have your valued fonts been piling up in the corners, making it impossible for you and your co-workers to ever find and use the same font with the same document? Well, it just so happens that we make some fine client/server font managers that can help you clean up that mess.

Today we announced that our newest client/server font manager, Universal Type Server™, is now available for orders. If you’re looking for a font manager for your organization, take a moment to check out the Extensis website to see what Type Server has to offer. The client has a spiffy new interface, and the server is administered entirely through the web using a browser – quite handy for remote administration.

In addition to all of the info on our site, to help you understand how Universal Type Server works, we’ve created a number videos and posted them on YouTube, Viddler as well as the Extensis website.

As always, if you’ve got any questions, you can post a comment here, call our sales team, shoot us an email, stand on the street and yodel at our windows, etc.

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Tabasco Bottle ImageIf the stars are aligned, this may well be my last ‘We Hear You!’ post, because as soon as Universal Type Server gets out the door, you will probably see that we not only heard you, but took you very seriously.

I’m not big on sports analogies, but this one seems appropriate: We’re at the bottom of the 9th. Several Beta drops later, and we are very close to ready.

It is hard to itemize all that goes in to the final stages of a software release and launch. But ‘scramble’ just about covers it (yep- that’s a golf term…or an egg term, depending).

Beyond the software itself (the biggest piece), there are a hundred things that need to line up: product skus, documentation, translation of what feels like every piece of content you have EVER written, press this-n-that, Web creative and production, internal training for: support, customer service, sales, and everyone else, communication to our partners, knowledge base articles in which you have to anticipate what someone might ask, yada yada. You get the picture.

So that is where we are. Scrambled eggs. Yum. And we expect to be dishing some up for you very soon.

Would you like ketchup or Tabasco with those?

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Extensis EULA image - not an actual document, just a picture of the EULA in the Portfolio Help systemI’ve been talking recently about the importance of End User License Agreements (EULAs) when working with fonts and typography. I’ve heard back from a number of users who wish that these documents were more easily understood and readily available for reference.

Well, here’s the good news. While at a recent conference at Microsoft called The Business of Type, there was a definite consensus that making EULAs clear, explicit and readable was desirable. We’re not all there yet, but we’re definitely moving down the path toward transparency and a decent process.

Take for example, John Collins of MyFonts gave an interesting presentation at type conference. His company takes an open approach to license agreements.

  • All licenses are publicly accessible from the website.
  • You are given a chance to review the EULA as you purchase fonts as well as any time after from your order history on the site.
  • The installer presents the license during the install process.
  • Updated licenses only apply to future purchases.

The model doesn’t make you jump through hoops to understand what you’re purchasing, and is fairly straightforward. This is the way that licensing should work. Yet, from what I’ve seen there are still some foundries and software companies out there need to update their licensing processes.

For example, when you install software from Extensis, you will always be presented with a copy of the EULA in the installer. And, if you can’t easily read the license in the installer window, we always install a copy of the EULA for you to print, review and keep. We will always present a copy of the EULA in our Help systems for Extensis Portfolio as well as in the forthcoming Universal Type Server product.

Since not all companies are being so open with their licenses, I would like to make a public call for all companies who make software (fonts are software after all) to handle EULA in the following manner:

  1. Write EULAs in plain language, not legalese. Users want to understand these agreements – no one likes to go to court.
  2. Display license agreements in as many locations as possible – on the web, in the installer, installed with the product, etc.
  3. Clearly delineate EULA variations available. For example, if for an extra cost users will be allowed to transfer fonts to a printer, make the options clearly understood, even if pricing is not immediately disclosed.
  4. Be reasonable. Most users want to do the right thing. If you find out about a license violation, approach the situation politely, without an immediate legal threat. Even with digital piracy rampant these days, some polite conversation goes a long way, and will more likely earn you a friend than a foe.

Is there something else that you think companies should do to make licensing easier? Let me know in the comments and I’ll send you some stuff from my pile of Extensis swag.

As always, if you ever have a question about the Extensis EULA, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our corporate sales representatives. They are happy to discuss all of your concerns.

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Brent Simmons, author of NetNewsWire, the leader (in my humble opinion) of RSS news readers on the Mac platform, posted a pretty interesting little article on two examples of what attention to detail means in Macintosh application development.

The first involves what happens to the horizontal splitter when you resize the window. Notice that the Universal Type Server Mac client does the same thing, starting with a small size:

Universal Type Client Macintosh in a small size

And resized to be a larger width:

Universal Type Client Macintosh in a wide size

Notice the width of the workgroup/set table doesn’t change? It’s a small thing, but it just makes the application feel that much more polished.

Brent also mentions how certain applications leave the border around a table view. We don’t – notice in the image below the one pixel line separating the two tables:

Zoomed Part of Universal Type Server client window

This is one of the first things I changed after getting the basic bones of the window laid out. Having the table showing it’s outline was just too distracting, your eyes were immediately drawn to this weighty feeling in the middle of the application window.

I’m quite proud of this little font manager client that we’ve been building on the Macintosh – it’s almost like a child to me.

I’ve enjoyed reading the feedback from the beta users, we appreciate all the time you’ve been putting in. I might give posting a try there soon. In the mean time, I expect you’ll be getting a surprise soon that will invigorate your testing. 😉

PS: If you can figure out why I have the first set named the way it is currently named, I’ll see if I can find a trinket in Jim’s office to send your way. I warn you, it’s complicated. Almost impossible really, you’d have to read the bug. (We have crazy good QA people here).

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Fabregue printer in France tests Extensis Universal Type Server

In my last post I mentioned that we are in beta and humming along. Now that many people are using the product, seems like a good time to share some preliminary feedback.

The feedback below is from Fabregue one of the biggest printers in France with almost $100 million in revenue and over 100 years of experience. We asked their head of technical operations, Jérôme Guillement, for his first impressions.

“My first impression of Universal Type Server was during the preview at Intergraphic. I was very enthusiastic and at that point was eager to get involved in the beta…I could tell it would enable me to dramatically simplify the management of our workstations. Moreover, the design (UI, icons and web interface) completely broke with what I knew of Extensis up to now. That indicated a major shift, not just a minor update.

“The beta has outstanding stability- as good or better than some final software products…end-user feedback has been very positive: ease of use, user-friendliness, interface… they are aware of having taken a big step forward. Feedback from administrators is similar: web interface for administration is accessible from anywhere and is beautiful, simple and clear; the ability to manage users, groups and rights is much more flexible and complete.”

I promise to share more feedback soon.

*Many thanks to Jérôme for taking the time to share his feedback, and to Jean-Michel, our country manager in France, for passing it along.

Extensis in Canada

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Cindy Valladares, Extensis Product ManagerFor those of you living up North with an interest in font management, Extensis is coming!

Extensis product marketing manager extraordinaire, Cindy Valladares, is making the trek to Toronto next week to present two font management sessions. First, Cindy will preview the much-anticipated Universal Type Server on Tuesday April 29th at Carbon Computing. The following day she will present a font management best practices in OS X session at the InDesign Conference/Creative Suite Conference.

If you are interested in additional details, check out our press release here.

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Seems like everyone around here is talking about our forthcoming product release that’s sure to take the font management world by storm, Universal Type Server. We’re all very excited, and since we’re not able to talk to each and every one of you out there, I thought that we should bring some of our crew to you. I recently was able to pry one of the talented software engineers away from his bug fixing duties to chat for a few minutes about software development, Universal Type Server, and how all things engineering are put together at Extensis.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with us Lucien!

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Type Server reflectionIn the upcoming weeks and months we will be hosting a number of font management seminars in the UK. Organized in conjunction with some of our top UK dealers, these seminars will cover how to take control of your fonts, as well as how server-based font management can help ease the challenges of font management in your business.

In addition, we will be previewing the upcoming release of Universal Type Server, so if you want to get an up close and personal look at the newest technology, plan to attend a seminar near you.

To sign up to attend a seminar, please select an event closest to you from the Events page of our website. You can choose from any of the following dates and locations.

  • 15th April 2008: London
  • 17th April 2008: Manchester
  • 24th April 2008: Brighton
  • 29th April 2008: Bristol
  • 13th May 2008: Nottingham
  • 15th May 2008: London
  • 5th June 2008: Edinburgh

Hope that you’ll be able to attend a seminar!

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Extensis Universal Type Server

Spring has sprung and beta is in the air. I am somewhat belated in posting, but yes, the Universal Type Server beta is operational and being tested by the best and the brightest: our customers.

We have reached out to our power users across the globe to test out Universal Type Server in as many representative work environments as possible. We calculated every permutation of small team/ large team/Mac/Win/US/Europe…yada yada. You get the idea.

Industries currently testing Universal Type Server include:

  • Printing
  • Publishing
  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Retail
  • Financial Services
  • Education

…and more. We’re feeling confident we’ve got you covered. So thank you in advance to all of our customers- for their input on the product, and their feedback on how it is performing. You help us do better and keep us honest. Fingers crossed that it works as well for you as it has for us. I’ll surely keep you posted.

* The Universal Type Server beta comes to you courtesy of a very hard-working development and product management team that has been living on Starbuck’s and the occasional doughnut. We thank them all so very much. You know who you are.

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