Archive for the ‘Pre-media Technology’ Category

The Real World of Outsourcing – Pre-media

July 22, 2009

Below a look at the outsourcing process as explained by Rajesh Bhat working as a production manager in an Indian outsourcing company. We thank Rajesh for spending the time to submit his views:

Has anyone who is involved in the day to day outsourcing process and is working on files ever thought about the reason behind their companies outsourcing activities. Why do companies outsource their jobs? Is it just because of the cost? To save money?! Is it to get rid of the pain of hiring people, investments in the resources required? What is the logic behind this outsourcing business?

For our discussion purpose from here on let me call an outsourcing company as an “Outsourcer” and the receiver company as an “Outsourcee”– (Employer and Employee concept). Nowadays, the outsourcing has turned out to be a business partnership. So the companies rather search for their partners who can really add up values to the services the Outsourcer provides. The Outsourcee should be able to provide a Quality product at a lower cost so that the Outsourcee can add to their profits.

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Moore’s Law – the effect on productivity

July 21, 2009

Having been in this industry for 20 years next month I thought I’d take a quick look at how Moore’s Law really affects pre-media companies in the modern day.

Lets first look a what Moore’s Law is:

Moore’s law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. Since the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. The trend was first observed by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in a 1965 paper.

Moore's LawOk so basically every two years the computer chips embedded in our hardware will double in power, well it seems that the reality is on the high end of the computing scale and what actually affects us consumers is the technology that was already available at the high end 18 months ago just now the manufacturing process has been mastered to allow for mass production at a cinsumer affordable price.

But what does this mean? Well look at the current creative software major release cycles and we see that they are, well 18 months (roughly) and all these releases usually come requiring more and more power and memory from our machines, the installation have grown as well since storage is no longer a hurdle. But what’s the affect?

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RFID & Packaging – what’s the future got in store?

July 16, 2009

You may have heard of RFID in passing but never really taken much notice of it when it has been bought up, but the future is full of them affecting our every day lives…. but it may come at a cost.

Lets first remind you all about what it is:

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader.

You may have heard about how WalMart is using it with their suppliers, or how the US army track their supplies around the globe, so we we can see that there is some mega bucks being ploughed into the technology, and with all new(ish) technology the more people that use it the cost of using it reduces and opens the doors for more or further reaching possibilities….

There’s a prediction from the an Ericsson executive stating that all mobile phones will have RFID readers and transmitters by 2010, this would open the doors (so to speak) of a million and one possibilities to what you can use your mobile phone for, for instance, credit card companies could track their users to combat credit card fraud, or lets say it could also open up a new revenue stream for the fruadsters out there with potentially devastating affects.

There are so many privacy concerns over this technology, I have to ask whether it still needs to mature some more until it is really let loose on the consumer…. But where could it be used with the consumer, well lets say that the prediction about mobile phones is true, could the technology then be embedded into consumer packaging? Could you be navigating your supermarket  from your phone? Getting product information that would you would usually pick up the product for and be able to see alternatives…. Or what about tapping in ‘eggs’ into your phone and having a store map with the exact shelf in the store along with the stock level.

So it does open up all sorts of possibilities for the consumers as well.

It’s going to be an interesting future and one I will be keeping a close eye on, maybe as one of those technologies that will creep up on your and then suddenly be a complete part of your everyday life…. But what will the reality be for the mobile phones? another one of the 95% of feature that users don’t use?

Author: Gary George

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Adobe stock takes a hike – news on the horizon?

July 16, 2009

Well we’ve seen it before and yesterday the Adobe stock prices jumped with news of Acrobat 10 and CS5 in the first two quarters of next year, although we’ve seen no official word yet from Adobe, but analyst Barbara Coffey of Kaufman Bros changed the stock to BUY from hold leading to the sharp rise.

So start working on your budgets for next year as you can rest assured that Adobe will have so cracking new features for us and maybe all the apps will be fully 64bit…. well we can hope can’t we!

Anyway read the original blog here by Eric Savitz

Author: Gary George

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Protect your assets! Redundant Archive Solution.

July 3, 2009

Anyone heard of the Object Matrix? No? neither had I, I was introduced to them and had to take a little look at what was on offer from these guys and was surprised to know that they have been around for some 6 years plus have some ex-EMC staff on their payroll.

So the company offers The MatrixStore a pretty decent play & play appliance that is based on off the shelf hardware and software, the system comes with a minimum of 3 nodes to offer you the security that your assets need. (Something so many clients are now demanding as part of their SLA’s with you.)

TheMatrixStore

The focus is really on redundancy of your solution to ensure 99.9999% availability of your assets, and using non proprietity equipment to ensure you are not left holding a dead solution in the future, a real plus point in these tough economic times.

With this solution you are getting into true enterprise levels of pricing along with the protection you deserve at that level, I used the configurator to protect 2pb of assets and came back with a suprisingly low figure, I remember the cost of a Centera system 6 years ago for 12tb being something similar.

One thing I noticed was their marketing appeared to focused on the video production rather than the overall pre-media market, but that’s ok as after talking to Nicholas Pearce the Sales & Marketing Director at Object Matrix about how their product actually fits into any of the output channels Pre-media he agreed that the site needed updating a little to deliver a more open message and that they have many customers already using the appliance solution to manage their creative pre-media needs.

Got old equipment?

But for those of you out there that have Xserves & Xraids (or Promise raids are also supported) that have pulled them off your SAN and now want to repurpose them, then they offer an OSX software version that is free for upto 15tb.

MatrixStore

So what’s different about MatrixStore to just any old storage solution? Well having managed many terrabytes myself over the years, the main focus of the product is protection of your assets in clustered nodes, (reminds me of using the plexing software on Silicon Graphics systems to mirror the assets across our SAN), this is done by placing a copy of the assets on multiple independant nodes to save you from any complete hardware failure…. neat….

But being a software solution placed ontop of Apple hardware the cost of protection soon adds up with the cost per terrabyte licensing model and makes it really only viable option if you have plenty of hardware requiring repurposing rather than placing in the bin. This is eased with the first 15tb being free.

So if you are serious about protecting your assets in a long term archive and want something more that just a SAN, whether you want to repurpose old Apple hardware or build a new archive from their appliance solution then you should speak to these guys and fully evaluate their solutions.

Author: Gary George

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ADAM 3d movie

July 3, 2009

So last week I wrote of how ADAM had included 3d rendering into their product, now they have released a short video demonstration to show the power of what is on offer.

I for one had my jaw on the floor when watching Dirk Noppe’s presentation so I hope these capabilities have the same effect on you.

Remember the Advantages of the 3d engine are these:

  • Server-side rendering
  • No special requirements for the client hardware, even smart phones can display the most complex 3D file
  • Server can be configured up to the needs: multiple CPU’s/GPU’s, loads of RAM
  • No waiting to download hundreds of MB’s
  • No waiting for the client to render the file
  • 3D-files are mostly very bulky files: up to gigabytes in size
  • To view these files, every polygon needs to be rendered
  • Simple 3D files contain thousands of polygons, complex files contain hundreds of millions of polygons
  • If rendering on client, whole file needs to be on the client, and the client needs a rendering software
  • Client computers need to be very powerful to cope with this (CPU/GPU)
  • In order to define the right file, it needs to be viewed from different angles and zoom factors
  • Users have to download huge files only to see that it was the wrong one!
  • And remember the interfaces are fully customizable!

    Still watch the video and see for yourself the power that it has to offer then contact ADAM for a full demonstration.

    Author: Gary George

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    Who’s protecting your brand assets?

    June 30, 2009

    We’ve all seen them, a tonne of company portals all trying to offer something that differentiates their business value proposition from the next company… And there is a mass of DAM experts out there that are only too willing to provide companies with te framework to build on in any language that suits their needs…..

    But what about protecting these assets?

    I guess you are thinking right now….protecting? what you on about? we have SSL, Certificates, Firewalls, Early Warning Dection Systems, 24/7 Stop & Search of employees etc etc (ok I’m going over the top, but I think you get my drift, you protect your portals from hackers and have proceedures in place for employees leaving – lol well your customers hope you have it!)

    So what is it I’m talking about? Let’s use 3 examples to illustrate where brand assets can be missed used and I think you will get the picture.

    Fraud

    The first one, something close to all of our hearts and our pockets is our bank accounts or namely our online access to them. Not a day goes by where my spam catcher intercepts a request to update my personal details. Have you ever clicked the link? Well I have and you know what, it is the banks site assets and all just on a different URL, I’m sure there are statisics out there that state the number of people that actually provide their details. The assets are normally relatively easy to copy, but why copy when you can just take freely!

    Replica’s

    Ever been walking through a market and there’s a stall holder selling branded products at what appears to be unbelievable pricesses, well did you really think they were real? There’s a massive trade for replica products that are branded as the real thing, labels, bottles but unfortunately not product, sold at a fraction of the price of the real deal.

    Piracy

    Yep, you know what I’m talking about…. back in the 80’s the market stall’s well sell cassette copies of the latest music, this then extended to CD as cassettes were phased out, at the same time VHS was being copied and distributed in high volume, then the law clamped down and finding these copies became hard to obtain. So as DVD became widely available and the price of a player became cheaper that buying a copy of your favourite film, the DVD piracy hit the streets. I still see the now smartly dress asian wondering around outside my local selling these DVD’s at less than the price of a pint…. But what is more amazing is that the sleeves they provide with the copies is as good as perfect.

    See the problem yet?

    The 3 examples display just how brand assets appear to be escaping out into the world via some sort of source, so are you able to protect your brand assets and track them the way you want?

    If you have examples of where your brand portal protects your assets or your customer’s assets outside of the actual portal then please comment and share your experiences with the community.

    Author: Gary George


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    Automation, Automation, Automation

    June 28, 2009

    It’s Saturday afternoon and we’ve had a great day so far, gearing up now to spend the evening tucking into a nice bit of Spanish tapas with friends, so as the sky’s darken and the rain sets in and my partner puts her poor pregnant swollen ankles up before we set off, my mind starts to wander remembering days past where I was faced with providing improved business processes and the way it made me feel.

    Feelings? well yes, where do you begin when faced with the challenge of automating? What are the objectives of adding automation? And why do they want more automation?

    These and many more questions are what ran through my head all those years back and unfortunately at that time I could only see my immediate environment the things we did every day; the things we were trained to do…. So where do you go, what can you do and more importantly how do you do it……

    In many companies there are tools of the trade, the desktop applications, the server software, and the workflow systems, in isolation they all perform the task admirably, the tasks we or our predecessors installed them for. But as the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep and all of these channels of creation have a much deeper hidden power, a power that is normally only tapped into by software solution experts, but with a little effort, a little learning and a lot of reading, you can uncover the powers and start to appreciate what it is that you can automate.

    I posted a while back an example of using Photoshop actions and how people in my experience do little but ignore them, actions that can be made into droplets for easy drag and drop, so why would people want to explore the Applescript or Javascript capabilities of Photoshop…. Or any of the desktop applications for that matter…. Look at what OSX has to offer, a rich Unix OS with scripting capabilities beyond your imagination, Apple even provide a way for the end user to access this scripting in an easy to use UI, yet how many bother to explore what Automator can do for them to improve their day to day working efficiency?

    Looking beyond that and into the workflow systems, it is widely believed that the technical guys come up with all the ideas and plans to improve the flow of information, this is true to a certain degree, but very short sighted, there are a whole host of people that need input into the development of a workflow, as they will inevitably go beyond just having a file input, some processing and then a file output, there maybe for instance some business intelligence that is captured along the way, information that is useful to someone, if not only to justify the workflows existence in the first place….. yes I have heard the old “why are we paying XXXX for the support on this system each year” well with out the business intelligence to say “well it processes 500,000 pdfs a year for us” for example, business decisions can be made out of the context of the operation. (there are plenty of examples I could use here)

    So remember that automation for any pre-media operational step be it user, application, server or business needs to be analyzed, measured for it’s return and then pitched/promoted for it ability to save money or improve business. Never think that something simple is not worth it, if it saves time, then it saves money. And always talk to others about your ideas, no innovation on this planet was ever created by a single persons input and this is the same in pre-media, share collaborate and expand on everything you think.

    Doh…. look at this, I even managed to close my laptop before the blog posted and we went off to stuff our faces, so after a nights sleep ontop of 22 tapas dishes between four people I finally post this properly!

    Author: Gary George

    Call to Action – Timeline Information Required

    June 26, 2009

    Hi all, I’m about to start a small side project of gathering timeline information together for the print, pre-press and pre-media world, this I am hoping will include ANY information that relates to our industry, whether that is the day a company started or closed down, to a software application appearing and the version releases after that.

    When presses where launched and when technologies broke….. it can be anything!

    I’d like it in a digestible format with the key information:

    • Subject
    • Date
    • Catagory (your choice but I will group them)
    • Any significant people who where involved
    • Any other information, links, or stories

    It can also be where other disruptive technology affected our industry (lets say emmm email for instance)

    Contact me by leaving comments (you can disguise yourself if you like as Joe Bloggs or Randy Mandy if you would rather not let me know who you are) or you can contact me via my LinkedIn profile.

    I hope to allow all the information to be used under the Creative Commons License so you will all be free to use what I do as long as it is not for commercial gain and you give Tunicca credit for collating it.

    Once I am up and running I may even be able to let people add their own stuff directly in….. Naturually the first entry will be my birth since it was a significate day in the history of pre-media 😀 only kidding 😉

    Your help will be greatly appreciated and I am sure I could buy a beer if we were every in the same bar together 😆

    Author: Gary George

    3D in A DAM or should I say ADAM!

    June 25, 2009
    As the dawn raises in Belguim it feels like just a few hours ago it was
    still light as we left the ADAM event. Plenty of Duvel beer flowing as
    the networking continued into the night for my assoiates.
    Seeing the power that ADAM can provide from real world implimentation examples has been a very rewarding experience, but really, that’s not why I was there…. there’s a more fundermental, deeply engrained reason that I was there, any of you who know me will know it well….. it’s the technology advancements that drives my curiosity and desire to see companies grow and extend their ability to capture more of the market.
    One of the key advancements we were shown and something that I asked you the readers of our blog just 2 weeks ago was when would DAM take the next leap to provide and capture more of the digital assets for other market verticals, yes you know, I’m talking 3D, but not the ability to take 3D and store the files in the DAM, any DAM can do that as they are just another file format, and not to initiate a task at the press of a button that delivers back to the browswer a rendered flat file, no, to actually render the files on the fly (well on a server based render frame back in your datacentre) and deliver them to your browser as a 3d model; not a Quicktime VR file or anyother predefined 3D plugin type of format, but interactive like you have it open in the creator application.
    Games developers, manufacturers, bio & phrama and aerospace engineering companies we hear your sigh of releif as you are now able to store your 3D assets in the same way, with the ability to view/analysis the files without the need to download and open on the native application. This is truly moving ADAM to have a pre-media solution that is able to handle the multiple input channels and store/provide the assets for multiple output channels.
    Some of our readers may be thinking, well what the hell, why is that so special? As most of the DAM systems are concentrating on Video & HD Video, the transcoders, workitems and workflows assocaited with them, ADAM has taken on markets that have a different need, lets face it, the video encoding, transcoding, streaming etc etc is mature, the tools are available everywhere and just about every DAM vendor either is or will be including it, and are they really all not just using the same engine under the bonet anyway! You could also say that video has already been a disruptive force as millions of us self publish ourselves on sites YouTube. 3D, well that’s another matter, it’s still a niche, a professional service with a need, that need is not to deliver 3D to the browser, but to improve the costly operations involved in users accessing the files, yes our good old friend TIME!
    So lets take a quick look at some details and screenshots:
    3D Pic
    factual details.
    This great feature along with a tonne of other stuff will be available in the forthcoming 4.5 release of the software, I for one strongly recommend chatting to them if you handle any quantity of 3D files and need to improve your internal business processes or even provide the ability to deliver this as a service in for pre-media companies.

    As the dawn raises in Belguim it feels like just a few hours ago it was still light as we left the ADAM event. Plenty of Duvel beer flowing as the networking continued into the night for my associates.

    Seeing the power that ADAM can provide from real world implimentation examples has been a very rewarding experience, but really, that’s not why I was there…. there’s a more fundermental, deeply engrained reason that I was there, any of you who know me will know it well….. it’s the technology advancements that drives my curiosity and desire to see companies grow and extend their ability to capture more of the market.

    One of the key advancements we were shown and something that I asked you the readers of our blog just 2 weeks ago was when would DAM take the next leap to provide and capture more of the digital assets for other market verticals, yes you know, I’m talking 3D, but not the ability to take 3D and store the files in the DAM, any DAM can do that as they are just another file format, and not to initiate a task at the press of a button that delivers back to the browswer a rendered flat file, no, to actually render the files on the fly (well on a server based render frame back in your datacentre) and deliver them to your browser as a 3d model; not a Quicktime VR file or any other predefined 3D plugin type of format, but interactive like you have it open in the creator application.

    Games developers, manufacturers, bio/phrama and aerospace engineering companies we hear your sigh of releif as you are now able to store your 3D assets in the same way, with the ability to view/analysis the files without the need to download and open on the native application. This is truly moving ADAM to have a pre-media solution that is able to handle the multiple input channels and store/provide the assets for multiple output channels.

    Some of our readers may be thinking, well what the hell, why is that so special? As most of the DAM systems are concentrating on Video & HD Video, the transcoders, work-items and workflows assocaited with them, ADAM has taken on markets that have a different need, lets face it, the video encoding, transcoding, streaming etc etc is mature, the tools are available everywhere and just about every DAM vendor either is or will be including it, and are they really all not just using the same engine under the bonet anyway! You could also say that video has already been a disruptive force as millions of us self publish ourselves on sites YouTube. 3D, well that’s another matter, it’s still a niche, a professional service with a need, that need is not to deliver 3D to the browser, but to improve the costly operations involved in users accessing the files, yes our good old friend TIME!

    So how’s it work? Well ADAM have integrated the superb 3d reality server engine from Mental Images into the solution allowing for server side rendering of the 3D to be delivered via a customizable browser componant that naturally sites comfortably in the ADAM interface. To see it live is pretty awesome, and the scenes/objects it can render in amazingly fast times should revolutionize the way they interact with their files.

    This great feature along with a tonne of other stuff will be available shortly after the forthcoming 4.5 release of the software, I for one strongly recommend chatting to them if you handle any quantity of 3D files and need to improve your internal business processes or even provide the ability to deliver this as a service in for pre-media companies.

    ADAM also offers a great technical blog here.

    So for any of you out there who have an aging DAM solution or are considering one, add ADAM to your evaluation list, get on the ADAM website; take a look and book an appointent to talk to these guys, you won’t be  disappointed!

    Author: Gary George