Posts Tagged ‘Pre-press’

FTP just doesn’t cut it today

August 18, 2009

1971 – A time before some of us were even born (well me anyway!) in April of this year the first FTP standard RFC 114 was published, over the coming months revisions were publish in RFC 192 and RFC 265 then later RFC 354, many more RFC’s would be published over the year following that initial publication and it wasn’t until June 1980 that the modern FTP was published, naturally there were more RFC’s following that to bring us to what is available today.

38 years on from that original publication of the standard and some companies that are moving large quantities of data between servers are still using FTP as the protocol of choice… are they crazy? Let’s face it FTP is cheap, it has to be since it has been around for so long, way before desktop computers had even entered our imagination, but having a cheap service doesn’t necessarily mean that the solution is cheap for the business.

Transfer securityFTP as we know it has many flaws when we look at it in pre-media, for me the main flaw was always organization, followed closely by file support, looking at just these two items in a little more detail we can see that when you log onto a standard FTP account (not even in pre-media, but try any public FTP) you will see no more than a file system, therefore the taxonomy of the storage needs to be organized extremely well for you to find what you are looking for, but wait we have another problem, to include any type of information about the files you will need to store them in folder upon folder due to the limitation of file name length…. Big down point.

Then if that wasn’t bad enough, if you are in pre-media and exchanging Apple Mac files, you need to compress them all first, yes even today still with OSX certain file types must be compressed to retain their resource forks, not so much the case when you are using OpenType fonts, but let’s face it, how many companies have forked out the cash to upgrade their font libraries to OpenType, and how do you control what’s coming in from others…. you can’t! Oh I hear you say, you under the font licenses you shouldn’t be sending fonts….! Yes we know, show me one company that actually adheres to the out dated font licensing laws, and show me one way that the industry bodies can monitor and enforce those laws! I thought not, so that practise will carry on forever!

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Are today’s captain’s of industry yesterday news?

July 29, 2009

It’s no surprise that the old adage of don’t fix what isn’t broken has been completely disrupted by all of the modern technology and the fast moving pace to off load everything your company once did to someone else….

Our industry is lead by what we herald as ‘Captains of Industry’ people who have been around the block more than a few times and have plenty of business acumen, but the question have these captains past their sell by date with their ability to adapt to the changing business environments. Much like the current UK government, have they lost touch with what their customers really want?

These captains of the industry are often the expensive employees of the enterprise companies they gennerally have a lifespan beween 24 to 96 months. The objectives they commit to the board of directors, shareholders are always based on infinite growth, the acquisition of competitors and an EBIT value over 20%. The same captains of the industry act now as highly paid consultants to strip the companies ”they made” to normal proportions. Te effecivly cashing in twice on the positions they once held.

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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

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Timeline Update

June 28, 2009

With the extremely great help of Jack Powers and his list of key dates/technologies, I’ve made a start on the timeline.

Naturally this is going to take sometime to get together and will be a work in progress for a long time unless anyone has some spare time to lend to me…. but anyway please take a read of my initial blog and take a look at the little work I have done to date (well an hour on a Sunday morning before we start doing anything else.

Print, Pre-press & Pre-media Timeline

Original call to action blog

Come on don’t be shy, send me some dates you want included….. maybe the date your software company lunched it product and updates, or when your print company opened or maybe even the day some companies merged, what about when the first company outsourced to overseas….. well whatever it is, if it has some sort of relevance to the world of print, pre-press and pre-media then send me the details and I’ll get them included.

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

Pre-Flight, Post-Flight & Automation

June 24, 2009

So there we are early in the morning driving down to the EuroTunnel to attend a partner technical meeting for ADAM software discussing the the process of pre-flight and where it fits into the whole business process flow of our production plants.

Lets first look at the term pre-flight: wikipedia describes it as:

The term used in the printing industry to describe the process of confirming that the digital files required for the printing process are all present, valid, correctly formatted, and of the desired type. The term originates from the pre-flight checklists used by pilots. The term was first used in a presentation at the Color Connections conference in 1990 by consultant Chuck Weger.

By definition it would say that the pre in pre-flight is that process of checking before any actions are performed, i.e. before you create the PDF/postscript and not after you have taken the action….. surely that would be post-flight?

But ok, the term pre-flight has become synonymous with the process of checking your files are fit for purpose regardless of where in your workflow you perform it.

Is this correct? Should we be pre-flighting our files at every stage of the process?
Having spent a few hours yesterday with Esko going through what their latest version of there software and asked the presenter…. Surely if you are pre-flighting a PDF you have already generated the file from it’s original components and thus it would be a post-flight.
He thought about the question for a moment, then agreed that actually that was a good point and something that their Instant PDF product tries to address by ensuring that the source documents are correct before generating a Certified PDF.

What options do you have these for checking those source documents you receive on a daily basis? Well it would appear that the only commercial software available outside of the applications is the Markzware Preflight Professional, another option is Freeflight that is provided by the user community and available here; but the problem is that they are both having to reverse engineer the changes in the design applications.

Both Adobe and Quark have added on the fly pre-flight into their applications, Quark by applying Job-Jackets with the ability to test your design to a profile, where Adobe have chosen to use a live pre-flight based on a selected profile….. Are these any good for automating? Not really……

Markzware seem to be the only ones who allow extensive automation through scripting with a number of workflow tools such as Enfocus Switch being able to send files through a selected set of ground controls to sort the good from the bad.

And what of the future? More and more companies now have to find was to automate their incoming pre-media files which now extend beyond those of just the graphic and design file formats and include formats such as HTML, Flash, Video and 3D. Our applications alone provide us with tools to test the files are fit for purpose, but don’t help us provide fully integrated workflow solutions.

Who will raise to the challenge? Or are the pre-media companies still going to have to create home cooked soup!

Oh and I was reminded not to forget to mention that Flightcheck can be driven by the Enfocus SWITCH products watch the video here.

Author: Gary George

A new age for pre-media

June 1, 2009

Before the dawn of time communication between people through verbal or visual methods, the Egyptians invented Papyrus sometime around 3500BC which much later transformed into paper around 105BC (although other sources date this at around 8AD) either way communication took a giant leap forward. over the centuries since it’s first invention, we have seen the methods of paper based communication explode fostering a limitless industry of design communication. The last decade saw the Web become mainstream into many households around the world taking from a business based communication tool to a consumer based one, this lead to marketing department to explore new ways to get their message to their customers and potential customers….
Pre-Press once know for it’s methods of preparing files for print needed to evolve, or did it? Pre-Press is still a vital part of the supply chain and still needs to exist as a method of ensuring that the information that is printed is fit for purpose, albeit more automated with less and less human intervention.
A new term need to cover the growing companies that wanted to extend their services to their customers but utilizing both new and old technology communication methods, Pre-Media was born….. Still a very new term in the grand scheme of things, pre-media companies are able to offer their clients more and more ways to leverage the marketing materials that were once destined for the printed page and extend their reach further into the vast array of consumers they could be missing.

To frame the term into a digestible sentence we like to think of it like this:
‘Pre-media is the term used in the design, creative and publishing industries for the processes and procedures that occur between the conception of the original artwork, and the manufacturing of final output channel.’

The key here is the final output channel, once there was paper, then came radio followed by screen casts (TV & Cinema) followed by the web and finally the mobile communication device, each of these provide a myriad of marketing possibilities and ways to target specific demographics for your message.

So what’s next?

Business intelligence has played a huge part in bringing your business to the next level, we have seen a huge increase in social networking, self publishing (just like me blogging now), virtual worlds, lifestreams, discussion groups, video shares etc etc etc the list goes on, so can we harness the information that is captured here? Will the Web 3.0 platform actually provide our pre-media companies with the tools to capture and act upon live data in a way that will allow instant focused pre-media marketing campaigns?
Can we harness the power of crowd-sourced information to shape the way our brands communicate back to us?

My feeling is yes we can, and companies that are part of the innovation crowd and the early adopters will reap the benefits of the riches it will bring.

Author: Gary George