PDF/X-1a:2001 turns 15 !

Posted by Scott Tully on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 @ 02:16 PM

Tags: knowledge


Fifteen years have passed since the creation of the industry's first PDF/X-1a:2001 file.

How do I know this?

I was there, August 20, 2001, in Toronto, Canada two years and a thousand miles away from my first Committee for Graphic Arts Technology Standards (CGATS) Subcommittee Six, Task Force One meeting, eager to report the news.

Five weeks earlier, I had cleared what was [my] the last barrier to creating valid PDF/X-1a files. I was working on a custom pdfmark [ a snippet of code to be executed by Adobe Acrobat Distiller ] that would embed specific key-value pairs and dictionaries required by the PDF/X standard. I say 'working on' because success was not immediate, it came in increments, increments of frustration and elation. Keep in mind, there were no plugins or applications that created PDF/X, there was only Apago PDF/X Checkup, an Acrobat plugin that verified PDF/X. I was alone on the PDF/X frontier, making a map as I moved ahead. Through trial and error was I able to resolve the syntax in my pdfmark, enabling Adobe Acrobat Distiller to produce valid PDF/X-1a:2001 files !

As every reader should know, the "X" in PDF/X stands for exchange. As a PDF/X creator, I now needed a receiver, a person - organization who would verify and process the file for print. I contacted fellow PDF/X advocates Brad Mintz of McCann-Erickson and Kin Wah Lam of Time, Inc.. Together, we resolved to run a live print test where Brad provided the electronic files for a two-page Lucent advertisement, I [ The LTC Group - North Haven ] produced both a TIFF/IT-P1 and PDF/X-1a version of the ad, and Kin verified the files and scheduled the press time at R.R. Donnelley - Torrence.

At about the same time, I was in contact with another printer, Banta, coordinating the delivery of a 2-page, perfect-bound advertisement for our customer Ralph Lauren - POLO. As I was discussing the Computer To Plate capabilities at Banta, I informed my printing peer that my company was capable of delivering PDF/X-1a and asked if he would be interested in receiving the ad as PDF/X-1a.

On August 17, Kin formally announced the successful print test, establishing the facts of the 'first' with printed samples and a letter. I was unaware of delivery of Kin's package as I was on my way to the airport and a weekend in Canada. I had everything with me. I was armed with the actual test files and the emails exchanged in the process of conducting the test, ready to share them with my CGATS colleagues on Monday morning.

 Print Test Signature

PDF/X-1a:2001 print test signature

Note: Small 'dots' indicate file type. "P" = PDF/X  "T" = TIFF/IT-P1 

As you might imagine, the work involved in creating an international standard is both time-consuming and deliberate. While not exactly law, the process does share many of the elements of lawmaking, most notably order, procedure and conduct. My own standards baptism occurred when I attended my first CGATS WG6-TF1 meeting in Fort Lauderdale, FL in early 1999. I had no prior experience and had never even heard of Roberts Rules of Order.

So here I am, two-plus years later, a seasoned CGATS veteran patiently awaiting the adoption of the meeting's Agenda. Or so I thought. I must have been fidgeting like a percolating coffee pot, eager for release, when SC6-TF1 Chairman, Martin Bailey recognized me:

[as recorded in the Minutes]

"Tully reported on the successful creation of the first PDF/X-1a file, in cooperation with Time, Inc. and others. The file was also created as a TIFF/IT file. It has been reported that the printed PDF/X-1a file is indistinguishable from the printed TIFF/IT file. The first live add to be printed will a Ralph Loren add to appear in Dirt Rag Magazine, and will be printed by Banta."

Upon my return work, I oversaw the distillation, proofing and delivery of '7195RLX_F01Dirt.pdf' -- the Ralph Lauren - POLO ad. In recognition of the significance of the ad [file], (2) additional Kodak Approval proofs were made. I had them matted and framed, one for my boss and one for the plant's Managing Director.

[ I inherited this one in February 2011 when I became Managing Director of the North Haven facility ]


The industry's first PDF/X-1a:2001 ad printed without any fanfare or difficulty, appearing in the October 2001 issue of Dirt Rag Magazine. We can only imagine how many PDF/X-1a files have been created and printed since...?



Happy Birthday PDF/X-1a:2001 !

Automate your workflow with Enfocus Switch

Posted by Scott Tully on Tue, Jul 05, 2016 @ 04:23 PM

Tags: workflow, Enfocus Switch, automation


If you didn't know already, NAPC has added Enfocus Switch, PitStop and Connect to its production-enhancing toolbox. While most everyone has heard of or used PitStop to verify and repair PDF files, let me introduce you to Switch and share with you some of its wicked-cool features.


Switch is a modular and 'open' workflow automation solution that's, 'just right'. By that I mean, it fits. It fits right in between Xinet's Triggers & Actions and Dalim Software's TWiST when comparing features, capabilities and cost of ownership.


First off, Switch can do anything Triggers & Actions can do. And when it comes to 'set-up' or 'configuration', it's no contest -- there's a rudimentary interface for Triggers and Actions and an intuitive, interactive one for Switch.


In Switch, you simply drag-n-drop the Flow Elements on the canvas and join them with Connectors. When done assembling and configuring, save the workflow (Flow) and activate it.


Switch is highly modular; you only purchase the modules you need. Starting with the Core Engine, Switch's capabilities are expanded with the optional modules: Configurator, Metadata, Database, Scripting, Performance, Switch Client, Web Services and Switch Proxy.


Switch is based on the popular programming language: JavaScript. In being 'open', Switch can be extended with custom scripting written in JavaScript, AppleScript (Mac) or Visual Basic (Windows). The input-processing-output capabilities are based on standards such as: XML, XMP, XSLT, X-Path, SQL, HTML, HTTP, FTP to name a few.


As you would expect, Switch seamlessly integrates with PitStop Server and Connect to form a dynamic, end-to-end workflow. If this isn't enough to get you thinking about seeing, or better yet, owning Switch, there are three things that make Switch peerless.


First, Switch is always 'current' as its processing power comes from the applications you already own. As those apps are updated, new Configurators are made available via the Pack Manager. Since Switch automatically checks for new Configurators each time it is launched (or you can check for updates manually) the production environment is perpetually kept up to date.


Second is the Enfocus Appstore. Like Apple's App Store, the Enfocus Appstore serves as a co-creation platform where you can buy custom Flow Elements (tools) that extend your Switch Flows. Need a special gadget? Check the Appstore. Better yet, if you solve a particular workflow problem/need with a custom script, you can package it and post it for sale!


Lastly, there is Enfocus Forum, a vibrant, international community of contributors for exchanging tips, tricks and opinion.


Watch Switch in action Julty 11th, during Enfocus' annual online webinar series:

Register Here

DAM, MAM and GLAM!!!!

Posted by Grant Mongardi on Mon, May 02, 2016 @ 10:53 AM

Tags: BAM, Xinet, DAM

THIS is the Xinet User Interface you've been asking for!


Create visually stunning, mobile friendly, and state of the art interfaces for each of your customers and end-users with E6 from NAPC. We've spent years developing for and extending the underlying toolset to meet the needs of our hundreds of customers in order to bring you a fully customizable UI with tools that you could only dream of.

We've built this interface from the ground-up based upon our years of experience with Digital Cybrarians, Studio Managers, Retouchers, Video Production departments, Brand Managers, and Printers. We've done our best to add all of the tools and UI enhancements that our customers and their customers have asked for. And we're adding features everyday. Here are a few screenshots showing just a touch of what you can get from Xinet when you use E6 from NAPC:

A Zoomable, pinchable, dragable viewer!

Mouse-over large previews!

A swipe-able, side-scroller Gallery View with popup metadata!

A Drag-N-Drop Lightbox for basket integration, side-by-side compare tool, emailing and file management!


Call NAPC today to schedule a full demo of our product suite. This is something you should really get excited about. We are!


Soft Proofing: Leave your mark with Dalim ES

Posted by Scott Tully on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 @ 12:37 PM

Tags: approve, brand, Softproofing, ES, Dalim ES, Dalim Software

Shake it up

Okay gang, here's your opportunity to shake things up and leave your mark.

Your proofreading mark, that is. 


Don't settle

Why settle for pedestrian annotations when you can make and use your own?

That's right.

You can use the custom proofreading marks capability in ES to set the tone, get personal or make a point.

Own It !

Flathead icons? It MUST be an NAPC job !


I know those colors !

Get Personal

How about this rogues gallery of proof approvers?


No doubting who's who, here...or when reviewing proofs in ES !


Don't Clash

And it's no coincidence that the color surrounding each custom proofreading mark exactly matches the color of each approvers Notes...[defined in each ES User's preferences]

Point It Out

Consistency. The key to being a professional.


Try It

Here's how to do it in ES v4.5:

  1. Make a folder, name it with your custom theme. No Spaces in the folder name !
  2. Create your custom, proofreading mark artwork. Save your work as: .jpg, .png or .gif 
  3. Copy all your artwork into your custom theme folder.
  4. On your ES server, locate the default set of proofreading marks at:

Copy the file "metadata.xml" from the default folder to your custom theme folder. Carefully edit it by substituting the existing values of name, img and comment with your own. There should be one line for each of your artwork files. Save. Do NOT rename.

  5. Copy your custom theme folder to the ProofReadingMarks folder on the ES server.


Dalim Software Elevator Pitch

Posted by Scott Tully on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 @ 05:01 PM

Tags: TWiST, workflow, ES, Dalim ES, Dalim TWiST, Dalim Software

Join me in a first person, inner monologue based on the concept of an "Elevator Pitch"...

"I'm a proven, passionate practitioner of process control" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Green belt, black belt, yellow belt? Yeah I earned one, but no one but a 'lean' peer gives a '_______', so forget that. Administrator, Project Manager, Team Leader, Evangelist, Catalyst, Guru -- did someone just holler "BINGO!" ?

[as in the conference call or on-line presentation game Bulls#%t Bingo]

Heck, I don't even have a NAPC business card. I do have a title though: Solutions Architect. It's certainly applicable, but too broad. There is, however, a nickname, actually two words, with which I got tagged with a decade ago and have long since embraced: Dalim Dude.

Go ahead, tell 'em. You're the Dude...

Turning to you, I declare:

"I've been a Dalim Software user, administrator and advocate since 2002. I even served a two-year term (2005-07) as President of the [North American] Dalim Software Users Organization (DUO). Since joining NAPC in 2012, I've relished the opportunity of fulfilling an amalgam of technical, sales and ombudsman support roles for our Dalim Software offerings: Dalim TWiST and Dalim ES."

You nod, and I continue, in staccato cadence:

"TWiST is my [favorite] toolset."

I'd love to share it with you. Never seen it? Allow me to demonstrate it. Own it? Let me help you [your organization] optimize your workflows. Administrate it? Let me show a tip or two.

"In my view, no agency, printer or premedia department should be without TWiST."

I follow with:

I'm passionate about ES [Enterprise Solution] too. Project Management, Softproofing, Digital Asset Management with TWiST 'under the hood'. Smart Views, metadata, taxonomy and Custom Job Tickets...its all I could ever ask for.

Reaching our floor, I close:

I call ES the "shop in a box". It's everything an organization [like yours] needs to facilitate all aspects of visual communications production, in one package."

Before you dial or write, be aware there are two Scotts at NAPC: Scott Creamer, Director of Support Operations and me. So, when you call and Kelly responds, "which Scott?" all you have to say is, "the Dude, I wanna talk with the Dalim Dude". If writing, all you need to remember is NAPC is passionate about Dalim Software, so put 'em together and you're there: dalim@napc.com.


Or, click the button below:

Talk to the Dude


Wait, is that ... Xinet? What's new in E6

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Jan 05, 2016 @ 10:57 AM

Tags: GUI, Xinet, Elegant, DAM, NAPC, metadata, SSO, E6

    Welcome back from the holidays! To start your year off right, here's a list of some really cool improvements we've made over the last 2 months or so in E6, our Xinet interface. We're focusing on usability, performance, and generally easing the adoption of using a DAM system, both for casual and power users.

In no particular order, here's what we've been up to-

We released a new theme- 'Air'. It allows a single background image across all pages, custom volume and folder icons, and lots of other neat features. Check it out:

New 'uploader' plugin- a really nice interface for editing metadata on lots of files. It does drag and drop, and drag and select to choose the files you want some metadata applied to, etc... We'll port the code to Batch Keyword Apply in the next couple weeks, so your cybrarians will have a *much* easier time of setting and correcting metadata on groups of files. And of course, we kept the best bits from the original version- individual progress bars, feedback to the users.

'Steal a Link' in SuperMail- both when browsing in E6 and from the Mac desktop. You can now get a SM link copied to your clipboard to add into a personal email. We had lots of folks who didn't want to send a SM to themselves, then copy the link from there into their email client.

New versions comparison function- you can compare 2 files side by side and zoom in on them. Choose different versions of the same file, (even if the filetpes are different!) and compare them.

You can now export and Import E6 sites- Host to host, or on the same host. We had someone build a site on a Dev server in Cali, export it, and import it into the Prod server in Chicago. Cool stuff!

Gallery view- who doesn't love themselves a Gallery? We then added drag&drop to it, because well, drag&drop.

E6 AFR with SuperMail- with fine grained permission rights. It's awesome - reusing the SuperMail interface, it's 100% reliable (a marked improvement over the OOB experience). Check out Sully's video here: bit.ly/E6_AFR

True SSO- we built a SAML plugin for E6 that will work with any idP out there that 'speaks' SAML 2. It just works, as I like to say. 

Better Navigation- We're always looking for how to bump productivity and ease of use. We added in the ability to navigate up through higher levels using the breadcrumbs along the top. Little triangles of joy I call them. The developers try and tell me stuff like "it's built with AJAX, so no page load hit", but I just nod my head and enjoy the experience.



Internationalization- It's a global world, and people want a familiar touch. We fully support any and all date formats automatically, based on your browser's settings. If you're in the US, you see month/day/year. If you're in Europe, day/month/year. Text is easily customised too, everything can be translated usng a simple text file.

InPress plugins compatibilty- We wrote E6 with an eye towards openness and ease of integration. All InPress plugins are fully compatible with E6, as are all WebNative Basket plugins. 

Documentation- We're documenting everything on our online docs, usually the same day a new feature get's released. Click the help button on any page, and you go right to the correct help page for that subject.



    So, start the new year off right, and push that 'update' button in Elegant6.  Or,  jump the E6 install  line by dropping us a line - helpdesk@napc.com . Make the subject "E6 install" or "I need me some E6" (fastest response for that one), and the installation elves will get cracking.

    We also hold a  weekly E6 training, every Friday at 12:30 Eastern.  http://bit.ly/E6_Class

              Make your users happy. Make your work life better. E6.





Zero is HUGE!!!!

Posted by Grant Mongardi on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 @ 02:00 PM

Tags: Security, AD, IT, cloud security

Zero Sign-On for Zero hassles. Simple solution to everyday frustration.

Wait? What did I just say?
Yes, it sounds like I've gone completely crazy, but the kind of zero I'm talking about is huge. For everyone!

I'm talking about Zero Sign-On. You might be saying "I've heard of Single Sign-On (SSO) Grant, but what the heck is Zero Sign-On?". Zero Sign-On is the idea that if you can identify the device being used to connect then you can assume that device belongs to and is controlled by someone you know, and as such can let them connect without actually having to type a password. It's physical security, much like a door key or pass-card is. If I know that your mobile phone or tablet is owned and controlled by you, then I should have no problem using that device as the unique identifier indicating that you are the one trying to connect. Better yet, if I know the device is controlled by both you and me, I can be very comfortable in asserting to anyone that I can control access of both the device and the end-user.

"So Grant, how does all of this work?". In short, by uniquely identifying and then "tagging" that device, be it a phone, tablet or even a netbook, then you can use that as a pass-key to getting into protected resources without having to type a password. The device uniquely identifies you as you, rather than a user/password combination. Not only can it not be "hacked" without the actual device, but it can't be easily "shared" like a user/password can.

"Yeah Grant, but what if someone steals it?". Well, with a proper service like Centrify's IaaS Cloud service for this then all of that should be taken care of. Centrify's offering lets the user register their own devices under their user account. In addition to using it for Zero Sign-On and changing forgotten passwords, it also lets them find the device on a map, lock it remotely, wipe it remotely, and even see what the battery charge level is. But more importantly it lets you, the IT or Security Administrator do important things like apply group policy to the device (like encrypting storage, screen-lock time, passcode length/complexity, etc), unenroll the device and disable Zero Sign-On, and lock or wipe the device.

Centrify Cloud lets you find your lost device, lock it, and even wipe it!

Finally, it let's you see and report on the device's activity and even see if it's been jail-broken and is being backed-up to the Cloud!

"So what about the user's laptop?". Well, if that user has a laptop capable of IWA then the user can use that for Single Sign-On, allowing them to access their services without typing their password again. Centrify DirectControl for Macs will enable IWA on Apple Macs and it's built into Windows, so they just login to the laptop and they're done.

So a few of the best "Zero"s are: Zero support, Zero audit findings, and Zero shared credentials. And that all translates into infinitely better security and tighter controls over your valuable corporate resources.

For more information on Centrify Identity Service or other great products from Centrify just contact us at TheExperts@napc.com and we'll be happy to give you a full demo. We'll also be having a Webinar on Elegant 6 SAML and Centrify's Cloud service on November 19th, 2015 at 2:00 PM EST. Register here to join us for an hour!


Password Performance That Isn’t A Compromise

Posted by Grant Mongardi on Wed, Nov 04, 2015 @ 09:12 AM

Tags: Security, AD, cloud security, Password, SSO

So the question often arises of how can I have a secure password that I can remember and that meets the criteria of my policy? It comes up all of the time. Most systems place criteria on setting a new password to something like this:

  • must be at least 8 characters
  • must contain uppercase & lowercase characters
  • must contain a number
  • must contain a symbol

and often:

  • cannot contain the username
  • cannot contain consecutive duplicate character

Although there is some dissention as to whether or not all of these criteria are necessary, it certainly does help. It means you can't only have your dog's name or your daughter's birthdate as your password. But most people have a problem even creating passwords that meet the criteria, never mind remembering them.

I suggest thinking of the password differently. If you think of your password as a "pass-phrase" rather than a single word then you are much more likely to both remember it and to create one that is very secure. First you can think of a subject that you're connected with. For example let's say that you're a huge fan of computer games. Perhaps you might create a password like this:

It's a-me, Mari0! 


It's super effect1ve!

So those certainly meets our criteria, assuming your name isn't Mario. And hopefully you can remember it. What if you're a SciFi movie buff? How about these:

Han sh0t first.

I'll b3 back.

We're all standing n0w!

I'm afra1d, Dave.

I'm my 0wn best friend!

In any case, the idea is that you create passwords based upon a phrase that you can remember. You should utilize punctuation just as you would because that helps meet the requirement of special characters. And finally you replace a part or a character with a number or symbol until you've met the criteria required.  

Mind you, this isn't the perfect solution but it meets the criteria and is far more secure than an 8-character password that you can never remember (and then can't reuse). Using a password like this for 60 days far exceeds the security of a random string of 8 characters. A desktop PC utilizing a couple of GPUs can crack 3750 8-character passwords in the about the same time it takes to crack a single 10-character password. Add more characters and those numbers get even better. Most of the passwords above would take years to crack, if not decades.

Contact The Experts <theexperts@napc.com> for options to ensure better security with less work and better compliance across all of your services & websites! Single Sign-On and ZERO Sign-On for all of your corporate web services!

BREAKING NEWS: Video content storage is scalable

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 @ 11:04 AM


Moving pictures were once called such for all the wonderful and obvious reasons...they were actually moving! While not called “moving” anymore, video content is still actively growing and growing (and growing) at exponential rates!

Think of the world around you...the long-form feature films, timely news broadcasts, ad spots, and short clips on social media...we as a society are literally overflowing with access to any kind of footage we desire...and, so is our storage!

Understanding the need for “scalability” is one of our driving forces at NAPC. That’s why we take a modular approach; from storage, to file systems, to project management. We chose Scale Logic video solutions because it’s easy to use, easy to maintain, and extremely stable. With the bottom line, of course, founded on delivering ROI.

No matter what your application, or how your editors are using our tools, this strong media asset management system can be applied to handle the video content workflow of any project.

Scale Logic Use Case:

An ad agency creates a new spot for a large retailer, which airs nationally during a large sporting event. Footage arrives from the shoot and quickly becomes an asset/project that is created on the storage, running the file system. The footage is also automatically archived on tape or other device for backup, if needed.

NAPC’s experience with end-to-end video production and agency workflows goes back decades. Maintaining, enhancing, and protecting your valuable content, as it grows, is how we’ll help you evolve into the future. 

Crank up your video content storage capabilities GET THE POWER OF SCALABILITY HERE

Awesomeness, reborn. Elegant 6 for Xinet is out!

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 05:48 PM

Tags: Elegant, DAM, Xinet Training

I’m incredibly excited to report the release of Elegant 6. It’s been a long, strange trip from it’s origin over 10 years ago as ‘Green’ - a simple, intuitive DAM interface for casual users.

Many of you have seen previews from the last couple webinars we’ve held, and some of you have been Beta testers (huge props to the Beta team!). For the rest of you, here’s what you can expect:

Performance- It’s fast. Really fast. Our Engineering, Performance and Metrics team have said it’s waaaay faster than Elegant 5, Exhibit, or anything else Xinet out there. That’s a technical term, of course.

Ease of use- we stripped out as many doodads as possible, removing buttons and confusing options for the user all over the place. Everything you see on the screen that is text is customizable, so you can make the buttons say what YOU want. Makes internationalization a breeze too.

Mobile friendly- Out of box we’re multitouch compliant. Pinch and spread away, the interface will zoom in and out, just as you’d expect. Sweet for quick reviews from the road.

Ease of use also translates into more feedback. We’re providing feedback all the time- from adding files to baskets, to browsing into empty folders, you always know what’s going on. And the new interface for uploading files is “light years ahead” (another technical term) of the current. No more users cancelling big uploads, or closing windows before their time.

Send supermail from the finder! Yep, a user can be browsing from the mac desktop, highlight some files, and send links to them without having to go to portal and repeat the operations. “Amazingly useful” is the least flattering comment we’ve gotten on this one.

12000% improvement in file management. OK, that’s an approximation. But real, robust file management through Elegant’s web interface is here. And it’s awesome.

Easy color theming- using online tools like Painstrap, it’s simple to create a color scheme to die for, and then slide it into Elegant 6. See previews of the new look  in the interface as you are applying and fine tuning. We got more than a little applause from the community for this one.

There’s dozens and dozens more, of course. Since we started from scratch it’s built with modern tools, making support a breeze. There’s a self updater, so you can see what’s new in the latest and upgrade yourself to get the latest feature set. We also built it so anyone with CSS skills can change the look and feel without having to pore over a Portal manual, and climb the steep learning curve of legacy software.

We’ll be in touch over the coming days and weeks, working with you on getting you into the future right now. Feel free to drop a line to helpdesk@napc.com with “Elegant 6 install” in the subject, and we’ll move you up the list (you deserve it for getting this far in a blog post!).

Here’s some common questions:

Any downtime for the install?

No, ‘course not.

Do all my users need to switch over right away?

Nope. Elegant 6 and Elegant 5 live next to each other.  E6 doesn’t even need portal to run, believe it or not. It’s that different!

Will my Elegant plugins/ custom CSS/ custom javascript port over?

Sadly, no. Given the vast difference in the code base, these kinds of things need to be recreated from scratch. That being said, we’ve included in E6 a ton of the plugins we’ve built over the years.



Is there a video I can watch?

Yep- right here: http://bit.ly/elegant6release




How much does this cost?


If you’re currently under support, Zilch. Zip. Nada. This is what support should go to- modernization and better code. We hate fixing bugs and retrofitting code too. So upgrade, and make your life better, already!