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How to recognize the differences between Taxonomy and Metadata and live to tell about it.

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Mon, Mar 03, 2014 @ 09:01 AM
  
  
  

zombies

 

The world of technology is overrun with words that are, in simple terms, extremely hard to understand. And just when you think you’ve got one where you want it, another one pops up in its place.

Nevertheless it’s critical that you are up to speed with what’s going on in your business, so NAPC has got your back. We’re attacking two frequently used terms; breaking them down piece by piece, so you can rise to the top and take back order in your own brain.

So let’s start first with Taxonomy.

Taxonomy is neither related to taxes, nor having to do with stuffing a deceased animal. It is a logical way of organizing things into a hierarchy.

Example:

-Zombie defense shelter (root of hierarchy…what holds everything)
--Inside the shelter are storage racks (subset of shelter)
---On the storage racks are shelves (subset of storage racks)
----On the shelves are weapons and food supplies (subset of shelves)

A place for everything, and everything is in its own, unique place. Easy, right?

And now, Metadata.

Metadata is keywords that help you find things more easily. There are three kinds of metadata: Descriptive Metadata, Structural Metadata and Administrative Metadata.

Say you’re needing a Bazooka. You’d look in the “Heavy Arms” bin on the shelf in your zombie shelter. “Heavy Arms” are your Descriptive Metadata key words because they collectively describe and group like items. In doing so, you’re able to find the exact location of that bazooka you so sorely require.

Now you’re looking for a specific type of Bazooka, so you want a little more structure in the words that direct you. Super-bazooka (bazooka name), M30 White Phosphorous (bazooka type), Electric motor (bazooka format). This is Structural Metadata because it breaks down the individual item into structural layers. Heck, when you’re fighting off zombies you better have the exact bazooka you need!

Lastly, there’s Administrative Metadata; which answers the basic questions of Who (general human population) What (Zombie Apocalypse) and When (any day now).

So whether you’re after Rick Grimes’ role in Walking Dead, or trying to figure out the best way to utilize DAM, NAPC leaves you armed with information!

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Business Not Buttons

Posted by Rob Steinberg on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 @ 01:07 PM
  
  
  
Business Not Buttons

Many New Year’s resolutions focus on making relationships better. Whether it’s a friend you don’t see enough, or a family member you’d like to appreciate more, now is the time to start fresh, set goals, and make things happen.

Often, the best way to build a better connection is to simplify your approach. Our goal for 2014 is to strengthen bonds with customers by helping you truly understand the full value of what we offer, in the easiest, most direct ways possible.

At NAPC, we’re more than just smart, simple software solutions; we’re a dedicated bunch who love the technology side of things, but love connecting with our customers even more. We see your work life at your level, and know you simply don’t have time for a lot of buttons, bells and whistles. Too many apps, too little time…we get it.

Now in 2014, we’re striking a balance with social channels using their up-to-the-minute capabilities, while still keeping our messaging straightforward, and “all business.” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are there for quick tips, tricks and solutions that keep you in touch with the support you need. We’ve even got a helpful “how-to-fix it/use it” video at FlatHeadU.com.

 When that isn’t enough we’ll do it the old-fashioned way and, come hell or high water, get to you in person.

Like Sully (pictured in a bike helmet beneath a beam of sunlight), who drove 3 ½ hours to his client TWICE in 48 hours to fix a late night crisis. And Grant (proudly sporting a big white ‘stache at bottom right), who hopped a plane and spent a long weekend helping to defend a client’s files from a devastating device failure.

Most often, the service side of business relationships isn’t truly appreciated until something goes wrong.  There’s a better way. We need to prove ourselves to you constantly, consistently.

We’re here to help you learn how to use your products, be comfortable with them, and make the most of all they can do for you.

Even better, we’re eager to get out of the office and get on the road! Set up a free consultation today by clicking here, or calling us at 781-894-3114 x1002.

And, of course, you can start following us immediately by connecting with any of our social channels below.

 We wish you much health, happiness and clarity in 2014.

 Your friends at NAPC.

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NAPCgroup

Twitter: www.twitter.com/NAPCgroup

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/napc

 

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New in Xinet 17.6

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 @ 03:34 PM
  
  
  


I wanted to follow up our Webinar about what's new in Xinet 17.6
We mentioned three things and looked at two. Extensible Archiving is the
topic for an upcoming Webinar about Archiware P-5 and OnFile from InPress.
Modern search with Solr from the Apache Lucene Project was second.
( here's a link for the curious: http://lucene.apache.org/solr/ )
And the enhanced asset accessibility with Pilot was third.

When reviewing Pilot, we had a lot of questions about it and I don't think
I did a good job explaining what it is initially. My apologies. I should
have realized that even though this actually came out with 17.5, a lot of
you hadn't actually seen it yet. We had posted a video to our FlatheadU
Vimeo Channel several months ago.
( http://vimeo.com/channels/flatheadu/71254975 )

So lets get technical and take one paragraph from the Xinet Client Manual:
XINET PILOT
"Xinet Pilot is an evolution from the Asset Browser feature into a Xinet-aware media browser for Mac client desktops.
( and Windows as of 17.6 )
Liberated from Adobe plug-in status, Xinet Pilot runs on the client as a service, no longer restricted to working within a single Adobe application. One instance of Xinet Pilot can flow seamlessly between InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop to allow users to search, browse, annotate, add metadata, and drag-and-drop assets from this browser directly into Creative Suite files without opening a separate Web-browser application. When launched, Xinet Pilot will be the forefront-most application on the Mac desktop, but visibility can be easily toggled on and off as necessary."

That's not too much Geek Speak.
It's a desktop application using WebKit which is an open source web browser
engine. The connection goes to a custom Portal site called pilot. This site
is based on the Default Portal settings. As the product matures some of the
configuration settings will become more administrable. So we're told.

You can drag assets out of Pilot and into InDesign and if you have an AFP
mounted volume, it will 'link' to the Xinet path. If you don't have an AFP
connection it will download an FPO file. Dragging to the desktop however,
will download the original full resolution file. Based of course on the
user logged in Volume permission set. If you have web permission for high
res downloads, you can drag them out of Pilot. No high res download perms,
then no drag and drop download.

On the other hand, the Solr search engine seemed to be well received and
understood pretty quickly. More so than I was expecting actually. I guess
that's due to familiarity of the typical google search, since Solr drives
most of the web's searching.

Solr benefits will be huge for Xinet users as North Plains brings in more
and more of the features. This is their first pass and so far, it's pretty
impressive. I'm looking forward to working with you all to open up this new
tool in Xinet. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at the
helpdesk@napc.com, or reply below and we'll help you along.
And forgive me, but I can't pass up this one liner:
With Solr, the future's so bright, I gotta' wear shades..!

 -Sully

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I'm An American Veteran

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 @ 07:21 AM
  
  
  

I'm an American veteran.
One of the luckiest in the nation having served in a narrow slice of the American time line, known as "Peace Time." As a Navy Photographer on the USS Nimitz my biggest daily stress was if the camera flash went off to properly light the scene of the "Skipper" and a visiting dignitary on the Bridge of the carrier. For a while I was the editor of the ships cruise book and the Captain's personal photographer. I had the world by the balls and I knew it at the time!

When someone thanks me for my service, I feel a little bit of pride. But if they say, thank you for your sacrifice, I get embarrassed. Sacrifice? I was away from my family one Christmas while I was overseas. In Naples Italy, Franko, the guy that owned the Pub I frequented, pretty much adopted me and a couple of shipmates for Christmas. He and his wife Maria had us up to his family villa for dinner and several bottles of vino. He then gave us his car to drive back down the mountain to our hotel. Some sacrifice.

We are surrounded by men that fought in wars from yesteryear and also now, women from battle fields not long ago. Not all sacrifices are as visible as a missing limb and it's not easy to tell what sacrifice a warrior carries in their heart. Or if part of their soul was left in a far away land. These are the men and woman I'd like to salute this Veterans Day.
Thank you for your service.
Thank you for your sacrifice.

-Sully

#VetransDayIs

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Archives, Archives, who's got my Archives?

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 @ 02:35 PM
  
  
  

We were all thrown into a whirlwind of activity with North Plain's (NP)  notice this year of the End of Life of SGL's FlashNet for Xinet. Here's the State of the Nation with regard to Archives:

In the immediate near term there's a great new archiving solution using modern software. The builder of the integration has a long history of writing to exactly this space, and his current tools allow restores from FlashNet as well. For the medium term, we can help you setup a system that will give you easy access to archives using the familiar tools, while you restore as much legacy archives as you feel needed. Long term- you restore files using the base FlashNet software, for as long as you can find hardware that will support the tape technology in use at time of archive.


SGL's FlashNet is going away, and in it's place we'll be relying on Archiware's P5 Archive. This backup software is robust, modern, with a hugely enhanced toolset, and a long history or being present in this exact space of Graphic Arts. We're excited by the options and capabilities it presents, from hyper-intelligent backups to much better hardware support, to a modern web-based interface. Archive to Disk? check. Perpetual intelligent incremental backups? check. Ability to offload backup off primary disk to either other disk or tape? check. It's great stuff, and we can't wait to help you getting  it in place and using it.

FlashWeb and it's recent replacement WebNative Archive are going away, being replaced by InPress' OnFile. InPress has been building solutions for Xinet for forever, and has a rich history and understanding of how to write robust code for the ecosystem. They have hundreds and hundreds of instances of InPressive and Accelerator out there, and a great tool set that enhances the Xinet experience. NAPC has been doing business with them for years, and are really excited and pleased by North Plains choosing of InPress as the heir to building out the interface between Xinet and Archive. Jorgen and Co. are well on the way to an initial release that will fulfill the common need- an easy way to find archives, submit them for restore, monitor progress, or ask an admin to restore files.

The other large concern we've been facing is how to ensure continued access to legacy archives. SGL's licensing machine is going dark next summer, so if there's a HW failure that requires a new license, one won't be available after that, which is a crippling prospect. We've worked out with NP a strategy for setting up a legacy restore server: a separate, static Xinet setup, one that has a small license but full access to archives through the web interface, to allow for easy user restores while a larger restore operation takes place. We're envisioning this as a small older server (or VM) with the older tape library attached.

In the longer term, for 'deep' archives that weren't worth the effort of restoring in bulk, you'll be able to attach a standalone drive to an even smaller box, and restore the very occasional file through the much beloved X interface. There's never been a license needed for FlashNet to restore through a single tape drive, licenses are only needed to drive a robot or to use the higher level functionality.

We're all over this- we understand the value and need for robust archiving and access to the lifework of your company. Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns, etc..., etc....

rob

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We can help- Active Directory

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 @ 10:59 AM
  
  
  

I'd like to start a discussion regarding the many offerings we can provide to make your life easier, more productive, and more secure. One area we excel in and can help you out with is Active Directory Integration, Security and Auditing.


Active Directory is wildly popular in the enterprise, and with good reason. It's arguably one of the best products Microsoft has come out with. A single point of entry for new employees, permissions, and security, it's a great way to make sure you know who has access to systems, that password security meets a standard, allows users to be turned on and off centrally, and it 'just works'.


NAPC has partnered for years with Centrify, the leader in Non-Windows AD integration. We've been using them for Unix integration since they first came out with their world class solutions, and they just keep getting better. You probably know of us and them from your Xinet server. We also have been doing Mac desktop integration (Centrify leans on us for this expertise when they need implementation !). Check out our video on easy rollout of desktop macs to get a sense of what can be done, in addition to the basics-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHrvZiYEZaE


That's just the tip of the iceberg though. Centrify and NAPC can provide data-center wide services- helping implement AD integration across all your *nix systems. There's a very powerful suite of permissions tools included, so you not only get a stable central authentication structure, you also get an easy way to put 'like' servers into admin groups, and assign rights for users and groups to multiple servers simultaneously. This is tremendously efficient. They have the ability to apply sudo permissions as well in this way, all through an easy, intuitive interface.


On top of this, there's even a great story for Windows servers. Centrify gives reporting capabilities that AD itself doesn't. The suite includes much finer grained abilities to search for idle users, accounts, and machines. We've had people fail SOX audits, and been shown the tool in Centrify that  would have caught the exceptions beforehand. And with automated reporting, you can show the auditors you're trapping for this now, and there's no more examples of it. Talk about looking like a hero!


Another example of what can be done is ongoing auditing of systems. You can load a very lightweight client on any Unix or Windows machine that will actually record screen captures of a users actions. That way, if a system goes down, and an Admin or service provider can't remember exactly what they did, you can watch a video of them typing, mistyping, pushing buttons. This helps you from a SOX auditing standpoint for allowing remote providers in, but also allows you to understand exactly what was done that broke the system. This is hugely powerful, not only to speed up recovery, but also from a training perspective for your admins.


This just breaks the surface of what the tools are capable of. Please feel free to reach out and ask what else can be done, or if you have specific needs, or just feel like you could be doing more on the security and auditing front. Odds are, there's a solution that can address your needs, get you home on time, and sleeping soundly!


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Video: An In-Depth Look At Xinet Pilot

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 10:47 AM
  
  
  

Xinet Pilot from FlatheadU on Vimeo.

I blogged about the new North Plains, Xinet Pilot, when it first came out and we've had a few inquiries about it's configuration and functionality. Xinet Pilot is a Desktop Service. North Plains' description is an evolution from the Asset Browser feature into a Xinet-aware media browser for Mac client desktops. That's the fancy speak. I just call it awesome!

They further explain that Xinet Pilot runs on the client as a service, no longer restricted to working within the a Adobe application. And that's the awesome part: Freedom from the individual applications!

I provide a look at Xinet Pilot in our latest Flathead U video. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

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Tutorial: Installing Xinet Elegant Plugins

Posted by Michael Carusi on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 @ 04:00 PM
  
  
  

In a previous blog, we discussed NAPC developer plugins for Elegant. These plugins allow you to modify an Elegant site in a less intrusive way. The goal is to allow site's your modifications to work or be easily ported across major new releases of Elegant admin/portal. Plugins reduce the need to wade through the templates for any changes you may have/need to make. Additionally they allow you to enable and disable customized features on a per site basis. This will give you more granular control over your end-users experience.

This quick tutorial will walk you through the three step process of installing Elegant plugins to enhance your Xinet functionality.

WARNING: Do not install a demo (30 day trial) plugin on a production server. It will halt production if it expires!

Installing a plugin is easy. Simply log into elegant admin as nativeadmin on your portal server: http://your-portal-server/elegant_admin/ Be warned: You need a web browser that supports HTML 5 (this tutorial uses FireFox version 20.0)

On the homepage, you want to click the button to the far right called “Manage Plugins”. It will take you to the plugin screen. After that you can follow the steps below:


Step 1: Click Install Plugin

elegant plugin

 

Step 2: Click and drag the Plugin to the grey area. You should see a loading bar and a green checkmark when it’s completed the install

 elegant xinet plugin

 

Step 3: Refresh the page and make sure the plugin appears on the list

 

elegant step 3

That was easy, wasn’t it? Congratulations: You’ve successfully installed your new Elegant plugin. If you’ve taken a look at existing plugins but we aren’t offering functionality that you would like to see, contact us to make a plugin request.

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Xinet Goes Mobile With Elegant 5

Posted by Kenny Kirsch on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 @ 04:03 PM
  
  
  

We live in a mobile world, and the odds are that you do as much work on your smartphone or tablet as you do on a desktop. When Xinet version 17 was released, it was optimized for tablets but it didn't know you were on an iPad. There was no variable between Xinet tablet access and regular desktop access.

NAPC leveraged its UX team and pushed the envelope with delivering theme-based user interfaces for the Xinet community, and we felt it was important to put a lot of time and energy into the mobile experience. As a result, Elegant 5 is intelligent and can easily be enabled for iPad. It’s more intuitive for a tablet and disables everything that wouldn’t work in a tablet setting. The ability to download a high resolution asset, for example, is disabled.

Elegant 5 mobile

As a result, the Elegant 5 experience on a tablet is not not going to confuse the user. Everything you can do on a tablet with Xinet is focused exactly on what works with the tablet. It’s the full experience without the frustrations and any added bloat. It even feels like an iOS application, but you don’t need one. You come in through the browser.

Check out our video for a more detailed walkthrough of Elegant 5 so you can start taking your work mobile.

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Five Tools To Protect Your Digital Assets Online

Posted by Grant Mongardi on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 @ 10:31 AM
  
  
  

hacking protection

"BEIJING: Cyber attacks that stole information from 141 targets in the US and other countries have been traced to a Chinese military unit in a drab office building in the outskirts of Shanghai, a US security firm alleged Tuesday." - Reuters

Google, Facebook, New York Times, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Nortel Networks hacked. What chance do you stand?

If you can't trust your hardware, what do you trust? Information. Information is the key to both preventing and recovering from cyber attacks to your infrastructure. The right set of tools can be essential in protecting your data, digital assets, and your peace of mind.

1. Firewall - The first line of defense.

This is reasonably straightforward, however you need to be sure you're getting what you expect. Newer hardware from Cisco, Sonicwall, HP and Dell should be fine. ZTE not so much. Keep your hardware reasonably up-to-date to ensure the best security at the perimeter. Older, unpatched hardware is just open door.

2. Identity Management - a means of authentication and Identification. You need to know who is in your systems.

You need to maintain a centralized store of usernames and passwords. Islands of unmanaged identities is questionable if it is resides inside your firewall or even worse, on your DMZ. Ensuring that you are both recording login failures and password lockouts is also an essential part of prevention. If you have stores of unmanaged accounts that provide access to anything on your network you really need to make those go away. This is the achilles heel of any security-conscious company.

3. Authorization - You need to know who can do what.

You need to manage what levels of access every account in your organization has. This means that each role in your company should have an assigned set of requirements for infrastructure access, and that should determine exactly what their needs are for privilege requirements.

4. Auditing - you need to know what they are doing or what they did.

Log as much information as possible and review that information regularly. It's often the case that after the forensics on a hacked system that evidence of the compromise was there weeks or even months prior to the system actually being hacked. In fact we've found it's more the rule han the exception. Hackers are lazy, and typically will simply run automated scanning scripts on entire ranges of IP addresses looking for vulnerable systems. They often don't come back to the list of systems until they have some need later on. In many cases you can prevent a system compromise by simply being diligent in monitoring your systems.

5. IDS/IPS - Intrusion Detection and/or Prevention system.

"IDS" if you are unaware stands for Intrustion Detection System. These are typically network-resident systems that monitor network traffic and analyze it for potential nefarious conditions. Some of these systems rely simply on being able to promiscuously monitor all network packets, however some actually use client-installed detection systems that read directly from the machines in question. Using a combination of a well-designed IDS and IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) it's pretty much assured that you will prevent 99.9% of network/server compromises.

The part not discussed here is the likelihood of individual vulnerable systems either becoming compromised or becoming vectors for compromise. Some of this can be mitigated by the items above, however it's not silver bullet. The primary goal of the above is to prevent unauthorized access to your critical systems. Preventing access to your desktops, laptops and mobile devices is going to be a much more difficult job.

 

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