What a long strange trip it's been. Xinet dam development at NAPC

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 03:25 PM

Tags: agile, Xinet, Elegant, E6



It's been 3 years since I took the NAPC development team back under my wing. In that time we've rewritten our products, gotten amazing results for our customers as well as record sales, added new resellers, and had a huge surge in our market share as people have come to realize the NAPC difference.

 

Here's a quick review of what's been going on behind the scenes. I was going to make a fancy timeline, but we did so much so quickly I just couldn't wrap my mind around how to show it graphically.


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 Yes! We hit the 3 Million mark for E6 usage!


How we started:

We implemented Agile, I became a signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software. Agile is almost like CrossFit, you just can't help but tell folks you're into it. It's world changing, man...

We rebuilt product licensing from the ground up, planned out self installers and autoupdaters, automated version tracking of customer code, and about a bazillion other things you never see. Why should you care? We cut about 2.5 man weeks of labor a month when we were done. That's time we can perform QA, Document, and Code. The things that matter to YOU.

Once the foundation was poured and leveled:

We dove into the products- how they were used, and what could they become? We spoke to every customer, and discussed where we were heading. Some of these sessions got downright electric, as folks got what we were thinking, and the ideas were flying back and forth. A TON of where we are now came from that, so give yourselves a golf clap if you're one of the 200 or so folks I spoke with.

Here's a short list of major features that came from those calls-

Better info about version changes (thanks John)

Easier navigation without moving from the keyboard (thanks Evan and krewe)

More feedback (damn near everyone, but especially Charlie)

Documentation (emberassingly widespread, but the tip-o-the-hat goes to Carol)

Self updaters (thanks RP. I mean our resellers)

Drag and drop file management (Ginnie)

23 different SM improvements (Ginnie  ;)  )

A 'real' metadata interface (Emily and Dave)

Awesome uploader interface (Charlie and Emily)

Make AFR work (Todd, Kevin)

The list goes on and on. I was looking over my contemporaneous notes, and the thing that stands out is your desire to be part of the process, and help us to help you.

We dove into wireframing, blueskying, and figuring futures out as we were also doing final bug fixes for our existing suite. The developers mandate was to squash bugs, not put some scotch tape over 'em. After numerous insurrections were put down, this really started paying off. Again, the time we saved here allowed us to do what YOU care about, delivering amazing new tech that makes your worklife easier, better, and simpler.

 

The good stuff- releasing code:

Since we live and breath Agile, we started releasing code. First out the gate was the basics, with a couple ooh-ahh factors. Then we started adding in functionality as the market demanded. Turns out we're not mind readers, and things that seemed important to me no one else cared about. Alternatively, things that felt 'buried away' were actually key to production. Agile lets us react immediately as demand changes and evolves. Hey, did I tell you we do agile?

Oh, and of course we started a formal Beta program, so users could get in early.  I cannot thank the early adopters and Beta testers enough. Power users helping deliver powerful, rock solid features.

On a whimsical note, the developers made a video, showing the lighter side of the last 3 years :) We all love this stuff!

NOTE: mildly NSFW

 

 

 

 

 



A heartfelt thanks to all, and a bonus

I'd like to personally thank everyone involved, from the customers, to the developers, to the NAPC employees who  made this possible. We have a great team, one I'm incredbly proud of. Since you made it allll the way to the bottom, click this link if you want to beta our rewrite of CreativeBanks- CB5. We now give you a single interface to create and brand sites - CB5 is built into E6, so there's only one place to go. Fewer buttons, far less bouncing between screens, this cuts about 50% of deployment time from what's needed to rollout a landing page/E6 site.

CB5 Beta Invite


 

Veni-Vidi-Probi

Posted by Scott Tully on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 10:36 AM

Tags: Elegant, ProofHQ, Softproofing, productivity, E6, Production Central


Latin anyone?

Julius Caesar wrote the famous "Veni. Vidi. Vici." [ I came; I saw; I conquered. ] in a letter to the Roman Senate around 47 A.D. Today, I've modified the statement, replacing Vici with Probi.

I came; I saw; I approved.

You've got the industry's most popular Digital Asset Management platform: Xinet™. You've got the industry's best interface/toolset for Xinet: Elegant 6. So, what is your department/organization missing? An integrated softproofing solution that humbles even the most demanding of approval cycles.

I'd like to introduce Production Central™, the Xinet plugin that transforms your already potent production platform into a professional proofing portal. With Production Central, the proofing and approval process couldn't be easier or more flexible.

And you guessed it, the Production Central plugin is engineered for your E6-driven production environment !E6-PCE-Demonstration Xinet Dishes.pngProduction Central seamlessly joins E6 with proofHQ® to deliver an intelligent, enterprise-level softproofing solution. Infinitely configurable, Production Central leverages your existing [and future] job structure(s) to automatically generate and manage proofHQ proofs and send email notifications.

Probi

No matter your approval cycle's simplicity or complexity, Production Central facilitates real-time collaboration and status updates on every proof.

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The colorful, easy to interpret, Proofing Dashboard ensures that Reviewers, Approvers and Managers alike can, at a glance, see who has [or hasn't] Opened, Commented or made a Decision on every proof out On Approval.

Impromptu Inclusion

Need to add someone to the proof at the last minute? No problem. Need to modify the deadline? Click and reset it. How about corraling perpetual procrastinators? Production Central can automatically chase'em with time-sensitive, reminder email. Time for an immediate, executive decision? Make it and move on. Need to alert everyone assigned to the proof? Use a custom BUZZWORD in your proof comment to reach everyone. On the road? Approve, reject, mark-up on the go with the proofHQ app for smart phones and tablets.

Production Central will empower your personnel without adding more work.

Schedule a Production Central Demo Today !

Contact your NAPC Account Manager to schedule a Production Central demonstration, today !

2 million thanks to the E6 users! Xinet19 ready, and some hints...

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Thu, Jan 05, 2017 @ 02:56 PM

Tags: E6


2 Million pageviews, and record E6 sales in 2016!

 

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We reached a milestone right before the end of 2016- 2 Million pageviews in E6, our Xinet interface!! Below is the top 1/2 dozen reasons to make the switch, and some ideas on how to get more out of E6 if you're already running it.

I personally do a lot of outreach to users, asking for feedback, and making sure they keep me and the developers 'honest'. We also ran a survey asking for feedback on the adoption and rollout process, making sure we kept as simple as possible in a complicated world. Below are some reasons to jump aboard, and maybe some ways of using the software you didnt know....



Top benefits to switching to E6-

1) Simple, simple, simple, sharing of files. The ability to send templated, preformatted emails with clickable links and previews of files from the desktop or a Browser is HUGE. Right click and BOOM. Done. #sharingiscaring

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2) Advanced Batch Keyword Apply. Change metadata en masse on a bunch of files. This alone is worth the price of admission. Apply metadata to all, metadata to some, erase metadata. All in one view. Simple. Done. Oh, and you get the same interface on our 'Upload' page too! #cybrariansrock

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3) Speed. E6 is fast. Really fast. When we were doing discovery on rewriting our interface, *everyone* said if we had to choose between a feature or speed, opt for speed. We heard you. Every new feature, every new design get's benchmarked and optimized for speed. Everytime. We were always performance geeks on the hardware side, it's translated to our software too. #screaminglyfast

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4) Ease of Navigation. We've worked incredibly hard on the UX/UI. Minimal clicks to get anywhere, intuitive, easy to change interface. It's a very powerful, option rich software suite. Our mandate is to bridge the chasm between power users and the casual occasional user. We've seen interface and how to questions plummet in number since E6 came out, and our customers report the same. #easy-peasy

4) Feedback. Feedback. Feedback. We're manic about user feedback. Uploading, downloading, adding items to baskets, submitting forms, every interaction gives you positive acknowledgement of the action. One of the design criteria is a user never has to guess if they clicked a button, especially on a process that takes a while, like uploads or downloads. #feedbackisthenewfeature

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5) Drag-n-Drop File Management in the browser. Move or copy files and folders from E6 with ease. No extra clicks, no 3 or 4 steps to get to where you need- drag 'em into the lightbox, navigate to their new home, and select copy or move. Done. #noway,yesway!

6) Ease of Administration. You can update to the newest version with a single click. We QA all releases, so you know you're getting rock solid improvements. Thanks to the modern architecture, no need to recreate sites after upgrade. Bob's your uncle, all sites are updated automagically. #youhaveadayjob

7) Ready for Xinet 19. Since 17.7.1, E6 has been ready on day of release for every Xinet upgrade. No waiting, no upcharges for compatability. And, if you have customized E6 on your own, we promise not to ever break anything. #readyoutofthegate

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Between performance, features, and ease of admin, E6 is simply the best Xinet interface out there. #DAMawesome

If you don't have it already, get a free trial copy here:

E6 Demo Download

 

Feedback and comments always welcome, the software is where it is mainly due to the vociferous, avid user base. Thanks to all for the tips, suggestions, and occasionally tough love!



 

Lose Waste in 2017

Posted by Scott Tully on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 @ 12:19 PM

Tags: support, process, improvement


I resolve to...

In the last week of the year, it is not uncommon to be considering a New Year's resolution. Many of us put our health at the top of the list, resolving to quit smoking, eat better and exercise more. I suspect that your work or workplace is worthy of a resolution or two; as nobody is, nor is any process, perfect.

At your place of work, make a healthy bottom-line difference by resolving to lose waste.

That's right, Lose waste. And my friend, Tim Woods, can help.


Who is Tim Woods?

Tim Woods isn't a consultant or personal motivation trainer. Tim Woods isn't even a "he". Tim Woods is a tool, a mnemonic device in the toolbox of every Lean/Six Sigma practitioner. You see, Tim Woods helps us recall "The Eight Wastes".

The Eight Wastes are:

TTransport – Moving people, products & information
IInventory – Storing parts, pieces, documentation ahead of requirements
MMotion – Bending, turning, reaching, lifting

WWaiting – For parts, information, instructions, equipment
OOver production – Making more than is IMMEDIATELY required
OOver processing – Tighter tolerances, higher grade materials than are necessary
DDefects – Rework, scrap, incorrect documentation
SSkills – Under utilizing capabilities, delegating tasks with inadequate training



Get Lean

Now, regardless of your role, rank or position, take a look at the tasks and operations you perform while working. No matter the activity, there is sure to be one or more of the eight wastes in play. So, in these final days of 2016, resolve to lose waste in 2017 by making Tim Woods and NAPC the cornerstone of your process improvement program.

Start the new year right by making sure you and your teammates have Flathead U [your on-demand, self-help video resource] bookmarked in the browser. Schedule a Xinet System Audit [its covered in your support agreement] to make sure the platform is operating as efficiently as possible. Arrange for some topic-driven training to make sure you and your colleagues are masters of your domain. Check with your NAPC Account Manager to see if you have any unused Professional Services time [an example of "I" inventory] remaining. Request a workflow audit to identify wastes [notably the dead-WOOD] that could be remedied with a demonstration, instruction or intelligent automation.

You can do it, and NAPC is here to help !



 

Joe Sent Me. Multi-Factor Authentication for the Roaring 2020s.

Posted by Grant Mongardi on Thu, Dec 08, 2016 @ 10:31 AM

Tags: Security, AD, Centrify, cloud security

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In the days of Prohibition getting your Appletini was much more difficult than it ever should be. Foremost was the fact that they didn't exist. Other than that you would need to know where a speakeasy was, have the password ("Joe sent me"), and not be a copper (the law enforcement kind, not the British penny). In fact this was Multi-factor Authentication: something you know, something you have, and something you are (or are-not in this case). NAPC can help you revisit these roaring 20's but for the 2020s, and perhaps help you cut down on your Appletini consumption in the process.

Multi-factor Authentication or "MFA" is one of the buzz-words of 2016. Everyone is saying it but many people don't quite understand what the mechanism means to their security. It doesn't just mean that it protects against the brute-force attacks we've now had in our system logs for years, it also means more elaborate exploits can be mitigated

Take this years huge growth in spear-phishing attacks. Some of the largest, most security-concious corporations and government entities fell prey to spear-phishing attacks that involved advanced social engineering combined with compromised email accounts. For the attacker access to the victims email account means that they first analyze the communications in the victims inbox and craft an email interaction masquerading as someone the victim knows and convince them to do something that they wouldn't otherwise do, such as wiring money or sending proprietary information.

Add multi-factor to Windows logins

There are many things you can do to help avoid such a scenario, however MFA is probably the most effective. If all of your internal and privileged resources are protected by MFA then you've short-circuited the attacker at the outset. If the attacker doesn't have the 2nd factor for your email account login then they can't even get started. It doesn't matter if they have password, the 2nd factor prevents them from ever using it.

But attacks  aren't just limited to email. Cloud services are effected as well. Whether it's your office suite, your CRM suite, or even your accountiing solution, you really must protect all of your corporate services. Any little bit of information about your company or internal processes can give a smart attacker a leg-up on how to convince your employees into doing something that they probably wouldn't normally do.

Lastly there is what's inside your firewall: people. People have flaws, and mitigating those flaws can make your work an endless nightmare. Many of the things that an employee might do to ruin your weekend aren't necessarily intentional, but nonetheless can make you wish you could crush their skull with a rock. Ok, perhaps that's a bit extreme but the sentiment is similar. Preventing users from being their own worst enemy can extend inside your firewall as well. Adding MFA to servers, desktops, even network hardware will ensure that nobody inadvertantly has access to something that they shouldn't. Also, sharing their account information "for convenience" becomes useless. Also by adding MFA to a tunable privilege escalation mechanism you ensure that they are both the actual person that they say they are and are allowed to do what they are doing, and for everytime they do it. 

Contact NAPC today and we can help you navigate all of these issues and address any concerns you might have with reliable, secure solutions from Centrify. NAPC has the expertise in all of these technologies and experience in addressing all of your issues. Whether you have an audit pending or have had an "event" that you need kept confidential, NAPC can help.

Learn More about securing your Enterprise with MFA 

Xinet V19 pre-release webinar

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 @ 11:24 AM

Tags: Xinet, NAPC, E6


There's big news on the horizon- join us and get a preview of whats coming up in December in the world of Xinet. NP is holding a pre release webinar this December 1st, going over their next major release- Version 19. I won't spoil their thunder, but there's some great enhancements coming.

 

We've been running a  Version 19 beta internally for a few weeks, and it's great stuff. Alongside major news about SMB support and SAML there are some really, really cool improvements in the display layer.

E6 of course will be fully compliant and able to take advantage of the new nuanced abilities provided by the upgrade right out of the gate. We'll also have a information-rich list view in E6 at the same time, for users that need to see lots of files on each page, with metadata and a preview. It's DAM good, if you have that need.

Join us and NP on the 1st, and see what all the fuss is about!

 

Stay in the loop: Sign up for the December 1st webinar-


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See you on December 1st

 


 

PDF/X-1a:2001 turns 15 !

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

Tags: knowledge


Fifteen.

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 ]

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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...?

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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.

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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!

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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!
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Mouse-over large previews!
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A swipe-able, side-scroller Gallery View with popup metadata!
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A Drag-N-Drop Lightbox for basket integration, side-by-side compare tool, emailing and file management!
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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. 

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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 !

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I know those colors !

Get Personal

How about this rogues gallery of proof approvers?

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

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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.

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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:
    /symlnks/io/Dialogue/DialogueDataServer/queryData/ProofReadingMarks/default
   

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.

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