Robert Sullivan

Recent Posts

New in Xinet 17.6

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 @ 04:34 PM

Tags: Pilot, Solr, Searching, Xinet


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

I'm An American Veteran

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 @ 08:21 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

Video: An In-Depth Look At Xinet Pilot

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 11:47 AM

Tags: Xinet, digital asset management, Xinet Pilot

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.

Pilot Seat: How Xinet Pilot Liberates Users From Plugins

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Thu, Jun 06, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

Tags: Xinet, DAM Systems, digital asset management, Xinet Plug-ins, DAM, Adobe, Asset Browser

Xinet

Xinet Pilot is a Xinet-aware media browser that will replace the Asset Browser plugins, and a quick look shows it works extremely well so far. North Plains describes it as a powerful hybrid of web browser and production navigation technology that provides Xinet-related tools within creative media environments.

Instead of an Asset Browser plugin, Xinet Pilot is a service that runs directly from the desktop. By launching it once, you can use it across Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign seamlessly. You can drag and drop files from the Xinet Pilot into the three Adobe programs, but you can also upload files to the server and apply metadata on the fly.

The really exciting part about Pilot's upload ability is that it will respect the Template Permission settings for Uploader, Enabled and "Required". So it will work like the Uploader Application in that respect, that we can set data fields to be required. Great! But unlike the Uploader Application, Pilots uploads are limited to singular assets. That's right, one asset at a time. (So far)

North Plains has said that they’ll be “depreciating” Asset Browser plugins and migrating to Xinet Pilot. North Plains has also promised to evolve Pilot in future releases and it will support Adobe Creative Cloud. I'm speculating that people are going to love Xinet Pilot and the first feature requests are going to be for multiple asset uploads.

There's not a lot of configuration options in this first release, but I imagine that will be coming also. Not everybody likes the 'executive black' background. North Plains is rightly taking the approach of providing the right user experience and tools now, and hopefully providing aesthetics in those later updates.

If you haven’t climbed into the pilot’s seat yet, you should.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Thu, Nov 24, 2011 @ 09:19 AM

Thanksgiving Dinner

'Tis a prayer and a poem
that I have for you all,
make yourself a great life
get out and have a ball

Don't ask for permission
when you stretch for the sky,
just believe in yourself
you really will fly

Triple "L" is my wish for you
Live Life Loud
be bold in your choices
stand out from the crowd

Live your life so very fully
give all you ever thought you could,
trust your instincts and your heart
more than you ever thought you should

Find your inner drum
and BANG that thing long,
believe in love forever and ever
and forever you'll always be strong

The final thought I have for you
and you decide where it ranks,
is always remember within your life
pause a moment... and give Thanks

 

-Sully

Tales From The Road

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Sat, Sep 18, 2010 @ 10:24 AM

Tags: Road

I travel enough that if I forget to make a car reservation I don't sweat it too much. I know I'm going to get there. Well I went to Chicago last week to a client within four miles of MidWay Airport. I realized Sunday night I didn't have a hotel reservation yet, but went to bed anyway having to get up at 3:30 AM for a 6:00 AM flight. It's a big city right, no worries. Well there was a hugh end of season convention going on and the city was booked solid.

Sitting in the lobby of one of the hotels at the MidWay Hotel cluster, online trying to find a hotel with a room, I finally found one 15 miles south of the city and called for a cab.

He took me for a ride to the tune of 60 bucks. So when I saw the Enterprise Car Rental office next to my new hotel as I pulled in I was psyched. I'm not paying 60 bucks each way for the week.

I asked at the hotel and they told me it was still open. She said it was open until 7:00 PM and it was close to that now. So I dropped my bags in my room and blasted across the parking lot and walked right in. The sign said they close at 6 but the door was open. Figuring maybe someone was out back working late and maybe I could still get a car, I was standing at the counter waiting. After a couple of minutes I started yelling, "Hello!"  Then I was whistling ( I can whistle pretty loud ) and then I head it...

Beep, beep, beep... gave way to the alarm system blaring from every corner in the place. There was nobody home. I walked outside and around the corner to look out back. Nothing. Now I'm looking for the Enterprise number to call.

1-800-we'll-pick-U-up, whatever it was. I found the number on the sign and called.

"Yes you can help me." My phone call progressed up the ladder to the third person when I saw the local police car pulling in.

describe the image

I told the officer my story and he asked for a picture ID. He took my drivers license and told me to stay right there as he went into the office. I presume looking for any bodies to explain why the door was left open.

When he came out he was still waiting for a warrant check he had run on me and when that came back clean, (whew!) he said I was free to go and thanked me for hanging out to wait for him after I had set of the alarm. Had he seen me walking away across the parking lot he said, our conversation would not have been as friendly. I asked if I could take his picture and he said NO. Absolutely no pictures. I had taken a picture of his car and the office while he was inside.

The following morning at 7:32 AM I could see three women in the office but my door was locked when I tried to go in. One woman got up and came to unlock the door for me. I asked, "So who left the door open last night?" Another woman piped up that it was her. I told her I hoped I didn't get her in trouble because I was the hapless break-in. She said, "Oh no, that wasn't the first time I've done it."

I found out later that it's apparently against the law in Chicago to photograph an officer in the performance of his duty. Who knew? If you're in the greater Chicago area please look for my name in the Orland Park police blotter next week. I could be famous. Or infamous maybe.

-Sully



Custom XMP Panels in Adobe CS-5 and Xinet Venture

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Wed, Jul 14, 2010 @ 05:38 PM

Tags: XMP Panels, XMP, Venture, Adobe CS-5

You may have seen some of the videos we have about importing custom meta data panels from Adobe, into the Venture database. In Adobe CS-3 a custom panel was fairly easy to create because it was a single text file. That got a little more complicated with CS-4 when Adobe changed to a Flex file format that requires several files in combination to correctly create a custom data panel.

Now CS-5 is slightly different again and the panels from CS-4 do not just show up in CS-5. More modification is required to stay current.

Flathead-U has a few videos showing how to import these customized panels into Venture and that's great, but it's been pointed out to me in a not so subtle way, that a lot of people don't understand how it all works.

Here is a brief explanation of how it works, in my own layman's terms. I'm sure you'll all let me know what I have right and what I have wrong, ( as if..! )

So lets take a piece of one sample data field.

<xmp_property name="SulTextHack" category="external" label="Sul Text:" type="text"/>

The "xmp_property name" must be xmp compatible, meaning there are no spaces in the field name and no special characters. In the example, "SulTextHack" is the xmp name of the field, and this must match (case sensitive) between Adobe Apps and the Venture database. If they don't match, they will NOT map to one another. Meaning they will be two different fields from one program to the other.

Only when the XMP name of the field is mapped correctly will you have the bidirectional edit ability. Meaning you can make changes to the data field value from either program and have it show that change in the other program. The trick here is that both programs are writing 'into' the XMP space of the file. The data is pushed into the file it's-self. So the data value is in the Venture database but it's also imbedded in the file. It's like the old Spaghetti TV commercial where they say:

"Eh, it's in there"

The category= determines if it's editable, "external" or read only, "display" from within the Adobe programs. So you can configure a custom field from the Venture database and have it show up in Adobe, as read only. Imagine that.

In Adobe, we can display the name of this field in a more human readable way with the label, where label="Sul Text"  is the display name that I'll see in the custom panel from within Photoshop. In Venture this is the equivalent of the local.js variable.

In fact, Venture will automatically transfer the 'label' from the Adobe panel into the 'local.js' file when we load this custom info panel. Oh, wait...you have to actually select the button that you want to 'automatically' create and use the local.js file.

The last bit of this line is the type=. In my example it's a text field. We can just as easily create a boolean field, an integer or a multi value pull-down field. Date fields can be tricky because of the differences in the display of the date year range between Adobe and Venture.

Think about the ramifications here... This little bit of understanding can make a huge impact on you workflow and become a big time saver. Adding metadata in CS Suite that you can see in Venture. Add instructions in Venture and read them in Photoshop! You can writeinto the XMP space of the file from either program.

"Eh, it's in there"

-Sully

What's Your Favorite Trigger Action in WebNative Venture

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 @ 10:15 AM

Tags: WebNative, Trigger, MySQL, Xinet, Venture, Suite 16

 
I just got back from a road trip to a new client site. Training is getting so much more
involved as the programs have more and more built in functionality. Xinet always 
seems to have multiple ways to accomplish whatever your task might be. The jump
to Suite 16 is big, and aside from the newer version of MySQL ( It's version 5 now )
and all that new power, we now have a combined web GUI for FullPress, 
WebNative and Venture.

We're expanding training classes to include several more exercises within each 
application for a more 'hands-on' experience during training. It's true of learning any
new skill, the more you can touch it, the easier it will be to remember later on in
real world situations. We're creating challenges that have more than one way to resolve
and the trainees can use any means available to them to complete the assignment.

I'm finding that there are favorites as far as Trigger Actions. Mine use to be the
'setdatafield' Action. As of last week my new favorite Action is the
'inherit-parent-metadata'
Xinet has a sample of it on their web site and it's proving to be very cool. So I'd like to
do a very unscientific mini survey. You can answer here with comments or email
me directly.
What is your most used Trigger Action in Venture. And...
is there something you "want" in an Action.
Please let me know.

-Sully
 

Hello, I Work At NAPC

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 @ 09:08 AM

I've got nothing this week as far as the work I do 'for' NAPC.
But I would like to talk about working 'at' NAPC. We just announced the other day
that NAPC is making a contribution to the relief effort in Haiti. We're not tossing in
millions of dollars like some of the celebrities I'm reading about, but the whole idea
of course is that lots of people doing something add up to a huge amount.

At our training office in Waltham, we've turned off one third of the lighting in an effort
to reduce our ecological footprint. NAPC encourages employees to seek out and
request alternative energy sources in their private homes, and will foot part of the
additional cost imposed by the local electric company when we do so.

We've had contests to see who could reduce their carbon footprint in our daily commute
into the office. I won one hundred dollars in that contest by slowing down and not driving
as aggressive and staying in one lane. ( Boston driver remember! )
The concept wasn't necessarily to get me to slow down, it was designed to make us think.
Think about our environment. Think about a car pool, or  using public transportation,
or yes in my case, how to get better gas mileage and use less gas.
It worked. 

Believe me, I've had a few employers that I'd just as soon forget.
But it's pretty cool when you're company has a conscience! It feels good to be on that
team. We still have the idealistic leadership that founded NAPC and it's nice to get a
reminder of that every now and again.

So yeah, I've got nothing this week about the work I do for NAPC.
Next time I'll talk about improving your workflow, and tweaking out some more efficiencies.
Today I'm just glad MY company wants to help improve my world.

-Sully
 

Staying Current on Support

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 @ 11:28 AM

Tags: support, Xinet, XMP, Adobe, metadata


I ride dirt bikes and recently incurred a 700 dollar repair bill on my sons bike.
What? What was the cause of this? It's a two stroke motocross and the engine had
seized up, which is not all that unusual, but we had done a new top-end not all that
long ago. So why had it blown again so early?

The 'real mechanic' I brought it to explained that pump gas has changed drastically
from what the engine was designed to run on. But the bike is only four years old..!
Pump gas these days is going Greener with at lease 10% ethanol or more, and is so
oxygenated that it burns hotter, expanding the rings tighter around the piston...
you get the idea. Ring-ding-a-ding, goes to bwop-bwooooop... silence.

As back yard mechanics working on dirt bike engines we hadn't done anything wrong with
our top-end. The gas we run had changed and we didn't ever realize the consequences.

I had an issue last week that drove home the importance of staying current
with system wide support. My customer was having difficulty with XMP metadata
that was not showing up in Venture. This was for XMP fields that were working
correctly not that long ago. Venture syncs were also not showing the field values
either. The first instinctive question is "what changed?" And the answer is
"we're not doing anything differently." Like me with my dirt bike.

Xinet engineering had me activate fpod vlog per a specific tech note which will
create a special output file. Copy on a questionable file again and watch for it to
show up in the log. Verify that the XMP data is not showing in the browser and then
run the syncxmp command in debug mode to capture what the sync is actually doing,
or having issues with. Verify if the data still doesn't show up and send the logs and
sample file in to them for analysis.
They came back with a new syncxmp binary file to slip in, and this was the resolution
to the problem.

I inquired with Xinet engineering about the 'why' and 'how' questions having to do with
the metadata not showing up in Venture. Xinet replied that from their perspective,
the issue had to do with a non-compatible file: specifically,  the jpeg image that I
had sent, which caused syncxmp to fail with these errors:

syncxmp(87535) malloc: *** error for object 0x512060: Non-aligned pointer being freed (2)
syncxmp(87535) malloc: *** error for object 0x512390: double free

Now this error is gobbly-gouk to me. I would have thought a pointer being freed was
a good thing, but I'm not a code writing engineer for several reasons, which is why I
have a very defined escalation path.

The way they "fixed" this was to test my sample file against a newer build of syncxmp,
from the new Suite 16 code, which incorporates some newer XMP libraries provided by Adobe.
In short, the newer Adobe libraries resolved the issue.

So as far as my customer was concerned, they were "not doing anything differently"
But apparently Adobe was. The problem came from the fact that Adobe doesn't stand
still. Ever! They continue to evolve and improve their XMP libraries and those
changes were not recognized by the Xinet version my customer was running.
This is the intrinsic value of having support. We were able to update to a newer
binary to stay current with the ever changing world.

So even though you may not be doing anything different... Change Happens!
My dirt bike solution is to run race gas. The world keeps changing around us without our
consent or input and will not wait for us to adapt or catch up. The leading edge is really
not all that far ahead. But by falling behind, the distance becomes huge and costly.
So stay current with good support.
And if you ride dirt bikes, check your gas.

-Sully