Scott Tully

Recent Posts

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.

Decision Icons.png

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 !

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 !



 

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 ]

IMG_0773.jpg

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...?

IMG_0767.jpg

 

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.

Switch_Flow_Example.png

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

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. 

ES_Logo_96px.png

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 !

GM_Flathead.pngLDC_Flathead.pngKK_Flathead.pngRP_Flathead.pngDD_Flathead.png

I know those colors !

Get Personal

How about this rogues gallery of proof approvers?

Grant_Mongardi.pngLarry_Chase.pngKenny_Kirsch.pngRob_Pelmas-1.pngScott_Tully.png

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

DiALOGUE_Display.png

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.

N.pngNE.pngE.pngSE.pngS.pngSW.pngW.pngNW.png


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.

hex_G.pnghex_O.pnghex_R.png


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

 

Dalim TWiST Best Practice: Managing Regular Expressions

Posted by Scott Tully on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 01:05 PM

Tags: Best Practice, TWiST, RegEx, Regular Expressions, SetParamFromRE

Ask any experienced Dalim TWiST Administrator, "what's the key to TWiST workflow engineering success?" and they will likely respond with "Reg Ex" (short for Regular Expressions) and "SetParamFromRE" (set parameter from regular expression). I would add "TwistTable" and say, "master these three elements and you can do just about anything in TWiST".

Even so, I wish to bring to your attention a fourth element, an often unnoticed, unused feature of the SetParamFromRE tool: the "Manage Expressions" feature.

Expressions Button

 

So, what have you been missing?

Using the Manage Expressions feature allows you to save, and over time, build-up a "library" of expressions that will undoubtedly save you and your organization hundreds of TWiST man-hours. On a more personal-level, having a library of expressions will save hours of [workflow] debugging heartache.

If I had a dollar for every time I had typed [getmem Document SizeMM_Width], ran a file, found the value to be empty and gone back into SetParamFromRE to fix it…(sharp Admins already see the issue, don't you?)...I could have bought a Dunkin' Donuts franchise.

The problem, if you have not spotted it, is a single keystroke: "m". The correct syntax is: [getMem Document SizeMM_Width], which returns the value of the variable $TwistTable(Document,SizeMM_Width), the width of the document in millimeters (mm).

You see, simple typo's are thieves of time. Taking action to prevent them is a wise investment that will promptly pay dividends. I encourage you to start building your own library of frequently used expressions, today.

Where to begin?

A great place to start is the "Document" category. This default TwistTable category contains the most commonly used/needed workflow variables like geometry, resolution, colorspace, and channels. Just drop a FileCheck and ShowMemories tool in your most active production workflow and you'll quickly see that there are 36+ variables containing 'decision-making' values.

Expressions Menu

Heck, I'm willing to bet you are already calling 2 or more Document category variables in the majority of your published workflows now.

Once you've become familiar with the functionality of the Manage Expressions feature, it's up to you to make using it a part of your workflow engineering process. I'm confident that you're already thinking of adding a few custom expressions, you know the ones, those situational statements that took a bit of trial and error to work out, as prime candidates for your new library.

Here's a non-TwistTable expression that every TWiST Admin needs. In the image below, I'm using the command expr, to convert millimeters (mm) to inches (in) on-the-fly. This expression, along with "Convert SizeMM_Height to Inches" were probably the first expressions I saved when Manage Expressions was added to the SetParamFromRE tool in 2007.

Managing Regular Expressions

You may be wondering, "if I'm saving these expressions, where is the parameter file?"

Your valuable keystrokes are stored automatically by TWiST in a separate, parameter-like configuration file: Expressions.cnf. Location: /symlnks/var/6.0/setup/TWiST/Expressions.cnf

Take care friends, it's easy to overwrite this valuable file [arrrgh]…so I suggest keeping a copy outside of your TWiST environment as your investment grows.

One last nugget: if you manage a multi-host environment or work in a multi-site organization, you can distribute the Expressions.cnf file. In this way, you can share your contributions with a colleague and build-up the ultimate expressions library.

As always, consult your User Documentation as the primary resource for all things TWiST.

Branding your Notifications in Dalim ES 3

Posted by Scott Tully on Tue, Jan 08, 2013 @ 02:36 PM

Tags: Notifications, review and approval, workflow, Dalim ES 3.0, ES Features, E-mail templates, Softproofing

Friends,

As a member of NAPC's customer-focused, technology-taming Customer Support team I passionately advocate and support our customer's [your] investment in Dalim Software's industry-leading solutions TWiST, DiALOGUE and ES.

Today, I'd like to share with you and perhaps get you thinking about customer-facing 'branding' opportunities within ES.

I would imagine that many of you ES administrators have already achieved some 'branding' knowingly or un-knowingly when you used the Customization-Theme Configuration feature to add your organization's logo to the Login Screen?

Dalim ES login window

 

How about applying your own colors to the ES interface? Sure you have. Since you [may] have created a custom look and feel for your ES users and customers, why not consider applying your custom theme to some new, branded e-Mail templates!

Your ES 3 installation came with (8) e-Mail templates and (11) default Notification templates. For this exercise and introduction, we'll choose the File Event condition as our E-Mail template source and create a new template by modifying it.

First things first.

You don't have to be a programmer or .html wiz to edit the templates, so please, keep reading. If you are a wiz, consider sharing what you've learned with a coworker and helping them along. Regardless, everything you will need can be found in tools you use everyday and the 'know-how', trust me, you already have it.

Ready?

Let's start by identifying some 'parts' you will be adding to the template to achieve some enhancement. Color. You'll need to determine the hexidecimal value of the color you will be applying [ex:#bf2e1a] and a raster version of your logo. Your art or logo file should be in [.png, .gif .jpg] format using the RGB colorspace. Indexed or Greyscale colorspaces will also work.

Login to ES as an Administrator. Select "Administration" mode and then navigate to and open the File Event E-Mail template. In the message body, Select All and Copy to capture the entire message body. Launch your text-editing application and Paste the message body into a blank document. It's a good idea to perform Save As... "File Event" so you have a backup of the E-Mail template [for safekeeping].

In the message body, Find and Replace "#252525" with your color. Find and Replace "header.png" with the exact name of your logo [ex: my_logo.png]. So far so good? Now perform a Select All, Copy.

Switching back to ES...the File Event E-Mail template...

Click in the message body area and Paste your edited message body into the template. Click OK to close the template editor window, and then click Save to update your File Event template.

That's it, the editing is done.

On your ES 3 server, navigate to the "images" directory:

/symlnks/common/tomcat6.0/webapps/Esprit/images

Copy your logo into the "images" directory. [EOF]

Returning to ES, perform an action in ES that will trigger a File Event Notification condition, and check your E-Mail. There is your newly 'branded' E-Mail message!

Okay, before you get too excited (and waste alot of time designing a masterpiece) allow me to make an important point: ES 3 E-Mail templates must be under 2048 bytes. Yes, that's bytes. To put that number into perspective, this blog message would have ended six sentences ago at the [EOF] marker!

So friends, take care to keep your customization simple. And for you 'clever', self-reliant users who have jumped to the conclusion of overcoming the 2048 hurdle, let me be perfectly clear: I do not advocate 'hacking', so don't even go there...

The upside is, you can get some attractive results and stay under the 2048 limit with a bit of trial and error. So keep at it. I am confident that you'll be successful in adding a little style to your messages, even with the size restriction.

Now, the good news is, we all can also look forward to a better branded future in ES. That's right, the engineers at Dalim Software are aware of [yours, mine and] the marketplace's desire to design and compose attractive, branded E-Mail messages and have taken action to relax the size restriction in the next "dot-oh" release of ES...ES 4.0.

Stay tuned, my friends.

 

Scott