Software

Australia-based LithoTechnics has announced the release of Metrix 2010.0, what it describes to be "even more attractive to printers who are looking for an economical way to migrate towards automated, integrated workflow."

Rohan Holt, President of LithoTechnics, said: "We are proud to introduce another automation milestone with the release of Metrix 2010.0. It is really exciting to invent technology that substantially improves the productivity and efficiency of our customers, and very gratifying to get their feedback on how well it works."

According to LithoTechnics, important features of Metrix 2010.0 include:
- Auto Production, which takes into account available equipment on the shop floor and automatically lists the most cost-effective printing method based on method, press, and sheet size and ranks the results by production cost.
- Security, which ensures data integrity through logins and permissions.
- Click Dimensions, which simplifies and speeds the addition of layout dimensions – a critical part of the Metrix job report that customers use as a production roadmap.
- Enhanced data filtering and sorting in Metrix's database.
- Enhanced marks, including fold marks, barcodes, and collation marks.
- Enhanced workflow integration with Rampage and Xenith Sierra


Hewlett Packard has launched new capabilities for its printers which will allow its customers to print documents from anywhere in the world using their mobile devices. Dubbed ePrint, the new system will be bundled within a range of HP's consumer printers.

"From a mom and son printing drawings from an iPad, to an executive on a train sending a presentation from a Palm Pre or Blackberry smartphone to print and pick up at a FedEx Office store, HP ePrint allows people to print anytime, anywhere," said the company in a press release.

Users will be able to access Google Docs, Photos and Calendar directly from their printers, without the use of a connected PC. Every HP ePrint printer will have a unique simple email address that allows the sender to deliver a print the same way they would send an email message. Customers also can send documents to print through an HP ePrint mobile app on their smartphone device to a home, office or public print location such as a hotel or FedEx Office store. Customers will be able to send Microsoft Office documents, PDFs and JPEG image files, among others.

“We are once again revolutionizing printing to make web-empowered, cloud-enabled printing the new industry standard,” said Vyomesh Joshi, Executive Vice President, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. “We know that our customers want an easy way to print their content, anywhere, anytime. We’re making that a reality today by giving people the power to print from any web-connected device – smartphones, iPads, netbooks and more – to any printer in our portfolio above $99. The world has changed.”


Adobe Systems has announced its latest iteration of the Creative Suite series of design and production software. Adobe CS5 will be shipped within 30 days.

“While Creative Suite 5 continues Adobe’s storied history of delivering astonishing new creative features, this release first and foremost addresses the challenges facing publishers and creatives worldwide—how to build profitable businesses around digital content,” said Shantanu Narayen, President and Chief Executive Officer at Adobe. “By coupling sophisticated online business analytics with dazzling creative tools, we’re ensuring that publishers, designers and marketers can create, deliver and optimize beautiful, high-impact digital experiences across media and devices.”

The core focus of the release is online publishing and publishing to mobile platforms, including tools which take advantage of Adobe's latest acquisition of Omniture to track information generated by website activities. Another new product aimed at online publishing is Adobe Flash Catalyst, which aims to provide a set of tools to translate print documents into interactive online sites, all without requiring the designer to program code.

Other applications within the suite have all received updates, which according to Adobe, add up to 250 new features. Programs such as Premiere and After Effects, now require a 64-bit environment to operate. Photoshop CS5 is also 64-bit native (but will work on older 32-bit systems), giving the software much more performance when processing the larger files prevalent in today's design environment.

Absent in Creative Suite 5 are updates to Acrobat, which is included in all editions saved for the Production Premium package, but remains at version 9.

Pricing for Creative Suite 5 is US$2599 for Master Collection CS5, US$1899 for CS5 Design Premium, US$1799 for CS5 Web Premium, US$1699 for CS5 Production Premium and US$1299 for CS5 Design Standard. The upgrade price for CS5 Design Premium will be US$599 and US$899 for the Master Collection.

HP today commercial released HP SmartStream Designer 4.0, designed for variable data printing (VDP) with both small- and large-format applications. The software application, a plug-in for Adobe InDesign, is available as part of the HP SmartStream Solutions portfolio.


Using different media designed from the same SmartStream Designer files, HP explains that printing companies can use HP SmartStream Designer to create multi-application campaigns ranging from large-format posters for point-of-sale to flyers and postcards for loyalty and special-offer campaigns.


Beyond merging variable data, the software application can also be used for imposition with HP large-format printers and image manipulation based on Adobe Photoshop, as well as barcodes, collation and packing, and 3D text.



SmartStream Designer 4.0 works on both Macintosh and Windows platforms, while also allowing for connectivity to third-party VDP tools.



Agfa Graphics announced today that more than 6,000 :Apogee systems are being used worldwide. The Belgium-based technology company released Version 6.0 of :Apogee Suite in early 2009. Today, 30 percent of existing :Apogee users have switched over to the newest version.


"We are very pleased with 6,000 :Apogee systems in the market... :Apogee has pioneered back then when PDF started, and when JDF was introduced in our industry," stated Erik Peeters, Product Manager for :Apogee, in a press release. "Recent business decisions like :Apogees' own preflight technology and the automation of ink-saving drive the development to specific market and customers needs."


:Apogee Suite 6.0 includes a series of applications, such as :Apogee PrePress, :Apogee Color, :Apogee Portal for building online applications, and :Apogee Media for editorial and content management.




Focused on the office-printing market, EFI unveiled its new Fiery VUE controller, which the company describes as a 3D desktop application.

Fiery VUE is suited for environments requiring managed enterprise printing services across a group of connected machines. Before printing, any office user can interact with the document on-screen in 3D to sculpt and then preview how the finished document will look.

“Fiery VUE is an easy to use application that fills a gap in the tools available today for an office worker to create and produce professional-looking finished documents, with no special training,” stated Alex Sumarta in a press release. Sumarta is Director of Production Software at InfoTrends, a consultancy and research group focused on the printing industry.

Quark has announced it will allow eligible printers to join its Quark output provider program at no cost. This news comes just after Adobe recently ceased supporting its own printer partnership program. The QuarkAlliance program normally costs US$495 and includes a copy of QuarkXPress 8.

“At a time when some in our industry are moving away from print, Quark is aggressively maintaining its investment in this community,” said Cyndie Shaffstall, director of QuarkAlliance. “There is a significant opportunity for printers to take advantage of the booming Web-to-print industry, as well as traditional revenue streams. I invite output providers to join one of our programs right now at no cost.”

Adobe Service Network members can join QuarkAlliance for one year at no cost and existing QuarkAlliance members also get a complimentary one year membership renewal.

Additionally, U.S. output providers are eligible for a free enrollment in Quark's "Promote Output Provider Program." The program extends benefits such as a listing in Quark Promote printer search feature, inclusion on Bing map locator, rights to use Quark Promote authorized partner logo and inclusion in appropriate Quark marketing activities.

More information can be obtained at the QuarkAlliance site.


Adobe Systems has announced it will discontinue its Adobe Partner Connection Print Service Provider program. The program was established to connect the users of Adobe products to local print providers as well as providing printers with technical support and discounts on Adobe products.

The company claims a declining membership to the program (which has two tiers at US$595 and $995) is the reason for its discontinuation. Existing agreements will be honoured but Adobe will not be taking on any new members.

"The print segment continues to be important to Adobe and the company will retain its ongoing relationship with regional print industry associations," the company stated in a press release.


 


LithoTechnics Inc., which develops software for automated job planning and imposition, has released version 3.7 of its Metrix application with more support for Fujifilm and Muller Martini technologies.

The Metrix product line includes Metrix Commercial, Metrix Max, Metrix X-8 and Metrix X-80. The line also includes Metrix Server, which is designed to automate planning, imposition, and finishing machine setup. All products are available on Mac OS X and Windows.

The company, founded in 2003 by Australian Rohan Holt, lists the following nine new (or improved) key features of Metrix 3.7:

1. Improved support for Fujifilm XMF workflows;

2. New barcode marks and special Muller Martini barcodes (Max Edition);

3. New component-related text mark variables that automatically report information about the products or signatures they are positioned over;

4. Split exports for PDF and Fujifilm XMF workflows;

5. At multi-user sites, clients can now see who else is logged-in;

6. JDF and MXML import have been expanded and improved;

7. New project properties (“Type” and “Needs Attention”);

8. Optionally place collation marks over or under content; and

9. Import and export stock data, including costs, via comma separated (CSV) files.



Pageflex, a division of Bitstream Inc., released Pageflex 7.5 with what the company refers to as more than two-dozen product enhancements. Most of the new features have been added to Pageflex’ Campaign Manager, Storefront, and Studio applications. Additionally, version 7.5 includes a new Pageflex Server module for users to employ the Adobe InDesign CS4 Server for composition needs.

New v7.5 features of the Pageflex Campaign Manager application, designed for the creation, execution, and result tracking of multi-channel – print and email – marketing campaigns, include “add-a-friend/self opt-in capabilities,” the ability to track undeliverable emails via integration with an SMTP server, and the availability of a Campaign Manager API (for email/job scheduling, database updating for synchronizing with CRM systems, and custom report generation).
 
New features of Pageflex Storefront allow users to “ship items in an order to multiple addresses,” create and manage shipping address books, multi-level approval, document preview within a data list, HTML email notifications, reorder form fields (drag-and-drop), and the ability to customize online shopping carts.


 


Version 7.0 of Screen’s Trueflow SE software includes a new Equiosnet application designed to integrate CTP and “digital” (toner or inkjet) printing processes, based on Adobe PDF Print Engine 2.

The company plans to make the upgrade available in early 2010. With its Equiosnet system, Screen is introducing a new  approach to its job ticket and imposition engine functions. Initially, this effort focuses on a software module called Equios Pre4m to handle the JDF stripping parameters within Trueflow.

Screen, a division of Japan-based Dainippon Screen Mfg. Co., claims that Equios Pre4m features a new design for better enabling MIS and post-press systems through JDF, as the workflow unites data and process management into a single system before any printing takes place.




Toronto-based Prinova Software Inc. has launched version 3.0 of its browser-based messagepoint software, which the company claims to contain 100 new features. messagepoint is designed for businesses to plan, create, target and deliver personalized content to applications like transactional documents.

Prinova explains that messagepoint is well suited for insurance, banking, financial services, telecom, service providers and similar companies that develop and deliver large volumes of personalized business documents.

messagepoint 3.0 includes a new user interface, while the software now has login-access restrictions and other CSR upgrades. Version 3.0 also contains a new Data Connector Bus, which Prinova describes as an interface to external Enterprise Marketing Management systems. The system also includes a new Multi-Channel Delivery Connector Bus and new reporting functions.




Google revealed new information about its upcoming operating system called Chrome OS, yesterday. The system will be based completely on cloud computing technology, meaning little, if any, content will be stored natively on computers.

The advantage of such an arrangement, of course, is that users will be able to access all of their data from any computer in the world. The Chrome OS is said to be "instant-on" system, with no need to load drivers and other resident software on computers. As a result, Google will be keeping access to Chrome OS to computers specifically approved to run it.

The project was announced in July, but today brought more details, such as the fact that the entire project will be made open-source and the release date is tentatively set for the end of 2010.

Of course, your data will be in the hands of Google and even with its famous "Don't be evil" motto means it raises privacy and security concerns. For the typical personal computer user, this is becoming less of an issue as Google's current applications such as Gmail have eased fears with sheer convenience.

According to Google, having data hosted on cloud servers mean computers will become more like televisions, with a healthy speed boost as well. Computing speed would no longer be dependent on your local hardware, lowering the entry costs to consumer-end computers.

No information has been provided on the pricing of such an OS or the associated hardware, except that Google "expects to have devices in the price ranges people are used to today." Technologically speaking, cloud computing is rapidly emerging from the realm of fiction, but the question that remains is whether or not users can wrap their heads around having personal data in the hands of a corporation.




At Graphics Canada next week, LithoTel Software Design plans to highlight its recently launched DynaLinx application, which is engineered for on-screen colour approvals between printing companies and their customers.

DynaLinx allows both parties to remotely view and compare a digital soft proof versus a soft press sheet on the same monitor. The system works in real time, a virtual press approval, as operators can make instant changes that the client automatically sees. This software fits LithoTel’s booth theme: “Reduced makeready times and materials.” (The company will be present on two booths during the show, 3212 and 3214.)

LithoTel also plans to preview the new Techkon SpectroDrive scanner, as well as existing products in Techkon’s line of handheld instruments.

With its primary development focusing on colour-management applications for the pressroom, LithoTel also recently released ColorLinx version 8.0, which works with ink-key presetting, closed-loop colour control on press, and – using DynaLinx – remote customer colour approvals. The Whitby, Ontario-based company also develops ColorLinx Preset software, which focuses on CTP imaging within a shop, as well as ColorPro 7.1 software and FlexPro.





Microsoft today released its latest Windows iteration, worldwide. The new version has been warmly received by testers and moves the company away from Vista, which is seen as disappointing in both performance and sales.

“With Windows 7, there’s never been a better time to be a PC,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Together with our partners, we’re bringing more choice, flexibility and value to the market than ever before. With Windows 7, you’re sure to find a PC that fits your life.”

There is a choice of three versions for consumers: Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate. Equipment builders can also opt to include Windows 7 Starter Edition for lower-powered computers such as netbooks or set-top boxes. In order to run certain programs built for Windows XP, the Professional or Ultimate version is required.

Most of the new features of Windows 7 centre around media capabilities such as handling video, photos and music. The operating system also makes it easier to network PCs together and brings better touch-screen integration for new laptops.

Upgrade pricing ranges from $129 for the Home Ultimate upgrade to $279 for Windows 7 Ultimate version.



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