New & Upgraded Products Plentiful in November

by Kevin Slimp, October 2008


New & Upgraded Products Plentiful in November | cs4,creative,suite,adobe,quarkxpress,slimp,newspaper,technology,nikon,canon,epson,extensis
I can’t remember a time when so many exciting upgrades and products were released at once. After speaking to a room filled with newspaper owners and publishers at the National Newspaper Association convention this week, I was a little overwhelmed by the number of folks ready to make wholesale changes and upgrades in their operations.

I addressed the crowd in St. Paul on two topics: “What Newspapers Need to Know about Trends in Converging Media” and “What’s New and Coming in Newspaper Technology.” While all this information is fresh, let me share some of the software and hardware products I recommended:

Cameras

So many new cameras to consider. A few noteworthy:

- Nikon D90. With a street price of $1,299 (US), this camera packs a lot of punch. Boasting a resolution of 12.9 megapixels and 4.5 frames per second (fps) speed and the ability to shoot high quality video (up to 1280 x 720 pixels) and you’ve got a game changer. One camera for both still photos and video.

- Canon 50D. Canon users are going to love this. Priced at $1,299, this camera doesn’t boast the high quality video of the Nikon, but consider the following: 6.3 fps and a resolution of 15.1 megapixels. Sure, that’s not the speed of a $5,000 camera, but for the price it is incredible.

- Canon Rebel XS (1000D). At a price of $689, this camera packs a lot of punch at an affordable price.

Scanners

Scanners are only made to work well for two years. After that, you can clean the glass all you want and still get noisy images. So it’s important to replace your scanners every two years. Here are two good ones:

- Epson V200. For $79, you’ll see marked improvement in scans over your existing scanner.

- Epson V500. While the V200 offers excellent results, spend a few dollars more - well, $100 more - and get this higher resolution version.

External Backup Drive

- Lacie Bigger Disk Extreme. Who would have believed it a few years ago? A two terabyte (that’s 2,000 megabytes) triple interface (USB, Firewire 400, Firewire 800) drive for $449.

Software

- QuarkXpress 8.0. Man, Quark got it right this time. Finally stiff competition for InDesign.

- Adobe Creative Suite 4.0. I’ve been using CS4 for several months and can finally tell folks how great it is. Upgrades from $499 allow users to get new versions of all their favorite programs like Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat Pro, Dreamweaver, Flash and lots more. You’ll be tempted to spend some of your savings - upgrades for Creative Suite owners start at $1199 - for the Master Suite. Finally, it’s affordable to own all the Adobe products you’ve wished for over the years.

- Acrobat Pro 9. Speaking of Acrobat, upgrade to this version. Take my word for it. I’ve never led you down the wrong path before.

Font Management

- Extensis Universal Type Server Lite. Finally, a network based font management system that’s affordable for the small newspaper.

In addition to hardware and software, those of us at the convention had honest discussions concerning the future of our business. Topics including Web site vendors, editorial workflow systems and the future of digital printing were tackled head on.

In tough economic times, it’s fortunate that so many products are being released at prices much lower than what we were spending a few years ago. One publisher I spoke to summed it up well when he spoke of his surprise at the significant increase in production after upgrading his newspapers. “I was amazed,” he told me, “with how much more we are able to get done since upgrading our computers and software.”

Another publisher from Minnesota told me, “Since we upgraded our systems and software earlier this year, almost all of our production problems have disappeared.”

In my next column we’ll take a closer look at some of the latest upgrades to software that most newspaper use.