Question & Answer: Kevin Solves Problems For Readers

by Kevin Slimp, November 2008


Question & Answer: Kevin Solves Problems For Readers

Just like everyone else’s, my inbox needs to be emptied on a regular basis. Here are some of the questions I’ve received from readers in the past few weeks:

Kevin,

We’ve been using the Lacie Ethernet Mini as our server for the past three years. We’ve had a couple of power surges lately and the Lacie seems to be acting up so we’re going to purchase a backup to make sure we’re ready when the drive dies. Are you still recommending Lacie externals as server or have you come across anything better?

Bob, Technology Guru, Tennessee

Bob,

You’ve learned an important truth I’ve tried to impress on my clients: never buy one Ethernet disk. Always buy two and use the second as a backup. Ethernet disks, like most drives, generally last approximately three years before succumbing to some hardware problem. The answer to your question is yes. I still recommend Lacie drives.

Hello Kevin,

Our newspaper is looking at getting a Content Management System that can handle multimedia, advertising and classified. We have a daily free circulation of 35,000. We have just started our search and already the process seems so daunting. Do you have any suggestions, or can you point me in the right direction, of systems that would be good for us to look into? I appreciate any help that you can give. Thanks

Tricia, General Manager, Florida

Yes, Tricia,

I can get you started in the right direction. There are several editorial workflow and ad placement systems out there. I would suggest you talk to the folks at Woodwing and Roxen. Woodwing has built a solid business around the world over the past few years and is making its presence felt in North America. If you’re looking for an InDesign based system, as most newspapers are, Woodwing has some nice features. The Roxen Editorial Porter is a newer entry into the Content Management field, but it has started to gain fans in North America, Europe and Australia. Unlike Woodwing, which is plug-in based, Roxen is browser based.

Kevin,

One of our member papers is having problems with Microsoft Word docx files. They can’t place them in InDesign CS. They are Mac based. Do you know of any tricks to get this to work?

Kent, Tech Guru, Missouri

Kent,

I’d advise them to get a copy of NeoOffice. It’s free and opens .docx files. Just save them from NeoOffice as .doc files, then place in InDesign. By the way, docx files place in InDesign CS4. You can download a free copy of NeoOffice at www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php.

Kevin

Love your columns. How do I get hold of past columns, in particular the column about the H2 audio recorder and the flip video? Thanks for your help.

Steve, Publisher, New Jersey

No problem, Steve.

You can visit my Web site at kevinslimp.com to find most of my columns from the past five years or so.

Kevin,

Hope things are going well in your world. We finally made the move to Macs in our ad comp department and have a few cross platform questions and other things. Does the preview setting in Photoshop make a difference as far as saving as Mac or Windows compatible? We are still using PCs in editorial and building our final pages on a PC, but we are using PDFs for all the ads that are placed on the final pages. Also, is TIFF the best format for photos? Is there an advantage/disadvantage of using JPEG?

Craig, Advertising Manager, Texas

It’s about time, Craig.

I’m just playing with you, maybe. As far as the preview goes, I’ve never noticed that it makes a difference. However, to be on the safe side, you could save photos meant to go into ads with a Mac preview and others with PC previews. Frankly, I think you’ll be fine either way. As far as the file format for photos, JPEG should be your last option for printed photos. It’s the format of choice for pictures that go up on your Web site, but I’d stick with TIFF or EPS files for the printed versions.

Hi Kevin:

What is the easiest way to print a listing of your fonts on a Mac? Thanks.

Matt, Publisher, West Virginia

Matt, There’s a nifty free utility called Font Parade that will do the trick for you. You can find it at www.brightpebbles.org/fontparade.

Dear Kevin,

I need your help. I have InDesign CS3 and a client that sends ads in Microsoft Publisher format. By going through a bunch of steps in Photoshop, I eventually get them converted to CMYK and everything comes out fine except for the text, which looks bluish and shaky. What can I do to fix this? I have asked Adobe and Microsoft. No one seems to know. You’re my last hope!

Celeste, Graphic Design, Alberta Canada

Hope is cheap these days, Celeste. What you need is a plug-in for InDesign called PUB2ID from Markzware. It allows you to open Publisher files in InDesign, converting them to InDesign documents. Sometimes it works perfectly; sometimes you’ll have to do a good bit of editing. However, it’s a lot better than fuzzy text. Find it at markzware.com.

Kevin,

I have the opportunity to upgrade my iMac, power PC G5 from OS 10.4 to Leopard. I did a little research to see if my current programs will run on Leopard such as CS and read some horror stories about upgrading. What are your thoughts on 10.5 and older programs?

Danny, Graphic Designer, Tennessee

Danny,

As you’ve correctly surmised, the latest versions of most applications (Adobe CS4, Quark 8, etc.) work just fine in 10.5. Actually, they work better than fine. They fly! However, not so much for a lot of older applications. Take my advice: Stick with 10.4. It will save you a lot of headaches. Then, in a few months when you’ve upgraded all your application software, take the plunge and update your operating system.