In our last Notes report on Macworld Expo we cover some nifty iPhone applications, a great new app called ModelBaker for iPhone development, and a business enterprise or small-business software tool for mixed platform (Mac/Win) studios and groups.
During Macworld Expo’s we normally get a lot of requests from companies exhibiting to check out their products and services, even though they often appear to not have an understanding of our readership and publication focus. We politely decline to all those iPod vendors and the like; however usually there are a small group of companies that do pique our interest. In our final report we’ll cover some of these plus some of the miscellaneous items from Macworld Expo SF 2009.
ExtremeZ-IP by GroupLogic
GroupLogic contacted us prior to Macworld and we booked a time to meet them. Meeting GroupLogic president, T. Reid Lewis, he explained that the company wanted to show us ExtremeZ-IP. So what is this ExtremeZ-IP anyway?
The purpose of ExtremeZ-IP is to run it on your Windows Servers and run it in lieu of Windows Services for Macintosh (aka: SFM). ExtremeZ-IP is an application for Windows server operating systems and supports up to the very latest Windows Server 2008.
So why it rather than SFM? The answer is because Services for Macintosh (SFM) is no longer built into the latest Windows server software (Windows Server 2008) and SFM only supports version 2.2 of AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) — which is four versions behind what is shipping today in Macs.
ExtremeZ-IP 5.3 is the industry’s first and only Windows-based server solution to fully support Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X 10.5, including the latest Apple File Sharing Protocol, AFP 3.2 for complete platform and application compatibility between Macs and Windows in a mixed computing environment. The features of ExtremeZ-IP are very extensive but here are some highlights:
Supports Windows Server 2008, including AppleTalk printing support (for legacy needs)
Only Windows solution for Apple’s innovative Time Machine backup
Fully Integrated File and Print Sharing Solution (built in Print Server)
Innovative Zidget tool for discovery and setup of printers, including PPDs
Print Tracking and Accounting for Cost Tracking and Chargeback
A Multi-Platform Plotter Tracking and Chargeback System
In fact one of the more interesting features is the ability to use this product for tracking and accounting for client chargebacks. In AEC (architecture/engineering/construction) firms in particular a multi-platform solution that is simplified (as compared to the complex database driven solutions out in the industry) is not truly in existence yet.
This was discussed with Reid Lewis, President of GroupLogic, and he was interested and curious about this particular problem facing mixed and/or Mac-only AEC firms. Most plotter accounting for large-format printers is often done manually in smaller and even mid-sized firms. HP itself — the leading large color plotter provider to AEC — doesn’t provide the simplified, cross-platform solution in software form that one might expect.
We had a chance to stop by and see this new application called VectorDesigner by TweakerSoft, a small Mac-focused developer from Italy. We were not surprised at all to learn that the product won a Best of Show 2008 from Macworld. For those of you who find larger illustration software tools frustrating and complex, this may be your best answer yet.
VectorDesigner wins Best of Show 2008 Macworld.
We were impressed by VectorDesigner’s beautiful use of modern Mac OS X programming technologies such as Quartz Composer and Core Image. The product is a substitute for Adobe Illustrator and similar apps. Yet it costs just $69.USD. The beauty in this app is its simplicity. Yet is can produce powerful results. We were impressed with its ability to place texts on complex paths, to do complex layering, opacity and color image effects. And we were also impressed with its live hook-up with Flickr using its built-in Flickr Browser to grab images and textures.
Also interesting was its Bezier creation and editing tools, iSight integration on Macs, iLife photo browser and QuickLook support. It can import vector formats such as PDF, EPS and SVG. It can also export PDF of course and EPS. Raster format import/export includes most of the essentials (eg: JPEG, TGA, SGI, PSD, etc.).
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