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Mar 07 2014

Repair RAID 5 Manually

category: Technology author:

r5RAID or redundant array of inexpensive disks is very helpful in storing and duplicating the files for future use. However, when one of these disks failed, a repair RAID 5 would be necessary. Some individuals who are knowledgeable with repair RAID 5 can manually fix the problem. They can reconstruct all the data of the dysfunctional disk in order to restore the files and have a new space for storage. In disk management, you have to choose a new area for free space that has similar size of RAID 5 volume and regenerate the data.

If there is a need for you to restart the computer, the information will be read by the volume manager to reconstruct the lost data and write it to other disks. The volume should be locked through an operating system in order to successfully recover the lost files. However, if you cannot manage to repair the RAID 5, it is recommended you seek experienced help in order not to cause further damage on the disks. Retrieving the lost files is possible as long as you let the expert technician do it for you. It can be done in a few minutes, depending on the expertise of the person doing the repair RAID 5.

How Fast Can Repair RAID 5 Array Fix Your Hard Drive Issues?

Let us all face the reality: hard drives are helpful but they are really sensitive. A few number of unplugging without safely ejecting easily damages the files inside. Yes, we know. You have spent a long time waiting for the files to be transferred or copied to your hard drive and waiting for this makes you want to hurry up and unplug as soon as you finish copying or moving the files. But wait! Did you forget something? Yes! Something small, yet so important. It is to safely remove the hard drive. This small thing is important since you have to make sure you cut their connection before unplugging.

If you do not do this, then prepare to repair RAID 5 array in the future since you will be needing some repairing for not safely unplugging your hard drive. RAID boasts repair RAID 5 array for its ability to clean and fix a hard drive within less than five minutes. Can you imagine how fast that is for a hard drive scanner and fix? Usually other tools like this take 12 to 15 minutes to scan. With a RAID repair tool, you can scan, fix, and search for bad sectors (and fix them) in only less than five minutes. Unlike the scanners in computers, it takes long to only scan the contents.

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Mar 04 2014

Fake Healthcare Companies, The SEC, and Dogs!

category: Financial author:

f you think your dog could do a better job than most investors in choosing stocks, the Securities and Exchange Commission is way ahead of you. They’ve found two dogs who inadvertently played a role in an alleged million-dollar stock swindle involving a company that called itself American Healthcare Providers.

funny-doctorsLast week, the SEC sued AHP, a New York City shell corporation, and five of its officers for their role in an Internet market-manipulation scheme. The SEC alleges that the company and its officers, who ran AHP from a New York apartment, had no business operations and existed only on paper as a “pump and dump” scheme.

Through a series of press releases, Internet message board postings and the company’s Web site, AHP allegedly advertised that it had acquired businesses and entered a $90 million contract with New York City-and, using aliases, it repeated the alleged misrepresentations to tout stock.

In a civil complaint the SEC charged the officers with defrauding stockholders through false statements and misrepresentations. The SEC sued Angel Lorie, 58, of Miami, whom it described as a “recidivist securities law violator” and an AHP consultant; his son, Luis Lorie, 35, also of Miami; Arthur Wheeler, 53, of New York, chairman and chief executive officer; Lars Kram, 63, of New York, a president of the company; and Michael Anthony Lester, 41, of Huntsville, Ala., an Internet consultant and president of the company. After pumping up the price, the officers allegedly sold their stake to the public for more than $1.47 million.

The alleged misrepresentations included a fictional “due diligence” visit by Luis Lorie, in which he thanked AHP “personnel” Charles and Trudi for “their time and effort” during the visit. In truth, the SEC suit alleges, Charles and Trudi were Wheeler’s dogs. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement of profits, civil monetary penalties and an order barring the defendants from again serving as officers or directors of a public company.

Sometimes it pays to pounce. For a moment in American history, Philadelphia’s gain was New York’s loss.

Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, was poised to recommend Arthur Rubenstein as its president and chief executive officer when the University of Pennsylvania Health System snatched him up. Rubenstein, who for the past four years has been dean of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, will be UPHS’ new executive vice president and dean of the school of medicine. (Rubenstein holds the South African equivalent of an M.D. degree.)

That’s not to say Mount Sinai isn’t ready to look anew. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Citigroup executive Robert Rubin is co-chairman of its dream team of a search committee, charged with filling the slot at the 986-bed New York hospital. Rubin’s co-chairman is Henry Kravis, the buyout king behind Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Rubin and Kravis are both longstanding board members of Mount Sinai, although Rubin left the board during his Washington stint, says Mount Sinai Executive Vice President Gary Rosenberg.

Rosenberg says part of Rubenstein’s attraction to Penn was the chance to be dean of Penn’s medical school.

Rubenstein announced last month that he’s heading to Philadelphia in September. He’ll fill a vacancy open since William Kelly, M.D., dean of the medical school and leader of the health system, was fired in February 2000.

Another Frist. A visitor from Mars who lands in Nashville might well believe Thomas Frist Jr. was better known for his involvement in the arts than for heading up the nation’s largest hospital chain. Frist has already made a name for himself once-some would even say twice-in the healthcare world as the chairman, founder and former chef executive officer of HCA. But as he approaches retirement from the board of the hospital chain at the end of the year, he’s made yet another name for himself as the chief patron of the arts in Nashville, his hometown and HCA’s headquarters. Frist, his family and their philanthropic foundation helped put Nashville on the cultural map with a $30 million donation to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The museum, which opened in April, was constructed in what was formerly Nashville’s historic main post office. The 125,000-square-foot museum has no permanent collection but exhibits works of national and international scope as well as works of local and regional artists with an educational focus.

The Frist Foundation, formerly tied to HCA and called the HCA Foundation, separated itself from the company in 1994, when HCA merged with Columbia Healthcare Corp. It was renamed in 1997 to recognize its founding directors, Frist and his father and HCA co-founder, Thomas Frist Sr. One of Tennessee’s largest foundations, it reported net income of $12.2 million and net assets of $208.4 million in 2000.

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Feb 04 2014

Technology And Pharmacists Really Changed The Industry

category: Health Issues,Technology author:

The ongoing shortage of pharmacists, coupled with third-party reimbursements and the low margins they entail, have caused operational challenges for drug stores, and many retailers are meeting those challenges with technological solutions.

Numerous retailers indicate that without automation and other pharmacy technology consumers would face long waits for their prescriptions to be filled, and chains would even be forced to close some of their pharmacies for part of the day.

The aid technology gives pharmacists, they note, has helped pharmacists handle the expanded workload that has besieged them in recent years and helped minimize the number of dispensing errors.

“Our ultimate goal is to alleviate pharmacists’ work stress and further enhance patient care by freeing the pharmacist’s time,” comments London Drugs Ltd. general manager of pharmacy John Tse. “By employing automation we realized that we could grow our business without adding staff.”

According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the number of prescriptions filled in the United States is expected to increase by a third from the current 3 billion a year to more than 4 billion a year in 2004. The ranks of pharmacists are only expected to grow by 6% during that same time period, going from the current level of 119,000 to 127,000.

Technology, the association notes, is critical for community pharmacies to meet the increased prescription demand. For the most part, the industry is already taking steps to deal with the situation, while also enhancing the services it provides to patients.

“The use of automation and technology contributes greatly to enhancing the efficiency of a pharmacy operation,” NACDS senior vice president and general counsel Larry Kocot said in a letter to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration earlier this year.

“An efficient pharmacy enables a pharmacist to address the increasing prescription volume, thereby alleviating workload, and also to reallocate the time previously spent on prescription processing. The additional time the pharmacist gains with automation and technology can be spent on patient care activities.”

One of the best examples of community pharmacy’s reliance on technology, Kocot noted, is the almost universal use of real-time computer software programs to check prescriptions for duplicate therapies and possible adverse interactions with other medications or a patient’s medical history.

Other systems being employed on a widespread basis, he said, include robotics, automated counting devices and dispensing systems, integrated voice response systems, electronic transmission of new prescriptions, electronic transfer of refills, central processing and central dispensing.

“Many of the efficiencies that are gained with the use of automation and technology, combined with the face-to-face contact with the community pharmacist who helps them understand their conditions and take their medication correctly, offer the consumer the best of both worlds,” Kocot remarked.

“Pharmacists’ professional satisfaction increases when they utilize their training in drug therapy management, which is facilitated by the use of automation and technology for dispensing.”

Pharmacy technology provides an added benefit for retailers because of its ability to ensure that the right medication is dispensed in the proper dosage.

Numerous studies over the past few years have pointed to a significant number of errors in the prescribing, dispensing and administration of drugs. While the studies note that the majority of those errors occur in hospitals, the retail setting has not been immune to the problem.

The emerging use of electronic transmission of prescriptions is being touted as one of the best ways to reduce such mistakes.

Those who have done studies on prescription errors have noted that more than a quarter of the mistakes were related to drug name mix-ups caused by poor handwriting. Electronic prescribing, they contend, will eliminate the problem.

More than 30 states across the country already allow electronic transmission of prescriptions, and pharmacy advocates are lobbying lawmakers in the states without such provisions to allow the practice there.

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Sep 08 2012

PDF Workflows And Pro Print Shops

category: Uncategorized author:

An intriguing workflow problem arises in digital color printing. This technology is commonly marketed directly to the corporate or commercial user rather than the professional design industry. That means a higher percentage of files created with programs that tend strongly to cause problems when output at high resolution from Corel-Draw, word processors, presentation programs, spreadsheets and more. If experienced designers still make errors in font usage, file types, color matching, degrades, knockouts and bleeds (to name a few areas a successful designer has to master), the average computer user will do far worse. Therefore, the likelihood is high that each job may have to be repaired, even rebuilt, as part of the workflow. And that has to impact prices or profit margins.

Help may be on the way. There’s a revolution in workflow about to happen, in the form of PDF-based workflows, based on an enhanced version of Adobe’s Portable Document Format technology. As a technology for color printing, it’s been slow to arrive and confusingly presented, but now is starting to gain momentum.

PDF has worked reasonably well with black-and-white files to date. But the file format has not been robust enough to support process color printing and the high levels of complexity in more sophisticated print jobs. All this will change by the end of this year.

The reason why PDF is superior to PostScript in workflows is that the a PDF file, while similar to a PostScript file, is object-oriented. This allows the file to be structured, disciplined and easy to analyze. PostScript files, especially as generated by some applications, tend to be Gordian knots of often semi-redundant code with all kinds of nasty potential surprises.

PDF-based workflow promises to do two things that PostScript has always lacked. First, it offers the ability to distill and correct a file in advance so that it can be printed with a high degree of predictability on a platesetter, an imagesetter or a digital printing press. And second, it will allow last minute changes, object by object, without going back to the original application.

Companies are working on trapping, imposition, job ticketing and even color management tools, all of which will fit in with PDF workflows. The format will allow press control and postpress information to be imbedded in PDF files. PDF will offer third parties the ability to create multiprocessor RIPs and will support variable data printing and other custom device-specific processes.

The fully successful implementation of this technology will take time, much as the development of PostScript’s potential took a few years. First, Adobe has to release the code it is developing. Second, Adobe’s licensees, who make platesetters and imagesetters and digital printers, will have to implement the new features in their RIPs. (Agfa, by the way, hopes to be the first out of the gate.) Third, these vendors and other software developers will have to create new tools that take advantage of the new features. Fourth, current desktop applications will have to be updated to handle the PDF format better.

These will all take longer than anyone wants them to and it will be frustrating. There will be mishaps along the way, as well. But the end result will be the enabling of new printing technologies. The PDF workflow will extend the power of the desktop revolution by offering graphic arts professionals what they want: for designers, the freedom to use any application they want; for prepress operators, the tools to edit, patch, and redirect incoming files; and for printers, consistent, reliable input to the pressroom.

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Sep 08 2012

Quark Was The Best, Hands-Down

category: Uncategorized author:

“Everywhere” is not hyperbole when it comes to the magazine industry. Chances are, if you’re publishing a magazine, you’re using QuarkXPress. According to Folio:’s annual desktop publishing survey , QuarkXPress continues its reign as the page-layout program of choice with 97.4 percent of the survey respondents using the product. Rival PageMaker from San Jose, California-based Adobe Systems Inc. is used by only 4.4 percent of the magazine art departments surveyed.

With more than 75 new features in the new version, Quark experts to keep its publishing customers happy. Here are some highlights that design and production departments will find particularly useful:

Bezier bonanza

Many of the new features allow designers to use drawing and illustration tools within QuarkXPress, where they would normally have to switch out of the program and use illustration software like Adobe Illustrator. Version 4.0 supports Bezier shapes and lines and Bezier points and curve handles. Designers can also create and edit clipping paths in the same way they do Bezier objects, flow text along curved Bezier lines, and convert text into a Bezier-outline shape and fill it with pictures or text.

“We don’t expert people to replace Illustrator with XPress,” says Don Lohse, QuarkXPress product manager, “but on a day-to-day basis, designers can use the new Bezier tools and text paths to make adjustments while they’re working. They won’t have to interrupt their workflow just to change a graphic.”

Printing perks

The new version also includes prepress and printing features that should please those in the production department. QuarkXPress 4.0 will support six-color separations using Pantone’s Hexachrome HiFi color gamut; ICC-based color management is included with an XTension; a built-in PostScript error-handler helps diagnose potential printing problems.

According to Lohse, designers will find that the product is more integrated and easier to use. “We listened to our customers and tried to incorporate their requests into the new version,”he says, adding that small adjustments in the way people use XPress will go a long way toward making designers more productive. Tabbed dialog boxes make it easier to navigate and select a control, and combined preference controls will let users specify multiple settings within one window instead of having to set each preference individually. Plus, a new XTensions manager allows users to decide which XTentions should run when the program launches. There are also character-based style sheets, text run-around based on existing paths and an 800 percent zoom feature.

What about PageMaker?

Though it seems unlikely that many in the magazine industry will switch to PageMaker given the installed base, Adobe is making an attempt to woo QuarkXPress users. A new campaign called “It’s Time to Try Adobe PageMaker,” launched in July, offers discount pricing ($199 for PageMaker 6.5) for users of competitive products. Advantages to using PageMaker instead of QuarkXPress, according to Peter Card, public relations specialist for Adobe, include the integrated support of other Adobe imanaging and illustration programs Photoshop and Illustrator, and PageMaker’s online authoring features like HTML and Portable Document Format (PDF) support. “If you haven’t seen PageMaker in five years,” suggests Card, “this program lets you convert XPress documents into PageMaker so you can see the benefits for yourself.”

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Sep 08 2012

Low End Theory – The Cheaper Shots

category: Uncategorized author:

Corel Print House 1.1

Corel Corp. has a reputation for filling its product boxes with a grab bag of utilities, special features, and add-ons like fonts and clip art. Print House 1.1 nimbly toes the company line with a wealth of design tools and all the extras you could ever need to create nearly two-dozen types of projects.

The riches include more than 1,000 professionally designed templates you can modify, 5,000 pieces of clip art, 1,000 photographs, 100 fonts, numerous borders, a database of attention-getting phrases, and eye-catching backdrops. The package even provides a TWAIN-compliant scanner module for capturing images directly, and a version of Netscape Navigator. Moreover, Print House is the only product we looked at that was available for both the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

As desktop publishing programs go, though, the $59 Print House has more in common with Broderbund’s Print Shop than with the same vendor’s Print Shop PressWriter. Corel’s offering works best when you use one of the hundreds of ready-made templates for everything from business forms and calendars to certificates, labels, and envelopes. Creating a completely new design from scratch is more difficult, because Print House lacks many of the niceties you’d expect in a DTP program, such as an simple way to set up columns, flow text frames, or even insert pages.

While working with Print House’s wizards and templates is a breeze, finding the one you want is not. On launch, the program offers a daunting set of four startup modes (plus options to open an existing project or the last project you worked on). The first startup mode, QuickWay, is a wizard-based tool that lists choices like banners, brochures, business forms, cards, certificates, signs, and “miscellaneous” (for membership cards, tickets, and so on), each of which is further broken down into document types, with only a few choices for each. Print House shows the document types in hard-to-see previews that don’t reveal much about their design. The second and third startup modes, the Start From Scratch and Sample wizards, offer even more choices. And you’ll find five-dozen newsletter templates hidden away in the final start-up mode, the PaperDirect wizard, which has the most complete collection of designs, but even sketchier preview thumbnails.

The rawest beginner will have no trouble modifying and customizing a project–Corel strips away confusing computer jargon and many menu commands in favor of a tabbed “notebook” with choices like Change Things, Add Things, Change View, and Save Project. Each tab has buttons that narrow down tasks into simple steps. Access to more advanced features, such as changing the stacking order of objects in the document, creating name/address lists, or accessing the spell-checker, is relegated to drop-down menus.

Other than the simplified user interface, Print House’s most sophisticated feature is its CorelDraw-like drawing tools, which allow you to fashion rectangles, ellipses, polygons, Bzier curves, and editable tables. The program also includes vector graphics that can be ungrouped and customized, and an image browser that can be popped up at the left side of the screen. Grabbing a thumbnail image and dragging it onto the document area imports the graphic automatically.

Although Print House, unlike Microsoft Publisher 97 or Serif PagePlus, doesn’t have the underpinnings to switch back and forth between entry-level mode and high gear, it’s a good choice for fledgling desktop publishers with rudimentary design skills who plan to work almost exclusively with predesigned documents and want a lot of options to choose from.

Microsoft Publisher 97

From its unmatched mail-merge features to clever Web-site-creation facilities, Microsoft Publisher 97 looks more like a high-end application than the $79.95 bargain it really is. A deceptively simple interface, including brilliant PageWizards that lead you magically through the process of building professional-looking documents, cloaks an impressive array of advanced features.

Want a painless way to design a business or personal document? Publisher 97 includes 18 wizards, including entries for all the standard project types–newsletters, letterheads, and banners–plus clever ones covering categories you might not expect, such as paper airplanes, origami figures, and Web pages. Each wizard offers you a choice of several dozen formats and lets you fill in the blanks with pertinent information, and then creates the basic publication for you.

From that point, you can click on help topics arrayed at the right side of the screen to learn how to add text, pictures, or graphics; change the layout; and view tips on improving your document or performing basic tasks like saving and printing. Pop-up yellow “tip pages” offer context-sensitive advice as you move the cursor around the document window, dialog boxes, and toolbars. When you’re finished, there’s even a feature called Layout Checker to critique your work, and a color-matching tool to alert you to hues in a publication that are beyond the capabilities of your output device.

All this handholding is optional, however. Once you’ve mastered Publisher 97, the program’s rich set of menus and tools–which bear a strong resemblance to their counterparts in Microsoft Office 97–provides access to even more advanced features. These include layout grids with snap-to options, tables, Microsoft Word-like text-editing facilities, and sophisticated typographic features that have been given friendlier, easier-to-understand names (e.g., “spacing between characters” rather than “kerning,” or “fancy first letter” instead of “drop caps”).

Take the best and most comprehensive wizards available in a sub-$100 DTP program. Add in 5,000 clip-art graphics and photographs, direct access to other images by means of Microsoft’s Clip Art Gallery Live on the World Wide Web, 150 font styles, 150 borders, and hundreds of templates, backgrounds, and other elements. Then polish off the package with a 328-page manual, and you’ve got Publisher 97, a low-end publisher that’s easily the best of the lot.

The Print Shop PressWriter 1.0

Modeled after Broderbund’s best-selling Print Shop Ensemble series, the new $39.95 PressWriter guides the rawest neophyte through every step on the path to attractive documents.

PressWriter’s opening screen offers a choice of newsletters, brochures, letters, rsums, reports, flyers, and booklets. Any of these can be built from a QuickStart layout, or designed from scratch. If you choose to work from one of the provided templates, PressWriter unveils miniature previews of each layout. For example, in a scrolling display, you’ll find 24 sample newsletters, 20 trifold brochures, and a full complement of more than 100 layouts overall.

With PressWriter, you’ll also have little or no difficulty in designing documents from the ground up. From a setup dialog box, you select margins, orientation, headers/footers, columns, number of pages, and space for a masthead. Changing column widths, adding text, and linking frames so that text flows between them are simple point-and-click operations using tools available from a bar at the left side of the screen. Because PressWriter’s basic tasks are so readily accessible, finding and implementing them is a refreshingly uncomplicated process. For example, you can activate the 11 most common tasks from the left-hand toolbar, modify text attributes with a word-processor-like formatting toolbar at the top of the viewing window, or access other features from eight drop-down menus.

The program’s word processing capabilities are impressive, and include all the find/replace, word-count, and formatting tools you’ll need. PressWriter can automatically zoom in for a closer look when you start typing text, or zoom out for a two-page preview of what your finished document will look like. Text can be rotated, wrapped around graphics, spell-checked, given drop caps at the beginnings of paragraphs, or formatted via reusable paragraph styles. If you run out of things to say, PressWriter includes a keyword-browsable database of more than 1,000 clever quotations to copy and paste into your publication.

If you prefer, you can import text from your favorite word processing program. You can also import common graphics formats, including BMP, JPEG, and TIFF, and you can resize, flip, or color them. You probably won’t need to, however: PressWriter is furnished with more than 5,000 graphics and photos, and includes a separate graphics reference book with full-color thumbnails for finding the image you want.

PressWriter’s 15 built-in Style Sets present recommended complementary type styles and looks from Art Deco to Wild West, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time deciding which fonts from the 100 bundled with the program look best together. Custom sets allow you to create your own collections to reuse in a monthly newsletter, or to ensure that a set of related brochures all sport the same styles.

Anyone already using Broderbund’s Print Shop to create cards, posters, or other publications will scarcely need to open PressWriter’s slim, 136-page manual. But even newcomers will find the guidebook or built-in tutorials are all they need to leap into desktop publishing in minutes.

PrintMaster Gold Deluxe 3.0

The first surprise in store when you begin using Mindscape’s PrintMaster Gold Deluxe is a friendly audio track that leads you through all the installation steps. A pleasant female voice explains what’s going on, suggests appropriate installation options, and even advises which buttons to click. This outstanding feature is continued throughout the program: As you select various functions, the same voice explains what to do and details available options. If the audio help doesn’t tell you what you need to know, a thick, phone-book-sized manual will, with 180 pages on PrintMaster basics and a complete set of black-and-white thumbnails of bundled images.

Mindscape packs a lot of value into this $40 bundle. In addition to the page-layout program itself, the trio of CD-ROMs includes more than 21,000 images, an image editing program, an album for storing and browsing graphics, and a collection of 69 fonts. (The fonts are included on the CD-ROM, and become available when you fill out the registration form.)

Built-in TWAIN support means you can grab images with your scanner and import them directly into PrintMaster. Should you need to manipulate the graphics, Photo Enhancer Plus is included. The program even comes with a PIM-like Event Reminder and Address Book, to prompt you when it’s time to create a newsletter or greeting card, and to personalize your mass mailings with custom-designed cards or labels.

None of these fancy extras would amount to much if PrintMaster Gold weren’t so easy to use. Your starting point is a project album, which has tabs for 13 types of documents, ranging from cards, banners, and posters to newsletters, brochures, calendars, business cards, and fax cover sheets. Clicking on one of the tabs invokes a set of subtabs with additional choices. The newsletter section, for example, includes options for corporate, church, neighborhood, informational, personal, and designed-from-scratch newsletters.

Buttons labeled with text rather than cryptic icons help you add text boxes or titles, import pictures, add shapes, or change the basic layout of your publication. PrintMaster Gold has its own spell-checker and tools for text wrapping and changing the stacking order of elements on a page, along with other features you might not expect from a DTP program in this price range.

Mindscape’s publishing suite has already undergone a complete upgrade to version 3.0 since last October, and by the time you read this, a brand-new edition, version 4.0, should be on the market. According to the company, version 4.0 will come with an improved interface; matching sets of design-coordinated letterheads, business cards, envelopes, mailing labels, and other documents; and the ability to send e-mail directly from within the application. Also new is the Cartoon-O-Matic feature that will make it easy to create your own graphics figures with lifelike facial expressions.

If the company keeps ladling out features, this best-seller will continue to gain favor with desktop publishers who want sharp-looking results and a minimum of fuss.

Publisher 2

 hasn’t seen a major upgrade since we last looked at it, but it still represents a good value in the desktop publishing arena. While not as slick as PrintMaster Gold despite being close in price at $49.95 list, Publisher 2 is often available for less than $30 and has charms all its own.

For example, you might be willing to pay a good deal more for a program with Publisher 2′s rich graphics capabilities. The program has tools for creating circles, rectangles, polygons, arcs, and other shapes, which can be filled with colors or patterns, aligned either to each other or to the page, and assigned hues from a 96-color palette that hugs the bottom of the screen. You can also drag and drop images from other applications directly into a publication, or import a variety of graphics formats, including common ones like PCX, TIFF, and BMP but also less common ones (for programs in this price range) like EPS and Photo CD. For those with no suitable pictures of their own, the package comes with around 1,000 images and 100 fonts, although users will need to employ one of the included separate stand-alone browsers to preview the clip art.

Unlike most of the other offerings in this under-$100 price range, Publisher 2 stumbles when it comes to automating publication creation. It’s more of a scaled-down full-fledged DTP application than one that will hold users’ hands and guide them through the basics. For example, instead of wizards or previews, Publisher 2 offers a sparse collection of 32 templates that, though attractive enough, leaves you to your own devices when it comes to deciding how to rework the forms to suit a particular need. A handy template manager allows you to store modified or new templates on a hard drive.

Although easy entry into the world of desktop publishing isn’t Publisher 2′s strong suit, the program itself is not difficult to use, and is remarkably full-featured once you have mastered its menus and toolbars. For example, this is one low-cost DTP application that does let you adjust the spacing between characters (kerning) or lines (leading), and it has powerful text and paragraph justification and alignment capabilities. If you import text in either the RTF or Microsoft Word format, you can place markup codes in your word processor that will be translated when the text is loaded into Publisher 2.

Like most other programs in this class, Publisher 2 can wrap text around graphics, perform spell-checks and search/replace operations, and offer synonyms using its Thesaurus function. The floating palettes for features such as style selection are particularly handy. In other words, to adjust all the paragraphs in a document using a particular style, you need only change the style itself.

The terse but thorough manual accompanying Publisher 2 includes some nice touches such as a useful section on page design that offers tips any desktop publisher should review before charging ahead.

Despite its lack of help features and the pressing need for an upgrade, Publisher 2 is a relatively uncomplicated, basic DTP program at a low price.

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Sep 08 2012

Innovator Programs In The DTP Realm

category: Uncategorized author:

Adobe FrameMaker 5.5

If you specialize in producing long, technical documentation or other highly structured documents, Adobe FrameMaker 5.5 may be the best way to go. Its advanced cross-referencing, indexing, search/replace, list-generation, and hypertext capabilities far exceed those of the other packages. This version includes exceptional HTML and PDF repurposing features, Japanese-language support, character-level language capability, and font stretching.

The late beta version we looked at was feature-locked and very stable.

Many consider FrameMaker a difficult program to learn, but its Spartan interface, with its abundance of modeless dialog boxes, is one of the most efficient you may ever use. You can easily change a single parameter for every character style in a chapter without altering the rest of the formats in those styles, or update the parameters of table styleswithout wading through menus or dialog boxes. And though it has no Object palette, FrameMaker stores most settings within tabbed dialog boxes that can be parked in the corner until you want them.

A few options remain buried inside menus, however. For example, FrameMaker’s method of assigning master pages requires that you burrow through several pull-down menus, and is tedious and inefficient compared with the competition’s.

There are no ruler or column guides either, a feature essential for precision layout.

FrameMaker’s powerfulpublishing capability makes long, complex document layout a breeze. Its sophisticated cross-referencing, multiple indexes, and lists of elements make it the ideal program for generating many versions of a document. You can, for example, autonumber a series of paragraphs, which enables you to create compound numbers (i.e., Section 6.4.3.b) and tables of contents that reference specific tables, frames, and paragraphs. Another useful feature is FrameMaker’s ability to retain style information from word processing programs. If you set up a chapter that has identically named styles in Microsoft Word and FrameMaker, the document is restyled automatically when you import the file from Word. This allows marketing or editorial departments to write and style copy in a word processing program before handing the text over to the folks in electronic publishing.

FrameMaker’s table functionality is second to none, allowing such feats as table styles, rotated table cells containing multiple paragraphs, row and column sorting, and customized cell attributes. Similarly impressive is the equation palette, which lets you build esoteric mathematical expressions and then transform them into other equations (or solve them) by substituting values and performing computations.

Having table styles that are distinct from (and function in a manner similar to) paragraph and character styles is unique to FrameMaker. You can create a table to encompass any blocked text, such as a sidebar or a chapter heading, and change any aspect of that table style throughout the document in a few simple steps.

If you work with complex color images, however, FrameMaker might not be your best option. Although Version 5.5 includes 12 spot color libraries and enables you to produce color tints, it has no support for trapping or conversion of RGB images to CMYK, nor does it have any color management features other than the lone overprint option.

Version 5.5 adds Web support in the form of HTML and PDF file export. Because it is an Adobe product, FrameMaker can generate PDF files directly, maintaining cross references, index entries, tables of contents, and article threads. It has a hypertext authoring dialog box, new with this version, that guides users through the process and automatically inserts the correct syntax into the marker (a nonprinting character that is used to indicate the text of a running head, an index entry, or a hypertext command). FrameMaker’s documents and books can be saved to one or more HTML 3.0 files; these files can include hypertext and URL links, image maps, tables, banners, and document splitting, thus allowing FrameMaker to serve as a Web-authoring system.

Although the program is most useful for creating highly structured big books, it lacks any macro capability. As a result, customizing FrameMaker’s toolbars is nearly impossible to do without mastering obscure programming language. Because the program’s help system is poorly implemented and out-of-date, you might find it difficult to get through the process even with FrameMaker’s assistance. And while Japanese-language support is helpful to users who might need this feature, we would rather see improvements in features more germane to mainstream desktop publishing, such as macros, better color handling, and more intelligent illustration tools.

For many years FrameMaker has consistently maintained impressive stability and ultrareliable output, two features essential to a production environment. For quickly turning around thousands of trouble-free monochrome or spot-color pages, FrameMaker 5.5 is ideal.

Adobe PageMaker 6.5

If FrameMaker can be considered Adobe’s long-document dynamo, then PageMaker is Adobe’s design-intensive program. It handles most publishing hurdles with grace and style. With the inclusion of frames, layers, and HTML support, PageMaker 6.5 has considerable sophistication and enough flexibility to be a true “multipurpose” application.

PageMaker’s new interface will be familiar to users of other Adobe products. It has tabbed palettes that can be grouped together to make a compact, efficient workspace. Using its main toolbar, you can create text and graphics containers, edit text, and adjust the view. The tidycontrol palette provides instant access to text and graphic options such as size, placement, and appearance. Despite its lack of pop-up tooltips, PageMaker gets an “A” for user-friendliness.

Like an illustration program, PageMaker lets you organize a document into layers that can be hidden or locked, an especially useful feature for creating multipurpose output. For example, you can place English text on one layer, the Japanese equivalent on another, and graphics on a third. To print the English document, you need only hide the Japanese layer, and vice versa.

PageMaker is one of the few desktop programs that is not strictly frame-based, making the placement of text and graphics highly flexible. For example, by selecting File/Place, positioning the loaded text icon, and dragging the mouse across the area you want the text to fill, you can create text blocks in any area you define. This version includes graphics frames and linkable text frames, making template creation significantly easier. You can fashion frames of any shape. And Adobe has also added automatic reflow–the document is reformatted whenever you make a change, such as altering page orientation.

For Web publishers, version 6.5 provides the Hyperlinks palette and two plug-ins for importing HTML content from browsers (with hyperlinks intact) and exporting pages and stories in HTML format. The program lets you import Internet bookmarks directly or drag and drop URLs from your browser into the palette. In addition, it enables you to assign addresses or anchors quickly to any object in the publication.

Color support in PageMaker will satisfy even the most fastidious graphic designer. The program provides for high-fidelity colors–that is, colors composed of more than four process inks and the CIELAB color space, which encompasses all the colors in the RGB and CMYK formats. You can convert most graphics to TIFF, DCS, JPEG, or GIF formats, and if you are converting your publication to HTML, PageMaker will automatically convert graphics to the last two formats.

Rather than augment the core layout engine, Adobe continues to implement many features via plug-ins. Thus, many standard tools, such as numbered and bulleted lists, are accessed from the plug-in menus. This approach may make it easy to add new goodies to the program, but if you use these types of structures often, you’ll find PageMaker’s approach clumsy. Another limitation: Master pages are static–you can’t tweak the layout on individual pages.

PageMaker has several features for designing long documents, including tables of contents, indexes, and the ability to group separate chapters into a single book. Although not as elaborate as those found in FrameMaker, these features are easy to use and sufficient for most users. The table support is mediocre, a stand-alone utility that is beginning to show its age.

With its excellent color support, design flexibility, Web-page creation tools, and long-document features, PageMaker is the most well-rounded application of the four reviewed here. It is best for those who need one program to perform a wide range of desktop publishing tasks.

Corel Ventura 7.0

It’s been revamped, redesigned, retooled, and reinvented–and the result is an impressive package. From cutting-edge Web-design support to delicate kerning capability, Corel Ventura 7.0′s set of features is both broad and deep. Because the entire application was rewritten from the ground up, users can consider this version a brand-new program.

Ventura 7.0 has a fabulous new interface that is totally configurable and can be customized to best suit your work style. To help you efficiently manage publications, Ventura 7.0 provides the wonderful Explorer-like Navigator palette, which enables you to view aspects of the document’s structure, such as master pages and cross-references, and the Object palette, which lets you instantly assign attributes, size, and position.

Ventura’s traditional strength–producing long documents–is evident in its powerful conditional-text features, cross-referencing, tables-of-contents and index generation, automatic numbering, and scripting capability for automation. However, Corel has not neglected design-intensive features such as controls for tracking, kerning, and text wrapping. There’s also an excellent set of drawing tools for creating geometric and Bezier objects. And you can generate gradients and textures without having to call up another application. The program’s color features lag behind, however–it has no support for CIELAB images, and it implements hexachrome generation via an add-on.

Ventura 7.0′s extensive HTML and Web support should be a model for other programs. URL addresses are treated like any other special embedded graphics are converted to JPEG format, but Ventura’s extensive export filter lets you specify another format, map style tags, set colors, and create an online table of contents. Also included with the core program is Corel Barista for publishing Java applets; Novell Envoy for creating electronic documents; and CorelWeb.SiteBuilder, a toolkit for site creation and maintenance.

Ventura 7.0 comes with plenty of ancillary software, including WordPerfect; PhotoPaint 7.0, for image editing; Corel Depth, for creating 3-D text effects; Corel Capture, for taking screen shots; and Corel DataBase Publisher and Corel DB Edit, for formatting and editing database publications. It also has utilities for document archiving and version control, writing CD-ROMs, bar coding, managing multimedia files, creating labels, and editing sound. As with all Corel products, the package is stuffed with fonts, clip art, and templates.

At first glance, Ventura would seem to have every tool that a designer could want. The feature that is missing, however, is the one we consider the most important: reliability. Creating small test documents entirely within Ventura went smoothly, but when we tried to use the program to lay out a book with more than 1,200 pages–an operation involving thousands of imported text and graphics files–we encountered many problems: text attributes stripped out of Word documents, missing text, unpredictable reflows when chapters were reopened, random crashes, trashed publication files, and inaccurate PostScript output. Calls to Corel produced workarounds and patch disks, but several of the fixes were so awkward that we found ourselves spending more time tiptoeing around Ventura’s idiosyncrasies than actually producing pages.

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