Friday, November 23, 2012

Eric & Heather Thanksgiving 2012

My son Eric and his wonderful ( and beautiful! ) wife Heather 
celebrated their first Thanksgiving in their new house in Alden, NY.

Here Heather and Eric are holding my grandchildren Kayleigh and Jonas.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Picture Postcard Workflow Panel

Dan Margulis is internationally regarded as the leading authority on color correction. He is the author of Professional Photoshop, which, since its first edition in 1994, has become the unofficial bible of the prepress and printing industry. His groundbreaking book Photoshop LAB Color changed the face of professional retouching.
Formerly a professional prepress manager with over 20 years experience heading electronics departments at high-end trade shops, he offered small-group, hands-on color correction classes in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, in four different languages. Now semi-retired, he continues to speak and teach occasionally.
In September 2001, Dan was one of the first three persons named to the Photoshop Hall of Fame of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
In 2007, he introduced a radical approach to color correction called the Picture Postcard Workflow (PPW). Instead of the traditional method of using one set of curves to adjust both color on contrast, the PPW has three main steps: one to eliminate color problems, a second to add contrast, and a third to incorporate pleasing color.
The original idea of the workflow was speed. There was need for a method of reaching high-quality results in five minutes or less. It was understood that there would have to be certain compromises in achieving this, as traditional professional color correction spends much more time on an image.
As it turned out, the PPW generally exceeded the quality of traditional methods. Something that's both faster and better attracts attention. The workflow has therefore been widely adopted by professionals.
Since 2007, the PPW basics have remained the same but there have been constant changes in specific implementations. Many steps were reduced to actions, some easy, some complex. We have always shared these without cost. However, because these actions were constantly changing, distribution was difficult. We originally made each one available separately, updated as necessary it being up to the downloader to know what the current version is.
In September 2011, we released a major boost to productivity: a fully scripted Configurator panel that accesses all the actions and commands used in the workflow in a logical order. Each action can be played with a single click. The panel includes extensive documentation in PDF format for each of the 18 actions, as well as an overview of the entire PPW. Also, even though some of these actions involve fifty or more steps and would therefore completely fill the image history buffer, they have all been scripted to be considered a single history state, so that they can be cancelled with a Command-Z. 
The panel enables curves adjustment layers that use the traditional Photoshop curves dialog and not the one introduced in Photoshop CS4. It also allows addition of a composite (mer ged) layer at any time without losing the original layers underneath.
In March, 2012, version 2.0 was released. It updates certain actions for better quality and also makes several new options for preferences available. Particularly important changes are found in the Bigger Hammer, H-K, and Sharpening actions. All documentation has been updated to reflect the changes.
The download includes an installer that loads the entire action set, full documentation, and the Configurator panel. We believe that the actions work in any language version of Photoshop from CS1 on. The Configurator panel, however, requires a specific version of Photoshop. It is available below for either CS5.x or CS6.
Concept by Dan Margulis. Scripting by Giuliana Abbiati. Documentation by Giuliana Abbiati, Alessandro Bernardi, Dan Margulis, and Marco Olivotto.
Click here to download for Macintosh (requires Photoshop CS5 or 5.5; does not work in CS6)*
Click here to download for Windows (requires Photoshop CS5 or 5.5; does not work in CS6)*
Click here to download for Macintosh (requires Photoshop CS6)*
Click here to download for Windows (requires Photoshop CS6)*

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Teachers Write an Open Textbook In a Weekend Hackathon

A group of Finnish mathematics researchers, teachers and students write an upper secondary mathematics textbook in a three-day booksprint. The event started on Friday 28th September at 9:00 and the book will be was ready on Sunday evening. The book is written in Finnish. The result — LaTeX source code and the PDF — is published with open CC-BY-license. As far as the authors know, this is the first time a course textbook is written in three-day hackathon. The hackathon approach has been used earlier mainly for coding open source software and writing manuals for open source software. The progress can be followed by visiting the repository at GitHub or the project Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back when I worked for PowerPR, we used to help folks market their products and services by writing third party endorsement type articles. We would then ring up editors and have them placed within that verticals trade publications. To convince prospectives of the value of this approach, we used to mail prospective customers a powerful book that was written by Al & his daughter Laura Ries.

This book helped the prospect understand why advertisements rarely work for small companies and how PR was what they needed.

Over the years, Laura and I have exchanged several emails about divergence - and convergence - of technology - on what wins, what loses and what are best practices on conveying a value proposition.

And, we argued - like any passionate person might do - and defended our positions.

Today, I wanted to share that Laura has a new book - only available as an eBook, but a must read if you happen to be tasked with convincing others to do business with you or the company that pays you to do so. Buy it, Read it. But most importantly...

Ask yourself this one question...

Does your brand have a visual hammer? 

If not, read this book to see why you need one and how to find one.

Newly redesigned site:

Buy now at Amazon:

Buy now at iTunes for iPad:

Book page:

AdAge article:

Laura Ries
Ries & Ries, focusing consultants

On April 23rd Adobe Systems is announcing Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6.


-- for more information.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I love everything that the folks at are doing. Everything. A few days ago, I received their 2011 yearbook. You can read about who they are and why they created this yearbook here;

From Page 11 of the yearbook;

We operate by the 3 C’s: Coffee, Conferences, and Cocktails. We’ve met so many people online, but we try and utilize one or all of the 3 C’s to get to know you even better offline. The games we play at conferences are getting better each day – raising the bar for excitement and fun. We can’t wait to see you at the next conference. I guarantee we’ll have some fun.

Check them out and buy your own card at;

-- I was thrilled to find that I made it to page 15.

Here are links to my "Page Mates"

Meet Dan Polley -

Meet Runaway Home -

Meet Jess Vento -

oh, and meet me ! -

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Kayleigh Lynn Jahn, my second grandchild - born today, April 5 2012 - 8lbs 4oz, 20 1/4 inches -  born at 4:28pm at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, 1540 Maple Road, Williamsville, NY 14221

Saturday, March 10, 2012

As many of you know - I am a change event type of guy, and love to jump on that next new thing that I think will help us make things simpler if only we consider the change.

This requires that I fully understand the problem and come up with solution examples and build solid, believable presentations that help prove my case.

I am always looking out to watch professionals presenting. I am always taking notes, trying to learn something from them.

Now - mind you - I am not one of these nut jobs who think the world is going to end this year in December, but when I saw this article today entitled;

"NASA scientist debunks Mayan 2012 apocalypse claims"

I decided "hey, this might be interesting to watch this someone explain away why the world will not be ending in December" - so I watched it.

In the video posted online on Wednesday, Don Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Objects Program Office of NASA/JPL, [attempts to] debunk[s] many of the doomsday theories making the rounds among Mayan apocalypse enthusiasts.

Here is a link to that article;

The problem is, he is showing an Aztec Sun Stone, also called the Aztec Calendar Stone

* sigh *

It is such a pity - but that kind of destroys his credibility

40 lashes to the folks who did not research the image and stuck it into the video !

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Please Ponder this PressWise PDF Presentation

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Someone recently asked me "What is this PressWise API you keep talking about, what does it do?"

I will spend the next few posts explaining what an API is, and why - if you are a print service provider - that you might care and how PressWise customers and third party storefront developers take advantage of it.

So, what does an API 'look like" ? A simple and commonly used example of an API in action is a website that allows users to review local restaurants is able to layer their reviews over maps taken from Google Maps, because Google Maps has an API that facilitates this functionality. Google Maps' API controls what information a third-party site can use and how they can use it.

At SmartSoft ( that is where I work ) we offer an API that enables third parties to access to a PressWise system to inject orders.

PressWise is a browser based workflow system that print services providers use to manage and process their customers jobs. PressWise is a hosted services and was designed as an alternative to purchasing independent modules - or custom development - of web-to-print, production workflow management. Print-specific MIS and mail preparation software.

Here is an example of how the PressWise API "works".

When someone orders print using an online storefront, lets say, to order business cards, like one might do at or - they select the products, ad their custom details, decide how many they need or what type of paper they want to use. They may even add finishing tasks like Coatings or corner rounding. They will them be prompted to enter a method of payment and the address they want the order shipped.

All that data would need to then be transmitted somehow to the PressWise system, and the method ( or protocol) our PressWise API uses is SOAP.
The API then captures the XML stream, process it and enters that as a new order within our PressWise customers system.

My next few posts will go into more detail and show simple examples.

We will be demonstrating our API with Pressero at the upcoming Dscoop event

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Muriel E. "Mickey" Haley: January 20, 2012, age 77, dearest mother of Ginny Gebauer, Joan (Michael) Jahn, Jeanne (Anthony) Vuich, Terry (Bob) Notar, Laura Schauger and the late Dianne Schauger; loving grandmother of Michael, Dianne, Melissa, Jimmy Gebauer, Charles, Michael Fister, Angela, Nicole Lucatorto, Samantha, Anna, Allie Vuich, Tony, Kristina Notar, Kaitlyn Schauger and Kiana Pittman; dear sister of Joan (late Robert) Noah; dear aunt of Veronica Noah; dearest companion of the late Larry Petritz. The family will be present Thursday January 26th, 2012 from 12:00-2 PM and 4-6:30 PM at the (Amherst Chapel) AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 5200 Sheridan Drive (corner of Hopkins Rd) where a Funeral Service will follow at 6:30 PM. Friends invited. Flowers are gratefully declined. If desired, donations may be made to towards their Type 1 diabetes study.

Share condolences and sign online guest book at

Link to Obituary in Buffalo News --> click here <--

Link to Obituary at Amigone --> click here <--

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Technical Page 2 of the Altona Test Suite 2.0 released

Berlin, December 21, 2011:  The Technical Page 2 of the Altona Test Suite 2.0 is available for download from this website immediately. Developed during many months of hard work by ECI, bvdm, FOGRA and Ugra, the Altona Test Suite 2.0 offers a unique method to test components and systems in digital prepress and print workflows for their capability to process PDF/X-4.
The Altona Test Suite 2.0 consists of several parts. At this time, only the «Technical Page 2» is made available. The remaining parts of Altona Test Suite 2.0 will be made available in the 2nd quarter of 2012.
The «Altona Technical 2» addresses transparency, OpenType fonts, optional content (aka layers), JPEG2000 compression, smooth shades, overprint, 16-bit images and more.
Extensive documentation explains the structure of the test page and offers guidelines for the evaluation of results achieved by processing the Altona Technical 2 page.
The only support option available for users of the Altona Test Suite consists of the possibility to subscribe to the ECI mailing list and submit any questions or feedback on the ECI mailing list which are monitored by the authors of the Altona Test Suite.
Please go to the section “Downloads” at the link below website to download the Altona Test Suite files.
Important notice: The Altona Test Suite may be used freely, but must not be redistributed without receiving prior permission in writing from the ECI. No guarantee is given that the Alton Test Suite is without error. Any use is completely under the risk of the person or company using the Altona Test Suite. There are no liabilities should the use of the Altona Test Suite lead to direct or consequential damages.