OS X Transition: A Survival Guide for Designers and Design Management--Seminar Report and Tips

October 14, 2003 - 3:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Over the past few months I've been reading, bookmarking, and testing everything I could get could my hands on as far as OS X's impact on design and publishing networks is concerned. I needed to create a full-day, lecture/demo-based seminar on the topic of "how to keep a design network running smoothly while moving from OS 9 to OS X" for Dynamic Graphics Training (be careful what you pitch!) and so I wanted to be as prepared and accurate as possible.

Yesterday my seminar went "live" for the first time at Chicago's Allegro Hotel. We had an over-capacity crowd of designers and pre-press types, half of whom flew in from out-of state (Arizona, Kentucky, New York, etc.) to attend. Definitely a hot topic. From their questions, comments and reactions, it appears to be a hit — by the end of the day they looked much more confident and excited about moving to OS X than they did at the beginning. I'm looking forward to receiving copies of the evaluations they filled out for DGT so I can fine-tune the content for the next one in San Francisco in November.

And of course, with the next major version of OS X — 10.3, aka "Panther" — due out on October 24 (at 8:00 p.m. to be exact), I'll have to update it anyway. (See the next story for more information on Panther.)

In the seminar, I spent the morning covering OS X's advantages and disadvantages for designers, technical stuff about preparing your Mac for the upgrade, actually installing OS X, and then gave a quick orientation to the new Finder, Dock, and windows; and the implications of a UNIX-based OS for end users.

The afternoon got to the meat of the issues near and dear to our hearts: Working with Classic and OS X (explained via carrying a print and a web project through a mix of programs in both modes), Font Management, Printers and Peripherals, Networking and File Sharing, and Troubleshooting and Maintenance.

The font issue was by far the most troublesome for designers and publishers, with printing in OS X and Classic a close second. If you're having trouble with these issues too, here are a couple of Apple documents I found to be very helpful:

Using and Managing Fonts in Mac OS X v10.2

Included PPDs and Use of PostScript Printers

Remember, though, these documents apply to 10.2 (Jaguar) — things will likely change with 10.3 (Panther). The good news is that Apple's made font management much easier for designers in Panther, according to a beta tester/graphics consultant I spoke with.

Another thorny issue I encountered while doing research for this seminar was File Sharing. Tens of thousands of small- to medium-sized Mac design workgroups rely on OS 9's Sharing Setup to move files around their network. They don't have a file server, they use Shared folders and hard drives instead.

That method is far more difficult to implement in OS X because of its secured, multiuser nature and the resulting file permissions issues. I won't get into the details here, but if you're trying to figure out a way to maintain the same workflow for your workgroup, check out SharePoints:

It's an application that comes close to replicating OS 9's "shared folders" in OS X. I haven't used it myself, but I spoke or traded e-mails with many other design and publishing managers who swore by it. Best of all, it's "donation ware" — meaning it's free, but they provide a few ways for you to contribute some funds to its continued development.


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