Less is more

January 5, 2015

Less is more
New European rules mean that all new domestic electronic devices, from TVs and fridges to computers and peripherals, now have to automatically put themselves to sleep when not in use to save energy. This is part of the EU’s Ecodesign initiative, which has also outlawed high-wattage vacuum cleaners and will extend energy ratings to gas ovens.
It doesn’t matter that this is going to counter global warming or save us all a bit of money off our bills. The most important thing is that it enshrines into law the principle of designing products efficiently and that can only be a good thing. If only we could use the same approach to stop software vendors selling us bloated and buggy programs.

EFI buys SmartLinc

January 17, 2014

EFI has acquired SmartLinc, an American company that develops shipping software. This software allows users to select the best carrier for their shipments and can be integrated with other software systems. Thus MIS can automatically submit print jobs to SmartLinc software, which then tracks shipment status, cost and carrier information, and transfers this information back to the MIS to give users a more complete picture of expenses, job delivery and other essential metrics.
As is usually the case with EFI’s acquisitions, the SmartLinc staff have all joined EFI, including co-owners Greg Billinghurst and Scott Kwiatkowski. As a side note, EFI’s CEO Guy Gecht told me last year that such employees were often more valuable to EFI than the companies it bought, pointing out that many of EFI’s senior managers have joined the company following acquisitions.
EFI hasn’t disclosed the terms of the deal but has said that it is not expected to be material to EFI’s Q1 or full-year 2014 results.

Adobe updates the Technical Communication Suite

January 15, 2014

Adobe has announced v5 of the Technical Communication Suite, an authoring and publishing toolkit for technical writers and instructional designers. This latest version streamlines the creation of standards-compliant technical content by leveraging best-in-class XML/DITA authoring with complete Document Type Definition (DTD) support. The release also enables authors to expand the outreach and adoption of their content by seamlessly disseminating it on iPads and other tablets, smartphones, eReaders, the Web and desktops through single-click publishing to output formats such as HTML5, eBook and native mobile apps.
The suite is a collection of programs, which were all updated together. This includes Adobe FrameMaker 12, which gains multichannel publishing as well as Adobe RoboHelp 11, a multichannel HTML5 publishing solution that generates responsive HTML5 output with a single click for device-agnostic publishing. Adobe Captivate 7, Adobe Presenter 9 and Adobe Acrobat XI Pro round out the suite, for eLearning, demo creation, dynamic video presentation and PDF functionalities.