Bottlenecks, bandwidth and the importance of building an up to date network

Bottlenecks, bandwidth and the importance of building an up to date network

If your company’s network is running on the back of out dated technology, there’s a good chance it’s struggling to meet the demands of your day to day data flow, and you’ve probably started to notice a dip in productivity and performance as a result.  

In 2017, networks are tasked with handling multiple devices, applications and workflows. And while you may be fully equipped to handle emails, web surfing and the transfer of documents and other small files, you’re going to need more bandwidth to be able to cope with the demands of the modern networking world.

We’ve listed a few FAQs below that should help you decide whether you need a network upgrade to better support the requirements of your organisation’s IT infrastructure…

So, what’s a bottleneck? 

No, we’re not talking about those things you slurp lager out of – we’re talking about high network usage slowing or altering the speed of a network. Speed is reduced when the network lacks the resources and bandwidth to cope with the demands of its users – networks will naturally slow down in an attempt to handle the additional traffic.

How do bottlenecks impact productivity? 

If your network is clogged with users attempting to access the same resources and lacks the infrastructure to support this kind of activity, it’ll create a bottleneck that’ll grind your network speeds to a halt. This isn’t exactly ideal if you’ve got staff using essential network-based applications, working on mission-critical files on the server or distributing large amounts of data across your organisation. Without sufficient bandwidth, your network will continually experience such slowdowns, so it’s best to start thinking about modernising your network infrastructure to better support your company’s data flow and the needs of your end users.

What are the benefits of updating my network?

If your networking infrastructure is lagging way behind the times, it’ll really show and your end users will have some serious difficulties working on the network. Complete with noticeable performance deficits, you’ll likely experience total network outages where nothing works until traffic is reduced – this is something you want to avoid, as an outage could cause you to lose data and possibly days of work.

To put it simply, by not upgrading you’re missing out on a load of substantial speed and performance benefits, and risking precious data. Bandwidth abound, you can rest easy that your network will be able to cope with previously crippling amounts of data usage, and can handle even the most demanding multimedia workflows.

Getting your network updated also means you won’t have to waste excessive amounts of time and resources trying to rectify problems created by slow speeds and poor performance – instead, your IT support team can focus on helping end users without having to fret over never-ending network bottlenecks. And don’t forget that you’ll likely see an uptick in productivity now that your employees can access everything they need and can use the network at full capacity.

Of course, it’s always important to implement best practice whether your network is up to date or not, especially when it applies to organisational growth and the IT infrastructure associated with it. Always remember that for every additional employee or device, it’ll have a knock on effect on bandwidth, storage and more, so your infrastructure will need to expand in conjunction with the business.

Try and implement monitoring systems that help you keep track of the resources in your network, how much data is being transmitted across your company, and potential shortfalls in bandwidth capacity and networking speeds. It’s also worth double checking that your network is configured correctly, so that fresh installations or new services aren’t blocking existing business-critical applications and causing unnecessary downtime.

How can we help?

We offer the full range of networking solutions, from the design and installation of complex multisite networks to tailor-made WiFi setups for business. In short, our engineers will make sure your network is fast, continuous and secure. Whether you’re looking for someone to help you with system design, structured cabling, active network hardware, wireless LANs, network security, or maintenance and support, we’re your guys.

Want to know more about networking? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

We’ve renewed our place on the G-Cloud 9 Framework

We’ve renewed our place on the G-Cloud 9 Framework

Big news! We’ve successfully renewed our relationship with the government’s G-Cloud 9 Framework for the supply of cloud software services and support for the fourth consecutive year. 

As part of the agreement, we offer a full range of services and support through the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) Digital Marketplace to bolster cloud-based working across the public sector, including local government, health, education, not-for-profit and devolved administrations.

The CSS is a public sector organisation that acts on behalf of the Crown to drive savings for the taxpayer and improve the quality of commercial and procurement activity.

Our G-Cloud 9 Framework offering includes:

Cloud software services

– Adobe Creative Cloud.

– Managed fulfilment of Apple technologies and services.

Cloud support

– Apple audit services.

– Cloud help desk services and support.

– Active directory (AD) Apple integration cloud services.

– Hosted Apple management.

– Bring your own device (BYOD).

– Apple VPP (Volume Purchase Programme) service.

– Apple cloud consultancy services.

– Apple DEP (Device Enrolment Programme) consultancy services.

– iPhone and Apple Watch managed services.

– Tech bar services.

– Adobe Creative Cloud VIP programme.

If you’d like to find out more about each service and support solution, including scope, planning, pricing, implementation and much more, you can visit Jigsaw24’s section of the G-Cloud 9 Framework Digital Marketplace here.

Want to talk to us in more detail about cloud services and support, and the G-Cloud 9 Framework? Give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email gps@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Securing Macs in your organisation: The basics

Securing Macs in your organisation: The basics

If you’re managing security across a large Mac estate in your organisation and finding it both intimidating and confusing, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little help from Apple’s built-in security features, as well as a few recommendations from Apple device management experts, your IT team can tackle common security issues with ease.

Security can be a tough nut to crack. The reality is, when you’re responsible for your business’ Mac estate, you want to ensure that you’re getting the job done properly, and that the devices can be used safely and securely. Of course, you need your Mac security to comply with existing network security measures, too.

How can macOS help?

If you’ve made the jump to macOS Sierra (which we recommend), there’s a plethora of ways it can help your Mac estate stay secure.

Regular software updates from Apple ensure that your machines always have access to the latest and safest version of macOS, while Gatekeeper protects you from any malicious apps. The safest place to download apps from is the Mac App Store, but if you’re downloading from the internet, developers can receive a Developer ID from Apple that helps Gatekeeper identify unscrupulous software and block installation from unapproved developers.

FileVault 2 keeps your data safe and secure by encrypting the entire drive on your Mac – and it’s fast and unobtrusive to boot. Users can even encrypt removable drives, which makes it ideal for securing Time Machine backups or external devices. And if you want a clean start or to give your Mac to someone else, you have access to instant wipe functionality that removes encryption keys, rendering data inaccessible, then performs a complete wipe of every last scrap of data on the disk. Best of all, it’s relatively easy to set up and initial encryption won’t take long so you can get right back to work once it’s done.

The upcoming Apple File System (APFS) looks set to revolutionise everything, including imaging, backup, OS upgrades and security. Fortunately, this is a good thing as APFS is optimised for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals. You can read more about it here.

What do the experts recommend?

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is an organisation specialising in cyber security. As internationally recognised specialists, they set the standard for macOS security. Making their security recommendations a part of your day-to-day practices will ensure you’ve got all bases covered.

Click here to check out a few of their benchmark recommendations for macOS security – they even provide terminal level suggestions for enabling and disabling certain features.

How can you meet security benchmarks like this for large scale Mac estates?

MDM (mobile device management) solutions like Jamf Pro allow users to control the settings, security, permissions and applications on any mobile device in your organisation, whether that be tablets, smartphones, laptops and even things like POS kiosks or mobile printers. It provides a single, centralised overview of your organisations mobile estate, no matter how many locations or platforms it covers. Such solutions also bolster device security and offer superior protection for your company data.

MDM tools should provide FileVault 2 controls so IT administrators can administer encryption and recovery keys, and can also help your organisation manage system preferences for your devices. This includes enabling FileVault 2 across your company to ensure data security, as well as iCloud preferences relating to file backup. Similarly, passwords and keys can be escrowed in Jamf Pro’s Server Inventory so you can rest easy knowing they’re stored securely in a central location.

Similarly, device management platforms are also great for handling system access, authentication and authorisation processes. This includes things like certificate distribution, with any good management tool utilising computer-level certificates to protect a company’s assets in a variety of ways. Typically, this includes certificate authentication for machines being integrated into an organisation’s network. Likewise, most management solutions should permit admins to configure a server that will act as a certificate authority, which will then be used to manage certificate services across an organisation’s computer network.

MDM tools can even help with log management, which is ideal for ensuring system and network security, and regulatory compliance. Logs are created on almost all devices, and if you’re running a large Mac estate you’re likely having to handle a large volume of them. They’re essential for analysing and solving bug issues, and testing new features during early development stages. So having a device management solution that can organise logs will save you time and money in the long run, and help you tackle future problems before they arise.

MDM solutions also support patch management, which allows admins to monitor the latest software updates for devices and applications, ensuring they’re up to date and secure – take a look at our mini guide to patch management.

Want to know more about getting started with Mac security, and how MDM solutions such as Jamf Pro can help your business keep on top of everyday IT tasks and meet security benchmarks? Give us a call on 03332 409 366, email enterprisesupport@Jigsaw24.com head to Jigsaw24.com/enterprise-support or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Scripting: Your need to know basics

Scripting: Your need to know basics

If you’re looking to take a more hands-off approach to your device management processes, scripting is a great way to automate day-to-day tasks such as update rollouts, security policy deployments, remote wipes, troubleshooting and everything in between.

For those that don’t know, a computer script is a list of commands that are executed by a certain programme or engine. Scripts are used to automate the execution of tasks that would normally be carried out one by one by a human operator, thus removing the tedium of repetitive processes.

There are lots of different scripting languages, but as we’re talking about device management, lets take a look at the languages a popular Mac management tool like Jamf Pro supports:

– Perl (.pl)

– Bash (.sh)

– Shell (.sh)

– Non-compiled AppleScript (.applescript)

– C Shell (.csh)

– Zsh (.zsh)

– Korn Shell (.ksh)

– Tool Command Language (.tcl)

– Hypertext Preprocessor (.php)

– Ruby (.rb)

– Python (.py)

LaunchDaemons are system processes that start up every time your device is booted. Essentially, they form part of the nuts and bolts of scripted operations, and whether you use the features they provide doesn’t matter – they’re always chugging away in the background consuming RAM. LaunchDaemons run as part of a unified framework known as launchd, which starts, stops and manages daemons, applications, processes and scripts.

Similarly, LaunchAgents are file locations that house scripts and automatically manage system processes. Unlike LaunchDaemons, they load when an individual users logs in, rather than when the device is booted. Simply put, LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents are essential for triggering scripts and applications, as well as automating device management procedures. They can also be programmed to operate as and when you see fit – whether that’s every so often, at set intervals and so on.

With MDM (mobile device management) solutions, users can run, manage, deploy and add scripts to package sources. Package sources allow you to view and edit the attributes of a package, including files, scripts, privileges and localisations. This makes it easier to deploy devices at scale and automate processes associated with device management.

If you’re looking to effectively manage and deploy package sources, it’s essential to consider a third party solution such as Jamf Pro. Not only that, but a trusted partner (like Jigsaw24) can help you skip the steep learning curve. We can write and deploy scripts for you, and handle all the tough technical stuff to ensure your management solution and other processes are running at maximum efficiency.

If you’d like to find out more, you can download our Mac Management white paper here. Alternatively, if you need a hand with script writing give us a call on 03332 409 365 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Your mini guide to patch management with Jamf Pro

Your mini guide to patch management with Jamf Pro

Patch management is an integral part of application security, so it should be high on your list of priorities when it comes to your Mac estate. IT admins spend hours scouring the web for software updates, but it doesn’t have to be as complex and time consuming as you might think.

Formerly a repetitive manual process, quality device management solutions like Jamf Pro have made it easy for users to ensure their software is up to date and secure. How does it do this? Well, Jamf Pro automatically notifies administrators when third party software updates are released, bypassing the rigmarole of figuring out what needs upgrading and which updates are available. This is especially handy given that so many popular third party applications churn out multiple updates a month.

Figuring out where to take action when new updates are available can also be tricky, as most organisations with thousands of machines and users are likely running different software versions. Identifying potential software vulnerabilities is a must, but thankfully Jamf Pro provides visibility into the software or app version a device is running, as well as the number of devices operating on a specific patch. All the information is compiled in an easy to understand visual, and reports can be downloaded or bookmarked so you can share your findings with colleagues. From there, you can take action as and when you need to, ensuring the security of your Mac environment.

Jamf Pro's Patch Management interface

Jamf Pro’s Patch Management interface

If you’re looking to take patch management one step further, Jamf Pro allows IT admins to automate update deployment by utilising policies and scripts. We’d recommend using a mixture of packaged scripts to guarantee a successful rollout with minimal downtime and interference.

If you’d like to find out more, you can download our Mac Management whitepaper here. Alternatively, give us a call on 03332 409 365 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

 

Cut the time it takes to provision a new Mac from hours to seconds

Cut the time it takes to provision a new Mac from hours to seconds

How long does it take you to provision a Mac for a new starter? What about rebuilding an existing device that requires different network configurations or software? What if you could cut this process down from hours to seconds – or even to the point where you don’t have to touch the device at all?

If you’re looking to save yourself time when setting up fresh Macs for employees, zero-touch deployment should be a priority – and Apple tools and mobile device management can help you achieve it.

To demonstrate the hassle of manually setting up a new Mac and user profile (which can take up to an hour depending on the amount of software installs required), here’s a simplified example of a typical IT administrator checklist, detailing everything that needs to be done before a device can be deployed into the workplace:

Manual setup of a new user

  1. Create user on directory service, and assign privileges
  2. Create Mail account(s), CRM accounts etc.
  3. Set up IMAP; map Sent, Trash, Drafts folders etc.
  4. Create Mail signature.
  5. Create server shortcuts from IT support, as well as any additional shortcuts.

Manual setup of a new Mac

  1. Turn on the device, and run through all the standard start-up steps (AppleID, TouchID, Apple Pay etc)
  2. Set up Admin user.
  3. Run system software update.
  4. Bind to OD (Open Directory), and/or AD (Active Directory).
  5. Add access to corporate services and security requirements
  6. Install software.

– Microsoft Office 365.
– Printer drivers for all printers.
– Adobe Creative Cloud.

  1. Set wallpaper and edit dock.

Comparatively, you can use zero-touch deployment to cut down this process from hours to seconds.

What is zero-touch deployment?

Zero-touch deployment is the end result of leveraging a mixture of tools that enable devices to be provisioned, integrated and configured automatically, eliminating almost all of the manual setup process. By the time they’re delivered to desk, devices will have the correct security policies preloaded, be prepped to install the correct system specifications and configured to suit the tasks they’ll be used for, and have the necessary creative applications awaiting installation.

This is achievable by using some simple tools to create:

– Configuration profiles and software packages – effectively a base image.

– Policies against users and user groups, so when someone joins the team they get the same deployment.

So, which Apple tools support zero-touch deployment?

Apple’s Profile Manager simplifies management, streamlining deployment and configuration of Mac computers in your organisation – it can be used as an MDM (mobile device management) solution in its own right, but many organisations use this tool in conjunction with third party MDM solutions to better support larger estates.

It allows admins to configure and roll out settings to Apple devices and users across their network, and quickly set up lots of devices with the apps, settings and documents they need. It also helps organisations enforce password polices, define the kind of networks devices can connect to, disable certain features and deactivate system preferences in macOS. Similarly, devices can be remotely locked or wiped with Profile Manager, handy if staff lose their Mac or iPhone.

Fortunately, before you’ve even invested in a third party management platform, Apple supply some of the tools you’ll need to make hands-off deployment and disk imaging on macOS a success. System Image Utility provides users with the functionality to create and configure three types of network disk image: NetBoot, NetInstall and NetRestore, as well modular images that contain the operating system and allow users to download and install the apps they need.

Remote Desktop is Apple’s open standards-based desktop management software utility; it lets admins remotely control and configure systems, install software, provide assistance to end users, create reports and automate management tasks. You can leverage Remote Desktop to check that all automatic, remote and zero-touch configurations have been implemented successfully, or for ongoing remote management of the devices once they’re deployed.

Using computer lists, administrators can define a group of computers and manage them according to type, physical location, use, and more. From there, you can choose to set up a remote Mac and create a dedicated Task Server to gather information and distribute it with sanctioned admins. The Task Server is always on, and serves as an automated administrator that can install packages and configure client settings without central control from Remote Desktop.

The process of setting up a new user’s Mac can be further simplified by:

  1. Adding a new user to your Mac management tool of choice, integrated with Apple’s Device Enrolment Program (DEP).
  2. Assigning the Mac to the user in the management tool, so that when it’s turned on, it pulls down everything the user requires.

To save even more time, admins even have the option of uploading a list of devices rather than adding them one by one – ideal for larger scale rollouts.

While Apple laid the groundwork for Mac management with Profile Manager and other tools, it’s essential to consider a third party solution such as Jamf Pro if you’re looking to manage your Mac estate on a larger scale. Not only that, but a trusted partner (like Jigsaw24) can help you skip the steep learning curve and handle all the tough technical stuff to ensure your management solution is running at maximum efficiency.

If you’d like to find out more about building user profiles on Mac, you can download our Mac Management white paper here. Alternatively, give us a call on 03332 409 365 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

 

Five creative trends we’ve got our eye on

Five creative trends we’ve got our eye on

From AR to VR and every acronym in between, there are lots of fresh creative trends on their way up this year that we’re getting pretty excited about. 

As you’ve probably figured out by now, we’re celebrating 25 years of being a leading creative technology provider. As part of the festivities, we’ve been looking back at retro tech and old school design work, but as fun as its been to enjoy some nostalgia, we also like to keep our eye to the future and stay right up to date on the hottest industry trends.

Check out our top five creative trends to look out for…

Animation and video

More and more websites are leaving static imagery behind, hoping to capture the imagination of users through animation. Advancements in web browsers, CSS and HTML5 have made the creation and implementation of animation online much simpler, and web designers are utilising its ability to tell dynamic stories to customers as they browse online.

Video is already hugely popular, but it’s becoming even more so as developments in live streaming via social media take hold. Video is so effective because it allows companies to communicate fine-tuned product narratives to viewers in a way that engages and excites them. If you haven’t adopted it yet, now’s the time!

Did you know? By 2018, 79% of all consumer internet traffic will be video-based.

UX design

Thanks to the fundamentals of human psychology and visual perception, ensuring the effectiveness of your visual communications is key – that’s why usability and accessibility are so important to any digital or online experience. Linear, easy to use interfaces, intelligent personalisation and specialisation should be your top priorities when it comes to UX, and with apps like Uber, Snapchat and Pokémon Go perfecting the practice to great success, its uptake among design teams looks set to continue. 

Virtual reality

You probably guessed it’d show up at some point. VR has only just started infiltrating our lives, and the creation of groundbreaking immersive experiences is definitely on the up. In this year alone, we’ve seen the introduction of virtual tours and VR-themed stage productions, the creation of dementia-friendly virtual environments, VR sketching software for creative professionals and virtual reality apps for reading the news. Not only that, but digital marketers are jumping on the bandwagon as they look to capitalise on a fresh, fully interactive medium for customer engagement.

Minimalism and modularity

As a designer’s job becomes ever more technical and complex, it’s kind of ironic that we’re striving for less in how we present our content. Brands are competing to appear elegant and refined, and a great contemporary example of this is conversational interfaces. News apps in particular send small, digestible pieces of information (usually based on what you’re interested in) straight to your smartphone. From there, users can choose to interact with the notification if they wish to see more content, but otherwise it’s presented in a clean, concise way that doesn’t clutter your home screen.

We expect this trend to continue to grow, so it’s worth bearing a few things in mind if you want your design work to keep up with the competition. We’d recommend breaking your layouts up into digestible chunks and making them easy to engage with, rather than forcing users into walls of text and information. It makes the design process more manageable and goes hand in hand with that sleek, minimalist look we were just talking about.

Typography

Experimenting with typography is key to the design process, and the importance of selecting something that both compliments your work and adapts nicely to your design layouts can’t be understated. Whether you’re using it to help represent complex ideas and abstract concepts, bolster minimalist page designs with a dash of creativity that make them more exciting or just trying to make your work look prettier, designers are now spending more time than ever mulling over their typographical decisions.

These days, the use of larger fonts is becoming more prevalent thanks to the need to optimise websites for mobile screens. Similarly, designers are being tasked with creating responsive logos, which are designed to keep up with the ever-growing selections of formats and scales available to users. Preferably, a good responsive logo will be simple and malleable, and react naturally to its environment while still being functional. This means that we could see creatives move away from hand drawn typography, as these logos are likely to be intricate, much more complex, and less flexible and responsive.

Want to find out more about about the latest creative technology? Give us a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

 

A day in the life of… Stuart Tolley from Transmission

A day in the life of… Stuart Tolley from Transmission

We caught up with typographical designer, art director and author Stuart Tolley to find out what he gets up to while plying his trade at Transmission, his Brighton-based studio. He’s got years of experience working on magazines, a passion for minimalism (he even wrote a book about it!) and prefers to do things the old fashioned way. So we asked him all about how he’s adapted to changes in the creative industry since beginning his career, his work, the technology he uses, what keeps him inspired, and his predictions for the future of design.

What have you been working on today?

Today I’ve been working on typographical experiments for the covers of a forthcoming book series. I’ve been picking apart the headline type using Adobe apps to typographically represent complex theories about psychology, sociology, economics and creativity. I mainly use InDesign, which I combine with Photoshop and Illustrator for other parts of the work.

You’ve authored some books of your own; what were they about?

The first one was called Collectors Edition: Innovative Packaging and Graphics, which is about the renaissance of vinyl records and limited edition publications. My second book, MIN: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design, is about the rebirth of minimalism in graphic design.

Transmission_stuart_img_1

Could you tell us a bit more about your work on minimalism?

Well, MIN has been out for about a year and is published by Thames & Hudson. There have previously been books about the history of minimalism, but no one has published an up to date book about it, particularly in the last 5 years.

We’ve become accustomed to the stripped back designs of contemporary technology and this is really important to me, as I didn’t want the book to be a historical look at the style. I think people are really aware of minimalism now, particularly with the stripped back user experience and product design of Apple devices – this is all part of a decluttered lifestyle, which is something I wanted to tap into. The reductive nature of the book has informed a lot of my studio projects too, because I like working with quite abstract concepts and then stripping them down to their barest form.

What are the biggest challenges you face in keeping the studio up and running?

The main challenge is balancing all the [on-going] design projects we have coming through the studio. We’re a small studio and I take care of all the creative work – I like to do everything myself as well, which I suppose is a bit controlling.

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What technology were you using back in the 90s, at the start of your career? 

I graduated from university in 1999. There were a small amount of computers within the university, but at the time I was using the photographic dark rooms to enlarge my negatives and creating a lot of photographic work. We were on really basic versions of editing software back then – I think I might have used Photoshop a handful of times.

The thing is, I was right on that cusp. Magazines were produced using a cut and paste layout system, with lots of rulers and measuring grids. Of course, I missed all of that and started work when Quark was the main publishing tool. Before I left university, I was using the photocopier all the time to print stuff, cutting and pasting, using lots of tape to stick it all down – really hands-on work. Then as soon as I started work people were like “Right, now you need to use QuarkXpress”.

What technology has had the biggest impact on your studio?

I use a lot of Adobe programs. I really am a slave to Apple and Adobe at the minute. A big change was when InDesign overtook Quark, which was the industry standard. I think the biggest change for me personally is how social media and marketing have developed. The internet is now the mainstream form for viewing information, especially since the explosion of smartphones.

There was a period, maybe a decade ago, where I was working on print and magazine projects, but nobody was interested in print at all. Just a constant stream of “nos”; people were demanding apps and stuff for tablets instead. But magazine apps haven’t really taken over as much as people predicted, and instead we’re witnessing a golden era of independent magazine production that’s targeted at very specific audiences.

How did you adapt to the latest trends, whether it was online, video or animation? 

I didn’t. The rise of digital design and user experience has exploded really in the last four or five years, all while I was making my books. I was kind of blissfully unaware and then popped out the other side of it. That’s when I realised the design industry had changed quite a bit. But, for me, it’s quite important to just stick to your guns and say, “You know what, this is what I love to do and they’ll be an audience for it.” I think once I realised that, that’s when I decided I didn’t need to be making loads of apps or websites just to keep up, because there are so many people that are doing that anyway.

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When did you get your first Mac?

My first Mac was a big old [Power Mac] G4 desktop, which had a great big screen. It was all that was available at the time and I got it almost as soon as I left university and had enough money. I was working at Sleazenation magazine at the time and used it to create freelance work on the side. I now have an iMac with a Retina screen, the highest spec I could get, which I use as my main computer.

So how would you say the G4 you were using compares to the top-spec iMac you have now?

The new iMacs are much more streamlined. What you’ve got now is a screen on a stand, whereas before you’d have your [tower], hard drives and a massive monitor with a deep back to it, wires everywhere. Now it’s all part of the decluttering, minimalistic process. You know, the wireless keyboard and mouse, stuff like that – I just embraced it, it was fantastic. 

Do you use any design tablets, like Wacoms?

Some of my friends swear by [Wacoms] but it’s just not something that I’ve ever tried or embraced.

How do your friends use them?

One of them has a huge one; it’s basically just a screen that he draws into. It’s an incredible bit of kit – but as they’re illustrators, they need the ability to draw and work freehand. Whereas I would say my work is more typographical, which I can handle on a mouse.

What Adobe apps do you use the most? 

I use InDesign the most, but I do vector-based work in Illustrator too. I use Photoshop for colour correcting, retouching and things like that. I also use Bridge quite a bit for manipulating images in raw mode, but InDesign is definitely the one I use the most – all day, everyday basically.

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What upcoming trends are you thinking about for the future?

I’ve just created a book about minimalism, so I’m quite interested in the opposite of that. The whole point of the book was that there have been these very ornate designs around for a long time, then minimalism comes along and it refreshes everything. But there will always be a reaction against a current design trends and you’ll probably see a reaction against minimalism in the next few years.

So what will the reaction to minimalism be then?

I think there will be a point where everyone gets bored of things looking really clean, and minimalism just won’t be doing its job anymore, because everything just looks the same. You see it within the independent magazine industry, which are all currently being produced in a minimalist design style. They’ve all got a little logo, top centre, and they all look exactly the same. There are magazines coming out that are totally different, really energetic, and they’ll stand out because they don’t look like everything else. That will be the biggest change; a style will come along that’s more playful and experimental.

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How do you stay productive during busy, stressful times?

I go and sit on the beach. I’ll just take a sketchbook and go and make notes, draw and come up with ideas. It always works. Guaranteed.

What keeps you inspired everyday?

I often change career path and that keeps me inspired. I still work within editorial design, but I’ve shifted quite a lot. I think that’s something that I would like to continue doing, mixing formats and styles. I’ve just been commissioned to work on an exhibition in Brighton this September, so I’m already thinking of ideas for that in the back of my mind. It’s just about doing lots of side projects and changing direction every so often. It’s frightening, but it’s important to do it.

Transmission is a graphic design studio and editorial consultancy, working with clients in the cultural, commercial and charitable industries.

www.transmission.design

If you’d like to find out more about about any of the creative kit mentioned above, give us a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

 

A look back at the last quarter century of creative technology

A look back at the last quarter century of creative technology

We’re celebrating our 25th year providing products that help everyone from studio managers to graphic designers to video producers stay productive and creative. As part of the festivities, we’re going retro and taking the plunge into a nostalgia pool filled with Zip drives, beige Power Macs, primitive social networks, old school design apps and more! 

Creation and innovation can be a tough business, but it’s worth it. A quarter century of hard work has led to countless milestone moments and tech developments. See for yourself how far we’ve come…

1992

– Roger Whittle founds Jigsaw24. The colour orange is never the same again.

– Animation gains a new dimension as classic horror game Alone in the Dark introduces us all to the joys of 3D polygon character animation, traumatising at least one member of the team so badly that they give up gaming forever.

Alone_in_the_dark_435_wide

– Neil Papworth wishes Richard Jarvis “Merry Christmas” in the first ever SMS message.

1993

– The PDF is born (this may well be the least cool entry on the list, but the ‘compare document’ feature in the latest version of Acrobat DC is a lifesaver, and the new editing toolkit is properly brilliant).

– The internet is born. Cats everywhere shudder but don’t know why…

– NVIDIA is founded; gamers swear by their high-powered GPUs to this day.

1994

– American telecoms company AT&T run the first ever internet ad banner campaign. A single bead of sweat trickles down the forehead of every person working in the print business.

– Photoshop 3.0 is released and introduces the world to layers.

– Iomega’s Zip drive is released.

ZIP_Drive_100_

– Apple launch their ‘Serious Business Computer’ ad, which we strongly urge you to watch:

1995

– JavaScript is released. Jamie, our Web Designer, says “JavaScript is crucial to web and non-web projects and it’s hard to imagine working without it. But the range of libraries can be baffling, so I prefer React and Angular.”

– Sony releases the first PlayStation, beginning an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in children.

playstation_1995_435_wide

– Coca-Cola’s iconic Christmas truck advert airs for the first time. All together now: “Holidays are coming, holidays are coming…”

1996

– The first CSS specification is published.

1997

– Apple encourage us to Think Different for the first time; science responds by cloning Dolly the sheep.

– IBM’s Deep Blue defeats chess champ Garry Kasparov. We know we’re not an IBM outfit, but credit where it’s due.

– Google domain name is registered. We could not have compiled this list without it, so feel compelled to include it.

original_google_homepage

1998

– Wacom release the first Intuos tablet. There is much rejoicing. Graphic Designer Liana says “I remember getting my first job and being amazed by Wacom. I’d spent all of my time at uni huddled over an 11” MacBook, trying to do everything on the Touchpad, which obviously has nothing on a nice big Wacom.”

– First ever Google Doodle. Bit rubbish, to be honest.

– HDTV is introduced. Everyone becomes picture quality snobs.

1999

– The mighty Nikon D1 becomes the first DSLR to challenge the market supremacy of film cameras.

– Budweiser asks “Wassup?”

2000

– Post-apocalyptic horrors promised during the Y2K Panic fail to materialise.

– Everyone buys a Nokia 3310.

– Sony launches PlayStation 2, the best-selling video game console ever.

2001

– Apple launch iTunes and OS X, ushering us into the modern era of Mac.

mac_osx_cheetah

– Microsoft remove that Paperclip thing from Office. It is not missed.

– Wikipedia is launched. Students everywhere are elated, and nobody wins an internet debate ever again.

2002

– InDesign becomes the first ever Mac-native desktop publishing tool.

– Gartner calculate that one billion personal computers have been sold since their arrival in the 70s.

2003

– The first ever Creative Suite is released, including the all-new Premiere Pro.

– The Dalsa Origin becomes the first commercially available 4K camera.

dalsa_origin_crop

– Skype is launched, making video conferencing several thousand times easier.

2004

– Facebook beings its journey to world domination. People Poke each other.

– MySpace arrives, and manages to trick a generation of teenagers into learning HTML by letting you customise your profile.

myspace_home_2004

– Motorola release the Razr V3 flip phone. It’s really thin.

2005

– Adobe launch Creative Suite 2, featuring Smart Objects.

– The first YouTube video is released. Elephants’ trunks are really cool.

– Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle becomes the first film released on Blu-ray.

2006

– The .gif standard becomes freely available, making written language obsolete and neatly dividing the world into gifsayers and jifsayers.

– Jack Dorsey sends the first ever tweet (and is too edgy for vowels):

2007

– iPhone arrives, and promptly shifts 1.4 million units in its first year.

Apple_iPhone_1st_Gen

– CS3 arrives, meaning you can finally use Photoshop on a modern Mac without having to go through Rosetta.

– Cadbury rehabilitate Phil Collins’ image with their classic drumming gorilla ad, which none of us can believe is really ten years old.

2008

– Nikon’s D90 is the first DSLR to introduce video recording.

nikon_d90_1

– Artist Shepard Fairey creates the iconic Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster.

2009

– James Cameron’s Avatar becomes the highest-grossing film of all time.

– Microsoft launches Windows 7, sealing the fate of Vista.

2010

– iPad is released.

– The first commercially available jet pack is launched.

2011

– Adobe introduce Content-Aware tools.

– Wacom introduce the Cintiq 24HD. It weighs as much as a not-so-small child, but we all want one anyway.

– The number of Apple devices sold in this one year is larger than the total number of Macs sold ever. We imagine a lot of people spent this year frantically working out how to make their website responsive.

– Steve Jobs passes away aged 56.

steve_jobs_ipad

2012

– The final boxed version of Creative Suite, CS6, is released, which we mention only because our marketing team won a prize for their campaign and have been insufferable ever since.

– Jony Ive gets a knighthood; rumour has it he commented witheringly on the maximalist design of the medal.

– The Hobbit is the first movie filmed at 48 fps. Viewers suffer eyestrain.

– The world doesn’t end. In your face, Mayans.

2013

– Kenneth Grange scores a knighthood, joining Ive as Britain’s most decorated designer.

– Adobe launch Creative Cloud.

creative_cloud_icon_435px

– Film Gravity uses the most complex lighting setup in film history, using a custom-built light box with 1.8 million high-powered LEDs to film zero-gravity footage.

2014

– YouTube announce that they receive 100 hours of new video content per minute.

2015

– Windows 10 is launched, if you’re into that sort of thing.

2016

– Mobile browsing overtakes desktop for the first time.

– Harambe the gorilla dies and is memorialised forever in meme form.

2017

– Carter Wilkinson makes a plea to Wendy’s for a year’s worth of free chicken nuggets. It becomes the most retweeted tweet of all time, currently standing at over 3.5 million.

– Twitter shut down online video service Vine. At least it lasted longer than its videos.

– Jigsaw24 turn 25; immediately has crisis about logo.

If you’d like to find out more about about contemporary creative kit, give us a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How we can help your business upgrade to macOS Sierra

How we can help your business upgrade to macOS Sierra

If you’re thinking about upgrading your Macs to macOS Sierra, you’ve probably got a few questions about how the process will impact on your business, as well as your existing IT and network setups. 

Our ‘how to upgrade’ article touched on the importance of ensuring your Mac end users are all working on the same version of macOS, plus a few of the things to bear in mind before making the jump to the latest iteration of macOS.

Below, we’ve included three FAQs that should give you an idea of how we can help make your upgrade to macOS Sierra as smooth as possible…

“We’ve just purchased an expensive new server, but it doesn’t gel with our Apple estate – can you get it working?”

To accompany your upgrade to macOS Sierra, we think it’s a good idea to have your Macs operating on the same server as your other machines. That way, you can ensure the same level of supervision over your Apple devices as other, non-Apple computers on your network. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of practice providing a consistent native experience for macOS users operating on any server. We do this by utilising built-in features like Spotlight and extended file attributes against non-Apple file servers, including Windows, Linux and Solaris.

Using 802.1x certificates (that authenticate machines being integrated into an organisation’s network), we enable macOS Sierra clients to automatically join secure wired/wireless networks just as easily as their Windows counterparts. We can also facilitate SSO (single sign-on) for your organisation’s proxy servers and internal web applications, and provide standard integration for macOS computers into Microsoft’s Active Directory, which verifies and permits all machines operating on a Windows-based network.

“We have rogue Macs on our network – how can we bring them under our control?”

Effective device management tools are a good place to start. They can can be a real help when deploying macOS updates across your Apple estate, and allow administrators to see exactly what models their end users are working on, as well as the version of macOS their systems are running.

Once admins understand the hardware and software they’re working with, they can scope update rollouts accordingly. They can even issue system commands to automatically download and install macOS upgrades (requiring zero user interaction or administrative privileges), distribute the install application via an internal software catalogue where users can access the update themselves, or cache the installation on users’ Macs and create a system policy to automate the update.

Our Mac management solutions are scalable, so whether you’re handling a single macOS client or a thousand, we can advise on the entire system management cycle and adjust our solutions depending on your requirements. We’ll help you utilise Mac management tools to automate the macOS Sierra update process across your entire Apple estate, so you don’t have to worry about manually upgrading them one by one.

“What kind of support is available to help us upgrade to macOS Sierra?”

We can carry out Sierra upgrades for machines running OS X El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion and Lion, including ‘clean starts’ – we’ll totally wipe your Macs, giving end users a completely fresh experience when starting out with macOS Sierra.

We’ll work with you to develop an upgrade roadmap and hammer out a strategy for your upcoming update rollout. And if you’re looking for a hand with backup automation and user data restoration to ensure data continuity, our expert team will make sure you’re fully equipped to take on any problems that may arise when you make the transition to Sierra. We can even loan you hardware to support the upgrade process, including backup servers to help keep your data secure while you make the switchover.

Want to know more about Apple and managed devices? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.