The Mac Pro is finally here!

The Mac Pro is finally here!

Far and away the most anticipated of Apple’s October releases, the Mac Pro has been occupying an unhealthy amount of our thoughts since it was first unveiled back in June.

The round design means it not only looks great on your desk, but also enables a new cooling system that’s going to keep your Mac Pro near-silent (it’s an evolution of the system that’s been used in the most recent iteration of MacBook Pros). And Sonnet are already working on rackmount solutions that take the new shape into account, which is reassuring to know.

Spec-wise, you’re getting an Intel Xeon E5 chip that’s capable of supporting up to 12 cores, four DDR3 memory slots and the flash storage has a top read speed of 1.25GBps, meaning it’s similar to Steve Wozniack’s latest, the iOFX and up to ten times faster than a 7200 rpm SATA hard drive.

Next up on was the memory, which uses 1866MHz DDR3 ECC. Configurable to 64GB, you’re getting up to 60GBps bandwidth in a four-channel controller. Completely accessible by the user, this is also the fastest ECC memory available.

The native GPUs are dual AMD FirePro cards, capable of delivering up to 7 TFLOPS of power between them and capable of driving native 4K displays.

The six Thunderbolt 2 ports mean you can daisy chain up to 36 devices to your Mac Pro (6 per port), and that’s before you even go near the four USB 3 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, HDMI and Line out connections. In fact, Apple very clearly aimed this at anyone working on high end video and with a 4k workflow because the Mac Pro can deal with up to three 4K displays, single and dual-input displays, and the HDMI 1.4 port supports 4K TVs.

From a storage point of view, Mac Pro will now boast Apple’s latest PCIe-based flash storage, and can be configured up to 1TB, with a standard configuration of 256GB.

Mac Pro 2013 key specs:

• 256GB (configurable up to 1TB)
• 12GB DDR3 3CC memory (configurable up to 64GB)
• Dual AMD FirePro D300 or D500 graphics cards as standard
• 3.7GHz Intel Xeon E5 quad core (configurable to 2.7GHz 12 core)
• 6x Thunderbolt 2.0 ports

Want to be one of the first to see the new Mac Pro in action? Register now for one of our December launch events.

Want to know more about the new Mac releases? Give us a call on 03333 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest Apple news, read our roundup post, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Apple’s new releases revealed!

Apple’s new releases revealed!

Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken to the stage again to introduce a new generation of Apple products, including the new Mac Pro, revamped MacBook Pro with Retina display and OS X Mavericks.

In case last night’s Red Bull-fuelled tweets left you a bit lost and the thought of wading through individual posts fills you with dread, we’re rounding up all the news here. Keep reading to find out more.

Mac Pro: Apple’s gentle giant

One eighth the volume of the previous generation and near-silent thanks to a new cooling system, the 2013 Mac Pro is also extremely powerful. With an Ivy Bridge E5 processor capable of supporting up to 12 cores, flash storage that’s up to 10 times faster than the previous version’s SATA hard drive and dual AMD FirePro GPUs as standard, this is the go-to machine for any creatives looking to tackle a 4K workflow.

Mac Pro 2013 key specs:

• 256GB (configurable up to 1TB)
• 12GB DDR3 3CC memory (configurable up to 64GB)
• Dual AMD FirePro D300 or D500 graphics cards as standard
• 3.7GHz Intel Xeon E5 quad core (configurable to 2.7GHz 12 core)
• 6x Thunderbolt 2.0 ports

Read the full story

MacBook Pro with Retina display: Leaner, meaner and armed with a 2MP camera

As with June’s MacBook Air refresh, the new MacBook Pro with Retina display is all about helping you work faster for longer. New Haswell processors and Intel Iris integrated graphics guarantee you faster performance (up to three times faster, in the case of Iris), while a lighter design and new camera are the top cosmetic changes. MacBook Pro with Retina display is available to order now.

13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display key specs:

• Retina display
• 2.4GHz dual core i5 (configurable up to 2.8GHz dual core i7)
• 4GB DRAM (configurable up to 16GB)
• Iris Graphics
• 128GB SSD (configurable up to 1TB)

15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display key specs:

• Retina display
• 2.0GHz quad core i7 (configurable up to 2.6GHz quad core i7)
• 8GB DRAM (configurable up to 16GB)
• Iris Pro Graphics
• 256GB SSD (configurable up to 1TB)

Read the full story

OS X Mavericks – Making waves on the desktop

Among a fresh batch of Apple announcements last night was news that OS X Mavericks is now available to download following months of testing since its launch at WWDC earlier in the year. And the best part of this new release is that it’s completely free!

From iBooks and Maps making their way to the Mac to improved support for multiple displays (yes!) we are expecting big things from this new version of the Mac OS. Here’s a rundown of just some of the new features you’ll find in this latest release!

Read the full story

Want to know more about the new Mac releases? Give us a call on 03333 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest Apple news, read our roundup post, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

 

 

Make the most of your Adobe apps with a colour critical display

Make the most of your Adobe apps with a colour critical display

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer, part of an agency or a creative type embedded in a larger company, choosing the right display is key if you want to get your work looking right first time, every time. Investing in a colour accurate display means that what you see on screen will reflect the final output, be that a print campaign, a web image or anything in between.

Displays are often a forgotten part of your designers’ workstation, but if you’re working in Photoshop or InDesign you could be wasting time and money by using a monitor that doesn’t display images accurately. For example, non-colour-accurate displays often have variations in brightness and chromaticity across the screen, so you end up correcting for variations in the display rather than in the image itself. With a colour accurate monitor, you can see the images as they were captured, saving you time and money by reducing the number of iterations needed, and ensuring that you’re working to your client’s specifications rather than your monitor’s variations.

Obviously, different displays are suited to different tasks. Here, we’re looking at the top monitor options for people using key Adobe apps, such as Photoshop or InDesign, at different levels of production.  If you want some more information, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or at displays@Jigsaw24.com. Asking costs nothing, after all, and it might save you a few iterations in the long run. If you already know what you need, just click on the banner below to see our full range!

Buy Autodesk software and Autodesk subscriptions now

For professionals who need the highest levels of colour accuracy

These displays are ideal for photography, retouching, pre-press and post-production. 

EIZO 24 inch ColorEdge CG246 Self-Calibrating IPS Display

If you’re working in photography, image retouching, video post-production or design, you’ll want to opt for the highest possible level of colour accuracy. We recommend the EIZO CG series or NEC’s SpectraView Reference monitors. As Deborah, our product manager explains: “These are the most advanced displays in their line-ups, with the tightest uniformity and colour tolerances. They also come with additional features such as 3D LUTs for smoother colour mixing, hoods to keep glare off the screen and pixel failure warranties for extra peace of mind.”

Both can represent the majority of Adobe RGB, and support hardware calibration, meaning corrections are performed in the display’s LUT itself as opposed to on your graphics card, giving a more accurate result.

Top picks: EIZO’s 24″ ColorEdge CG246 and NEC’s 24″ SpectraView 241 reference display.

For professionals and prosumers

These displays are ideal for general design and photography work.

EIZO 24 inch ColorEdge CX240 Self-Correcting IPS Display

If you need colour accuracy but aren’t too fussed about extras like hoods or the tightest fault tolerances, save yourself a penny and opt for the EIZO CX range or the NEC SpectraView series. While these don’t have the hand-picked panels of their more expensive peers, they’re still capable  of hardware calibration, boast high-bit LUTs and will represent the majority of the Adobe colourspace.

Top picks: EIZO’s 24″ ColorEdge CX240 self-correcting IPS display and NEC’s 24″ SpectraView 241 widescreen P-IPS display.

For business users and enthusiasts

These displays are ideal for web graphics, photographers capturing images in sRGB/JPEG and video editors. 

NEC 23 inch MultiSync P232W Widescreen IPS Display

“If you’re capturing images in sRGB and JPEG formats, or are developing content for the web and only need to work in sRGB, then the EIZO CS and NEC P series offer great value for money,” says Deborah.”The EIZO CS230 has DUE (digital uniformity equaliser) technology to ensure the most uniform colour representation across the display, a 16-bit LUT, a self-calibration sensor and a five year warranty. Finally, the NEC P range are a good call if you’re after value for money. They don’t have quite the colour critical chops of the others we’ve featured, but cover most of the sRGB space and are ideal for general office use as they have great ergonomics, a wide viewing angle and broad connectivity options.”

Top picks: EIZO’s 23″ ColorEdge CS230 self-correcting IPS display and NEC’s 23″ MultiSync P232W widescreen IPS display.

Buy Autodesk software and Autodesk subscriptions now

Want to know more about finding the right colour accurate display? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email displays@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Congratulations to Netherfield on winning Teacher of the Year!

Congratulations to Netherfield on winning Teacher of the Year!

One of our earliest e7 adopters, Netherfield Primary School, have just had some amazing news: headteacher Sharon Gray has won teacher of the year at the Pride of Britain awards!

Netherfield Primary School students working with their e7 iPad

We couldn’t be happier for Sharon and the rest of the staff over at Netherfield, who have put a huge amount of work into creating an inclusive, nurturing environment that plays to their students’ strengths. As our interview with assistant head Nadeem Shah shows, the school has put some fantastic ideas into play, including creating a week-long investigation into an ‘alien landing’ that included every school department as well as the local community.

As well as working with them on their e7 iPad deployment, we’ve helped Netherfield Primary bring literacy to life with NewTek’s TriCaster, and can attest the staff there are some of the hardest working and most enthusiastic we’ve seen. Congratulations to everyone there on their well-deserved win!

To find out more about how technology can bring out the best in your classroom, get it touch with our team on 03332 409 333 or at learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, tips and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Student purchase schemes: Making technology affordable

Student purchase schemes: Making technology affordable

A student purchase scheme is the most affordable way to give your students the latest classroom technology like iPad. Now, we’ve come up with our own scheme to help you purchase laptops, notebooks and tablets without giving your accountant palpitations, all pre-configured, paid for and delivered through your very own bespoke purchasing portal.

What is a student purchase scheme?

A student purchase scheme is a four-step process that gets you the latest technology while spending the least possible amount of your budget. Here’s how it works:

– We arrange for you to take out a compliant operating lease on the number of devices you’d like to make available to students (this won’t show up on your books and is cheaper than the options they’d be given by a high street outlet). By levering public sector borrowing, you can get fantastic rates, which you can then pass on as savings to your students.

– We then make all the devices and their accessories available in an online portal, which we’ll build specifically for your scheme and brand to fit in with your school’s identity. (We’ve already managed successful portal schemes for the University of Nottingham, Guardian News & Media and more.)

– Students (or parents) log in to the portal, select the device and accessories they want, and set up a monthly direct debit to pay for it – you then use that money to cover the cost of the lease. This can be over up to three years, depending how long your students’ courses are.

– We deliver your laptops and iPad devices to your school, pre-configured and ready to go. We can even provide three year warranties for your iPad deployment, and set you up with insurance options which mean the school isn’t liable if a parent misses a payment.

Why should I try a student purchase scheme?

It lets students get their hands on the latest technology. As well as helping prepare them for workplaces where Macs and iPad are increasingly common, we’ve seen Mac and iPad increase pupil engagement, improve classroom behaviour, open up the curriculum for SEN and EAL students and help teachers find new, innovative ways to deliver learning. At the same time, the opportunity is a great plus if you want to attract top students.

It lets you pass on the cost of innovation. While it’s obviously important to keep your IT setup up to date and ensure the technology you’re teaching students to use has kept pace with the stuff they’ll encounter in the real world, the fact is that innovation can be costly. With a student purchase scheme, you can pass on the bulk of that cost to parents and students, and invest the money you would have spent in improvements to things like your WiFi network and infrastructure, which will ensure students get the best experience out of their devices.

It lets you sidestep time-consuming admin. Because our portal system is entirely paperless, your admin team won’t find themselves with any extra forms to process or have to waste time working out yet another filing system – everything is done online, and managed centrally by our in-house team.

You can even open it up to teachers. If you’re thinking of providing staff with their own laptops or mobile devices, a staff purchasing scheme extends all the same benefits to them, including making it easier for them to work with whichever device suits their teaching style, all while cutting down on your IT costs (although you can of course subsidise the cost of devices if you want or can afford to).

If you’d like to know more about iPad for education, or want someone to run through your IT options with, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com.

Sony release v2.0 update for F55, F5 and AXS-R5

Sony release v2.0 update for F55, F5 and AXS-R5

F5 and F55 users, we have exciting news. Sony have released a free update for the F55, F5 and ASX-R5 that unlocks 30 new creative features (you’ll need to update your camera and recorder to access them). 

Highlights of the new firmware include the introduction of High Frame Rate (HFR) support, comprehensive exposure tools, 24p support and the ability to control audio using the rotary dial.

http://www.jigsaw24.com/sony-pmw-f55-super-35mm-pl-mount-4k-cinema-camera//-/fcp-product/18420

The download is available for free from the Sony site, but there are a couple of things to note before you hit download. First, you will need to update both your camera and recorder to access all the new features. Second, the download contains 15 files, and you shouldn’t attempt to install the update until all 15 have finished downloading. Third, if you find that after installing the update you still can’t access HFR features, do an ALL RESET on the camera, and that should sort if out.

If you’re using a DVF-EL100 or DVF-L700 viewfinder and want to get false colour, you’ll need to download the v2 software to your camera then send the viewfinders away to Sony Service to get this feature unlocked.

Download firmware version 2.0 for the F5, F55 and ASX-R5 now.

Want to know more about 4K and HFR workflows? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or at broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Award-winning radio production at English Martyrs School

Award-winning radio production at English Martyrs School

Paul Allen, head of KS2 at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School recently added a radio production suite which has engaged students, improved speaking and listening, and even bagged them a recent Sony Radio award. Head of KS2 Paul Allen told us why he chose the Apple Mac, iPad and GarageBand setup, and how the training from our Apple Professional Development expert Paul Ford helped get staff up to speed.

What were your main goals for the radio lessons?

“The radio was to promote oracy skills. We noticed that as a school we were having more children arrive not able to speak properly, and it was just there to help us promote standard English. We thought that was a creative way of doing it, so that they actually had an end product at the end of the process.”

What setup are you using?

“The first time that we [recorded a radio show], it was all based on the Mac and a lot of children sitting round a microphone, but following Paul’s training we were a bit more clued up and able to go and use GarageBand on the iPad devices, and the pupils went out and recorded the show themselves and then brought it back [to edit with our help].”

How have pupils found using the setup?

“The radio has impacted on children’s speaking and listening, it’s impacted on their writing, it’s also impacted on social skills and confidence as well, because some of the children we targeted the project at were the children who were wary of speaking in front of others, and it’s interesting to see how they’ve developed in confidence.”

Have staff found it easy to pick up?

“Paul ran a session for all the staff, he showed us how to do simple podcasts, he then showed us how to make music as well. Because all staff now have a bit more confidence in using [the Mac and iPad devices] themselves, the children are better, so we feel we’re able to roll them out across the whole school.”

You recently won a Sony Radio award for a piece the school submitted too…?

“They said it was a very entertaining piece, and that’s why we won […] There were lots of stories and different things from across the school. In about May time about three members of staff actually got invited to the actual Sony Radio Awards ceremony in London, and the group of children who produced that particular show, are going for a day at BBC Radio in London to see how it all works.”

How was working with Jigsaw24 and Paul?

“Paul was really friendly, the staff have enjoyed working with him. He’s obviously really passionate about it, and believes that iPad can be used to promote teaching and learning. Whenever he’s come, he’s always worked with a small group of children and he’s showed them how to do something, so we’ve almost got some experts among the children who can then share it with the other children as well, so that approach has worked really well for us.”

– You can find out more about Apple’s GarageBand in our review here. If you like the sound of radio production using iPad, check out our article on iPad music-making, How to start an iPad band: Leamore Primary School.

Want to know more about our radio production and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email learning@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

 

Stocks Taylor Benson: Delivering on deadline thanks to Apple, Adobe & Jigsaw24

Stocks Taylor Benson: Delivering on deadline thanks to Apple, Adobe & Jigsaw24

Stocks Taylor Benson are a 25-strong graphic design agency based in Leicester, with clients as diverse as Morrisons, Next, Herbalife and Avon. Founded in 1988, they’ve been coming to us for equipment and support “almost since year dot”, as designer and account manager Greg Jolley explains…

“Being a design company, it’s pretty much default that we’re Apple-based,” Greg explains. “Although the gap is narrower now between PC and Mac, designers will still favour Mac over PC to run their design software!”

Stocks Taylor Benson have been using Apple hardware "almost since year dot"

Stocks Taylor Benson have been using Apple hardware “almost since year dot”

 Finding an experienced Apple support supplier

It wasn’t easy finding someone who had the depth of knowledge they needed to keep their Macs online and their clients happy. “Jigsaw24 have sold Apple for a long time, and they’ve supported us almost since year dot,” Greg said. “When we moved to a new building a few years ago, they installed a new server and backup system. They now provide our IT support remotely, accessing any workstation on the network to diagnose and solve any issues, which is great.”

“If something goes wrong, it always tends to go wrong at the point when you don’t want it to. Jigsaw24 are really good at being there to solve problems. We are a deadline driven company, so having things fixed speedily is a big advantage, and Jigsaw24 support that. The remote access [to solve IT issues] is something that’s come in in the last year or two and been a real help,” said Greg. “If any individual machines have particular problems, we can get someone from Jigsaw24 to look at it online and you get an instant fix or an instant answer, rather than having to wait. ”

Keeping everything onsite and under control

Stocks Taylor Benson prefer to keep their resources on-site, rather than in the cloud, so the network, servers and storage we set them up with are “integral, we couldn’t work without them,” said Greg. “We all work on different projects at different times, so having a central store of all our files that we can access and see who’s working on what is important.”

Another key component of the workflow is Adobe’s Creative Suite, which we supply and support. “Creative Suite is pretty much the only choice for us. It’s the industry standard, especially for the kind of design we do.” As well as helping them manage their licences, we also provide software support for all STB’s Adobe products, and are helping them “keep with the times” by making sure they’re on the latest solutions across the board.

Want to know more about how we can support your Macs? Call the team on 03332 409 306 or email services@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Rewarding partners and driving sales with iPad at Raleigh UK Ltd

Rewarding partners and driving sales with iPad at Raleigh UK Ltd

In late 2012, Raleigh UK decided to set up an incentive scheme to reward independent cycle and accessory outlets who hit sales targets over the Christmas period. Given the option of receiving an iPad 2 or an LCD television, customers overwhelmingly chose to go after the iPad – even though the sales target was much higher.

“We supplied a significant number of our trade customers with a target turnover for 2012, and if they hit that target they’d receive a 19” LCD television or an iPad 2,” explained Barrie Timson, Raleigh UK’s Business Systems Manager. “We have an incentive scheme every year, but iPad proved particularly popular due to the strength of the brand and the ‘kudos’ associated with it as a product.”

Barrie was particularly pleased with the interest in iPad as the device works well in a retail environment, allowing staff in the cycle shops that received an iPad to use it to interact with customers, increasing engagement and driving further potential sales.

Choosing a device for the Raleigh brand

“We’d been using iPad on our stand at the NEC Cycle show, where we launched the scheme,” Barrie said. “So [rolling that out to shops] was a fairly seamless process. We also wanted a product that wouldn’t give us problems in terms of quality – getting returns and such – and the reliable nature of iPad was a factor in the decision making process.”

Over 60 outlets hit the target required to receive an iPad, and after securing the devices from Jigsaw24, Raleigh chose to dispatch them using their own fleet, to make it clear the device was a reward from Raleigh.

Choosing an IT partner for the scheme

Raleigh are no strangers to the Apple ecosystem, as their sales force are supplied with iPhones and their design team are dedicated Mac Pro users. “We’ve always used Jigsaw24 for our Apple hardware and software,” said Barrie. “They’re local to us and have always been very accommodating of our requests. We’ve always had a good relationship and I’d recommend the Jigsaw24 team to anyone thinking of doing a similar thing.” And would he recommend using iPad as an incentive? “Of course it depends on the kind of business you’re doing, but as a product incentive iPad worked for us. We gave away over 60 devices and we still made enough margin for the scheme to be a success.”

Want to know more about setting up iPad as an incentive scheme? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

What’s new in QuarkXPress 10?

What’s new in QuarkXPress 10?

Quark have just shipped the latest version of their flagship design package, QuarkXPress 10. According to Quark, it’s been “redesigned from the inside out”, giving you access to a new Xenon graphics engine, HiDPI support and a far slicker workflow. Here’s what you need to know about the key features (and the new upgrade plan).

QuarkXPress 10

QuarkXPress 10

The new features

Xenon graphics engine – The new Xenon graphics engine is intended to let you make the most of your computer’s processing power to give seamless graphics performance – think of it as their version of Adobe’s Mercury engine. The improvements you should notice include faster rendering of rich PDFs, Photoshop files and TIFF images, even if they’re not at their lowest resolution, so you can work far faster.

HiDPI and Retina display support – With Apple rolling out Retina displays left, right and centre and ultra-hi-res images becoming common across the creative industries, Quark have done us all a favour and added support for these super-smooth images in QuarkXPress 10, whether you’re working on those screens or just creating work for them.

A brand new GUI – Cleaner, clearer and with a full screen view that lets you hide even dockable palettes, QuarkXPress 10 has been designed to ensure nothing gets between you and your image.

PDF pass-through transparency – This update is designed to help you create flatter, more device-independent PDFs, so work can be shared, edited and approved by colleagues and clients on the go. Any QuarkXPress objects you add can now interact with placed PDFs, which Quark hope will help you maintain a more transparent workflow.

QR code creator – If you need to get people from a print element of your campaign to the web quickly, this is for you. QuarkXPress 10’s QR code creator lets you generate vector QR codes directly in the program, then style and colour them however you want. vCards, URLs and SMS are all supported.

Layer Enhancements – As layers are now supported in master pages, it’s far easier to make them an integral part of your design. Paste in QuarkXPress 10 also has the ability to remember layers, and automatically create new layers in your target layers if what’s there doesn’t match its memory.

Highlight missing fonts – Worried some of your text uses a missing font? QuarkXPress 10 will helpfully highlight any text that’s lost its font for you – you can even choose your own highlighting colour. Lovely.

Improved support for Japanese, Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Korean typography, including IMEs – Unlikely to be relevant to anyone reading this blog, but we approve of the effort. Our Thai typography could still use some work, though…

A warning to QuarkXPress 8 users: you only have until December 31st to upgrade!

After this release, Quark are amending their upgrade policy so that you can only get discounted upgrades from one version back. Anyone using QuarkXPress 8 can upgrade to 10 at the lower price until December 31st 2013, but after that you’ll have to fork out for a new full licence. This also means that you’ll only be able to upgrade to the inevitable v11 from v10, v12 from v11 and so on, so in the long term you’ll save more if you get (and stay) up to date.

QuarkXPress 10 on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about QuarkXPress 10? Get in touch on 03332 409 306 or at sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook