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View Full Version : More "Mac OSX Fonts, grrrrrr!"


ElyseC
05-19-2005, 11:07 AM
I'm getting my production tower back up and running, but still don't know what to do about a font manager. KT, didn't you try FontAgent Pro? It sounds the most ATM Deluxe-like of any and ATMD is what I wish I could have.

I really really need to get back to production, jobs stacking up in the wings and bills needing to be paid, so this fonts thing needs a solution now.

ktinkel
05-19-2005, 11:53 AM
I'm getting my production tower back up and running, but still don't know what to do about a font manager. KT, didn't you try FontAgent Pro? It sounds the most ATM Deluxe-like of any and ATMD is what I wish I could have.I downloaded the free trial of FontAgent Pro and used it for a small set of fonts, and it seemed okay, so I bought it. Installed it, and tried to set up my font collection, and made a big mess!

To be fair, I think the real problem is that I have such a confused mess of fonts, with multiple versions (new, old; Adobe, Monotype of the same sets; and so on). I was expecting FA Pro to help me sort this out — by flagging duplicates, for example, and then letting me delete the less useful one. But it ran off and did its own thing, leaving me with missing pieces.

So I backed off, and deleted everything, including prefs, plist, the Font Agent font folder, the whole shebang. Now I will begin by clearing up a core font set and adding that, and then doing them a few at a time, as needed or as time allows. Sigh.

I also have Suitcase XI; it seemed slow, but I may have better rapport with it (now that I have spent time with FA Pro!), so I am not sure which I will end up with. Since I have paid for both, I can take my time figuring that out.

Whatever you do, my advice is to go slowly. That’s easier than trying to clean up a mess.

ElyseC
05-19-2005, 07:32 PM
Whatever you do, my advice is to go slowly. That’s easier than trying to clean up a mess.Thanks for that. Now, seeing as I really don't understand the font mess of OSX, how, in my shoes, would you "go slowly" -- in adding fonts to whatever font manager, giving lots of time to trial versions of font manager candidates, or ??

ktinkel
05-20-2005, 04:57 AM
Thanks for that. Now, seeing as I really don't understand the font mess of OSX, how, in my shoes, would you "go slowly" -- in adding fonts to whatever font manager, giving lots of time to trial versions of font manager candidates, or ??Choose one (FontAgent or Suitcase, probably). Make sure of your critical set of fonts, then add them, and live with it for a while, see how it behaves.

Then add the less-used fonts.

And then — let me know how it goes!

ElyseC
05-20-2005, 08:33 AM
Choose one (FontAgent or Suitcase, probably). Make sure of your critical set of fonts, then add them, and live with it for a while, see how it behaves.

Then add the less-used fonts.Got it. Thanks much. Now to decide which app. I might just eeny-meeny-miny-mo it...

And then — let me know how it goes!You got it!

scottleyes
05-20-2005, 01:40 PM
Well, I finally made the (third) plunge, and installed FontAgent Pro.

First Impression: I LOVE it!

Later (after a month) Impression: Eeeerrrrr... I really LIKE it!

All three font managers (Suitcase, FontReserve, and FontAgent) "work" in OSX - but I have to say that FontAgent has been the champ for my system.

FontAgent (FA) Advantages:

- It auto-activates fonts in just about every app on my system - including Safari. A little (unobtrusive but visible) translucent window lets you know that it activated something.

- It crashes (so far) a LOT less often. I've still seen my share of hangs, but I can't attribute them to FA -- Suitcase & FR seemed buggy as hell.

- FA is pretty flexible in how you view your fonts - Sets, Names, Libraries. Two separate lists give the ability to see, say, sets in one and families in another.

- You can activate fonts from ANY view in the FA browser

- The Browser's "Preview" window is FAST, and darn convenient -- I can click thru a 100-font set in a minute or two when I'm trying to track down a particular face. It's a lot like flipping thru a type book, but you don't get tired of flipping pages... and it will "play" thru the fonts for you if you prefer (like a Movie!). The final reason I gave up on Font Reserve was it's crappy previewing ability.


FA Disadvantages:

- Because it DOESN'T use "plug-ins" for Illustrator, et al, it will activate fonts "late" in the opening process - that is, you'll still get Photoshop's "font not available" message, even though FA opens what you need. My workaround is just to close & reopen the file (or use the warning as an excuse to go to the FA browser and open the set I created for the job(s)

- FA's Browser is starting to slow down, but that's partly because I've thrown two complete libraries into it - my own 4,000+ library and my company's 2,000+ set. It's only noticably slow starting up

- I admit your concern about "doing its own thing" with the fonts - while it DOES display family names, it seems to ignore families -- clicking open "Kabel-Bold" will NOT automatically open the rest of the family (whether it was originally in the same suitcase or not). Because of the "single-face" nature of OpenType fonts, this is likely the direction things are going anyway.

- Finally, probably the biggest concern is that FA will not let you access your fonts without copying them into it's own, FA-organized Library folder. It _will_ let you specify where that folder is, but you can't just reference files. This is part of its "won't open corrupted fonts" scheme, I'm sure. I'm certain that my original library was pretty darn "standard" and "clean", but it did flag a decent number of "bad" fonts. I haven't had time to go back and figure out why/what/where it went wrong.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. Also, on a final note, I HAVE to give credit to FontAgent's Sales/support staff -- I had paid for a version of FA YEARS ago (before it was a font manager, it was a font fixer), and they VERY politely guided me thru finding my record(s) so I could pay for the upgrade and not the full version (saved $30). Extensis, on the other hand, takes five hours to answer their support line, and don't even offer a side-grade from Suitcase to FontReserve (or vicce-versa) -- they flatly deny that their products may have flaws/bugs until you pressure them for specific answers, which they can't/won't deal with. And Extensis' #$^@#$%! website is enough to make me shoot myself - WHY oh WHY do i have to LOG IN before I can even check to see if an update is available.

argh!

ktinkel
05-20-2005, 02:06 PM
Well, I finally made the (third) plunge, and installed FontAgent Pro.

First Impression: I LOVE it!

Later (after a month) Impression: Eeeerrrrr... I really LIKE it!…

- FA's Browser is starting to slow down, but that's partly because I've thrown two complete libraries into it - my own 4,000+ library and my company's 2,000+ set. It's only noticably slow starting upOn my system, it is slow as molasses as soon as I dump in just the Adobe library. So slow that if I click on a font to activate or view it, I usually give up and click again, and undo the selection. Can’t figure out what I could be doing to cause this — figured it was the software.

- I admit your concern about "doing its own thing" with the fonts …I found families missing the roman (and no comment in the report). All the other fonts were there, including the ital, but not the roman. Kind of useless, most of the time. (I was installing from an unused archive of fonts, not my old working set, so it should have been good — or triggered a problem report!).

- Finally, probably the biggest concern is that FA will not let you access your fonts without copying them into it's own, FA-organized Library folder. It _will_ let you specify where that folder is, but you can't just reference files. This is part of its "won't open corrupted fonts" scheme, I'm sure. I'm certain that my original library was pretty darn "standard" and "clean", but it did flag a decent number of "bad" fonts. I haven't had time to go back and figure out why/what/where it went wrong.I thought using its own folder was optional. I decided to go along with it anyway.

I had a startling collection of bad fonts, too, and I normally have had no problems with them.

Thanks for all that. If it works in your complex setup it certainly ought to work in mine. Maybe I’ll take my own advice (to Elyse), and start over, taking baby steps this time so I can at least try to keep track of what’s going on.

Happy birthday, btw!

scottleyes
05-20-2005, 03:25 PM
Thanks.

One of these days I'm gonna pop the $200 bucks for TransType and just convert every d*mn font I own... but i'm sure something ELSE would cause problems.

Until font files/resources are as ubiquitous as simple text files in Unix, we're gonna suff some degree of headaches dealing with them. Maybe when OSXII is up and running on a brand-new 57-core 9-chip Macintosh G8 @ 42Terahertz we'll bbe able to render the Encyclopedia as PostScript outlines in PDF format. ;-)

ktinkel
05-20-2005, 04:37 PM
One of these days I'm gonna pop the $200 bucks for TransType and just convert every d*mn font I own... To what? <g>

Jonathan
05-20-2005, 04:55 PM
FontAgent (FA) Advantages:

- It auto-activates fonts in just about every app on my system - including Safari. A little (unobtrusive but visible) translucent window lets you know that it activated something.I'd like to know what sort of control you have over the auto-activation feature.

One of the things I'm often responsible for is identifying and removing references to stray fonts that don't belong in a document. Auto-activation is a hinderance to this task, as I need to know WHAT fonts are being called beyond those I have intentionally loaded, not have the utility blithely tell me that "something loaded" while I was opening a document.

What controls over this feature do you see in FA?

ElyseC
05-20-2005, 07:14 PM
Anyway, that's just my opinion. Also, on a final note, I HAVE to give credit to FontAgent's Sales/support staff -- I had paid for a version of FA YEARS ago (before it was a font manager, it was a font fixer), and they VERY politely guided me thru finding my record(s) so I could pay for the upgrade and not the full version (saved $30). Extensis, on the other hand, takes five hours to answer their support line, and don't even offer a side-grade from Suitcase to FontReserve (or vicce-versa) -- they flatly deny that their products may have flaws/bugs until you pressure them for specific answers, which they can't/won't deal with. And Extensis' #$^@#$%! website is enough to make me shoot myself - WHY oh WHY do i have to LOG IN before I can even check to see if an update is available.

argh!Customer service, attended and unattended - another important concern, yes indeed. OK, I think that pushes me to FontAgent Pro.

djb
05-20-2005, 07:36 PM
Customer service, attended and unattended - another important concern, yes indeed. OK, I think that pushes me to FontAgent Pro.

While we are using Suitcase and Server, and Portfolio and Server, and have service agreements on those products, I will agree that Extensis needs a lesson in customer service. I haven't looked at FAP but if the feature set is similar then service would be a useful tipping point.

djb

ElyseC
05-20-2005, 07:41 PM
While we are using Suitcase and Server, and Portfolio and Server, and have service agreements on those products, I will agree that Extensis needs a lesson in customer service. I haven't looked at FAP but if the feature set is similar then service would be a useful tipping point.I could be wrong, but while they give slightly different names to features and have bits of them attached to the whole in differing places, they do seem to have the same main features.