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Digital File Transfer Get Yourself Connected

January 1998
Once upon a time, electronic desktop publishing seemed miraculous. No more awkward cameras, no more messy paste-ups. Put all of your work on a disk, then overnight a package to the printer. Simple.

Nowadays, electronic desktop is trite. Everybody's got it. Everybody's using it. And the ability to accept a disk delivered overnight doesn't impress print buyers who want their jobs yesterday.

Today's removable media, such as SyQuests and Zips, may boast high memory capacity, but you can't ship them any faster than floppies. If you want quicker delivery, you need the speed of digital file transfer.

Digital file transfer performs new miracles in the front end. No more removable media, no more courier bills. Click a mouse; the job goes.

Digital file transfer delivers files instantly. But it can be expensive. That's why many print buyers lean towards the Internet. ISPs are plentiful, and access is affordable.

Unfortunately, customers don't always fathom the Internet's limitations. Sending large files as e-mail attachments is impractical; large files that pass through ISPs take too long to transmit. Even small files can move slowly during periods of heavy traffic.

"There has been a strong push from our customers to go the Internet route," notes Thomas Yllander, technical director of K&W Inc., a high-end commercial printer with facilities in Baton Rouge, LA, and Jackson, MS. "But clients don't necessarily understand the complexities and problems associated with e-mail."

Generally, an attachment of one or two megabytes can pass over the Internet without incident. Anything larger can lead to trouble.

Before eager customers with new AOL accounts decide to e-mail all of their job files, educate them about the Internet's shortcomings. At Japs-Olson, a client once wanted to send an 8MB file via the Internet. Prepress Manager Michael Murphy had to dissuade the customer.

"Getting a perfect transmission for the period of time required is unlikely," he explains. "Also, you have to wait so long before you even know if there's a problem."

A St. Louis Park, MN-based direct mail and commercial printer, Japs-Olson accepts files through a dial-up BBS and a password-protected FTP site. Customers can also transfer files through ISDN lines.

Japs-Olson installed 4-Sight's iSDN Manager in 1996, and DAX integrated the system. The company uses a Primary Rate Interface (PRI): 23 ISDN channels with throughput of 12.5MB per minute.

"4-Sight really made it easy to transmit back and forth," Murphy says. "DAX came in and took over the hassle of dealing with the telephone companies. The transfers are seamless, easy, and with the pure digital signal, it's reliable."
 

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