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All I Can Say is “Wow!”

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Kimmy called me a “dork” the other day (in a loving way, of course), and I quickly corrected her to let her know that I’m actually a “geek.” It’s times like this, when I get so pumped about software, and my geekiness is at its zenith, that I feel like I’m channeling a 13-year-old boy. 

Anyway, at work, I often have to work with PowerPoint (ptooey!), and it frustrates me to no end that (at least in the Microsoft 2007 version) you can’t “link” images that you place into the slides. You just insert them. They aren’t named, they aren’t linked, there’s no way to track them. And if you had the misfortune of working on a LARGE PowerPoint project with multiple presentations linked in multiple places and had several people with different levels of organizational skills working on them…moving files, deleting files, modifying files… well, you can imagine the chaos and frustration that might ensue.

So, last night, I stumbled across an article about a piece of software called “Gridiron Flow.” I watched the demo and was sufficiently impressed enough to download the beta version. Last night, I let it scan my hard drive’s files, and this afternoon, I’ve put it through its paces. Oh my!! It’s my file organization dream come true!!

In a nutshell, it will track/scan every copy, paste, insert, place, save, export, etc. of all of the Adobe CS products, Word, PowerPoint (ptooey!), and Excel (hiss!), and some apps that I’ve never heard of. Currently, it’s only available for the Mac, but they will be coming out with a Windows version soon, according to their Web site.

So let’s say that I have a PowerPoint file, and I’ve inserted 20 images into it. It keeps track of those images and shows visually in a map of icons which files are associated with that PPT file. It shows where each of the associated files are located, lets you open the files from inside Flow if you want, and shows a preview and other metadata info in the details column. 

As if that’s not impressive enough, let’s say there’s an image used in this PowerPoint file that’s also used in an InDesign and an Illustrator file in a totally different way. It will let you know everywhere a particular file is used.

Want more? It will “package” the files, fonts, etc. of any of these programs it supports so that you can gather them up for archiving, distributing, organizing, whatever. AND it shows past versions so that you can see the different iterations of the files

Still not enough? It offers time-tracking so that you can see how much time was spent working on a particular file. Very nice if you’re having to doing time accounting like we are at work. And if you are about to delete a file that is associated with another app, it will let you know that it’s associated…sort of a smart version of the question “Are you sure you want to delete this file?”

Finally, it does all of this in the background, basically watching every move you make on every file, and you don’t even know it’s there until you need it.

For those who aren’t designers, but perhaps project managers who need to keep up with files, the interface is excellent because you don’t have to open the application files to see what’s in them. The whole setup is totally a map of icons, shown across columns. Of course, like I mentioned, you can see previews if you’d like to make sure that the file is what you are actually looking for.

Anyway, I know my designer friends will be happy to hear about this software offering. The rest of you will probably just chuckle at the level of geekiness going on. 🙂

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Written by blogicalinks

February 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Whatever

One Response

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  1. Thank you for a flattering post!

    The one thing we hear over and over again is that “You need to ‘see’ it to ‘get’ it.” I’ve described it to people in elevators, restaurants, on a plane, etc. and, despite all the hand-waving and napkin-drawings, people still do an “ooohhh!” once they see it.

    I tell people it’s a bit like Tivo when it was first invented. Nothing like it had existed before so it was tough to liken it to something. A VCR? Well, kinda, yeah… but so much more.

    We certainly encourage folks to watch the overview movie (I recorded it btw) and download a trial version @ http://www.gridironsoftware.com.

    We’d love to hear any feedback you might have!

    Cheers!

    Daniel Brown
    Sr. Evangelist > GridIron Software

    Daniel Brown

    March 2, 2009 at 7:30 pm


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