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Systems software/hardware


Our System


Server and client hardware upgrade

Bookhouse recently upgraded the server and workstation computers over the last couple of weeks because of a fatal hardware error. No data was lost in the initial breakdown, because of Bookhouse's redundant data backups, but it did mean a new machine to overcome the problem.

I've included some photos here to show you the progress of our server upgrade. The old server—and what a server it was, running for 6 years almost non-stop—is shown below just after it first crashed. The problem with the server didn't prevent Samantha or Daniel from doing their work, but it put Simon into low-sleep mode while the new one was built.

As you can see, the old server is a single-tower, dual-fan configuration. There were two processors in this computer, but the power supply and fans available now were barely able to keep up. Finally one of processors, a disk drive and the power supply all failed. There were no power supplies available for this machine anymore, which meant it would always be limping until we got a new one. We decided to replace the machine straight away.

Mostly we wanted to keep the same internal configuration, because it had worked so well. We also introduced disk mirroring and file replication onto the network, providing further security against further downtime. If one of the Books disks fail, the mirrored disk takes up straight away. If the whole machine fails, the file are replicated to a second computer in the office setupt to run as a backup server.

So the new server had to be easy to work on, robust, and have redundant failsafe systems in place. We needed a big, safe box. This is what we found:

As you can see above, the new one is a lot larger than the original. You can see the original server here on the left, although it does blend in to the wall.

I'll include more details about the new Apple Macs here soon. For now I've only had time to post the server info. The new Macs are equally as gorgeous: both dual-processor computers with Gigabit networking, a technology 10 times faster than the average fast network, and 100 times faster than the average consumer small network!

The following sections are from the previous version of this page, which you've probably seen already.

Typesetting technologies

Bookhouse is a high-end user of the professional batch pagination system, AutoPage. Since AutoPage was first released, Bookhouse has refined efficient production flow system that reduces costs to the client. The streamlined workflow involves zero redundant handling by proofing our product using large high-resolution computer monitors. AutoPage is a stand-alone application that interprets Quark design layout and automatically paginates to each publishers specific style sheet. Unresolvable errors are reported to the editor.


The Bookhouse production system now includes 3 dedicated typesetting workstations. At the hub of the network is an extremely powerful dual-processor Pentium Pro system running Windows NT Server. This machine allows us to communicate efficiently between Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. This machine hosts a broadband cable connection to the Internet for e-mail and Internet access to the person working on each project. This machine hosts video conferences and long-distance voice communications.

The network runs on 1000Base-T (Gigabit) duplex high-speed cabling, giving workstations access to our secure bank of online RAID disks. This highly protected system is a central storage space that is backed up every hour, with many redundant systems, to ensure full safety of data. Backups are also held off-site in case on-site copies are damaged by fire.

Bookhouse uses high-end scanning technologies to provide both positional and high-res images. Our flatbed scanner is 1200x1200dpi (optical) resolution, with up to 4800 dpi software enhancement. For transparency images we use a dedicated film scanner with an optical resolution of 2000dpi and software interpolation of 4000dpi.

Other computer operator systems

Bookhouse uses customised workstation configurations which include workstations for PhotoShop scanning, Illustrator diagrams and a separate printing server with backup systems to avoid crashing of printer and loss of pages. PDF reader technolgies can be accessed from all computers on the network and the office is equipped with a client-dedicated laptop and a peaceful space for working without distraction. Also, a meeting space for conference discussions on books in production.