The Road To Hell Is Paved With Double-Clicks

A Lament

Before you read this post, know o faithful reader, that it is but an shadow of a longer, greater, wittier post that was lost in a horrible instant when a flaky trackpad conspired with WordPress autosave to destroy five hours of writing and editing. Would you believe me if I told you it was the best, funniest thing I’d ever written for this blog? Only the good die young. But why, why did it have to be that post?

In concrete terms, my sticky trackpad jump scrolled to select the entire post instead of one line I wanted, and in that exact moment, as I was pressing the delete key, WordPress autosaved the draft, obliterating everything I’d written. No undo. No back-up. Breathtaking. Horror. Finality. Despair. Gone. All gone. Deep breath. Rueful laugh. Writers keep writing. And now we rise from the ashes to give you…

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A Kinder Gentler Non-Designer

Just updated the PDF of the Non-Designer’s Design Checklist to make it a little less crude in case you might actually want to keep it for reference.

The Non-Designer’s Design Checklist

About a dozen years ago, as I embarked upon my journey into the realm of publishing, I bought a book called The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams. I’m pretty sure it was recommended to me by the guy who taught my first Quark XPress class. I remember thinking it was a fine and fun book. It may have taught me just enough about design to be dangerous. I made up business cards, and took on a couple freelance jobs designing flyers and the like. Years later I had enough confidence to take a side gig designing newspaper ads. Not exactly the peak of the design profession, but it was fun to at least be the guy picking the fonts. I left that job after I’d made enough to buy a second family car, and then spent the better part of a decade forgetting everything I learned from the Non-Designer’s Design Book. So I was happy to stumble upon a copy of the brand new, 3rd edition a few weeks ago.

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InDesign User Group Meet-up

I’m going to the next Boston InDesign User Group meeting.

Here are the details:

Authoring Interactive and Accessible PDFs with InDesign
Massachusetts College of Art
Thu, May 8, 2008, 6:00 PM

Some of the coolest things I saw all last year in the publishing realm were PDF/Flash mashups that had their genesis in InDesign. So I’m looking forward to this talk, and hoping to hear more about the integration of Flash and InDesign. If this sounds interesting to you, and you want to meet up, send me an e-mail.

Registration is required. So if you’re not already a member of the InDesign User Group, you need to sign up and register (both are free).

Cool, Kuler, Coolest Color

The colors of spring are starting to pop where I live. The forsythia are spewing pure 100y by the driveway. The birch are popping a crazy out-of-gamut green, something like L74a(65)b65, The magnolias are blooming default [paper] on Comm Ave. and even my grass is a greener shade of brown. So what better time than to play with the swatches palette in InDesign, and see how we can fill it up with cool colors.

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Lawyers, and Scrapers, and Splogs, Oh My!

Sorry to get all meta on you, but at this moment I have no choice but to blog about blogging.

Over the weekend, I was told by someone that they did a Google search for one of the recipes in the Ethan’s Family Cookbook and found it online. Actually what they found was one of the Family Cookbook 2.0 posts on how to convert old content to XML and then HTML for the Web. Sounds great. The only problem was that they didn’t find it on Publicious, or my Comcast page. It was on another blog, without any attribution or link back to here. WTH? That’s not very nice. And what made it 10x worse was this blog was a total crapstorm of blinking ads surrounding my content.

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What color is your paper?

Because my friends don’t really understand what I do, I often get asked by them to do things that are outside my area of knowledge

Can you design my letterhead/business card/logo?

I’m not a designer. I know more about design than I used to, and I have a decent sense of the basics, but I’m not going to help anyone create the best representation of their business. But a friend, who is a graphic designer, emailed me recently and said he’d designed some amazing business cards, bought the card stock, gone to Kinko’s, and was very disappointed with what they gave him and wondered what they did wrong.

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XML Rock Band

OK, it’s Friday, time for a little goofiness. Well, a little more goofiness than the other 6 days of the week.



I am so bloody sick of XML. Why, you ask? Isn’t XML going to save the publishing industry? Isn’t it going to make possible the workflow of our dreams: author once, output everywhere? Isn’t it going to fix the economy and halt global warming and bring the Red Sox another World Series? Yes, it will do all those things, at least according to the true believers. And they may be right. But I still have something stuck in my craw about working with XML.

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Photoshop For Cats

What started out as a joke in another post becomes a post in itself. C’est la blog.

Here’s my writing routine: Around 9 PM I head downstairs and settle in on the couch in the family room with my laptop. Shortly thereafter I am joined by two 11-week-old Siamese furballs named Sasha and Storm who make themselves at home on my lap and/or laptop like this.

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Cookbook 2.0 Is Served

Time again to peek in on our cookbook project and see if it’s baked yet. You know they say you lose 10° every time you open the oven door. So does that mean if I opened it enough times, I could turn the oven into a freezer? Just wondering.

We left off last time with

  • decent-looking code, thanks to a bunch of Find/Replaces
  • inspiration from the design of
  • the ability to harvest CSS code with the help of the Web Developer Add-on for Firefox

So what’s left is to put together a CSS file, point the HTML at it, and see what we get.

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