Blending In

While searching through some old discs I came across a diagram I made back in my software trainer days of the Photoshop Blending Modes. I spruced it up and offer it here for the low low price of nuthin’. It’s not a complete encyclopedia of the 27 blending modes and their formulae, but it’s nice cheat sheet. Difference and Exclusion are in white type because they can invert colors. Click the image for a high-res PDF version. Blend on!

InDesign on Vacation

Print isn’t dead yet, but it has a funny cough lately. So like everyone in publishing, I’m feeling the need to go multimedia. I wish I could give this thing the introduction it deserves, and kick it 1981-style, but I doubt Martha Quinn would answer my emails. Though she still seems like the nicest person on the planet. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the first Publicious music video, “InDesign on Vacation.”

Cross-Promotional Log Rolling, vol. 1

Admittedly, there’s been a dearth of tasty content here of late. Sorry to be so dearthy. It’s not like I’ve been lazy. I put in mongo hours prepping for the InDesign Master Class, and put up a few posts at InDesignSecrets. I did a deep dive to the depths of InDesign’s Check Spelling Thing, which I’ve never liked. Found out today that it works better on Windows. Grrrr. Did some more InDewhining on the Gradient panel lameness. Chimed in on a really weird “feature” that can silently upsample 72 ppi images into crummy-looking high-res, when they interact with transparency. And so on. I’m still reading Click; hope some of you are too. It’s good. Lastly, I’m working on a big project that I’ll bust out with a couple weeks before Christmas. Save a little $; it’s going to be a wonderful virtual stocking stuffer for the geeks on your list. Hmm, maybe I can get Cinnamon to make me a purple InDesign man-purse. “It’s European!” On second though, nah.

Oh, and by the way, Cats With Lightsabers is threatening to win my first poll in a landslide. I can almost smell the singed fur. Help me Obi-Wan Catnippi, you’re my only hope.

The Problem With Polls

Quick Note: I just realized the poll I published on Saturday isn’t visible to RSS readers (at least mine). I’ll check out PollDaddy to see if there’s a remedy. In the meantime, if you are an RSSer, visit the site if you want to chime in on the direction of future content on Publicious.

I Approved THIS Message?

Slowly emerging from the bunker of InDesign Master Class prep… I don’t think NASA worked as long sending a man to the moon as I have on numbered paragraphs. Anyway, it’s nice to breathe fresh air but the sunlight stings my eyes.

I’ve been catching up on current events. Apparently we have a big election coming up. I’ve gleaned that it’s an Irish guy, Joe O’Bama, who used to be a plumber, vs. Tina Fey and her grampa. Grampa Fey seems like a grouch so I’m voting for the plumber. And what’ up with Tina drilling mooses? I can’t support that.

In the spirit election season, here’s the first ever Publicious Poll. Florida voters please check your ballots for digital chads, and Ohio folks, I’ve got my eye on you—no “irregularities,” OK?

The Lightbulb Goes On

Happy Birthday, CS4!

Adobe gave birth today to a bouncing baby suite. Weighing in at a solid 17 ounces, and sporting a healthy silver coloring, CS4 was greeted with a tinge of jealousy by its older siblings, CSs 1-3. CEO Shantanu Narayen was seen passing out thousands of cigars around greater San Jose.

Seriously, though this is a big one, and not just in terms or price, hype, and options. Last week, as I was crying in my AdobeMAX beer, I worked myself into a geek frenzy dreaming of the Creative Suite Yet to Come. Lest you think I have been huffing too much vaporware, check out Tim Cole’s InDesign Backchannel post on IDML. Reading it was validation for me, since I had just written a paragraph in my handout for the InDesign Conference Master Class calling IDML, “one of the most significant developments in ­InDesign’s history.” That’s my conferencespeak for, “This is going to blow your doors off! In the long run, it’s more important than everything else combined!” So yeah, I totally agree with Tim that IDML is the most important new feature of InDesign CS4. But IDML is just one piece in a much larger Suite puzzle.

It’s pure poetry that CS4 is released on the anniversary of the Edison Electric Light Company opening for business. Think of each Creative Suite app as a lightbulb. The lightbulb is certainly a cool and useful invention. But the truly revolutionary, society-rocking invention isn’t the lightbulb, it’s the power grid. The dynamos, power plants, transformers, utility lines, and so on that all fit together to make electricity and make it flow reliably, cheaply, and safely. The Big Switch turned me on to this metaphor as a perfect fit for what’s happening to our applications, and I think CS4 is a case in point.

Think about what is flickering to life with IDML and XFL in CS4. The apps are now talking a common language, XML, so their content can flow reliably, cheaply, and safely (well, I guess no one ever got killed by a rogue .fla, did they?) With the power grid in place, came the multitudes of inventions that ran on electricity. This will be repeated with the multitudes of apps, be they desktop, pure Web, or RIAs, all running on XML, soon to be in every room in your house. They’re already selling fridges with Flash-enabled touchscreen doors. Hopefully when I get mine, I won’t have to wait to download the plug-in just to get a drink of juice.

If this is all gibberish to you, check out The Big Switch, and maybe the lightbulb will go on in your head like it did in mine. Also worth checking out is a nice Aussie-flavored Flash CS4 tutorial/propaganda on AdobeTV showing the integration. Still I wonder, do Flashers always work in places with surfboards? Must they be so brazenly cool? Y’know, it’s cool to typset one-color political science books, with lots of footnotes and tables, too, Mr. Fancypants. You try base-aligning all that crap without cheating the spec. Surfboards! I got a stuffed platypus and a box of CheesyPoofs on my desk. What do you think of that?!

I could be wrong about all of that poetic stuff. Maybe Adobe chose today in honor Byzantines taking back Carthage from the Vandals in 533. I myself took the kids out for an ice cream to celebrate.

BTW, it’s also Global Handwashing Day. Their icon kinda works for the Creative Suite too.

Pass the soap.

Disappointed to the MAX

This one hurts. For the last two years, I’ve trekked westward to partake of the AdobeMAX conference. A few days ago I got the bad news that The Corporation would not foot the admittedly substantial bill this time. As for paying the $1600 myself, I’d have an easier time convincing the home Board of Trustees (wife, kids, cats) of putting that money in an Icelandic bank. Jeez, it’s as if there were some kind of global economic meltdown happening. Did I miss a meeting?

MAX is Adobe’s biggest, glitziest, most-cutting edge user conference event of the year, where they show off the tools and the vision that they’re pouring their best efforts into. And it’s where the cool kids hang out. It’s the hipster Macromedia crowd, with Adobe’s $$$ to spend. The Vegas show in ’06 was particularly decadent. Someday I’ll blog about the party at Rain. Though I’d be breaking the WHAM SAM policy (What Happens At MAX, Stays At MAX). It’s easy to feel a little old amongst the sk8boarding Flex shredders. I have computers older than some of these people. But the vibe and the energy are a lot of fun. The technology is exciting. I get free drinks when people mistake me for Kevin Lynch. And after a long day in XMLand, I get treated to the vocal stylings of Richard Cheese. It is geek heaven. Man I’m gonna miss it.

MAX is where I first saw Adobe AIR, then called Apollo. Ditto for Mars technology, which is a XML-based file format for PDF rendering. Sound familiar? IDML for InDesign, XFL for Flash, Mars for PDF. To say that Adobe sees XML as the core of future publishing technology is the understatement of the year. To them, it’s not Cousin Oliver, it’s the whole damned Brady Bunch. And the ramifications are huge. These file formats will be even more revolutionary than what MP3 was to audio. No longer is content locked in a large, opaque formats. Anyone with the knowledge and a text editor can open, examine, and edit InDesign, Flash, and PDF content. Not that you would, but you could. More to the point, a developer could write an application to parse InDesign, Flash, and PDF content via XML. Oh wait, that already exists. It’s called a browser.

“But,” you say, “a browser doesn’t have a tool panel like Flash, InDesign, and Acrobat. And a browser only works when you’re connected to the internet.” Right. I hate to get all Socratic in a blog with a candy-like logo, but you just answered your own question. Adobe AIR and Flex let developers write rich internet apps that work online or offline, with all the benefits of a browser, and a completely custom interface.

If this vision becomes reality, the Creative Suite will be exploded into a thousand rich internet applications. Each customized up the wazoo. All seamlessly fitting with each other because they all speak in XML. All connected back to the Enterprise Content Mothership, be it MarkLogic, XHive, or Joe Mama’s XML Database. InDesign on your iPhone? No problem. Just deciding which flavor of “InDesign” might be the challenge. There will be hundreds.

Gotta go, there’s a board meeting in 5 minutes. The cats are demo-ing a Rich Internet Litterbox.