Publicious Links: The Insomnia Edition

The thing about insomnia is…

Uh, sorry, spaced out there. The thing about insomnia is, I can never complete a thought after undersleeping for any extended period of time. Reminds me of the time my daughter was born. Little tyke didn’t sleep through till she was 4. That was about 1500 days of lousy sleep, give or take. So from 2002-2006, I had one long, unfinished thought. The upside was wakeful dreaming, so my PB&J could easily transmogrify into rattlesnake aspic, and the row of tulips in the Public Garden became soup ladles, gently chiming in the breeze. At least I think it was the Public Garden, maybe I just wandered into the kitchen scene from Goodfellas. Hi Hendry, how’s your mother? Still, I never saw anything so disturbing as the Bearsharktopus.

All this to say, I came up with a perfectly good theme for this week’s links, and then immediately forgot it. Or did I dream it? Oh well, on to the linkage.

First up, me. My latest post at InDesignSecrets, Find-Change Scripting Goodness. Wherein I point out some great scripts for formatting and cleaning text in InDesign.

The Light’s Right is offering a free Photoshop CS4 panel that is to the standard Unsharp Mask panel as a Swiss Army knife is to a butter knife. This looks seriously cool and I can’t wait to try it.

CarDomain Blog has an interesting post on how automotive designers use Photoshop. In it, the author uses the term “vexel” which I’d never heard before. Cute.

Kung Fu Grippe has a post taking Adobe to task for increasingly bloated, buggy software, and some advice for how to improve it. This article is part of what seems like a rising tide of anti-Adobe sentiment on the Web. Adobegripes is a blog devoted to crashes, bugs, and wtf dialog boxes. Maybe it’s just that Adobe’s grown so big and powerful that there’s no one else left to blame for your computer problems. Maybe trying to be all things to all users inevitably leads to application degradation. Maybe the Creative Suite should be smashed into a multitude of suitelets, targeting user needs with laser precision and speed. I use the Creative Suite apps every day, at home and work. I do my share of crashing, stalling, grumbling at bugs, stupid default settings, wonky tools, and missing features. I do the exact same thing with my Apple apps. Firefox is the crashiest app on my machine, by far, and I still like it. I totally agree that the Creative Suite apps are far from perfect. When I find bugs, I spread the word. Repeatedly. But context is everything. You may come across those wtf dialog boxes in the midst of hours of productive work. In the realm of training and support, I have dealt with lots of cases over the years where someone was pissed at the application, when really it was a case of RTFM. So if we’re serving up some blame pie, user error gets the biggest slice.

Tripwire Magazine has a Massive Collection of Stunning Photoshop Actions.

Ever heard of seam carving? If you use Photoshop, you will. CS5 is reportedly going to bring seam carving technology to Photoshop, and the world of retouching will never be the same. The fact that it’s going to apply to video too, is mind-blowing. Speaking of retouching, the movement in the UK and France to require labeling on retouched images continues to gain momentum. Although, I think they’ll just have to put a warning on the cover of some magazines stating that EVERY image inside has been retouched. Would save a lot of effort.

Finally, I did find the cure for my insomnia. Just swallow 2 Benadryl, and watch Microsoft’s so-bad-it-has-to-be-on-purpose-to-try-and-start-a-meme video “How to throw a Windows 7 release party at your house” Mission accomplished, Redmond.

Nighty-night.

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The Return of InDesign on Vacation

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I’ve had a few requests to resurrect last year’s video monument to geekery, InDesign on Vacation. It lost its home on YouTube a while back, so what better place to put it than right here? I didn’t purchase the WordPress.com video upgrade, so I can’t directly embed the movie in a post or page. But thanks to the magic of InDesign, I can embed the movie in a PDF. It’s not the best solution, for sure (slow as heck to load) but once it’s loaded it plays fine, and it’s the best way I can think of right now. So without further ado, I give you last year’s smash hit, InDesign on Vacation.

And as a bonus, here’s the Extended Director’s Cut, which includes a special deleted scene.

Still can’t believe I got snubbed at the Oscars!

Publicious Links: The Sick Edition

Man, I am sick of being sick. Like half of Boston, I’ve been coughing for two weeks straight, day and night. I’ve been more concerned with breathing than blogging. I think I have a touch of the ol’ H1N1. Or perhaps the 0C0M0Y100K Plague. I keep thinking it’s got to go away soon. Though I have insurance, my “health” plan is sucktacularly rigged by some evil geniuses to discourage folks from seeking treatment, lest we risk getting slammed with massive medical bills should anything serious happen. It’s like a reverse lottery, where you buy a ticket each time you see a doctor. This is exactly what happened last year when I cracked my head. Thus, we have a strict “severed limb” policy in our household. Anything less is referred to as a “boo-boo” or “the sniffles.” On the upside, I have perfected the recipe for a Delsymtini.

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Enjoy the links, and remember to wash your hands after each click. 😉

Smashing Magazine has a Back to Scchool list of 40 Illustrator tutorials, some of which are mind bogglingly photo realistic.

SitePoint has a nice little tutorial on filling shapes with text in Photoshop.

Colorburned has a downloadable set of “57 tape” brushes.

Photoshopstar has a tutorial on making wooden applique effects in Photoshop.

CSSCreme has a bevy of cool Photoshop tutorials worth checking out.

Adobe made waves recently by purchasing the Web analytics firm Omniture for $1.8 billion. Either this was a savvy, bold move to the social media future, or a colossal overpaying blunder. Depends on who you ask.

Want a sneak peek into Flash CS5? Check out Flashmagazine’s report from Flash on the Beach 09.

Back in the glorious 90s, the vector world was divided between the Illustrator Hatfields and the FreeHand McCoys. Then one day, Adobe arranged itself a shotgun marriage to Macromedia and sent Cousin FreeHand off to live in the hills.  But it turns out reports of FreeHand’s death have been somewhat exaggerated. FreeFreeHand.org is a community site devoted to what some folks still believe is the best vector illustration app ever. And yes, they’ve found it works in Snow Leopard.

Vector-Art has a fun little collection of free recording studio design elements, like cassette tapes, microphones, etc.

I’ve been neglecting my InDesignSecrets duties lately, but here are a couple of little posts that may be “new to you.” Pasteboard Notes and Type OFF a Path.

Speaking of InDesign Secrets, Steve Werner has posted info on Creating eBooks in InDesign, a topic that will only grow more important now that Print est mort. I have my own Publicious take on creating eBooks in InDesign, though Steve’s may have a wee bit more useful info. 😉

Brushes, brushes, who’s got the brushes? Designrfix has what they claim to be the Ultimate Resource list for Photoshop Brushes. From the looks, they may be right.

GraphicsArtsOnline has a piece about a product called PageZephyr, which can extract content from Quark and InDesign files for re-purposing in ebooks etc.

Last, because you can never, ever get too much InDesign, here are links to every update ever, from 1.0 to 6.0.4 in Mac and Windows flavors.. Collect ’em all kids.

Till next time, have a nice …cough…gasp…wheeze…gurgle…thud.

Who Killed Print, Part 2

For those wondering where I got the “evidence” against cats, I looked no further than the bookshelf in my kids’ playroom.

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This book was published in 1986, which may explain some of the “fashionable” feline attire, and other details like phones with cords on them.

It got me to thinking, what would a sequel to this book look like? So here’s my take on..

How An E-Book is Made

I’m the design and production cat. I’m creating the template in InDesign and exporting the stories to InCopy.

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I’m the author. I’m writing the content directly in InCopy. I can see the fit and layout.

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I’m adding graphics, hyperlinks, and other interactive elements, plus running spellcheck and other QA.

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I’m tracking changes.

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I’m proofing.

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I’m outputting to PDF.

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I’m creating the book’s website.

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I’m publicizing the book on Twitter and Facebook.

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I’m desperate for Google Juice.

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I got listed on Amazon!

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Oprah likes my book!

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Now maybe I can replace this computer from 1986.

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LOL! I’m so glad print is dead.

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Who Killed Print?

We all know print is dead/dying/coughing up blood. But until recently I never knew who to blame. Then I discovered the ugly, shocking truth which I will now share with you all. Print didn’t just die. It was killed… by cats. Yes, cats. Frigging cats! Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Who killed print?…

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Let’s take a closer look at this dirty deed.

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Save it for the litterbox, lady.

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Um, no, since you’re pointing to a mouse, not a word. In fact, you’re illiterate. You’re a cat!

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Not as scary as a giant black and white polka dot tie with a red striped shirt. This is your designer?

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That copyeditor looks like he needs some catnip or he’s gonna start shredding the manuscript. Give the poor guy some yarn at least!

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Actually the copyeditor (copycat?) really said, “Here’s another !@#$%! mistake!”

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Of course, the printer was in China so the production director should have said “良好的厚纸!”

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Seriously, an ascot? Since when did Charles Nelson Reilly do prepress?

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OK, fair enough.

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I think the prepress cat is going to kick some tail when he hears this crap.

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Why are these cats so relaxed when the book is totally screwed up? Can’t they see the deadline right behind them? Sure enough…

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Sigh. This is not going to end well.

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Assuming there is a next job.

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I think a few whiskers ended up in the F&Gs.

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Uh, yeah. But instead of going out and selling the book, the cats started a website filled with photos of themselves with silly misspelled captions. And they all got rich and never made another book again.

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And then little kitten fell asleep, wishing for an iPhone.

The end.

PS If you want to know where these images came from, check out Who Killed Print, Part 2.