Publicious Links: The Real Balloon Boy Edition

He’s still up there. Somewhere. Alone. The poor balloon boy, captive of the merciless sky. Orphan of the atmosphere. My heart goes out to him. No, not that hoaxing chump whose dad sent up a Jiffy Pop bag and called 911. I’m talking about the real balloon boy. Pascal. Le garçon Parisien who has been riding the whims of the winds since 1956.

realballonboy2

At least he was wearing a warm sweater. In retribution for failing to protect one of their kind from the neighborhood bullies, pauvre Pascal was kidnapped by a marauding band of garish helium hooligans, never to be seen again.

Realballonboy

He would be in his 60s by now. Be brave, Pascal.

Now on to this week’s links:

Web 2.0 Journal has a look at the Nook (hey, that rhymes) vs. the Kindle.

2010 is going to be the Year of the E-book. Don’t take my word for it, PCWorld has a roundup of the new combatants in the War on Paper. Old Publicious pal Plastic Logic will ring in the new year in January with the QUE.

XML Journal has more on the Nook, and how Adobe worked with Barnes and Noble to get PDF and EPUB on the gadget.

Need to design and produce accessible PDF? Then you need to read Adobe’s resources on the subject. How to create accessible PDF from Word, InDesign, etc.

LiveBrush is yet another free and interesting drawing app.

‘Tis the season to be gory, and Naldzgraphics has gathered 45 horrifying Photoshop tuts. How to zombify, vampirize, etc.

Flash without ActionScript is like ice cream without hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. That comes zooming onto your table from stage right. Enter ActionScript.org to help you learn the magic words.

Flash on the iPhone? Sorta, kinda. Newsfactor has an article on Apple v. Adobe.

VectorTuts has a tut on creating a vector texture with a wonderfully old school twist.

Creately is an online diagramming app that’s either free (basic version) or pay what you want (souped up).

InsideRIA is a great site from O’Reilly for keeping tabs on developments in the rich internet app realm.

Lastly, thanks to Pariah Burke and his column Free For All on CreativePro.com (required reading for destitute designers everywhere), for the heads up on FontCapture, a free online tool for making a font out of your handwriting. I don’t know why I think this is cool. I don’t try to write in Helvetica, so why would I want to type in Rankin? But I really do.

Till next time, think of Pascal, and keep watching the skies.

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Publicious Links: The (Insert Theme Here) Edition

Crowdsourcing is all the rage nowadays, so I thought I’d make, er, empower you all to come up with your own theme this week. Yeah, that’s it.

Here’s your template:

Intro paragraph citing some current event, 
with possibly strained metaphor to publishing technology.
Jokey second paragraph with parentheticals (galore).
<<insert goofy Photoshopped graphic>>
Closing paragraph, ending with a one-word sentence. Really.

Adobe is taking this crowdsourcing thing seriously, with a few new initiatives that seek to tap the power of the hivemind. First, Adobe Community Publishing is a rich internet application that allows/requests/begs you to write and upload content related to Adobe applications to their site.

Adobe CommunityIcon

It’s like a blogging tool where your content is published directly to Adobe’s site. After you sign in with your Adobe ID, you pick a template:

Picture 3

And have at it.

Picture 2

Secondly, Acrobat.com is also looking for a few of your good ideas. Got a feature or functionality request? Go over to ideas.acrobat.com and make your voice heard.

Also in a nod to crowdpower, Serna has make its Syntext XML editor open source.

Back in the day, the only people who could see music were in psychiatric wards and Grateful Dead shows. Now any shmoe with Photoshop can see music, edit it, and save it back as a sound file. Head over to Photosounder for info on editing audio files as images in Photoshop.

Design Science, makers of MathType, Math Flow, and Kraft Matharoni and Cheese (jk), has a useful guide to Math in eBooks, in the ePub standard.

While we’re on the XML subject, might as well point out the XML in Practice Conference coming up at the end of September in D.C. I learned a ton at the one in Boston a couple years ago. And I got a MarkLogic t-shirt, which catapulted me to a level of geek usually unseen in the Boston area outside the MIT campus. Maybe I can get Johnny Cupcakes to hack the design, and we can sell ’em for $40 a pop.

Don’t touch that PDF if you don’t know where it’s been. Especially if it has a trojan virus embedded in a tiny Flash video.  Apparently we still have to be suspicious of PDF from unknown sources.

Typophile has a neat Flash tutorial on Typography 101.

Laughing Lion Design has a tutorial on achieving a letterpress effect in Photoshop.

Finally, over at my home away from home, InDesign Secrets, Steve Werner has posted tips and tricks for interactive Buttons in PDF (via InDesign).

Till next time, (insert closing).

Announcing: Publicious To Go!

I know in this day and age, no one is disconnected from the Web for longer than they can hold their breath. Still, I have heard from some people that it would be nice if Publicious content were served up in a PDF package, for viewing offline or just sans browser. Being the media-agnostic guy I am, I heard and obeyed. So now you can get Publicious To Go. Just pull up to the drive thru and grab yourself 18 pages of the tastiest publishing tech content anywhere.

You can download either the “Big Gulp” (48.7 MB), which contains an awesome bonus Easter egg, or the “lite” version (3.67 MB). Both versions have the same Publicious content.

Publicious To Go, vol. 1 July 2009 (lite version 3.67 MB PDF)

Publicious To Go, vol. 1 July 2009 (with Easter egg 48.7 MB PDF)

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Enjoy!

Publicious Links: The Moonwalking In Threes Edition

They say celebrity deaths come in threes. I say, you see what you want to see. But this past week was pretty hard on 20th century cultural icons. If you’ve lost track of who’s still with us, consult Dead or Alive? Oh, nevermind, I’ll save you the trip: Abe Vigoda still walks the earth.

First off, poor Ed McMahon. The guy spends decades in the public spotlight as Carson’s sidekick. Night after night, and with Memorex precision, he delivers the chiseled-in-the-collective-memory line, “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” For a side gig, he props up a molten Jerry Lewis every Labor Day for the final timpani. He even has the cartoonish celebrity second act with Star Search and the thing that wasn’t quite Publisher’s Clearinghouse. And when he dies, he gets two seconds of attention.

Next up, poor Farrah. I never quite got the obsession with her or her bodacious hair. Yes, Farrah was incredibly beautiful. But I had only one true love during my single-digit years, and that was Lindsay Wagner, aka Jaime Sommers, the true, be-scarfed Bionic Woman. Still, the impact of Farrah’s locks and teeth is undeniable. And happily, she earned major props for her acting craft as well as her looks. So she got four seconds of attention this week.

Which brings me to the King of Pop. What more can anyone say about the Curious Case of Michael Jackson? I was a teenager in the 80s, but it never occurred to me to actually buy Thriller. It would be like buying air. I watched MTV for about four years straight, without blinking, from 1982-1985. I heard Thriller on a daily, if not hourly basis, for years on end. It was like life in a prison in the Phillipines. Now I watch this video of him auditioning for Berry Gordy at age ten, channelling James Brown with such precision that it freaks me out. For his otherworldly talent, this ten year old kid got his childhood replaced with showbiz, and became the most famous person on the planet. The unraveling that occurred afterward, is amazing to me, only in that it took so long.

So to Ed, Farrah, and Michael, I will picture you three moonwalking off the stage together. Rest in peace.

Oops, in my self-indulgence, I forgot this is a blog about publishing technology. How about some links?

First, GridIron Software has just released Flow. It is way cooler than sliced bread. How would you like for your files to know how they are all related? Images know which InDesign layouts they’ve been placed in. PDFs know which documents they were created from. You say you only remember the name of a layer in a Photoshop file? No problem, you can find it. And so on and so on. I don’t like to throw around the word “amazing,” but Flow really is A-freaking-mazing. I’ve installed the trial version and I think living without it is going to be impossible from here on out.

From the how did we ever live without Photoshop category, part 1: Gizmodo has 65 Ancient Video Games I Wish Existed.

From the how did we ever live without Photoshop category, part 2: Wonkette has Sarah Palin’s quixotic and hopeless war vs. Photoshop.

Ever wonder how Adobe came to be? Wonder what it might have to do with Xerox? Check out a nice little bio of founder John Warnock.

Here’s a couple of my recent posts from InDesign Secrets: Honey, I Blew Up the Color Panel, Bridge Font Blind Spot, and Eye Candy, Part 5: Blending a la Mode.

As the digital revolution comes full circle, the phrase “Web to Print” is going to be heard a lot. Bitstream’s Pageflex Storefront uses InDesign Server to power its piece of the Web to Print pie.

GREP Master Peter Kahrel has posted a brilliant tutorial on Dealing With Long GREP Expressions. My advice: caffeinate heavily before reading.

At work, I was asked to evaluate someone’s choice of 100c70m drop shadows. My evaluation was “um, no.” Here’s how to make a blue shadow in real life.

Brian Lawler (author of the Official Adobe Print Publishing Guide) has posted an interesting idea for using Photoshop’s Count tool.

From the It’s A Small World, But I Wouldn’t Want to Print It Dept: How about a digital archive that contains all the peer-reviewed mathematical literature ever published? That’s about 100 million pages. No sweat, say the folks behind the Digital Mathematics Library Project.

Print and prepress guru par excellence Steve Werner is giving a eSeminar on InDesign Best Prepress Practices on July 1. If you miss it, you can catch the recorded version.

Thomas Silkjær has posted a nice set of highly-organized pre-defined styles for InDesign, which you can modify to suit your own needs.

ShapeCollage is a nifty, free tool for making collages out of your photos. You can arrange any number of pictures into any shape.

Popular Science has a prototype color-picking pen, that mimics Photoshop’s eyedropper. It’s supposed to scan the color of any real life object and then recreate that color with ink. Too bad the desinger needs a remedial lesson in the physics of subtractive color and CMYK. Still, it’s a mind-blowing concept.

Publicious Links: The Bing Hits Edition

You probably know that Microsoft has released its own search engine to try and topple Skynet, er, Google. A few days ago, in the WordPress stats I started seeing referrals from Bing.com. Literally, Bing hits. Heh. So I searched for “Publicious” on Bing, and we got 9 out of the top 10 spots. Righteous.

If you weren’t totally exhausted from all the Flash Catalyst stuff I posted last week (or if you ignored it completely) you might want to check out Adobe’s summer-long eSeminar series on the Flash platform (Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst). Please don’t call them “webinars.” Eeeech. Ugliest word ever.

If you want to see what some people are actually creating with all this Flash stuff, check out Smashing Magazine’s 50 Beautiful Flash Websites. Don’t forget to follow Smashing Mag on Twitter for tons more.

Here’s my post on InDesign Secrets about continuation of Adobe branding into our geeky lifestyles, Coasting Into A Suite Life. By the way, I’m all for it. I’d buy some InDesign bedsheets in a heartbeat.

By the way, yesterday was Adobe Patch Day. Get’cher security updates while they’re hot.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, unless it comes in a Bezier box. Best Design Options is offering 100 Websites Where You Can Download Free Vector Graphics.

While you’re up, can you grab me a few free patterns from the PatternCooler? Thanks.

With all that money you saved on your vectors and patterns, you can head over to FlashDen and purchase some little Flash applications. It’s a little app market where developers can hawk their coded wares. Even if you don’t intend to buy, it makes for some fun window shopping.

Want to influence the future of Photoshop? Take John Nack’s survey. Vote early and often.

Gurus Unleashed has a really cool new feature, a monthly wrap-up of the best news, tips, tutorials, etc for your favorite graphix apps. Here’s the May wrap-up for InDesign/InCopy. You can also find wrap-ups for Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, MacPaint, etc. Just kidding, I think the MacPaint news would be pretty sparse. Then again, I could dominate it…

Whoever says print is dead is all wet. Literally, now that you can get almost anything printed on a shower curtain. These will be the coolest thing in the bathroom till we get shower curtains that are tv screens.

Or you can get a monitor that’s bigger than a giant flatscreen TV. It’s only $8,000, and so big it has to be curved around you.

Finally, I leave you with some high art, from Prepress Pilgrim, an excerpt from the world’s first prepress romance novel.

Publicious Links: You’re Hurting My Old Eyes Edition

For the next few days I’ll be at the Flash on Tap conference in Boston, listening to the best Flash developers, and feeling very old. As I sat in the Papervision and Flash to iPhone seminars, I was surrounded by kids with mohawks, wearing their underwear on the outside, nodding in rhythm to the jargon. Meanwhile, I felt something like this old guy that my daughter drew.

plish-hurtingmyeyes

Since you probably can’t read the words, here’s the transcript:

Kid: “You are weird!”

Old Man: “You’re too young! You’re hurting my eyes!”

That is how she thinks of kids vs. adults. Their youth shines like a beacon. Looking directly at it gives us pain. In some ways, she might be right. So I’m going to SuperCuts for a mowhawk, and putting my undewear on the outside, and posting some of the good links I’ve come across recently:

Papervision is a real time 3D engine for Flash. It’s the means for developers to create the virtual worlds for us to move around in Flash apps.

Took a class today on ActionScript 3. Very good. Totally over my head. But that’s OK. If you never get out of your comfort zone, you could relax yourself into oblivion. Here’s the instructor’s companion Web site.

VectorTuts+ offers 15 Great Resources for Learning Adobe InDesign. I’ll try not to be too upset that Publicious didn’t make the list, since InDesign Secrets is at the top.

Is a Photoshop backlash brewing? The NY Times has an article on some magazines making news by declining to ‘shop their models. In Europe, there is a movement afoot to force something like warning labels on published Photoshopped images. Sort of a “Truth in Pixels” law. As always, Photoshop Disasters is required viewing.

This week Adobe released a new feature on Acrobat.com, Presentations, which you use to make…presentations. Apparently they’re either out of application names, or they’re trying to corner the market on Obvious. It’s pretty neat. Try it out. Between this and Keynote, there will be no excuse to use PowerPoint(less) going forward.

I Love Design is a site owned by Quark (hey, remember them?) offering downloads, templates, job listings (UK), blogs, and a gallery of things to look at.

Adobe also released an update to Camera RAW, with support for new cameras.

Also on Adobe Labs (not Acrobat labs), is info about a curious thing called Story. It’s a collaborative script-writing tool. Unfortunately, it’s not available yet. Still, when I finally take a crack at one of the screenplays I have rotting in my brain, I may check it out. Maybe I’ll pitch InDesign on Vacation to Spielberg. Too bad I couldn’t show it to him. YouTube took it down because of the Go-Go’s music in the background. Sigh. I’m sure Jane Wiedlan would’ve loved it.

Finally, you don’t have to hate your InDesign documents to want to punch, rip, and burn them. Just check out my latest entry in the InDesign Eye Candy series: Punch-outs, Stickers, and Rips.

Oh, I think I just broke a hip! My eyes!

Publicious Links: The Charlie Chaplin’s Christmas Tree Edition

I am eight kinds of geek. Among my varied geekery is film geekery. I took a lot of film classes in college, mostly from a wonderful man named Arthur St. Leger Grindon, who taught me ways of seeing, not just what’s up on the screen, but everywhere. Thanks, Lege. Nowadays Netflix is my film school, augmented by the ridicuously good podcast/blog, Filmspotting (née Cinecast).

So this week, I was watching Un Chien Andalou, by Luis Buñuel and some punk named Salvador Dalí. Among its many charms are ants crawling from a guy’s palm, dead donkeys on pianos, and the notorious eyeball shot.

chien_andalou

Watching UCA is like getting beaten with a sack of puppies, but it is a cornerstone of modern art and cinema. Plus, we would never have had Monty Python without Buñuel and his ilk, so you gotta love it, dead donkeys and all.

In the DVD commentary Buñuel’s son told how his father was once so bored at Charlie Chaplin’s Xmas party, that he and some accomplices stood up and stomped the Xmas tree and presents to pieces. Just to be, y’know, subversive. As you might imagine, Chaplin was rather miffed. But sometime later, after the holiday, he invited Buñuel back to his house and surprised his guest with a completely new Xmas tree, loaded with presents. Chaplin asked Buñuel to stomp everything again, but this time do it first, so they could enjoy a nice peaceful dinner afterward. So in honor of Buñuel and Chaplin’s random acts of weirdness, I give you eleven pieces of the ultimate surrealist work: the Internet.

First off, I can’t believe it’s taken me over a year to mention Deke.com. Deke is, of course, Deke McClelland, author of ten trillion books on Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. I watched Deke’s videos (on actual video tape!) back in the day to study for the Photoshop 6 certification exam, and to this day I still “hear” many of the keyboard shortcuts in his voice. In Deke We Trust.

In case your eyes hurt just thinking about that shot from Un Chien Andalou, soothe them with my latest post at InDesign Secrets: InDesign Eye Candy, Part 1.

Want another great InDesign resource? Check out Gabriel Powell’s Instant InDesign. Great info on template design and high-speed production skills. Videos, tips, and excepts from Gabriel’s book.

Sherman, set the Way Back Machine for last fall, when I was raving about a new Adobe thing called TLF. Well, it looks like someone at the New York Times agreed with me. This week the Times launched a new AIR-based online news reader. It’s getting rave reviews, and it relies on TLF. Here’s the behind-the-scenes story from Adobe. TLF guys, remember your friends when you’re rich and famous!

This week’s Adobe Developer Summit has been great, so far. It’s amazing how easy and well Adobe Connect works to deliver the conference to those of us who couldn’t make the trek to Seattle. If you want to glimpse the direction that the big A is pointed in for the future, check out the conference. In particular, pay attention to technologies like Configurator, which allows you to create custom interfaces for Photoshop, and will be extended across the Creative Suite.

Ever wonder what typeface the Adobe “Periodic Table” of logos is set in? It’s called Adobe Clean. It was designed by Robert Slimbach and used to be called Gauge. While you can’t buy it, you can read the story behind it.

Tweets in Space! Twitter has now gone beyond a worldwide phenomenon, with the first astronaut to tweet from orbit. Can you imagine if we had Twitter during the Apollo days? DrRendezvous RT@CoolNeil: “The Eagle Has Landed!” http://bit.ly/N4sA11

That’s all for now, kids. Beware of Spaniard Surrealists bearing straight razors, and remember the words of poet Frederico García Lorca:

On the empty plain
an olive tree goes walking

Just one lone
olive tree