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).

Publicious Links: The Parallelepiped Edition

Had a “whoa” moment a little while ago. Whilst taking a deep dive into Adobe history and technology, I came across an article on the math behind Bézier curves. If you’ve ever used any of the Creative Suite apps, you know what these are. They’re the edges of objects you shape by pulling little control handles attached to the ends of lines. You can draw pretty much any shape by varying the number, length, and angle of the control handles.

I’d known for many years about the man who invented these curves, Pierre Bézier. He was a French engineer who used them to design precisely manufactured auto parts for Renault. They also come in quite handy in computer graphics. But what I’d never seen before is the control handles in the context of the 3-D shape they describe: a parallelepiped. Here’s the article that blew one of my 100 amp geek fuses. What amazes me is that I never realized how I was in effect, pulling and pushing these control handles in three-dimensional space. Hence the “whoa.” You are warned, there is math involved. If you ever wish you could play with Bézier curves in real life, you can, and probably already did as a kid, with string art.

I’d be remiss to be talking about vectors, without mentioning the VectorBabe, Sandee Cohen. You may know she’s the author of The InDesign Visual Quickstart Guide by PeachPit Press. You may not know she recently launched a blog called From Design to Print to augment her book of the same name.

Sumo Paint is another “whoa” experience. It’s a free, web-based painting application with an interface so full-featured and well-executed, you won’t believe it. Makes you think you could create anything with Flash.

Sixrevisions.com has an awesome list article on 25 Excellent Typography Tools for the Serious Designer. Silly designers, you can click the link, but don’t let me catch you goofing around. No funny business.

While you’re at Sixrevisions, also check out another list: Ten Unusual Places to Get Design Inspiration.

Thenextweb.com has an entertaining man-in-the-street video, produced by Google wherein the question posed to the public is “What is a browser?” How horrified you are at the answers = how much of a geek you are. Personally, my favorite is the WAY over-caffeinated lady who says, “I use the Yahoo!”

Occasionally, we are reminded the world is more than pixels and prepress. You can show your support for those protesting the election in Iran by changing your avatar.

Speaking of the Iranian election, I don’t know if it was rigged, but I do know that the government needs to spring for a few of Deke McClelland’s Lynda.com Photoshop videos. Because, as BoingBoing said, Ahmadinijad Sucks at Photoshop.

You can’t get Flash on the iPhone, but thanks to AIR, you can get the iPhone in Flash. Desktop iPhone is an AIR application that simulates the iPhone on your desktop. You can even make phone calls with it.

Drupal is everyone’s favorite open source CMS, n’est ce pas? RefCardz has a free Guide to Getting Started with Drupal.

MarkLogic is offering another free eSeminar for publishers. This time the topic is Three Ways To Innovate: How Smart Publishers are Thriving Now. Count on a lot of “XML is da schizznit” rap.

Finally, Meninos is at it again, making me lust after geek merch. This time it’s Illustrator and Photoshop palette, er, panel magnets. No geek fridge should be without ’em.

The Life of O’Reilly

I’m happy to announce that next Monday and Tuesday I will be in New York attending the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference. With all the bad news permeating the publishing world, it will be a welcome change to be immersed in the technology and the vision of people focused on future of publishing. I’ll be gathering and sharing as much info as I can on some of the most forward-thinking publishing technologies and the companies behind them.

I plan to sample as many sessions as possible, and will be posting and tweeting anything and everything I find share-worthy. The things that directly relate to InDesign, I’ll post at InDesignSecrets.com. Everything else I’ll post here or tweet here. The official conference Twitter page is here. I’ve already been doing my homework, reading up on the solutions that will be showcased, and there’s some very cool stuff. Should be a lot of fun—and a lot to write about.

The industry is quickly evolving from a linear print-driven desktop publishing type workflow to a collaborative, cross-media delivery of rich content. Publishing is being redefined. “Ecosystems” is the buzzword. No longer is it adequate to put out a beautiful book. You need the beautiful book, plus the Flash-enabled PDF eBook. Make it customized. And throw in a blog, a wiki, and a Twitter page for people to follow. In my mind, the key questions are: what do your customers really want? how do you make it? and how do you make money doing it? And that is what I will seek to find out. Stay tuned.

Lunchtime Links

Macworld has an article on Twitter for Mac Creatives. I found the comments interesting too. There’s definitely a line in the sand between those who “get” Twitter and those who don’t. As with anything, YMMV, but I think those who complain about the lousy signal-to-noise ratio just aren’t following the right people. Sure, there’s a lot of “I like bacon” tweets. But there’s a ton of good stuff too. Don’t throw the baby out with the TweetWater.

Following up on Eric’s Why XML? post, here’s a link to the slides from O’Reilly’s Start With XML one-day conference that was held in NYC on January 13th.

Speaking of O’Reilly, the annual Tools of Change conference is coming up: Feb 9-11, also in NYC. MarkLogic, Adobe, <oXygen/> and Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing. I’ll take it, with an everything bagel, to go. Of course, if you can’t make it, you can follow the conference on Twitter. SeewhatImean?

While you’re at it, you can follow me. I promise not to tweet about bacon. I don’t even eat the stuff.

MarkLogic announced the MarkLogic Toolkit for Word, which is a free open source means for developers to build applications directly bridging Microsoft Office Word 2007 and MarkLogic. Makes you go <hmmm/>.

Last but not least, GeoEye has some photos of yesterday’s inauguration, taken by Google’s new satellite. See how SkyNet, er, Google views 1.something million people: as a bunch of ants. That reminds me, I should put Judgment Day in my iCal. Thanks for the tip goes to John Nack at Adobe, whose Photoshop blog is required reading for everyone in my household, even the cats (how do you think they put those lightsabers in their paws?). Actually, they use FriskiesPix.

Photoshop Rastafarian

A little news bite for you. During my lunchtime RSS and e-mail grazing, I came across two interesting bits:

1. Mark Logic is hosting a “Webinar” (I hate that Frankenword) on April 8 at 11AM Eastern called “Achieving Agile Publishing — How XML is Changing the Face of Dynamic Content Delivery.”

The basic pitch:

“Attend this event and learn how you can leverage an XML architecture to build out a publishing model that is agile enough for today’s changing market.”

I’ll be checking it out since I came away from the XML Conference last December with a feeling (not actually knowledge, mind you) that the Mark Logic people really “got it” regarding XML workflows, content, and publishers moreso than anyone else.

If you are an XML geek, pubtech geek, or especially if you’re both, here’s the registration form.

Afterwards, let’s all grab a Webrewski and Webscuss the Webifcations of this Webciting Webology.

2. Adobe introduces a new member of the Photoshop family, Photoshop Express. It looks like a flash-based rich internet app version of Photoshop, and it comes with 2 GB of online storage and a hook to Facebook. Looks like I’ll be getting a Facebook account tonight. Hmmm, Flash, Photoshop, RIA, Web 2.0…Everything I’m interested in seems to be merging into one massive thing. Or as I recall Bob Marley once said on a mixtape of mine, “Instead of I and I and I and I, there’s just one I. RAS-ta-far-I.” Man, I miss Bob.

I’ll post the next installment of our XML cookbook project tonight.

And now, back to lunch.