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 Squirrel Bombing Edition

OK, let’s just get it over with.

squirrel-falls

squirrel-fenway

squirrel-soldiers

squirrel-bull

squirrel-nana

squirrel-beachroad

Ever since he was first spotted, that damn rodent’s been following us around all summer. Now on to the links.

First up, my latest post at InDesign Secrets, Document Differencing.

Layers Magazine has an article on using Conditional Text in InDesign. Aside: ten years later, I still hate the phrase, “in InDesign.” AwKward.

What do you get when you cross Mad Men with Illustrator? Sketchpad, a 1963 computer illustration program created by Ivan Sutherland at MIT.

Thanks to mehallo.com for the heads up.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow (leopard, that is). Here’s a PDF on Adobe’s Creative Suite compatibility with Apple’s new version of OS X.

Elpical has a product called Claro Layout (which I haven’t tried yet) which gives you the ability to optimize and enhance your photos from within InDesign.

Vectorsonfire.com has a vintage Ford Thunderbird drawn in Illustrator that is so awesome it’s either going to inspire me to refresh my vector skills or make me never touch the Pen tool again. Too soon to tell which.

Examiner.com has a story about some members of the UK Parliament considering a ban on Photoshopped images for ads targeting kids. They’re upset about the widespread Photoshopping of already attractive people into poreless, wrinkleless monuments to Barbie-doll perfection. Here’s an interactive example of the typical process. Of course, this has been going on for a long time, witness the these pics of 18th century First Lady Dolly Madison:

Before

Dolly-1.0

After

Dolly-2.0

Prompting Ben Franklin to say, “M’lady, thou art a hottie.”

Designussion (i.e. Design Discussion) has 13 Amazing Vector Cartoon Tutorials.

If that wasn’t enough for you, Designreviver has 50 Illustrator Cartoon Tutorials.

Ever heard of Flash cookies? AKA cloud cookies? Apparently some sites now keep cookies on your surfing habits on their machines. Thus removing the last shred of a hint of the illusion of privacy. Might as well just post your browser history on your Facebook wall.

Wish you knew more about CSS? Existingvisual.com has 250+ Resources to Help You Become a CSS Expert. Hmmm, wonder if those resources include six months off from real life and a fresh brain.

Stumbleupon has the definitive list of Adobeans on Twitter.

Finally, if you just didn’t get enough rodent, here’s more squirrel bombing and an automatic squirrelizer app.

Publicious Links: The Birth Surfer Ticket Edition

3 o’clock – roadblock

Hey Mr. Cop, ain’t got no

(what you say down there)

Ain’t got no birth surfer ticket on me now

-Bob Marley, Rebel Music

In recent weeks, a growing mob of “birthers” has besieged Publicious World Headquarters, demanding to see my paperwork. They claim certain irregularities in my published documents call into question the legitimacy of my right to blog. Well, to them I say, phoooey!

However, you the loyal readers have a right to know, so to end this controversy once and for all, I am posting a scan of my original, unaltered, notorized blog certificate. I hope this will serve to prove beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt, that I am the legitimate owner of this blog.

plish-birth

Feels good to get that out in the open. Now, on to the links!

Some things are OMG, others are WTF, most are somewhere inbetween. Here’s the OMG-WTF Spectrum to help you sort things out precisely.

New Era Cap has a fun Flash RIA for designing your own baseball cap. It’s also a contest and if your design wins, they’ll manufacture the cap (there goes that crowdsourcing again. lazy bastards). Anyway, if you really want to trick out your design, you can download PSD and AI templates and go to town.

Picture 1

Speaking of RIAs, Sitepoint has the 18 Coolest AIR Apps for Designers.

The Graphics Fairy has a free vintage (Victorian) clip art and a fun idea/project for the kids, making a game of concentration out of your favorite graphics. My kids would probably prefer the Creative Suite icons…or SpongeBob.

Smashing Magazine has the A-Z of Free Photoshop Plug-ins and Filters

Tutorial Lounge has 25 Astounding Typography Tutorials.

Deke McClelland is posting a Top 40 Photoshop Features Countdown over at Lynda.com.

Now that people have had a chance to use Flash Catalyst, they’re starting to uncover some glitches in the Creative Suite-RIA connection. I stumbled on an interesting post about gradient fidelity and FXG generation tools.

Inkscape is a free, open source vector graphics tool (that I haven’t had a chance to play with yet). If anyone has tried it, please let me know your experience and opinion of it.

Divine is a tool that gives you the ability to convert Photoshop documents into WordPress themes. Sounds interesting. too bad it’s PC only, or I’d be trying it at this moment.

Digital Photography School has a basic tutorial for how to use textures to enhance photographs. Very simple technique that can yield great results.

Finally, after spending the better part of a weekend like a dog chasing my digital tail, I posted the Top Ten Reasons to Quit Out of InDesign and Call It a Day (or Night). Know when to say when, my friends.

That’s it. Till next time, be well, and if a birther jumps out of the bushes and demands to see your paperwork, hand ’em one of these.

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 Whiteboard Massacre Edition

Some time ago, I was walking to work along one of the seedier streets in Boston, and passed by an alley which was the scene of utter devastation. I wanted to turn away from the carnage, but my eyes were glued to the horror before me.

There, lying against the grimy graffiti-covered bricks was a pile of…discarded whiteboards. But discarded is not the right word. These whiteboards were not discarded. They were murdered. Ripped from the walls (screws and chunks of drywall still hung from the hooks) and destroyed. Crushed. Smashed and torn. Stomped into oblivion. Thrown from the windows above. Someone had even impaled one of the whiteboards on its own metal frame.

Yes, this was a rage killing. A whiteboard massacre. Al Capone’s hitmen had nothing on the perpetrators of this crime. Somewhere, there is a group of middle managers with their fingers stained red with dry erase dust that just won’t wash off.

I tried to picture the scene of the crime: what kind of a presentation could be so horrible and offensive, so endless and tiresome, so stupid and dull, that the enraged audience rose up out of their swivel chairs, tore the whiteboards down, and stomped them to bits? I closed my eyes and saw the melee. Muffins and bagels were trampled into the carpet like innocent bystanders. Handouts flew through the air like frightened chickens. The walls of the meeting room were scalded with Starbucks. A venti vendetta.

The presentations were still on the whiteboards, though the violence had left them fragmented, unintelligible hieroglyphics. All I could make out were disjointed circles and arrows, dates and dollar signs, and a few three-letter acronyms.

Mind you, I have been in meetings where the thought of “getting medieval” has crossed my mind. But I never got above an angry doodle. Though I once rolled my eyes so hard that I hurt them. Perhaps our muffins were laced with sedatives to gain our acquiescence.

So to those dearly departed whiteboards, who could not be blamed for what someone presented on them, I dedicate this week’s links.  And to you, dear reader, may you never come up with an idea that gets stomped. Literally.

Photoshop Roadmap has a boatload of tips, tricks, and tutorials (OK, 64 to be exact) that will keep you busy for a while.

Not to be outdone, Web Design Ledger has 22 Adobe Illustrator tutorials.

Seattle Social Media Examiner has a review of 12 Twitter Desktop Clients.

The New York Times (are THEY still in business?;) has an interesting interview with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.

Our awesome InDesign Guru Down Under, Cari Jansen has a short and sweet tip for Photoshop masking screenshots.

Gizmodo has a pretty funny Photoshop set of Totally Impractical Gadgets. It kills me that I never have time to play like this.

Core77 is an industrial design magazine/website that’s chock full of inspiration and information.

Type in Photoshop: Good or Evil? I tend to think evil, but it’s not going away anytime soon, so you might as well be good at it. Check out Sitepoint’s 5 Type Tips for Photoshop.

Sensacell is a company selling “modular sensor surfaces” I call them Giant Pixel Fun Factories. Imagine painting a mask in Photoshop with your hands, using pixels as big as your head, and you’ll get the idea. Or just watch the video. .

DesignFreebies.org has more resources than you can shake a creative stick at.

Adobe is continuing to embrace Open Source as a path to glory, releasing TLF (Text Layout Framework) and OSMF (Open Source Media Framework) to the world.

Graphics-Illustrations.com has yet another smorgasbord of resources for Illustrator and Photoshop. You’ll be so busy collecting all these goodies, you won’t have any time to use them.

While you’re at it, you might as well collect some of those oh-so-trendy painting with light brushes for Photoshop.

See you next time, kids. Till then, if you see any flying whiteboards, duck!

Publicious Links: The Eagle Has Landed Edition

As I wrote before, I am eight kinds of geek. Kind number 4 is space geek. I am an unabashed fanboy of the Apollo astronauts. Among my space geek collection I have Neil Armstrong’s autograph and a lunar module pencil sharpener. ’Nuff said. This week’s anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission has brought a ton of space goodies to share. So tear open a bag of freeze dried ice cream and read on.

John Nack has a nice set of space links, including my favorite, We Choose the Moon, where you can follow along with the mission in real time. For those of us too young to remember or experience it for ourselves, this is as close as we’re going to get to the feeling of witnessing the moon landing.

Spacefacts has a nice map of the roamings of Armstrong and Aldrin.

Astronautix (aka Encyclopedia Astronautica) is a great resource, boasting over 25,000 pages of content, including day-by-day accounts of the space race, astronaut and engineer bios, detailed breakdowns of hardware, and a Paths Not Taken section of canceled designs and missions to make you wonder what if…

Ninfinger has a huge collection of space models, as does Apollo Maniacs. You can even to try your hand at making a papercraft lunar module.

BoingBoing has links to newly-restored video of the One Small Step.

In fairness, not everyone saw Apollo 11 as mankind’s greatest moment. Witness, Gil Scott Heron’s Whitey On The Moon.

OK, on to the publishing tech links.

Adobe Genesis is an attempt at taming the tangled desktop via Flex. It allows users to create persistent personal portals (try saying that three times fast). It’s newer than new (you can’t get it even a beta yet), but as I understand it, the idea is to break applications and web services into tiles and assemble just the piece you need for your workflow in one window. Fill your plate from a workflow salad bar, if you will. Here’s a better explanation.

Need to learn (or deal with) TeX or MathML in a browser? Check out the MathML browser test, where you can see examples of rendered math and click on them to get the code.

Would you like to create a custom blog theme, without the coding chores? Check out Artisteer. Thanks to her geekness,  Anne-Marie Concepcion for the tip.

The 80’s pretentious-pop band the Fixx once asked “Are We Ourselves (And Do We Really Know)?” It’s a real question now as the importance of social media continues to rise. When anyone can grab any username, how do you KNOW who’s who? Protect your name/brand, and claim your name. You can check the availability of usernames/IDs on tons of social media sites at Knowem.com. You may also discover new social media sites you want to join. Thanks to PrepressPilgrim for the idea.

Francesomugnai.com has the 30 Most Interesting Photoshop Tutorials of 2009 (so far).

I leave you a trio of posts from InDesign Secrets (none of which is mine…I’ve been sitting in a tin can, far above the world).

Fritz posted about the amazing folding calculator. If you need to set up InDesign templates for folded publications, you really should check it out. It’s also a very cool example of what you can do with an interactive PDF.

David posted a fun 2-part series on A Trip to Adobe, in which we get to see InDesign in its native habitat of Seattle. Beware the Fremont Troll!

Till next time, take your protein pills and put your helmet on.

P4250623

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