Publicious Links: The Whine Flu Edition

I don’t have a cure for the H1N1 virus, but good links are good medicine for whatever ails ya. Unless you’re ailed by attention deficit disorder. In which case, they’re poison. Anyhoo…

Thus far, I’ve been able to avoid the Swine flu, but I think I’m coming down with a case of the Whine flu. Symptoms: dissatisfaction with my software and hardware. Not fast enough. Not up-to-date enough. Buggy. Case in point: Adobe’s back with another warning about the security of Javascript in Acrobat. Some folks are so fed up, they’re dumping Reader for alternative PDF software. Sheesh. Adobe invented PDF. “How embarassking,” as Popeye would say. The new patch is promised by May 12th. Till then, I guess, just rub your screen with Purell, and disable Javascript in Acrobat.

Not to kick a giant corporation while they’re down, but there is more bad news in Adobeland. Not only did they have shutdown weeks where all employees were forced to stay home, layoffs, wage freezes, and now financial analysts downgraded Adobe stock from “buy” to “hold,” even though it’s stumbling between $15–$25 lately. The thinking is that Adobe’s stock will stay low till Creative Suite 5 appears. Let’s hope CS5 is a home run. But of course, if you read Publicious, you already know what’s in store for CS5 😉 If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out the  interview with CEO Shantanu Narayen. I’m sure he mentions Publicious in there somewhere…

Actually, he’s more focused on Flash, making deals with Netflix, Comcast, and Disney to deliver content in Flash to your TV. The question is, do you want Flash on your TVs? Personally, I don’t. TV’s craptacular enough as it is, without having to install the latest plug-in version and reboot the set before you can watch MythBusters. Or commercial pop-up ads. Or the prospect of having the SuperBowl “Unexpectedly Quit” while a team is driving for a touchdown. When it happens (and you know it will), it’ll be a 21st Century Heidi moment.

Want to know who else is reading Publicious? Check out Quantcast.com for a look at yourselves. It’s fun to see where everyone is coming from. I’d like to give a shout out to my 10 unique cookies in Bulgaria. Yo! S’up, Razgrad?

Trying to enhance your software developer skillz? By all meanz, check out Refcardz.com for free PDF “cheat sheetz” chock full o’ information and well-dezigned.

Also worth checking out are Adobe’s new “marketplaces.” Claiming to be “the ultimate resource” and “the most comprehensive collection products, services, and communities available.” Sounds like Exchange on steroids. So far there are two marketplaces, Photoshop and AIR. If they succeed, there will no doubt be more.

I’ll give you three guesses who just bought Stanza, the eBook reader app for the iPhone, and the first two don’t count. If you said Amazon, you win (or do you?) Hmmm.

By the way, Amazon just announced a large format Kindle, aimed at the textbook market. My heart’s still with the underdog, PlasticLogic guys. But either way, if my son’s backpack can get under 20 lbs, I’m good.

Looking for a perfect Mother’s Day gift? Sure, Facebook was ruined when your mom joined, but at least you have Twitter, right? Well, before mom starts following Ashton Kutcher and tweeting links to your prom photos, you might be proactive and give her the new Twitter book from O’Reilly. Who knows, maybe she’ll become a niche titan and buy you a shiny new MacBook Pro.

Finally, I leave you with the disturbing images of the real origin of swine flu: Johnny Cash singing with Miss Piggy.

Be good, and remember, cough into your elbow to keep your PDFs virus-free.

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Publicious Links: The Hoist The Jolly Roger Edition

Y’arr, mateys. Your captain has sworn off rum in favor of GoogleJuice, so this week’s meme be pirates. Has anybody seen a stray parrot, answers to the name of “Preflight”?

By the way, according to the bean counters, InDesign CS4’s Live Preflight is worth more than a chest of Spanish doubloons. Well, OK, about $5 a week. Check out the Pfeiffer Report on CS4 ROI for details (Adobe ID required for download).

Next, read my 5 Random Tips at InDesign Secrets or I’ll have ye swab the deck.

Prepare the boarding party, part 1: More speculation on Apple buying Adobe.

Prepare the boarding party, part 2:  More speculation on Google buying Twitter.

Jack Sparrow just threw a squid at you on Facebook. Captain Hook’s posted a YouTube clip. Blackbeard’s tweeting up a typhoon. How do you get a handle on all the pirates in your life? Try an RIA that gathers all your social networks into one place, like Skimmer.

Flex Marks the Spot: Here’s a nice (and thorough) look at best and worst practices in developing a rich internet application: Architecture of RIA.

If your skull and crossbones is looking a little tattered, design a new emblem to strike fear into all who cross your path. psd tuts+ has an eye-popping tutorial on creating a Hellacious Flaming Skull in Photoshop.

Speaking of Photoshop, John Nack has announced that PICT is about to walk the plank. Wonder what InDesign and Illustrator features we can safely send to Davy Jones’ locker…

Till next week, I wish smooth sailing to you. And remember, dead men click no links.

Lunchtime Links

Ignite is a site sponsored by O’Reilly, and devoted to building the worldwide community of Ignite speakers. Who’s an Ignite speaker? Anyone with something interesting to say on topics “geeks hold dear.” Could be almost anything. Past topics range from hacking chocolate to buying cars to using Twitter to keep tabs on your houseplants. But there’s one catch. You must do a slideshow presentation that is exactly five minutes long, exactly 20 slides long, and each slide automatically rotates after 15 seconds. The tag line is “Enlighten Us, But Make It Quick.” Not only am I a fan of the Ignite speaking rules, I think they should become law for all business presentations. Keynote and Powerpoint should only save in Ignite format.

Here’s a pretty lengthy list of Adobe products and people on Twitter. Sadly, no Big Electric Cat.

I posted the results of a little bug testing I did with the latest InDesign update (6.0.1). A couple major bugs squashed, a few other critters still scurrying around.

The CMYK-RGB t-shirt inspired me to look for more geek merch. CafePress has a well-formed assortment of XML-tagged apparel. My favorite is the baseball cap. If you need to hire an XML developer, wear the hat when you meet them. If they laugh, hire them.

Flash on Tap is an upcoming conference here in Boston that will bring together the coolest Flash developers and brewmasters, and mixing code with kegs. Should be a great time. If you have any interest in going, be aware that the early bird pricing ($595) ends April 28th.

From the Department of Awe-inspiring Process Diagrams. Behold. And Bewarned, it takes a while to load. This is either showing how to use Wikipedia to do news article clustering, or it’s the process my wife and I follow to get our kids ready for school in the morning. Insanely brilliant or brilliantly insane?

The Book Cover Archive is pretty much what it says it is. Just don’t judge the books, by their uh, never mind. In our house, we installed front-facing book shelves in the kids’ rooms, as a stealth literacy-marketing tool. Works like a charm. Showing the covers instead of the spines makes the kids about 1000% more likely to pick up the books and check them out.

TweetGrid is a browser-based “Twitter search dashboard that allows you to search for up to 9 different topics, events, converstations, hashtags, phrases, people, groups, etc in real-time.” I’m not sure what a “converstation” is, but TweetGrid is pretty neat, with the potential to be completely overwhelming. You can set up search boxes in a grid layout, to have literally hundreds of streaming tweets on your favorite topics pour down your screen. Works great, especially if you have nine brains and eighteen eyeballs.

InCase you haven’t heard, Adobe has acknowledged a “critical” vulnerability in Acrobat and Reader, whereby a ne’er-do-well could maliciously take control of your machine and drive it off a digital cliff with your data strapped in the back seat. Or something like that. To avoid death by PDF, you can try disabling JavaScript, which will help in some cases. But until the real fix comes, don’t take candy from strangers.

Now that you’ve had your broccoli, I leave you with a sugary dessert. Blambot.com’s article on comic book typography and grammar. Yum (and thanks, Greg). They also have some fun fonts for sale.

Lunchtime Links

Going to the O’Reilly conference was like going to Supermarket for Lunchtime Links. Grab a shopping cart and we’ll see if we can sneak 15 items in the 10 Links or Less aisle. Check the labels for how many of our items have the magical “social” ingredient. “Social” is the high-fructose corn syrup of new media.

Shelfari is a social network site devoted to reading. You create a bookshelf with areas for the books you’ve read/are reading/want to read. You can write reviews and give star ratings à la Netflix. You can connect with others and share your bookish experiences and discover new things. You can also try to make yourself look smarter and cooler than you really are by putting One Hundred Years of Solitude on your shelf and leaving off Garfield Beefs Up! You’re welcome to check out my Shelfari page, where I will attempt to look smarter and cooler than I really am.

The unfortunately named Bookglutton is an online social reading site where you can read books (mostly public domain oldies) in a window called an “unbound reader.” The book is displayed in the middle, and on either side you can open windows for chat with other people reading the book, or leave/read comments. You can start or join reading groups devoted to authors or subjects. You can also upload your own work for people to find and read. I would’ve called it BookJunky or something.

Feedbooks is a universal e-reading platform for mobile devices. You can download free e-books and share your own content. The thing I’m most curious about: the ability to create your own customized newspapers from RSS feeds and widgets. I love my RSS, but its crying out for something that brings it organization and design.

Bookworm is an O’Reilly site where users can create their own online library and read eBooks on their browser or mobile device. You can store your eBooks on Bookworm and download them when you want to read them in your iPhone (via the Stanza app).

Espresso Book Machine is a print on demand machine that makes paperback while-U-wait. It takes about 4 minutes to churn out an average book. The quality is indistinguishable from something you’d buy in a book store. At the O’Reilly show they had one with a clear side, so we could see how it works. Watching it in action is weirdly hypnotic. It was the most simultaneously amazing and boring experience of my life. (“This is incredible; when will it be over?”) Sort of like watching microwave popcorn. The makers humbly state, “What Gutenberg’s press did for Europe in the 15th century, digitization and the Espresso Book Machine will do for the world tomorrow.”

Buzzmachine is the blog of Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? Jeff blogs about new media and the ways in which is is changing (or could change) business, journalism, the universe, you. Lotsa Big Ideers from smart people. Good stuff.

Institute for the Future of the Book is a “think and do tank” based on the premise that print is dead, we need to deal with that and positively shape those tools that will replace it. In their mission statement, they state one of their goals is to build tools for “ordinary, non-technical people to assemble complex, elegant and durable electronic documents without having to master overly complicated applications or seek the help of programmers.” Hmmm, wonder if they’re hiring.

CommentPress is one of the tools created by the Institute for the Future of the Book. It is a WordPress theme that re-orients the comments on the page to enable social interaction around long-form texts.

Safari Rough Cuts is a social, interactive publishing service that gives you access to pre-published manuscripts on technology topics from O’Reilly. Authors submit their working manuscript, which you can read and comment on to help to shape the final book. Call it CrowdEdit.

E-Ink is an electronic paper display technology with a paper-like high contrast appearance, low power consumption, and a taste just like raspberries (just kiddin’). It’s the technology behind the Plastic Logic reader.

IDPF is the standards body responsible for ePub. Lots of publishing companies, technology companines, and publishing technology companies are members. Important because ePub is going to be the standard format for eBooks.

The DAISY Pipeline is an open source collaborative software development project hosted by the Daisy Consortium. It includes includes beta versions of tools for the transformation of documents between different formats: “uptransforms” (non-XML text to XML), “crosstransforms” (XML-grammar to XML-grammar), and “downtransforms” (XML to non-xml deliverable format).

Adobe Digital Editions is a free RIA (Rich Internet Application) for viewing and managing eBooks and other digital publications in ePub and PDF/A formats. Although it’s free, it’s not DRM-free. You can use it with eBooks you download from your public library. Here’s the FAQ.

Bonus Quiz!

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.

PR = Publicious Reading

A few books caught my attention enough to being ’em home from the ‘brary this week.

First up: PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences by Deirdre Breakenridge

plish123-pr20

I am a little skeptical, since the Web moves so fast, and this book was published a long time ago—2008 for goodness’ sake! Put it this way, Twitter doesn’t show up till page 245, and there’s no index entry on hashtags. Actually, I fear that Twitter is already being diminished by marketing types, so maybe it’s a good thing. Anyway, I like the topic.

Random quote: “…we need data that shows how people are connected. Online social networks, blogs, mobile phone call records, e-mail servers, patent databases, and co-publishing databases are typical data sources that have information about how people are connected. We take this data and apply proprietary algorithms to create social network maps and indices.”

*WTH?  Is wiretapping now a marketing tool?

I probably won’t have time to do a proper review, but I’ll at least do the commuter’s skim and post my notes.

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.