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.

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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 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

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.

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.

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.