Publicious Links: The Dude, Where’s My Blog? Edition

And we’re back.

Sometime Monday the domain mapping that transforms mild-mannered “pubtech.wordpress.com” to it’s super hero identity “publicious.net” expired. Silly me, forgot to pay the bill. For about 48 hours, I was thinking I had offended some very important bots in Internetland. All the incoming links to Publicious disappeared and traffic was down more than 90%. It felt like Publicious had been put in solitary confinement.

After the inital shock, I said, “Oh well, whatever. Home alone at last. Now that everyone’s gone, I have all the time in the world and the whole internet to myself. Maybe I’ll just put on some Carpenters, kick back with bag of Cheetos, and check out SpongeBob On Demand.”

Every sha-la-la, Every whoa-o-oh, still shines.

patrick-carpenter

But then I got lonely. I finally figured out I should check one of the sites that links here and see what happens. Bingo. A hop, skip, and credit card payment later, I am once again master of my domain. Now, help yourself to some Cheetos. On with the show.

Might as well start with my latest post at InDesignSecrets.com, Snippet Style InJectors. I stumbled on this idea when I was preparing for a presentation last fall, and noticed that all the document resources used by a snippet get placed before the snippet itself. I said to myself, “Self, this could be useful someday.”

Drawn! the cartoon and illustration blog has an interesting video of an artist laying out a comic book in InDesign. You’ll never look at the Pencil tool the same way again.

Miverity has a tutorial on how to build a Flash XML slideshow app for a website.

Smashing Magazine has an article on Ten Simple Steps to Better Photoshop Performance. Life is short, no time for beachball cursrors.

The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog has an good article on ebook format wars. Which one will end up the Betamax of the 21st century?

Speaking of which…

InformationWeek weighs in on the same ebook format issue, with a Sony v. Amazon angle.

Gigaom is ready to declare a winner: Adobe, because of Sony’s embrace of EPUB.

Relatedly (is that a word? if not, I just made it one) Digital Media Buzz has the scoop on Adobe’s Open Source efforts.

Thinking of using an online word processor? Read Linux.com’s comparison of GoogleDocs, Zoho, and Buzzword.

Quick, how do you make a dotted line in Photoshop? Sitepoint has some nice quick tips about using Photoshop brush options for dotted lines and such.

One NYTimes.com writer thinks the bloom is off the Rich Internet App rose already, with the arrival of Google’s Chrome. Please, don’t be evil, Google. Please.

Graphics.com has some ‘tony tutorials (as in duotone, tritone, etc).

Finally, if you’ve ever wished to see Photoshop and Illustrator battle to the death as giant transformer robots with foul language (and who hasn’t?) I recommend checking out GoMediaZine’s ongoing Photoshop vs. Illustrator series.

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.

Flash Catalyst Iron Man Train-athalon

Back ’07, I went to an Adobe MAX conference in Chicago with Eric. Had a lovely time, enjoyed the vocal stylings of Richard Cheese, and was intrigued by a little thing shown in one of the keynotes, called Thermo. It was a tool that would allow designers to work in their designy ways, and build UI for Web applications without having to write code. Filed it away until recently, when the buzz about it became so loud it penetrated the constant meowing of my Siamese cats. Renamed Flash Catalyst, the application is now available for free beta testing on Adobe Labs.

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the “wicked awesome” Flash on Tap conference in Boston (more to come on that!). One of the Adobe keynotes featured a demo of Flash Catalyst (henceforth “FCat” in this post). It looked even cooler than what I had remembered from Thermo days in Chicago. You can use layered AI and PSD files as the basis for your interactive designs. And when the design changes, you can re-open a component in Illustrator or Photoshop and make your changes. That is frigging sweet. But even that wouldn’t mean much if FCat generated mucky sucky code. Happily, we are promised that the code FCat generates is rock solid and clean as a whistle. OK, sign me up. Time to start playin’. Just one problem. How do you learn it? Fortunately, with the release of FCat on Labs, there is a flood of tutorials and talk about this new tool.

So, I give you the Flash Catalyst Iron Man Trainathalon. Only the world’s strongest eyeballs and mouse fingers will survive.

Start with Kevin Lynch’s FCat chat at Web 2.0.

Then go peruse Adobe Labs own list of tutorials.

Click over to Lynda.com for Mordy Golding’s freebie introduction to FCat. And for Bonus Mordy, read his essay on MogoMedia.com, Futuristic Hype or Realistic Future?

Back to AdobeTV for FCat videos.

Then hop on your bike and pedal over to the newsstand or library to check out issue 155 of Web Designer magazine, featuring an introduction to FCat.

Go to the FCat Help page on Adobe.com, and download the PDF version of the Help.

Watch FlashBlog’s a 2-part video tutorial FCat.

Then partake of O’Reilly’s Inside RIA screencast on FCat.

Chug a RedBull. There are miles to go!

Put on your swimsuit and take a deep dive into Peachpit’s lengthy article on FCat.

Then towel off and get ready to climb a mountain: Ryan Stewart’s Digital Backcountry blog, for a tutorial in both text-based and video versions. If you’re like me, and have some serious Mac OS beachball issues, you might want to check out Ryan’s Flash Catalyst performance Tips.

After all that, splash yourself with some cold water and read some posts that are not so enthusiastic about FCat. FlashMagazine’s middle-of-the road take on FCat, We Say No To Flash Catalyst Until.., and Catalyst or Catastrophe?

Fortify yourself with a bite from Wikipedia’s page on FCat.

Sprint for the finish line: FCat’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Did you make it? Good! Rest up, kiddo. Tomorrrow we start the ActionScript 3 Steel Cage Learn or Die Death Match.

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

CS5 Revealed, For Real

Well, a little. If you like your geek in big thick slabs, check out the Adobe Creative Suite Developer Summit. It runs through Friday, May 15th and offers live, free sessions (via Adobe Connect) on many cutting edge  Adobe technologies, including stuff that may find its way into Creative Suite 5.

Note that this is a developer conference, not a user conference, so be prepared for tech talk about creating apps and plug-ins and features. Still, you don’t need to be a developer to appreciate the impact of what they’re talking about.

If you can’t watch the sessions live, many of them are being recorded so you can catch them on demand. I’ve seen some really cool stuff so far, mostly to do with Flex and Flash working their magic on the user interface of Creative Suite applications. One more reason to attend: if you watch the sessions and fill out the comment forms, you’re eligible for a free copy of Flex Builder, so you can make your own cutting edge goodies.

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: The Happy Birthday Publicious Edition

Happy Birthday, Publicious!

One year ago today, I published my first Publicious post. Here we are 150 posts later! This has been incredibly fun, rewarding, and tiring. In honor of the occasion, all of today’s links are staying “in house.” Sort of a Greatest Hits thing. Without further ado, here are the 10 most popular Publicious posts to date, according to the WordPress stats.

10. Über-Master Pages in which Cinnamon shows she is the Buffy of page layout.

9. Adventures in FontStruction in which I re-create the 8-bit Atari glory of my youth, one pixel at a time.

8. House of a Different Color in which I apply a virtual coat of paint to my in-laws’ house, thereby avoiding the actual job. Gotta love digitizing your chores. Now if I could just apply the Scoop filter to the litterbox…

7. Try to Tri-Fold Correctly in which Cinnamon drops the knowledge of just how tricky it is to make a brochure really right. Almost as cool as being able to fold a t-shirt in 2 seconds. Oops, OK, I’ll let that one external link slide.

6. TLF, My New BFF in which I wax rhapsodic about the possibilities of Adobe’s text tech.

5. Streamlining InDesign Templates in which Cinnamon shows how to build an InDesign document right, from the ground up.

4.  Basically Adaptable Styles in which Cinnamon offers up a sequel to her templating hit.

3. The Road to Hell is Paved With Double Clicks in which I reveal to the world just how far I am willing to go down the rabbit hole in search of that last morsel of geek.

2. Is This What a Kindle Killer Looks Like? in which I think I’m smarter than a company that got 615 million visitors to its website last year.

1. CS5 Revealed! in which I play a Nostradorkus, foretelling of the future of publishing tech in a book that I found at my town recycling center one Saturday. It’s Back to the Future, with mullets and vectors.

Now that’s a spicy meatball. First, a huge thanks to Cinnamon, since four of those top ten posts are hers. If only I could sabotage her sewing machine… Second, there are no posts by Eric on that list, simply because his stuff hasn’t been around long enough to accumulate mad stats yet. However, IMNSHO, Eric’s “Bits and Pieces” series should be required reading for anyone who may have to deal with XML in publishing. Which is, like, everyone, right? So here you go.

The Bits and Pieces I: Making XML

The Bits and Pieces II: Content Model

The Bits and Pieces III: Building Blocks

The Bits and Pieces IV: The Vendors

And what’s a birthday without presents? Here’s a gift for everyone: I’ve found another massively talented person to agree to be a contributor. She’s an amazing digital artist who will bring a whole new area of expertise to Publicious. Who is this person? Stay tuned!

OK, I have to go blow out these candles before the wax drips inside my keyboard.

Lunchtime Links

In anticipation of the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference, today’s menu of lunch links has a mostly “changey” flavor. As opposed to my usual links, which often taste like chicken.

iPublishCentral is a solution by Impelsys that allows Publishers to upload PDFs and build marketing and distribution tools around them. Everything from Flash-enabled micro widgets to full blown Web portals. Whenever I hear “portal” I still think of the pylons from the Land of the Lost TV show, or the portal into John Malkovitch’s head in Being John Malkovitch. Sadly, uploading a PDF to iPublishCentral will not transport you to a prehistoric jungle. But it may help you sell some eBooks.

Lulu.com has an interesting idea for reincarnating your old books: Vintage Publishing Services. Basically you mail them a crumbling, but beloved old tome, they “gently scan” it, and send you back the original, plus a brand spankin’ new copy. You can also get a DVD with the high-res PDFs. The service isn’t cheap, but I find it interesting because I collect old history books, some of which are more than 100 years old and are quite literally turning to dust. Of course, you could always do the scanning yourself, send Lulu your PDFs and save the dough.

Ars technica has a huge and insightful article on the past, present, and future of eBooks. It makes the point that with the slightest effort, Apple could’ve dominated the eBook world with the iTunes store and the iPhone. So why haven’t they? I won’t give away the answer, but it begins with Steve and ends with Jobs.

Woodwing has released Smart Connection 6, the latest iteration of their enterprise publishing platform. I’m interested in checking out the Content Station, a Flex-flavored rich internet application for publication planning and monitoring. Now if we can just get the RIA for authoring…SCE 6 also supports InDesign Libraries and Books. Hallefreakinleujah.

Thenextweb has TwitterKeys which are entities you can copy and paste into your tweets to spice them up with some graphical goodness (aka Dingbats).

Last, but never least, InCopySecrets has the straight dope on the right way to fix missing links to InCopy stories.

Lunchtime Links

Time to crack open a new package of Ramen and see if I can write this post before the noodles turn mushy. Should I mix the usual chicken-MSG bomb or try the organic roasted dandelion root? Life is made of choices. Only the good die young.

Elvis is a slick-looking digital asset manager with hooks into InDesign, and based on Flex and Adobe AIR.

iStudio Publisher is an intriguing desktop publishing app that lives somewhere in the “far unlit unknown” between the iWork suburbs and the big city lights of InDesignopolis.

RogueSheep posted back in November, A Developer’s View of InDesign CS4. Worth a looksee because they made a Flex panel in InDesign to play a game like Asteroids. In InDesign.

Here’s a YouTube video of a 1981 news report that asks us to “image if you will..turning on your home computer to read the news.” Sorry, news on a computer? That’s just cuh-ray-zeee!

Lastly, if you are a MacHead, you must must must check out the insanely great freeware app, Mactracker. It is one nifty tool, showing specs and info on not only every Macintosh ever, but tons of other Apple products, including software. Here’s how cool it is: for each Mac, there’s a button to play the Startup chime from that exact model. Ahh, my dear departed 512k, I never thought I’d hear your voice again.

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