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.

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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.

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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.

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Publicious Links: The Moonwalking In Threes Edition

They say celebrity deaths come in threes. I say, you see what you want to see. But this past week was pretty hard on 20th century cultural icons. If you’ve lost track of who’s still with us, consult Dead or Alive? Oh, nevermind, I’ll save you the trip: Abe Vigoda still walks the earth.

First off, poor Ed McMahon. The guy spends decades in the public spotlight as Carson’s sidekick. Night after night, and with Memorex precision, he delivers the chiseled-in-the-collective-memory line, “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” For a side gig, he props up a molten Jerry Lewis every Labor Day for the final timpani. He even has the cartoonish celebrity second act with Star Search and the thing that wasn’t quite Publisher’s Clearinghouse. And when he dies, he gets two seconds of attention.

Next up, poor Farrah. I never quite got the obsession with her or her bodacious hair. Yes, Farrah was incredibly beautiful. But I had only one true love during my single-digit years, and that was Lindsay Wagner, aka Jaime Sommers, the true, be-scarfed Bionic Woman. Still, the impact of Farrah’s locks and teeth is undeniable. And happily, she earned major props for her acting craft as well as her looks. So she got four seconds of attention this week.

Which brings me to the King of Pop. What more can anyone say about the Curious Case of Michael Jackson? I was a teenager in the 80s, but it never occurred to me to actually buy Thriller. It would be like buying air. I watched MTV for about four years straight, without blinking, from 1982-1985. I heard Thriller on a daily, if not hourly basis, for years on end. It was like life in a prison in the Phillipines. Now I watch this video of him auditioning for Berry Gordy at age ten, channelling James Brown with such precision that it freaks me out. For his otherworldly talent, this ten year old kid got his childhood replaced with showbiz, and became the most famous person on the planet. The unraveling that occurred afterward, is amazing to me, only in that it took so long.

So to Ed, Farrah, and Michael, I will picture you three moonwalking off the stage together. Rest in peace.

Oops, in my self-indulgence, I forgot this is a blog about publishing technology. How about some links?

First, GridIron Software has just released Flow. It is way cooler than sliced bread. How would you like for your files to know how they are all related? Images know which InDesign layouts they’ve been placed in. PDFs know which documents they were created from. You say you only remember the name of a layer in a Photoshop file? No problem, you can find it. And so on and so on. I don’t like to throw around the word “amazing,” but Flow really is A-freaking-mazing. I’ve installed the trial version and I think living without it is going to be impossible from here on out.

From the how did we ever live without Photoshop category, part 1: Gizmodo has 65 Ancient Video Games I Wish Existed.

From the how did we ever live without Photoshop category, part 2: Wonkette has Sarah Palin’s quixotic and hopeless war vs. Photoshop.

Ever wonder how Adobe came to be? Wonder what it might have to do with Xerox? Check out a nice little bio of founder John Warnock.

Here’s a couple of my recent posts from InDesign Secrets: Honey, I Blew Up the Color Panel, Bridge Font Blind Spot, and Eye Candy, Part 5: Blending a la Mode.

As the digital revolution comes full circle, the phrase “Web to Print” is going to be heard a lot. Bitstream’s Pageflex Storefront uses InDesign Server to power its piece of the Web to Print pie.

GREP Master Peter Kahrel has posted a brilliant tutorial on Dealing With Long GREP Expressions. My advice: caffeinate heavily before reading.

At work, I was asked to evaluate someone’s choice of 100c70m drop shadows. My evaluation was “um, no.” Here’s how to make a blue shadow in real life.

Brian Lawler (author of the Official Adobe Print Publishing Guide) has posted an interesting idea for using Photoshop’s Count tool.

From the It’s A Small World, But I Wouldn’t Want to Print It Dept: How about a digital archive that contains all the peer-reviewed mathematical literature ever published? That’s about 100 million pages. No sweat, say the folks behind the Digital Mathematics Library Project.

Print and prepress guru par excellence Steve Werner is giving a eSeminar on InDesign Best Prepress Practices on July 1. If you miss it, you can catch the recorded version.

Thomas Silkjær has posted a nice set of highly-organized pre-defined styles for InDesign, which you can modify to suit your own needs.

ShapeCollage is a nifty, free tool for making collages out of your photos. You can arrange any number of pictures into any shape.

Popular Science has a prototype color-picking pen, that mimics Photoshop’s eyedropper. It’s supposed to scan the color of any real life object and then recreate that color with ink. Too bad the desinger needs a remedial lesson in the physics of subtractive color and CMYK. Still, it’s a mind-blowing concept.

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.

Publicious Links: The Father’s Day Edition

So Father’s Day is less than a week away and you’ve procrastinated once again. What are you going to get the old man? Fear not, Publicious is here to help. We’ve got you covered. Provided your dad is a publishing technology geek, who loves free online goodies. Otherwise, you’re on your own.

Let’s face it, he probably doesn’t want a tie. Buuuut, if he’s a CMYK-D.A.D., he might fancy a halftone tie.

You can come up with your own tie patterns if you read my latest post on InDesign Secrets, Pattern Swatches.

How about a portrait of pop? All the cool kids (and most of the geeks) have jumped on the “drawing with type” bandwagon. If you can’t spare the time to pick just the right glyphs for dad’s eyebrows, use the iPhone type drawing app.

If dad’s a type maven, head straight to CreativePro, as Pariah Burke’s done an amazing job tracking down 103 free fonts.

You can’t make dad rich, but you can get him a rich internet application. Adobe’s announced that the AIR framework has been downloaded 200 million times by people installing RIAs. So AIR Nation would be the 6th most populous on Earth, after China, India, the US, Indonesia, and Facebook. TechCrunch has the details and links to some of their favorites.

Dad’s hair thinning? Forget Rogaine. Get a new hair brush. Not the plastic kind, the Photoshop kind. So you can draw Rapunzellesque locks on Pop.

If dad’s out of shape? No problem, download hundreds of custom shapes for Photoshop.

Speaking of Photoshop, take a minute and read the story of Photoshop’s two dads, the brothers Knoll. You must click this link, if only to see the very first Photoshop icon. I am making a t-shirt with that if it’s the last thing I do. I bet a lot of kids won’t even know what it is.

If you were ever a fan of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, you must remember the ones where Calvin showed his dad charts and graphs indicating the steeply declining popularity of dad’s rules. Well, Calvin was no dummy. He automated the making of those charts, with XML data fed into Illustrator.

Finish off Father’s Day with a treat. Cut dad a thick slice of pie a la mode–blending mode, that is. Digitalartform has one of the most thoughtful (and useful) pieces on blending modes I’ve ever read.