In response to some of the discussion of the About InDesign easter-egg on the utterly indispensable InDesign Secrets web site, here’s some technical information and some reminders about the nature of reality:
The purpose of this InDesign CS3 easter-egg is to commemorate the passing of the InDesign butterfly icon in favor of the periodic table style minimalism of the CS3 product line. We didn’t want to let the butterfly era pass without comment, and thought it worth commemorating in an informal, tongue-in-cheek way.
Second, there are no complex shortcuts that trigger events or effects. Cmd/ctrl+option/alt+click on the top of a mountain doesn’t make either a yeti or a Starbuck’s appear. Clicking on a butterfly pins it. Pinning several butterflies triggers the alien. Option/alt+click on a butterfly (pinned or unpinned) or an alien “kills” it (see the further explanation below).
It is also important to note that no actual butterflies or aliens were/are injured in the development and/or use of this easter-egg. These are digital representations of butterflies and aliens (and alien spacecraft), not actual butterflies or aliens (or alien spacecraft). Therefore any concerns expressed about cruelty to insects (or aliens), cultural predispositions to violence, etc., are indications that those expressing them are conflating digital and non-digital realities, and need to get more of a life beyond the boundaries of their computer screens.
Here are my responses to some of the comments on InDesign Secrets:
Argh! Alien invasion! Poor butterflies! Isn’t there a law against that sort of thing?
Or was that a law against wasting valuable time playing with InDesign easter eggs?
No. Fortunately easter-egg usage is, as yet, unregulated by state and federal agencies. Check with your own HR department for any applicable corporate policies.
How mean! Not funny at all. Poor butterflies … symbols of colors, diversity, freedom and creativity — now nailed down and helpless …
Well, you’re right about the symbolism…that’s why the butterfly was chosen as the original symbol for InDesign.
But if you’re really worried about the well-being of your digital butterflies, you’ll find that not only can you release your pinned butterflies by clicking on them again, you’ll also see that closing and opening the easter-egg again liberates them all, and you can let them fly free on your display for hours on end. In fact, you’ll be comforted to know that even when the easter-egg window is closed, they’re still fluttering in a free and self-actualizing way inside your display…you just can’t see them. Seriously…even in a flat panel.
The only thing that “kills” these digital beauties is the alien… what, you haven’t seen the alien yet?
That’s not correct. Option/alt+clicking also “kills” a butterfly (pinned or unpinned)…but they’re not really dead (as restarting the easter-egg demonstrates). They’re acting. We were actually turning butterflies away from this gig, because they all wanted a shot at doing the "best" death flutter. It actually got so competitive that some feelings got hurt.
What is it with text publishing and butterflies ? Even WordPerfect back in the early 1990’s used a butterfly.
Couldn’t tell you. All I know is that for whatever reason, it came down to a butterfly or a deluxe burrito, and we ran with the butterfly.
Wow, this Easter Egg has deep meanings.
No. It doesn’t (just in case readers miss Sandee’s sarcasm). The easter-egg does, however, function as kind of an ink blot that reveals the inner depths (and sometimes turmoil) of those that interpret it. ;^)