Archive for October, 2005

October 21, 2005

Adobe Help Center Hacks #1: Changing the font

I’ve got a couple things queued up for a hacks series on AHC, but I’d originally decided to hold off on them for a while. There has been some questions on the user to user forums, so I’m gonna kick off this thing.

Here is how to change the appearance of the help in Adobe Help Center. Doing so will void your warranty and if you call support they won’t know what do with you. So, do this at your own risk. If you mess it up (without backing up), you’ll need to reload your help content or reinstall your Adobe products.

We’re going to start by going deep into where help is installed on your system.

On the PC you can drill down into
\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Help Center\AdobeHelpData\Cache\
on the mac
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/AdobeHelpData/Cache/
on whichever disk you installed help center on

In this folder you’ll see folders for each product that you’ve installed. I’m going to use GoLive as an example.
Change directories into
(depending on if you are on a mac or PC)
These folders will be different for each product and language.

Depending on how long you’ve been using AHC, you may see a lot of html files in here, you can ignore them. You should also see a file “help_content.css.”

If you know anything about doing HTML development, that should be all you need to know. It’s the CSS file we use when we display help pages to you. Editing this file will change how GoLive’s help (in this case) will be displayed.

Before you do anything, copy this file somewhere else as a backup in case something goes wrong.

If you don’t know much about CSS, you can try using GoLive’s CSS editing, but if that scares you, you might want to let this one pass…

Now, you are looking at the CSS file. If you go to the CSS for the body tag:
body { font-size: 9pt; line-height: 12pt; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; margin: 0; padding: 23pt }
This “font-family:” setting is what you need to change.
I changed mine to:
body { font-size: 8.5pt; line-height: 12pt; font-family: Times New Roman; margin: 0; padding: 12pt }
but you can change it to any font on your system.

If you do reload your help content, this file will get overwritten and you’ll lose your changes…

3:49 PM Permalink
October 18, 2005

Adobe and the long tail

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the DIY movement and its current nickname, “The Long Tail.” The long tail describes a movement where through electronic publishing and distribution small scale content creators can find customers and support themselves. Wired had a nice article about this last year.

As it relates to this venue, I’ve been wondering what Adobe can do to help independent content producers (or artists in non-marketing speak) monetize their work. I think that it is pretty safe to say that our tools are behind a lot of the digital content that independants are creating. I’m not talking about creating a marketplace or something like that. I’m talking about hooking the photoshop wiz up with the on-demand t-shirt printing, selling and mailing company. I’m talking about hooking up the video artist with the on-demand DVD burning, selling and mailing company.

Some of this stuff would be very simple to do. How hard would it be for Zazzle or Cafe Press to write a Photoshop or InDesign plug-in so you could output straight to their sites and preview on a t-shirt?

I’m being a bit deliberately vaugue on this because I’m interested in hearing what our customers think about this. Are you doing something like this and is there something that we could do to help out?

2:30 PM Permalink
October 11, 2005

Creating a disaster file

I’ve been thinking lately about creating a secure, but accessible, digital store for my family’s important data.

I currently do all the sensible things: frequent backups, keeping backups in multiple locations, etc… but I was wondering what would happen if we were on vacation and my wallet got stolen.

There have been a lot of articles about this since the Katrina and Rita disasters. A common suggestion is to use a flash drive with a security mechanism. You could carry this drive around with you always. I thought that this was a good plan, but I was concerned that I would lose the flash drive or that it wouldn’t work on a linux PC running in an internet cafe somewhere.

Then I realized that there might be a better way.

Here is what I’m going to do:
I’m going to create a file with my account numbers, emergency contact info and anything else I might need to have if Mt Ranier blows or my wallet gets stolen in Prague. Then, I’ll encrypt and password protect it using PDF Security features. Rather than carrying it around with me, I can stash it on a secure non-linked place on my web server or in my internet mail account and be able to grab it from anywhere there is an internet connection onto any platform or device that supports PDF 5.0 (of which there are zillions).

This actually seems like the best plan, I’m surprised I didn’t think of it earlier.

2:35 PM Permalink
October 7, 2005

Adobe’s first podcast!

I’m a big fan of podcasts. I’ve been listening to them since there were only a handful. One of the things that I find difficult though is that many of the people new to audio recording don’t understand how to make their podcasts sound better. So I decided to do a little podcast showing you how to use Audition to make your podcasts sound better. So here is the podcast. You can listen to it while refering to the screenshots below. I’m also enclosing a little Audition 1.5 script file that I used to clean up parts of my podcast. You should tweak this script so that it sounds better for your own recordings.

[download podcast] [download script file]

here are the screenshots:
This is my original recording.

Here is after the initial edit.

After the next edit

After the normalization step.

The compression settings

After the compression step

Next step

Parametric EQ settings

Post EQ

Hiss eliminator

The Final waveform!

So, I hope you liked it. There are a couple things I’d change. Using my laptop microphone really made my Ss sound sibilant. I tried to compensate by using Audition’s frequency analyzer to figure out the frequency and the graphic EQ to cut it a bit, but it still sounds sibilant in a few places.

I’d be really interested to see what anyone reading this likes to use for a similar situation. Add a comment about your techniques. You’ll notice that my script is actually different from what I described. In the script, I compress, remove hiss, EQ and then normalize.

7:05 PM Permalink