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January 22, 2009

Adobe Acrobat.com, much more than just PDF

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I have noticed that many of my readers, and people I meet during my travels around the globe, still are not aware of the full potential of Acrobat.com
Admittedly, the name could lead to think that it has to do with PDF alone, and since we all have Acrobat on our machines and because we can create PDFs out of most applications in Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4), why bother go check it out?
Well, here is why.

Acrobat.com is part of our Creative Pro Online Services (which also include Kuler and the Adobe Community Help) and is a set of services that you can use to create and share documents, communicate in real time, and simplify working with others, dramatically speeding up your production workflows. And, as with the other online services, all you need is your Adobe ID to log in. It’s free! Give it a shot.

Basically this is what you can do on Acrobat.com:

  • Share. Send files to others for easy access while you maintain control. By sending URLs instead of e-mailing large attachments, you and your team can access files from any computer in the office or on the road. More info.

  • My Files. Store your files online for easy access from anywhere. Acrobat.com provides an intuitive interface to help you easily organize all the files you share online, including Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, and images. More info.

  • Create PDF. Convert up to five files to Adobe PDF online. Acrobat.com provides an online PDF converter so you can easily create PDF documents from your existing files in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and many other applications. It's as easy as selecting your file and clicking Create PDF. More info.

  • Adobe Buzzword®. Write and collaborate on documents anywhere, anytime. More info.

  • Share My Screen/Adobe ConnectNow. Meet live over the web and share your screen with anyone. Adobe ConnectNow is a great way to share ideas, discuss details, and complete work together — all online. Reduce travel costs, save time, and increase productivity with a web conferencing solution that is easy to access and simple to use. You can use any platform and any browser with no special downloads necessary to join the meeting — all you need is free and ubiquitous Adobe® Flash® Player. More info.

Share your screen from within any Creative Suite 4 component (including Acrobat 9). Say you are working on a layout in InDesign and want quick feedback from your client, all you have to do is choose File > Share My Screen. Guests can then see your desktop on their screens as you work. You can exchange ideas using the chat pod, add a live video and/or audio feed, or use the Whiteboard feature to enable guests to comment on content. You can even temporarily hand over total control of your screen to a guest to collaborate on a file and make changes live.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, well then, a moving picture is worth a thousand pictures.

In Acrobat 9, you can even initiate a shared review, and anyone with Acrobat 9 or Reader 9 (if the function has been enabled) can participate. You can host your review on Acrobat.com rather than setting up your own review server, open your review to people both inside and outside your firewall, and enable reviewers to submit their comments back to you through Acrobat.com.

Acrobat.com can truly change the way you work, speeding up many processes that would otherwise take much more time. Give it a try and let me know how it went; as far as I am concerned, I use these services all the time in my design work and whenever I need to share ideas with others. I often wonder how I managed before…

Here a couple of useful links:

  • The buttons you see at the top of this post are from the Acrobat.com Desktop Application, which you can choose to install when installing CS4. You can also download Acrobat.com for your desktop from here.

  • The Acrobat.com page on Adobe.com.

  • The Acrobat.com blog, which is full of useful information and cool tips and tricks.

  • The Acrobat.com Forum at Adobe.com.

  • Buzzword news on Twitter and on Facebook. And, since we are at it, you too can follow me on Twitter if you so wish!

  • At the time of writing, Acrobat.com is still in beta, so there may be some issues as you try to work with it. To remain informed about down times or issues make sure to visit and bookmark this page. It's an RSS feed, so you may even want to subscribe to it.

Italian CS4 Tour, coming up! Siete pronti?

Just a quick note to all of our friends in Italy. The CS4 Tour is about to start and will hit the following cities: Bologna (Jan 27), Padova (Jan 29), Firenze (Feb 03), Torino (Feb 05), and Bari (Feb 11).
Adobe CS4 On The Road is an event that was developed to both present the new Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4), and give in depth insight as to how it fits in various workflows which include Design, Video, Web, and Photography. Even if your feel you are specialized just in one of those areas of focus, you will get the information you need for your job, but you will also be able to discover how your work can seamlessly integrate with the other workflows too, migrating your content from one media to the other, and hence see how you can widen your horizon and your business potential.
It's not to late to register, and you can find more information here.

Italian? Read on...

Adobe CS4 On The Road è un evento nato per presentare la nuovissima Adobe CS4, approfondendo in modo pratico e concreto come questa nuova Creative Suite può evolvere con grande efficienza il workflow nei settori del design, del video, del web e della fotografia. Se sei specializzato in una singola area, troverai pane per i tuoi denti, ma al tempo stesso potrai anche scoprire come integrare tutti i flussi di lavoro, facendo migrare il tuo lavoro da un media all'altro, e quindi scoprire come allargare i tuoi orizzonti e le tue potenzialità di business.
Il tour passa da Bologna (27/01), Padova (29/01), Firenze (03/02), Torino (05/02), e Bari (11/02).
Non è troppo tardi per registrarti, e puoi trovare maggiore informazione qui.

January 20, 2009

Caffè Fibonacci Links and a Fan Club!

Here are the links to all the Caffè Fibonacci episodes ever produced together with my good friend and colleague Tim Cole.

But before I start I'd like to officially thank our Fan Club from the Santa Rosa Junior College; your support is truly appreciated! Thank you from both Tim and I.

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Episode 1: Enjoy a buffet table of miscellaneous productivity enhancing tips and tricks using tight integration between basic ingredients such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.

Episode 2: Cook with Metadata and get productive with layered Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files in InDesign; find out how this can help you find ingredients faster and automate many tedious concoctions.

Episode 3: Learn about Tim's own favorite recipes using nested styles in Adobe InDesign, a truly life changing productivity ingredient that will transform the way you cook together layouts forever.

Episode 4: Follow Tim and Rufus as they cook up an interactive PDF using InDesign CS3, complete with navigation buttons and an embedded movie, previously edited in Photoshop CS3 Extended.

Episode 5: An episode dedicated to Adobe Illustrator CS3. Rufus shows off the power of the Appearance Panel, many productivity enhancing features, and presents an exclusive interview with Russell Viers.

Episode 6: Tim and Rufus explore the transparency features in InDesign and Illustrator CS3, as well as the process of transparency flattening that takes place when files with transparent objects are flattened into PostScript or PDF.

Episode 7: The Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) is a major leap forward from imaging layouts that contain transparency. Learn why both design and production can benefit greatly from migrating to an APPE workflow.

Episode 8: The Suite Nouveau - Join Tim and Rufus as they toast to teh CS Nouveau, and introduce some cool new features of Adobe InDesign and Illustrator CS4.

Episode 9: The printer is served - Tim and Rufus show you how you can make sure to avoid printing problems and preview output in Adobe Illustrator CS4, InDesign CS4, and Acrobat 9 Professional.

Episode 10: Explore Adobe's Nouveau Share collaborative workflow leveraging the tools on Acrobat.com. Tim and Rufus show you ways to leverage Adobe Buzzword, Screen Share, and more.

Episode 11: Flash in the Pan. Follow Tim and Rufus as they create Rich Interactive Documents with Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4)

Episode 12: Tim and Rufus' Secret Ingredients. A bowlful of tips and tricks for Photoshop CS4 Extended, and InDesign CS4. - Coming to Adobe TV soon!

And of course our Public Service Announcement about how the "Stupid PDF Syndrome" is an affliction that affects millions of PDF files each and every day. But be aware that you can help stop the transparencide!

Stay tuned for a brand new show of mine coming to Adobe TV in Spring 2009. In the meantime, be sure to check out new episodes from my fellow evangelist colleagues: Taming the Web with Greg Rewis, Flash Downunder with Paul Burnett, and Short and Suite with Jason Levine and Karl Soulé.

January 15, 2009

Switzerland InDesign User Group Meeting going Cross-Media

This was an incredibly well packaged InDesign User Group Meeting attended by well over 50 InDesign users from the Zürich area, and some from further away. Interestingly the meeting was titled "Adobe Creative Suite 4", and this is a clear signal that in the view of the organizers, InDesign cannot be shown on just its own anymore, and is rapidly becoming the hub for putting together content created in other applications such as Illustrator and Photoshop, which will be sent off to print, and online. It’s all about the workflow and the publishing opportunities.

I was asked to do an introduction speech and this was a good opportunity for me to hold a talk about "Design and Publishing Trends" and about how Adobe addresses those (thanks to Michael Ninness for his invaluable insight).

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We find ourselves in an ecosystem where we can say with confidence that print not dead at all, print is alive and well... but print only is clearly decreasing. There are various factors that influence this trend:

- Consumers are asking for a mix of media choices in their exploration of content (print, online, video).
- They tend to go Online for up to the minute information; and tend to view printed versions for extensive content analysis (which may require more time to digest).
- In the publishing world there is a definite growth of targeted, personalized, and regional content that allows for a whole new set of business models.

In this changing landscape we can also witness a variety of models surfacing:

- Complementary Cross-Media: traditional publishers are evolving into multi-channel media companies that frequently repurpose their content for multiple websites, publications, and even video.
- Print plus Digital: there are an increasing number of services such as Coverleaf that give print subscribers access to the digital versions of the publications they have a subscription to. Users there can search, save, and even share pages with others.
- Web to Print: other publishers have chosen to let their readers create content, submit it online and then use it for their printed publication. An example of this is Freshman 15 (basically a MySpace page), which then leverages user-generated content for the print version of Seventeen magazine.
- User generated content: JPG Magazine asks its viewers/readers to submit photos about any given subject, other users can then cast their vote and the winning images are published both online and in the printed version. In this case users influence the editorial content of the magazine, which I find a terribly interesting concept.
- Self-publishing: services such as CreateSpace or MagCloud offer their users the possibility to upload their content, stage it online and order it in a printed format.
- Sharing: issuu.com is the YouTube for print and allows users to turn uploaded documents into fully-fledged online publications. Let's also not forget about our own "Share", an acrobat.com service, where users can share their files with the world.
- Rich Interactive Documents: digital publications combine the beauty of print with the interactivity of the web. Good examples of this are FLYP , or T (The New York Times Style Magazine) are specifically designed to perform well on the Web.

These new business models, and document types, make it clear that users, their choices and their content has transformed the relationship between professional content creators/generators and the audience/readers.

Adobe offers the tools necessary for creating engaging content for the Print media, for the Web, for Video, and Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Beyond the tools, Adobe also provides services and software clients that enable content creators to publish to any media (Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Adobe Media Player, AIR, just to reference a few). Not to mention our server technologies such as InDesign Server which can be used to power a variety of custom publishing solutions, the Flash Media Server, or ColdFusion. Go Cross-Media!

Anyhow, coming back to the InDesign User Group Meeting… one significant aspect was that CS4 as a publishing solution was covered, including Illustrator, and Photoshop, which are an essential part in any editorial workflow, for any media.
Adobe InDesign Server was also brilliantly demonstrated by Daniel Sterchi (Ulrich-Media).
Then there was a Tips and Tricks showdown, where I showed the Gravity Effect for Text on a Path in InDesign, which finally works again, to finish with the lucky draw.
Thanks to Haeme Ulrich, Michel Mayerle, Daniel Sterchi, Urs Gamper, and Martin Spaar for organizing the event and thanks to Light & Byte AG for providing the location.

Click here for more information about InDesign User Groups.

January 14, 2009

InDesign Disappearing Act on Leopard: Resolved

The issue where InDesign CS3/CS4 can either not be hidden or cannot be unhidden using the Cmd-H keyboard shortcut on Leopard has finally been resolved!
The Apple OS X 10.5.6 update (released in December) fixes this issue.
For more information about what this is all about, you can look at this TechNote: InDesign fails to respond to show or hide commands or disappears while its process continues (Mac OS X 10.5-10.5.5).
If you haven't already done so, run your "Software Updater"; it's a hefty 377MB download, but hey, it also improves the performance and reliability of Chess. ;-)

January 3, 2009

Kuler Patterns

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I just stumbled upon this very cool Flash application that leverages the RSS feeds out of Kuler. The web application is written in ActionScript3 and has also been ported to an AIR application (Kulair) that can be downloaded from Dimitri and Nikos' blog.
Here's a Screen Shot of the AIR application. With Kulair you can browse through Kuler themes or search the Kuler database, and then create patterns in a variety of styles (Stripes, Confetti, Mosaic, etc...) to then save those to your desktop as PNGs.
ku_50pxWtext.pngI am a strong believer in the Kuler community and concept and I am confident that we will see more and more applications such as this one pop up on the grid. If you want more information on Kuler as a technology you can start here and move to the Developer Connection here. Also, on the Kuler Services Samples page there is a growing number of interesting examples of what has been created with the Kuler API (Application Programming Interface).
Remember that Kuler is accessible from your favorite Creative Suite 4 software. Explore, search, and create new color themes right where you work with the Kuler panels built into Adobe Illustrator® CS4, Photoshop® CS4, InDesign® CS4, Fireworks® CS4, and Flash® CS4 Professional software.
Join the community and enjoy a world in color!