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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Archive for January, 2007

    Let’s Help Apple Out

    Thursday, January 11th, 2007

    With the recent announcement of iPhone, Apple has added yet another product in its long line of “i” gadgets. There is no question the iMac, iTunes and iPod have revolutionized the world as we knew it and they are hoping to do the same with their version of the cell phone, the iPhone.
    I fear, however, that Apple is running out of ideas for more “i” products, and I think it’s up to us, the clever and consuming public, to create a comprehensive list of new gadget proposals.
    I’ll start.

    iCurl: Picture this…you’re curling your hair while listening to Best of Twisted Sister on the built in MP3 player… the iron is hot… a call comes in. The music fades out… the iron cools… you answer the call. After hanging up… We’re Not Going to Take It fades back in at eardrum blowing volume… the iron heats up… you look marvelous.
    I would assume this product idea wouldn’t be limited to just curling irons, as not everyone uses one. I’m sure it would be easy to deploy an entire line of “i” personal hygiene products like iDry, iBrush (for both teeth and hair) and some sort of entertainment center/toilet paper holder called iWipe. The latter product could even alert you that the toilet roll is almost out via text messaging so you’re not caught in one of those embarrassing “can you bring me some toilet paper” moments while at a friend’s house.

    iDrive: Oh, yes, Apple could easily compete with Detroit in the automotive market. Of course, you’re not going to see Cupertino pumping out Hummers or other 20-cylinder, gas-gulping behemoths. On the contrary. In keeping with the “i” theme, their cars would be personal transportation pods for one person to get around town in. Of course you can expect a place for your iPod to drop right in for your listening pleasure while on the road. But you can also expect other goodies like built-in GPS, WIFI and cup holders.
    Just program in where you want to go and let the car do the rest. Lay your head back and enjoy The Carpenters on your morning drive. One nice touch is the Mood Activated Exterior Paint which will change color depending on how you are feeling. Gives coworkers the heads up if you are in a bad mood that morning. Can also be helpful to those you share the road with, as well as people crossing the street. It’s always good to know when the driver of that car is on the verge of Road Rage.

    These ought to get you started. I’m working on another idea based on a colostomy bag, but it’s not ready to share, yet.
    So now it’s your turn. Submit your “i” ideas and we, as a group, will help Apple stay on it’s road to success. I’m sure Steve Jobs will be giddy with excitement after he sees these.

    InDesign Templates

    Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

    I get a lot of requests for InDesign templates.
    Illustrator has them now as well as other programs, but what about InDesign?
    Now, I’m not much of a template guy. Generally I start with a blank page and put my own ideas on it. But there are times when it would be nice to have at least some of the project done for me.
    InDesign doesn’t ship with templates, but there are ways to get some, even for free, if you need.
    If you happen to have converted to InDesign from either PageMaker 7 or PageMaker 6.5 Plus, you have an entire library of templates that can be opened in InDesign and edited at will.
    If you haven’t thrown them away already, go find your old PM install disks and drag them over to your computer.
    There aren’t thumbnails of them, but you can open them in InDesign and resave so a thumbnail can be created for future use (CS2 only).
    There are templates for business cards, ads, presentation folders, newsletters, etc. You can also choose between A4 and Letter size.
    If you don’t have PageMaker lying around, or you don’t like what it offers, do a simple internet search for InDesign Templates and you’ll find truckloads of listings…a lot of which are free.
    I can’t vouch for the quality, but it might be a good place to start if you’re a beginner.
    Remember, however, that using Templates doesn’t excuse you from knowing the program in depth. There is a difference between a template that simply puts text and graphic frames down and you fill in the blanks and a template that relies on the full power of InDesign.
    If the template you download is using Object Styles, Nested Styles, Tints, Master Pages based on Master Pages, Auto Page Numbers and more, you would be better off having a strong knowledge of these features before getting too far into it. Otherwise the document is going to feel like it has a life of its own and you don’t know why it is behaving the way it is.
    When I build templates for projects, I like to incorporate as much as I can into it to make my life as easy as possible…and it’s all about me.
    So just be aware…a template isn’t a replacement for an ability to build a document. It is merely a shortcut to get you there.
    And the quality of the template is only as good as the builder or their intent for it when it was built.