other software

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X-Scope for Designers

March 25, 2008 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
Designing web sites and interactive projects requires a lot of precision measuring. Most authoring programs provide the tools you need for this, but the tools are unavailable when you're testing the final result in a browser or in a running Flash video. If you've never designed a site that looked different in a browser than it did in Dreamweaver or GoLive, you haven't designed enough sites.

I used to rely on a freeware utility called Free Ruler (OS X-only) to help me measure things "live":more >

HyperCard(ness) is Alive and Well

March 25, 2008 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
Anyone here remember Dark Castle? Cosmic Osmo? Inigo Gets Out? These were ground-breaking, best-selling Mac games in the late eighties and early nineties, all artwork done by MacPaint virtuosos in black and white, and all created with HyperCard, Apple's intuitive "programming" language that used stacks of cards as the key concept.

Learn more about the creativity of these early artists in this free web-based book, itself purposely Hypercard-looking:

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My New Column on CreativePro.com

March 25, 2008 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
The editor of CreativePro.com, a web portal for the graphic design industry, is a long-time DesignGeek subscriber and fan. She has occasionally reprinted stories from DesignGeek on their web site. (Always after asking permission first, and suggesting a generous fee. So of course I'm a fan right back!)

Now, though, she's convinced me to author new content just for their site in the form of a monthly column. "HerGeekness Says:" debuted on March 3, along with the launch of their new web site design.

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iPhone Simulator for Web Designers

March 25, 2008 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
In a recent issue of the weekly e-zine, "Creative Techs QuickTips" (more on this below), author Craig Swanson described a way web designers and site owners could proof their sites as they'd appear and function when viewed on the Apple iPhone, without needing to actually use the iPhone itself.

As Craig said, it's important to do this because a) "After only eight months, iPhones now account for a remarkable 71% of all US Mobile Browser web traffic;" and b) designing for the iPhone requires "much more than simply designing for a smaller screen size.&more >

Degunkifying Word Files

September 17, 2007 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

I think messy Word files have some sort of cosmic connection with ragweed. Over the past few weeks I've received an inordinate number of e-mails from people (half of whom I don't know and just found my site on Google) pleading for help with Word documents that misbehave when imported into InDesign or QuarkXPress.

And over the same period I've had to keep a bottle of Claritin and Windex on my desk because my hay fever is acting up and it's hard to read my laptop monitor with sneeze droplets all over it.

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Add Columns of Numbers in ID/QXP

July 27, 2007 - 2:00am ||| 2 Comments | Add new

The other day I was laying out a data-heavy table in InDesign. The bottom row was supposed to contain sum totals of the numbers in each column, but I didn't have those figures. All I had was the client's Microsoft Word file containing the original columnar data, and no sums there either.

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Removing Hyperlinks from Word Files

May 30, 2007 - 3:43pm ||| 0 Comments | Add new

One last quickie to round out this issue, then I can send it off.

You know how when you import Word files into InDesign or QuarkXPress, you sometimes get unwanted hyperlinks? Ugly underlined things colored a garish RGB blue? That's because Word is set by default to convert email addresses and URLs into live links, and that's its built-in Character Style for them.

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The Freebies Issue!

November 28, 2006 - 6:00pm ||| 0 Comments | Add new

In the seasonal spirit of giving, I thought it would be fun to share a selection of my favorite freebies on the Internet. Some of these are rare finds that I've guarded as my own aces in the hole; grudgingly e-mailing their URLs only to trusted friends or desperate clients. Others are pretty well known, I thought, but have come to learn they're still mysteries to the general hard-working designer and so are in need of more publicity.

In my debut list, you won't find free clip art or stock photography sources, free font libraries or template sites. Of course these exist, but there's a bazillion of them, and most designers know of at least one or two. Maybe a future issue will be devoted to these "free content" web sites.

Instead, the freebies below are immensely useful *services* … the kind where you think, there HAS to be a catch … how could they offer this for free?more >

More "Telling" Interview Questions from Readers

September 27, 2006 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

In the last issue of DesignGeek (#56), I wrote about a design studio owner friend of mine who used "telling" questions during interviews as a spot check for quality designers.

For example, in the middle of the interview, my friend Joe would sometimes point at one of the chartreuse walls in the studio and ask the applicant, "What would be the CMYK mix for that color, do you think?"

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Use Flickr for Off-Site Image Archiving

March 14, 2006 - 3:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Another thing I learned while researching Adobe Bridge is that you can drag and drop images from Bridge right to the free Uploadr tool for Flickr. (Not only that, but any keywords that you added to images in Bridge get converted to Flickr tags!)


Flickr, for the unitiated, is a free online photo sharing service used by a lot of bloggers but definitely not limited to that group. After opening up a free account (if you already have a Yahoo! account, you're halfway there — Yahoo! now owns Flickr) you upload your images to the Flickr web site, usually via their on-line form that allows you to upload up to five images at once. Or, you can download a free Uploadr utility for Mac OS X or Windows XP and drag/drop piles of images from the Finder or Explorer (or Bridge!) for immediate uploading to your online account.more >