other software

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Light Beams Brushes for Photoshop

March 25, 2008 - 1:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
Every single day someone, somewhere, posts a new free set of custom brushes for Photoshop. And then e-mails me about it, hoping I'll write about it in DesignGeek. (Why do they seek promotion of a free product? Besides just getting the word out, probably because their site has Google Ads, so increased traffic = potentially more AdSense revenue for the site owner. Completely understandable.)

I seldom have time to check out the links they send me, let alone write them up. But this brush set I came across on my own, and it's really fun!

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Parallels Success Story

March 25, 2008 - 1:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
Like a lot of design studios, we're cross-platform, though our Macs outnumber the PCs. As I trade up from older G4s and G5s for Intel Macs, I would love to sell off the Windows boxes too, and migrate the contents of their hard drives to virtual disks running inside OS X via Parallels. The dream is to have fewer, more powerful and flexible computers, each workstation able to run OS X and Windows XP or Vista at the same time.

I'd put the extra money into sleek new flat-panel screens, at least 24" each.

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Reader Feedback: A Better Way to Ensure PDF Comments Print

March 25, 2008 - 1:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
In the last issue of DesignGeek, I described a way to ensure that any comments you add to a PDF appear on the printout, even if the person you sent the PDF to chooses "Document" (Instead of "Document and Markups") in Acrobat or Reader's Print dialog box. My way required you to "refry" the PDF by printing it to the Adobe PDF virtual printer.more >

Follow My Bloglines

March 25, 2008 - 1:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
Speaking of blogs … About three years ago, I was like a lot of casual blog readers. I had a couple of them bookmarked, and I'd visit them once in a while. But I paid little attention to the RSS Feed link (that orange icon) in their sidebars, since I really didn't want to subscribe to any more content. I have enough incoming content to read, thank you very much.more >

Degunkifying Word Files

September 17, 2007 - 1:00am ||| 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 - 1:00am ||| 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 - 2:43pm ||| 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 - 5:00pm ||| 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 - 1:00am ||| 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 - 2:00am ||| 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 >