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DesignGeek #70

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March 25, 2008 - 1:00am

My New Column on

The editor of, 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.

more >

iPhone Simulator for Web Designers

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 >

Light Beams Brushes for Photoshop

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

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

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

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 >

A Fair(y) Use Tale

If I take a screenshot of your program or your web site and include it in a DesignGeek story (assuming I get around to doing an HTML version of this thing), without getting your permission first, can you sue me for copyright infringement?

Why, yes you can. People can sue for anything. But would you win, is the real question.

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The Grim Truth of Textbook Publishing?

Many of my clients are textbook publishers, designers or compositors; so I thought I knew a little bit about the field. But when I read this article (reprinted from Edutopia magazine) written by someone with deep experience in the industry, I could hardly believe my eyes. As a former public school teacher (way back in a previous life), it was one of the most depressing things I've ever read.

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X-Scope for Designers

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 >