Monday, December 31, 2007

Before The New Year Enters

A few more hours and we’ll be entering 2008. And just like all other New Years, we won’t be able to tell what this year will bring. There’s uncertainty in every New Year that comes. Well for one, our New Year’s resolutions are certain.

Frankly, I’ve had so many New Year’s resolutions I didn’t carry out (imagine, so many New Year’s resolutions). Then again, they were just subliminal resolutions since I never really celebrate New Year events. The advantage of having a New Year’s resolution is the vision and mission of accomplishing a promise. It helps us pursue a goal, making the coming year a certain year of productivity. Just hope laziness and procrastination doesn’t get in the way of our goals which it usually does in my case.

So for a start, before the New Year enters, here’s my New Year’s resolution…

There’s so much to change in me. I’m unfortunately hard-headed, hot-headed, and lazy to mention a few. These traits have been great hindrances to my progress for the past 29 years. This year will be different. I need to rid myself of these negative behaviors. This is my New Year’s resolution, to be a good person this year. Shallow, but it’s better than none.

Approximately 18 hours before New Year’s Eve. It’s best I get started with my New Year’s resolution. Okay, so where do I start?

P.S. Finally, another (and, for this year, the last) entry after many months.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Malls of Makati Business District*

Yesterday, July 21, 2007.

10:35 am. – I dropped off at Landmark Makati and started searching for Greenbelt 1 where I thought Powerbooks Greenbelt branch is located. When I got to Greenbelt 1, the security guard told me that Powerbooks is actually located at Greenbelt 4. After a searing walk at the shaded passageways that link the four Greenbelts, I finally found the store. A not too attractive depot with delivery boxes exhibiting at there showrooms, Powerbooks Greenbelt is not quite the reader’s paradise like Powerbooks Megamall. Feeling hungry, I decided to eat at a not-so-nearby KFC restaurant. It seemed to me that a few, good and cheap eating places are hard to find here in Makati.

11:40 nn – Returning to Powerbooks, I asked customer service about the special treat that Transit had ready for its readers. Sadly, the service rep said she doesn’t know anything about such. Disappointed, I just took the liberty of taking pictures of the book displays and the half finished Hogwarts Great Hall.

12:25 pm – Landmark is not any better than Powerbooks Greenbelt. While scouring around for some good finds, I never managed to find myself through the perfumery section. Landmark is small. Small enough for the management not to place any signboard telling what section you are at now. For those who know Landmark that would be easy. But for some newbie like me, it was like feeling lost in a crowd. Well, not actually lost. I knew Landmark some years back when my mother used to take me with her helping her carry food that she sells for the store attendants in Glorietta and Greenbelt. But I was only a kid then and was not very interested in any section of a mall. Things have changed and Landmark changed a bit. The very familiar section is the supermarket at the basement. After buying some items there and drinking a dalandan Fruit Magic drink, I arranged to go home. But it was not to be.

1:10 – On my way out I saw Glorietta 1 and feeling nostalgic, decided to watch a movie in one of the cinemas and compare it with SM cinemas. As I entered Glorietta, the familiarity so hit me that I remembered the very corridors that I used to walk on. But I was after the cinemas this time and not food delivery. Glorietta, like Greenbelt has four divisions, making it Gloriettas 1 to 4 respectively and obviously. I noticed the resemblance of Glorietta with Market! Market! mall, also located in Makati. They have this round, center aisle where all passageways merge. More minutes of searching and I found the Ayala mall cinemas. Just as I expected, Ayala cinemas were not as good as SM cinemas. Airconditioning was not good, seats were small (my movement was very limited), and the place was small (I actually bumped the lady in charge of the seats, it was stark darkness in there).


4:15 pm – Vacancy was a nice movie. From 1 to 10, 10 being the best, I give it a 5.

I cannot blame any management due to the bad observations I had with some of the malls in Makati. Reason is that these malls are old as compared to the younger malls like SM. I even passed SM Makati knowing that I already have an idea of what’s inside. Maybe these old malls have something good to offer, and that I will try to find out.

One more thing, my cell phone clock is 20 minutes advance. I like it that way I guess...

*(this is a cross-over blog, please read The Release of Deathly Hallows)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

After shopping for groceries at Robinson’s Manila, I decided to watch Harry Potter and to tell you, I’m quite an enthusiast with the works of J.K. Rowling. The movie was spectacular. But, like what my brother said, there was too much talk. The “action” parts were at the near end of the story where most of the magical battles occurred. Anyway, I believe the “talks” were necessary in order for the mystery to be absorbed by the audience.

For me, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix rates 7 out of 10 for being such an excellent movie. I’ll be waiting for the last of the seven books, the Deathly Hallows, to be filmed and I will surely watch it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Weeping Willow

“The Weeping Willow tree, Salix Babylonica, is a rapid growing yard or landscaping tree. When mature it exhibits graceful wide spreading branches. The Weeping Willow has pendulous weeping branches, a short trunk, and has a broad rounded crown. This deciduous tree has leaves that are thin and narrow, sometimes with whitened or silky undersides. It also is used in low moist areas like creek banks or areas that are very moist.

It is one of the first trees to leaf out in the spring and one of the last to drop leaves in the fall. The foliage is a shimmering light green color in summer and turns yellow in the fall. The Weeping Willow trees are mentioned many times in literature and poetry from the time of Shakespeare. The usual reference is to shimmering leaves. It is graceful, grows fast, and adaptable.”

I felt like weeping a little about a minute ago. But just when the word “weeping” crossed my mind, I wondered what the phrase “weeping willow” really meant. I surfed the net to find an answer and whala... one of the most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen unfolded before my very eyes. The monitor seemed to look like a picture postcard because of this photograph.

As depression turn to fascination, I wondered to myself when I’ll be able to catch a real glimpse of such a tree, and perhaps take home a souvenir photo of me beside such beauty. Now this is one attractive “weeper” I’d say.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Longest Month

Missed plans, anger management, excessive leaves, incentives schemes, new friendster blog, facial cleansers, and an unlucky time for an increase. This month of June was not just a month of brides and grooms, not just of Independence and of Father’s Day celebration and the start of school. This month has also become the month of cursed traffics and worthless roadworks, of new textmates and new friends, of “Transformers” and “Next.”

It was not a busy month, but it was exhausting, saddening and frightening. It was a time wherein I don’t know what I was doing and I don’t know where I was going. Even the page layout applications have shown there downs. Framemaker 7.2 has exhibited a bug in creating black spot color. It was actually creating a CMYK color instead of a spot color. Acrobat seemed to have become a stranger to me when it comes to converting color PDFs to grayscale using Pitstop and Quite-a-Box plug-in. Pitstop wasn’t able to convert embedded colored images to grayscale, which Quite-a-Box was able to do. That activity caused us an additional 6 hours for color manipulation which was very unnecessary.

I hope the coming month will be better.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Plan Ahead, Make It Happen

Many people plan for many things whether short or long-term. I myself plan a lot. My long-term goal is to become a professional in the field of publishing, and even though some would say that “publishing is like a casino,” I still believe that it is good business and if it is indeed a gambling game well “so is everything else.” (Read the May 23, 2007 edition of the free newspaper Transit on page 4 “The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller”).

As for my short-term goals, I plan to break it on a weekly and monthly target. Daily goals become volatile and unachievable in my lifestyle. As some of the people that know me can tell, I have a low-level of discipline on almost everything except on the things I like and want. Laziness is indeed one of the great sins. And to elude such sin, I need to keep moving…

Weekly:
Go to the gym
Drive our car

Well, I guess that’s about it for my weekly plans (what a sloth!)

Monthly:
Go to the gym
Drive our car

Now that’s my monthly plan (hey, isn’t that my weekly plan?)

Seriously, this is just a typical example of what I really plan to do these coming few weeks and months. It’s not a long list of goals but it is mine to keep cause the plans are really quite unstable. But I’d settle for a goal that involves these two for a while…

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Condemned

Just lately I’ve watched this film titled “The Condemned” starring Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones. I’m not really into wrestling or any form of violent sports. But the discipline that wrestlers have in order to be in shape astounds me, and Steve Austin is such an example.

As for the movie, I like it. In a rating of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), I give it a 6. It’s a nice film with values snipped in-between the violence. I wish to criticize the camera handling though. There were too many scenes (especially the adrenaline-pumping ones) wherein the camera seemed to be shaking violently and I can’t catch what was happening. It was like an earthquake is happening… all the time. In my opinion, the plot was good and the cast were great and I would recommend that you watch it just to see how man values life.

It’s a great film…

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Framemaker: Few Fantastics

I’ve read a feedback column in the March 2005 issue of Macworld magazine. I know the column is old as to be quoted in a weblog of 2007, but the statements were intense that it echoes through time (well, at least for the generation of publishing fanatics like me).

"InDesign group product manager Will Eisley needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror before he boasts about how Adobe values its customers. I’ve used Framemaker on the Mac almost every working day since 1991. It’s a fantastic application, and nothing else can touch it. In 2001, Adobe said it planned to support OS X in future releases of its flagship products. Fast-forward to 2004. Adobe says there’ll be no version of Framemaker for Mac OS X. What does Adobe suggest we do? Switch to Windows?"
— Paul Findon

Framemaker was the first application in which I was trained in Datagrafix, Inc. I’ve learned so much about the application and I can really say that it’s fantastic. Imagine opening an XML file in a page layout application then the application recognizes the headers, body content, images the likes only with the help of a DTD (document-type-definition). The only thing left for the compositor to do is apply the correct master pages and check if the Rules of Typography are not broken. Framemaker, for those who do not know, is an impressive cross-platform, page layout program that can utilize SGML and/or XML for layout automation. I was enthralled by the application that I even joined the frameusers.com community last 2006.

In 2005, Datagrafix relied heavily in the use of Framemaker on both Mac and PC. In the mid of 2006, our clients were migrating to InDesign. Fortunately, I got to know InDesign since version 1, but I wondered why our clients were migrating to another application when Framemaker is so excellent. Well, that’s when I read this web article… http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx/.2cd0cc9a (Adobe ceased the production of Framemaker for Macintosh in 2004).

In the aforementioned web article Adobe stated market conditions, wherein they say that majority of Frame users are on Windows and Sun Solaris platforms (so much for being cross-platformed). If what they say is true, then probably the users of Frame are quite few on all platforms that it caused them to sadly put down Framemaker for Macintosh.

Interestingly, Paul Findon seem to have organized a petition website in order to bring back Framemaker for Macintosh (http://www.fm4osx.org/). I could say that his task is so noble that Adobe should really listen to his and all Frame users’ calls. Time will tell if Adobe will listen, but Paul Findon’s call will reverberate through time along with the voices of the purely few fantastic users of Framemaker.

Framemaker is a very excellent application. And it has everything in it, perhaps even more, to make a name for itself in the publishing industry. Framemaker worked for me and I’m sure it will work for many layout artists. I hope Adobe brings back Framemaker for Macintosh.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Clashing Giants of Page Layout

Two well-known page layout programs, InDesign and QuarkXpress are on a neck-to-neck race in winning the admiration of page layout artists around the globe, and in winning the admiration of this compositor from Datagrafix, Inc.

Competition between QuarkXpress and InDesign during the 1990s was mostly dominated by Xpress. And it should since it was able to introduce nice features of layout automation (from third parties like KyTek: Autopage extension developer) that speeds up workflow. But that was during the 1990s and the first quarter of 2000. Now, InDesign is dominating the page layout scene.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against QuarkXpress. In fact, I’m an avid fan of this software since it’s the very first page-layout program that I’ve been able to use during my earliest publishing stint. InDesign 1.0 is a far cry from QuarkXpress at that time. Quarks’ laid-back attitude though marked its losing streak after the first quarter.

QuarkXpress is not a perfect page layout program. As the publishing industry’s needs changes, so should the applications that it employs. Adobe InDesign developers clairvoyantly knew that. So they enhanced InDesign in the Creative Suite (CS) version. The Suite not only re-introduced InDesign, it also demonstrated how efficiently InDesign integrates with Photoshop and Illustrator. Something that QuarkXpress lacks. (I seem to find the on-screen colors of images in QuarkXpress different in Photoshop, but that’s another story). The Suite improved the figure of InDesign in the market, alarming the laid-back QuarkXpress giant. In defense (thank God they’re not sleeping), Quark released QuarkXpress 7 which is good and has helped them once again leap into the scene.

Still, Adobe has one advantage over Quark. Adobe listens to its customers and with that, it releases InDesign CS3. (Please read Michael Murphy’s article: http://www.creativepro.com/story/review/25413.html?cprose=totw) Interestingly, this new version has the Cross-media Export feature that helps in some way produce an XHTML version of a page layout. In Michael Murphy’s article in creativepro.com, it is likely that InDesign is striving hard to create a Print-to-Web page layout program. I can’t wait to have a feel of the new InDesign CS3 and considering that I live in the Philippines, maybe it will be quite some time before it will be released here as of this writing.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Push-Button Publishing

Often I hear clients in our composition office mentioning about “Push-Button Publishing,” where in they say that you layout a page of a book or a journal by just a push of a button. I get quite a sense of ignorance every time I hear this.

As I begin this first eblog, I might as well bring up a certain fact that eblogging is a form of this so-called “Push-Button Publishing.” But when it comes to Print, it all becomes a different system. I actually believe that these clients are misled by what they hear from other people. They may not have an idea of what they are saying.

There is always a demarcation line between “Print Publishing” and “Web Publishing,” no matter how much we try to bridge the gap (say like the use of XML). Print involves hassles with paper and color while Web hassles include validations and “browser wars.” I cannot say that I am an expert on this subject but as far as my knowledge can tell, “Push-Button Publishing” is only evident on the Web.

The layout of a book, journal or a magazine involves a page layout program and accepted rules in typography and graphics. These rules are not simply embedded on any page layout program. Some misspelled words and grammatical errors are not easily identified by spelling and grammar checkers. Heck, even the Web needs proofreaders.

Can’t say that I am right when I say that Print and Web are two different worlds, but as of this time of writing, I believe that they are and “Push-Button Publishing” is only on one side of the fence.