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.