Archive for June, 2004

Scott Kelby on Quark v. InDesign, February 2003

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2004 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Follow this link to a very engaging and witty editorial that Scott Kelby of MacDesign magazine wrote in February 2003. Then, a year and a half ago, Quark was still at version 5 and InDesign had just come out with version 2.0, or Round 2 as i had it in my blog entry about this titanic struggle.

Kelby is a very entertaining and witty writer. His latest, “Macintosh:The Naked Truth”, is a book I suggest very highly…but maybe not to PC fans. It’s unapologetic.

Anyway, I’ve prattled on enough…Now, to the main event:

Read Big Trouble in Page Layout Land by Scott Kelby, copyright MacDesign magazine, February 2003

Sidling Back Up To Catholicism

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2004 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Check out this blog post over at Pariah’s about comfort in Catholicism. I am, in fact, a confirmed Catholic who has gone apostate, having not attended Mass for years and years. Also, though I have a perfectly legal union with a perfectly lovely The Wife[tm] and we carry out our marriage as though it were a gift from God, it was done under a Unitarian minister – who believes in God just as much as I, my wife, and any Catholic does, but since it was done outside the Church, the Church does not necessarily acknowledge it.

This is important personally because of late I have felt a gentle call back to the Church of my birth and baptism. I’m sure the reason is a mix of several factors: the craving for spirituality, the need to feel greater than what I am, the nagging feeling that I may very well have a soul, the ongoing awareness that I am a very self-centered and selfish person and I feel that, at least indirectly, harms others.

There is also a bit of reaction; the Church has endured travail, care and criticism lately, much of it deserved. The priests’ treatment of children in the past (and the Church’s sheltering of men who should have been punished) is a spot on the collective soul of the Church that must be addressed. The Catholic Church must own up to its responsiblity in the matter and must change. But, inasmuch as the mission of the Church isn’t to abuse children, it deserves defense. I remain convinced that the Catholic Church is, by and large, composed of people who wish to make the world better and believe in God and Jesus Christ, just as sincerely and devoutly as members of any other Christian sect.

Perhaps the call I now feel is the desire to defend the faith of my baptism and add my own energy to the rebuilding that must happen.

I take a certain approach to religion that others may find baffling. I do not require proofs of Christ’s exisentence, I do not require that the Bible be a literal account of creation and natural history. I do not expect religion to recapitulate science. I feel that religion is about cosmic purpose whilst science is about cosmic order. Science has no remit to verify or prove the Bible, the existence of Adam and Eve, that there was a Christ and that he died on the cross. And Christian faiths who have those tenets confound me greatly.

I believe the proper word for what I am is fideist. It was introduced to me by Martin Gardner in one of his fantastic books about science and frauds but never defined, but the root, the Latin word fide, I believe means “faith”. I take the meaning of the word to denote an individual who holds that there are really some things that are really only reasonably accepted as faith.

I therefore do not need to travel to Glen Rose, Texas, anytiime soon. I do not feel that evolution is a dirty word, nor do I feel that it contravenes or blasphemes God in any way, shape or form. The picture of the Christian faith is itself evolving; as epochs pass God reveals more of his truth to us, as we earnestly seek to understand it and to mature as a species. In the same way, Science reveals more of the truth of natural history to us, as we mature as seeking beings striving to understand the Cosmos.

We neither know the whole story, either spiritually or scientifically. Some of us are courageous enough to be atheists, I, however, still crave the Creator. We, as a species, may grow beyond that. I don’t know if it will ever happen. It certainly won’t happen in my lifetime.

Scott Kelby on Quark v. InDesign, February 2003

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2004 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Follow this link to a very engaging and witty editorial that Scott Kelby of MacDesign magazine wrote in February 2003. Then, a year and a half ago, Quark was still at version 5 and InDesign had just come out with version 2.0, or Round 2 as i had it in my blog entry about this titanic struggle.

Kelby is a very entertaining and witty writer. His latest, “Macintosh:The Naked Truth”, is a book I suggest very highly…but maybe not to PC fans. It’s unapologetic.

Anyway, I’ve prattled on enough…Now, to the main event:

Read Big Trouble in Page Layout Land by Scott Kelby, copyright MacDesign magazine, February 2003

Columnists on the Sidebar

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2004 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Allow me to introduce my list of must-read columnists, the heading Columnists You Should Be Reading on the left there. No matter what else you do read, read these guys.

Ted Rall…there’s an obvious one.

Steve Duin (last name pronounced “Dean”) is a regular columnist for my hometown paper, The Oregonian. The O has had vast swings of quality over the last several years (remember, the Packwood story was broken in the pages of the Washington Post), but Steve keeps the paper worth the price of subscription. If you want a look into real Oregon heart and soul, his gentle yet strong observations on what goes on in My Hometown and about the area are a must.

Face it, people, he’s just smarter than a lot of us are.

Sidling Back Up To Catholicism

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2004 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Check out this blog post over at Pariah’s about comfort in Catholicism. I am, in fact, a confirmed Catholic who has gone apostate, having not attended Mass for years and years. Also, though I have a perfectly legal union with a perfectly lovely The Wife[tm] and we carry out our marriage as though it were a gift from God, it was done under a Unitarian minister – who believes in God just as much as I, my wife, and any Catholic does, but since it was done outside the Church, the Church does not necessarily acknowledge it.

This is important personally because of late I have felt a gentle call back to the Church of my birth and baptism. I’m sure the reason is a mix of several factors: the craving for spirituality, the need to feel greater than what I am, the nagging feeling that I may very well have a soul, the ongoing awareness that I am a very self-centered and selfish person and I feel that, at least indirectly, harms others.

There is also a bit of reaction; the Church has endured travail, care and criticism lately, much of it deserved. The priests’ treatment of children in the past (and the Church’s sheltering of men who should have been punished) is a spot on the collective soul of the Church that must be addressed. The Catholic Church must own up to its responsiblity in the matter and must change. But, inasmuch as the mission of the Church isn’t to abuse children, it deserves defense. I remain convinced that the Catholic Church is, by and large, composed of people who wish to make the world better and believe in God and Jesus Christ, just as sincerely and devoutly as members of any other Christian sect.

Perhaps the call I now feel is the desire to defend the faith of my baptism and add my own energy to the rebuilding that must happen.

I take a certain approach to religion that others may find baffling. I do not require proofs of Christ’s exisentence, I do not require that the Bible be a literal account of creation and natural history. I do not expect religion to recapitulate science. I feel that religion is about cosmic purpose whilst science is about cosmic order. Science has no remit to verify or prove the Bible, the existence of Adam and Eve, that there was a Christ and that he died on the cross. And Christian faiths who have those tenets confound me greatly.

I believe the proper word for what I am is fideist. It was introduced to me by Martin Gardner in one of his fantastic books about science and frauds but never defined, but the root, the Latin word fide, I believe means “faith”. I take the meaning of the word to denote an individual who holds that there are really some things that are really only reasonably accepted as faith.

I therefore do not need to travel to Glen Rose, Texas, anytiime soon. I do not feel that evolution is a dirty word, nor do I feel that it contravenes or blasphemes God in any way, shape or form. The picture of the Christian faith is itself evolving; as epochs pass God reveals more of his truth to us, as we earnestly seek to understand it and to mature as a species. In the same way, Science reveals more of the truth of natural history to us, as we mature as seeking beings striving to understand the Cosmos.

We neither know the whole story, either spiritually or scientifically. Some of us are courageous enough to be atheists, I, however, still crave the Creator. We, as a species, may grow beyond that. I don’t know if it will ever happen. It certainly won’t happen in my lifetime.

Columnists on the Sidebar

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2004 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Allow me to introduce my list of must-read columnists, the heading Columnists You Should Be Reading on the left there. No matter what else you do read, read these guys.

Ted Rall…there’s an obvious one.

Steve Duin (last name pronounced “Dean”) is a regular columnist for my hometown paper, The Oregonian. The O has had vast swings of quality over the last several years (remember, the Packwood story was broken in the pages of the Washington Post), but Steve keeps the paper worth the price of subscription. If you want a look into real Oregon heart and soul, his gentle yet strong observations on what goes on in My Hometown and about the area are a must.

Face it, people, he’s just smarter than a lot of us are.

Quark. InDesign. Fight!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2004 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Chances are, you read print media (it hasn’t entirely gone out of style. Succinctly, the way things get on those pages in the way that they get there is, in these digital days, handled by something called a page layout program. For the unitiated, think of a word processor, add a bunch of things that allow you to place and format graphics, organize your text into boxes for the purpose of arranging, and subtract the wp functions.

What you have won’t be a country mile from a page layout program, but it’ll get you going in that direction.

Remember when the Macintosh was new and people were all up into making thier own flyers and newsletters with it. Page layout programs were how many of them got it done (word processors were used, too, but thier output was…and still is…a lot less sophisticated). It was the difference between nicely formatting a typed sheet and cutting up pictures, colored shapes, and forcing that text into columns. That, and that intangible called design. But more on that later. Or maybe in another post.

Anyway, back during the early days of the Mac there happened a program called PageMaker. Created by Aldus Corporation, PageMaker, the Mac, and Apple’s new printer line ushered in the phenom we call Desk Top Publishing…mostly abbreveated DTP. PageMaker was the first big layout program, and it is still considered the pioneer.

But, coming up to the present day, we find that PageMaker being urged off into the sunset. Aldus got distracted and, during the 1990’s, a comer from Denver called Quark, Inc. issued a program called XPress. Usually referred to by users as “QuarkXPress” or merely “Quark”, it introduced fine, sophisticated typeography, much better than PageMaker offered. While Aldus navel gazed, Quark stole thier thunder. Evenutally, unable to survive while thier flagship fell off, Aldus went extinct, selling PageMaker to Adobe whilst Quark essentially took over the print world.

Adobe has long been renowned for its image manipulation software: Illustrator and the Godzilla of image editing, Photoshop. It never had a page layout prog. PageMaker filled a niche but had been developed to the hilt and wasn’t up to being pushed any further. In the publishing world, Quark become the professional tool, whilst PageMaker became the tool for amateur DTP’ers and offices. Moreover, Quark garnered the rep as the designers tool.

If we can stand another digression, I think the distinction between what is designer and what is not may be apropos. I may merely be a student at this time, but what an education I’ve had….anyway, think about what is meant by design. Design, to try to be succint about it, cares a lot about not only the whole but the where and the why and the how of the pieces. In something that is designed, everything you can see has had some thought to it. Very little-or nothing, if it’s done right-in something that’s designed is, in the end, the result of an accident. Not only does information have power, so does the way it’s presented…from the font chosen to the spacing between lines and characters to the spacing between paragraphs. It’s information as form and function. Different things have different powers to get the eye’s attention, and design uses it all to communicate.

The most basic distinction is that a typical user of a DTP application may be aware of certain formatting features, but if they want a big space between paragraphs, they’ll double-space, letting the computer dictate the space. A designer will tweak the space-before and space-after attributes with a fine sense of discrimination.

Quark handled such things with aplomb, so well, that PageMaker got relegated.

Move up to the present. Quark is ensconced and complacent. Macs, which have made thier may into most designer’s hearts, have gone to the next generation OS…Mac OS X, but it’s been three years since debut and Quark still hasn’t made XPress OS X native, forcing users to run it in what’s called the “Classic” mode…essentially a Mac OS 9 virtual machine. It has problems relating to hardware. Indeed, Quark seems to have gotten so unresponsive to users cares and concerns that most users are still using release 4 under OS 9, whilst QXP5 and OS X are available. Also, Quark has by this time gained a rep for downright disdain for its users, and it’s technical support becomes renowned for simple badness.

But Quark is everywhere. And that word of art, workflow has generated a whole network of support that is geared to handling Quark output. The only game in town for the pro.

Into this mien, Adobe introduces it’s new child. Christened InDesign, it arrives with hopes that it is the legendary “Quark killer”. Because familiarity breeds not only comfort but contempt, and spurred by it’s disdain for its users, Quark, despite being everywhere, is a certain sort of vulnerable.

InDesign, said to be spawned from Aldus’s-then Adobe’s-project to supercede PageMaker, in version 1, turned heads. But it came off as weak. However, its interface had a family resemblance to the other Adobe design apps and the Adobe quality was apparently in. Round 1 to Quark (still sitting fat and happy with release 4.11). Eyes were, however, on the newcomer. Greatness was expected.

Round 2. InDesign 2 released, Quark still on version 4. InDesign much improved; tighter integration with Illustrator and Photoshop; native OS X operation. Quark was still Quark. Price was turning heads, too: A combination of Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Acrobat…the Design Collection…sold for about $1K on the street. So did Quark…with no image geeking apps at all. InDesign understood Adobe output and could output PDFs. Not so in Quark. But…with a massive installed base and no obvious compelling feature set (and some things, like mixing spot colors with mixed inks that Quark users came to rely on, still not implemented), Quark bests InDesign at the bell. However, given Quark’s rep for slow change and its apparent distraction with publishing to the Web instead of solving existing problems and not coming up with an OS X native version, a big question mark emerges next to Quark’s publishing throne. Round 2 to Quark, but the champeen is bruised, just a bit. Heads are turned Adobe’s way, watching for what’s up next.

Round 3. Quark finally out of the gate with version 6, which is finally OS X native. But is it too little too late? Also added is the ability to produce PDFs (with the ‘Jaws’ engine), synchronized text (change text in one spot in your app, change it in all other places it appears that way), and the new project paradigm displacing the document paradigm. Looks good in OS X too. And multiple undos…what took ’em so long. But…the improvement seems weak. PDFs can be flawed. Synchronized text has limits. Multiple undos…don’t always. And the project paradigm is kinda cool and innovative, but is that really enough? Some reviews disappointed, hoping Quark was going to have a quantum leap and instead getting just Quark. Largely, the program hasn’t changed appreciably. But…Adobe comes out with…the Creative Suite. AdobeCS. Now, you don’t just buy one program (though you can if you want), you buy InDesign CS, Photoshop CS, Illustrator CS, and thier webdesigner GoLive as one unit, all together at the price that you buy one copy of Quark for. Acrobat is included. Now not only are the programs so tightly integrated you sometimes have to look at the icon at the top of the toolbox to remember where you are, but output from one of the image geekers will drag and drop into InDesign without having to save out of the image geekers. InDesign respects Photoshop transparency, meaning no irritating clipping paths (designers know why this is a Godlike thing…nondesigners, take my word for it, this rocks. Handles PDFs with ease…after all, it was Adobe who invented the format and set the standard. And an interface that speaks too Quark users, with a contextual palette that can behave like Quark’s measurements control palette.

Round 3? The judges are out on Round 3. They’re still deciding. What now seems clear is that Quark may now have to start playing catchup to Adobe. InDesign hasn’t killed Quark…not yet…but it has inflicted some wounds, and if the old champeen isn’t down for the count yet, it’s probably because of the Installed User Base of Doom.

But Adobe has more than turned heads this time. Publishers are jumping ship. And Quark is in the position that, as Pariah Burke has said, “if [Quark] 7 doesn’t achieve feature parity with InDesign, Quark is sunk.” Even with my small bit of exposure, I can’t help but agree.

The change is coming. The Portland Community College Graphic Design department has shifted to training InDesign from teaching Quark for many years. We watch for Quark’s answer with bated breath.

The next round will tell the tale.