Adobe InDesign CS4 Oddity

Adobe InDesignCS4 AboutBox

As far as I am aware, Gary Cosimini and Mike Zahorik are still employed by Adobe.

Whereas I am no longer an employee (shareholder, yes)

Strange honour to be in the credits. If anyone from Microsoft management is looking: no, I am not moonlighting for Adobe.

This might just get me enthralled to do some real-world stuff with scripting and InDesign.

To Adobe InDesign team: thanks.

Warping Text using Illustrator CS3

Strangely, the most hit page during the most recent week has been my “how-to” warp text with Adobe Illustrator 10.

Adobe, in Illustrator 11, 12 and 13 (aka CS, CS2 and CS3) have dramatically simplified the process of warping text:

Firstly, you have some text in a Text Frame:


Whilst the frame is selected, there is a new button on the Toolbar:


If you select “with warp”, a new dialog box appears:


By clicking the “Preview” button, off you go!

On Location

Panorama: Gold Coast, Sunset

The above is the sunset-view from my room. To the left is the hinterland, and to the right is the beach itself.

On Location, at the Gold Coast preparing for a busy, educational week at Microsoft TechEd. Being my first TechEd, anything could and probably will happen. I do know I will leave more educated than I arrive.


Paul Hester signed snare

Whilst I watched the SBS TV series on the making of the Crowded House album, Woodface, there were much revels going on around me. It seemed to be a beer bash-come-stag party. So I turned up the TV with Neil Finn hopefully calming the din. Neil gets the impact of his music. The mercurial Finn brothers.

Up at 9am this morning thanks to a fire alarm. I could smell the smoke, but thought it was someone smoking on a non-smoking floor.  By the time I got my important items (pair of pants on, room key, wallet, camera, phone – in that order) ready to stroll out — the firemen were looking around for the smoking culprit. No one seemed ultra alarmed, so stayed put.

Today, it’s about planning. To quote Uncle Mike: “Piss Poor Planning Precedes Poor Performance”. Checking the camera equipment comes first.

Having installed the new Adobe Production Premium Suite, I tried out OnLocation. And this piece of technology Adobe purchased rocks. It essentially turns your Firewire/Laptop into a hard disk recorder and monitoring station. No more capturing slowly in post-production. Straight into Premiere, encode and you’re outta there.

Tomorrow it starts: danah boyd in Brisbane.

Let’s just Blame Windows.

Adobe Premiere and Photoshop are a critical part of the application set I use daily to produce videos and online content. Therefore, I (actually Microsoft) owns an Adobe Production Premium to edit and create all my

Some months ago, I installed a beta of Adobe Soundbooth CS3. And a beta of Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. In retrospect, probably this was the root cause of my headache.

Having installed my new Production Premium on my Vista laptop; Setup.exe brings up a notice that SoundBooth CS3 could not be installed as I had previously used a Beta. OK, using the Adobe supplied WinCS3Clean script (written in Python, BTW), I de-installed everything and attempted to install a fresh.

No go. None of the applications that make up the Suite would install. “Components Failed to Install”

Reading the installer help support files suggests using msconfig.exe to restart without startup applications; no go. Restart in safe mode (F8 at startup) and install. No go. Move the installer DVDs (4x) onto the hard drive and install from this image. No go.

This time, it is my usual practise has been to “blame the OS” (note: even the install notes for Creative Suite CS3 on MacOS X runs to 23 individual points!) . Launch the Setup.exe as Administrator. No go. Run WinCS3Clean as Administrator, and use the Windows Install Clean Up. No go. Log into the Microsoft network just in case there is some weird Group Policy thing on my account. No go. 

Finally, I stumble across this on the Adobe support site: “License has Expired” . Right; my serial number has already been recorded and the apps cannot be installed again. Whilst not the exact error I was seeing, it seemed to be where I was ultimately at as the next step.

It worked.

What the? I notice that there are a couple of steps prior to removing this file. Re-installing onto another PC “as a test” and most probably re-installing your whole OS . If I hadn’t removed this cache file, I may have resorted to a complete OS re-install step.

The problem ultimately was Adobe’s draconian and flawed install process. Not the OS. I want my 24 hours of lost productivity back, please.

If I had reinstalled the OS, yes the problem would have been fixed. But it’s like opening an almond nut with a H2 Hummer going at 100. It will surely solve the problem; but lesser force and better information earlier can open the nut, too. And save lots of time and a barrell or two of oil.

Oh, and as a part of my near scorch the earth clean up, I de-installed Acrobat 8 Professional. Having not used Professional for anything apart from reading PDFs in the last 6 months, I am not going to re-install it.  Using the .xps format printing out stuff I need to keep is great.

How does someone who doesn’t have a day to install software navigate this? How does someone who hasn’t been installing Windows and Adobe applications for 10+ years get through this?

Generating PDF via OpenXML, PowerShell…

Colleague in crime, and fellow Aussie (well, at least he’s naturalised now), Dave Glover has a post that crosses some old territories of mine.

Using Powershell, .Net, OpenXML and some code that I barely understand because it’s not Python; he’s been able to generate 60 to 70 documents per second.

Linking it here as it intersects the Adobe / Microsoft world.

AUReMIX07 Silverlight Video


Watch the video here of Frank Arrigo and Monique Eagles here. Yes, you will need to install Silverlight.

This is my first experiment with Silverlight and the Microsoft Expression set of tools. Using the inbuilt players in Media Encoder saved many days/hours of hand coding; yet I am sure there is more in there that will tickle out over coming weeks.

NOTE: Silverlight 1.1 is alpha-release!

Workflow (all on Vista Ultimate):

  • Edited footage in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0
  • Export Sequence from Premiere Pro using Adobe Media Encoder 960×720 WMV9/WMA9, very light compression.
  • Import into Microsoft Expression Media Encoder (May preview)
  • Export footage as VC-1 Web Server High Speed (using a normal web server). This setting is 640×480. Obviously, I could compress this more.
  • Edit the Default.html to correctly reference EmePlayer.js (note: this got me for an hour. Linux web servers are case-sensitive, and the Default.html points to emeplayer.js. 404! Bug reported)
  • FTP files to directory onto (could have used Expression Web, but I was debugging the problem with upper/lower case file naming above)

Thoughts? Comments?  I only have Silverlight 1.1 alpha installed. I’ve tested in Windows IE/FireFox and MacOS X 10.4 Safari/Firefox. The Mac’s audio might be out-of-sync. Again, this is reported.


On Butterflies, Aliens and Mountains

nz July 119

InDesign CS3 has a pretty neat Easter Egg: a good friend and InDesign Evangelist, Tim Cole, details the inner details of this easter egg.

The allusion to InDesign 1.0 through CS2 “Butterfly” motif, and the mountains to InDesign’s previous code names themes (K2, Annapurna, Caribiner).

The alien is related to QuarkXpress’ alien that appeared when a certain key combination is used to delete items on the page.

Thanks Adobe InDesign engineers for teaching us that humour is OK in the workplace; and reminding us being funny is subversive.

Technorati Tags:

Internal Culture Clash

Big mergers are the way of the IT industry. Small guys get bigger, and yet are swallowed by the larger fish. People make lots of money, and drive their Ferraris around the twin coasts of the US. Then it goes around again.

Mergers of two companies, such as Macromedia and Adobe, from the outside seem a “joining of likes”. A marriage made in heaven. The perception that the companies were very alike is external only.  I doubt since the acquisition that Adobe executives sleep better at night.

We are seeing the internal cultural difference exposed externally: the smart auntie Adobe of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator’s fame and friendly attitude being smashed by the boys-club, leather booted Macromedia cowboys.

This is probably one major reason why I am no longer at Adobe. Forgetting who your customers are has to be the first big strategy of big companies aiming to be smaller. As a customer of Adobe, and with many friends who still work there – I would be saddened to see this strategy working. [edit: I would be, not am]

I am at Microsoft as they recognise that forgetting your customer is a sin that must never be committed.

So, as an Adobe user (daily), shareholder: tone it down, talk to customers and don’t forget customer base.

Nick standing outside Adobe Systems, San Jose.  April 2002