Auckland InDesign User Group – March Meeting

Mar 16, 2015
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The next meeting of the Auckland InDesign User Group is scheduled for March 31st.

Don’t forget to invite your friends, work colleagues, business associates to join our group and come along — everyone is welcome and it’s free, whether your are a beginner or an expert. Just make sure you’re registered to be eligible for our giveaways.

If you have problems logging in or registering, just email us with your full name, email address and contact details. Then we can contact the magic elves at Adobe to sort it out and make sure you are registered for the meeting. Alternatively, you can register on the night.

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Date, time, and location
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Tuesday, March 31 2015
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Media Design School
92 Albert Street
Auckland, CBD

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Agenda
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6:00pm  Doors Open and Registration
6.30pm  Welcome and Sponsors
6.40pm  A review of Indesign CC February update
InDesign Fixed Layout Animation tricks
A look at IDUG membership benefits
Online learning resources (feel free to share your favourite website)
8.00pm Prizes, Messages and Industry Announcements
8.15pm  Time for pizza, drinks and catchup

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Please register to attend
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InDesign CC

Auckland InDesign User Group – The best of

Nov 24, 2014
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The next meeting of the Auckland InDesign User Group is scheduled for December 2nd.

This final meeting for 2014 is tinged with a bit of sadness as Heather and Marcus say farewell as reps and welcome a new rep. As our final swan song we will be doing a “best of”.

Follow the signs to the lifts, go up to the next level to the entrance of the Level 5 Lecture Theatre and Event Space.

Don’t forget to invite your friends, work colleagues, business associates to join our group and come along – everyone is welcome and it’s free, whether your are a beginner or an expert. Just make sure you’re registered to be eligible for our giveaways.

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Date, time, and location
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Tuesday, December 2 2014
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Media Design School
92 Albert Street
Auckland, CBD

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Agenda
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6:00pm – Doors Open and Registration
6.30pm – Welcome and Sponsors
6.45pm – Best of Heather
7.15pm – Best of Marcus
7.45pm – IDUG 2015 – the next generation intro
8.00pm – Prizes, Messages and Industry Announcements
8.15pm – Time for pizza, drinks and catchup

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Please register to attend
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InDesign CC

iPhone 6 – our first 2 days

Oct 1, 2014
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You have heard of the iPhone 6 right? Yes, Apple’s new iPhone revision sports a new set of dimensions. Bigger. While Android users have had a large selection of small, medium, large & extra-large phones for the last few years – Apple users have been stuck with the small.

The new iPhone 6 sports a 4.7″ screen (up from 4″ iPhone 5) and the iPhone 6 plus has a 5.5″ screen.

iphones

We recently took delivery of iPhone 6 plus and have a few thoughts.

This thing is huge. If you thought the iPhone 5 was a big jump up from the iPhone 4 – then you have another thing coming. For the average user we suggest a good look at the iPhone 6 rather than the iPhone 6 plus. The iPhone 6 is a little larger than the iPhone 5 – but because it has lost its square edged design and is quite a bit thinner, it doesn’t feel too much bigger to use. You do get a lot more screen real estate. On the iPhone 6 plus you get an extra view similar to the iPad which gives you to use a split screen view when you turn the phone to landscape. For example, Mail shows the mailbox panel to the left and the message pane on the right. Far better than those silly little arrows at the top of the screen for message navigation.

There has been a lot of talk about the iPhone 6 plus bending – that seems like a very unlikely story to us. If you mistreat anything – it’ll break. Most of us take care of our stuff right?

It’s a great upgrade. If you are sporting an iPhone 4 or 5, then the iPhone 6 would be the best bet. If you envy the Samsung Galaxy Note – then the iPhone 6 plus will be for you. If you aren’t sure – go down to your nearest Spark shop and have a good look at the demo models before you place your order. For reference, check out the size chart. Note the 4″ iPhone 5 screen.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 9.58.33 am

Smartwatch. Must have?

Sep 23, 2014
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The Smartwatch era has arrived. Attempts have been made by companies like Samsung, but anyone who has one of those probably can’t remember where it is now. The original releases were bad. But that doesn’t mean we should write them off because of a couple of false starts.

Google threw their weight behind wearables by releasing a version of Android called Android Wear. This new operating system has been adopted by pretty much all major Android manufacturers. Even companies like Sony (who produced the Smartwatch 1 and Smartwatch 2 running their own OS) have switched to Android Wear for their Smartwatch 3. Motorola recently produced quite possibly THE standout Smartwatch for Android – the Moto 360 (sold out within a few hours). It looks like a watch rather than a small computer on your wrist – and with a standard strap size, you can do whatever you like with it style-wise. It too runs Android Wear and gives the wearer a suite of Motorola-designed watch faces (actually nice ones!) to choose from.

Moto-360

In my opinion, the first thing a Smartwatch needs to be is a watch. It needs to tell the time. Once you get behind the watch face you start to see what Smartwatches offer – a ‘portal’ to your phone. Notifications that arrive to your phone can be shown on your watch. This means that txt messages and Twitter notifications can be sent to your watch, but maybe not emails or Facebook notifications. It’s your choice. If you are in a meeting and your phone rings, you can manage the call on the phone by sending a quick “I’m in a meeting…” txt to the caller.

I wear a Sony Smartwatch 2 connected to my LG G3 phone daily. Over the past 6 months, I’ve found I’m not looking at my phone every 10 minutes. Big change. My watch passes on my notifications with far less effort on my part and interruption to others. My Sony Smartwatch 2 isn’t perfect (I don’t particularly like the hardware), but it has shown me how I would embrace a Smartwatch going forward (my Moto 360 will be here soon).

Enter Apple. The Apple Watch will be a great addition to the Smartwatch market. It gives a huge boost to the category and brings some new thinking to the interface. I’m sure it will still wow in true Apple style and quality of the build, but I prefer round watches (hence my excited anticipation of my Moto 360).

140909142343-apple-watch-620xa

The Smartwatch isn’t a must have for everyone, but for people who have notifications coming in from txt, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even email, it’s a way of handling the volume without spending the whole day with your face lit up by a phone display.

https://moto360.motorola.com/ Android only, purchased from eBay or local parallel importers
http://www.apple.com/watch/ Apple only, coming 2015
 

Power to the people and an ROI to be happy with…

Aug 19, 2014
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Over the years Apple have offered us varying desktop units providing us the horse-power for high intensity creatives that spend their days in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Since the release of the first iMac, Apple has split its models between pro and consumer users.

The ‘then’

End of 2009 saw Apple release the first 27″ 2.6Ghz i5 iMac at less than half the price of the then Mac Pro 2.26Ghz quad core. Whilst a lower spec than the Mac Pro at that time, the new 27″ performed well for under the then Creative Suite version 4 (remember those days!). Since then both the iMac and Mac Pro and our creative suite tools continued to advance.

What can we report is that over this time the actual return on investment (ROI) from our customers investment in either iMac or Mac Pro hardware for their studio, has performed equally.
• Those that invested in the Mac Pro higher performing CPU generally saw a 5-7 year ROI, with the Mac Pro continuing to perform as the Creative Suite tools and operating systems advanced
• The iMacs generally reached a 3 year ROI before hitting a performance wall with the advancing Adobe software tools and the Apple OS.

The ‘now’

With the release of Creative Cloud for teams (CCT), and the continuing ‘free’ upgrades we now receive as part of our CCT subscription, we are already seeing even greater performance requirements of our creative Apple Macs – a need for high performing graphics cards, multi-core CPUs and RAM is escalating at a rapid rate. So how does this effect the ROI we receive from our new studio Mac hardware?

Unfortunately, the current 2014 27″ iMac performance is only a little further on from that of the 2012 model. Conversely, the release of the new Mac Pro has seen performance gains leap ahead significantly from its predecessor, and significantly greater than the current iMac. So, with our creative tools now requiring greater performing hardware the ROI we receive will vary significantly.

Today’s iMac will debatably manage under the current Adobe Creative Cloud version (we are already close to it’s limitations). Sure, we can increase our RAM to 32GB, but the graphics cards and CPUs can not be upgraded. With the ongoing releases under CCT subscription, the performance of the iMac will continue to dwindle and will unlikely provide us the 3 year ROI once experienced when running Adobe CS versions 4, 5 or 6. The new Mac Pro however has more than enough scope to deliver the same 5-7 year ROI experienced from its predecessor, assuming the hardware continues to live on during this time.

The ‘crystal ball’

In short, a 27″ 3.4Ghz iMac with 16GB RAM will start its life on the studio desk already maxed out under the new Adobe Creative Cloud. If we’re lucky we may achieve a 12-18 month ROI at best before the dwindling performance will see it heading for the window. At a cost of approx $2,800 this would equate to around $1,800-$2,800 per annum.

In comparison the new Mac Pro combined with the new Apple Thunderbolt display costs approx $6,100 and with a 5-7 year ROI equates to around $900-$1,200 per annum and during this time will be providing creatives significantly more power to explore and create using the new features of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Thats twice the ROI when compared with the iMac.

Spark Tips – Liam’s top 7

Aug 11, 2014
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Since our winter release of Spark has just been rolled out, we’ve extracted Liam’s top 7 Spark tips to take advantage of some of the new great features (and some of the old):

Tip 1: 
Created a purchase by mistake? Easily delete the purchase by removing the supplier within the Purchase Items tab – click Update and you’ll see a Delete Purchase button appear.

Tip 2:
Befriend opening multiple tabs in Spark. Command + click (or right mouse click and select Open in New Tab) to open multiple areas of Spark at once. Liam’s suggestion: you might want to have the following open all at once making navigation between them quick and easy:
• Spark Home page (for a broad view of all your stuff)
• Workflow -> Work in Progress and click Go (for a view of all WIP jobs on the go)
•  Time Entry (to add your time and materials entries onto jobs during the day).
As long as the tabs are different areas of Spark you can open as many as you like!

Tip 3:
Want to bring across on your purchase order something that was quoted as materials or option/s on your proposal? Easy. When in the Purchase Items tab of a purchase, click the reveal arrow to see items on your proposal and toggle them across using the arrows.

Tip 4:
Ah, the Home page. Set that you’d like to display items on your home page under User Preferences and it will show you a set number of:
• Pending proposals created by you
• Jobs assigned to you
• Not Started and In Progress tasks allocated to you
• To Do job changes allocated to you
• Your timesheet snapshot for the past 7 days

Another tip: use the reveal/hide arrows for each section if you wish and the section heading names will take you to the appropriate search in Spark with the full item list.

Tip 5:
Speaking of User Preferences, if you tend to always be looking for ‘your’ jobs, proposals, tasks etc in Spark, then set Use My Name in Searches to Yes.

Tip 6:
Did you know you can set up custom pricing for a customer? Go to the Custom Pricing tab of a customer record and add products you want to set alternative pricing for. 

Tip 7:
Use the Notes field of a customer/supplier record to add in extra detail and you can then search this field. Very handy if you are looking for a list of photographers that specialise in portrait work, or specific equipment that your printer suppliers have.

Remember, your Spark monthly fee covers all the training, advice and phone/email support as you like so ask away….

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Auckland InDesign User Group – Everything new is new again!

Jun 13, 2014
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The next meeting of the Auckland InDesign User Group is scheduled for June 24th.

Adobe is holding a live online event with special announcements about what is next in Creative Cloud on June 18.

So you’ll want to be at our next meeting on Tuesday 24 June where we will cover some of the announcements in greater detail. It’s so big we think we might have to do a second installment in August. So you definitely do not want to miss this one.

Don’t forget to invite your friends, work colleagues, business associates to join our group and come along – everyone is welcome and it’s free, whether your are a beginner or an expert. Just make sure you’re registered to be eligible for our giveaways.

If you are have problems logging in or registering, just email us with your full name, email address and contact details. Then we can contact the magic elves at Adobe to sort it out and make sure you are registered for the meeting. Alternatively, you can register on the night.

==========================
Date, time, and location
==========================

Tuesday, June 24 2014
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Media Design School
92 Albert Street
Auckland, CBD

=========================
Agenda
=========================

6:00pm – Doors Open & Registration
6.30pm – Welcome and Sponsors
6.40pm – The New Creative Cloud
8.00pm – Prizes, Messages and Industry Announcements
8.15pm – Time for pizza, drinks and catchup

==========================
Please register to attend
==========================

 

InDesign CC

Spark v5.11.0 coming soon

Jun 12, 2014
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We are excited to announce the forthcoming winter release of our popular job management software.

Spark v5.11.0 is to be released July/August 2014, this update will feature –

• Home page improvements
• Default preferences for a customer
• Improvements to the job’s Tasks tab
• Quicker bulk closing of projects
• Additional Group by filter for Workflow -> Tasks
And more…Check out further details in the release notes here.

We’ll be in touch over the next few weeks with Spark administrators to book in preview sessions.

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High speed internet has just got so much cheaper

May 14, 2014
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With the government funded rollout of ultra fast broadband (UFB) high speed internet has never been so cheap. 15 years ago an ADSL internet connection was $800 to install, and cost $600 per month for 600MB. The new UFB government subsidised initiative offers customers speeds of more than 50 times that of what we achieved with NZ’s first ADSL rollout, and for prices that are a fraction of what we have been paying even in the last few years.

The team at Digital Arena have been managing a number of UFB connections for our customers, with a one-off installation costing somewhere between $0 and $99 (depending upon the provider). The monthly plans now start from around $150 for lightning speeds of 100MB down and 50MB up, and with 200GB of data to burn.

While there are varying rates from some of the better providers, and some providers you just wouldn’t want to use, there are also varying data plans. Some telcos limiting data to 200GB per month so when you blow out you bleed through the nose and are persuaded to sign up for corporate grade fibre.

Cough, splutter, you would not want to do that.

Others however may charge a little more for the plan, yet allow you to increase your plan up to 500GB per month. So beware of your options when signing up for a 2 year deal…you will need room to move. History tells us that 15 years ago we managed on 600mb. Now we’re worried about exceeding 200GB (200,000MB).

Keen to make the shift to ultra fast broadband? We can help you. Call John or Eric on +64 9 477 0396.

128GB, no really.

May 2, 2014
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A few years ago when you needed storage for your Digital Camera – you dropped into your local store and picked up a 32MB compact flash card, or, if you were splashing out, maybe a 64MB card! That’s megabytes.

Times have changed. Here is a micro SD card purchased for my smartphone.

128GB. That’s gigabytes.

Madness, but progress!

photo

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