AirPlay – more than music!

Jun 19, 2013
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Apple’s AirPlay technology is a wonder of modern technology. Most people know AirPlay as a way to stream music from an iPod or iPhone to speakers connected to an Airport. This would be a fairly standard setup providing hours of entertainment. Not only does AirPlay stream music, but it can also do the same for movies on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) to an AppleTV. Great for sharing those YouTube videos to a wider audience.

With OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac laptops have been able to “mirror” their desktops through an AppleTV connected to a projector or TV screen. This is a fantastic setup to have in your boardroom – finally free from cables, missing adaptors and messy setups.

Imagine: walk into the boardroom, turn on the TV, open your laptop, select “Boardroom AppleTV” from the AirPlay menu. Done. Your desktop is now on the big screen.

If you prefer to present from your iPad, then you can use AppleTV to mirror the iPad screen to your big screen in the boardroom also – rotate from portrait to landscape and your audience sees that too.

In most cases all you need to do is add an AppleTV to your boardroom setup (especially if you have a modern TV with a spare HDMI input). Projectors can be tricky, but with a little help from us, they can be configured in most cases. Talk to your DA account manager to see if this can work for you. It is a breath of fresh air for your boardroom.

 

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Auckland InDesign User Group – Cutting Edge with Adobe CC

May 28, 2013

The next meeting of the Auckland InDesign User Group is scheduled for June 18th.

Marcus will be full of news from his trip to the States. Hopefully we’ll be able to show you what’s new in Adobe Creative Cloud (it’s all very exciting), more tips and tricks, and more DPS. So make sure you come along to this meeting and that you’re registered to be eligible for more jolly good prizes that we have to give away.

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

Tuesday, June 18 2013
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Media Design School
Level 5, 92 Albert Street
Auckland, CBD

***NOTE NEW VENUE LOCATION***

We’re still at Media Design School but we now going to be in the awesome auditorium on level 5. So watch out for the signs!

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Agenda
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6:00pm – Doors open – some time to relax, get comfy and chat
6.30pm – Adobe Creative Cloud – what’s new
6.45pm – Tips and Tricks with Heather
7.15pm – Creating Adobe Edge Content for InDesign DPS with Marcus
8.00pm – Giveaways and Sponsor Messages
8.15pm – Time for pizza, drinks, networking

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Sponsors
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The Auckland InDesign User Group would like to thank the generous support of our major sponsors: Adobe, Digital Arena, Font Talent, InDesign Magazine and Media Design School.

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Please register to attend
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Adobe’s new direction

May 20, 2013
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Adobe Creative Cloud. This sparks a new beginning for Adobe as they move to a full subscription based software model. But there are a lot of reports and blogs out there which have put a negative spin on the idea and have also found a following of people who haven’t really considered all the facts. We thought it was time to lay the facts down and put some of these myths to rest.

Adobe CC is a continuation of Adobe Creative Cloud CS6 for those who have signed up previously. Nothing changes, you will just get CC when it is released to the Application Manager. For those who have a boxed product or paper license version of CS6 or earlier – then the update to CC means you will need to move to a Creative Cloud license. (Talk to your DA representative about Creative Cloud for Teams).

Let’s have a look at what Creative Cloud means:

• Adobe Creative Cloud gives you access to every Adobe software product for creative
• You pay an annualised fee (for teams) or a monthly fee – you can now budget for this
• Adobe give you new tools as part of your membership, and regular updates
• The software is installed on your computer – it is not in the cloud
• Your files are stored on your computer & servers – they are not in the cloud
• Adobe give you cloud storage if you wish to use it – its use is optional
• The software checks the membership every 30 days – but will run for up to 180 days offline if you have an annual subscription. We suspect you might want to check your email more often than that.
• Creative Cloud gives you access to tools beyond desktop applications
• You can publish infinite iPad apps from InDesign using Adobe DPS single – included in your CC
• You can create and maintain websites using Adobe Muse – and host 5 live sites – included in your CC. A studio with five CC users can host 25 websites and get analytical reporting to share with your customers.
• You can create and use HTML/CSS3 animation projects using Edge Animate (and the rest of the Edge toolset – including Edge Code and Reflow) – included in your CC
• In fact there are now 19 creative desktop applications, 14 online services to help you create and manage more stuff and 5 touch apps for your mobile devices, and growing…Check out Adobe CC Tools and Services.

Some of the perceived cons:

Of course there are situations where Adobe CC and the new annual subscription model may not be attractive – if print is your only market now and into the future then CC may be overkill, but when you look at the world and how quickly we are moving to online and mobile for our content, keeping abreast of creative technology means the previous Creative Suite software release of every 18 months just wasn’t fast enough.

Another misconception that can be found on many posts – the online talk about Adobe shutting down access to your software and files whenever they feel like it are far fetched and completely unrealistic. Would you shut down access to your customers because you felt like it? Adobe want you to use their tools, they keep making these tools, updating these tools so you can create – it makes no sense for them to randomly shut you out of their offer – ever. Best to take those comments with a huge serving of salt!

What do we think:

Why shouldn’t I just stick with the license I already own? We have all skipped CS versions in the past, and in many cases this would have even been our own recommendation – but now it is very very different. There’s no doubt about it, an upgrade to CC will increase your offer in the market and improve efficiency in your workflow. Adobe CC gives creative professionals all the tools they need for work now, and further tools for any work they wish to take on in the future. And unlike the previous boxed product software which eventually could not run on newer machines, you will always be up to date and sharing in the creative toolset that everyone uses.

“Since the 90’s people have been suggesting that print is dead or dying. Well more than 20 years on, print is far from dead. I think what we all meant to say was that print was not going to be the only medium for communication”

Apart from satisfying our creative inspirations and learning some cool new apps, there are some genuine reasons why businesses should be upgrading to CC. Since the 90’s people have been suggesting that print is dead or dying. Well more than 20 years on, print is far from dead. I think what we all meant to say was that print was not going to be the only medium for communication. Many a promotion or new product launch requires a combination of print, online and digital. If you’re a large agency you’ve probably got your own print, online and digital studio teams. The work is briefed in and split accordingly. However for most this is not the case. The market has plenty of companies specialising in each of these areas, and as projects are briefed in, the account manager outsources the material they can’t produce to someone that can. And while this is happening, your traditional print team are feeling like the dinosaurs…with a questionable future in what they love doing – being creative.

So thanks to Adobe and the new Creative Cloud we’re about to see some change. As mentioned above Adobe Muse is part of our new creative arsenal. An application that allows users with no coding ability to design, build and publish a website. In fact if you’re familiar with InDesign you’re probably going to learn how to use Muse quicker than a coder using a traditional CMS. Muse is built for those more familiar with Creative Suite. And if you’re needing some online animated banners Adobe Edge will complete the brief, again with no coding required and a library of effects that should suffice.

But wait there’s more! Using your well-honed InDesign skills you can now embed some animation, a few web links, some video and audio into your InDesign pages and export your folio file. With Adobe’s online DPS service you can then convert your pages into an interactive app for iPad ready for download via the Apple App Store. And once you’ve entered this domain there are just so many possibilities. In fact we recently helped Wallace Cotton create their first iPad app, with in-app purchasing linking from their website. For Anna Mantel, a traditional print designer, this was pretty new but after just a few hours training Anna was on her way. The first issue was so good, Anna already has a second one online. Download the Wallace Cotton app and see what else you can do with InDesign.

Check out what Muse and Edge can offer, get along to one of our June WTF sessions at DA. These sessions provide an overview to some of the capabilities inside. So if you’re a business owner, account manager or designer come along and see some of your new creative tools. Welcome the future.

 

 

Creative Cloud for teams

Apr 30, 2013
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Imagine if your team always had the best tools. Imagine if they could save time by seamlessly sharing files from any device. Well this is what Creative Cloud for teams (CCT) is all about.

The latest offering from Adobe looks at a membership service which gives your team access to the entire Adobe Creative Suite 6 desktop apps as well as Adobe Muse, Acrobat XI, Lightroom 4, Edge tools and services…you get the drift. Lots!

This brings a new way of thinking – you don’t have to foresee what you might move into using before buying – it’s all there for you to use when you are ready to use it. Subscription is also easier on the pocket and you always get new apps and feature updates as soon as they are released. Your team members are able to file share and with 100GB per seat you can also distribute by your different team member’s roles – for example John working in video production might get allocated 150GB and Joe in graphics might get allocated 30GB storage space. You can also add and reduce seats as your business fluctuates during the year.

Log into Creative Cloud to download the software apps for your desktop computer (Photoshop, Muse, Illustrator etc) and to use services such as Creative Cloud Files (for storing and organizing your files into the cloud where you can access them on different machines/devices), Business Catalyst (for hosting up to 5 websites) and Typekit (for accessing amazing fonts for your websites).

When your files are up in the cloud (you can simply drag and drop your files if you like!), you can send a link to your file if you wish for previewing – for example, if you want to send your InDesign file to someone who doesn’t have InDesign, send them a link and they can preview your InDesign file, turn pages, and easily see what typefaces and colours you’ve used in your file. Very handy.

Creative Cloud link view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to be aware of, for each CCT license you can have only two ‘activations’ i.e you can download the software apps onto two machines only – commonly this would be your workplace machine and perhaps your home machine. Don’t fret too much tho, it’s easy enough to deactivate one machine and activate another if you go on a spending spree and buy a new machine for home :).

All in all Creative Cloud is the way forward in our eyes. Lets us know your thoughts if you’re using it…

Pocket – how to manage your reading

Apr 22, 2013
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Sometimes there isn’t enough time to read everything that is sent to you. People email you links to articles which they say you “must read!” – but you can’t read them right now. Even with the best of intentions, you probably won’t read it. The main reason for this is because it falls off your radar.

Pocket has been around for a while. It was previously called Read it Later. Pocket is a system made up of a simple website, an iOS/Android app and some plug-ins for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. (Safari has a Reading list, but this works on all devices everywhere)

The concept is pretty simple. You create an account on http://www.getpocket.com and install the Pocket app on your iPad, iPhone and Android device. Next, add the browser plug-ins. These give you a simple one touch icon to your Safari, Chrome or Firefox browser which quickly adds the page you are currently looking at to Pocket.

Plug in

 

 

To look at your list of reading, open the Pocket app on your iPad, iPhone or Android device (or web browser) and read away. You can do this anywhere you get some spare time. Once you have read the article, click the “tick” icon and it comes off your reading list and goes into Archive so you can look it up later if you need to. There is a great little instructional video on the Pocket website.

Give Pocket a go – it really helps you with those websites which are a “read once” article. No need to make a bookmark in your browser – it keeps those clean. Oh, and it is free.

I want more speed!

Apr 16, 2013
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In the past the best way to speed up your computer was to add more RAM. Typically the motto was “you can never have too much RAM”. Lately that has changed. The rise of reasonably priced solid state drives (SSD) to replace the hard drive in your computer has meant that we can all get a major speed-up for our slightly older machines.

Why the speed boost?
Modern computer operating systems have a concept called virtual memory (VM). VM is used when you push your computer beyond the physical RAM limit and it starts to use your hard drive as extended memory. This isn’t good – accessing data from RAM is thousands of times faster than accessing data from the hard drive. (Hard drives are just spinning – magnets similar to an old record player! A SSD looks like a hard drive, but is all memory chips, no moving parts and FAST).

When VM is used off an SSD – it is quick. So even a Macbook Air with 2GB of RAM can keep up with a Macbook Pro in your studio (obviously not in graphical tasks as the Macbook Air has a pretty weak graphics card compared to a Macbook Pro or iMac).

Something to think about
If you have a Macbook Air – you already have an SSD. If you have a Macbook, Macbook Pro, Mac Pro or some models of iMac, you can get an SSD retro fitted (get your tech guru to check it out for you). The performance gain is huge! It’ll give you a little bit more life out of your existing hardware. Applications launch quicker, files open faster, Mail/Safari/iCal all operate far more smoothly. All pluses. (The only downside is the price per GB – a 256GB SSD costs around $450). This is a highly recommended performance boost for any computer. If you already have 8GB of RAM and are looking for a bit more speed, an SSD will beat more RAM hands down.

 

Discovering Chrome

Mar 21, 2013
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So you’ve heard someone mention it and now you are thinking what is Chrome all about? Short and simple, it’s a freeware (a.k.a free software) web browser developed by Google. Chrome first came on the browser scene in 2008 and if you want to get into tech-speak, it uses the Webkit rendering engine to display web pages. Webkit, an open source project started by Apple, was purpose built for Safari. Basically this means that when Apple make improvements to Webkit, Chrome is improved as well. Pretty much all browsers on mobile phones and tablets use Webkit as well, so reading in between the lines, Apple must be pretty chuffed with this uptake of Webkit!

As of Feburary 2013, Chrome has a 37% worldwide usage share of web browser making it the most widely used browser in the work according to StatCounter however Net Applications rank it as third behind Internet Explorer and Firefox – the take away of this being it’s up there for browser preference, so if you haven’t yet tried it, give it a go.

Tips for Chrome newbies: 

1. If you like to work with multiple tabs open, try pinning your tabs – basically this shrinks your tab to the size of the favicon leaving you more room to multi-task. Right mouse click on the tab and select Pin Tab.

 

 

 

2. If you like the way the favicons look as pins, declutter your Bookmarks bar for your favourite sites – just hit the star icon to the far right of the omnibox, then delete the name – this will put just the favicon on your bookmarks bar.


 

 

 

 

 

Favicons in the Bookmarks bar will look like this:

 

3. Type in an equation or conversion you want in the omnibox (which is the merge of the address bar and search box) and you’ll get the answer straight away.

Try a calculation:

Or a conversion:

 

 4. Browse in stealth mode – File -> New Incognito Window (or shift+command+N). This will allow you to browse undercover (i.e you can visit pages without leaving browser or search history behind).

5. The New Tab (command+T) page will display thumbnails of the 8 most visited website. Look to the bottom of the page to view the most visited sites, apps, recently closed (this one is useful if you’ve accidentally closed a page and can’t remember how you found it!) and visit the Chrome Web Store where you can install web applications as extensions to the browser.

 

 

6.  You can install themes or create your own theme to alter the appearance of the browser too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So just a few tips to get you started. It’s also worth having a nosey on Chrome Experiments, a site set up to showcase what can be created using the latest open technologies. Users create something they feel is fun and fast in JavaScript and submit it to the site showcasing their talent and creativity. Some of our faves are:

• Ellie Goulding Lights. Use your mouse to navigate your way through this colourful experience of Ellie Goulding’s single “Lights”.
The Exquisite Forest. An online collaboration art project between Google and Tate. Be warned, you’ll find yourself wanting to check out all the trees in the forest to see the animations and you’ve checked out the video to see what the concept is all about.
• Ball Pool. Shake, double click, drag and throw the balls around. Mindless fun for a few minutes – oh the sites people come up with eh!

The sites can also work in other browsers but some of them may say that some features won’t work, hence the nod to opening them in Chrome.

So there you are, a little bit of insight into what Chrome is all about. We love it as a browser option here at DA, let us know what you think!

Auckland InDesign User Group – First meeting of 2013

Mar 19, 2013
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The first meeting of the Auckland InDesign User Group for 2013 has been scheduled for Tuesday, 26th of March.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 6:00 PM

Media Design School
Level 16
92 Albert Street
Auckland, CBD 1010

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Agenda
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6:00pm – Doors open – some time to relax, get comfy and chat
6.30pm – Adobe Creative Cloud update
6.45pm – InDesign, PSDs and AIs
7.15pm – Adobe DPS: Using states like a boss!
8.00pm – Giveaways and Sponsor Messages
8.15pm – Time for pizza, drinks, networking

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Sponsors
=========

The Auckland InDesign User Group would like to thank the generous support of our major sponsors: Adobe, Digital Arena, Firebrand Talent, InDesign Magazine and Media Design School, and the unflailing support of Wendy and the team at IDUG.

As always we will have some jolly good prizes to give away. Make sure you are registered, check that your details are up-to-date to be eligible to be in with chance to win something really cool!

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Please register to attend
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Apple Hard Drive Replacement Programme

Mar 6, 2013
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Over the last 6 months, we have been going through our customer purchase records and identifying those of you who purchased iMacs between October 2009 and July 2011. Why you ask? It’s all to do with an Apple hard drive replacement programme.

In a nutshell, 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs bought in that timeframe had faulty Seagate drives inside that didn’t necessarily cause failures, but were operating in a way that could cause them to fail. Have we lost you?

All you need to know is that team DA have been identifying these iMacs, backing these up (something the Apple programme had no provision for so if you weren’t a DA customer you’d be paying an extra fee for this), sorting out drive replacements and voilà – operators have told us how much faster and stabler the machines have become!

If you have an affected iMac, you’re eligible to receive a free drive until 12 April 2013 (or 3 years after the original purchase date) – if you’re a client of ours, don’t worry we’ve taken care of everything! Still not sure what this might mean for you – send us an email.

Spark v5.9.5 – it’s here!

Mar 5, 2013
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We are excited to announce the forthcoming release of our popular job management software.
Spark v5.9.5 is to be released April 2013, this update will feature –

• Xero API – this is a biggie for all the Xero users out there!
• Changes to reports
• Even more is recorded in the transaction log
• Set up your own default submenus
• A new search display option for 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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