First impressions: FontAgent Pro 4

For those of you who’ve managed your font library with some earlier version of the program already, FAP4 doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel – it does, however, tack on some spiffy new features and makes auto-activation that much more reliable. Let’s run down the new stuff as Inside Software displays it on their web site, shall we? (my comments & screenshots following): (more…)

Don’t design a dead-end Web site – it’s all about the content

When I look at a lot of Web sites these days, two things jumps out at me. First, many sites look absolutely stunning. Beautiful mastheads, delicious AJAX everywhere, blinky, swooshing Flash and Web 2.0-style graphics adorn tons of Web sites. Competing with these gorgeous Web sites requires not only great graphic design skills, but you’ve got to be a coding genius as well. The second thing that I notice right away is that many of these sites contain little if any useful, informative content. Opinion blogs are everywhere, virtually anyone who can type has a blog, but finding great content is just getting harder and harder. It almost appears that many of these sites’ purpose is simply to show off the fact that they know how to code. Now I’m not trying to stand on my high-horse and look down on anyone’s efforts… (more…)

Free font: Advent Pro

A gentleman who goes by the name of inde-graphics has made available, free for download, an excellent font called Advent. The download includes 7 font weights for Advent in TrueType Format, and a handy type specimen sheet in PDF format.

Top Photoshop alternatives for Mac OSX

PSDTuts has a great article covering Photoshop alternatives, for those who don’t need the power and expense of the king of all image editors. The top 5 are:

  • GIMP
  • Pixelmator (reviewed at Macworld.com)
  • Corel PaintShop Pro
  • PhotoLine
  • Pixel Image Editor

The article also goes on to cover some lightweight alternatives such as:

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Acorn (reviewed at Macworld.com)
  • Iris

While none of these applications offer the power and flexibility of Adobe Photoshop, most all of them have been around a while and have matured nicely. If your needs don’t warrant the Photoshop price tag, any one of these apps might just do the trick for you.

Update all your images quickly in Quark XPress

Did you know that you can update all your modified image links in Quark XPress at once simply by holding down the Option key and clicking the Update button? Well you can, and it only took a fellow designer years of using Quark to learn about it. I almost felt bad telling him.

Stuff on the Web

Who owns what? With all the Yahoo! takeover talk going around, I went about to find out just how many things would get screwed up if Microsoft ended up buying Yahoo!. Amy Webb has a nifty PDF chart to break down who owns what toys in the Web sandbox. Who is your Internet neighbor? For those on shared hosting plans such as HostMonster Dreamhost or iPower, myIPneighbors IP search is a great way to find out if your Web site is packed into a crowded host with hundreds of other sites, and just who those neighboring sites are. DIY digital photography Digital camera lovers, here’s a little DIY fun for the weekend. It’s a video tutorial of how to make an image stabilizer to reduce camera shake. All you need is some string, a bolt and a washer (or some other small weight). Electric Photoshop Add some electrifying energy beams to your subject with this great Photoshop tutorial at Luxa.org. Free online Faxing Every once in a great while you may find yourself needing to send a quick Fax, you remember those, right? If you don’t have a fax machine, you’ll have to run down to the nearest copy shop and pay for it… or, you can just use FaxZero. FaxZero will allow you to send a paper fax from your PDF or text document to any fax number in the U.S. or Canada for free (of course, they add an advertisement on the cover sheet).

Avoiding the white box around shadows in your PDFs

“I have an issue with drop shadows and spot colors in Adobe InDesign. When I use a drop shadow in front of a spot color background it looks fine in InDesign, and prints properly as spot color separations. But a white box shows up around the image in Acrobat when I make a PDF to show the client. Is there a way around this problem?”

An excellent question, and one that comes up a lot for designers working with spot color. There are several ways to make sure your spot color jobs preview properly in Adobe Acrobat. My friends over at CreativeTechs have the scoop on avoiding the white box around shadows in Adobe InDesign.

Change Time Machine’s backup interval

If you’re running Leopard and you’re using Time Machine to backup your Mac to an external hard drive, you may become frustrated with how often Time Machine backs up your drive. This is especially true if you save or create a lot of files. When Time Machine is doing it’s work, your drive may become unresponsive, and at the very least, your backup drive can fill up quick. You could hack the .plist file to alter the intervals of Time Machine, but an easier way is to use TimeMachineEditor. TME provides a simple way for you to set the time(s) at which Time Machine does it’s thing.