Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BBEdit and "Text Factories"

I recently used a very powerful feature of BBEdit, the venerable text editor from Bare Bones Software for the very first time, and wanted to share this because it is so cool.

I had several hundred CSS files and I needed to do a series of 6 search and replaces on each file. I also had several hundred HTML files that needed a chunk of code inserted into the <head> element of each. After spending about an hour learning about BBEdit’s Text Factories feature, I was able to set it up and process all the files in a matter of minutes.

The Text Factories feature lets you create a list of text “transformations” such as changing case, adding prefixes or suffixes to lines, complex GREP find/change, sorting, fixing quotes, and more.

Screen Shot 2015 09 30 at 3 30 14 PM

Once you’ve created your list, you can apply it to the current document or selection, or to a specific list of files and folders.

Screen Shot 2015 09 30 at 3 37 30 PM

Subfolders within a folder can filtered, so you can specify certain top-level folders, but then restrict the text factory to only specific types of subfolders or files.

Screen Shot 2015 09 30 at 3 30 27 PM

As part of this project, I also used a little program called Hazel from Noodlesoft to solve another challenge. I was given a folder that contained thousands of files and subfolders. I needed to delete all the files of certain types within the folders, move certain files to new locations, and rename certain files. Hazel let me set up rules specifying what should be done to what type of file where, and then with a single command make it so. Very handy! 




Monday, September 14, 2015

My thoughts on the just announced iPad Pro

On September 9 Apple unveiled the iPad Pro, announcing that it will be available “in November”. Here are my initial thoughts on this device (before having an opportunity to see or test one), and its potential impact on digital publishing.

Of course the screen size and quality is the primary specification that we care about in Digital Publishing. The screen on the iPad Pro is 12.9” measured diagonally, or "78% more display area than an iPad Air 2” according to Apple, with a resolution of 2732 × 2048 pixels, .

The screen is the same 4:3 aspect ratio found in all previous iPads. What is interesting is that the “short side” of the iPad Pro is the same number of pixels, and the same dimension, as the “long side" of an iPad Air 2. So the “retina” resolution, or the number of pixels per inch on the iPad Pro is the same as the iPad Air and Air 2.

The biggest bonus of the consistent aspect ratio? Digital publications designed with InDesign for Adobe DPS or other digital publishing solutions shouldn't require any rework to display beautifully on the iPad Pro screen.


It will be interesting to see what it is like to read digital publications on this large device. Apple says it weighs 1.57 pounds. The first model iPad weighed 1.5 pounds, which feels incredibly heavy when you lift one today, compared to the relatively light iPad Air 2 at .96 pounds. It is remarkable how much of a difference a half a pound makes. Will it be comfortable to “curl up” with this device and read?

I’m most excited about with the new iPad Pro as a content creation tool. I love what Adobe is doing to deliver creative content creation tools such as Adobe Comp CC, Adobe Illustrator Draw, and Adobe Photoshop Sketch on tablets. But using these tools on a 10 inch tablet has always seemed awkward and confining to me. The expect that the extra screen real-estate on a larger iPad will make these apps much more compelling.

Apple Pencil, announced with the iPad Pro, is the icing on the cake. Up until now, Adobe Ink comes the closest I’ve seen to being a precise, responsive pen for use with the iPad. But Apple Pencil could be more precise, responsive and integrated with the hardware and OS. If Apple Pencil works as well as it appears to in the videos, it could turn the iPad into an amazing content creation/ideation platform for illustrators, artists, and designers.

The iPad Pro is expensive. But if a great pen and great software turns it into a serious content creation/ideation platform, it could become an essential, must-have tool for illustrators, artists, and designers. Start saving those pennies!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to convert an image sequence to an animated GIF

Image sequences are an excellent way to create animation for Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. But an image sequence will not work in content exported to fixed layout EPUB from InDesign, or content exported using the new Publish Online functionality in InDesign CC 2015. So you might need to convert an image sequence to an animated GIF, which does work in fixed layout EPUB and Publish Online. Here’s how to do it.

1. Launch Photoshop (these instruction are written using Photoshop CC 2015, but the process is similar in several recent versions)

2. Choose File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack

3. Click Browse to select all the PNG or JPEG files in the image sequence, then click the OK button. If you have a lot of files making up the sequence, this step may take a few minutes.

Screen Shot 2015 06 24 at 11 53 24 AM

4. When it is finished, you’ll see that a single file has been created, with each image loaded into a separate layer. Choose Window > Timeline to display the Timeline panel.

5. Click the Create Frame Animation button in the Timeline panel. This will create a single frame in the Timeline panel.

6. In the Timeline panel menu, choose Make Frames From Layers

7. Choose File > Export > Save For Web

8. Choose one of the GIF Presets, choose the desired Looping option, and then click the Save button.

Screen Shot 2015 06 24 at 12 02 01 PM

Friday, May 22, 2015

A fix for the disappearing File Info dialog in InDesign

I’ve had a recurring problem for awhile where occasionally the File > File Info dialog box in InDesign CC gets “stuck” somewhere outside the bounds of my monitor. In other words, I’ll choose File > File Info, and the dialog box will apparently launch, because all my menu items get grayed out and I can’t do anything, but the box isn’t visible on the screen. But, since hitting the Esc key cancels any dialog box, I’m able to hit Esc and continue working.

But I need the File Info box for my work.

I discovered today that there is a file named “DVADialogPrefs.xml” located in the User Library folder in Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version 10.0/en_US/DVADialogPrefs. (Hold down the Option key and choose Go > Library in the Finder to display the Library folder). Quitting InDesign, deleting the “DVADialogPrefs.xml” file, and restarting InDesign fixes the problem, and allows the File Info dialog box to display properly.

I suspect that InDesign gets confused about how many monitors I have, and where they are located, because I’m constantly plugging into different projection systems as I travel to do training and seminars. Hopefully this won’t happen to you, but if it does, at least you know how to fix it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Creative Cloud, OS X, iMacs, and more

Today’s post is courtesy of my friend Ed Klemz at Central Coast Solutions. It contains useful, actionable information about Creative Cloud, OS X, the iMac, and more. I highly recommend Ed and his team for your Macintosh and networking support needs. - Keith

A lot has happened recently on the Apple and Adobe front, so here’s the latest:

Many of you have likely received the notice that all future releases of Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) will only be supported on OS X 10.9.5 and newer, so if you have 10.8 or older now, updating is no longer an option but a requirement. All Macs aren’t 10.9 or 10.10 ready though, and we should review to make to sure the RAM is at 16GB or more and the hard drive is either a Solid State Disc (SSD) or “Fusion” hybrid standard/SSD device. Upgrading OS on a Mac lacking those items will tend to make it quite slow, and may cause stability issues. We can do these upgrades for you at a fraction of the price of buying a new machine, and the upgrades make it nearly as fast.

As for “Yosemite” OS X 10.10, the 10.10.2 release was pretty good, and I was just about to let people know it was OK to do, then they came out with 10.10.3. After heavy prompting my Apple contacts tell me there are memory issues still “under the hood” and older software issues (Adobe CS6 & CC, Office 2011, Firefox and Chrome browsers, etc), security software issues, Library and Finder issues… Lets just say they are still working on it, and at this time I can’t recommend it as the “go to” OS X version yet - but 10.10.4 is on the way. If you are running, we can certainly optimize it for you.

My .02 today is if you are at 10.8.5, let get you to 10.9.5, as much RAM as your machine will hold and install a SSD drive. 10.9 isn’t available to buy any longer, but of course we have it, and can do the hardware and software upgrades for you, and extend the life of your existing Mac by years - far less than buying new hardware. Lets build an upgrade plan for 2015 that meets your needs and budget.

Apple today released the long-awaited updates to the iMac line, and removed some of the “mid-level” options we once had - so you can only get the performance-based i7 Processor in the top-end 21 or 27-inch machines. Of course all these models will only run OS X 10.10 so that should be considered when looking at your existing software. Many older apps won’t run on it, or will be crashy nightmares to use, so we need to plan ahead before blindly updating hardware or OS version. None of the iMacs come with built-in DVD drives either - only external - so remember that if you need the ability to read or burn media.

TECH BIT: What is “mach_kernel”? Here’s a “fix” for a common request we get from clients running OS X 10.7, 8 and 9 when they open the main directory of their hard drive and see a document named “mach_kernel”. Don’t delete it! This important normally hidden system file appears after an Apple Security Update is run, and its not supposed to be visible. (Thanks for messing that up, Apple!)

To hide this, go to /Applications/Utilities and launch the Terminal application (scary, but you can do it!) You will get some text saying you are logged in and it will leave you at “%" prompt. Copy and paste in the following command into Terminal:

sudo chflags hidden /mach_kernel

Then press return (enter). It will give you a warning about using the sudo command and then it will ask you to type your user password. Type it in, but note that the cursor won't move as you're typing (so that people can't see your password if they're looking over your shoulder.) Press enter after typing your password and the “mach_kernel” file will be hidden again as it should. Easy!

Hmmm, I wonder if I wanted to hide a file or folder from view if I could use the “sudo chflags hidden" command to hide it, and “nohidden" to make it visible again...

If you’d rather not dive too deep into stuff like this, or we haven’t seen you recently, we should get a system maintenance/update day planned and we can take care of it for you.

As always, we are here to help. Let us know what’s next for your business and we’ll help you get there.


Ed Klemz and your team at:

Central Coast Solutions, Inc.
10303 Bittersweet Street NW
Minneapolis, MN 55433
763-422-3922 Office