Sunday, October 12, 2014

How to enable background photo uploading with Dropbox on iOS

The latest version of the Dropbox app for iOS devices (as of this post, version 3.4.2) has a cool feature for uploading photos on your phone to your Dropbox account without having to launch the Dropbox app. But this feature isn’t enabled by default, and it isn’t obvious how it works. In this post, I’ll show you how to enable this feature.

But first, I want to mention my “Up and Running with Dropbox" course at lynda.com. If you want to get more out of Dropbox, and learn all that this powerful service can do for you, watch this course!

Now, here’s how to enable background uploading of photos:

1.  Run the Dropbox app on your iPhone or iPad, and tap the “Settings” gear in the lower-right corner

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2. Tap the “Camera Upload” option

 

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3. Turn on the “Camera Upload” and “Background Uploading” options.

 

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4. Launch the “Settings” app.

5. You will see some of your apps listed at the bottom of the list of settings. Tap the “Dropbox” app in this list.

6. Enable “Background App Refresh”, and then tap the “Privacy” option.

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7. Turn on “Photos” so that Dropbox can access your Photos, then tap “Location Services”. 

 

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8. Choose “Always”.

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Because of Apple limitations, the Dropbox app is only allowed to upload for a short time after you quit the Dropbox app. The way that Dropbox gets around this is to use Location Services. whenever your location changes a significant enough amount, Dropbox will sense the location change, and an upload will occur. Try it! It works well for me.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Reflecting on Adobe MAX

I’m flying back from the Adobe MAX conference, and trying to process all that I heard and saw. Here are my conference take-aways:

1. This was billed as the “Creativity Conference”. For many years, MAX was a developer conference. Then in recent years it morphed into a designer/developer conference. This year MAX was almost entirely a designer conference, with far fewer breakout sessions for developers, and very little developer-oriented content during the keynotes.

2. Adobe believes that mobile devices can help designers capture inspiration wherever they find themselves. See Adobe Shape CC, Adobe Color CC, and Adobe Brush CC. If these kinds  of apps can be made easy enough to use quickly and fluidly, without getting in the way, I think this is really smart.

3. Adobe thinks that designers want to sketch ideas on tablets, and that illustrators want to begin, and perhaps even finish, projects on tablets. See Adobe Illustrator DrawAdobe Illustrator Line, and Adobe Photoshop Sketch. While some illustrators are treating the tablet as a new medium, fully embracing it for content creation, and creating amazing work, other designers find it a poor substitute for physical pencil and paper for sketching. In my experience, tablet use in general by designers is not as high as some might think, so that may be a barrier in the short-term.

4. Adobe believes that photographers want to do some degree of Photoshop-style editing on tablets. See Adobe Photoshop Mix, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

5. Adobe is in love with Microsoft. I overheard an attendee say that, “Adobe and Microsoft are getting married…or at least starting a relationship”. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared on-stage together at the end of the day 1 keynote session. They briefly mentioned some technologies that Adobe and Microsoft are working together to develop. In fact, each attendee at MAX left the conference with a free Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet and a 1-year subscription to Office 365.

6. Adobe is rethinking creative interfaces, as we know them, both for mobile and desktop use. I’m glad to see Adobe thinking about how we might use creative applications now and into the future. The versions of Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC that were released on 10/6/2014 each contain alternate interfaces for using these programs on touch-enabled Windows devices, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. At the “Adobe Sneaks” event on Tuesday night, Adobe showed several intriguing examples of work they are doing to try to simplify drawing curves in Illustrator, creating complex patterns, and performing difficult Photoshop tasks. 

7. Adobe is continuing to think about how they can leverage cloud services for the creative user. See the new CC libraries feature in Photoshop and Illustrator.

8. From my perspective, there was a great deal of interest in Adobe DPS. I taught 3 jam-packed “Introduction to Adobe DPS" labs of 70 people each, and there were many, many other DPS labs and sessions offered throughout. All appeared to be well attended.

I’d encourage you to spend some time watching the keynote sessions here. Many of the non-lab breakout sessions were also recorded and viewed here. Some really good stuff to view!

Next year’s conference is already scheduled for October 3-7, 2015 in Los Angeles. I’d encourage you to attend.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

A much improved DPS Android viewer

On September 29, Adobe quietly released Adobe DPS v32.1

This update included one documented bug fix, and several new features and improvements. But what caught my eye in the release notes was the promise that "PDF articles in Android apps now render more quickly, between 40 and 60 percent faster in tests."

I rebuilt a previously-released Android app with v32.1, and am amazed. The screen rendering on my Google Nexus 7 tablet is blindingly fast. I would say it is on par with the rendering speed of the same screens in the iOS version of the app running on my iPad Air. If you have an Android tablet, download the app and judge the performance for yourself.

To use this update, you just need to edit your app and create a new .apk file with DPS App Builder, and submit the new .apk as an update to Google Play. Definitely worth doing. Good job DPS team!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Adobe DPS preview bug

Beware of this bug when previewing DPS articles on a USB-tethered iPad...

When you tether an iPad to your computer with a USB cable, you can get immediate feedback of exactly how your layout looks on the iPad screen. If you’ve never done this before, here’s how:

1. Connect your iPad via a USB cable to your computer

2. Make sure that the iPad is turned on and “awake”

3. Run Adobe Content Viewer on the iPad

4. At the bottom of the Folio Overlays panel, click the Preview button. After a brief pause, a drop-down menu will appear with the name of your iPad listed. Choose this, and after a short delay the InDesign file you are working on will appear on the iPad screen.

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But here’s the bug…If you have a Master Page displayed on your screen, the preview doesn’t work. The “Preview on [your iPad name]” option still appears in the drop-down menu, but the preview never displays on the iPad. The Desktop preview still works in this case, but not the iPad preview. 

So be sure to turn to an actual document page, not a master page, before previewing content on your iPad!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to create dual-orientation fixed layout EPUB from InDesign

The 2014 release of InDesign CC creates really nice fixed layout EPUBs that will work on iOS and Android devices. However, when you view your fixed layout EPUB on an iPad with iBooks, our content will appear in only a single orientation, either portrait only or landscape only, depending on the orientation of your InDesign layout and what you choose for the “Spread Control” option in the EPUB - Fixed Layout Export Options dialog box. 

If you want your readers to be able to view your content in either portrait or landscape view, do the following:

1. Export your fixed layout EPUB from InDesign

2. Use eCanCrusher to expand the exported .epub file into a folder

3. Open the folder created by eCanCrusher, and locate the file named “content.opf” in the “OEPS” folder

4. Open this file with a text editor. Edge Code (part of your Creative Cloud subscription) is a good tool for opening and editing this type of file

5. Find the line <meta property="rendition:orientation”>landscape</meta> or <meta property="rendition:orientation”>portrait</meta> near the beginning of the file

6. Change landscape or portrait in this line to “auto”, so that the line appears as <meta property="rendition:orientation”>auto</meta>

7. Save and close the content.opf file

8. Use eCanCrusher to compress the folder back into an .epub file