A Look at The iPad2:

Apple iPad2 - In Black and White.

Apple iPad2 - in Black and White. Thinner. Lighter. Faster. FaceTime. Smart Covers. 10 Hour Battery. Original Image: Apple

Been A little while, I’ve been working, and that’s a good thing if you’re a self-employed designer. I also broke my ankle back in August while camping, so been recovering. So blogging a slightly lower priority lately, but here I am again.

I had occasion to be out and about and took the opportunity to visit my local Apple store and take a look at the just released iPad2 for my local Apple User Group. Just like it’s predecessor, it’s a very appealing little slab of electric crack. It’s also a more appealing experience than the original iPad. Apparently, a lot of people think so too, since Apple seems to have sold close to a million of the things in the first weekend of availability, selling out at most locations.

When Apple released the original iPad, they were diving out into uncharted territory. As of last year, no one had gotten a tablet computer out there that captured the public imagination till they completely redesigned the interface. Their success with the iPhone, turning the smartphone market in it’s side, suggested they were on to something. But it wasn’t till the first year of iPad, that the realized that they had something quite amazing on their hands. People are doing things with the iPad that Apple never expected. Continue reading

Mac Pros. Mac Users?

Mac Pro: 4, 8, or 12 Cores. WORTH IT?

The current Mac Pro update disappoints actual pro users. Image: Apple Computer

Apple recently released, after over a year in waiting, an update to their Mac Pro line of tower configuration computers. They introduced the Westmere line of the Xeon workstation processors and now a version with 12 computing cores is available. But for many Apple watchers, the update was a bit of a disappointment.

For openers, while Apple has been determinedly cutting edge on their new flagship mobile products, iPhones, iPads… were notably conservative on this update. New tech such as USB 3, Firewire 1600, Litghtbridge, or even established desirable standards as eSATA were skipped. Few expected Blu-Ray support, since Steve doesn’t like Blu-Ray. The video cards options offered by Apple are decent, but somewhat mediocre by contemporary standards. But all in all, commentary in the tech blogs has negative commentary edging out positive reviews. The general consensus seemed “meh,” with a lot of dissatisfaction centering on performance versus price issues compared to alternatives on the Windows and Linux side.
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When do you need a Graphics Pro?

Banging one out in InDesign. Yeah, I know what Im doin

Banging one out in InDesign. Yeah, I know what I'm doin'. Look! CMYK colors!

With the market shifting as rapidly as it has been in the Electronic Age – this is a question that often pops up in my dealings with clients, my colleagues, and especially potential clients.

When is it time to hire a Designer?

There was a time, it seems long ago now, when everything printed, from annual reports and catalogs, to matchbook covers and little league flyers, required the hands of creative pros – designers, draftsmen, illustrators, layout artists, darkroom technicians, typesetters, color separators, film strippers, platemakers, printers and pressmen.  But that was circa 1980, B.C. – Before Computers. In the Mid 80’s the PostScript Programming language was being developed by John Warnock of Adobe, and Steve Jobs and was developing the Apple Macintosh computers. Eventually the combination of the Macintosh, the LaserWriter II and Aldus’s ground breaking page layout program, PageMaker, changed the publishing landscape forever.

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Barrier to Entry

Grab this end. Ancient graphic design tool. An X-Acto kniife.

Ancient graphic design tool. An X-Acto knife. Grab THIS end.

I had alluded to this subject in my earlier post about Adobe Creative Suite.  I did get a bit rantish about it. So I decided that I might clarify where I was coming from this time around. Now for a little background, I entered the field in 1980, yes that would be B.C. — Before Computers.  Moving right along, If someone had told me in 1989 that in a few years I would be replacing 90% of my professional tools every three to five years, I would have looked at them like they were out of their minds. Seriously, I made it a point to buy good quality pro gear and took good care of it. I had a steel t-square that I would be able to leave to my grandchildren, nearly indestructible. I had a lovely oak drafting table. A sweet little Badger airbrush and compressor. Red Sable brushes. A set of very slick and pampered technical pens. And seriously, a drafting instrument set I actually inherited from my grandfather.

Then “Desktop Publishing” happened.

The advent of the Apple Macintosh Computer, PostScript, PageMaker software, and the LaserWriter II printer changed everything. Forever. That was a weird time, when many companies tried to jettison their Agencies, Design Studios and Art Directors for low paid operators with Mac SEs. But after a few years, they decided that they needed people who actually knew some Design Principles operating the computers. So a lot of us went back to school, helloooo Continuing Ed., to learn more about this “Computer Stuff. ” A lot of good and talented people gave up and left the field, and some of us made the transition and picked up the mice, wondering, “what the f**k is this?”Continue reading