Archive for February, 2012

Staying Relevant

Add comment February 1st, 2012

I do not remember the last time I made a mass upgrade of software. Back in 2005, I think it was, I got a PoweMac tower and Adobe CS2, but that’s not what I mean. It came to me the other day, however, that it is high time. So I made my plan …

I finally see the tools for making ebooks starting to show signs of maturity. InDesign CS5.5 has been available for some time. In fact, CS6 is rumored to be around the corner. But it’s Export to epub  function, I hear, works pretty well. And Apple’s iBook Author looks—from the demo I saw—like it does what I have asked for, making iPad a serious tool for multimedia ebooks.

I am going to make the move to Apple’s Lion OS. I will install iBooks Author. But since I also want to be able to create works for more than Apple’s iBookstore, the upgrade to Adobe Creative Studio 5.5 is a no-brainer.

I have needed a couple of other new versions, too, for awhile. I always like to have the latest MathType, as Design Science regularly adds increased functionality to the equation creation package; and the latest version makes equations for iBooks. I have been inconvenienced by being able to open .docx files directly in Word 2004 long enough and will also move to Office 2011.

The interesting upgrade would be to QuarkXPress 9. My last Quark upgrade was to version 7.31. A nice story goes along with that. When I worked on the children’s storybook, Mishka An Adoption Tale, some years ago, I had a bit of difficulty with the Chinese printer and fonts. I cannot quite remember what, as the fonts would have been embedded in the PDF and that should have been enough. But I wound up in extended discussions with someone in Quark’s customer relations unit, a great, young woman who helped me work out whatever the problem was.

For some reason, on top of her helping me, she decided she would send me a gift for the trouble I had been put through—none of which was Quark’s fault—and as I was a long and loyal user of XPress, since about 1990. She wanted to send me a CD of extras. I told her that was mighty nice, but that I saw the extras were not usable with my current version, 6.something. She replied that one of the perks of her job was doing nice things for people and she sent me the Quark 7 upgrade for free. Soon after, she left Quark for a dream job of some kind. And I remained a loyal XPress user until more and more clients requested I use InDesign.

I finally added InDesign to my software arsenal. Gradually it just became easier to stick with InDy. Then the other day I got an offer from Quark for a reduced price for version 9—actually, 9.2. What struck me was the inclusion of something called App Studio for making e-versions of books for the iPad. I decided to make that upgeade, too. I had until yesterday, January 31, for the reduced price, after which the cost would climb some. But I wondered whether the nearly $300 investment was worth it for just that module.

Enter Twitter and why you need to know it does not need to be a time-sink. Tweeting on my dilemma led to the information that App Studio is a third-party module available also for InDesign. For free. Now, just as with Quark, there are fees for actually publishing something with App Studio. But the upgrade to Quark … well, is superfluous.

My thanks to Twitter stalwart, gentleman, scholar, and all-‘round good guy Pariah S. Burke (@iampariah on Twitter) who saved me $299 that I can use to get an iPad2 for debugging and displaying iBooks.


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