24 February 2011

[design] QuarkXPress 8.5 Progress Report

2565.Now that I have QuarkXPress 8 installed on my machine - the test drive part, anyway - the first thing to do would be to open files.

And I have files. They're rather old. Some originally made in 2003, under QuarkXPress 4. And you know what?

It opens them just fine. Only thing it complains about is not finding some of the fonts, which is only fair, because I didn't bring them along … it's true.

The exploration continues.

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[OR_liff] Hey, Salem, You Don't Have Saturday Buses - But You Do Have Google Maps


Noted in passing … Cherriots may not have Saturday service, but you can plan your trip on what's left of the capital city's bus system using Google maps:


Presumably, if you tell it you want to get somwhere and it's Saturday, it'll tell you it's going to take a couple of days …

21 February 2011

[design] Trying Out QuarkXPress 8.5


The tweet I sent out on a whim read thus:

I'm downloading the QuarkXPress 8 trial just to get a look at how that old app has evolved …

I have it downloaded now. I'm actually quite fond of QXP; they say you never forget your first, and I originally learned Quark on version 4.3 (remember, my electronic layout tribal brethren and sistern? Yes, good times, good times). I remember when QuarkXPress finally released Version 5 - because if they stood pat for much longer, Adobe would eat thier lunch and drink thier milkshake, because InDesign was that good … and getting better all the time.

Move up to the present, and I'm still an InDesigner; I couldn't imagine life without it. Quark, while apparently no longer being the category definer, has worked to keep up. The biggest problem they had - an inexcusable lag into native Mac OS X land - was finally cured in version 6. I own a copy of 6.5, and it's still a cracking good application, though by that time not the equal of InDesign.

Quark has not laid down and given up, becoming the latter-day Aldus Pagemaker, just yet. I have downloaded and have installed a test-drive copy of QuarkXPress 8.5, and will review it here presently.

My first impression is that it's brought up the attitude and the slickitude. QXP6.5, while updated and OS X-native, still felt unfinished. The addition of XTensions that read PSD files (PSDImport) and allowed image modification (Quark Vista) were needed and welcome - but felt a little tacked-on. Had they come too little, too late?

Well, it's 2011 and Quark, Inc still sells enough software to remain in business, so they must be doing something right.

More later - "soon" later.

[liff] My New Cyberdeck - SunDial Seven Launches


I finally can has upgrade.

One thing that has truly, truly hampered me is the age of my hardware. Up until last week, my platform was a Power Mac G4 … yes, a G4 … from 2003. It has served me honorably and well, and were it not for the relentless march of progress, it would have continued to serve well, if perhaps a little slowly.

I have been recompensed for a technical editing job I completed, however, and that has enabled me to acquire a long-delayed, extremely called-for, technical upgrade. SunDial Three, the old CPU, as devolved to The Wife™, as it's all she needs for her needs and more. Now, upon my desk, is an iMac.

I wasn't sure that an iMac would ever suit my needs; indeed, as a post some time ago vouchsafed, I was seriously considering a Mac Mini. I would still go that route, if it didn't make more sense to get the iMac.

My acquistion adventure took the same route my re-equipping adventure took two years back: PowerMax, that legendary Tualatin-based Apple reseller, who has been making people very happy for a very long time and has done it for me twice. You may find reviews about it online; they are not mere words. There are some severely happy people in the world of Macintosh because of them. The used range of Macs was impressive, to say the least. This particular one runs Leopard, and that, as much as an Intel heart, was crucially important. And it may seem "new to me" … but it seems new.

This iMac, for instance, was built in 2007. It's shiny, sparkly-clean, fast, powerful, and quiet, delivering power that I only thought would be obtainable via desktop Mac Pros. Of course, a replacement computer running Intel was absolutely essential, and this is a Core 2 Duo running 2Ghz. The old machine was a dual-processor PowerPC G4 PowerMac, packing 1.25Ghz.

I have need of a machine that will help me fight the competition battles that I plan on fighting. I need to catch up, and catch up quickly. This iMac - 20-inch screen, slimmer than a computer with this much power has a right to me, and quiet, quiet, quiet (the old G4 sounds like an air compressor next to it) will be instrumental in helping me to do some serious catching up.

I plan on documenting that in this, the public notebook of a striving, as yet unsuccessful but never truly giving up, graphic designer.

In the meantime, all mad props to PowerMax. I'll never buy from anyone else, if I can help it.