We previously blogged about color in a post titled RGB and CMYK Make Colorful Alphabet Soup. That was about two and a half years ago, but the world of color basics hasn’t changed. The blog still provides a great starting place to develop an understanding of the world of color.
For those of you who like to go a bit beyond the basics, Matt Bird of stinkyink.com has developed a great infographic titled Your Monitor Lies to You: The Secrets Behind RGB and CMYK Colours, or more simply put, The Science of Color. So for you aspiring scientists or desktop publishers that just need to understand a bit more about color, check out Matt’s infographic.
Our last blog warned about some of the pitfalls of upgrading to Acrobat DC. If you haven’t downloaded the upgrade yet, I recommend you take a few minutes to read it. Having given fair warning first, now let’s look into some of the exciting new features.
Adobe takes working with Acrobat documents to a whole new dimension with Acrobat DC. It now provides touch capability and has an entirely new interface. Most folks are saying the new interface is much more uncluttered than the old. Let’s look at a couple of examples. The following image (courtesy of TheNextWeb.com) shows the right-hand toolbox in both Acrobat Pro DC and Acrobat XI. Adding to DC’s functionality is the ability to customize the tools that appear in the toolbox. If you find that you never use the “Prepare Form” tool, for example, you can delete it. Similarly, if you find that you frequently use the “Print Production” tool, it’s easy to add it to the menu.
Looking for a specific tool? If you don’t find it on the right-hand toolbox, you will find it in the Tools menu at the top of the screen. Clicking on the Tools menu shows all of them:
Notice that each tool has the word “Add” below it. Click this button and it is added to the right-hand toolbox. If you click the dropdown arrow next to the word Add, the options to “Open” the tool and “Learn More” about the tool appear.
Not only has the right-hand side panel changed, the top menu bars have changed. Following is the top menu lines for both Acrobat Pro DC and XI, again courtesy of TheNextWeb.com. (Check out their blog about Acrobat Pro DC for their take on it.)
The top menu row in Acrobat Pro DC holds common commands and can be modified somewhat. There is a floating page control that can be docked to this top line, if desired. When not docked, it is visible at the bottom of the screen when you mouse over that area. The second row of the top menu is context sensitive. In other words, it changes depending on which tool you are using.
Having worked with DC just a little, I can tell you that it will take some time to learn the new interface and use it efficiently. To help with that process, Adobe has some excellent tutorials that teach the basics. You’ll find them here.
The good news is that the tools work the same across platforms. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a Mac or a PC, a tablet or a phone. Acrobat makes good on its promise that you can work anywhere with their Mobile Link that accesses recent files across desktop, web, and mobile. Additionally, whether you’re using Acrobat Reader, Standard, or Pro, the menus are all alike, with options not available in the Reader or Standard versions grayed out.
Adobe’s promise that you will be able to “work anywhere” is met in a number of ways. First is the multi-platform product itself. Acrobat DC is available on Mac, PC, and mobile devices. And did you notice earlier in this article that we said Acrobat DC is now touch capable for the growing number of users with touch screens. Additionally, there is the whole “DC” thing. “DC” stands for Document Cloud. Adobe DC includes 5 GB storage space in their Document Cloud. Lastly, Acrobat’s Mobile Link app enables you to access recent files across desktop, web, and mobile.
Imagine you’re at a client facility and you recognize that your PDF has a typo in it or you want to add an additional bullet point to your features list. You can do that directly to the PDF from your phone or tablet. Or perhaps at the last minute you see that the image includes an old model of your product. You can swap the image in the PDF for a newer one.
Acrobat DC’s Pro version includes enhanced document editing capabilities, including the ability to edit scanned documents – yes, you read that correctly – you will be able to edit your scanned documents. The editing functionality has been improved to allow full paragraphs to reflow while editing. In other words, you won’t have a large white space in the middle of a paragraph because you deleted three words. The text will reflow. You can also change the text size and type directly in your PDF and resize or move the text boxes.
Not to be outdone by text, images can now be edited in the PDF. You can flip, crop, rotate, or replace images right in your PDF. That’s pretty amazing.
(Of course it creates a version control nightmare, but that’s fodder for another blog.)
Acrobat DC allows you to send, track, manage, and store signed documents with a built-in e-signature service. This service is included with your subscription to Acrobat DC. E-signatures are legal and enforceable in 27 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Adobe’s e-signature service complies with industry security standards including HIPAA and PCI v3.0 used by the credit card industry. You can learn more about this technology and it’s security here.
This blog just touches the surface of Acrobat DC capabilities. If you think you’re ready to purchase, please read our last blog that discusses some of the issues surrounding the implementation of Acrobat Pro DC.
If you’re ready to buy, click here to purchase your copy.
Two weeks ago Adobe released their new version of Acrobat. The previous version, Acrobat XI, was released in October 2012, so Adobe has had quite a bit of time to re-design an already good product. The new release is not Acrobat XII or Acrobat 12. Rather, they are moving it onto their cloud platform, naming their newest version Acrobat Document Cloud, or Acrobat DC.
We have always been huge fans of Acrobat because of its great capabilities and versatility. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that we’re in the midst of a many-part series about how to get the most out of Acrobat XI. Yes, the release of Acrobat DC was a surprise to everyone! Given that Acrobat DC has a totally redesigned interface, I think you’ve seen the last of ourseries on Acrobat XI.
Having said we’re huge fans of Acrobat, are we huge fans of Acrobat DC? Well, not quite yet. It embraces the way technology is moving and has moved, but there are some current bumps in the road that need to be overcome. In today’s blog I’ll discuss some of the issues because they have the power to ruin your day (week? month?). I’ll cover some of the new technologies in Acrobat DC in my next blog.
Caution! The Road Ahead May be
Bumpy with Unexpected Turns
Installation: This is perhaps the most significant issue. If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, Acrobat DC will automatically install and will uninstall the previous version without warning.
Let me back up. One of the great benefits of being Creative Cloud subscribers is that you get regular updates of Cloud programs through the Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Application. These updates include software updates, enhancements, and bug fixes made available through your subscription. Downloading these updates is a routine task.
In the past, when Adobe made a significant upgrade of a program – for example, going from InDesign CC to InDesign 2014 – the Creative Cloud Desktop Application downloaded the newer version while leaving the previous version intact. We expected the same behavior when we downloaded Acrobat DC. Since it is a new version with a new name we expected the end result to be two versions of Acrobat on our desktop – Acrobat XI and Acrobat DC. We were wrong. Acrobat DC replaced Acrobat XI instead of maintaining both versions. (Fortunately we only downloaded DC to one of our systems, so we still have XI capability.)
Note that Adobe says it is releasing an update that warns about this, so if you are reading this blog at a later date this issue may no longer be an problem. Or at least not come as a surprise.
As if that’s not enough, installing Acrobat DC will cause some (or perhaps all) of your Acrobat plug-ins to no longer function. We’ve read about Pitstop and FusionPro not working with DC. If you rely on Acrobat plug-ins regularly, do not install Acrobat DC until updates for the plug-ins have been developed. There’s no telling how quickly that will happen as Acrobat released DC without giving developers a preview of the revised software and allowing them to begin their work on updating their plug-ins.
Note: If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can find instructions for reverting to Acrobat XI here. Be advised, however, that the process requires uninstalling Acrobat Pro DC before installing Acrobat XI Pro. This is also a change from previous Adobe programs. In the past you could have multiple versions of Acrobat on your system, as you can have multiple versions of InDesign and Photoshop on your system.
If you installed a trial version of Acrobat Pro DC and want to revert to Acrobat XI when the trial is completed, you’ll find instructions to do so here.
Forms & Flash: Adobe has retired the Adobe FormsCentral desktop app and has reduced support for Flash-compatible videos. If either of these are important to you, move forward cautiously. Acrobat DC includes three tools that help you create and enhance fillable PDF forms so the capability is not lost, but there is a learning curve for learning the new tools. Regarding Flash, you will be able to view files with Flash components if they were created in previous Acrobat versions, but you will not be able to embed Flash in files created in Acrobat DC.
Training: From what we’ve seen online, design bloggers are loving Acrobat DC. We haven’t used it enough to fall into the “loving it” community yet. It is fully redesigned, so be prepared for a loss of productivity for some period of time after upgrading. In the long run the newer version should make you and your staff more efficient, but in the meantime…prepare for weeping and gnashing of teeth.
System Requirements: Acrobat Pro DC is compatible with the following operating systems, mobile platforms, and browsers.
- Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit)
- Windows 8 (32 bit and 64 bit)
- Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit)
- Windows Server 2012 (64 bit)
- Mac OS X v10.9
- Mac OS X v10.10
- Windows Phone (Note that the Adobe Fill & Sign DC and Adobe eSign Manager components are not compatible with Windows Phone.)
Browser Compatibility: Acrobat Pro DC works with various versions of Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.
You’ll find more details on system requirements here.
More Info: A good place to start is the Acrobat Pro DC FAQ on Adobe’s site.
Acrobat DC Family of Programs and Purchasing Options
Adobe Acrobat has been available in multiple editions — Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Standard, and Acrobat Pro, and there is has often been much confusion about them.
The Reader program is available for free and provides the capability to view PDFs and, to some extent, interact with them. Acrobat Reader allows the user to fill in forms, sign and add comments to documents. The new Reader DC is still free and also works on touch-enabled devices and allows the user to store and share files online.
Acrobat Standard and Pro editions have given the user the capability to create documents with a lot more functionality, such as embedded multimedia, saving websites as an Acrobat document, control over document security, and a host of other specialized abilities. The new Acrobat DC is also available in either Standard or Pro editions.
Both Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro can be purchased as a perpetual license (which they call “desktop”) or by subscription. The subscription includes regular updates to the DC program as they are made. Pricing is as follows:
|Acrobat DC Reader||Acrobat DC Standard||Acrobat DC Pro|
If you’re ready to buy, you can purchase your copy here.
Our next blog will discuss some of the new capabilities of the Acrobat DC Standard and Pro versions.
It doesn’t matter if your topic is your family’s next vacation or your company’s next new product launch,Sandy’s book Brainstorming: Unleashing Your Creativity to Think Outside the Box is full of tips and ideas to help you conduct an effective brainstorming session. Don’t waste your time and the time of those attending by doing the same old thing at your next brainstorming session. Well planned and executed brainstorming sessions significantly increase the number and quality of ideas generated. This book provides ideas and step-by-step instructions to make your brainstorming sessions more productive and profitable. You’ll find checklists for selecting team members and an effective moderator, creating the presentation and moderating the brainstorming session. The book also includes guidelines for brainstorming that can be copied and provided to team members.
You can purchase your copy of Brainstorming: Unleashing Your Creativity to Think Outside the Box by clicking here and purchasing from our buy page.
Many people and new businesses want to have a website, but for those who’ve never done it before it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s no shortage of ways to set up a website and the multitude of options can be paralyzing for newbies. There are a number of things to consider that don’t necessarily meet the eye of someone who hasn’t done it before, so we’re going to break it all down for you. As you go through this, if you have any questions, leave a comment or give us a call (419-660-0500). Or if you decide you just want to hire us to do some or all of it for you, we can discuss that, too. Let’s begin.
One of the least obvious issues is that you have to select a company to host your website. Your website won’t run off your computer. You need to hire a web hosting firm to be the “broadcaster” for your website. We like Siteground. We’ve moved all of our websites to Siteground. Their prices are good and their customer service (when we’ve needed it) has been unbelievably good — very fast response times and quick resolution of all of our questions or problems.
While the web hosting decision is foundational to getting your site up and running, you should choose your host based on other decisions that are discussed below. Signing up with the web host is actually one of the last things that you do in the chain of events, but worth keeping in mind throughout the process.
What’s Your Address?
Another big consideration is choosing the web address for your site. The address is also called your domain or URL. Your domain will be the address that people will use to go to your site and will be the name that your audience thinks of your site as, so this is a very important decision. Be forewarned that every good and obvious domain name that you want may already be taken by someone else. Just because a name isn’t available doesn’t mean it’s actually in use by someone else. Good domain names are bought up by speculators who think they will be wanted by someone someday and will sell you the rights to it at a premium. Back in the days when the web was new, a lot of people got rich quick by buying up names like www.pepsi.com and selling them to the Pepsi company for vast amounts of money. So be advised that a lot of domain names are taken, whether they are actually being used or not. If you’re desperate and have deep pockets, you can buy the rights to one of these taken but unused domains, but most of us will just keep looking for unlicensed alternatives. We recommend sitting with a small brainstorming group (very small), a bottle of wine, a whiteboard and internet access. As names are considered, you can list them on the whiteboard while someone else checks for their availability. The bottle of wine makes the session more productive. Trust us on this. We’ve done it before. More than once.
There are several websites from which you can buy your domain. They will let you do a search for the name you want to use and will let you know if it’s available or not. Some of these sites will suggest variations on the name if the one you want isn’t available. Then they will sell you the rights to use the domain name on a contract basis. The company that we use for buying our domain names is NameCheap. Click on the link to check them out. Sandy has more experience with domain buying than I do and she strongly suggests that you not buy your domain name from the same company that does your web hosting. I always do what my wife strongly suggestions, so enough said there.
When it comes to domain names, I recommend staying with a “dot-com” address unless you have a good reason not to. Some sites use .org or .info or .net or whatever, but .com is by far the one that most people will think of when they try to find you online. If the main part of your domain name is already taken by a .com, you might be tempted to buy the same name with a .net or .org extension (it will probably be temptingly cheap), but I can guarantee you that nearly all of your potential users will go to .com first. When they don’t find you there, they may or may not think to try .net or whatever. One of the more famous examples of this is the White House’s website: www.WhiteHouse.gov. For years there was another site by the same name with a .com extension. It was a porn site. They knew that most people would type in .com by default and come to their site instead. Eventually the White House pulled the plug on those guys.
When you find a domain name that works for you, you might want to consider buying the rights to the .com, .net, and .org versions as well, and having all of them link to your .com site. That way no one else will have access to a name that is identical to yours in every way except what follows the dot, and if your users type in the .org or .net variation, it will always take them to you. Just a suggestion, not a necessity.
Bottom line: Go with a .com if at all possible and avoid good names that already have the .com version taken.
Choose Your Platform
The next major decision you have to make is what “platform” you’re going to use to build your website. There are lots of different software and systems that you can use to create a website. This decision is the biggest fork in the road that you will come to. Once you choose a certain path, you’re on it. Deciding later to go with something else will likely require a complete rebuilding of your site to make the change. Options include coding it in HTML or going with one of the trendy, template-driven platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, DotNetNuke, or WordPress.
Fortunately, this decision has almost become a no-brainer for a lot of people. There is one platform that is dominating the web market right now with almost 20% of all new websites worldwide using it. It’s what we use for all of our websites. We’ve gone with WordPress. WordPress is easy to use, easy to update and maintain, many consider it to be fun, and best of all, it’s free. There is a paid version of WordPress. Don’t go with it. The free version is actually a much better and more flexible option.
Let’s detour here to talk a little bit about your website and what you want it to do. Many first-time website owners want to keep it simple and basic. They wisely don’t want to get in over their head. They plan to add on to it as they go. Many folks just want a static page that acts essentially like an online billboard. Sounds nice, but you will undoubtedly want and need more than that. Soon you’ll want to convey timely information to your readers, and a static (i.e., unchanging) page isn’t going to do it for you. Many business sites will want to have the capability to tell their readers news about their business — new products, services, capabilities, or special sales or events. In other words, you’ll probably want your site to promote your business in a timely and dynamic way. (You should have a Facebook page for your business, too, but that’s a topic for another blog.) Later on, you might even want to grow into having a forum on your site where regular visitors or members would have a semi-private online community. WordPress is ideal for that kind of stuff and it’s very easy to modify and add on to as your site grows.
You Need a Theme
The web host and platform that you choose are behind-the-scenes decisions that your website visitors will never know or care about. They’re much more concerned about how easy it is to get to your site (i.e., good domain name), and how easy it is to use and navigate your website once they get there. These are website design issues.
WordPress sites are run from a template or “theme.” A theme is a “skin” that defines the layout and design which holds the content of your website. You can change themes in WordPress with the click of your mouse, reformatting your content into an entirely new design. The content remains the same, but your layout is all different. The choices can be overwhelming, but it can be fun to shop through all the options that are available to you. Pick one theme or several, copy them to your WordPress site, and start pouring in your content — words, photos, whatever.
The beauty of WordPress themes is that you can download free themes created by WordPress developers and hobbyists, or you can buy professionally designed themes that provide a lot of advanced features, or you can design and build your own themes using software that generates all of the code for you while you just make visual design decisions.
We’ve never used a free or store-bought WordPress theme. We have a couple of different software packages that generate WordPress themes, so we’ve always “rolled our own.” We’ve mainly used a template generator called Artisteer. It’s a very cool and unbelievably simple website generator that you can use to create WordPress themes. If you want to go there and download the free demo to play with, it might change your whole life. You can jump right in and start using Artisteer without reading the instruction manual. It’s so easy a 7-year-old can generate cool website designs that work.
Get Up and Running
Once you’ve acquired a WordPress theme by whatever means, you copy the files to your webhost and start adding content through the WordPress “dashboard.” Once you tell WordPress to post your content, the rest of the world can view it on your site. It’s a beautiful thing.
While this step is getting the least amount of space in this article, it’s really the most important and time consuming. Creating content – that is, the words and pictures your visitors will find when they visit your site – should be where you spend most of your time. Yes, the design must be user friendly so visitors can find all your wonderful content, but if your content isn’t worth finding, everything else you’ve done has been a waste of time.
Yes, there are a lot of steps involved and it can be massively confusing, but truth be told, none of it is really very difficult. Once you’ve been through the procedure a couple of times it’s no more difficult than firing up your word processor and drafting a letter.
We Can Help
We’re happy to be your guides through the process. Give us a call (419-660-0500), let us know what you’re thinking, and we can help you create a place of your very own on the web.
I use Google calendar for scheduling everything – I have different calendars for employees’ schedules, my business schedule, my personal schedule, Phil’s personal schedule, a schedule for our combined events (we call that the Ledbetters’ schedule, but that’s another story), as well as major US and Christian holidays schedules. That can become the definition of a crowded calendar! I find the program so incredibly useful – being able to put all events in one place is priceless. Priceless and free – you can’t beat that! (Yes, I know there are competitor products and I’m not dissing them, just saying I love this one.)
Here’s 7 tips to help you become a Google Calendar Power User:
1. Use the calendar colors effectively and meaningfully. Blue has always been my favorite color, so I’m the blue calendar. Phil has been going through his green period for several decades, so his calendar is green. My employees’ schedules are in brown because I don’t want them to jump out at me as much as the others. The Ledbetter schedule is purple – the color of passion and royalty and love.
2. When the calendar view gets too busy, click on the “Agenda” button in the top right. It will give you a list of events for the next 8 days. It maintains the color coding and provides one line for each event. That one line is expandable to provide the same info you get when you click on an event in the other views.
3. Have you noticed the “Copy to my calendar” ability? Click on any event from someone else’s calendar and you’ll find the “Copy to my calendar” option in the lower left of the information box. Yep, it’s been there all this time. But it took me awhile to find it, so I thought maybe you’d been ignoring it, too.
4. Customize your calendar with lab applications. Click on the Gear icon, then on Labs (bottom option in the middle section). The four I have docked on the right side of my calendar are:
- Jump to Date – I love this capability.
- World Clock – Have the current time in London at your fingertips (or where your sister lives or where your best client is located so you don’t call him at some annoying time or…). There’s a long list of cities to choose from.
- Year View – When you’re doing long-range planning, nothing else will do.
- Next Meeting – It saves my brain cells and I like that. The next meeting function not only identifies the meeting but displays how many hours and minutes until that meeting.
5. Keyboard shortcuts make using the calendar less mouse dependant – which makes you much more efficient. The shortcuts are pretty intuitive (aka, easy to learn and remember). Navigate date ranges, change views, and create, edit or delete events all from your keyboard. Find a list of keyboard shortcuts here for your Mac and here for your PC. Be sure to check that keyboard shortcuts are enabled in your settings (Gear > Settings).
6. Create your own view. Use the mini calendar in the left column to select weeks that you want to display on your screen. Interested in a specific two or three weeks? Select them and that’s what will show on your screen. No, you’re not at the mercy of the day, week, month views available from the top menu. This can be really helpful the third or fourth week of the month because it allows you to see the end of this month and the beginning of next month without flipping calendars.
7. Make it your own. If you’ve never played with the settings, take a few minutes to do so. (Gear > Settings) You can change how the date and time show, what day of the week your calendar starts on, whether or not weekends show up on your calendar, you can dim past events and choose how (and if) you want the weather displayed on your calendar.
Want to learn more? Check out the Google Calendar support page.
Then I grew up and life got more complicated. Whether you’re talking about life in general or graphics, it doesn’t matter – as you grow, life gets more complicated. We’re here to uncomplicate the world of graphics for you.
In the world of graphics (and therefore desktop publishing), colors are formulated using two different models. Both are necessary because they serve different technologies.
In the print world, colors are made by mixing four basic colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black – hence, it’s called the CMYK color model. When your print shop talks about “four-color printing,” this is what they are referring to.
In the world of monitors and screens, colors are made by mixing three different colors: red, blue and green – hence the RGB color model. Generally it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about your computer monitor, your telephone, or a projection screen – they all use the RGB color model.
Why do you care? You care because you want your products and your logo to be the colors you expect them to be – regardless of whether they’re being seen in print material or in digital form. You care because the colors don’t always translate accurately when converting between color models. If you create your image in RGB and place it in your document as an RGB graphic, then allow Word or Acrobat or InDesign or whatever program you’re using to convert the document to CMYK for printing, the color of the most important element on the page (your logo, for example), might appear dull or just slightly off when you receive the printed piece. Likewise, CMYK images may appear different from what you were trying to achieve if you don’t convert them to RGB before creating that screen-based app.
How are images converted? The best tool is an image manipulation program. Our tool of choice is Adobe Photoshop, but there are less expensive options available. It’s not a difficult process when you have the right tools. You can even write scripts to accomplish the job, although we recommend adding human interaction because leaving it all to the software sometimes gives wonky results. Your graphics professional will not only run the script, but then look at the images and manipulate them as needed to keep the colors accurate and the difference between image and shadows in proper balance.
Since the computer screen is an RGB device, how can you know if you have good CMYK images? Good question! You’re really catching on to this stuff! There are two answers to that question. First, monitors need to be calibrated to adjust the visual image to the accurate color models. (Don’t ask me more about the technical aspect of this. I just follow the instructions.) Secondly, operators learn their monitors. I love my monitor. It’s a 24″ monitor that allows me plenty of workspace. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold color at the edges. So I know the “sweet spot” for color matching.
The point is…be true to your colors – be sure your graphics are formulated using the color model appropriate to your final output. CMYK for print, RGB for viewscreens.
Questions? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer them.
But why would you want one?
Because you can download free Kindle reading apps for just about any digital device there is and use it as your Kindle-compatible e-reader. Free apps are available from Amazon for the PC and Mac computers; for iPad, Android, or Windows 8 tablets (I have one for my WebOS-powered HP tablet, too, but Amazon doesn’t list that one anymore); and for iPhone, Android, Windows, and Blackberry smartphones. That should cover you and just about anyone else that you know. Click here to go to Amazon’s web page to download any of these free Kindle apps.
Once you set up a free Kindle account with Amazon, you can assign up to seven different Kindle-enabled devices to share books between. I have an account that lets me access all of my books from my HP tablet and my Kindle e-reader. (Yes, I actually own a real Kindle in addition to having the free reader app installed on other digital devices.) This same account is shared by Sandy, who accesses it from her desktop, laptop, Android smartphone, and her Kindle. When either of us buys a Kindle book, it becomes available to both of us on all of our devices that share the same account.
But truth be told, we don’t buy many Kindle books. Don’t need to. We get ’em for free. By the truckload. I currently have over 700 Kindle books on my HP tablet and I’ve only had to pay for very few of them.
There are websites and email services that you can subscribe to that send you a listing of free or deeply discounted Kindle books every day. I check mine every day, because authors who decide to make their book available for free often do so for a very limited time. It might be for a specified number of days or hours, or until a predetermined number of free downloads has been reached. When the limits are reached, the book goes back for sale at its retail price, so I scan these email flyers every day and pounce on anything that looks reasonably interesting.
Personal experience: I was looking at a book on investing that cost $27. I decided I didn’t need to buy it that day. The next day it was one of the books listed for free at eReader News Today (see below). I downloaded it immediately. The free or deeply discounted books aren’t second-rate books. (OK, sometimes they are, but plenty of them aren’t.) Some of them are books we’ve already purchased in hard copy over the years. Now we can also access them on our Kindles, desktops, laptops, etc. And for a price of “free” I can afford to take a chance on something that I would be hinky about shelling out the cash for. I’ve found a couple of real gems that I never would have tried if I had to buy them.
Here is a short list of some of my favorite free Kindle book resources. You can visit their website and sign up for the daily email alerts. Or if your inbox is overloaded, you can just browse their site periodically:
http://ereadernewstoday.com/ — All types of books
http://www.pixelofink.com/ — All types of books
http://www.diningdownloads.com/ — Cookbooks
http://www.inspiredreads.com/ — Christian books
Besides these online resources, you can go to most libraries and borrow a Kindle book for two weeks for free. This would include books that you would otherwise not be able to find for free. And if you sign up for Amazon’s Prime service, one of the many benefits is the ability to borrow one book a month from Amazon. This benefit alone could easily justify the subscription fee.
One other resource you might find interesting is www.ebookfling.com. It is essentially a Kindle book lending service. Share your books and read books that others share. We have an account but have never used it. With 700 of our own books we haven’t found the need or time to.
Yeah, I know, this has been a long blog posting. But it’s a topic that I’m pretty passionate about. I just got back from vacation. I used to travel with a duffel bag full of books. Now I travel with my Kindle for outdoor sunshine reading and my HP tablet for indoor reading. 700 books, right in the palm of my hand. I didn’t used to be that strong.
A free Kindle account that you can share across seven devices. Free Kindle apps that you can run on your digital devices. Free Kindle books available from a variety of resources.
If it’s for free, it’s for me.
A Quick Tutorial on OneShar.es
Sending sensitive information via standard email (or text) is so not-smart. A number of websites now offer encrypted email services with self-destruction features. (Yes, think Mission Impossible.) We’ve used a service called OneShar.es. (You might also try privnote and burnnote.)
To use OneShar.es, point your browser to https://oneshar.es.
Once there, you’ll see their home page image:
Click on the blue “Create One Now” button and the message screen appears.
Then, simply type your message, select from a dropdown box how quickly you want the message to destruct and click the “Create Link” button.
Here’s what the message area looks like:
After clicking the blue “Create Link” button, a screen comes up offering you a link to paste into an email you create:
Create your email using whatever email program you use, paste the link into it and off it goes. When the recipient receives the email and clicks on the link, it is opened on the oneshar.es site, looking like this:
Notice the note at the bottom – the link may only be used once. If the recipient doesn’t record and keep the information somewhere else, they will no longer have access to it.
In the words of Sam Axe, “easy-peasy.”
InDesign has had a little-known Paragraph Style feature that can save you a lot of time and trouble.
When you’re formatting long documents, using Paragraph Styles is a must. There’s no better way to ensure standardization throughout a 500-page catalog than the consistent use of Paragraph Styles. Even if you’re disciplined about creating and using Paragraph Styles, you sometimes need to modify or “override” an existing style. Overriding an existing style doesn’t cause a global change to the Paragraph Style definition. It only modifies the one instance of text that you’ve selected.
Have you ever made a modification to a Paragraph Style and decided that you like your tweak better than the original style? You could go into your style definition and make all the same modifications, but there’s an easier way to apply your local override to the Paragraph Style definition, instantly making your style modification global.
Put your text cursor within the paragraph that has the override applied. Open your Paragraph Styles dialog box. You’ll see a plus sign next to the Paragraph Style name, indicating that it has an override applied to it. In the Paragraph Styles dialog box, click on the drop down arrow. There’s a command in there called Redefine Style. Clicking on this will cause that Paragraph Style to be redefined to include all of the overrides in the selected text. The modification will be instantly applied to every occurrence of that Style in your document.
If you’re a big fan of InDesign’s four-finger keyboard shortcuts (and who isn’t?), the shortcut for Redefine Style is Ctrl-Shift-Alt-R.