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(No, you won’t really learn anything from this blog, but you will be mildly amused…)

2013 Printing and Electronic Publishing Conference BannerPhil and I attended the premier InDesign conference this week. PePcon, the Printing & Electronic Publishing Conference, was held in Austin, TX and sponsored by none other than Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner (InDesign superstars). If you turn on “Tips” in InDesign, all of them have been written by David Blatner. If you go to the Lynda.com online training site (and we really recommend that you do), about a third of the InDesign courses offered are by either David or Anne-Marie. Together they own and publish InDesign Secrets magazine and have just purchased CreativePro magazine.

It’s been a few years (perhaps quite a few years) since Phil and I have attended such a large-scale conference. Indulge me as I share my reflections.

  • What used to be called “desktop publishing” (DTP) has now become “printing and electronic publishing.” DTP used to be almost exclusively for print media. With the proliferation of mobile devices, the pendulum is now swinging toward electronic or digital publishing.
  • There are people here (at this conference) who have been around before DTP existed (that is, from the typesetting and Exacto knife days).
  • There are people here who have relatively recently graduated from college.
  • All of us are in the same place in the industry – because the electronic publishing industry is still in its infancy and is constantly changing. The slide titled “Braving the Perils of New Technology” by one of the presenters said it all.
  • Designers are becoming coders and (to a lesser degree) coders are becoming designers. That’s a weird thing.
  • Digital publishing should significantly impact your print workflow.
  • Attending conferences helps you get out of a rut in your own thinking and approaches.
  • I’ve been brought face to face with my laptop size vs. tablet dilemma. I recently bought a new laptop and opted for a larger one because I love the bigger screen. But larger means…well, larger. That means more space in a bag and on a table. I look around and many people have little tablets resting on the table in front of them and it looks so nice and cute and I’m jealous. Then I remember that I also brought my tablet and I made the conscious decision to want to type on my larger laptop instead of my smaller tablet. In discussing this with Phil, he pointed out that “sometimes you want to drive a Lincoln and sometimes you want to drive a motorcycle. They both take you to the grocery store.” He’s so much more pithy than me.
  • Speakers have much more competition for the attention of their audiences than they used to. That’s both good and bad – for both the speakers and the attendees. In the first session I attended, the person next to me shopped for handbags throughout the session while the presenter proved outstanding content. Perhaps it was info that she had no need for. I’ve made notes for this blog throughout the past few days. I’m typing them as two presenters are boring me with things I already know (so why did they name this session “deep dive”?).
  • Either I’ve become more geeky or other attendees have become less geeky in the years that have transpired  since I attended something like this. Probably a little of both.
  • Background music really does get in your head. I’m sitting on the aisle before this session starts. Every person who walks past me is humming “I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me….” Yep, it was playing in the hallway. Yep, I was humming it, too.
  • Laptop batteries really don’t last as long as you want them to.
  • Afternoon snacks sure have been upgraded – peach cobbler à la mode this afternoon! (WTG Hilton Garden Hotel in Austin, TX.)
8 Feet Tall Boots

Imagine this 8 feet tall…

You know you’re at a geeky InDesign Conference when the networking BINGO has blocks that require you find someone who…

  • Helped design or lay out their high school yearbook (yes, I could have signed that square)
  • Has a pet named after a computer-related term (Uh, no – we generally prefer human names…although Phil’s always wanted a dog named Booger)
  • Uses a pen input tablet instead of a mouse
  • Can tell you what DPS stands for in Adobe DPS (Digital Publishing System)
  • Can tell you the name of their custom workspace (nothing creative here – I just call it “Sandys Workspace” – which of course means “Use it if you like, but don’t even think about changing it.” Phil calls his “Phil’s Binary Shack.” Who do you think is most geeky?)
  • Has a phone hooked onto their belt, Batman-style
  • Can tell you the keyboard shortcut for Paste in Place (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-V)

 

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