Category: Adobe

Steve (allegedly) speaks…

Town Hall Meeting

Employee meeting at Apple reveals some juicy info.

It’s rare that we see past Steve’s RDF and get a taste of what his real motivations are, to-wit: comments concerning Adobe:

They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

In my view this is the real reason why we don’t see Flash on the iPhone and iPad, Steve’s angry that they haven’t embraced Apple’s development environment fully, if at all.

It’s common knowledge that Adobe use their own cross-platform development software so that they can create software for Apple and Windows in tandem. As far as I know, Apple’s development kits allow you to do just that as well.

Steve’s bottom line – don’t use Carbon, we won’t use Flash.


$39.8 Billion…

Via MacDailyNews via Businessweek:

Way back in 1997, Apple was very nearly history.

I remember back then that I seriously thought of getting out of the graphic design business for good, I could not face a career having to use, what was then, Windows 95/NT.

I decided to hold on and hope for the best, but even I never thought that Apple could go this far.

If there’s one thing that defines Apple, since 1997, since Steve Jobs came back, it is that everything they do, and I mean everything they do, MAKES THEM MONEY.

A sh*tload of money.

Profit margins on their hardware that others can only dream of (around 40% for the Mac).

Software – since Steve Jobs returned, Apple makes the best software in their target markets (please Apple, take on Adobe!)

Content – the iTunes store makes profit on music, movies and apps.

Apple Stores – have the best profit per square foot of any retailer.

Next we have the tablet, and with the rumours of more content deals and that huge data centre built for some as yet unannounced reason, we can expect that to rake in even more cash.

But as the MacDailyNews/Businessweek articles states, what is it for?

Apple have spent a little here and there, acquiring one or two businesses that make strategic sense.

But there’s a lot of money left and it’s looking very unlikely that Apple are going to give that money to their shareholders (with a dividend), or it’s users (by reducing that profit margin).

So what’s it for?

Take a look at the graph at the top of the page – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Teflon Microsoft…

Teflon Microsoft

Courtesy of the ever-incisive Rixstep:

Reinforcing my previous post concerning the apparent invisibility of our friends at Redmond – why does no-one dare to question the insecure system that allowed all this?

China hack into over 30 western companies due to flaws in Microsoft Windows – how much more serious does this have to get?

Why does nothing seem to stick to this company?

The best (for them) days work Microsoft ever did, was to convince everyone that they are blameless for the security holes in their software.

Helvetica 5, Arial 0…


Being a graphic designer, typography has been an integral part of my life for a long time.

One of my (and countless others) favourite is Helvetica. It’s hard to make a non-designer understand the beauty of this wonderful set of ascenders & descenders.

Many years ago, I worked as a graphic designer in a larger pc-based company, whose corporate identity was based around just 3 weights of Helvetica.

Following the brand for the Mac was easy. All corporate literature flowed through the Mac, and followed the identity to the letter (pun intended).

Translating this to our PC-brethren was a fruitless task (another pun, also intended).

“No problem”, they would say, we already have Arial installed.

“No”, I would politely respond, “Helvetica is the corporate font, please install it on these PC’s”.

“But it’s the same, look”, they would then show me this ‘Arial’ font, (I had little experience of Windows back then), and I would immediately, and intuitively see the differences, and realise I was talking to, in design terms, an ignorant caveman.

In the end, they installed it. I had to go higher, but they grudgingly gave up, after stalling for a couple of weeks. This was a company, who, when asked to install Acrobat Reader on all the companies PC’s, evaluated it for 2-3 months, just to make sure that it didn’t make the fragile tower of cards that Windows was (and still is), fall around their ears.

If only I had access to an excellent graphic concerning Helvetica here: – Arial vs Helvetica.

The beauty, the attention to detail is incredible in Helvetica, but a didn’t realise how much until I saw this article.

PPC is left out in the cold…

Sorry for the ‘cold’ pun, but I couldn’t help it.

So, ‘Snow Leopard’, (the next iteration of the Mac OS), is going to be Intel-only. The Power-PC, which has had a love-hate relationship with Apple over the years, is finally going to be discarded, sometime in 2009.

A lot of the PC-press is trying to stir up a sh*t-storm over this, citing Apple as abandoning their users, and forcing them to upgrade.

Well, I’m here to say that I think Apple is doing the right thing.

The department that I run has over half-a-dozen Mac’s and a couple of PC’s, and everyone of these Mac’s runs Tiger.

Not Leopard, but Tiger.

“Aha!” I here all the Windows-apologists scream, “Leopard is full of bugs! Here’s a Mac-loving ‘power-user’ and even he doesn’t even recommend it!”

Well, calm down, there are reasons why my department runs Tiger, and not Leopard (apart from a little iBook for testing).

Firstly, this is software – a lot of software. On top of the OS, I have about a dozen applications that I rely on being compatible, all the time.

Secondly, software has bugs. Mac software doesn’t have as many bugs as Windows software, but there are bugs. InDesign CS2 has 2 reproducible bugs that I can do right now – that cause a crash.

Thirdly, and talking of InDesign – it’s Adobe. CS3 (including 2) and Leopard don’t play well together – at all. Now I don’t care whose fault this is, it’s probably both Apple’s & Adobe’s, but I’m not installing Leopard on any production Mac until it ‘just works’.

However those half-a-dozen Mac’s are also all PPC. There’s not one Intel Mac in my department, so Leopard is a no-no until Adobe pulls its finger out, and therefore Snow Leopard is a bit of a non-starter for me as well.

Is that likely to change? Maybe, maybe not. The oldest Mac in my department is a 700mhz G4 – nearly 7 years old, and (touch wood), it’s still a production machine.

I do have the chance to bring Intel in however, I’m about to purchase another large format printer, and I need a Mac to run it on, but I’m stuck between buying a 2nd-hand G5, or a new MacPro.

Now most people would go with the MacPro, but as well as the hardware, there’s the software issue as well – all my software is PPC, not Universal.

So, it looks like I’m stuck for now, until one of the Mac’s die (7 years and counting), and I have to by Intel, and go cap-in-hand to finance to upgrade the software as well.

But my finance department is as tight as a ‘gnat’s chuff’ (English colloquialism, look it up), so I’ll be sticking with a PPC-based department for now.


RIP Freehand…

Free hand

It’s a sad day today, the final last gasp of a once great application – FreeHand. Adobe have posted a document outlining what you need to know to transfer from Freehand to Illustrator. Freehand is basically dead.

After the takeover of Macromedia by Adobe last year, most people were concerned about the web development apps, such as Dreamweaver – would they survive?

Little attention was given to an application that I have fond memories of, it being one of the first applications I knew back-to-front & inside out – Freehand.

Freehand has had an odd history. It’s been passed around from pillar to post for years Macromedia to Aldus, over to Adobe and then back to Macromedia again. Some upgrades were fantastic (3.1, 7 & 10), but others were dogs, if you ever used Freehand 4, you’d know what I mean.

I used to use Freehand alongside Quark (remember that app?), many, many years ago, and they were a great team. This was before transparency, before PDF & Postscript 3 and the combination of these 2 apps made it possible to create some great designs.
I’ve always liked the way in which Freehand handles bezier curves, much more intuitive than Illustrator. It allowed you to get right down to the task in hand, be it re-drawing a logo, or creating a complex illustration. At this point, I worked for a design department of a newspaper, and we worked exclusively in Freehand creating adverts & editorial background designs.

But then things started to change. Freehand 4 came along and something went wrong. This upgrade was a dog, slow, unintuitive and buggy, and with Illustrator snapping at it’s heels, Freehand 5 solved most of the problems, but even back then the writing was on the wall.
I started to use both Illustrator & Freehand side by side, but I kept on going back to Freehand, and only using Quark for huge, multi-page documents. When Freehand added multi page documents, it became possible to leave Quark behind completely, in fact for a few jobs (8 page brochures, complex gatefold leaflets), entire jobs were done in Freehand, much to the anger of various repro houses who were part of an inflexible Quark-based workflow.

When Apple released OS X, Freehand was one of the first apps to be ported and it worked like a charm. I continued to use it for creating logos & small adverts, but then Adobe released InDesign.

InDesign was a huge change for me. I’ve always hated Quark, and when I got the excuse to move from it to InDesign (Quark had no OS X support) I leapt at the chance.

But, on leaping I started to use Illustrator more because EPS files created in Illustrator seemed to print more reliably than EPS files created in Freehand, and Freehand’s fate for me was sealed.

I never upgraded it again, and it stays on my hard drive to this day, unused.

But you have to move on, and having grudgingly learned Illustrator and marveled at its transparency effects which have totally changed my workflow and my viewpoint of the app, I feel that Freehand does deserve its fate.

Illustrator’s still a pain to use though. RIP Freehand.