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Posts Tagged ‘technology’

 The meaning of life is to see.
[Hui Neng]

New Willowgreen Web site

 

Ten years ago, I designed and produced a Web site for one of my clients, Jim Miller at Willowgreen, Inc.; a publishing company that produces “meaningful resources for hope, healing and inspiration.” Since then, I have not only maintained his site, but I have also designed and produced print and electronic media for his company.

Having Jim as a client has been a graphic designer’s dream. He is a writer and an excellent photographer. His portfolio of breathtaking photographs assures me that I can hardly produce an ugly design. Also, I have been able to contribute hand-rendered illustrations to some of his publications, and spread my wings into electronic publishing.

Last spring, we embarked upon a complete redesign of the Willowgreen Web site. I produced a site plan and visual design which we turned over to a programming team who setup the store in Shopify. The redesigned site was recently launched.

What do I like best about the new site? In addition to Jim’s photography and insightful writing, I like that there is a balance between the commercial aspects (selling products in the new store) and free offerings. The homepage alone with its inspiring slide show and video is a place to go just to meditate. There are free eCards, inspiring blogs, and helpful writings for caregivers and those who are grieving.

One of the many things that I am thankful for this holiday is that I have had the honor of serving the kind and gentle folks at Willowgreen.

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Mama, you should try Pinterest.
It is like receiving a new magazine every day.
[Rachel Smith]

Pinterest

I’ve had a long line of personal computers since 1982. Computers fascinate me and are now my main tool in my work. I spend hours standing in front of my Mac fiddling in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I don’t use a cell phone. Frankly, I like being out of touch. I’ve never felt pressed to answer a ringing telephone. I maintain 5 wordpress blogs and I am working on revising my website, but I am not a member of Facebook or Twitter. In other words, I try to be a gatekeeper to filter that which bombards me from the outside world. Then came Pinterest.

Of course it has been around since 2010, but didn’t reach out and grab me until now. Oddly enough, a tip for cleaning the buildup off of my gas stove grates pushed me over the edge. In addition to shiny grates, I now have an unclogged shower head and plenty of advice for training my two new puppies. The industrial design section convinces me once again that humans can create instead of destroy. The gardening section almost makes me want to pull weeds. Pinterest reminds me of the 10-inch thick dictionary on the stand in my third-grade classroom—whenever I look something up, I am in constant danger of getting completely sidetracked.

 

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It is not the employer who pays the wages.
Employers only handle the money.
It is the customer who pays the wages.
[Henry Ford]

I have a self-inflicted rule—to avoid impulse buying, I wait and save up for something that strikes my fancy. If I still want it in time, I’m more likely to get my money’s worth out of it. When I was in high school, my sister and I wanted a high fidelity record player. Our mother gave us a jar and encouraged us to save up for one. During the year it took us to fill the jar, stereophonic record players came on the market. Needless to say, we were glad we waited.  Several years ago, a participant at a writer’s conference showed me her Livescribe pen and extolled its virtues. It struck my fancy to the extent that I saved up and finally bought one. It was delightful and fulfilled its promises. Select this link to see what wonderful things it can do.

I have been on a learning curve for several other pieces of technology so I didn’t use my pen for several months. When I tried to recharge it, I had problems with the battery. That is the bad news. The good news is, I emailed the company and received a reply from a customer service person named Wendy. After trouble-shooting to no avail, she made arrangements to replace the pen since the battery was still under warranty (just barely). My new pen came promptly in the mail. Thank you Livescribe and thank you Wendy R.

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Getting information off the Internet is like
taking a drink from a fire hydrant.
[Mitchell Kapor]

[NOTE: This falls under the “I just had to tell someone” category, and is probably only of interest to about three people in the whole world.]

One of my clients needs to reprint a book he published in 2001. He gave me CDs of the original computer files and asked if I could access them after all of these years of changes and upgrades. The original layout artist used a piece of software (QuarkXPress) that I used in the past but no longer keep on my computer. After all of these years, the Quark files were simply grey rectangles with .exec on them. I had no software that would open these files.

I searched the internet for similar quandaries, and found discussion boards that indicated that there was no way I could access these files. I went into a problem-solving mode based upon the premise, I couldn’t make the problem worse so I’d try several hunch-based fixes. I changed the suffix on the file from .exec to .indd (for InDesign) and, TA DA, it opened in my new Adobe InDesign CS6 just as though it had been laid out yesterday.

If I weren’t alone right now, I’d give someone a huge kiss, and buy them an ice cream cone.

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Once a new technology rolls over you,
if you’re not part of the steamroller,
you’re part of the road.
[Stewart Brand]

We all have our odd turns of the mind. One of mine is a fear of ending up as road kill on the information super highway. After working more than 25 years in graphic design, I still spend as much time in training as I do designing. Software upgrades are a big part of that, and Lynda.com is my main training resource. One of my favorites there is Anne-Marie Concepcion of Seneca Design and Training, and InDesign Secrets.

Fear of not knowing enough can hold a person back from finishing a job, just like fear of the marketplace (agoraphobia) can keep some folks entrenched in their homes. A thought struck me as I was scrubbing out the toilet bowl this morning. I was doing that chore to procrastinate from working on a design job. I really enjoy my design jobs so why put it off? I realized that I don’t necessarily procrastinate because I’m lazy. I usually procrastinate because I’m not quite sure I have the right solution to a production issue. The question is, how much of my mental block is based on a misperception?

I’ve successfully completed countless design jobs over the years, but I’d just watched a video about advances in the software I’ve used for a decade. There were five more hours of lessons available. What if I missed something that would make a difference in the project? Well, phooey, I thought. If I’d waited to upgrade like other designers I know, I couldn’t even do what I didn’t yet know how to do. I simply finished the job. I’ll watch the other five hours later.

The conclusion to all of this goes back to maintaining a balance (but then I wonder if I can get a life-time membership on the training site?).


When I was hunting a “keeping up with technology” quotation for this post,
I had trouble picking just one. Here is another quote that nudged my funny bone:

If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has,
we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 MPG
[Bill Gates]

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