Thursday, May 29, 2008

Apple at drupa 2004

Copied from Reuters and AP

This is only a blog so it is ok once in a while to just link to reliable sources.

"Printing press makers gather amid growing gloom" is the headline from Reuters, based on the financial results for Heidelberg and manroland.

Ben Dobbin for the Associated Press reports from Rochester in New York State, as good a base as any for relating to drupa online.

With profits from offset lithography printing stagnant — and more than 3 percent of the nation's more than 30,000 commercial printers folding each year — a radical shift to digital now looks imminent, said Steve Nigro, general manager of HP's graphics and imaging business.

Adobe updates PDF Print Engine and continues to concentrate on Flash

drupa has now officially started and Adobe have announced the second version of the PDF Print Engine. The first version was announced at IPEX in 2006. Barney Cox in Printweek has emphasised the variable data aspect.

There is still no news about MARS, the possible rewrite of PDF as even more friendly for XML. This is a bit of a problem for any informed discussion. There are any number of ways to connect PDF and XML but if there is some development possible it would be useful to know about it. Probably being saved up for a suitable occasion. But many sensible companies such as Heidelberg and Xerox just keep their customers more or less informed most of the time. The MARS blog has not been updated in 2008. So far.

Meanwhile Adobe are still promoting Flash and AIR, more or less avoiding PDF and Postscript most of the time. Shantanu Narayan is interviewed in Forbes about the "ubiquitous upside" - "We're everywhere, but we're not pushy about it"- and hardly mentions the printed page. Kevin Lynch, Chief Technology Officer, recently told Knowledge at Wharton-

We think there's a big shift of software development to the web and that this is going to affect software companies in general. Just like the Internet has transformed the media industry or the e-commerce industry, the software industry is also being affected dramatically by the Internet.

The questions include mention of Silverlight from Microsoft. There is no space for the XML Paper Specification (XPS) as featured in the drupa Innovation Parc.

This background suggests that the technology around Postscript and PDF is no longer of much interest as software. Another indication is that Apple have not taken any space at drupa 2008. I have put a comment about this on the Printweek blog so if I have got my facts wrong the official publishers of the show daily will surely correct me over the next week or so.

Apple are concentrating on mobile devices, sound and moving images. Similar concerns to where Adobe is heading, even if they cannot agree on Flash for the phone.

The screenshot is from the Adobe homepage today. The Print Engine is not included in News here, just as a press release. So the web world is still on Flickr and betas of the next Dreamweaver.

People from print companies should spend some time in the dip to study how print survives as part of communications, mostly organised around the Web.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Andrew Tribute blog found

Here it is.

Other contributions to this blog as well but previously I found that the Attributes blog was about all that was needed for linking to.

I expect a searching question soon about the minimum run lengths at which Heidelberg could compete with digital.

More about Apple

I have found a link through Google blogsearch. Coin-c Tumbler cannot attend an Apple event as he plans to be at drupa.

However looking at the Developer Connection agenda shows almost no interest in hard copy, lots about mobile devices. It only clashes with the last part of drupa but there could be an implication here.

No contrary information to my statement on Guardian Talk that there is no Apple stand at drupa so I still think this is the case.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

XML testing

It appears all I have to do is add some code. Copied from site so blogging is getting easier all the time.

W3C XML 10th anniversary

XML looks well set for drupa

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quark and Adobe, together on the same platform

On Wednesday, June 4th, in the JDF part of the Innovations Parc

Connecting to the Customer with JDF -- Panel Discussion

Matthias Guenther, Senior Product Manager, Quark, Inc.

Michael Scrutton, Adobe Systems Incorporated

This is the most sensible thing to turn up so far. The print customer can create an intent file and the detail can be filled in later.

The only problem could be if Adobe marketing forget to tell anyone about this feature in Acrobat.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Can't find Apple in drupa catalogue

The drupa catalogue has arrived but I can't find out where Apple is. they still make some chunky boxes as far as I know. The Exeter store is mostly mobile devices upfront but there are some other items at the back. I had imagined the drupa stand would be much the same but maybe they decided not to bother. As mentioned previously Steve Jobs thinks that ebook readers are not required as tunes are what people actually like. Maybe he has a point.

I might have made an error and Apple is there with some other name I can't find in the index. But if they don't turn up, what would this bode for print?

Meanwhile Adobe have got a spot in the entrance hall from the North, between halls 7 and 8. Seems a bit remote from the main show but easy enough to find. The description of Acrobat on the UK website seems aimed at passing knowledge workers in general.

Meanwhile OhmyNews have published my story about the Libre Graphics Meeting based on browsing other blogs. I put some bits at the end about what Adobe may tell us later.

The context for Libre Graphics seems to be that online animation is where the interest is going, so XML to printed page ought to be fairly easy then. If the world of Postscript is no longer of much interest for developers, the prices involved could soon drop.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Confused? It can only get moreso

I think I may be turning into a character from Private Eye. I know there was a journalist who took different points of view in every paragraph. So at least I will try to put several links into the same post, even if my objections are not that coherent.

Adobe have gone very Flash. Bandwidth must be excellent in San Jose so in tests I suppose the web pages load without any test of patience. Here in the UK things are a bit different. Previously my view was that people interested in Acrobat would prefer a more page analogy design. The case study choices flip past in a stream of graphics. I could follow a list of text options more like a contents page. But I now realise that Acrobat is meant by Adobe to be a Flash product, not much to do with PDF.

This is more obvious from the Acrobat Connect product announced a few days ago. Straight to video. There may be a white paper somewhere but not easy to find. It has almost nothing to do with Acrobat as a product people are used to. So it can be launched ahead of the next PDF creation whatever it turns out to be. The button on the menu in the last release was just an advert, there was no reason for it in terms of PDF.

I have done a PDF version to print out the comparison of prices for Connect options. Not very clear but the web version is not easy to follow or find.

Look at Brio on Adobe Labs. It could work without the rest of Acrobat. I noticed on the recent webcast that the PDF files used for presentations were hosted on another page completely. There is no way to save slides as PDF within Connect. The messages can be saved as text then converted to PDF, then added as pages to the PDF of the slides if you find it somewhere else. So that's alright then.

Meanwhile Victor Keegan in the Guardian is convinced that soon "all meetings will be virtual". Now Victor Keegan is a proper print journalist. He would not be writing this if there was not some basis for his views. Adobe probably have a point in the direction they are taking.

Today Printweek has a section on "pre-media" for drupa. Can't find anything about Adobe. Surely some mistake. Maybe I should look again. Print journalists are only able to rewrite what is sent in to them, after all. Has Adobe got no interest in what the Printweek audience has to think about?

What to do about GoLive? I have been doing most of my web pages with GoLive for a while now. Excellent links with PDF by the way. I think Dreamweaver is for people who like Flash and animation or lots of video. Obviously these are the people Adobe are happy with. But is it really fair to just close GoLive down? Maybe they should offer it to Quark or Global Graphics? People who still have an interest in flat documents and the paper style of design.

It seems to me that drupa may be completely confusing. Is "pre-media" about bits and pieces that could turn up on a printed page or online or in a video or whatever? When will Adobe tell anyone about MARS or the print engine or whatever they have in mind? Eventually there will be some sort of take on "communication" that makes sense more widely. The London College has still not got used to it as far as I know.

The bloggers don't help either. Jeff Jarvis recently wrote that "print sucks".
Comments to Buzzmachine, not here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mild time travel - draft stories for OhmyNews and blogs

I have done some notes on events and background for possible stories over the next ten months or so for OhmyNews and this blog.

Available as a Scribd doc and as a Google doc. Scribd may load faster. Let me know if you would like to edit the Google doc.

In brief, UK catching up fast with OhmyNews take on media and technology. But still a few years gap....

Friday, May 02, 2008

Creative Suite targets mobile devices

I only saw the start of the Adobe webcast last night as I wanted to see Tony Oreshko at the Globe. Off topic I know but just a bit of context.

Previously I had found it hard to believe that Adobe @ drupa would be more or less about web video but now i think it is quite likely. The Kevin Lynch theory of design is to think about the phone first, then the desktop screen. Set top boxes coming soon. Nothing said about the book but maybe by the time the design is spread out to paper it would be series of blob graphics with lots of white space, maybe with page numbers to turn to. Not much text though, even then.

Searching on Google News this morning for " Adobe, PDF " finds mostly the Open Screen Project (Kevin Lynch did mention PDF, as a source of content for AIR) but also a review of Nuance PDF Converter, works with Microsoft XPS. So discussion around PDF, XML etc for flat documents will continue. At drupa Global Graphics sponsor the main space for this.

Google also finds a GMG press release about support for "PDF Print Engine 2.0" , something I cannot find anything else about. Barney Cox has replied to my comment on the Printweek listing about workflow and MIS. He writes that Adobe are expected to announce something on the first day.

My opinion is that drupa has more or less started already. Online discussion is best supported if information is widely available. If Adobe have something to announce it might as well be done on a similar basis to Cocomo or whatever.

And the MARS thing is a bit crucial. The blog, like Inside PDF, is in need of an update. How can there be a sensible conversation about XML and PDF if the file format in the next Acrobat release is a bit of a mystery?

Graphic may be hard to read, so click to enlarge

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Jim King blog, time for an update?

Last post in January, as fas as I can tell.

Getting an ISO number is not enough. Someone has to do some publicity as well.

What is the meaning of "open" for Adobe?

Adobe have announced an Open Screen Project, based on Flash and AIR, and have already decided to open up on some licences. Details on the Techcrunch blog. “A consistent, more open platform for developers will drive rapid innovation, vastly improving the user experience” said Shantanu Narayen, chief executive officer at Adobe.

"Open Screen" has a good sound to it. Open Source has possibly the best branding buzz since the word "extreme". But there must be grounds for caution when looking at a format supported by large organisations. MTV have tended to respect digital rights. Nothing wrong with that of course but perhaps the policy on digital rights management should be fully described before the Open Screen is adopted more widely. I myself took out a sub through BT for download music that was then suddenly disabled one day following a change of policy. This was quite a while ago so I try to keep an open mind.

Kevin Lynch, Chief Technology Officer, has a video for developers. No mention of PDF or Postscript so a significant change from the previous Chief Technology Officer, John Warnock.

What I think is that PDF should get a mention and also the fact it is rarely mentioned in the context of open source or cheap deals to drive rapid innovation is disturbing. Acrobat still accounts for much of the Adobe income and is still fairly expensive. The Reader is a large download mostly because it already has many features of the full product except they are turned off. So the server software has not got much to do, whatever it costs per seat or per document, than to message Reader to turn things on again. then fuctionality for saving data in forms or adding comments, all the stuff of collaboration, becomes possible. My guess is that similar functionality will be available in AIR at no additional cost at all once the browser is enabled.

As mentioned previously in this blog, there is a project in the labs called MARS which is an XML rewrite of the PDF format. It could be very useful for XML data and connecting with open source software such as the open document format. Worth a mention, you might think. Later today there is a webcast for financial analysts, available on archive for the next fortnight or so. Probably no mention of MARS, my guess. It may happen sometime, but PDF seems to have lost mindshare.

“The market is transitioning from the connected home office to the multimedia enabled home,” said Ned Hooper, senior vice president, Corporate Development, Consumer and Small Business Group at Cisco.

This may be true, but the office is still there and is worth some attention.

The print industry should be very concerned about this balance of presentation. There may be some last minute announcements ahead of drupa but the energy could well be on Creative Suite for mobile devices. Could they turn up at a print show and talk about video like this? Maybe there is a point to this in where the communications market is going. So I don't disagree on the sense of the moves being made. Just that an explanation that included the previous Adobe fans would not have much of a disadvantage. Especially if the open approach reached more of Acrobat.

PDF is now an ISO standard although this is not widely publicised. In January Linux Watch reported Kevin Lynch as saying-

"Today's announcement is the next logical step in the evolution of PDF from de facto standard to a formal, de jure standard. By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness. As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organization will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years."

So MARS may crop up sometime.