Thursday, October 30, 2008

Adobe and Cloud Computing

I have updated the Acrobat Services dotcom site after the Microsoft announcements. as far as I can tell, Microsoft has now accepted the Cloud but nobody is sure how this will work out. My comment aspect is that Adobe seem to be ignored in most of the reporting. Amazon is mentioned on services for developers, Google for Apps. But nothing on Buzzword etc. This is worth mentioning as I find Buzzword off the scale if you take Windows Live as a base for word processing. Maybe I have not found the right bit. I try to keep an open mind.

I did a check Google search just on Adobe and cloud and found Tim O'Reilley on the radar. No mention of Adobe until the last bit where he links to the panel for a Web 2 conference coming up. Kevin Lynch, Adobe Chief Technology Officer, will be there.

Maybe things will become clear. My first guess is that the problems for Adobe and Microsoft are much the same.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Acrobat Services UK site updated on ePUB edit

I have added a story about the use of the PDFXML tools for ePUB. this could extend to editing or at least getting used to the ePUB format.

I think the UK site is a fair enough place for this sort of thing, XML for hard copy or at least flat documents made up mostly of text. I realise you could put video into ePUB but I actually don't think this is the point. The Sony Reader has about the design capability of a 1930s paperback. Page after page of text. which is what a lot of people want. And especially in the UK, the bandwidth is well suited to this. Doubtless in California high definition video arrives fast on any screen and Flash is making sense. But I think Adobe Classic still has some scope in the UK.

There is still some mystery about PDFXML. I don't understand why it is not promoted more. Maybe ePUB will get some interest and then the idea of an XML zip file will get more attention.

Also I don't understand why Adobe are switching DRM to Digital Editions as far as e-books are concerned. It appears that Livecycle can still control access to PDF but how this might work with e-books I don't know. Maybe the products and markets have been segmented so much that the users will have to work out quite a lot of things through blogs.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

OhmyNews switch my headlines on Total Print story

OhmyNews have published my story about the Total Print show and LCC conference but they have switched the headlines to put the emphasis on the e-book. I still think the news from the show was the Heidelberg effort to present litho as still relevant. But clearly the online interest is in e-books. The info from Frankfurt has been picked out in the OhmyNews intro.

So what I take from this is that the Web joins things up quite quickly. We do not have to wait for the next London bookfair, might as well look at Frankfurt online. Maybe think of all the UK shows as if they are happening all the time. The BETT and Online Information websites are comprehensive and link to social networks. Learning Technology much the same.

The best report on Frankfurt I can find is from the blog for ePUB Books. Clearly based on actually being there. Apparently Sony expect the Reader to sell in millions. Most of the other hard information is that nothing much was denied. Suggest careful study as a guide to what is possible.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Publisher's Weekly and XML

Quick scan of Google News finds this on XML from Frankfurt. More on ePUB later. The thing is, JDF is XML as well and PDFXML is possible. So my point is that the print world need to be on XML speed to keep up. The Total Print show did have the technology available but I'm not sure of the timescale people are thinking about.

I'm near Tottenham Court Road at the moment. Both Waterstones and Sony Centre are sold out of the Sony Reader.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Heidelberg presents litho as digital workflow

I am still not sure what to make of the Total Print show. It clearly is different to Digital Print World as Heidelberg is there but the discussion at the lunchtime debate was mostly about digital. Gareth Ward pointed out that the setup costs for litho have been reduced with the anicolor shown by Heidelberg, but the run length mentioned was still 1000. Other times there is talk of 500 or 200. It may be my lack of imagination but I can't see this kind of equipment being used for 200 sheets.

"Short-run" seems to be used as a word in association with personalisation or variable data. The value of the timeliness and targeted content is greater than the setup costs. Litho has not got an easy way to compete with this although sections can be combined in a book of selections with a personalised cover from some other device.

Heidelberg show the Prinect workflow system as causing much of the improvement in makeready times. It also works with most digital presses and finishing equipment, not just their own. The Heidelberg emphasis on JDF is the strongest at the show. It is part of several other workflow products, but not strongly promoted as such.

The Fuji Jetpress 720 is present through a video. The claimed runlength is around 2000 where litho costs would be a reason not to use inkjet. There will be some test installations in Japan during 2009 but the UK may have to wait till IPEX 2010.

More later on web-to-print. There are some examples.

The show is not as busy as it could be. Tomorrow is the last day.

Meanwhile I think that ePUB and devices like the Kindle and Sony Reader will get a boost at Frankfurt. Print is still the leading way for books to be published, but the workflow may need to get more personalised and closer to instant.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Run lengths, litho and inkjet

Total Print is now intended as a show to cover litho as well as digital. The name change from Digital Print World may indicate a loss of focus on other aspects of digital technology. Web design as pre-media, for example. But for the show organisers the return of Heidelberg must be welcome.

However it is not making sense to me that the Heidelberg Anicolor machines can do 15,000 sheets an hour but are also claimed to be suitable to compete with digital for short runs. What is a short run? I can't see why litho would compete on five or ten.

Another new exhibitor is Fujifilm. I can't find a weblink for the Printweek Technology Report but here is a link to a comment by Barney Cox where some issues are raised about future inkjet. In the Technology Report, Barney Cox sums up the info from Drupa and quotes Fuji claims that the Jet Press 720 will be competitive with litho on runs up to 5000. This seems much more like the run length at which Heidelberg would be concerned. The 720 is not available till 2010. There may be a photograph or video at Total Print. So my guess is that Heidelberg are there to investigate and get ready.

Comments welcome on what is a short run.

By the way, will anyone from Haymarket turn up at the LCC Futures conference this year and explain the web strategy for magazines?

ePUB, draft for after Frankfurt

I have done a couple of stories on ePUB and the Sony Reader for OhmyNews

Sony opens Reader to ePUB

Penguin targets Sony Reader

There will be a presentation at the Frankfurt Bookfair, Thursday next week.

(I will be at Total Print in London but print and publishing are connected, see fiction attempt on blog for IPEX2002)

Main facts seem to be

Stats on sales, 71% up year to July
See details on history

Two million downloads from Feedbooks . They seem to be a major source for content. They can create ePUB from a blog feed or newspaper etc.

So far nothing about the iPhone or Stanza. This may come up though. Stanza allows ePUB files to be read on an iPhone or iPod. Forbes reported that there have been 395,000 downloads compared to estimated Kindle sales of 380,000. Link found through Teleread, where most info on this sort of thing turns up.

I am not sure people will read for so long on a small backlit screen as they would on a Sony Reader or Kindle. If they do, they may regret it later.

Any other info welcome, probably another story for OhmyNews around the 20th.

The stats page has some links for Japan and Korea but not very recent. Suggestions on this would also be helpful.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

In the Cloud with Steve Ballmer

In London and Paris last week Steve Ballmer spoke about Cloud Computing. something will happen around the time of a developer conference at the end of this month.

I have done a story for Acrobat Services dotcom. Also updated my blog on Live Spaces. I am still not sure how this works. Previously I tried it out a bit but my hotmail identity fell over through disuse. This time around my Gmail email was accepted but some of my previous text is no longer available to edit. I think the texts may be online somewhere. The blog is definitely. But the look of it is no different to what Blogger offers.

To be continued.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Imagined Reader Proposal

From Guardian Talk

Victor Keegan has written about the Sony Reader and other devices coming along next year.

This was on a Thursday. But not much yet on a Saturday in the bookish bit, or on a Monday where newspaper circulation numbers continue to be considered as a mystery.

I would like to suggest a whatif from some time in the future. Say the Guardian guarantees £500 million over five years for Man Roland to develop a device with a screen size like the Berliner or G2 in colour of course and with Web access. Guardian fans sign a 24 month contract to spend around a pound a day and get a free prototype.

I could develop a detailed proposal on a modest budget if one could be found. Not too silly. Man Roland already has some research.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Draft stories around Online Information

I try to keep a Google Doc updated with drafts of stories for OhmyNews. Let me know if you would like a look. It is a bit of a muddle but works ok once the editors are involved. Often they do not have to intervene much, it just takes a better shape for the occasion.

Latest addition

update 2nd October

British Library have announced that Adobe Digital Editions will be required next year to access their journal service. Support for Acrobat Reader will vanish. Digital Rights Management will be in Digital Editions, not Acrobat. I do not think the reasons behind this have been well explained. No mention of Flash on the British Library site that stands out. The effect will be to force Flash on all BL customers. Do they realise what else it is capable of? Trying to hold on to Adobe Classic will not be possible after such an event so after Online Information will be a time to consider Adobe Max.

Possible headlines,

During November
Journal Publishers continue to ignore video

My guess is that the academic content promoted at Olympia will be in the same form as ever

Early December
British Library forces researchers to install Flash

Version 10 of Flash is probably out sometime around the rest of this year. Expect at least some sort of speculation in time for the Max events. I find it difficult to follow and explain, especially in real time and space. Exeter City Council still avoid Flash on their site and for staff browsing.