Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Blogging Flickr, and Blogging a Milestone

Since Red Sweater finally publicly said something about it, I finally can, too.

I’m in on NetNewsWire and MarsEdit beta testing, and a while back we got to try out the new feature that allows a posting window in MarsEdit to directly access a Flickr library and pull images in. The integration is splendid and might even prompt me to send things from my phone to Flickr more often just so I’ll have more of a selection from which to pick whenever I choose to blog about one of my Flickr photos.

For example, if you don’t follow my Flickr feed, you wouldn’t have learned about a little milestone I recently passed.

10 Years of Florida Focus PDFs

This image (pulled in using MarsEdit’s new Flickr integration) is an Adobe Bridge thumbnail view of the covers of a newsletter I’ve designed for the 15 years I’ve worked at my office. And while July 1 marked the 15th anniversary of my hire date, that’s not the milestone I was talking about.

The first thumbnail in this image is for the volume 13, number 2 issue and was the very first issue that went online as a PDF.

The last thumbnail in this image (not counting the index.html file) is for the volume 23, number 2 issue which the press should deliver to the mailer today.

That’s right. The above image shows all 10 years worth of newsletter PDFs we’ve published, and it’s pretty awesome to see the changes it’s gone through. From that old 80s nameplate on the cover that I came into when I started, to the updated version I created in 1998, and then doing away with the graphical nameplate and going with a full page cover photo.

And these thumbnails don’t even show from 1992 to that first PDF in 1997. Earlier on, the publication had been a six-page tri-fold with three columns per page. After a few years, I finally convinced my boss to let me take it to a five-column design. Of course, there were also the 13 years prior to the first one I designed which not only used the rainbow nameplate, but also a 70s-ish single-color design used for the first few years.

The reason the PDFs started with the v13n2 issue is very straightforward. It was the first issue where I’d begun scanning photos in low resolution just for a positioning guide. At the time, they were still being manually halftoned and stripped in at the press, though we went with full quality scans shortly after this issue. But that v13n2 issue even has a page with a couple photos that are terribly pixellated because when I finally made the PDF, I’d somehow lost those FPO scans (For Position Only) and the prints had been returned to the owner.

Yes, I’ve thought many times about going back and trying to create PDFs of older issues, but even if I could crack open the PageMaker 5 files (I can’t), the photos, as I alluded above, would only appear as black boxes. We have hard copies of every issue and I could theoretically scan the pages, but we all know it would look pretty poor, and the return on my investment of time to do so would be practically nil. Not to mention that the first couple years, the newsletter was published bi-annually and was anywhere from 16 to 24 pages. Currently, it’s 12 pages and published quarterly. So scanning all those pages would be a significant amount of work.

And before you think that we’re slackers now, only doing four issues of 12 pages a year, I’ll point out that my department has many more responsibilities now than it did back then. We’re also putting far more effort into these pages. The early issues were just stuffed with quickly written news articles and few pictures. Today, we’re carefully honing full page, feature-style stories and taking care to make every page have some visual appeal with full-color photos. And we’re getting plenty of compliments on the new style.

Ping me if you’d like to see some of these PDFs. My separation of work and blog rule has relaxed enough to blog about this milestone, but not enough for me to include a link.

» Posted by ALBj at 12:39 AM (ET)
Category: Cool Technology, Journal, Mac


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