Wow… Adobe just announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia.
The two graphic design software houses. Arch-enemies. Together. It’s all mind-boggling as to what can come out of this.
- Adobe + Flash. This is gonna be big. They’re gonna push Flash as the lingua franca of the interactive web (while we wait on things like XForms, XAML, XUL and Web Forms 2.0) using the combined clout of Adobe and Macromedia’s apps. Adobe had made some progression into SVG, so hopefully everything isn’t too Flash-centric. And the growth in the mobile area (Just think of the licensing for Flash Lite in the future) is also gonna be good. This reason is probably worth it alone regardless of all the potential problems and overlap.
- A powerful set of integrated tools. For print, web and video. Photoshop + Dreamweaver. Director + Premier. Drools.
- Some good “synergies”. Adobe has been entrenched in the print area with InDesign and PDF. Macromedia is very web oriented, with many mobile and server components.
- Also lots of fallouts. There’s plenty of overlapping software. Dreamweaver vs GoLive. Illustrator vs Freehand. Whether they remain separate, get merged, or cannibalize each other’s parts and technologies remains to be seen.
- No real competitors. The only “real” competitors are Corel (with CorelDraw and its recent acquisition of Jasc) and opensource software, such as The GIMP. Maybe ACDSystems as a minor player since obtaining Canvas. With Adobe and Macromedia offering integrated suites, why try anything else. Bye bye Quark.
- Adobe Flash CS? Adobe Macromedia Flash? Adobe Macromedia Flash CS MX 2006! This is gonna be interesting =)
With the recent announcement of Adobe’s Creative Suite 2, I’d like to take some time to look at their new set of icons.
The release of Adobe CS a little over a year ago introduced a set of unified & nature-inspired icons designed by MetaDesign. It was quite a shift from the traditional Photoshop “eye” and the Illustrator “Venus” motif.
“Nature provided a good metaphor for the role of design software… Feathers were one of the original drawing/illustrating tools. Stars were the original navigation technology. Flowers are present in the original Venus painting. Butterflies were already established in the InDesign packaging, so they already fit the scheme.”
CS2 continues on this nature theme with a few tweaks. The icons themselves have adopted a more translucent and symbolic feel.
One of the biggest changes is the new starfish icon of GoLive CS2. While the original star icon didn’t fit into the overall “small objects of nature” CS theme, the new GoLive CS2 icon is a nice subtle shift. It unifies with the rest of the suite without completely throwing away the previous look. Bravo.
Another change are the new color schemes. When the original Adobe CS was released, not only did the traditional icons change, but the color schemes for icons and their respective document file icons changed as well. Suddenly Photoshop CS PSD files where green and Illustrator CS AI files were pink. The new CS2 sees a return to the old colors. Photoshop CS2 to blue (well, a mix of green and blue) and Illustrator CS2 to orange/peach. Everything old is new again.
I haven’t actually shared my thoughts about the new Adobe CS2 features, but I’m just happy to note that I can look forward to underlining text in Illustrator CS2 now
Rowland Croucher wraps up some interesting trends and insights (via Dean Peters’s Heal Your Church Web Site) surrounding Christian churches and today’s social/cultural implications based on a series of papers by Kevin Ward.
In Canada, church attendance declined from 55% to 22% from the beginning of the 60s to the 2000s. (Britain drops from about 18% to 7.5%, while the US remains relatively steady from about 49% to 40%.) Belief in God, life after death, and prayer haven’t really dropped–people just aren’t interested in organized religion.
Evangelical, conservative, charismatic/Pentecostal churches (particularly “megachurches”) are growing or keeping steady. But these statistics can be misleading, as the results are merely due to “church hopping“. In Canada, only 5.5% of church attendees come from an unchurched background.
Ward sees five trends in particular that seem to have significantly impacted the church:
- Belief that church going and church authority are optional and no longer necessary to sustain spirituality and faith, or to be a good Christian
- Instead of religion being a central and integrating force for all of life, it is banished to the private sphere of life.
- The more varied, or plural, the beliefs held in a community or society, the weaker the reinforcement is for any one particular set of beliefs.
- Casting doubt on the whole concept of absolute truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and bad.
- Developing a deep cynicism toward public institutions as well as an inclination to make decisions irrespective of conventional traditions.
Ward sums it up:
“This has created the paradox of a highly spiritual culture yet declining involvement in organised religion. In other words it appears that people who are seeking spiritual experience and meaning in their lives are not finding it presented in a form that meets their values and aspirations in what the church has continued to offer.”
So what happens now?
Thanks so much Alice!
With all the noise that’s going on, I think I’m gonna move to WordPress soon. Partly because it’s the next “new thing” and partly because I’m having fun playing around with it. I’ve even hacked up my own little WP plugin using PHP–something I couldn’t (or at least, didn’t know how to) do with MT.
I’m still keeping the old 2.x version of MovableType though. It’s been managing my church website, which requires multiple blogs and authors. It still does everything I need for those sites at the moment, so it’s fine. And I like how I can compartmentalize different sections of the site into one admin area. It’s fairly simple and it has a slightly lower learning curve than WP, which makes all the difference for everyone else involved.
At least, until this happens
Free Download: Antiseptic Switch Skin 1.0
I needed a small, fully-featured and easy-to-use color picker with an efficient user interface for my web design work. A lot of programs out there are huge, bulky and often get into the way. They usually offer too many features that I don’t need when designing webpages and they often come with a horrible interface.
I’d like to introduce you to Higher Tendencies’ Switch - a wonderful and free color picker program for Windows.
“Switch is a color picker and adjuster. You can select the color of any pixel on the screen, zoom into a part of the screen, and adjust the color through RGB, HSL, Hex and OLE color properties. Great for graphic artists and skinners.”
It’s skinnable and it’s extremely flexible. While the default skin was nice (see the screenshot on their website), I created my own skin to fit my needs.
The program’s color picker and zoom functions have been reordered and are main focus now. The functions are placed on the left-hand side as I usually have the Switch window floating on the right side of my screen. Just drag the eye dropper icon to the screen to pick the color you want. RGB, HSL and HEX values also get full attention below. Gone are the space-hogging and hardly-used OLE values. In the main title bar are “Options” (the Switch icon), “Stay on Top” toggle and “Close” respectively. Also included are eye dropper and magnifying glass cursors.
If you’re looking for an alternative color picker, there’s ColorPad. It’s free and tiny as well. It offers most of the features of Switch, with the exception of HSL adjustments (which I often need for elements that change brightness on hover). The official website is gone, but you can probably google to find it.
I guess I’m on a roll here, so here’s a new icon for Maxis’ The Sims 2:
The Sims 2 Logo PNG for ObjectDock
A modified The Sims 2 logo in PNG format for use with StarDock’s ObjectDock launchbar/taskbar/dock program. It’s 128×128 pixels with alpha-channel transparency — check out the translucent glow of the jewel:
With id software’s new Doom 3 release this month, here are a couple of icons you can use.
Original Doom 3 Windows Icon
It’s the actual Doom 3 icon from the game itself (thanks Tuan!). Windows .ico format (Windows XP and 256 color versions in 16×16, 32×32 and 48×48 pixels):
Doom 3 Logo PNG for ObjectDock
A modified Doom 3 logo in PNG format for use with StarDock’s ObjectDock launchbar/taskbar/dock program (128×128 pixels with alpha-channel transparency):
Doom 3 Logo Pixel Icon
A clean, crisp pixel icon of the Doom logo. Pixel-pushed by hand. Comes in Windows XP Color mode with alpha-channel transparency version (with drop-shadow) and a 256 color version without the drop-shadow. Perfect for the desktop.
Safari RSS is Apple’s default web browser for Mac OS X Tiger. As indicated by its name, it now features a built-in RSS (and Atom) reader. Aside from the powerful feed indicator and notification functions, Apple has created an elegant design as an alternative to complicated-looking XML-based feeds. While the XML format is intended to be human-readable, Apple has coated it over with blue accent gradients and hidden all the tags. For many users, this will be the defining look of RSS/Atom feeds.
We can make our RSS/Atom feeds look similar to the Safari RSS look. All we need is the proper CSS file linked as a stylesheet from our RSS/Atom XML file.