Why you will need guides (in Flash and otherwise) at some point.

So I’m putting together this Flash-based tool for our user conference. I have 6 different buttons that will bring up 6 different lists in the same area.  When I test, they’re jumping around.

Let me say I’m relatively new to Flash, so I don’t know the tricks yet. I’m eyeballing the placement of these lists. I’m frustrated. I’m wondering how all those other Flash-type people do it. I’m thinking they’re smarter than me.

Then it hits me. Guides. Turn on the guides. Line up the lists using guides. I do so, and everything lines up nicely.

I then proceed, for five seconds, to pat myself on the back.

Bottom line Why: Because someone’s probably already gone through the issue you have, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help.

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Why the Associated Press is doomed to become the media equivalent of a petrified T-rex femur.

Re: Associated Press claims to have discovered magic anti-news-copying beans – Boing Boing.

The Associated Press (AP)  has become a juggernaut of news gathering. there was a time when they had competition: Remember UPI? Right. No one does.

The AP is big because it is still what its title says it is: an association of press (maybe we should change that to “news” instead of “press”? Few TV stations have a need for several hundred gross tons of paper rolls any longer).

It gets its content from subscribers; subscribers get their content from the AP. It’s a great NON-PROFIT system. Yes, the last time I checked, the AP is actually a NON-PROFIT organization, serving its members, not the other way around. Directly from its website:

AP operates as a not-for-profit cooperative with more than 4,000 employees working in more than 240 worldwide bureaus. AP is owned by its 1,500 U.S. daily newspaper members.

So now the AP is freaked out that its content is being skimmed by other users not “associated” with the “press:” bloggers and the like. Not being “associated” with AP means you’re not paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to rebroadcast or retransmit its content.

Yes, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

So let me get this straight: A non-profit news organization that is owned by its members who pay to distribute its content is now mad that other people are getting the content from said members and distributing it in their own ways (commenting, excerpting, fair-use stuff) so they want to make everyone pay in incremental amounts to use said content.

Right.

Good luck with the genie. She doesn’t like to go back in the bottle.

Why you should tell a story.

Martin Conroy’s Billion Dollar Story | Growthink.

What’s your story?

Everyone has a story. A few years after I started working as a TV news producer, a CBS reporter struck gold with a series that I still think is one of the best storytelling ideas around.

It’s pretty easy. It makes sense. It points out something that we all know to be true.

It was called, “Everybody has a story.”

The reporter, Steve Hartman, threw a dart at a map of America. He and a photographer would travel to that town, grab a phone book, and randomly pick names until someone agreed to tell him their story.

It was, as we used to say in television parlance, GREAT TV.

Everybody DOES have a story. You have a story. You might not think you do because you’ve lived the story. You know it inside and out.

But for the world, it’s new. There’s something unique about it.

The same goes for marketing products. Find out the product’s story. Market the story.

When I moved from marketing a non-profit mentoring program to marketing b2b oil and gas software, I realized it’s tough to find the story behind utilitarian software that makes a complex job simple.

We’re still working on the messaging, but it will focus on the idea that everything – products included – has a story.

And everybody loves a story.

Why There Needs To Be a Metaphor Dictionary.

Podcasters (being close to radio hosts in nature) are some of the worst offenders of Metaphor Mangling. This morning I heard one host say:

They’ll be nipping the buds (butts) of their competitors.

Ummm, NO.

Why you don’t always want to use “Save to Web” in Adobe Illustrator CS3.

I’m in the midst of a rebranding effort at my company. For each of our nine product lines, I’ve created a very simple logo: A single blue line with customized font type.

There’s not much information in a file like this, so I wasn’t worried about file size. Yet, because I usually work with web graphics, I’m constantly “Save(ing) to Web and Devices” as my default .jpg move in Adobe Illustrator CS3. I did this like I normally do, and sent the logos off to my boss who was presenting them in a PowerPoint presentation.

I get a call soon after. “Why are these so fuzzy?” she asks with a tinge of disdain.

I dash into her office. Sure enough, saving to the web made the file TOO small.

I came back to my desk  and instead used the “Export” function. This gives you more flexibility over the quality of the file. I bumped it all the way up to “10” and sent them back. The files weren’t too big (80kb – 90kb) and the resolution was great for PPT.

You learn something new every day.

Why you should read this blog, part 1.

To stay tuned for part 2.

Why you should be listening to more Crowded House, and specifically, Neil Finn.

1) Crowded House came out of the pure-pop ashes of Split Enz.

2) “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

3) “Something So Strong,” and its accompanying corny yet endearing video.

4) “7 Worlds Collide”: Neill Finn and several friends, live in 2001. Covers galore, and a great crowd make this one of the best live albums in the last decade. Amazon link, in case you’re interested.

5) “She Will Have Her Way”

6) And last (but not least): “When You Come,” especially the live version on “Farewell to the World, Live.” Amazon link, again.

Why Rick Astley + Nirvana = Mashup bliss.

I mean, the world was waiting for this. Am I right?