I cringe whenever I see dreamweaver listed as a requirement for a job posting. Right away, I can tell that whomever is posting the job really doesn’t understand web development, or the people who are good at web development, because if they did they’d know that dreamweaver is fundamentally a useless, pointless, resource-sucking program that continues to try and slap WYSIWYG on the most slippery, amoebic, “un-speccable”  communication technology to date-namely the web. The only real contributions Adobe makes to the web are Flash and Photoshop. Everything else can be done with the most basic of text editors.

Evolving work structures in marketing communications

When it comes to new media, many talented people, top-notch agencies, and renowned print service companies are finding themselves on the outside looking in. Art directors, mechanical artists, pre-press specialists, media buyers, press-operators, etc. are being forced to reckon with the web. Suddenly, they’re being faced with projects that

Clients are demanding it. They aren’t getting more marketing dollars to spend, especially considering the current economic landscape. When reality hits home, that those dollars are better spent online, print-centricity is left twiddling its thumbs.

There is a huge, HUGE opportunity for the dinosaurs, and it all comes down to the solid relationships that have formed over the last few decades. Clients love their agencies. Agencies love their printers. One only has to look at the incredible work produced within the constraints of this relationship to grasp the potential this has once it harnesses new media.

But getting there requires an infrastructure overhaul. Pre-press specialists and mechanical artists need to learn html, css, and cutup. Art directors need to talk wordpress, jquery and ruby. Account executives need to become SEO jedis. Media buyers and copywriters need to get on facebook, twitter, and youtube so they  can understand the mindsets of the new demographic.

And if I owned a printing company, I’d launch an online services department. I’d  go out and hire the best PHP/MySQL web development expert, and the best IT/networking/server master I could find. Pay them well. I’d buy a big, fat reseller account with a top-notch hosting company. I’d promote the heck out of it via, what else, lots of print ads in local magazines and newspapers. Pretty soon, I’d have tons of agency client sites running under my company. I’d be reaping setup and hosting fees. My php dude/tte would be enabling all the crazy web 2.0 stuff that only agencies and clients can dream of. My network dude/tte would be setting things proper on-location. In no time, the new department would be generating revenues far beyond what I’d be getting from print.

It will take lots of time and money, but this is an issue of survival. It’s time for people to dive in.

Thoughts about linux (ubuntu 8.1) from a new user

After my macbook fried and my xp box got infected beyond repair, I decided to start all over with linux. I’ve never used it before, so here are some initial reactions from a long time computer user, both in windows and mac environments, starting fresh:

  1. It’s the most user-friendly environment I’ve tried. It combines the best of windows and mac in one interface. Open folders and files along the bottom (the tray?) is such a natural thing that I always liked about windows. The intrusive dock is something I’ve always disliked about mac. Everything is crisp, the system fonts are legible, and working in it from a gui standpoint is very satisfying.
  2. I love discovering how it works. At first, it’s annoying to deal with package installations and terminal commands, but after a while you get a feel for how and why they work.  There are strange icons nestled into the various static bars on the top and bottom of the screen (menu bar? task bar? Again, I need to learn the lingo), that do cool stuff when you click them.  For instance, in the lower left is an interesting one, that nicle hides everything on your desktop when clicked. I know os x does this and much more with the f9 f10 f11 keys, can’t think of what they call it at the moment. But all I ever really need regarding windows is a quick way to see my desktop. Each time I find something new in it, I feel a sense of accomplishment (wow I am a geek).
  3. It seems no faster or slower than osx or windows at the moment (maybe a little bit faster, I’m using a dell 4600 with 1.5 gb Ram).
  4. I wish the windows were anti-aliased. Probably a memory saver, but I’d turn it on if I knew how.
  5. It came with some interesting apps. So far, I’ve used gimp (graphics), rythmbox (music management), firefox (web browser), picasa (photo manager), and Kino (video editor). Some thoughts:
    • Gimp sucks. Gimp is such a horrible name for software anyway; it connotes a crippled, inferior entity, which Gimp unfortunately seems to be. I need shape layers, I need precision zooming, and I can’t imagine Gimp has Photoshop’s anti-aliasing prowess (see my previous post), so I’ll do my icon work on my old mac for now. If you don’t have an old mac with photoshop 7 on it to use, then I guess gimp is for you.
    • Rythmbox with built in lastfm is cool, and I’d love to get better at it. Unfortunately, my ipod/iphone centric life would need some hardware adjustments.
    • Firefox is fine, although one of my sites looked weird, maybe due to font issues, which I’ll address in a future post.
    • Picasa is really critical. I have every photo I’ve taken in the last 10 years on the second drive of this machine, and it was all managed via picasa running on xp before I wiped the first drive and installed ubuntu. It seems that picasa won’t recognize the 2nd drive. I briefly checked for answers via google and hit the wall (future post). You would think it would be easy for picasa to pick up where it left off, but no luck yet.
    • Kino imported the .mps files from my camcorder, but made them look weird. Need to investigate.
  6. I miss Georgia, more than anything. Nothing reads like that font. Please, Matthew Carter, if you ever read this, get me some Georgia on Linux.
  7. Using Linux makes you feel free, in general. But Inkscape and Gimp just ain’t Illustrator and Photoshop.
  8. FTP is perfect. I don’t know why OS X doesn’t build it in like linux. FTP programs are pointless when you can just mount a remote server like any disk.