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ATPM 14.01
January 2008





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iPhone Case Roundup

Great review! I’m writing this comment in a car on the motorway in sunny England on my new iPhone! Will definitely be buying a case tomorrow.

—Henry Carless

Would You Like a Cup of Coffee With That?

Nice coverage of topics. On the Kindle, I think a lot of reviewers are missing the point. It’s so easy to look at features and missing features and industrial design and forget that it’s just a device to display text.

I got the opportunity to use a friend’s Kindle for an afternoon. After about a half an hour it just disappears. I got involved in a reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which my wife owns in hard cover, and totally forgot that I was reading from a gadget. That’s the real bottom line.

I picked up reading where I had left off in the regular book, read for a couple of hours, and went back to the printed book the next day at home. No sense of loss or difficulty. It’s easier to read than many paperbacks.

The screen is crisp, the text very readable, and font resizing allowed me to read the Kindle comfortably on my exercise bike. The book holder places the book about two and a half feet from my eyes, an awkward distance for middle-aged eyes with reading glasses. The one-touch page “turn” works beautifully in that situation. No lifting the book out of the holder, flipping pages, then returning it.

Don’t worry about contrast. It’s fine. Don’t worry about boring design. The thing works. When the price drops to about half and the number of books increases, I’ll get one.

This is the future.


• • •

I do not understand the desire to have e-books resemble paperbacks, right down to a foldable, split-page format. I must be unusual, because I read only one page at a time. I dislike holding a book open. I would be quite happy with a single page view e-book that had crisp text at a choice of font sizes. It also would have to complete page changes in less than one second and support encoded e-book formats as well as PDF, HTML, text, RTF, etc. No e-books meet these criteria, so I stick with paper.

—Gregory Tetrault

A Tutorial on Resolution

After you have changed the resolution to 300dpi by unchecking Resample Image, if you later check Resample Image to resize the pixel dimensions, this doesn’t interfere with the 300dpi resolution, does it? I want to print a card with a photo on it, but I’m worried that when I shrink the 300dpi photo to fit the card, it will affect the resolution quality.

—Annabel Way

The resolution will always be somehow affected if the Resample Image checkbox is on.

Here’s an example workflow that I use which may be of help to you:

First of all, I always keep my original, unedited images. Most of the time, that means it’s the 72ppi JPEG file directly from a digital camera. If you keep a separate copy of this original file, then you always have it to fall back on, even if that means you lost any work/editing on a photo.

Then, working on a copy, and with the Resample box turned off, I change the image to 300ppi in preparation for any print work that I’m doing. If I imported the same photo into my InDesign project at 72ppi, it would be enormous because InDesign would dutifully represent 72 pixels within one inch of the InDesign page. If you change it to 300ppi, however, InDesign will represent the image smaller, with 300 pixels in a linear inch.

Note that regardless whether it’s being shown huge at 72ppi, or smaller size at 300ppi, since the Resample option was off, the image has not changed in quality. It would still be the same number of pixels in height and width. You’re only defining how many of those pixels are squeezed into one inch.

After I’ve done all my editing, I make a another copy of the image so that I still have the full-size version that has been adjusted, and on the copy, I will scale it down in Photoshop so it matches the size I used in InDesign. For this, I turn the Resample option back on. When I do so, I change the height/width values to the amount I need, but the 300ppi stays the same because the Resample box is on. This step will definitely change the resolution. It is always my last step, and it is always done on a separate copy.

P.S. The reason I scale my final images to 100% in Photoshop is because page layout programs like InDesign already have enough to worry about in terms of processing at the time a page is sent to an imagesetter to be made into press film. The output is much faster if InDesign isn’t having to scale the size of all the photos on the fly at the time you output the job. Sure, I work with the full resolution versions during production so I can change the size back and forth while working. I don’t scale them in Photoshop until the final layout is approved.

—Lee Bennett

What Leopard Means For GTD

While the new features of Mail would be great if they worked consistently and reliably, they don’t. Use on more than one computer with IMAP leads to duplications and data loss. Furthermore, the new features don’t even integrate well with the iPhone, let alone non-Apple platforms. I was disappointed.

—Michael Ogilvie

• • •

Much as I appreciate the changes that have come to Mail and iCal for all my getting things done mentality, I have to say that the bug-ridden mess that is Notes and To Do links is really so annoying that I had to stop using it. Examples:

  1. When I put To Dos in Notes, they would sometimes get corrupted such that they weren’t listed as To Dos anymore.
  2. When I filed Notes, the original sometimes wouldn’t get moved, and I’d have two copies. Due to synching issues, one would get corrupted as listed in #1. Ah, but if you deleted one, they would both disappear! What the hell? I had to go into the Finder and find the multiple copies of the mails (yeah, Quick Look for this), then delete them, and then rebuild the offending mailboxes.
  3. Oh, right, once you’ve done that, all To Dos that were linked into iCal are missing. They got deleted, after all. Argh!

In sum, it’s a totally non-trustworthy system, and I spent more time fighting it than using it. The promised “system-wide” To Do access didn’t materialize for the Finder, so there’s no easy way to attach a Finder file or folder to a To Do, either.

I went back to iGTD, which had its own problems. It doesn’t synch with iCal, but I’ve given up on that travesty. Corruption is sure to ensue. Not trustworthy, and I can’t afford “not trustworthy.” I just don’t use iCal. With the new iGTD, I am one keystroke away from dumping any Finder file or folder, as well as any Mail, into the iGTD database and processing things from there. It works.

I do miss Hallon. It was a fabulous and quirky program that allowed for all sorts of filtering and such, but it was never a real program. If it gets fixed, it does better at collecting information from around your machine and filing and filtering it, but the quirks eventually made it too difficulty to use. I keep going back, though…

—Michael Wittmann

• • •

TaskPaper has been the pleasant surprise in the interval between publications of this column. For those not in the know, it is Jesse Grosjean’s (of Mori and WriteRoom fame) latest work. TaskPaper is a lot like what the name sounds like. It brings the simplicity and ease of paper-based lists to the computer, using a text file–based format that is easy to parse for external scripting. Out of all the applications and Web apps I’ve used, it is by far the easiest to brainstorm in. Unfortunately, I also find it a bit difficult to get data out of it once it is in—-once the list gets big. I have many hundreds of tasks, and many of those are time sensitive. Currently TaskPaper doesn’t have much in the way of due date management—-critical for what I need. But it’s not shabby. There are some good features for focussing on projects and contexts, so while it didn’t quite work out for me in an industrial setting, I’m sure many will love it.

So I have a license for it, and will definitely keep watching its development, but for now I continue to use OmniFocus (which I also have a license for). OmniFocus has matured quite a bit as well, and its powerful Perspectives feature is unique as far as I know, to the GTD application market.

I have to agree with Mr. Wittmann regarding the disappointment in Leopard. The pre-release hype made it look like using the OS itself as a GTD platform would at last be feasible, but sadly this has not turned out to be the case. I never did much like Mail. It felt like an unstable client in the past, and it feels even more unstable now, even if you don’t use the buggy notes and To Do features.

—Amber Vaesca

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