Using Windows with non-Western writing schemes is a lot like watching a bad movie: All too often, the wrong characters show up on the screen. You can set up Windows to work in a wide range of languages, fonts, and writing systems, but glitches are common, especially when it comes to different character sets. Many international users have discovered LangOver, a free tool that converts your text to the language and alphabet of your choice when you press F10 (it's customizable). With it, users who set Windows to display Arabic, Greek, Cyrillic, or Hebrew characters (for example) won't … Read more
Periodically, Mac users may find that the system does not seem to recognize icon and window placement settings, and may display items in random orders and positions under certain conditions. Normally when you make a change to a Finder window layout, be it the position of items, the view setting, or the window size and location, these settings are saved; however, it appears in some instances, this may not be happening properly. A number of people who have upgraded to OS X Lion have recently found this to be an issue with their systems.
Whenever Finder window view settings do … Read more
This is an update of a post I wrote earlier this year.
Remember desktop publishing software? Back in the old days, you had your pick of a dozen or more programs (Publisher, PageMaker, etc.), but now the field is practically empty.
Granted, you can still buy Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress for a small fortune (they run $699 and $799, respectively), but what if you just want a simple program for creating newsletters, brochures, flyers, and the like?
Enter Serif PagePlus X5, the latest and greatest version of what was already a terrific desktop-publishing application. It's ideal for designing print … Read more
This morning Apple released a new line of iMac models that contain quad-core "Sandy Bridge" processors, faster graphics, and support for the new Thunderbolt I/O technology. These new machines may be an enticing buy, though if you plan to install Windows 7 via Boot Camp, be sure to install the latest Boot Camp update, especially if you are using Japanese and Korean languages.
Apparently the included Boot Camp drivers on the new iMacs have problems with handling Japanese and Korean keyboard layouts. Apple does not specify what these problems are, but has released an update to the … Read more
This is an update of a post from a couple years back. Yes, years.
Whatever happened to desktop publishing software? A decade ago you had your pick of a dozen or more programs, but now the field is practically empty.
Granted, you can still buy Adobe PageMaker or QuarkXPress for a small fortune (they still run $499 and $799, respectively), but what if you just want a simple program for creating newsletters, brochures, flyers, and the like?
Enter Serif PagePlus X4, a terrific desktop-publishing application that's ideal for designing print and Web-based documents alike.
Today only, PricePlunge.com has … Read more
Why bother with Facebook if your "face" looks like everyone else's? There's no reason your Facebook page can't be as stylish (or as junky; why not?) as you want it to be. We looked at Naevius Facebook Layouts, a free tool that works with Internet Explorer. It makes customizing your Facebook look as easy as picking a theme.
A strange error message prevented Naevius Facebook Layouts from opening immediately after installation, but the program ran normally when we clicked the desktop icon, and subsequently, so we pretended we hadn't seen it. It opened with … Read more
Swift Publisher is a low-cost desktop publishing program that's perfect for graphic-design neophytes who need to produce simple documents such as posters, letterhead, cards, and fliers.
Fitting for a beginner-friendly app, Swift Publisher launches with an assistant that gives you access to more than 100 different templates, in categories that include brochures, catalogs, and newsletters, with handy thumbnail previews that let you browse through your options. Once you're into a new document, Swift Publisher gives you plenty of easy editing options, from altering text to changing backgrounds and inserting photos (either your own, or using a built-in library … Read more
The Web, ever more sophisticated, is feeble as a publication medium when it's compared to what can be done with layout software such as Adobe Systems' InDesign. But that's beginning to change.
The change is significant: digital publishing is moving to the Web, but the array of new devices such as iPads and Kindles pose a challenge. Should those overseeing the designs create native applications for those devices or Web pages that will work on just about any device? For the latter to be a competitive option, the Web has to match up better.
A foundation for change was built with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a standard for Web page formatting that's now growing in significance and power. One big element here is support for the @font-face technology and the related Web Open Font Format, which together are letting Web developers specify downloadable fonts and use online font repositories such as TypeKit for a more polished, customized look.
A new phase is under way now, though. Firefox browser developer Mozilla has begun work on CSS features to permit higher-end font controls, Mozilla developer John Daggett said yesterday in a blog post.
Among the controls are the following:
Ligatures, which can replace combinations of letters with fancier or more readable replacements, a classic example being a specific glyph for "fi" to keep the top of the f from bumping into the dot of the i. … Read more
The WinPenPack project focuses on making popular open-source software portable, and X-Scribus is part of their X-Software Collection of portable open-source freeware. It's a fully portable version of Scribus, the page layout software. Like the installed version, X-Scribus supports professional standards and top-quality features, including CMYK, ICC, and spot color and commercial-grade PDFs.
X-Scribus opens with its main interface as well as its tabbed New Document dialog, which also lets you open existing and recent documents as well as quickly configure new documents with up to four folds. We created a basic, letter-size, single-page document, which opened in a … Read more
CAD tools tend to be large, big-ticket packages that often pack stiff license fees. Open-source software increasingly rivals expensive applications. Imagine a cross between a full-featured graphics tool and top-drawer CAD package, optimized for designing electronic circuits and nanodevices, and that undergoes constant improvement and enhancement: that's LayoutEditor. It's a powerful suite of tools for designing and editing layouts for fabricating microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and integrated circuits (ICs), including multichip module (MCM), chip-on-board (COB), printed-circuit board (PCB), and thin-film technologies, among many others.
As open-source software goes, this program is no lightweight; it's a 30MB download that … Read more