InDesign CS5 to CS4

One thing Adobe has not always done well is maintaining backward compatibility in their applications. This may not be such a big deal if you work in an isolated environment or only associate with those who meticulously upgrade their software to the latest available versions. However, many real-world projects get passed around between designers, clients, and various vendors—all of whom may not have the same version.

Export to InDesign Markup (IDML)Adobe Illustrator was notorious for this, but also offered the graceful solution of simply saving “down” to a lower version. InDesign, however, is not quite so well behaved.

There is hope. InDesign can export to what is appropriately called InDesign Markup Language or IDML. This IDML can then, in turn, be opened in CS4.

If you are doing this to send to someone else, make sure you provide a PDF so they can have something to check against as there is always the chance that something could be off just a bit.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts To Maximize Efficiency

If you’re new to OS X or you want to get the ultimate speed upgrade for your Mac, try using keyboards shortcuts. These little gems will boost your productivity and help save your wrists as well. Many functions found in your menu have keyboard shortcut equivalents which appear with somewhat cryptic symbols just to the right of the text in the drop-down menu.

One of the best resources I have found in deciphering those symbols and listing shortcuts is Dan Rodney’s List of OS X Keyboard Shortcuts. While you’re there, check out some of his other Tips & Tricks.

Get The Art & Science of CSS Free

SitePoint, a great resource for anything web-related, is giving away The Art & Science of CSS as a PDF. It is only available until December 2, so be sure to take advantage of this offer soon. They’ve given away sample chapters from their books before, but this time it is the full book. Yep, that is over 200 pages of CSS goodness just waiting to be absorbed by your tech-hungry brain cells.

All you have to do is either give them your email or follow them on Twitter. Either way, you get a great CSS guide for the price of a glass of water (tap water—not bottled). While you’re there, sign up for their email newsletters.

Scam Alert: Domain Registry of America

I have been getting these letters for years—you know, the one that says your domain name is about to expire so renew now or risk being forever lost in cyberspace, blah, blah, blah. I’ll admit they almost got me the first time, but now anything with Domain Registry of America goes straight to the trash, or gets shredded into a thousand pieces, or gets burned—you get the picture.

I am used to it, so I don’t give it much thought, but when I got one today, I realized how many people I know get these, too. And, being personalized, with a lot of your domain information on there, it is easy to think it is legit and pay up and be done with it.

Don’t.

Not only are they dubious at best, but they are one of the most expensive registrars. They mention being cheaper, but they base that on information that is way out of date—back when Network Solutions had a monopoly. In Web-time that is ancient history.

Even if they were the low-cost leader, I still wouldn’t think of transferring to them. If they use scam-like tactics to get your business, there is no telling what they will do once they have control of your domain and everything associated with it like your website and email.

If you want more information about this particular scam, Google for “Domain Registry of America Scam” and read until your heart’s content. If you want, check out the official word from the Federal Trade Commission.

Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse

Here it comes to save the day…

OK, so this post doesn’t exactly fit into the normal Web design related categories, but I have been waiting for this one. The Wireless Mighty Mouse from Apple was released today. I currently use and love the wired version on my desktop, and am now tempted to make the purchase for my laptop.

Other than the obvious—no wire—the Wireless Mighty Mouse features a new laser tracking engine, which provides 20 times more surface sensitivity. What this means is that you can use it on just about any surface without it skipping.

Apple is not paying me to write this so enough for now. If/when I get it, I’ll append this post.

If someone else gets one, please comment.

Careful Little Hands What You Post!

Information. Everybody wants it. A lot of people are more than happy to give it. We print brochures, create ads, mail out flyers and—of course—post as much as we can on the Web so people can have our information. Printed materials are generally reviewed much more closely than items that are posted online. We realize that changing something in print tends to be costly and you can’t change it at all once it is on someone’s hands. On the web, things are sometimes scrutinized to a lesser degree.

Unfortunately, this less rigorous review and approval process means that on occasion, content gets posted that really should not be on the web at all. I am not talking about typos or grammatical mistakes, but the actual content itself.

Churches, ministries, and many non-profit organizations are unique in that in addition to full-time staff, they depend on a large number of volunteers. Volunteers often lead several ministries such as on-campus and off-campus small group Bible studies, support groups, vacation bible school, and the list goes on. As such, volunteers are often the key points of contact for their respective ministries. This makes it very tempting to simply post their personal contact information on the web and direct people to it. In a perfect world—no problem. However, I don’t need to go into a lesson on the depravity of man, to say the world is far from perfect.

When posting any information to your site, realize that someone can easily gain even more information from the little that you gave them. For example, let’s say you list an off-campus women’s bible study that meets at 8:00 p.m. along with a name and phone number. Simply typing in the name or phone into a search engine can quickly display an address, map and driving directions to that person’s location.

There are different tactics that you could try to protect such information, but the best solution is to simply not list personal information on the site at all. Instead, direct them to call the church office, send an email or fill out a form. Anyone legitimately interested should have no problem doing this, and it offers some basic safety for your volunteers, especially those in off-campus ministries.